Jeff Miers - The Buffalo News

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Jeff Miers

Pop Music Critic at The Buffalo News since 2002.


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Rock 'n' roll educates its disciples retroactively. Unless you were there at the genesis of the form – which, in this country, can be traced back to slave plantations, and in the broader world, to primal African percussion – you likely learned about one early rock progenitor from a slightly later one, who might have name-dropped that legend in an interview, or covered …

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Bootsy, baby The man responsible for the birth of funk bass is back with "World Wide Funk," out Oct. 27. Play this now… Buffalo's the Tins have a new single, "Lifelines," that would sound great on local radio. Griselda won’t stop Buffalo MC Conway, who you might havee seen in Eminem's BET cypher last week, has a new mix tape with DJ Green Lantern on Gr…

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"Who got all your promo copies while you were out on medical leave?" This, one of many responses to a recent Facebook post of mine, nearly knocked me off my chair, I was laughing so hard. Promo copies?  "Dude, that's so 2014" was my response. Haven’t your heard? Music's free now. And record labels are certainly not servicing journalists with review copies of discs. V…

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"The first time I heard Jimmy Herring, he was playing one of my tunes, and he played it more beautifully than me," recalls John McLaughlin, whose joint tour with Herring, "Meeting of the Spirits," kicks off in Buffalo on Nov. 1 at University at Buffalo Center for the Arts. McLaughlin, widely considered one of the finest guitarists to emerge from the fertile musical grou…

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No one should have been surprised when Jamie Holka was asked to join cult legend prog-rock outfit Captain Beyond earlier this year. The Niagara Falls native has long been dazzling area audiences, whether in full-band fusion shred-mode or on one-man-band gigs, where he'd take intricate jazz-based chord voicings to town on multilayered original tunes and cover interpretation…

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Elio Villafranca is a leading light of the current generation of Cuban jazz artists who are simultaneously paying heed to the rich history of jazz and the form's need to continue to grow, morph and evolve if it is to survive in a meaningful way for generations to come. A classical prodigy who also happens to be a jazz virtuoso, Villafranca has  also proven himself to be a…

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No dress rehearsal. You think you're prepared for an eventuality, and yet when it arrives, your world is thrown off its axis, and it's like they moved the moon while you were looking the other way, and nothing makes sense. When the texts started arriving Wednesday, I was wishing I had turned my phone off. "Gord died last night" was the first one I saw, from Bruce …

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Rapsody The 9th Wonder protégé has made one of the coolest hip-hop records of the year in the form of "Laila's Wisdom." Rapsody has been a guest artist of merit on projects by the likes of Erykah Badu, Talib Kweli, Big K.R.I.T. and Kendrick Lamar, but with the sheer breadth of soulful influences congealing on "Laila's Wisdom," the depth and intricacy of her lyrics …

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Steely Dan always used ringers, in the non-pejorative sense. For co-founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker, it was always about the song – not the singer, the music, not the player, though they always hired the best of the best to interpret the songs they wrote. Every great band leader, from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis to Frank Zappa, found the wisdom in this ap…

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I was not convinced he had it in him. But Eminem took the opportunity during the recent BET Awards to reacquaint hip-hop with its core tenets. He free-styled a brutally impassioned topical discourse. And he did so for no personal gain that I can readily ascertain. In fact, the superstar risked alienating a healthy portion of his fan base. Or maybe not. Perhaps the peopl…

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Sharon Jones The late singer's final recording, "Soul of a Woman," is a heart-melting swan song. Out Oct. 17. King 'HRVST' Phoenix – whose "Ti Amo" is stuck in my head - headlines the new HRVST Festival, at RiverWorks on Oct. 14. http://buffalonews.com/2017/08/15/manchester-orchestra-joywave-added-hrvst-lineup/ Son also rises Dhani Harrison, son of Beat…

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When Walter Becker died in early September, I wasn't feeling so hot myself, and I didn’t really deal with the feelings his death conjured in me. Now that I'm beginning to mend, I've been thinking about the Steely Dan co-founder, recalling the many times I'd been lucky enough to see him perform, and pondering the fact that I've been listening to Becker's music since my…

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The Associated Press called Jason Isbell "arguably the finest songwriter putting pen to paper today," and they're not wrong. Now, that premier songwriter and purveyor of forward-looking Americana is bringing his band to the area. Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit will play the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Jan. 30. Tickets are $63, $48.50, $3…

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For Buffalo musician and educator John Bacon, Jr., jazz icon Thelonious Monk's legacy is so indelible that he was moved to create a month-long tribute to the man. "Monktober in Buffalo," a multivenue affair spread throughout October, is a labor of love for Bacon in celebration of Monk's 100th birthday. "As time goes on, I think of myself more as a composer who happens …

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The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame dropped its initial list of nominees for the class of 2018 on Thursday, and took a few steps toward soothing some old wounds by compiling a fair and balanced roster Fans of the Moody Blues, Judas Priest and Kate Bush have been clamoring for their heroes' induction for years, and Thursday's announcement brought them to the cusp of such a …