Maybe the only reason Graham Parker getting back together with the Rumour seemed any more likely than a Beatles reunion is that several Beatles are deceased.
And, yet — Graham Parker re-teams-up with the Rumour on Wednesday at The Egg (Empire State Plaza).
The famously obstinate Parker — he trashed his record label in “Mercury Poisoning” — seemed unlikely to reconsider his 1980 decision to go solo and move to Woodstock, though he sometimes echoed the Rumour’s rock-soul-punk punch on the records he made by himself and the shows he plays with the Figgs.
Don’t get the wrong idea: Parker’s persona has been over-simplified for decades as a human sparkplug, a boiling beaker of British bile. He’s also an extraordinarily talented tunesmith, a canny crafter of lyrics and music who understands rock and soul at the level of his own soul. His songs, angry or sweet, are among the best-made British exports since the Rolls-Royce.
Parker and the Rumour hadn’t played together since Parker pulled the plug three decades ago when Judd Apatow persuaded them to appear together in “This Is 40” last year. They got past the irony of it all, portraying a has-been band onscreen. They recorded a new album, “Three Chords Good” and, maybe most surprising of all, they hit the road.
Their original run was too brief, 1976 to ’80, to allow for any decline, or for their influence to be appreciated fully. On Wednesday, they’ll play new songs from the well-received “Three Chords Good” plus songs from their 1970s albums and maybe tunes Parker wrote as a solo troubadour, songs some consider his best ever. The Rumour was and is guitarists Brinsley Schwarz and Martin Belmont, drummer Steve Goulding, bassist Andrew Bodnar and keyboardist Bob Andrews.
Show time for Graham Parker and the Rumour is 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at The Egg. Tickets are $29.50. Phone 473-1845 or visit www.theegg.org.
Also at The Egg this week, guitarist Al DiMeola teams up with Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba on Sunday. The two virtuosos followed different paths to the same stage. While Berklee-trained DiMeola first stepped into the spotlight as a member of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever and became a busy collaborator before founding his own group, World Simphonia; the conservatory-trained Rubalcaba first established himself as a soloist and bandleader before collaborating in all directions.
Al DiMeola and Gonzalo Rubalcaba play The Egg on Sunday at 7:30 p.m., after shows in DiMeola’s native New Jersey and before a week at New York City’s Blue Note. Admission is $34.50.
Cuba also exports another top performer to us this week: the eminent trumpeter (mostly) and pianist Arturo Sandoval plays at Proctors on Friday. A founding member of the brilliant 1970s/80s Cuban super-group Irakere (alongside Chucho Valdes, Paquito D’Rivera) and others), Sandoval has happily emulated his mentor Dizzy Gillespie, whose interest in Afro-Cuban music both enriched his own music and inspired Cubans to adopt American sounds and styles.
Gillespie’s inspiration and connections led Sandoval to collaborate everywhere — with classical orchestras; with such pop artists as Johnny Mathis (he’s at the Palace tonight), Gloria Estefan (including at Super Bowl XXIX), Frank Sinatra and others; and with every jazz giant you can imagine, plus some others.
Sandoval leads several bands, depending on which part of which coast the gig is. On Friday, he fronts a sextet with sax, piano, bass, drums and percussion. Arturo Sandoval plays at Proctors (432 State St., Schenectady) on Friday at 8 p.m. Admission is $40, $35, $30, $25 and $20. Phone 346-6204 or visit www.proctors.org.
Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys rock acoustic and electric on Sunday at Club Helsinki (415 Columbia St., Hudson). Having seen Escovedo about 15 times and only twice with the same band, it’s no surprise to me that his Sensitive Boys have changed since they played The Egg last June. Now it’s bassist Bobby Daniel, drummer Chris Searls and guitarist Ricky Ray Jackson (replacing Billy White who replaced David Pulkingham).
Escovedo released his “Big Station” album last year, so his set list is probably brimming with fresh tunes. Show time for Alejandro Escovedo & the Sensitive Boys is 8 p.m. at Club Helsinki. Admission is $28 in advance, $30 on Sunday. Phone 828-4800 or visit www.helsinkihudson.com.
SCOTT AT A PLACE FOR FOLK
Guitarist, singer, songwriter and environmental advocate Jim Scott plays on Friday at A Place for Folk. Every day is Earth Day for Scott, who co-starred in the Paul Winter Consort, has composed many songs about the spirituality of nature and co-wrote the Winter Consort’s ambitious Missa Gaia for large chorale groups and now performs periodically with Pete Seeger.
Show time for Jim Scott at A Place for Folk (First Unitarian Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.) is 8 p.m. Tickets are $16, students $14, and $2 for children with adults. Phone 374-0002 or visit www.aplaceforfolk.org.
Reach Gazette columnist Michael Hochanadel at firstname.lastname@example.org.