FRIDAY, JAN. 31
Too Many Zooz/BIROCRATIC
Too Many Zooz describes itself as Brass House on account of the way it draws from hip-hop, funk and jazz. The guys all come from diverse backgrounds. Matt “Doe” Muirhead grew up playing piano and singing in church and then got into jazz and got into hip-hop. Saxophonist Leo Pelegrino grew up playing with his dad, who’s an accordion player. As a result, he got into polkas before diving into jazz and hip-hop. Drummer Dave “King of Sludge” Parks has studied African drumming from Senegal and South Africa. The influences all come together nicely on the band’s latest effort, Zombie P. Songs such as the jittery jazz number “Wanted,” a track that features short, sharp bursts of saxophone, should come across well live. (Jeff Niesel), 8 p.m., $20 ADV, $22 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.
Into the Blue
Regardless of your take on the Grateful Dead, the band to which Into the Blue, an ensemble of local musicians pays tribute, the group maintains a damn important stature in the rock ‘n’ roll canon. Into the Blue revives that spirit and lends it the respect Jerry and Co. rightfully deserve. Anyone interested in hearing — and seeing — great music flow from the stage should check out what these guys are doing. Fellow musicians and artists will glean inspiration. (Eric Sandy), 9 p.m., $10. The Winchester.
SATURDAY, FEB. 1
Calexico and Iron & Wine/Madison Cunningham
Indie rockers Calexico and Iron and Wine first teamed up together way back in 2005 to release an EP and tour together. Just last year, they finally reconnected for the follow-up album, Years to Burn. Album opener “What Heaven’s Left” features a lush musical arrangement that includes mariachi-like horns and Beam’s robust vocals. The two might come from different regions of the country (Beam hails from North Carolina and the Calexico guys call Arizona home), but those differences don’t prevent them from making some pretty fine music together. (Niesel), 7 p.m. Agora Theatre.
Sam Hooper Group
With four CDs released on the FBJoy Records label, singer-guitarist Sam Hooper, who grew up in Shaker Heights, has assembled a significant discography. His songs have been featured on the daytime TV dramas All My Children and The Young & the Restless. The guys in his band are no slouches. Keyboardist Sakait N. Baksar plays with the local jazz-fusion band Horns and Things, and bassist Derrick James is the music director for the band. Produced by Hooper and Mike Null and recorded by James Kananen in Cleveland at Bad Racket Studios, Hoodoo Blues, the latest from Hooper and Null, features a classic blues sound. A song like “Messin’ with the Hook” features a terrific mid-song jam punctuated by some back and forth between Hooper and Baksar. Mixing and mastering was handled by India.Arie producer/engineer Jim Lightman at JL Productions in Nashville. (Niesel), 8:30 p.m., $15. Nighttown.
Mimi Arden/Mr. Carnivore
Singer Michelle Gaw and drummer Lee Kolarik met years ago at Cleveland State University and then began playing at an open mic night hosted by local musician Dave Deitke. Influenced by everything from jazz to soul and R&B, they formed this local act that takes musical cues from people like Elliott Smith and John Mayer. The band issued its self-titled debut two years after fans donated $10,000 to the endeavor. “It’s a great snapshot of where we were at that time,” says Kolarik when asked about the record, which came out two years ago. Local singer-songwriter Ray Flanagan and keyboardist Russell Flanagan contributed to the effort. Local singer-songwriter Elizabeth Bullock added backing vocals too. Tonigh’ts show serves as a release party for the group’s new EP. (Niesel) 8:30 p.m., $10 ADV, $12 DOS. Mahall’s 20 Lanes.
Soul Message Band
Chicago-based B3 jazz organist Chris Foreman and drummer Greg Rockingham began playing jazz together some 35 years ago. They’ve now turned their attention to a new group, Soul Message Band, which also features guitarist Lee Rothenberg. Last year, the group dropped its terrific debut album, Soulful Days. Songs such as the groovy “Sir Charles” have a Booker T. Jones vibe to them thanks to the beefy Hammond organ that drives them. The band is equally comfortable playing pensive tracks such as “Little Girl Blue.” (Niesel) 8 p.m., $20. Bop Stop.
I considered Tauk’s 2014 Beachland Tavern show to be my favorite Cleveland show of that year. The band was magnetic, and I was most especially taken with drummer Isaac Teel’s chops, calling him in my review an “untamed robot from the future.” That still holds, as the band 2016 effort, Sir Nebula, cranks up the energy from their earlier releases. Opener “Horizon” goes to frantic, interdimensional places. “Rainwalk” sounds like the ambitious offspring of something off 2013’s incredible Homonculus. Note, if you don’t yet know, that Tauk is all-instrumental. These are spacey, funky jams that tell wordless stories all their own. (Sandy), 8:30 p.m., $18 ADV, $20 DOS. Beachland Ballroom.
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