It’s not enough to be another generation’s guitar slinger a la Stevie Ray Vaughan. Gary Clark Jr., from Vaughan’s old stomping grounds of Austin, Texas, runs the gamut on his impressive new full-length debut Blak and Blu. Showcasing both gritty guitar sparks and smooth old-school vocals, Clark tries his steady hand at silky soul, easy hip-hop and acoustic blues as well as a grungy deconstruction of Hendrix’s overdone “Third Stone From the Sun” and melodic riff-rock that neatly nods to the Stones and Lenny Kravitz. But if the album shows surprisingly deft range, make no mistake: Clark’s meaty guitar prowess will become the focus when his band plays a Friday show at Royale (in place of pending Harvard Square club the Sinclair, whose opening has been delayed until mid-November). Yet Clark’s pairing with another Austin upstart, the coyly engaging jazz-pop singer Kat Edmonson, sets the tone for Clark to cut a broad swath before he leaves sold-out clubs for larger venues. Here’s just one of the guitarist’s cold shots: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOeFJF3tTSU&list=PLTmFZBSZal5jsY3PN60vT5_Y2vCEHocMY&index=1&feature=plcp. And here’s Edmonson in more of a stark setting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65JIncZNC5E.
Saturday provides outstanding choices for pop or jazz along Boston’s music college corridor. Winsome singer/songwriter Aimee Mann brings her smart pop tunes and seasoned band to the ex-‘Til Tuesday siren’s onetime Berklee digs: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdWtpwlDGF0. And the 35th annual John Coltrane Memorial Concert at Northeastern’s Blackman Auditorium will feature a sharp array of local veterans including saxophonists Bill Pierce, Stan Strickland and Leonard Brown as well as bassist John Lockwood and drummer Teri Lyne Carrington (if not once-hoped guest Pharoah Sanders). Here’s the event in 2009 with many of the same players: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_Y7GjFZhYQ. Downtown, Royale keep rolling Saturday as shaggy indie-rockers Grouplove pump their own sunshine sellout, with a poppy pinch of Pixies dust on this number: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AqczqZc_y6A. And Sunday brings the flow of Somali Canadian singer/rapper K’naan to the same club, which picks up another original Sinclair booking: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CypWvNlOPxg&feature=relmfu.