Saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric Harland may be familiar individually to area jazz fans — Redman as bandleader, Parks with Terence Blanchard, Penman with the SFJAZZ Collective and Harland with Charles Lloyd.
But their band together, James Farm, is relatively new, a collective that made its debut at the 2009 Montreal Jazz Festival. The band released its self-named debut album, featuring strong compositions by all the players, and they team up at The Egg tonight at 8 p.m.
Redman may be the most prominent of this crew and Penman, a transplanted New Zealander, the least. But as Penman puts it. “Put our four heads together and you get a lot of ideas — some of them cosmic, some of them nuts; but it’s all part of the process.”
Show time for James Farm is 8 p.m. tonight at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). Tickets are $34.50. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.
The other ultra-hip instrumental combo playing here this week is the trio of guitarist Scott Henderson, bassist Jeff Berlin and drummer Mike Clark, playing two shows at the Van Dyck on Saturday night.
Like James Farm, these guys built big credentials before forming this new outfit. Henderson co-led Tribal Tech with bassist Gary Willis through nine albums and many world tours, then formed Vital Tech Tones with bassist Victor Wooten (Flecktones) and drummer Steve Smith (Journey, then Vital Information).
Berlin also has a deep resume, plus the praise of Carlos Santana and Geddy Lee (Rush). They call him, respectively, “best bassist in the world” and “best bassist on the planet.”
Clark played on Herbie Hancock’s epic “Thrust” album and more others than this column could hold.
Show times for Scott Henderson, Jeff Berlin and Mike Clark are 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady). Admission is $25 in advance, $29 at the door.
Shifting from players to singers, there are a couple of really rootsy bands coming: Maria Muldaur & Her Red Hot Louisiana Band on Friday at Caffe Lena and the Gourds on Wednesday at WAMC’s The Linda.
No less an authority than jazzman Benny Carter said of Muldaur, “That woman can sing anything she wants to.” So it’s no surprise that she’s strong on what she calls “swamp funk,” the syncopated bayou blend of R&B, blues and soul that comprises part of the street pulse of New Orleans. She was a wow with this band last year at the Van Dyck, and she has new music now, from “Steady Love,” her umpteenth album.
Muldaur and her band play two shows, 6:30 and 9 p.m., on Friday at Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Admission is $27 in advance, $29 at the door. Phone 583-0022 or visit www.caffelena.org.
The Gourds hail from Austin but they made their most recent album “Old Mad Joy,” their 10th, just down the road in Woodstock at Levon Helm’s highly musical barn with guitarist Larry Campbell producing.
That’s not the reason they sound a bit like The Band at times. No, it’s because they sing with such complete conviction and play in such a low-key and unassuming simplicity.
Just as The Band claimed everything American (Canadian, too) as their own, musically, the Gourds are ambitious, maybe even omnivorous, about their musical geography. They play stuff from just about everywhere on the radio, and in addition to The Band, they also echo NRBQ at times, and the Rolling Stones. The New York Times calls them “one of the best performing bands in America,” and main singer Kevin Russell says their live show is “kind of a cross between a revival, a house party, a pep rally, and a pow wow.”
The Gourds play at 8 p.m. on Wednesday at WAMC’s The Linda (339 Central Ave., Albany). Admission is $20. Phone 465-5233 ext. 4 or visit www.wamcarts.org.
Broadway rocks! (?)
When rockers invade Broadway, it’s usually seen as stunt-casting or fish-out-of-water weirdness. So Broadway fans seem surprised when rockers succeed in the theater, as Linda Ronstadt did in “Pirates of Penzance” decades ago, or Billy Joe Armstrong did in Green Day’s “American Idiot” last year.
But what about Broadway stars on the rock stage?
Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp will provide an answer on Saturday at The Egg.
Co-stars in the original cast of “Rent,” they are touring the world with a rock band, and that band, by the way, includes our own David Malachowski, who lives in Woodstock but was born in Clifton Park.
Show time for Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp and their band is 8 p.m. on Saturday at The Egg. Tickets are $34.50 and $29.50.
Remember that the “Capital Region Relief” concert originally set for the Palace tonight has moved to Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady).
The 6 p.m. show features Ten Year Vamp, the AudioStars, the Fighting 86’s, Garland Nelson & Soul Session, the Chris Dukes Band, Joe Roy Jackson, and Ernie Williams. Admission is $10.
All artists, as well as Proctors staff, are donating their time to this benefit for the American Red Cross Hurricanes 2011 and Related Storms Fund. Phone 346-6204 or visit www.proctors.org.
Gringo Star — one of my favorite new band names — plays Saturday at The Basement (21 Center St., Northampton, below Table 9 restaurant). Show time is 8 p.m. and admission is free. Phone 413-586-8686 or visit www.iheg.com.
My vinyl-album-loving son Zak sent me this link to a method for cleaning beat-up, dusty albums, and it seems unlikely but fascinating. In other words, I haven’t tried it yet: http://thereifixedit.failblog.org/2011/09/16/white-trash-repairs-update-cleaning-a-record-with-glue/. If you do try it, let me know how/if it works.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at [email protected]
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