If Dada and surrealism are twins, jazz is a cousin. Nobody has made a closer study of this kinship, or cooler music from it, than trumpeter Dave Douglas, who brings his Dada People jazz improv crew tonight to the Troy Savings Bank Music Hall (30 Second St.).
Academics codified this on the page: Matthew Greenbaum related Dada to such mid-century New York avant-garde composers as John Cage. “The repetitive, machine-like qualities we associate with mid-century minimalism come more or less directly from the Dadaists, as does the high concept experimentation.” Douglas, however, brings Dada’s omnivorous appropriation and fleet spontaneity to the stage.
“Composing for improvisers is a special and long developing part of the language we come from,” said Douglas last week. “All of the compositions in this project call for improvised language as part of the composition.” Trained at Berklee, the New England Conservatory and NYU, Douglas has improvised in jazz, classical, Balkan and American folk, electronica and klezmer on 40-plus albums as a leader after breaking into the jazz elite with Horace Silver. (Check Louis Hayes’ brilliant “Serenade for Horace” album, but I digress … ) Restlessly creative, Douglas often works with several bands at the same time. He sees Dada People as “an ongoing group; we have toured in Europe and we look forward to more.”
Dada People began as Douglas found he and French pianist Frank Woeste both admired Dada artist Man Ray when Douglas and Woeste worked with Lebanese-French trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf. Ray’s “readymades” — everyday objects as sculpture — inspired their own compositions. For example, “My piece ‘Oedipe’ is closely interlinked with compositional language from Erik Satie,” said Douglas. “Frank and I agreed to share the compositional duties, each writing five new pieces for the album. I enjoy this process because it creates a lot of variety in the approach of the band,” also featuring drummer Clarence Penn and bassist Yashushi Nakamura.
If “Dada People,” band and album, boast abstract theoretical roots, hearing it feels like agile jazz with wide wings and uplift. “We were very conscious of the fun element in Dada,” said Douglas. “This is a very enjoyable project and fun to be a part of!” Surprisingly, considering his three-decades deep career, “None of us have played in Troy before,” he noted. “Greatly looking forward to it.” 7:30 p.m. $Whatever. Online ticket price is $25, but this is a “Pay What You Can” event: very Dada. 273-0038 www.troymusichall.org
SUBDUDES AMAZE, AGAIN
Give 2017’s Super-Trooper “Show Must Go On” award to … the subdudes!
Their new “4 on the Floor” album collects songs sung among their fans, but to echo that format on Saturday at The Egg, guitarist and (great!) singer Tommy Malone left behind the crutches that had carried him onto the stage. He crawled up the aisle/stairs at The Egg’s Swyer Theater and climbed into a chair. Bandmates handed him his guitar and they sang “The Rain” to typically spellbinding effect.
They’d started upbeat — “Poor Man’s Paradise,” “Light in Your Eyes,” “So Hard” — before fans’ requests eased them, a bit reluctantly, into slower-paced tunes. Malone howled “Why Can’t I Forget About You,” the first request, with fierce desperation before mellowing into “Sugar Pie;” forgetting some lyrics, he sang, “That’s not right, I’m gonna sing it again” and got it right. Then they upshifted into beefy rockers “All the Time in the World,” “(You’ll Be) Satisfied,” country lament “Carved in Stone,” the boisterious “Morning Glory” and the hippie anthem “Papa Dookie and the Mud People.” Malone’s voice and guitar packed all the power and agility his leg may have lacked. Besides the in-the-crowd encore of “The Rain,” “It’s Been Known to Touch Me” and “Oh, Baby,” they also sang some with only sparse instrumentation onstage: Malone picking immaculate guitar, John Magnie squeezing accordion chords, bassist Tim Cook and tambourine wizard Steve Amedee shaking out clattering beats.
The album and Saturday’s terrific show proved again that the subdudes need only their voices and the barest accompaniment, plus a welcoming crowd, to hypnotize and amaze. A skilled players’ band, they’re wonderful singers. At The Egg, they once again made music that was beautifully simple, and vice versa.
FELICE BROTHERS IN COHOES
Tonight, the Felice Brothers country-rock the Cohoes Music Hall (58 Remsen St.). The Catskills-based crew — Ian Felice, guitar; James Felice, accordion and keyboards; Greg Farley, fiddle; and Josh Rawson, bass — recently released “Life in the Dark.” Recorded in a converted garage, this rollicking folk-rock has a basic “meat-and-potatoes” power; Ian calls it “rough around the edges and cheap.” Driftwood opens. $30, $25 465-4663 www.palacealbany.org
COAL PALACE KINGS REUNITE
The Coal Palace Kings, one of our best and best-loved roots-rock bands, break a 12-year hiatus tonight at the Low Beat (335 Central Ave., Albany). Welcome back: Howe Glassman and Jason Hughes, guitars; Jeff Sohn, bass; and Diego Ackerman, drums. 6 p.m. $5. 342-6572 www.thelowbeat.com
The next chapter in Greg Bell’s 25th anniversary celebration on Saturday at the Hollow Bar + Kitchen (79 N. Pearl St., Albany) features Eastbound Jesus, the Elrod & MotherJudge duo and Grassroots Rebels with members of Jerkwater Ruckus. 8 p.m., doors 7:30. $12 advance, $15 on Saturday. 426-8550 www.thehollowalbany.com