Tuned In: Christopher Bakriges, and more

  • Photo by Natalia Mantini

  • Kaki King 

  • Zoe Prinds-Flash Photography

  • Emmy Walden Fox Photography

Published: 6/22/2018 8:50:17 AM

One of my favorite jazz records of 2016 was “Clear and Present” by pianist Christopher Bakriges and his quartet, and two years later it more than holds up. Hear the group perform at the Bing Arts Center in Springfield on Friday at 8 p.m.

Melodic gems abound on the eight-song album — start with the swinging and colorful “Blue Book,” the playfully circular and enigmatic “Gnosis,” and the complex yet breezy “Door of No Return.” In an interview back when the CD was released, Bakriges described himself as coming from a lineage of “composer-pianists” who were “spiritually centered rather than chops-oriented, whose music reflects their hopes, dreams, desires and aspirations for a better world.” That positivity comes through in his welcoming, many-hued compositions.

Bakriges, who teaches at Elms College in Chicopee, will be joined on stage by vibraphonist Jay Hoggard (another teacher, at Wesleyan University), Panamanian bassist Santi Debriano, and beloved Springfield drummer Billy Arnold (who also plays with the Young@Heart Chorus and just returned from a big tour in Belgium and the Netherlands).

“Clear and Present” is a record “inspired by songs and spirit from around the world, in celebration of global humanitarian efforts and achievements of people and agencies working for peace through the universal language of music,” Bakriges said, and at the Bing show, the quartet will play selections from the album as well as their take on jazz standards.

The Nields — who just performed at the legendary Clearwater Festival along the Hudson River — celebrate their 27th anniversary with a full band show at the Iron Horse in Northampton on Friday at 7 p.m. Local Roches tribute trio Jerks On the Loose are the opening act.

Soccer Mommy is the moniker for singer/songwriter/guitarist Sophie Allison, who began uploading home-recorded songs onto Bandcamp back in 2015; she’s now an artist on Fat Possum Records and surrounded by buzz, celebrated by Rolling Stone, NPR and The New York Times just for starters. Soccer Mommy appears at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke on Friday at 8 p.m. The opening act is Lady Jane.

Guitarist/vocalist Kaki King headlines a bill that includes Treya, PamelaMeans and Wooly Mar at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Local mainstays The Doug Hewitt Group play original songs from their “Roots In the Sky” CD as well as jazz covers at the Thirsty Mind Coffee and Wine Bar in South Hadley on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Wooden Dinosaur is the songwriting project of guitarist, singer, and bandleader Michael Roberts (from Guilford, Vermont), mixing alt-country with soul and groove elements, and they’ll appear at the 1794 Meetinghouse in New Salem on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Valley rockers The Claudia Malibu and Beasthampton team up for a show at the Luthier’s Co-op in Easthampton on Saturday at 8 p.m. 

Upstate New York bands Rechorduroys (Troy) and Sinkcharmer (Ballston Spa) share a bill with local garage-rock noisemakers The Warblers (led by Mike Mascis, brother of J) at this week’s Lowdown show at The Basement in Northampton on Saturday at 8 p.m. — sharp!

Minneapolis indie-rockers Bad Bad Hats (pictured at left) have a new record due out in August (“Lightning Round”) and they return to the Valley for a show at the Iron Horse on Saturday at 10 p.m. Starting off the night is Northampton pop-punk indie-rock quartet Nanny.

Los Angeles-based “mysterious superdiva” Banny Grove is the alter-ego of onetime Valley musician Louise Chicoine (who records/performs as a duo with guitarist/keyboardist Peter Nichols). Banny Grove headlines a show that also features Ruth Garbus and Joey Agresta at The Root Cellar in Greenfield on Monday at 7 p.m.



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