DAKHABRAKHA - Saturday, Sept. 6
Observe the hats. They might remind you of the B52s. Or maybe it’s the beat and the enthusiastic hooting between verses. Either way, you can tell within the first four drumbeats this will be fun.
DakhaBrakha, which translates as “GiveTake,” is a four-person performance group from Ukraine. Their mix of traditional rhythm instruments gets and keeps your attention. It is a foot-tapping, dance-inducing, take-you-out-of-yourself sound.
Before you get too caught up in who they look and sound like, let yourself get lost in who they are. And move your feet, my friend.
AMJAD ALI KHAN - Thursday, Sept. 18
Amjad Ali Khan has been called the king of sarod, but he considers himself its slave, not its master. The sarod is smaller than a sitar with a sound close to the human voice. Khan says he sings through his instrument.
Khan first performed as a small child. He is a sixth generation musician whose grown sons perform with him. Amaan Ali Khan and Ayaan Ali Khan are accomplished performers with their own reputations.
Khan makes it clear there is little difference in genres of music. He plays from the rich classical tradition of India, often as a soloist with orchestras, in a way that makes the music approachable.
BLUE MAN GROUP - Four Shows, Sept. 29 - Oct. 1
They don’t sing. They don't talk, either. Those aren’t exactly musical instruments they are playing. Their comedy meets the needs of children and simultaneously amuses mature adults. The stage is filled with light, color and surprises. It’s another world, and it’s blue.
Blue Man Group has been called “energetic” and “wildly entertaining.” It’s performance art that originated on the street and found its place in the theater setting. Men, three of them, wearing blue face paint. Very, very blue.
After you see them perform, you will understand this vague and minimalist preview. You, too, will be unable to describe the show.
ROSANNE CASH - Friday, Oct. 3
I’ve already come out as a fan of Rosanne Cash. She and husband John Leventhal give a brilliant performance.
This show is devoted to their latest work, The River and the Thread, which pays tribute to the rich and troubled history of the South.
GET THE LED OUT - Thursday, Oct. 9
If you love Led Zeppelin, well, this isn’t them. Get the Led Out is a band of professional musicians, all Zep heads, who strive to take the iconic music to a new level and a new audience.
The hits, as well as the obscure album cuts, get new treatment suited to a live audience. Fans never tire of hearing these old favorites.
BRANDFORD MARSALIS - Friday, Oc.t 11 and Saturday, Oct. 12
Classical music lovers mourn the day the talented Wynton Marsalis announced he was giving up his work with orchestras to devote himself to jazz. Fortunately, the family is filled with talent, and Branford Marsalis chose to stick with the classics.
Branford’s instrument of choice is saxophone, and his work has earned him a Grammy. He is also a Tony-Award nominee for his compositions for August Wilson’s Fences.
It would be enough to hear Branford Marsalis, but he performs with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, which specializes in Baroque music. The program includes Albinoni, Bach, Handel and Vivaldi.
GIN BLOSOMS - Saturday, Oct. 18
It’s been more than 20 years since Gin Blossoms had their first hit, “Hey Jealousy.” The Tempe-based band put out two albums, broke up for five years, reunited and did a couple for CDs.
Some of the players have come and gone. The lead vocals from Robin Wilson are intact. As a vocalist, Wilson is a nice combo of college guy and aging popster. His voice discloses a vulnerability that makes him just like the rest of us. When he sings of a broken heart, we get it.
You won’t be sad for long. This show is a chance to dance. As good as Gin Blossoms are on CD, they are better in person. Get up and move.
And be sure to say hello. I’ll be there.
MARTY STUART - Wednesday, Oct. 22
I don’t remember when I first heard Marty Stuart play. He has been a part of my bluegrass consciousness for many years. At age 12, he was the talented kid who played with Lester Flatt’s band. Later, he was the boy-faced teenager who played with Lester Flatt’s band. Then he became the spike-haired radical looking guy who didn’t seem to fit with the rest of Lester Flatt’s band.
Stuart also worked with Vassar Clements, Doc Watson and Johnny Cash. Now he tours with his own band, cleverly named the Fabulous Superlatives.
You get a lot more than bluegrass when you see Marty Stuart perform. He is a rare talent who can blend gospel, soul and rock. He honors his own roots by throwing in some Native American sounds.
It works. Stuart has won five Grammys and is a regular at the Grand Ole Opry.
MARY BLACK - Monday, Nov. 3
The British magazine What Hi-Fi? considers MaryBlack’s voice to be so pure that they have repeatedly used it for comparing the sound quality of different high fidelity systems, according to Black’s website.
Black is not part of the recent trend of Celtic music. She is the real deal. For close to 30 years, she has treated audiences to traditional and contemporary Irish music. She has performed mostly as a solo act and sometimes with her talented siblings.
Black is on her Last Call Tour before she sings of the glories of retirement.
JASON MARSALIS - Friday, Nov. 7 and Saturday, Nov. 8
Jason Marsalis is the youngest of four musical siblings. He’s the one on vibes.
You may not hear as much about him as his brothers, but that is changing. Jason was honored as Downbeat Magazine’s 2013 rising star winner.
The vibraphone has been integrated into many genres of music, but few people have mastered the instrument. Jason Marsalis has. Find out why he is considered an elder statesman of jazz before the age of 40.
This event is sponsored by Capital Public Radio Music.