Ken Maiuri’s Tuned In: Jane Bunnett and Maqueque are at the Iron Horse Wednesday, and other musical happenings this week in the Valley

  • Rickie Lee Jones

  • Mike Birbiglia Courtesy of IHEG

  • Jane Bunnett and Maqueque Courtesy of IHEG

  • Dave Dersham

  • Parsonfield Courtesy of IHEG

  • Robbie Fulks

  • Sasheer Zamata Courtesy of IHEG

Published: 10/20/2016 3:49:10 PM

“Maqueque” is the Afro-Cuban word for “the energy of a little girl,” according to Jane Bunnett. The soprano saxophonist and flautist has worked with Cuban musicians for more than three decades, and she’s using that word as the name for her latest collaborators, a band of young Cuban female players.

Jane Bunnett and Maqueque just released their second album together, “Oddara,” and will play the Iron Horse in Northampton Wednesday at 7 p.m. Local music maven DJ Bongohead spins Latin jazz vinyl from 5:30 p.m. until showtime.

Bunnett and the quintet performed an inspired NPR Tiny Desk Concert a few months back, in which they rattled powerfully through “Little Feet.” Yissy Garcia and Magdelys Savigne pulsed with skittering drums and congas as pianist Danae Olano laid into the chords, hair swinging fiercely, and bassist Cecilia Jimenez snuck in some soulful slides around the fretboard. It’s one of the group’s tunes that has a ’70s shading to it, with dusky chords and a breeziness found in some of the best jazz and pop of that era. Vocalist Melvis Santa scatted in unison with the reedy cry of Bunnett’s soprano sax, a blast of brisk air. Bunnett had to catch her breath after the performance, patting her heart, taking a moment to come back down to earth.

The women of Maqueque are vocalists as well as instrumentalists, and they harmonize to great effect on their multi-sectioned title song, full of playful tempo changes. It moves from an easygoing groove to a sideways hopscotch rhythm and eventually into a fiery workout, with tumbling rhythms underneath Bunnett as she goes wild on the flute. The group is sure to soar on the Iron Horse stage.

Rickie Lee Jones ruled 1979‘s airwaves with her fresh cool hit, “Chuck E’s In Love,” and she’s been releasing unique records ever since, writing songs that can be highly personal or playfully political, sometimes dedicating whole albums to covers of her favorite songs (like 2000’s “It’s Like This,” with fantastic laid-back versions of Traffic’s “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” and Steely Dan’s “Show Biz Kids”). She plays a special intimate show at the Iron Horse Friday at 7 p.m.

Saxophone and flute man Carl Clements and his quartet, including pianist Bennett Paster, bassist Jim Whitney and drummer Bob Weiner, will perform a set of Clements’ original compositions at Amherst College’s Buckley Recital Hall Friday at 7 p.m.

Americana indie-rock band Parsonsfield has a new record just out on the Signature Sounds label (“Blooming Through the Black”) and will appear at the Iron Horse Saturday at 7 p.m. Laney Jones and the Spirits open the show.

Country singer/songwriter/guitarist Robbie Fulks is one of the best live performers around, hilarious one minute and soberingly powerful the next, tossing off spitfire licks on his acoustic while singing strong and clear to the rafters. With a new album in tow (“Upland Stories”), he’ll be at The Parlor Room in Northampton Saturday at 7 p.m. Very recommended!

Shrewsbury’s own Mike Birbiglia had been a stand-up comedian for years, but he hit the bigger-time with his memorable appearances on “This American Life” and his one-man show-turned-book-turned-movie, “Sleepwalk With Me.” His latest film is the critically acclaimed comedy “Don’t Think Twice,” which he also wrote and directed, and he’s currently touring his show “Thank God for Jokes.” Birbiglia comes to The Calvin Theatre Saturday at 8 p.m. Jon Fisch opens.

Singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Dersham has a new record due out soon and a back catalog with some haunting gems (“My Days Are Numbered” and “Au Revoir Tuvalu” are two favorites). He’ll team up with Dennis Caraher (who’s released albums for both kids and adults) at a show at the Montague Bookmill Saturday at 8 p.m.

Westhampton singer/songwriter Jim Armenti (the guitar-picking third of the Lonesome Brothers) plays a rare full solo show at The Parlor Room Sunday at 7 p.m.

Actress, comedian and Saturday Night Live cast member Sasheer Zamata appears at the Iron Horse Tuesday at 7 p.m. Matteo Lane opens.

Indie-folk string band Laura Corteseand the Dance Cards are taking time out from working on their new album to bring their creative all-strings sound (fiddle! cello! upright bass!) to The Parlor Room Thursday at 7 p.m.

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