When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 1 November 2011
Where: International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Engine House, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester M1 5BY
We’re excited to present American pianist Baby Dee in a rare Manchester outing, and our first event at an unusual venue, the International Anthony Burgess Foundation.
Baby Dee’s musical career has seen her perform worldwide with musical connoisseurs such as Will Oldham (who co-produced Safe Inside the Day with Matt Sweeney), Antony Hegarty, Marc Almond, Alex Neilson and David Tibet. When not performing across the globe, Dee resides in Cleveland with her many cats, harp and of course, Andrew WK’s Steinway D. One of the last decade’s most flamboyant artists returned this year with new LP Regifted Light. Dee is an extraordinary talent on the keyboard, and while she can play anything put before her, her passion is for the concert grand: the Steinway D in particular, or, as she puts it, her ‘Rolls Royce of choice’.
Rather than record in a studio, the studio was brought to the house, where the piano resides. Recorded on the Clockwerke mobile unit at Dee’s house, Regifted Light is luminated by the likes of multi-instrumentalist Jon Steinmeier (Mucca Pazza), the cello of Matthew Robinson and the tuba, sousaphone and bassoon of Mark Messing. The record is notable for its largely wordless, yet wildly lyric bent, highlighted by Andew WK’s dramatic mixing techniques, which allow the grandness of the piano to hear and re?ect the arrangements of the band back at the listener. While there are highs and lows aplenty and several breaking ballads, there is a distinct lack of comic songs until The Pie Song, where Baby Dee capriciously unleashes one of her most hilarious (and minimal) lyrics upon the listener as something of a penultimate movement in this mini-aria before restatement of the theme, the falling action and the final bow.
Baby Dee will be touring the UK and Europe this autumn to support the release of her double album, Baby Dee Goes Down To Amsterdam, Dam, Dam, being released on Tin Angel Records on 4 November. A first in her vast collection of albums, this record is live and staged at the magnificent Bimhuis – a world famous jazz venue surrounded by, and sitting on, water with a beautiful cityscape as the backdrop. Originally recorded for radio, this record stood out to the label – not only was it the climax of the tour, it is the only high quality live recording that really captures her spellbinding presence that has lured many a listener.
‘The first time I saw Baby Dee, I couldn’t take my eyes off her, not least because of how she delivered a song. It was as if Henry Purcell had found his muse. Like the lyrics of Purcell’s aria for the Cold Genius, Baby Dee’s are concentrated and fanciful’ – The New Yorker
‘A redemptive, exquisite stab at love’s devastations’ – 4/5 Mojo
Support for this show comes from Torontonian Doug Tielli. A member of Silt, known for their Beach Boys-meets-Palace Brothers sound, Doug releases his solo debut, Swan Sky Sea Squirrel, on 14 November. Like many greats before him, the album is the result of furrowing away into the darkest depths, the vast dark, letting go and regifting the light to us. Using only instruments readily available from an artist retreat on Toronto Island, Tielli set up an old school portable to record his album. Swan Sky Sea Squirrel comprises intricate ballads that are intrinsic to the island, painting an audio aesthetic for the listener that encompasses drowsy folk rock roots.
This show takes place at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation, a charity that encourages and supports public and scholarly interest in all aspects of the life and work of Anthony Burgess, the late novelist (best known for A Clockwork Orange), poet, playwright, composer, linguist, translator and critic. The foundation, situated just off Oxford Road, features a fully licensed cafe-bar and an engine room, which will host this seated concert. Baby Dee will perform completely unplugged, on Burgess’ own baby grand piano.