The Egg has hatched an unprecedented string of shows this week; astounding even for this place, one of our top venues for quality and quantity.
On Friday, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Felix Cavaliere sings songs from his days (1965-72) as main songwriter with the Young Rascals (later the Rascals) and a still-vital solo career.
In this retrospective, the organist-singer weaves stories together with the music. Everybody knows his songs: “I Ain’t Gonna Eat Out My Heart Anymore,” “Good Lovin’,” “Groovin’,” “I’ve Been Lonely Too Long” — huge radio hits. But Cavaliere also talks of New York rock in the 1960s and the Young Rascals’ innovative approach: When Steven Van Zandt inducted them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1997), he called them the first band, explaining that, unique for their time, they sang and played everything on their records, with no studio help. Also, Cavaliere told me in an interview years ago that the Rascals had refused to play Woodstock because the lineup didn’t have enough black bands, a principled, career-denting stand.
Cavaliere performs solo at The Egg on Friday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $29.50. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.
The Warren Haynes Band is sold out on Saturday at The Egg. Yes, the leader of Gov’t Mule and sometime member of The Dead has started another band: a soul combo. It comprises singer Ruthie Foster, keyboardist Nigel Hall, saxophonist Ron Holloway, drummer Terence Higgins and bassist Ron Johnson. At Jazz Fest in New Orleans in May they had a stage full of guests including Dr. John (who led them in a great Levon Helm tribute), John Mooney (Haynes guested in Mooney’s set, changed his sweaty shirt and took up his guitar again) and guys playing all kinds of horns.
The Warren Haynes Band has a new album, “Man in Motion,” and Haynes has a well-earned reputation as one of rock’s most compelling guitarists and resourceful bandleaders.
As noted, this show is sold out, but anyone disappointed at being shut out has a very viable alternative: Cellist Zoe Keating also plays on Saturday at 8 p.m. in The Egg’s smaller Swyer Theatre (Haynes plays the Hart Theatre). The Canadian born one-woman band started cello lessons at 12 in Albany, graduated from Sarah Lawrence, joined the dot-com boom as a Silicon Valley techie, played with cello-powered rockers Rasputina then turned her IT knowledge to looping her cello (she calls it Sebastian) so she becomes orchestral, all by herself. Her third album “Into the Trees” spent nearly a year on Billboard’s classical charts.
Zoe Keating performs solo on Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets are $24.
On Sunday at 3 p.m. The Egg hosts “Drums Along the MoHu,” a free-admission facet of the ten-day MoHu Festival and of the Egg’s “New Work, New York” initiative to commission original compositions.
After playing separate shows throughout MoHu, four notable area percussionists will perform separately and together. Jamaican Aston “Robot” Ellis plays Caribbean steel drums. Brian Melick of the McKrells and with a string of solo recordings plays Nigerian side hole pot clay drum and other percussion. Devesh Chandra (son of Indian-born sitarist Veena Chandra) plays tabla. And Ghanian Zorkie Nelson plays talking drums and hand percussion.
Nelson may have the longest pedigree as a past member of the Pan African Orchestra and Yacub Addy’s ensemble Odadaa! He now leads Gballoi and plays with Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius’ world music combo Heard. But the other three are also serious, gifted and dedicated musicians. The event also includes a slide show, produced in cooperation with www.nippertown.com, depicting highlights of the MoHu 2012 Festival.
Also presented free are two evenings — Tuesday and Wednesday — of performing arts showcases, as part of the NYS Presenters Conference.
On Tuesday at 8 p.m., “An Evening of Jazz, Blues, Rhythm & Moves” features the Brawner Brothers, an R&B quartet from Harlem; composer/pianist Daniel Kelly with credentials in jazz, hip-hop and the avant-garde; the Don Byron New Gospel Quintet that mixes vocals and instrumentals to funky, fervent and jazzy effect; the homegrown modern dance troupe the Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company; jazz guitar prodigy Julian Lage; and the hip-hop/contemporary dance master Kyle Abraham.In.Motion.
And on Wednesday at 8 p.m., “An Evening of Modern Movement and Traditional Music” presents the kinetic moves of Galumpha, specializing in acrobatics, ingenious choreography and physical comedy; Heidy Latsky Dance with its reputation for technical precision; the Hudson Valley folk-rock duo Mike & Ruthy; Chatham-based but internationally renowned blues singer Rory Block; and the Juilliard-trained world music ensemble Sonic Escape.
All 11 acts are headline caliber, but they’re grouped into these action-packed showcases; both free and open to the public.
HAMELL ON TRIAL
Uptown, up the hill from The Egg, Valentine’s (17 New Scotland Ave.) presents the second of four weekly (Wednesday) showcases by Hamell on Trial, specifically putting on trial his new production titled “Eddie’s Bar,” a work in progress. While rocking with the Works in Syracuse, Hamell also tended bar, collecting characters and incidents that enrich his repertoire to this day.
Albany was his second hometown. Here he played week after week at the Half Moon Café while picking up songwriting tips from Jim Gaudet. Austin was his third hometown. From there, he issued his first album, on cassette: “Letter to Mike” (Eck), and there the music industry discovered him and he became a solo rock star of uncommon verbal dexterity and guitar fierceness. He released several major-label albums while moving to his current Hudson Valley home.
If Hamell works at the overlapping fringes of punk-rock, comedy and folk (yeah, he plays a 1930s Gibson acoustic, but he’s picked a hole clean through its top), Fringe Festivals have become a performing home for him. In 2007 he won the Herald Angel Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; in 2009 he won the Conveyor Awards of Excellence for Best Story Telling–Non-Theatrical & Best Musical Moments at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, and the Directors' Award at the Capital Fringe Festival.
Hamell on Trial performs “Eddie’s Bar” on Wednesday at Valentine’s. Show time is 7 p.m. Admission is $7. Phone 432-6572 or visit www.valentinesalbany.com.
HYMAN AT PLACE FOR JAZZ
On Friday, pianist Dick Hyman plays solo at A Place for Jazz (First Unitarian Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.). A scholar of early jazz, an impeccable performer and ingenious composer, Hyman plays it all, making him perfect for scoring a dozen of jazz-fan Woody Allen’s films, and for displaying the possibilities of traditional solo jazz piano in this concert.
Hyman performs at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, and children under 12 are admitted free. Phone 393-4011 or visit www.aplaceforjazz.org.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at email@example.com.