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Joshua Redman Elastic Band
The Van Dyck, Thursday

Saxman Joshua Redman’s latest musical exploration—the Elastic Band—grew, oddly enough, out of a side project. Redman first teamed up with drummer Brian Blade and keyboardist Sam “Yaya” Yahel in a trio that recorded the eponymous album Yaya3. This was ’70s jazz fusion revisited, an electric, “elastic” sound laced with a healthy amount of funk. Redman must have been pleased with the result, for now he’s touring with a combo he calls the Elastic Band. Featuring Yahel along with Marcus Baylor on drums, Redman has described this band as being grounded in fusion, but “probably coming more out of James Brown, Maceo Parker and the Motown sound.” Leery jazz critics—knowing that fusion was partially responsible for the smooth jazz movement, which gave us Kenny G, among others—have generally been won over by the Elastic Band’s rhythmic invention and sly improvisations. So if you’re ready for what Redman has said is a “groove-based thing,” the Van Dyck tonight is the funky place to be. (Feb. 20, 7 and 9:30 PM, $28, 381-1111)

Matthew Loiacono CD release, Bryan Thomas
Changing Spaces, Friday

Matthew Loiacono has gained more than his fair share of attention as the Kamikaze Hearts’ multi-instrumentalist and as a support player for a whole slew of local musicians eager to have his drumming talents round out their sounds. At Changing Spaces on Friday, you’ll get to see what happens when Loiacono mans the helm himself. For the past year, Loiacono has been piecing together A Book About the Rest, his “debut studio recording,” and the album’s nine tracks are all him—written, performed and produced (though he did employ Mabel’s Frank Moscowitz to help him get the stuff down on reel-to-reel). Those of you familiar with Loiacono’s instrumental abilities have reason to look forward; those of you who have caught his all-too-infrequent solo turns at open mikes are likely to be in a frenzy; those of you who have had the chance to sample Loiacono’s informal, limited-release solo EP, Eye Dream, are likely twitching and sputtering in anticipatory glee. Bryan Thomas—a bad, bad man himself—will be on hand to lend a set of his own, and might just add a flourish or two to Loiacono’s performance. (Feb. 21, 8 PM, $5, 433-1537)

JOHN HAMMOND

Johnny Winter, John Hammond, Del Rey
The Egg, Saturday

On Saturday, the Egg will host a bluesplosion, a bluespalooza, a bluestravaganza, call it what you will—with performances by Texas-born blues-guitar hero Johnny Winter and 40-year blues-biz veteran John Hammond. Winter (Edgar’s older brother) is a stinging guitarist whose 35-year career got a boost when early on a Rolling Stone critic claimed he was the hottest artist next to Janis Joplin (Columbia Records won the bidding war that ensued, with whom the artist made a handful of popular albums, and he turned to well-known blues label Alligator Records in the ’80s). Hammond, the “white Robert Johnson” to some, performed blues tunes from the ’30s through ’50s on his acoustic guitar and harmonica to the Greenwich Village coffeehouse crowd in the ’60s and went on to play electric blues in the ’70s, recording with the likes of Robbie Robertson, Dr. John and Duane Allman; more recently, his 2001 release of songs written and produced by Tom Waits, Wicked Grin, had the critics bunching their panties. He’s currently touring behind his 39th release, Ready for Love. Del Rey rounds out the bill, performing “ragtime country blues and hillbilly boogie” on her National steel. (Feb. 22, 8 PM, $22, 473-1845)


Mamadou Diabate
Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Mass., Saturday

As part of its Out of Africa series presenting the music of Algeria, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, the Clark Art Institute welcomes Mamadou Diabate on Saturday. Diabate is a Mali-born musician who plays in the jeli tradition, a form of musical storytelling that dates back to the 13th century. The function of jeli is inherently linked with the rich history of West Africa; its stories are designed to preserve and transmit the centuries-old cultural heritage of the Manding people of Mali. Diabate, a mere slip of a lad at 28, may not have long experience on his side, but his virtuosic abilities on the kora, a large stringed instrument with a sound listeners liken to that of a harp, are a substantial help in that mission. (Feb. 22, 8 PM, $19, $17 members, 413-458-2303)

Les Sampou
Coffeehouse at Burnt Hills, Saturday

“Les Sampou is not just another singer/songwriter,” according to Acoustic Musician. While her lyrics are very personal, she writes about real stuff for real people. “Layered meanings, inner rhyme, symbolism are just some of the games I play when I write,” the blues and folk musician has said. A native of Osterville, Mass., the self-taught Sampou got her start in 1985 performing in Boston’s Haymarket subway station. She’s now compared to other female artists of the folk and blues ilk, like Bonnie Raitt and Melissa Ethridge. While her previous albums are a bit on the dark side, her fourth and latest album, Borrowed and Blue (Rounder), features Sampou raw and unedited with both original songs as well as country-blues classics by Tommy Johnson, Mississippi Fred McDowell and Blind Willie McTell. She plays the Coffeehouse at Burnt Hills on Saturday. (Feb. 22, 8 PM, $10, 399-5875)

Hal Ketchum
The Egg, Sunday

Hal Ketchum has much to feel lucky about. A native of Greenwich (that’s our Greenwich, right here in upstate New York), the country singer-guitarist has had 15 Top 10 hits since his career took off after he relocated to Austin, Texas, in 1979. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1994. He has recovered from a 1998 spinal-column illness that temporarily left him paralyzed from the neck down. And for his most recent album, Lucky Man, he has handed over production duties to Rodney Crowell, who shares Ketchum’s interest in strong, varied songwriting and all things Texan. Ketchum—who also happens to be a poet, painter, carpenter, actor and author—has been referred to as the “poet laureate of country music,” and is especially known for his thoughtful lyrics. His music draws on many inspirations, especially classic Texas country, but also includes shadings of rock, folk and R&B. Ketchum will perform live on Sunday at the Egg; opening is Adirondack singer-songwriter Roy Hurd, accompanied by fiddler Frank Orsini. (Feb. 16, 7 PM, $22, 473-1845)

 also noted
It’s a Gaylord family reunion at Valentine’s tonight (Thursday), with onetime Beef member and Gay Tastee chief Stephen Gaylord’s the Wasted (“post punk chaotic seizure rock”) sharing the bill with Don Gaylord and Unadilla Flats (“country based traditional rock”). “Our fans . . . will stand on different ends of the bar and glance nervously at one another,” claims Stephen Gaylord (9 PM, $5, 432-6572). . . . On the Valentine’s upstairs stage tomorrow (Friday), metalsome kids Held Under will play, joined by All That Remains, As Above So Below and Forlorn Hope (doors 7 PM, $10, 432-6572). . . . Also Friday, a day prior to his Egg show, blues guitarist-harmonica player John Hammond will stop in to Club Helsinki (9 PM, $25, 413-528-3394). . . . Lenny Kravitz drummer Cindy Blackman will play the Van Dyck Friday (7 and 9:30 PM, $18, 381-1111). . . . Folkster Fred Gillen Jr. will roll through town again, with a show at Artie’s Lansingburgh Station on Saturday; our very own garage-folk-&-roll star Rob Skane opens (9 PM, $2, 238-2788). . . . A bluesy battle of the bands will go down Saturday at the new venue Revolution Hall (next to the Troy Pub & Brewery), with Larry Lewis and Solid Smoke going riff to riff with Blue Hand Luke (9 PM, 273-2337). . . . Bluegrass youngsters the Yonder Mountain String Band will play the Egg’s American Roots & Branches concert on Sunday (7 PM, $20, $15 students, 473-1845). . . . Goodship Tuesdays continue at B.R. Finley’s in Troy, with this week’s event featuring the futuristic synth-pop stylings of Denim & Diamonds, who are Troy-based and mostly Texas-bred (two of the ultramodern trio’s members, singer Chris Skinner and keyboardist Tyler Jacobson, are RPI students from Austin; the band’s Devo-esque jerky guitar finesse is provided by Jason Martin, not from Texas). Joining them on Tuesday are Kamikaze Heart Troy Pohl, thejessestiles3000 and Jai Truck (10:30 PM, free, 271-9190). . . . Albany’s Lark St. Book Shop (formerly Bryn Mawr) begins a monthly acoustic-music series with maximum-solo-acoustic artist Michael Eck and skinny-dippin’-swamp-drippin’ artist Albie playing the debut show on Tuesday (7 PM, 465-8126).

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