Weekend Ideas: February 7, 2014


Before the Bad Plus became a featured attraction at jazz festivals and even the Institute of Contemporary Art (for a take on Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring last February), the trio cut its chops in small rooms equally suited to jazz and rock, which made sense with a repertoire dotted by covers from Ornette Coleman to Nirvana and Blondie. The Bad Plus has been focusing more on its originals in recent years. But either way, expect frisky, malleable interplay with a pinch of wry humor when bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson and kinetic drummer Dave King conclude a two-night stand at Scullers Jazz Club on Friday. Here’s a recent live clip of the Bad Plus.

Boston’s Americana scene also takes the spotlight this weekend with two fine album-release celebrations. First, Girls, Guns and Glory teams with Sarah Borges to toast their respective new outings Good Luck and Radio Sweetheart at the Sinclair on Friday. GGG has come through transitions, but the band — still anchored by Ward Hayden’s smooth vocals – has been raising its national profile. And feisty Borges boasts her own new band of fine local roots-rockers after having a baby with guitarist Lyle Brewer, who opens that show along with the Swinging Steaks. And over in Davis Square, Amy Black brings her fine country and soul-inflected songs back to Johnny D’s Uptown for early shows both Friday and Saturday to celebrate her assured new album This is Home. The Southern-bred singer’s sweet sound and storyteller’s sensibility swings between Nashville and Muscle Shoals, whose historic studio inspired a recent covers EP that Black has posted for free download (she’s been doing shows to promote it with Borges as well).

Friday’s other considerations include the New Orleans funk/jazz/jam veterans Galactic at House of Blues, though it’d be worth the trip for opener Charles Bradley alone. At age 65, fronting his Extraordinaires with the classic soul power and charisma of his idol James Brown, Bradley lays his heart on the stage with the compelling, authentic humility of a man discovered in his twilight years after a life of poverty and tragedy, outlined in the documentary “Soul of America.” Check out this clip from Bradley’s recent show at the Paradise. It was great to see his second album Victim of Love earn its share of love last year. And Saturday finds Cibo Matto, the New York duo of Japanese expatriates Yuko Honda and Miho Hatori, bringing its arty, kaleidoscopic mash of hip-hop and exotic flavorings to the Sinclair as the group prepares to drop its new album Hotel Valentine on Feb. 14.

Sunday belongs to Boston’s legendary post-punk pioneers Mission of Burma, closing a short string of Northeast dates with a benefit show at Arlington’s Regent Theatre for Somerville First, a non-profit aiming to develop a sustainable economy for local businesses. Despite playing infrequent shows (here’s a clip from England), Burma has solidified its standing over the past 12 years (that’s three times longer than the band’s early ’80s heyday) with five tautly unhinged albums that spin dust devils of sonic and rhythmic invention. The Regent date includes Burma drummer Peter Prescott’s new instrumental solo project MiniBeast as well as Quincy’s Bugs and Rats. Also of note, earlier Sunday evening at the ICA, guitarist Roger Miller’s Alloy Orchestra bandmate Ken Winokur weaves his junkyard percussion with fellow clarinetist Beth Cluster of Clubfoot Orchestra and ex-Cul de Sac multi-instrumentalist Jonathan LaMaster for live accompaniment to psychedelic Super 8 films of Ken Brown, who conjured light-show collages at the Boston Tea Party in the late ’60s.

Finally, for this week’s throwback, in honor of New Orleans favorite Dr. John bringing his Nite Trippers to the Wilbur Theatre next Wednesday, here’s a 1984 TV set with the good doctor (aka Mac Rebennack) and Texas blues guitarist Johnny Winter (who’s coming to Shirley’s Bull Run Restaurant on Feb. 21, two days before his 70th birthday).

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