While he has never veered from the heavily clustered, orchestral chording style and aggressively percussive manner he first developed over 40 years ago in John Coltrane’s classic quartet, McCoy Tyner continues to be one of the most inventive jazz pianists of his generationor any since. When he revisits and takes a commanding lead on any of the quartet’s landmark songs like “Naima” or “Afro Blue,” it’s easy to recall why he was considered one of the few players who was capable of challenging, rather than merely comping and following, the revolutionary Coltrane. In contrast to Keith Jarrett’s private musings or Bill Evans’ sparing suggestiveness, Tyner’s lyrical excursions and densely layered harmonic progressions boldly gather force like the approach of a complex, multi-frontal storm system. At the same time, his masterful variation of textures and tones makes the quiet momentswhen he solos on the opening of a ballad, for instanceall the more poignant. Though he has intermittently led a jazz orchestra and played in quartet settings with featured horn players like Michael Brecker, Tyner lately has returned to his preferred format, the trio. When he plays at the Belcourt Theatre, his first visit to town in more than a decade, he will be joined by two new partners, bassist Charnett Moffett and drummer Eric Harland, both of whom have already gained impressive experience swimming in both the jazz mainstream and its far streams.
This week’s picks by Martin Brady, Chris Davis, Steve Erickson, Jonathan Flax, Bill Friskics-Warren, Paul Griffith, Heather Johnson, Bill Levine, Steve Morley, Noel Murray, Jim Ridley, Jack Silverman, Angela Wibking and Jon Weisberger.
Danny Barnes The Bad Livers’ five albums welcomed punks, ’grassers, jazzers and anyone else willing to listen into an unbroken circle of tradition that placed Jimmie Rodgers, Bill Monroe, Iggy Pop and Bill Frisell on a seamless arc rotating around Barnes’ masterful banjo picking. After 31 years, the self-effacing player still regards himself as a daily student of the banjo, which is why his recordswhether with Bad Livers, his solo project Thee Old Codgers or with Frisell in The Williescontain such joy and enthusiasm. Barnes plays at Windows on the Cumberland in a trio with Goose Creek Symphony violinist Jon Parry and Willies bassist Keith Lowe.
The Mercury Program/The Paper Lions The End hosts a couple of disparate art-rock acts, both of whom are from the South but aren’t “Southern.” The Florida quartet known as The Mercury Program play gently textured instrumentals with an ear toward resonant percussion and pleasant atmospherics. Paper Lions are an Atlanta foursome who play roaring, arrhythmic post-hardcore in the vein of At the Drive-In and The Blood Brothers, but without the same level of terror (and thus without the same level of vitality).
The Lost Sounds The Lost Sounds’ energetic music pulses with dark new-wave synth textures and mock-horror lyrics that owe as much to the absurd and gory rap of fellow Memphians Three Six Mafia as to more obvious influences like ’60s beat-rock and The Misfits. They’re not only clever, they’re also fun, as anyone lucky enough to see their last local appearance (in a basement) can attest. This time around, The Lost Sounds can be found at The Slow Bar.
Thursday, 24th-Friday, 25th
Circus Dog Serenade Family Wash co-owner Jamie Rubin brings his band Circus Dog Serenade towhere else?the Wash for a two-night stand to be recorded for a potential live album. Drummer Kevin Rapillo, bassist (and former Dreaming in English guitarist) Roger Nichols and vocalist Michele Rubin (Jamie’s wife) join him for what he describes as equal parts Crazy Horse, Radiohead and The Rolling Stones. Rubin’s been a sideman on guitar and bass for several Nashville acts, but a chance to see him center stage is a rarity. Songwriter and bon vivant Warren Pash opens the Friday edition.
Darden Smith Despite mainstream anonymity and precious few avenues for airplay, Smith has garnered a respectable following since emerging from the Texas singer-songwriter scene of the mid-1980s. His ability to spin stories with a novelist’s eye for detail distinguished his work on narratives like “Frankie and Sue,” but the real-life hard knocks that nearly derailed his career have broadened his perspective on the recent Sunflower, which looks inward and finds hope. Smith plays at The Basement.
Al and Emily Cantrell An intermittent and welcome presence in Nashville’s acoustic scene since the ’80s, this duo recently put down permanent stakes in town. Al’s mandolin and fiddle work masterfully adorn his wife Emily’s rich vocals, which she applies to songs both dreamily evocative and gleefully lighthearted. The Cantrells’ broad-based blend of folk and Western styles will be one of the highlights of The Parthenon’s current weekly music series, which starts at 6 p.m.
Lee Fields/Sugarman 3 A JB-styled soul shouter whose rare early-’70s singles are hot commodities for crate diggers, Fields proves that old-school funk has plenty of lessons left to teach neo-soul newbies. In recent years, he’s become part of a small but potent ’70s funk revival along with artists like Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and the Sugarman 3 (whose albums party like it’s 1969). When Fields performs at the Slow Bar, backed by the Sugarman 3’s impeccable wah-wah and organ grooves, you may feel that some divine deejay has whisked you back 30 years in time to spin the funk-soul party of your dreams. Screw samples, this is the real deal, and the only show this week to rival Bob Dylan’s Tuesday club date and McCoy Tyner’s Thursday-night sets at the Belcourt.
Jane Monheit At the age of 20, Long Island native Monheit took the first runner-up prize at the 1998 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition. Since then, she has been on permanent buzz, playing a steady string of domestic and international dates and enjoying weeklong stints at prestigious nightclubs. Her first CD, Never Never Land, spent more than a year among Billboard’s Top 10 jazz albums; more recently, she recorded In the Sun, which showcases her abilities as a pop chanteuse. Making her Nashville debut, Monheit performs at War Memorial Auditorium as a part of the 21st Annual “Premiere Evening,” which this year benefits ArtSmart, a TPAC education program that provides hands-on art instruction to elementary school students. The black-tie gala includes an arts boutique and cocktails at 7 p.m., followed by dinner and Monheit’s concert. It’s a pricey affair ($500 per person), but worth it if you can afford it. For information, call 782-4023.
“Music on the Mountain” w/Butch Baldassari, David Schnaufer & Bobby Taylor An outdoor concert jointly presented by Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music and the Dyer Observatory, this series opener features traditional Appalachian tunes served up by what Baldassari calls “a string band with an oboe.” Dulcimer master Schnaufer, oboist Taylor and mandolinist Baldassari collaborated on a more ambitious project earlier this year; look for some friends who participated in that one to turn up here too. The music starts at 6:45 p.m. at the observatory; in case of dubious weather, call 272-4897 for an advisory.
Witch Hunt On this, the first of two great nights of hardcore punk rock at Guido’s NY Pizzeria, the female-led New Jersey trio Witch Hunt examine the cancerous social effects of vivisection, patriarchy and the Christian Right. While these lyric themes aren’t new to hardcore audiences, Witch Hunt’s music is fresh and exciting, with melodic vocal bridges that recall post-punks like The Shop Assistants. The remaining acts on the billRyan Teetzen’s new trio Deadly Skies, the Hanoi Rocks/Rose Tattoo-inspired Snakeskin Machinegun and The Contractoffer strong evidence of the diversity and quality of Music City hardcore.
Riders In The Sky For more than 25 yearsincluding some 30 albums and thousands of live, TV and radio appearancesthis fun-loving Grammy-winning foursome have entertained children and adults with their comic antics and their delightfully smooth delivery of cowboy songs. In conjunction with a silent auction, the Riders offer a 2 p.m. family concert at Vanderbilt’s Langford Auditorium, with the proceeds benefiting the cancer-support organization Gilda’s Club Nashville and Cooperative Child Care. Tickets are available at www.ticketweb.com ((866) 468-7630) or through Gilda’s Club at 329-1124. To donate auction items, phone 298-4391. M.B.
Hurts To Laugh This band’s Web site boasts how passionate their music is, but in practice, that just means empty bluster. Their aggressive crunch recalls Fugazi and At the Drive-In, but without those bands’ panache and gift for structure. Hurts to Laugh add a slight pop edge, but their singer’s tuneless vocals crash their ambitions in that area as well. They play with Richard James at the Boardroom.
Blacken The Skies Fans of the legendary hardcore outfit Catharsis shouldn’t miss this Greensboro, N.C., anarchist punk band, who feature members of that germinal group. Blacken the Skies’ music is heavily informed by a “peace punk” ethos, more of which can be learned about at www.crimethinc.net. They play at Guido’s NY Pizzeria.
Before Braille This hyper-dramatic quintet recall that other Mesa, Ariz., emo export, Jimmy Eat World, in so many respects, it’s hard not to draw comparisons. Before Braille set themselves apart, however, with a three-guitar attack, two-part harmonies and, on their debut LP, some Cure-like detours into the ethereal. Tuxedo-clad local band Feable Weiner, who open the show at The End, show similar tendencies on their debut release, Dear Hot Chick, albeit with a more tongue-in-cheek than heart-on-sleeve approach.
Bob Dylan The last decade or so has seen Dylan exploiting the American songbook for all it’s worth. And not just the old, putatively weird stuff of the prewar hillbilly and blues canons, but the Tin Pan Alley and antediluvian parlor tunes on which he dotes with equal tenderness and cheek. The payoff? He’s been writing great “originals” again; he also seems to be having more fun than ever playing live, and with a band that anticipates his every mercurial flourish. This rare club date at The Trap still hadn’t sold out as of press time.
The Sidemen Following the premiere of King of Bluegrass: The Life and Times of Jimmy Martin, George Goehl’s documentary screening at the Nashville Film Festival, head to The Station Inn for a celebration. The Sidemen, a collection of Nashville’s finest bluegrass boys (and sometimes girls), are preparing a program that will include a larger-than-usual dose of classics from the King of Bluegrass. It’s a safe bet that if he’s in attendance, Martin himself will get up to sing a few and make sure the fellers do it the way it’s supposed to be done.
Pascal gaddis Pascal plays darkly comic punk-folk along the lines of Beck or Vic Chesnutt, but there’s an obsessive quality to his high, reedy voice and slackly strummed electric guitar that makes his music compelling. It’s hard to tell just what he’s singing about in lines like, “All you need is waiting / Everything you want and anyone who wants you.” Still, he does it with such conviction that you feel like real life has to be behind it. He plays at the Family Wash.
Amy Rigby On her new album Til the Wheels Fall Off, singer-songwriter Rigby seems to have worked through some of the bitterness that spawned the ultimate revenge song, “Keep It to Yourself,” from her 2002 best-of 18 Again. The sensitive verses on “Don’t Ever Change,” a love song to her daughter, and “How People Are,” an ode to a significant other, balance nicely with to-the-point lines like, “Making love is way too ambitious / Let’s get down on the rug / After you finish the dishes” (from “Will We Ever Have Sex Again”). Rigby performs her latest batch of wry, revved-up country rock at 12th & Porter, with Amelia White opening.
The Wallflowers/ Ron Sexsmith That other Dylan in town this week would be Jakob, touring in support of his band’s latest album, Red Letter Days. This follow-up to The Wallflowers’ strongest, if relatively low-selling, effort Breach is a sunnier affair, with atypically upbeat lyrics and glints of piano and strings. Cult troubadour Sexsmith has suffered an up-and-down year, with the dissolution of his 15-year marriage leading to the release of the aching and expansive Cobblestone Runway, perhaps his finest work. Sexsmith, who has been splitting time opening for Coldplay as well, could easily be the highlight of this Exit/In bill.
Oceana Gayden Gayden, who made her debut last month as the opener for her well-established guitarist father Mac, betrays none of his cosmic hippie influence but shows hints of his free-spirited imagination. Though still finding her voice, Gayden’s white-girl hip-pop straddles the playful and the provocative with reasonably pleasant results that depart from typical Music City fare. She plays at The Sutler.
Nashville Film Festival The city’s 34th annual showcase for features, documentaries, animation and experimental film kicks off Monday at Green Hills. To plan your screening schedule, see our cover story on p. 23 or consult the NFF web site at www.nashvillefilmfestival.org.
Just Dance This indie feature, more than a year and a half in the making, represents a labor of love for first-time director K. Marie Walters, who stocked the cast and crew with fellow students from her alma mater, Tennessee State University. Described as a high-energy hip-hop dance film, the movie concerns the sparks that fly when an all-male dance academy admits its first female members. Now based in L.A., Walters makes a homecoming for a lavish premiere, 7 p.m. Saturday at the TSU Forum. Get there early if you want a seat. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Good Thief In which The Crying Game writer-director Neil Jordan steals openly from Jean-Pierre Melville’s caper-movie classic Bob le Flambeur and makes out like a bandit. Nick Nolte is majestically ravaged as the junkie prince of the Riviera underworld, a legendary high roller who risks it all on the heist of a lifetime; Tcheky Karyo plays the grudgingly admiring cop trying to figure out what he’s up to. An immensely satisfying wallow in gangster-movie chic, the movie opens Friday at Green Hills.
Ararat Working on his largest scale to date, filmmaker Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) uses a complex film-within-a-film structure to address one of the 20th century’s worst atrocities: the genocide of Armenians at Turkish hands from 1915 to 1923. Christopher Plummer, Eric Bogosian and Charles Aznavour join Egoyan regulars Bruce Greenwood and Elias Koteas in the epic drama, which makes its Nashville premiere Friday at the Belcourt.
Nowhere in Africa A German family flees the Nazis only to encounter strife and separation on a Kenyan tenant farm. Caroline Link’s drama won this year’s Oscar for best foreign film; it opens Friday at Green Hills. See the review on p. 39.
Russian Ark Hard to imagine that the Belcourt’s biggest hit so far this year would be a Russian-language film consisting of a single-take whirl through St. Petersburg’s State Heritage Museum. Yet more than 400 people turned out last weekend for Aleksandr Sokurov’s astonishing time-travel reverie, captured in an unbroken 96-minute Steadicam shot that glides up and down stairwells, past orchestras and thousands of costumed extras, with mind-boggling ease. A glorious spectacle and a daredevil logistical feat, the film has been held over for one more week. J.R.
Confidence Edward Burns, Rachel Weisz and a scruffy Dustin Hoffman rig elaborate double and triple crosses in this twisty tale from Glengarry Glen Ross director James Foley. It opens Friday, along with The Real Cancun, the John Cusack shocker Identity, and Kirk and Michael Douglas in It Runs in the Family. See our Movie Guide on p. 68 for more on these and other films.
Robin Hood Erich Wolfgang Korngold was one of Hollywood’s great composers, providing stirring, harmonically rich scores to many films of the 1930s and ’40s, chief among them The Adventures of Robin Hood, which starred Errol Flynn. But Korngold was also a serious classical composer, and it is his various sonatas, concerti and symphonic and chamber music that provide the inspiration for this final program of the Nashville Ballet’s 2002-2003 season. Artistic director Paul Vasterling’s choreographic interpretation of the beloved tale of the rascally bandit who stole from the rich and gave to the poor first premiered in 1998. His restaging features Matthew Christensen and Eddie Mikrut sharing the title role. Jennifer McNamara and Christine Rennie will alternate in the role of Maid Marian, and Christopher Mohnani and Eric Harris are double-cast as the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham. The four performances, April 25-27, will take place at TPAC’s Polk Theater. As always, Vasterling will host the pre-show “Footnotes” series, offering early-arriving audience members a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the production. See the story on p. 33.
Einstein’s Dreams In a felicitous collaboration, People’s Branch Theatre’s Brian Niece and Mockingbird Theatre’s David Alford have adapted Alan Lightman’s 1993 best-seller into an innovative stage piece, which explores the nature of genius as well as concepts of time. Alford directs, and Niece stars as the young Einstein. The cast also features Jenny Littleton and David Wilkerson. The play runs April 30-May 3 at TPAC’s Johnson Theater. Tickets are available at the TPAC box office, Davis-Kidd Booksellers or any Ticketmaster outlet. See the story on p. 36.
Last Summer at Bluefish Cove The late Jane Chambers was a well-known author of plays with predominantly lesbian themes. Her scripts were produced Off-Broadway and in regional theater, but she also had a successful career writing for soap operas. Chambers’ poignant and at times humorous drama, staged by the fledgling Cat Tail Productions, is set in a beach resort on Long Island, where a group of close women interact with a strong sense of family, then are challenged when a straight “outsider” moves next door. This production brings together an interesting collection of Nashville actresses, including Stacy Shaffer, the Emmy-nominated Sharon Wyatt, Trin Blakely, Virginia Evans, and local newcomer Helia Rathmann, who, like director Julie Alexander, is a transplant from the New York theater scene. (Alexander has directed recently at Lakewood Theatre in Old Hickory.) Like any new enterprise, it’s hard to predict the end results, but this production promises with possibilities. The show opens April 24 for a weekend run at the Darkhorse Theater, then moves the following weekend (May 2-3) to Unity Center at Donelson Plaza, 2710 Old Lebanon Road. For information and to reserve tickets, call 227-4664. M.B.
Cumberland Gallery Nashvillian and internationally renowned sculptor Sylvia Hyman is proof positive that art is ageless. The artist, 86 years young this year, continues to create astonishing stoneware and porcelain objects that defy the viewer’s sense of reality. Hyman does this by fashioning boxes filled with letters and baskets holding rolls of sheet music that look for all the world like the real thing. Only a touch of the hand tells you these beautiful creations are of cool, hard clay. Hyman’s latest works are paired with paintings by Suzanne Stryk, an artist who also takes the mundane and transforms it into art. Her acrylic paintings of crab claws, feathers and seaweed, whimsically arranged, have a formal beauty and hint of the surreal. Join both artists at the opening, 6-8 p.m. April 26. A.W.
TAG Art Gallery/ Zeitgeist Gallery/Antics Gallery Park the car once and hit three equally interesting art openings in Hillsboro Village this weekend. Start at Antics, with works by former Vanderbilt students John Powers and Nicole Pietrantoni. Then walk a few yards along 21st Avenue to TAG, which opens a show of new works by Canadian artist Jennifer Febbraro and Arkansas painter Frank Murphy. Finish up at Zeitgeist for a showing of new paintings by Nashville favorite Paul Harmon. Opening receptions for all three shows kick off at 6 p.m. April 26. A.W.
Finer Things Gallery You can look, but it’s best not to touch the latest works by Nashville artist Adrienne Outlaw, on view at this Nolensville Road gallery. By wrapping a menacing metal trap in silk and piercing soft leather with straight pins and animal quills, Outlaw creates sculptures that lure us and rebuff us simultaneously. Her use of such objects as sewing pins, velvet and mirrors also reflects the themes of domesticity and female assertiveness that she has explored for the past decade. Meet the artist at the opening reception, 6-8 p.m. April 26. A.W.
Local Color Gallery It’s the lucky 13th year for this Broadway art space, which has championed local and regional artists since 1990. Join the party and enjoy the colorful pastels and oil paintings of Nashville artist Gay Petach at the birthday celebration, 5-8 p.m. April 26.
Auld Alliance Gallery Brilliant reds, pinks, purples and greens are showing up in gardens around town this spring. But if your own thumb’s not exactly green, you might consider a pot of tulips or geraniums captured on canvas by Nashville artist Page Morehead. Take a look at her latest crop at Auld Alliance’s champagne reception, 5-8 p.m. April 25.
Reading & Writing
Jerry Vandiver & Gracie Hollombe Vandiver has contributed tunes to albums by Tim McGraw, Barbara Mandrell and Gene Watson, to name a few. Hollombe is a former Regional Workshops Director for Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), and she just had her first major-label cut with Latin artist Jose Miguel. The pair’s latest co-write, Your First Cut: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting There, is a book, not a song. Filled with tips on being disciplined, co-writing, pitching songs, networking, publishing and more, Your First Cut is as much a workbook as an instructional volume, complete with exercises, to-do lists and motivational tools to keep a songwriter focused and moving forward. Vandiver and Hollombe sign their book, 7 p.m. April 26 at the West End Borders.
The Land Trust for Tennessee & the Harpeth Watershed Association Benefit Join members of the Chestnut Group, a coalition of area landscape artists dedicated to the conservation of wild and open spaces, as they paint their way through the afternoon in their annual plein-air paint-out on April 25. The event also includes an auction of works by the artists, plus a reception and cocktail buffet dinner, at Riverstone Farm in Franklin. Proceeds benefit the Harpeth Watershed, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring the ecological health of the Harpeth River, and The Land Trust, a group working with communities and individual landowners to conserve Tennessee’s natural and historic landscapes for future generations. For more information, call 244-5263.
Franklin’s 20th Annual Main Street Festival This festival in downtown Franklin is always a fun family event, with craft booths, food, live music and kids’ activities. New this year is the “Artists’ Avenue,” featuring Camille Engel and other area artists painting outdoors. The festival is April 26 and 27.
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