It’s a great weekend for jazz and Afro-pop as well as the semifinals of the Rock & Roll Rumble and one of the world’s most captivating singers. Jazz fans can start on Friday with the fleet fingers of guitar master Pat Martino leading an organ trio at Scullers Jazz Club, while World Music/CRASHarts brings exploratory piano virtuoso Brad Mehldau and his telepathic trio of bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard to the Berklee Performance Center. New York post-punk iconoclasts Parquet Courts invade the Paradise Rock Club the same night; catch a live clip here and jump here for my recent interview with bassist and ex-Bostonian Sean Yeaton. And another icon of the strings, mandolinist David Grisman shows up just north of Boston with his sextet at Medford’s Chevalier Theatre on Friday as well.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll Rumble has whittled down two lineups of diverse, hard-hitting contestants — from arena-rock to heavy metal to electro-pop — for its semifinals at Cusine en Locale’s Once Ballroom on Friday and Saturday (check out bands and set times here). The all-female tribute band Lez Zeppelin returns to Thunder Road both Friday and Saturday to recreate a different classic Led Zeppelin concert each night, while charming singer/songwriter Lissie lets her hair down at Royale. Jazz fans get more organ-trio bliss with keyboardist Larry Goldings, guitarist Peter Bernstein and drummer Bill Stewart at the Regattabar. And fans of Afro-pop can pick between the edgy, jubilant electric rock of Songhoy Blues (above) at the Brighton Music Hall on Saturday and Acoustic Afrika with uplifting blend of guitarist/singers Habib Koite and Vusi Mahlasela at the Somerville Theatre on Sunday.
From African music, busy promoter World Music/CRASHarts turns to Israeli-born artist Asaf Avidan, who brings his “Under the Labyrinth” solo show to the theater at the Institute of Contemporary Art on Sunday, creating the perfect setting to bask in Avidan’s sweeping talents as a songwriter, guitarist and singer whose raspy, high-flying voice manages to evoke both Janis Joplin and Jeff Buckley.