Maybe Bopitude has worked up arrangements of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition” (Rolling Stone’s No. 74 best song of all time) or Willie Dixon’s “I Ain’t Superstitious” (recorded — best! — by Howlin’ Wolf, then Jeff Beck, the Grateful Dead and many more).
Blizzards sometimes hit here in March; but when Bopitude postponed its Van Dyck show after the storm on Feb. 8 to this Saturday, it seemed like a safe bet. And the forecast seems strong for two shows of post-bop jazz.
Bopitude is drummer Mike Benedict’s band, but this time around baritone sax man Gary Smulyan co-stars. Like our own late, great baritone sax god Nick Brignola, Smulyan is top poll winner in Downbeat, JazzTimes and the Jazz Journalists Association.
Bopitude will also feature tenor saxophonist Brian Patneaude, trumpeter Chris Pasin, guitarist Paul Meyers and bassist Mike Lawrence — nearly the same crew as on the CD “Five and One.” Both the album and Bopitude’s last big show here with Smulyan were triumphs.
Bopitude featuring Gary Smulyan plays the Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) at 7 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is $15. Phone 348-4800 or visit www.vandycklounge.com.
Fans can warm up their ears for jazz by Bopitude on Saturday by heading to Troy for some jazz on Friday at RPI’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC, 110 Eighth Ave., Troy) by the Peter Evans Quintet. Trumpeter Evans composes the tunes and plays them with pianist Ron Stabinski, bassist Tom Blancare and drummer Jim Black. And Sam Pluta mutates the sounds electronically in real time, altering traditional tones into new shapes and sonorities.
Formed in 2009, the Peter Evans Quintet has played worldwide, composed commissions and released “Ghosts” in 2011, directly onto numerous best-of-the-year album lists. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $18; $13 for RPI faculty, staff and students from other schools; and $6 for RPI students only. Phone 276-3921 or visit www.empac.rpi.edu.
Road-tripping for music now seems less risky by the week, and driving south brings some cool shows within reach this week, some with unusual performing flavors.
Blues rock singer Joan Osborne usually sings with a band — originally it was the Holmes Brothers in New York blues bars, and she has also performed with the Dead as well as bluesy bands of her own. She’s managed to maintain and expand her career despite the often-destructive triumph of a big hit record: “One of Us.”
Osborne sings in an acoustic duo with Nashville singer-songwriter Jill Andrews (who also opens) on Friday at 9 p.m. at the Bearsville Theater (291 Tinker St., Woodstock). Tickets are $50, $40 and $30. Phone 845-679-4406 or visit www.bearsvilletheater.com.
Tonight, Rasputina plays cello-powered gothic rock at Club Helsinki (405 Columbia St., Hudson). She’ll play new songs from the locally titled “Sister Kinderhook” album, her seventh, playing in a trio that packs an unusually theatrical visual punch. Show time is 8 p.m. Tickets are $17. Phone 828-4800 or visit www.helsinkihudson.com.
Minnesota troubadour Mason Jennings takes over at Club Helsinki on Friday, bringing new songs from his a fresh album called, what else? — “Minnesota,” reportedly a lighter project than his previous, the ominously titled “Blood of Man.” Jennings performs at 9 p.m. on Friday. Admission is $25 in advance, $28 at the door.
Todd Snider’s latest release comes from as dark a place as Jennings’ last. Called “Agnostic Hymns & Stoner Fables,” it’s also considered Snider’s masterpiece. He plays Club Helsinki on Saturday at 9 p.m. Admission is $28 in advance, $32 at the door.
Red Square gets Mean
The Ithaca funky fusion band Big Mean Sound Machine brings its big mean sound into Red Square (388 Broadway, Albany) tonight. They’ll crowd the stage, with as many as 15 proudly self-described analog artists, packing tunes from their three albums — last year’s release: “Marauders” is their latest — and ready to rock anything from Afro-pop to jazz. Phone 465-0444 or visit www.redsquarealbany.com.
One more thing . . .
In my Maura O’Connell review, I forgot to mention something she said that cracked us all up. She was trying to remember a person and an incident in her past. She was trying to think of, she said, “that guy who likes to sing too much.”
When a fan speculated, correctly as it turned out, “Garrison Keillor!” O’Connell grinned a wicked smile. Then she covered her mouth in mock dismay, signifying, “I didn’t say that!” She then said, “Well, he’s never hired me! And now he never will” — referring either to her retirement from touring or his possible reaction to hearing about her comments. Either way, she made a funny moment of it.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at firstname.lastname@example.org.