Jukebox: Drummer Smith explores multiple music traditions

Drummer Steve Smith is every bit as restless as he is talented — so he is seriously restless. Smith

Drummer Steve Smith is every bit as restless as he is talented — so he is seriously restless. Smith has played here with too many bands to count, including Jean-Luc Ponty’s group, Journey and a handful that he has led — notably Buddy’s Buddies, Jazz Legacy and Vital Information. And now he brings the Raga Bop Trio to the Van Dyck on Friday.

The versatile and highly honored Smith — Modern Drummer magazine’s No.  1 all-around drummer five years in a row and one of the mag’s 25 top drummers of all time — formed this unconventional band to explore his interest in Indian music. Smith plays drums, naturally, with saxophonist George Brooks and guitarist Prasanna — and each is as versatile and accomplished as Smith is.

In addition to Raga Bop, Brooks also plays in another multitraditional group with Smith, and with Zakir Hussain (who played The Egg last week), called Bombay Jazz. Brooks is as at home playing abstract fusion jazz with John McLaughlin as he is getting earthy to play blues or R&B with Etta James or the Temptations. Prasanna is at once an astounding poly-cultural guitarist and an ingenious composer and arranger, acclaimed for his film scores.

The Raga Bop Trio plays the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $21 in advance and $25 at the door. Phone 348-7999 or visit www.vandycklounge.com.

Red Baraat at Proctors

Indian music is also part of the unusual mix that Red Baraat brings to Proctors GE Theatre on Saturday to launch Proctors Party Horns NYC series. This nine-piece, New York-based band features the dhol, a double-ended Indian drum, plus drum kit — played by band leader Sunny Jain — percussion, sousaphone and other horns. These guys mix up off-center beats from the Punjab with American funk to make something fresh that really rocks.

Red Baraat plays on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Proctors GE Theatre (432 State St., Schenectady). Tickets are 15; $36 for all three, Party Horns events including Red Baraat, Dead Cat Bounce (Jan. 15) and Slavic Soul Party (Feb. 19). Phone 346-6204 or visit www.proctors.org.

Riot Grrrls Mountain Man

The Riot Grrrl celebration on Friday at the Sanctuary for Independent Media (3361 Sixth Ave., Troy) combines a performance by new-folk trio Mountain Man with a discussion by author Sara Marcus of her book celebration “Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution” with rock journalist Will Hermes.

Mountain Man (actually, three women who met at Bennington College) gave a sensational performance at Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival at MASSMoCA. They had to borrow a guitar from one of the guys in Vetiver, and they could barely play — but the linked strength of their voices was delicious. They sang much of their new album, “Made the Harbor” — to sweet and intriguing effect. Marcus plays punk rock as well as the keyboard, and Hermes’ credits include Rolling Stone, NPR and Spin.

The Sanctuary’s Riot Grrrl celebration begins at 7 p.m. Admission is $10. Phone 272-2390 or visit www.MediaSanctuary.org.

Kweskin and Muldaur

Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur started their careers together in Kweskin’s influential 1960s Cambridge-scene jug band. Then both went on hiatus from recording and touring for years; so it makes sense that they teamed up again about a year ago, combining comebacks.

The Jim Kweskin Jug Band made six studio albums of good-time antiques from 1963 to 1968, and they’re featured in countless folk compilations. Then, Kweskin went on to make half a dozen solo albums, but he didn’t record anything from 1987 to 1998.

Muldaur went quiet about the same time: 1987 to 1999, when he released his great album “The Secret Handshake.” He’s been unstoppable since, playing an extraordinary show at Caffe Lena last year despite losing about half of his voice to the flu.

Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur played Caffe Lena this May, and they return to play tonight at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany, starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $28. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.

Karibu 2

Pianist/composer Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius and her chamber jazz/world musical/classical ensemble Heard celebrate their new album “Karibu” with the second of three release party/concerts on Saturday at Justin’s (301 Lark St., Albany).

Show time is 9:30 p.m. Saxophonist Keith Pray will guest on a few songs.

Admission is $5. Phone 436-7008 or visit www.justinsonlark.com.

Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]

Categories: Life and Arts

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