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Like a wildfire, The Tucson Jazz Festival continues to rage through downtown... Two Herculean guitarists shred... Prestigious classical musicians bring grace... A noise/doom/metal artist drones on one-of-a-kind instruments... And so much more... All this week. Let's dive in...

Mark Your Calendars

Thursday, Jan. 16

click to enlarge Average White Band
  • Average White Band

Widely regarded as one of the finest soul, funk and R&B bands in the world, snippets of their songs have been repurposed by the Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Nas, TLC and many others making them the 15th most sampled act in music history. From Scotland, the Average White Band "Cut the Cake." At the Fox Theatre... Arizona Friends of Chamber Music's Night Two sees the St. Lawrence Quartet exploring how Joseph Haydn's influence—Haydn was one of Beethoven's prominent music teachers—may have manifested in Beethoven's middle and late quartets. At Leo Rich Theater... With echoing vintage keyboards (Wurlitzer organ and Fender Rhodes electric piano) and lush layers of vocals mashed together with fey Americana noir and pop song structures, this Portland singer-songwriter has coined a new genre: Dream country disco. Megan Diana is at Club Congress. With Soda Sun, Jillian Bessett and Emby Alexander... Bringing together renowned jazz artists with local musicians, The Secret Jazz Series is a three night parallel jazz program during Tucson Jazz Fest. Night One: Hard Bop Night sees saxophonist Mike Monynihan, bassist Thøger Lund and drummer Casey Hadland back "The Secret Weapon" on piano. At El Crisol (formerly Exo Bar)...

Friday, Jan. 17

click to enlarge Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars: Friday, Jan. 17 @ Rialto Theatre - LUIZ C. RIBEIRO PHTOGRAPHY
  • Luiz C. Ribeiro Phtography
  • Juan de Marcos and the Afro-Cuban All Stars: Friday, Jan. 17 @ Rialto Theatre

A central figure in Cuban music, bandleader Juan de Marcos González—whose oeuvre includes the Buena Vista Social Club, Rubén González, Ibrahim Ferrer, Sierra Maestra and others—has been on a mission to demonstrate to the world the wealth, diversity and vitality of Cuban music for the past three decades. The Afro-Cuban All Stars play the Rialto Theatre... The Secret Jazz Series Night Two: Crooner Night sees Howe Gelb backed by local luminaries. At El Crisol... Club Z sees local tech house bad bois Low Audi0 and ZAW dropping that heat. At Zen Rock... This Chicago duo's sound has been described as "sultry vocals and dreamy yet alt-rock-driven guitar soundscapes floating over a rhythmic whiplash of drumming." Bernie & The Wolf bring the Haughty Banter Tour to Sky Bar. Bolstered by the "Hello Kitty-colored fuzzy post-grunge garage" of Feverfew and the thinking man's prog rock of Still Life Telescope... The Dive Bar and Kitchen is ground zero for a death metal hardcore extravaganza. Featuring Creeping Death, Sanguisugabogg, Languish, Bloodlust and Skin Ticket... Vermont's own traditional roots power trio, Pete's Posse are at Monterey Court. With Matt Rolland & Freddy Parish...

Saturday, Jan. 18

click to enlarge La Cerca: Saturday, Jan. 18 @ Crave Coffee Bar - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • La Cerca: Saturday, Jan. 18 @ Crave Coffee Bar

On Aug. 28, 1963 at the March on Washington, Mahalia Jackson, the Queen of Gospel, prompted Martin Luther King Jr. to go off-script, shouting out, "Tell 'em about the dream, Martin." King began to improvise the speech's most iconic passage. "I'm really interested in these pivotal details that kind of shape things," says violinist David Harrington. UA Presents Kronos Quartet performing a mixed repertoire including Peace Be Till, a new composition based on that historic moment in Washington, D.C. At Crowder Hall... Transforming passion into infectious joy, this renowned bassist effortlessly has crossed genres lending his virtuosity to projects with jazz and pop legends and classical masters alike. People Music (Mack Avenue Records), the title to his 2013 release, is his personal mantra. "Sometimes jazz musicians get too caught up in their own heads. I figure the best way to communicate is to let the people navigate where you should go." Christian McBride leads his hard-swinging acoustic quintet Inside Straight at the Fox Theatre... Inspired by the cult films cherished by these L.A. indie rockers, Heaven Surrounds You (Danger Collective Records, 2019) acts as a Map to the Stars, if you will, for disaffected youth. And, their live show is said to be akin to a coming-of-age ritual. Surf Curse at Club Congress. Laika and Stripes provide wicked backing... Eschewing the lion's mane wig, the dragon suit, the vintage Ludwig Vistalite drum kit, they chose a different path than other tribute acts: To stand on the music alone. Zeppelin USA gives an all-American salute to the music of the very British Led Zeppelin. At The Rialto Theater... Spinning your favorite jams from the '80s, '90s and early 2000s, Rewind: The Ultimate R&B, Reggae and Hip-Hop Throwback Party takes shape at 191 Toole... After 11 years, Club Sanctuary is calling it quits. DJs Plastic Disease and Black Flagg promise to drop some sinister industrial, electro and goth tracks for the Grand Finale. At the Surly Wench Pub... The Secret Jazz Series Night Three: Electro Night features The Jazz Pyramid Scheme. At El Cirsol. Need a reason to head east? Silver Cloud Express and La Cerca are playing at Crave Coffee Bar... Ultra '80s Dance Party: DJs Sunanda and Elektra Tek spin your pop favorites. At Passé... "A Momentary Relapse." After a hiatus groove death metallists By the Gods reincarnate. With Elyzian, Within A Dream, Decrown The Heir and Guardians. At The Rock... Revel Wine Bar turns 3. Illuminaughty supplies the jams. Cheers...

Sunday, Jan. 19

click to enlarge Mavis Staples
  • Mavis Staples

Among her numerous distinctions, she is both a Blues and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and a civil rights icon. "One of America's defining voices of freedom and peace," she marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., performed at John F. Kennedy's inauguration and sang in Barack Obama's White House. "I'm the messenger. That's my job. And I can't just give up while the struggle is still alive. We've got more work to do." The mighty Mavis Staples performs at the Fox Theater. Vocalist Suzanne Santos opens... Paying one's dues. Five years of constant touring with Albert Collins, followed by another decade on the road with John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, turned this Stratocaster-wielding guitarist into a fire-breathing monster. Eight solo albums later—and a significant portion of his life living out of a suitcase—Coco Montoya delivers the blues' hardest truths. At 191 Toole... This former mechanical engineering student, found a connection between sound, design and fabrication amid the din and dust of a University of California machine shop. Harnessing the power of noise, doom and metal in unparalleled ways, Tristan Shone aka Author & Punisher takes Club Congress by siege. Up first, experimental/electronic/IDM artist Vytear hits the ground running... Groove to Motown classics like "Respect," "A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools" and more. Featuring vocalists Capathia Jenkins and Ryan Shaw, The Tucson Symphony Orchestra perform a musical tribute to the Queen of Soul: Aretha Franklin and the Soul of America. At Tucson Music Hall. Lucas Waldin is at the podium... "Don't Let The Bass Get Ya." This installment of Resonance Monthly sees DJ/producer Cazztek, who "Came To Get Funky," drop bass and tech house. At Gentle Ben's. Enri, Kevek, Low Audio and Mikkey lend support... From San Diego, post-hardcore/rockers Secrets bring The City Sleeps In Flame: 15th Anniversary Tour to The Rock. Backed by In Lessons, Echoes and The Abstract... This week's Sunday Patio Sessions features singer-songwriter Joe Peña, guitarist Joe Novelli and drummer Rick Bailey playing an early set. At Che's Lounge... The Gabrielle Pietrangelo Trio, playing timeless romantic love songs from the 1930s and '40s, brings Dillinger Days to misty-eyed close. On the plaza at Hotel Congress...

Monday, Jan. 20

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It's MLK Day! Featuring performances by The Yolo County Line, Katherine Byrnes, Tongs, Two-Door Hatchback, Crystal Stark and more, the Downtown Jazz Fiesta will transform downtown Tucson into a concert destination with bands performing in 4 venues, including 2 outdoor stages, bringing Tucson Jazz Festival 2020 to a close... "Life is walking on a tightrope/With nothing but a blindfold/It's a long way, it's a long way down." On their fifth full-length How It Feels to Be Lost (Sumerian Records, 2019) these post-hardcore/alt-rockers re-centered, recalibrated and realigned. "We needed to get back into a room and not care about the out come," explains vocalist Kellin Quinn. "We needed to write something from our hearts...without regard for opinion." Rock 102.1 FM KFMA presents Sleeping with Sirens. At EncoreTucson...

Tuesday, Jan. 21

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Delighting audiences for six decades—with vivid costumes, traditional dance styles and music that showcases the diversity of the Mexican culture—the world renowned Ballet Folclórico Nacional de México perform at the Fox Theatre... For kids of all ages. "Move your feet to the beat" and sing along to fantastically light-hearted songs. From Minneapolis, comedic dance-pop duo Koo Koo Kanga Roo bring "My Jam," their newest single, to 191 Toole. Ex-Groovie Ghoulies frontman, Kepi Ghoulie takes you on a joyride through the "Tunnel Of Love..."




Wednesday, Jan. 22

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"I had to learn that the helping hand can be the same one that holds the knife/And no, I'm not well but I'm alright." On "Hard of Hearing" indie folkster Ben Cooper, aka Radical Face, depicts the frustration of struggling to cope with the toxic positivity created by a society at large too quick to stigmatize depression. Of needing but never receiving the validation that comes from someone actually listening and saying, "It's OK to feel that way." At 191 Toole. Originally from the remote fishing village of Húsavík, Iceland, indie folk singer-songwriter Axel Flóvent opens... Celebrating over 73 years at the forefront of music-making in the UK, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra perform at Centennial Hall... Possessing Herculean chops and an ear for melodicism, Guitar Player has hailed this Texas hurricane as "One of the most respected guitarists on the planet." Eric Johnson plays the classics, past and present, at the Rialto Theatre... "Coursing Through," Houston alt-rock/shoegazers Narrow Head "Make It Hurt" when they return to Club Congress. With support from Lychee, Hikikomori and Evergreen... Tucson Desert Song Festival presents renowned British tenor and 15-time Grammy nominee Ian Bostridge and classical guitarist Xuefei Yang from the Royal Conservatory of Music in a recital. At Holsclaw Hall...

Thursday, Jan. 23

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Propelled by sound and vision, Reveal: A debut of burlesque performances tantalizes the senses. With special guest entertainers from Tucson Libertine League. At 191 Toole... Melding Americana, hip-hop and sample-based electronics in with soulful lyricism, Nocturnal Theory promises to "Set Our Bodies On Fire." At Club Congress. Reggae rockers Desert Fish and Viane share the stage... Their music is a smooth blend of Hollywood, Broadway, R&B and soul. Silk and Soul is a musical husband and wife duo comprised of soprano Arlette and pianist Mark. In the Lookout Bar & Grille at Westward Look Resort...

On The Horizon

On the heels of the release of their tenth studio album, X: The Godless Void and Other Stories (Dine Alone Records, 2020), "Austin's art-rock punk mothertruckers," ...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead—their moniker taken from an ancient Mayan ritual chant—unleash their trademark guitar-soaked high drama on Monday, Jan. 27, at 191 Toole. Flanked by the "almost comforting yet distinctly uneasy" alt-rock of Phoenix's Twin Ponies and Tucson's Then When... In 2009, singer-songwriter Steff Koeppen brought together a band that integrated strings, vocal harmonies and an airtight rhythm section. "We're an indie alternative pop band. We produce piano-based songs which touch on jazz, folk, and classical styles while maintaining an accessible, pop-oriented sound." On Saturday, Jan. 25, Steff and the Articles celebrate their 10-year anniversary. At 191 Toole. Dirt Friends and Night Weather add to the festivities... Also, on Saturday, Jan. 25. With note-for-note renditions handpicked from the Beatles extensive catalog, The Fab Four tip the hat. At the Fox Theatre... It started informally, "...just getting together and doing some picking," says vocalist Todd Sheaffer. Shortly thereafter, on the strength of their five-song demo, they landed a spot at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before even playing their first gig. But, what kind of music is this? After all, they use amplifiers and drums, instrumentation considered anathema by many in the bluegrass world. Railroad Earth perform at the Rialto Theatre. On Sunday, Jan. 26. The familiar yet innovative sounds of Marty O'Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra stir up the dust first...

Until next week, XOXO...

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