Derek Trucks used to rip up the Orpheum Theatre on guitar for multi-night stands with the Allman Brothers Band. Now the slide ace and his wife, Norwell-bred soul-blues singer Susan Tedeschi, can do it on their own, as the Tedeschi Trucks Band proved with Thursday’s sublime kickoff to a three-night Orpheum run. Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen opened and sat in, as Indigo Girls’ Amy Ray will do on Friday and who knows for a two-set Saturday finale. But TTB doesn’t need guests, as the 12-piece band contains plenty of alternate stars to step forward, starting with its trios of backup singers (led by Mike Mattison) and horn players, plus twin drummers. The music’s grown in breadth behind the group’s fine 2016 album Let Me Get By. Thursday’s show also ranged from soulful B.B. King number (Tedeschi breaking from hearty vocals for a guitar solo of her own) to smokin’ Miles Davis-style jam, plus covers spanning George Jones, Rashaan Roland Kirk, and in tribute to two greats who passed this year, David Bowie and Leon Russell. Tedeschi and Trucks have now truly secured their joint musical chemistry. Trucks once seemed timid to cut loose with TTB; on Thursday he unspooled several virtuosic flights that didn’t distract from the fabric of a group hitting its own top-notch notes.
Friday also offers stellar improvisational variation on the Grateful Dead catalog courtesy of Joe Russo’s Almost Dead at House of Blues, while the venerable jazz singer Sheila Jordan holds court at Cambridge restaurant Thelonious Monkfish. The Rebirth Brass Band brings its New Orleans funk to the Sinclair on Friday and Saturday. And the same two nights bring the sax sage Charles Lloyd and his new band the Marvels (including the guitar tandem of Bill Frisell and Greg Leisz) to Scullers Jazz Club. You can click here for my recent interview with Lloyd.
Sunday rounds out with holiday fun from Grammy-winning eclectic country outfit the Mavericks at Lynn Auditorium, the sassy Minneapolis rapper Lizzo at Brighton Music Hall, and an evening of Lake Street Dive side projects at Oberon. For that program, singer Rachael Price joins guitarist Vilray in singing pop tunes from the 1930s and ’40s, multi-instrumentalist Bridget Kearney enlists percussionist Robin MacMillan, and drummer Michael Calabrese teams with guitarist Lyle Brewer as Baby Uncle.