Jazz guitarist Pat Metheny plays Proctors Mainstage tonight with his Unity Band, an all-star crew he recruited to explore anew all the many peaks he’s climbed in restlessly exploring jazz from the most acoustic or basic to the most electronic or elaborate — “everything I’ve done as a bandleader under one roof,” Metheny has said.
“Just about anything is possible” with these guys: saxophonist Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Ben Williams and pianist/trumpeter/singer Giulio Carmassi. The very varied music on their “Kin” album suggests he’s right.
Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $70, $55, $45, $35 and $20. 346-6204 www.proctors.org.
Ungar and mason
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason play on Friday at A Place For Folk (Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.), star attractions in this fine two-year-old series. In fact, this duo was star caliber long before their contribution, “Ashokan Farewell,” to the soundtrack of Ken Burns’s film “The Civil War” helped win a Grammy, while the song was nominated for an Emmy.
While composing well-regarded film soundtracks and performing everywhere, they have also hosted WAMC’s “Dancing on the Air” series. Show time is 8 p.m., doors at 7:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $20. 377-0002 www.aplaceforfolk.org.
The Phantoms have brought their a cappella sound to “Dancing on the Air,” but these Woodstock vocal veterans generally play closer to home or in New York City. So their show on Saturday at Steamer No. 10 Theatre (500 Western Ave., Albany) is a sweet road-trip treat for them — a fine place to play — and a right-at-home delight for fans of well-sung old-school sounds.
Woodstock neighbor and fan John Sebastian says their sound is “born of vocal groups imitating big band sounds with nothing but voices.”
Leader Joe Veillette is a luthier to the stars, building guitars for James Taylor, Dave Matthews, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) and many more. His band mates are Charlie Staxx, Brian Becker, Dorraine Scofield and Mike McDonough.
Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $13, advance; $15 at the door. 438-5503 www.steamer10theatre.org.
Morlix at lena’s
Late in his too-short life, troubadour Warren Zevon toured with producer Gurf Morlix and excitedly told me of plans to record together — but death intervened. Buffalo-born but a Texan to his bones, Morlix has produced whole record racks worth of albums by fellow Texans, notably Lucinda Williams, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Robert Earl Keen.
So self-effacing that neither of the two really fine and diverse albums I just got by him — “Blaze Foley’s 113th Wet Dream” and “Finds the Present Tense” — shows a clear, recent photo of him, Morlix has lately been playing here and wowing new fans.
On Friday, he visits Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Nobody works with the masters that Morlix has produced without learning fine lessons on writing and singing. He’s a good student, and his own music has the prairie-wide wings and deep folkloric roots of Austin’s finest. His stuff is beautiful and fun. Show time is 8 p.m. Admission is $18, advance; $20 at the door. 583-0022 www.caffelena.org.
Two at the egg
The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) sounds folksy this week, too.
Former lead singer of ’90s rockers Live, Ed Kowalczyk plays solo tonight at 8 p.m. on his “I Alone Acoustic” tour.
Live sold 20 million albums in large part by scoring radio hits, and Kowalczyk’s solo records don’t stray far from mainstream tunefulness. He’ll sing songs as old as Live’s debut album “Mental Jewelry” and as new as right now. Admission is $35. 473-1845 www.theegg.org.
Also tonight, bluesman Keb’ Mo’ (born Kevin Moore) sings solo, reaching back further than Kowalczyk, all the way to vintage country blues, also to the West Coast soul music he made before digging back to his roots. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $44.50 and $34.50.
IRISH EYES KEEP SMILING
OK, so St. Patrick’s Day was Monday, but musically it’s a movable feast. So here come two fine exponents of Irish music to The Egg.
On Tuesday, “Masters of Tradition” assembles leader/fiddler Martin Hayes, singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, fiddler Cathal Hayden, guitarists Dennis Cahill and Seamie O’Dowd, accordionist Máirtín O’Connor and uilleann piper David Power.
Expect all-star caliber jigs, reels and airs. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $28.
On Wednesday, the Irish Rovers visit The Egg on their long, worldwide goodbye, their “Farewell to Rovin’ ” tour. Hugely important in introducing Irish music here, and steadfastly tending the flame for decades, these veteran tunesmiths will be missed. Show time is 7:30 p.m. Admission is $34.
For all four of these shows, The Egg also presents special student rush tickets at half price an hour before show time, subject to availability.
The Van Dyck (237 Union St., Schenectady) presents the Schenectady County Community College Jazz Showcase on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free for this two-part show: the SCCC Jazz Ensemble directed by Dr. William Meckley and the five-piece SCCC Jazz Combo directed by top saxophonist Brian Patneaude. Don’t expect any special guest stars on Wednesday, as they present in their home-base showcase. They don’t need any.
Reach Gazette Columnist Michael Hochanadel at email@example.com.