Live Music Review //
L. Mixashawn Rozie / Kelly Bray / Caleb Duval / Michael Larocca
Kelly Bray / Miranda Agnew
Ellwood Epps / Brittany Karlson / Michael Larocca
May 27th, 2023
at Willimantic Records, Willimantic CT

Additional photos can be found in a Facebook album here :::

This show took place outside and though it said it was going to be around eighty degrees it felt closer to ninety.  I did get sunburned on my arm and neck, but there was shade for the artists to play so everyone who was there just listening and experiencing the music, for the most part, had to be in the sun.   The weather was really a good reminder though that summer is not just coming but summer is almost here.

I'm not sure how many times I read this flyer, but I was confused by it in more ways than one and that was okay because sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the show.  The quartet of L. Mixashawn Rozie, Kelly Bray, Caleb Duval and Michael Larocca opened the show.  Now, Rozie/Duval/Larocca has been seen at Willimantic Records before as a trio and yet this was also quite different from that even with Kelly Bray added into the mix.

Michael Larocca was on percussion, Caleb Duval on bass, L. Mixashawn Rozie played the guitar and flute and Kelly Bray played the trumpet.   This was a fun set that felt very close to jazz and just had that improvisational sound where one of them might have felt like they were steering off in a different direction and then another musician would play something which would bring them back in.  

I also enjoyed that this set seemed to have solos by everyone to showcase their skills individually and everyone also played through parts as a duo or trio, so if you wanted a little sample of any of these musicians in any combination you were going to hear it here.  The weather didn't feel like such an issue as I lost myself in this sound as soon as the first note hit.

Kelly Bray returned with the trumpet for the second set and was joined by Miranda Agnew, who was also on trumpet.  Now, you might ask yourself how two trumpets would sound together and how that could possibly work, but the way that they played sounds together but also echoed each other as one played and then the other responded was just perfect.  

The sound of two trumpets, the sound of Kelly Bray and Miranda Agnew, is really something that I love deeply because it just has that sound of something I'd hear on cassette and not know what to expect going into it but completely feel like it was the best sound I've ever heard by the end.   I have video clips, but if this exists as an entire video or audio file somewhere and you're able to hear it, you should 100% go out of your way to hear it.  It is just that good.

Michael Larocca returned on percussion for the third and final set with Ellwood Epps on trumpet and Brittany Karlson on bass.   This set was a good example that two people who play the same instrument (in this case the trumpet) can play it differently and more so, Brittany Karlson played the bass here but had an upright bass instead of the electric type bass Caleb Duval used during the first set.   The playing of Brittany Karlson made me think of Christie Echols in the best possible way.

These three musicians came together with quite the energetic set.  Michael Larocca was the only one other than Kelly Bray to play twice and they both kept the energy throughout the afternoon.   Even though the two trumpets were the quietest set, they were my favorite.   Everyone just seemed to really be bringing out their best on this day though, and when it comes to this monthly series by Michael Larocca it's becoming quite expected but also never seems to fail to surprise me how talented everyone is.  

Willimantic Records can be found on the web here :::

L. Mixashawn Rozie can be found on the web here :::

Michael Larocca can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Caleb Duval can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Kelly Bray can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Miranda Agnew can be found on Bandcamp here :::

Brittany Karlson can be found on Instagram here :::

Ellwood Epps can be found on the web here :::