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Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings

As James Brown said, “It’s a man’s world but it wouldn’t be nothing without a woman . . .”

And, for all intents and purposes, that woman is Sharon Jones, the face (and voice) of the retro funk and soul revival. Born in Brown’s hometown of Augusta, Ga., Jones spent a good number of her younger years earning a right to hardest-working-woman-in-showbusiness status, making a living as a corrections officer and armored-car guard before receiving her big middle-age break with Brooklyn funk band the Dap-Kings.

When she sings the title track to her band’s latest, I Learned the Hard Way, she means it. Hers is the real-deal, gritty, horn-fueled soul, of the kind you can otherwise only find on oldies radio, and the band’s reputation for sweat-drenched live shows has them opening for Prince only two nights before they roll into town.

Come early to hear Charles Bradley, another veteran acolyte of James Brown.

Sharon Jones comes to the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany) on Saturday (Jan. 22) at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $29.50, $34.50 or $44.50. Call 473-1845 for more info.


Verdi’s Requiem

Albany Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of maestro David Alan Miller, and Albany Pro Musica, the 140-voice choir under the leadership of David Griggs-Janower, are teaming up this Saturday evening to present what is, according to a person who is clearly the Ozzy Osborne of press-release writers, “one of the loudest unamplified pieces of music ever written.”

Giuseppe Verdi, who has been described as “at best” an agnostic, adapted the text for his opus from the Catholic Mass for the Dead. One section was written at the time of Rossini’s death in 1869; the rest was inspired by the death of Verdi’s friend, the poet Alessandro Manzoni, in 1873. The Requiem is a powerfully moving musical epic, combining grand theatrical gestures with deep feeling. Or, as Miller has described it, “It’s the greatest opera that wasn’t an opera.”

The soloists will be Leah Crocetto, Lucille Beer, Ta’u Pupu’a (an ex-Baltimore Raven, FYI) and Raymond Aceto. The sound they will create with the orchestra and chorus is likely to be something you’ll remember for a long, long time.

The Albany Symphony Orchestra and Albany Pro Musica will perform Saturday (Jan. 22) at 7:30 PM at the Palace Theatre (19 Clinton Ave., Albany). Tickets are $19-$54; $15 students. For more info, call 456-4663.


Eye to Eye

The latest offering at the Clark Art Institute, Eye to Eye: European Portraits 1450-1850, presents 30 works by master artists from the late 15th through the early 19th centuries to explore the question: What makes a successful portrait?

The works examined in the exhibition—many of them on public view for the first time ever—are on exclusive loan to the Clark Art Institute from a private collection, and include paintings by Hans Memling, Parmigianino, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony Van Dyck, and Jean-Baptiste Greuze.

“The Clark was founded by a great private art collector,” says Michael Conforti, director of the Clark, “and we continue to value the insights and discernments represented by a passionate collector’s discriminating eye. Each work on view is exceptional in itself, and together the collection constitutes a brief but rich survey of Old Master portraiture.”

An added bonus: Admission to the Clark is free through the end of May, so brave the snowy Berkshires and warm yourself by the glow of fires captured centuries ago by the touch of brush to canvas.

Eye to Eye: European Portraits 1450-1850 opens at the Clark Art Institute (225 South St., Willamstown, Mass.) on Saturday (Jan. 23) and runs through March 27. Mark your calendars for Feb. 20 at 3 PM, when Eye to Eye curators and catalogue authors Kathleen Morris and Richard Rand will discuss six works from the exhibition. For more info, call (413) 458-2303.

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