Tag Archives: Jess Best

The MASH Preview: Words From Harrison Nir ’19 and Jess Best ’13

“It’s not one sound, not one performance, not one identity, but a community of styles and backgrounds. I want the MASH to stand for all that converges or has the potential to at Wes.”

The MASH at Wesleyan University, Sept. 9. (Photo by Will Barr ’18)

Since its inception in 2013, the MASH has approached each autumn with a student coordinator who works in tandem with CFA administrators to plan the event. This year, the student mastermind is Harrison Nir ’19, who worked overtime this summer on reimagining the structure of the festival – and generated prolific amounts of informative Facebook hype in the process. We talk to Harrison and alumna headliner Jess Best ’13 after the jump.

Listen to Trot Fox’s “Do You Realize?” with Lead Vocals from Claire Randall ’12

December was a somber time for many in the Wesleyan community in the light of news of Claire Randall ’12‘s untimely passing due to a horrific act of gun violence. Around a week ago, Nate Mondschein ’12 posted a public status on Facebook announcing the release of Trot Fox’s cover of The Flaming Lips’ “Do You Realize?” The rendition is led by Claire as lead vocalist, and is truly a poignant reminder of the talents that she shared with so many.

Back in the spring of 2016, Claire, Nate, and other members of Trot Fox Gabe Gordon ’11 and Declan O’Connell recorded the first version of the cover during a one-day session at Converse Rubber Tracks Studio in Brooklyn. The initial recording was recorded in a single take and, according to Nate, “Claire delivered what remains one of the most honest, astonishingly powerful performances I have ever heard her give.”

The final version of the “Do You Realize” was produced after Claire’s passing, with the help of 30 of her friends and family.

Concert: Jess Best ’14

jess_best_eventFrom the CFA:

Singer-songwriter Jess Best ’14, now based in Manhattan, returns to Wesleyan to perform her original soul and jazz compositions influenced by Erykah Badu, Joni Mitchell, and Esperanza Spalding. She will be accompanied by Connor Schultze on bass and Paul Bloom on piano.

Date: Sunday, January 29
Time: 3-4:30 PM
Place: Russell House

cfa link

You can listen to Jess Best’s latest album, Kid Again, here.

Remembering Claire Randall ’12

claire-randall

The past few days have been laden with sadness for many in the greater Wesleyan community. Over the weekend, news of the passing of Claire Randall ’12 came to us and the rest of the Wesleyan community. Claire lost her life in an act of gun violence last Thursday. Rather than repost details of her death, we wanted to include a few things to remember her by.

Claire grew up in Rhode Island where she attended Mt. Hope High School. She was valedictorian of her high school class and graduated from Wesleyan with a major in Music, focusing in ethnomusicology and jazz studies. At Wes, she was a member of New Group and she starred in a mockumentary web series called WANNABES. During her time at Wes, she was also part of a 14-piece band called Mad Wow. After graduation, she joined alumni artists Jess Best [’14] and Trot Fox as a vocalist. She also worked in New York City for Resonant Motion, a nonprofit that focused on facilitating the creation of music that “has a profound capacity to inspire people towards personal growth, strength and transformation and to and educate people about issues important to their world.”

Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of knowing Claire, but I truly wish I had. Here are a few things Claire gave to the world in her short time here:

Songwriting Workshop with Jess Best

jess-best-workshopExciting opportunity for all you aspiring musicians:

Join Wes Alum Jess Best at Alpha Delt for a Songwriting Workshop this Saturday 4pm-6pm. She will be there with her seven-piece band talking about the songwriting process and sharing the evolution of the songs off her recent EP Kid Again. Be sure to come with any songs you’re working on because there will be time built in to share your work with the group and then workshop your songs with her full band!

Date: Saturday, October 29
Time: 4:00-6:00 PM
Place: Alpha Delt

E. Oks – Unlearn a Chair (LIVE @ NYC Bowery Poetry Club)

He done done it again. That crazy gifted dude E. Oks (Evan Okun ’13) headlined his first show at the famous Bowery Poetry Club, with the help of some super talented Weskids. He describes his performance, “Unlearn a Chair,” as “a fus[ion] of spoken word poetry, Hip Hop (written and freestyle), and jazz (improvisational piano, harmonica, cello, and singing). The subject matter explores the way the elite label certain people ‘crazy’ so as to normalize suffering and self-obsession. This collision of media yielded something truly interdisciplinary, elucidating and effectively subverting the binary of sanity and insanity through the tensions and convergences of artistic forms.

This is worth your watch; between Okun’s flexibility between forms and alarming degree of skill in all of them (he recites a poem about addiction using each letter of the word “addiction” to begin the poem’s next word, cycling this about twenty times), the musical dynamism of Mel Hsu ’13, Sam Friedman ’13, Nate Mondschein ’12 and Jess Best ’14, the poetic range showcased between Lily Myers ’15, Alok Vaid-Menon and Chekira Lashley ’15, the powerful belt of Tanaya Srini ’15 and all the Weskid cameos in between, the cohesiveness of artistic forms to comprise a larger, charged product was not only entertaining, but also inspiring.

Sanctuary Songs: Senior Music Recital

Programborder

Jess Best’s ’13 long awaited senior recital is finally going live in the Chapel this weekend. Expect some brand new material brought to life by some familiar faces.

  • Date: TOMORROW November 22, 2013
  • Time: 8:30pm (doors), 9:00pm (show)
  • Place: Memorial Chapel
  • Cost: Free

King at Bay Releases Debut EP

Wow!

King at Bay, a collaboration between the extremely talented musicians Jess Best ’14 and Mel Hsu ’13, just released their first album Libation. With a cello holding down the bass and the keys building a bluesy core, the duo’s razor-sharp harmonies pull you into a place as sweet as it is wild.  This debut EP also features Sam Friedman ’13 and Mark Bennett ’13 to fill out the sound with a dirty harmonica and soulful pocket. Contact Jess (jsbest@wes) or Mel (mhsu@wes) to purchase a physical copy of the album for $10.

From Mel:

Dear Wes,
We are so excited to share this with you!!! Thank you for listening!!

You can download their album on bandcamp here.

Even if the Words Are Wrong: Amanda Palmer at the Humanity Festival

 “So play your favorite cover song, especially if the words are wrong
‘Cause even if your grades are bad, it doesn’t mean you’re failing”

amanda palmer 1

After a mysterious week or so of trying to guess exactly what this Humanity Festival was all about— between the unexplained promotions, the flyers, and the recruitment — the one constant was the promised presence of Amanda Palmer ’98. And, combined with the excellent organizing efforts of Raechel Rosen ’15, that was more than enough to draw a huge crowd onto Foss Hill this past Saturday afternoon for the “one-day musical celebration in solidarity against bigotry, racism, and social divisions within a community.”

After performances by Don Minott, a group comprised of Jess Best ’14, Mel Hsu ’13, and Sam Friedman ’13, Siren, and Oz Rhys Langston & Izzy, Palmer finally arrived, unaccompanied except for her ukulele. After releasing Theatre is Evil this past year, Palmer booked herself for a large slew of international shows with her new backing band, The Grand Theft Orchestra. Here, though, was more like a large scale, heavily-planned ninja gig. Like her impromptu performance in 2011 at Eclectic, her appearance at the Humanity Festival was an intimate affair, despite the large crowd. Her stage was just a few carpets on the grass, a monitor, some speakers, and a stool. Her orchestra was that beaten-up ukulele.

Some commentary, some more photographs, and a high-quality recording of the entire performance (!) after the jump.