Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
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Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In

  • PHOTO BY ROBERTO CIFARELLI<br/>Mehliana

    PHOTO BY ROBERTO CIFARELLI
    Mehliana

  • Jamie Kent

    Jamie Kent

  • Nik Turner

    Nik Turner

  • The Spampinato Brothers

    The Spampinato Brothers

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG<br/>Steve Earle

    PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG
    Steve Earle

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG<br/>Winterpills

    PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG
    Winterpills

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG<br/>Hugh Laurie

    PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG
    Hugh Laurie

  • PHOTO BY ROBERTO CIFARELLI<br/>Mehliana
  • Jamie Kent
  • Nik Turner
  • The Spampinato Brothers
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG<br/>Steve Earle
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG<br/>Winterpills
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG<br/>Hugh Laurie

“Jaw-dropping” is an overused description, but certain musicians really can make you dumbstruck, mouth hanging open in amazement. Two such players — pianist Brad Mehldau and percussionist Mark Guiliana — have teamed up for an electric improvisation project called Mehliana, which will play the Iron Horse in Northampton Friday at 7 p.m.

Mehldau has been on jazz lovers’ radar since his string of acclaimed records in the mid-e_SSRq90s (the “Art of the Trio” series, plus Blue Note collaborations with Lee Konitz and Charlie Haden). Since then he’s been putting out albums of beautiful and sometimes pretty knotty originals, plus interesting takes on popular tunes (like a playful “Martha My Dear,” percolating with typewriter-like runs that fall in and out of discord and harmony).

Guiliana is one of those drummers, like Chris Dave or The Bad Plus’ David King, whose virtuosic way with foot movements or hand stutters can both twist the rhythm and bend your mind, exciting as a high-wire act. His skittery, exacting beats have electronica edges but with funky human grooviness.

YouTube clips of Mehliana’s shows reveal improvisations that gleam like night-lit cinematic sci-fi cities, or stomp with robotic funk force à la e_SSRq70s Herbie Hancock. Recommended.

Local singer/songwriter Jamie Kent (“Gonna be a star soon, that kid,” says Huey Lewis) has a new EP called “Embers and Ashes” and he’ll celebrate its release with a show, backed up by his band, The Options, at the Parlor Room in Northampton Friday at 8 p.m. Danielle Miraglia opens.

Winterpills, fronted by the harmonizing couple of singer-songwriters Philip Price and Flora Reed, plays its first full-band Iron Horse show since February 2012 at the famed venue on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Singer/songwriter/activist Erin McKeown, currently working on a musical theater project and getting ready for an anti-holiday tour in December, plays two special shows at the intimate Parlor Room Saturday at 7 and 9 p.m.

The Roadhouse Reunion Tour, featuring The Spampinato Brothers, the Commander Cody Band and Ray Mason, takes place at the Academy of Music in Northampton Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Charles Neville, Peter J. Newland, Radio Xile, Lonesome Brothers and flutist Peter H. Bloom play a benefit show for Stand Up to Cancer at the VFW in Florence Sunday at 7:30 p.m.

The critically acclaimed Steve Earle and the Dukes are back in town for a Calvin show Thursday at 8 p.m. The Mastersons open.

The Luthiers Co-Op in Easthampton celebrates its 5-year anniversary with a costume party and a live performance from Northampton Americana band Appalachian Still Thursday from 8 to 10 p.m.

The Sierra Grille fills up its Halloween night with a quadruple bill of live music featuring The Demographic, The Mary Jane Jones, Daniel Ouellette and the Shobijin and Dust Witch, plus a costume contest. Thursday at 10 p.m.

Onetime Hawkwind member Nik Turner brings his band Space Ritual to Easthampton’s Flywheel to headline a show, joined by Hedersleben, World Domination and Neutral Fixation for a psych-rock Halloween night Thursday at 8 p.m.

Wooly Bully, the weekly dance night featuring the record collection and skills of deejay collective Purity Supreme, moves from its small Basement digs to the bigger Iron Horse for a special Halloween edition of its soul/funk/Motown/garage jam Thursday at 10:30 p.m.

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