Strathmore Patio Stage, August 5 2021

The always comes a show where you come with expectations, and they are never met; or wildly exceeded. Seeing Natalie Cressman and Ian Faquini at Strathmore’s Patio Stage was that show for me – on both accounts. I’m been familiar with Natalie’s jammy music as a part of other bands – Horns with Trey Anastasio’s band, key contributor with the Everyone Orchestra, jamming on a number stages at the Brooklynn-Comes-Alive festival, and guest-ins with Jennifer Hartswick (fellow horns with TAB) at Strings&Sol .

I’ve seen her jam and improvise, mostly to accompany other bands, and across the jam scene. But that never, never revealed to me the extent and full depth of her talent. She’s a great trombonist for sure- who thinks about going out to see only justt that, and she’s more, much more…. her vocals are far ranging, and highly complimentary of her horns, and anyone she’s playing with.

Cressman’s latest tour highlighted her deep and true passion for Latin and Portuguese jazz – lyrical and instrumental originals by Ian Faqqini , and some traditional tunes with their own spin. Nat not to be in any way overshadowed by Natelie Ian is a wonderful talent also, – songwriter, soloist acoustic guitar virtuoso, and together they filled an evening at Strathmore’s Patio Stage, with the only accompaniment being the evening crickets and cicadas.

I was not expecting a jammy night, nor that was what resulted. I prepared for the evening by streaming as much of the Cressman-Faquini shows I could find, and none of that dulled the appreciation for the live performance. I hadn’t heard much,of the music before that week, and for a jam-band guy, I enjoyed every note and story. Natalie and Ian introduced most every song,; each had a story to tell – rich in meaning, history, and rich in Latin culture.

Most of the evening was not in English – Cressman is self taught in Portuguese and Spanish – evidence of the relationship that has evolved with Brazilian born Faquini. Cressman’s mother is also a Latin jazz vocalist, so there was some wonderful innate influence to be sure – to the extent that you’d think that either Spanish or Portuguese was her native language.

So, the ever versatile duo of Cressman and the classically trained Fauqini brought their mix of jazzy impressionism on an August Sunday evening to the outdoor Patio Stage at Strathmore Center. Though Cressman is well known for being part of the Trey Anastasia Band and having a very bluesy and jammy improve presence, her cool jazzy and world-class trombone and inspiring vast and deep vocal range dominated.

Ian Faquini is an extraordinary guitarist and vocalist as well, and together they performed a full set of original and classical Latin and Brazilian jazz in one of their first post-quarantine in-person performances and their enthusiasm graced the outdoor stage. For one of my first events coming out of the depths of quarantine as well, it was thoroughly enjoying.

Catch Natalie this fall with the Trey Anastasio Band as they tour the east coast through September and October and hopefully they’ll reschedule more shows of their duet tour as opportunities arise.

For local Maryland and DC area concert goers, Strathmore is a multi-venue performing arts center in Bethesda, Maryland that serves the entire Washington, DC region and the state of Maryland with exceptional entertainment, artistic experiences and opportunities to learn and connect. It is both an experience and a community—a venue for discovery and a canvas for expression. The indoor xxx stage features wide ranging performances, and the AMP stage in North Bethesda will feature more intimate performances.


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