Squeeze the Day for Feb. 10

Caspa, Ekoostik Hookah and Anthony T Lee Trio, plus Today In Music with J Dilla and Metallica's Cliff Burton

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click to enlarge Caspa (Photo: Windish Agency)
Caspa (Photo: Windish Agency)

Music Tonight: Covington's Madison Theater has become one of the go-to venues in the region for some of the top names from the world of Dubstep, probably the most popular "new genre" (relative term, of course) in music today. You can thank Insomniac and Next Era promo groups for that, as they put on almost all of the bigger shows in the area. Tonight, it's another biggie as London Dubstep producer/artist Caspa headlines the venue. The 9 p.m., all-ages show also features guests Krowd Khemistry, Dr. Gram and Johnny Quest. Caspa started DJing at a young age, inspired by the Drum ’n Bass sounds of the time. In ’04 he launched the first of a handful of record labels, Storming Productions, ultimately got into producing and, in ’07, began exploring Dubstep with fellow DJ/producer Rusko, resulting in several successful collaborations. (Read more here from this week's CityBeat.)

Here's a couple of groovy videos that give a good a sense of what to expect tonight. —-

• There are few who would argue that veteran Columbus-spawned ensemble Ekoostik Hookah doesn't belong at the tippy-top of anyone's list of the greatest "Jam bands" to come out of Ohio. The Hookahville music festivals alone puts them in the upper echelon of influential Midwestern jammers. The band — which celebrated its 20th birthday last year — returns to the Cincinnati area tonight, making its debut at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley (one of the few venues fitting for Hookah's draw that they haven't played yet).  As a bonus for hardcore fans, former Hookah guitarist John Mullins and his popular band open the show up at 9 p.m. Tickets are $16 at the door.

Ekoostik Hookah most recently released a DVD featuring footage from a special 20th anniversary concert. Here's a little trailer:

• Tonight at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club (now located downtown at 7th and Race streets), the Anthony "T" Lee Trio performs at 8:30 p.m. The trio features two Jazz musicians — drummer Lee and keyboardist Andrew Toombs — who have known each other since their days at the School for Creative and Performing Arts (they were two-thirds of the school's Jazz trio, Sharp Three). But Lee is now pursuing his career in Jazz in New York City and Toombs is doing the same thing in Chicago, so it's a true rarity for the pair to be performing in their hometown together again. (Chicago-based bassist Brian Doherty rounds out the trio.)

Did I hear a "DRUM SOLO!"? Here's a clip of Lee rocking' a mean solo during a performance a couple years back at the old Blue Wisp.

• Check back soon for previews of Cincy Blues Society's 2012 edition of its Winter Blues Fest (which takes place in four venues in Over-the-Rhine this weekend), as well as Alone at 3AM's last Cincy show before heading west.

Momentous Happenings in Music History for February 10
On this day in 2006, much-respected Hip Hop producer/artist J Dilla passed away at the age of 32. Born James Dewitt Yancey, Jay Dee (as he was also known) came up a young Hip Hop fan in Detroit. His early production work on albums by Common, Erykah Badu, Busta Rhymes and Raekwon (among others) turned heads in the industry, as did his work with Slum Village, the cult favorite group he cofounded but left in 2002 to forge a solo path.

Dilla career was in overdrive and many were certain he would become one of the greats of our time, but he died in ’06 due to complications from a rare blood disorder called thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (or TTP, if you're not a doctor or scientist). His death was a total shock — he had battled the disease for a few years and sometimes was confined to a wheelchair — but it didn't lessen the sting to those who loved him and/or his work.

Dilla's profile has risen since his death, but it's been an organic growth, more due to the outpouring of tributes from other important Hip Hop artists than some kind of Tupac-like money-grab. Dilla died three days after his 32nd birthday, which also happened to be the day his instrumental album Donuts was released. There have been many posthumous musical tributes and sampling of his beats, but his family has been pretty protective of his legacy. Led by his mother, the family battled the executor of his estate for several years before taking over in 2010 thanks to a court decision. DIlla's mother's statements suggest she's more interested in focusing on charity work in honor of her son than exploiting his name for a few bucks.

When it comes to Dilla, you have to separate his production from his work as an artist, apparently. Below are two "countdowns" of a couple of fans' favorite songs and favorite beats.

Born This Day: Musical movers and shakers born Feb. 10 include: Stunning vocalist Roberta Flack (1937); co-founder of The Ventures, the greatest instrumental Surf group ever, Don Wilson (1937); Mel Tillis-discovered Country artist Dude Mowrey (1972); and early Metallica bassist Cliff Burton (1962).

Burton joined Metallica in 1982 (just before recording the band's debut, Kill ’Em All) and forged a deep friendship with the members. In 1986, Burton was killed when the band's tour vehicle flipped over in Sweden.

The shadow of Burton still hovers over Metallica. Just a couple of days ago, Metallica announced plans for a big music festival this June in Atlantic City. The band chose to call the event Orion Music + More in honor their song "Orion" and Burton, whose monster bass riffing on the Master of Puppets instrumental track is legendary.

And perhaps the lineup for Orion is also is a nod to Burton's open-minded musical tastes. Regardless, the initial performer announcement for the fest is impressively all-over-the-place and pretty damn cool in general. Surprising bands on the bill include Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, The Gaslight Anthem, Cage the Elephant, Fucked Up, Best Coast, Hot Snakes, Titus Andronicus and Lucero.

Here's our tribute to Cliff, in honor of what would have been his 50th birthday.

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