Time For Three return home for World Café Live show

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[Donald attends a concert by a group of young musicians who have no trouble crossing centuries and genres to create their own sound. — the Artblog editors]

The incredibly inventive string trio known as Time for Three came back to Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 23 to the World Café Live to perform for a crowd that knows them very well. The trio is comprised of violinists Nick Kendall and Zach De Pue, and bassist Ranaan Meyer.

Time for Three have a promising 2014 on their shoulders so far, having released their major-label, self-titled debut album back in June (the group is signed to Universal Music Classics), along with an unlikely viral YouTube video about Kendall and De Pue’s violins being denied access onto a US Airways flight.

Chemistry and camaraderie

Pictured left from right: Zach De Pue, Ranaan Meyer, and Nick Kendall. Courtesy of Time for Three.
Pictured left to right: Zach De Pue, Ranaan Meyer, and Nick Kendall. Courtesy of Time for Three.

Kendall, De Pue, and Meyer spent their musical education at the elite Curtis Institute of Music, starting back in 2000. I was first exposed to Time For Three when they performed for my high school string ensemble class at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts. Seven years later, I experienced them as part of a sold-out audience at the World Café Live Upstairs.

The first thing that you notice with Kendall, De Pue, and Meyer is their infectious chemistry. They truly appear to always have a blast playing together. When the music intensifies, the three of them literally hover together as one and freely express their body language to each other through spirited facial expressions and their movements across the small platform of a stage. Meyer, in particular, makes the funniest faces when he plays; when he smiles, you smile too, because of how immersed everyone in the room is in with each passing tune.

Their banter with the audience was almost as entertaining as the music, as each of the men shared insights into their lives on and off the stage. De Pue went back to a time 11 years ago when he and Meyer were performing as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra at the Mann Center, when there was a terrible storm brewing that resulted in a power outage. To entertain the crowd, he and Meyer played what were the early musical developments of what is now Time for Three. Coincidentally, there happened to be a pretty aggressive storm the night of the concert that provided a bit of a light show to go with the eclectic music (World Café Live has a huge window).

Genre-bending mash-ups

Album cover. Courtesy of Time for Three.
Album cover. Courtesy of Time for Three.

Time for Three have become well-known for their mash-ups (the blending of two songs into one song), and there were plenty of them throughout the set list. They have perfected this type of song creation through their artist residency with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Zach is the orchestra’s concertmaster), which gives them the opportunity to perform their mashups at the ISO’s “Happy Hour at the Symphony”. These performances have since helped build the Time for Three audience.

The best mash-up of the night was a piece called “Chaconne in Winter,” which combined Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Chaconne” from the Partita No. 2 in D Minor of the Sonatas and Partitas for Solo Violin, and Bon Iver’s “Calgary”. This mashup managed to combine baroque period music with baroque pop (a fusion of pop-rock and classical music from the baroque period) successfully, and this will be a successful string orchestra piece if the colors remain intact the way Time for Three express them.

Elsewhere, there was a mashup of Igor Stravinsky’s “Firebird Suite” and Katy Perry’s “Firework”; a cover of Coldplay’s “UFO,” and a soulfully delivered “Hallelujah”. Meyer’s tune “Philly Phunk” proved to be a showstopper, as his introductory bass solo set the quirky mood of the piece, with Kendall and De Pue creaking in to create a fusion of funk and bluegrass.

For fans of Bela Fleck, Edgar Meyer, and Mark O’ Connor, this string trio falls into the same wheelhouse as those artists–but they have formed their own niche through being young, musically daring, and charismatic. When Kendall spoke of their musical risks, he said, “Who says Coldplay can’t go with Beethoven?” I thought that perfectly summed up not only Time for Three, but where music in the 21st century is headed.

For more information on Time for Three, visit their official website at www.tf3.com.

Tags

curtis institute, music, nick kendall, philadelphia, ranaan meyer, time for three, world cafe live, zach de pue

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