Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: 'Imagine a sizzling salsa band, performing live on TV, and you can be there in the studio with them'
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PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG
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PHOTO COURTESY OF IHEG
"Weird Al” Yankovic Purchase photo reprints »
Imagine a sizzling salsa band, performing live on TV, and you can be there in the studio with them as it happens — feeling the heat of the groove, the blast of the brass, the energy of the musicians. And you don’t have to drive to New York City to do it. And it’s free.
The above scenario will happen in Greenfield when Jesús Pagan y su Orquesta perform at Greenfield Community Television (393 Main St., 3rd Floor) for the long-running Valley Homegrown program on Monday at 7 p.m.
Pagan and his Holyoke-based group put out one of my favorite records of 2008, “Salsa de la Mata.” That album has a gloriously timeless sound, full of bright horns, sprightly piano, crisp congas and timbales bubbling within a churning rhythm section. It’s dance music as dynamic as a classic Fania LP of the e_SSRq70s, sure to be even more exciting in a live situation. A rare opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.
Jill Sobule found herself in the spotlight during the e_SSRq90s, becoming an MTV fave with her catchy song “I Kissed a Girl,” but instead of being a novelty act or one-hit wonder, she was actually a diverse storytelling songwriter whose influences go back to Randy Newman and Warren Zevon — which confused an industry busy homogenizing an “Alternative Nation.” While many of the then-popular acts are long defunct, Sobule’s songwriting skills and adventurous spirit have kept her going. She’s written music for musicals and TV shows, collaborated with comic actress Julia Sweeney and author/columnist/entrepreneur Arianna Huffington, and put out new records on her own label. Sobule, a strong, quick-witted live performer with a knack for inspired improvisation, returns to the Iron Horse in Northampton Friday at 7 p.m. Jay Nash opens.
Nashville-based folk singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier plays two shows at the Parlor Room in Northampton Friday at 7 and 9 p.m.
If you’re looking for a legendary local band, The Unband is right up there, thanks to its hard-rocking, hard-partying, police-attracting ’90s performances. Matt Pierce, Mike Ruffino and Eugene Ferrari are reuniting for a special show that also features another reuniting trio — Playtopia, making its first appearance in 10 years — plus The Nice Try. It all happens at J.J.’s Tavern in Florence Friday at 9 p.m.
Fancy Trash, fronted by singer-songwriter-guitarist Dave Houghton, brings its acoustic but string-shredding rock energy to the Parlor Room Saturday at 9 p.m.
Rushad Eggleston is a master of the cello with his own quirky vision. He played with Darol Anger, co-founded the alternative bluegrass band Crooked Still, formed the playful Wild Band of Snee, and now comes his debut solo album — a sprawling, cartoony 27-track opus of stories and songs called “The Rushad Eggleston Show.” He’ll be at the Parlor Room Sunday at 7 p.m. Wishbone Zoe opens.
Pianist Herbie Hancock has been a jazz pioneer from the beginning. Early on he wrote tunes that became standards (“Watermelon Man,” “Cantaloupe Island,” “Maiden Voyage”); he collaborated with Miles Davis in his most restlessly adventurous period, working on landmark records like “Miles Smiles,” “In a Silent Way” and “On the Corner”; he recorded his own fusion classic (“Head Hunters”); had an influential and constantly played hit video on MTV (“Rockit”); stormed the 2008 Grammy Awards, winning Album of the Year for his “River: the Joni Letters”... and that’s just the iceberg’s tip. See Hancock at the UMass Fine Arts Center Concert Hall on Sunday at 7:30 p.m.
“Weird Al” Yankovic has made a living making inspired goofs on popular songs and the culture that surrounds them — for over 30 years. It seems impossible that someone could stay that “with it” for that long but the hard-working Yankovic is as popular as ever, if not more so. He’s a Renaissance man — songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author, director, actor, producer — who’s still in touch with his inner nut. See him and his band and their multi-media show at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton Sunday at 8 p.m.