From Back-to-Back Grammy Nominations to NPR Tiny Desk Concert
Receiving Grammy nominations for 2017’s Bad Ass and Blind and 2018’s If You Really Want with the Metropole Orkest, American singer-songwriter Raul Midón makes his Presenting Series debut in a dynamic solo set on Saturday, January 26 at 7:30 p.m.
As the series’ jazz entry for the spring season, audiences should anticipate a different concert experience from an artist People dubbed “an eclectic adventurist.” Midón’s signature combination of silky soul R&B voice at times compared to Al Jarreau’s and percussive guitar developed over a burgeoning career of collaborations with such heroes as Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, and Bill Withers. He also contributed to recordings by Queen Latifah, Snoop Dogg, and the soundtrack to Spike Lee’s She Hate Me.
A native of New Mexico educated in the jazz program at the University of Miami, Midón has earned acclaim the world over, with a fan base that stretches from San Francisco to India, Amsterdam to Tokyo. A rapt critic for the UK’s Guardian wrote, “Midón has a lovely voice, a beautifully controlled tenor that can express anything from tenderness to passion. And the guy can play. His strumming has a flamenco flourish, but after a while, you realize he can do every kind of accompaniment he needs on acoustic guitar.”
Bad Ass and Blind has Midón collaborating with such top jazz players as trumpeter Nicholas Payton and pianist Gerald Clayton, and earned the singer the Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Vocal Performance.” NPR noted that the disc continues Midón’s “streak of records that cross boundaries with ease and head-turning musicality.” His live 2016 rendition of John Coltrane’s jazz classic “Giant Steps,” where the guitar virtuoso flies through all 12 keys on the guitar, earned more than one million views on Facebook, with no less than jazz fusion hero Al Di Meola giving a thumb’s up.
Since being told by some when he was a child that his blindness meant that “you can’t do this, you can’t do that,” Raul Midón has lived a life devoted to beating the odds and shattering stereotypes, learning his lessons along the way. “As someone who has never seen, I’ve always felt at a disadvantage in that lyric writing is usually very visual,” he has said. “People relate to images, and I’ve never seen images. But what I realized early on is that you have to write from what you know, and I hear, touch and feel intensely. And those are sensations and experiences that everyone can relate to.”