Music united by intent is a “festival.” Guitarists united here by happenstance, let’s call that a “G-chord” — a prismatic players’ parade this week featuring Frank Vignola, Stephane Wrembel, an echo of Cream and Sonny Landreth.
On Saturday, lightning-quick, super-melodic guitarist Vignola plays in the John DiMartino Trio (DiMartino, piano; Dezron Douglas, bass) at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). They support singer Jane Monheit, honoring Leonard Bernstein in the late, great all-purpose musical giant’s 100th year. Bernstein’s busy conducting career overshadowed his composing, but the very New York music he wrote for “West Side Story” alone should provide plenty of melody and drama for Monheit’s magnificent voice. 8 p.m. $34. 518-473-1845 www.theegg.org
Sunday, guitarist Stephane Wrembel plays Caffe Lena (47 Phila St., Saratoga Springs). Like Vignola, Wrembel emulates the fiery, lighter-than-air eloquence of 1930s gypsy jazz genius Django Reinhardt. Wrembel brings Thor Jensen, guitar; Ari Folman-Cohen bass; and Nick Anderson, drums, to the Caffe. He’s just released the third volume of his “The Django Experiment” recording project. 7 p.m. $20 advance, $25 door, $12.50 students and children
Also Sunday, the Cream 50th Anniversary Tour at The Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) features next-generation players Kofi Baker (Ginger’s son, drums); Malcolm Bruce (Jack’s son, bass); and Will Johns (Eric Clapton’s nephew and son of recording engineer Andy Johns, guitar) to play the thunderous blues-rock that Cream pioneered in the mid-’60s, paving the way for the Jimi Hendrix Experience and other power trios. 7:30 p.m. $35 advance, $40 door. 518-473-1845 www.theegg.org
Sonny Landreth plays fiery Louisiana slide guitar Wednesday at the Cohoes Music Hall (58 Remsen St.). Landreth led the Goners (David Ranson, bass; Kenneth Blevins, drums) behind John Hiatt in August at The Egg, a tremendous show that confirmed once again that Landreth stands alongside Derek Trucks as our top slide guitarist these days. His own “Recorded Live in Lafayette” features electric and acoustic sets, showing Landreth can thunder the blues, croon the ballads and get you on the good foot with dance-y zip likely learned playing in Clifton Chenier’s zydeco band. Waterloo Clyde opens. 8 p.m. $37 advance, $42 door. 518-953-0630www.thecohoesmusichall.org
RESET AT COCK ’N BULL
Like the Jane Monheit/Frank Vignola/DiMartino show that was reset at The Egg Saturday from an earlier date, the Cock ’N Bull (5342 Parkis Mills Road, Galway) has rescheduled banjoist Allison de Groot and fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves to tonight. They explore and reinvent Appalachian string-band music with youthful zest and depth beyond their years. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.; you can grab dinner first. $10. 518-882-6962www.thecockandbull.com
HORN AT A PLACE FOR JAZZ
And Monheit isn’t the only top jazz vocalist here this week: the perfectly named Jazzmeia Horn sings Friday at A Place for Jazz (Unitarian Universalist Society of Schenectady, 1221 Wendell Ave.). Her debut album “A Social Call” earned a Grammy nomination, and she was extraordinary at the Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in June; sweet and swinging, and mighty in message. Horn sings Friday with Victor Gould, piano; Endea Owens, bass; and Henry Conerway III, drums. 7:30 p.m. $20, students and children $10. 518-393-4011 www.aplaceforjazz.org
3=4 AT CAFFE LENA
Friday at Caffe Lena, the Chandler Travis Three-O is actually four people: Travis, guitar and vocals; Berk McKelvey, keyboards and reeds; John Clark, bass; and valet-singer Fred Boak. Super-prolific — a couple of albums a year at least; UPS delivered “Backward Crooked from the Sunset” about three words ago — Travis writes with the wisdom and wise-ass fun you’d expect of a longtime opener for George Carlin and frequent guest with NRBQ. It’s all insightful, sometimes kinda rude, but always charming as possible. Behind deep thoughts and nimble wordplay ring mutated big-band swing, folk-sincere acoustic riffs and jazz detours, inventive musical variety that opener Kami Lyle will likely aid considerably. She’s a skilled singer-songwriter and strong trumpeter, and is married to ex-NRBQ bassist Joey Spampinato. 8 p.m. $18 advance, $20 door, $10 students and children. 518-583-0022 www.caffelena.org
NEAR at eighth STEP
Holly Near returns Saturday to the Eighth Step Saturday, this time at Capital Rep (111 N. Pearl St., Albany); she co-headlined the Step’s 50th anniversary show last fall.
In an iconic career as varied as Justin Timberlake’s, Near has earned enormous respect as singer, musician, activist, actor and author. On Saturday, she sings with Jan Martinelli, bass; and Tammy Hall, piano and vocals. 7:30 p.m. $27 advance, $29 door; $50 front and center. 518-434-1703 www.8thstep.org
Sona Jobarteh whisked Proctors’ GE Theatre to West Africa on Oct. 10, the first of four Passport Series international shows presented by Music Haven.
A stately presence in a bold, printed dress, Jobarteh played (21-string) kora and six-string guitar, and sang in a voice strong and flexible as her playing.
Melodies circled and spun, lacy as ferns, fiery as flamenco. Her band — Mamadou Sara, percussion; Derek Johnson, guitar; Westley Joseph, drums; Andy McLean, bass — supported this circular motion, then propelled it, so songs gained altitude and heft.
She sang in Malinke or Fula, of love in her zippy opener “Jarabi,” then of family in the gentle “Mamamuso” about her grandmother (who supported her musical ambitions, out of step with tradition for women), then of nomadic herdsmen in “Gainaako;” here Johnson co-starred as Jobarteh shifted to guitar. Together, they wove a thrilling riff-storm. In “Kaida,” she called for peace in her homeland, introducing young son Sidiki Diabate, whose virtuoso playing on balafon, a wooden marimba with gourd resonators, confirmed the power of Jobarteh’s efforts to school the young in her traditions.
This powerful tune surged on a stutter beat like the Grateful Dead’s “The Other One” as her son linked riffs with McLean’s bass and Jobarteh faced the band to spur the jam. Her serene “Gambia” celebrated her homeland’s 50th anniversary of independence; then the lovesong “Kanu” invited more dancers to the edges of the stage, surrounding the smiling band. Its soft groove grew in strength as Jobarteh and Johnson played in harmony: different notes, same place.
The music conveyed tremendous lift and warmth, using repetition and velocity to engage and excite. In the after-show reception, fan Ginger Ertz exulted, enthusiastically and accurately, [Music Haven impresario] “Mona [Golub] reels in the whole world, so we can have it.”