Mel Brown Septet Album Release
At this point, the Mel Brown Septet is basically the wallpaper of the Portland jazz scene, holding down the Jimmy Mak's stage with likeable, hard-swinging bop nearly every Tuesday since the club was founded. But in its current form, the band has never released a studio album until now. The album, Tuesday Night, includes compositions by idiosyncratic pianist Gordon Lee, some of which you've probably heard for years. For the release show, expect equal parts quirky originals and burning Art Blakey arrangements, with plenty of drum solos from the band's namesake.
Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave., 295-6542. 8 pm Tuesday, Sept. 23. $10, $22 (with CD). Under 21 permitted until 9:30 pm.
The Bad Plus
Back in the early aughts, the Bad Plus made a name for itself as a crushing, avant-garde unit that could outplay the loudest of power trios with nothing but acoustic instruments. Now in their 40s, these three motley Midwesterners have eased up on the Rush and Black Sabbath covers, but they haven't stopped experimenting. Their last album was a full-length exploration of Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, and their new record, Inevitable Western, is a vaguely cowboy-inspired collection of the probing free jazz that's become the core of the band's repertoire. Stay for the encore, when the boys will undoubtedly bust into a swinging rendition of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."
Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave., 295-6542. 7:30 and 9:30 pm Wednesday, Sept. 24. $18-$25. Under 21 permitted until 9:30 pm.
After shrouding his earthy saxophone in strings for his last album, Joshua Redman is once again stripping everything away. To support his new record, Trios Live, the superstar tenor player is joined by the spartan backing band of bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Gregory Hutchinson, one of the most combustible units on the modern jazz scene. Redman's career has ranged from his Elastic Band's funky jams to Brad Mehldau's richly orchestrated quasi-rock, but it's with the trio that Redman's blistering, soulful improvisations—and his onstage ducking and kicking—truly come to life.
Jimmy Mak's, 221 NW 10th Ave., 295-6542. 7 and 9:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 8. $20-$40. Under 21 permitted until 9:30 pm.
Eric Vloeimans and Oliver's Cinema
Dutch trumpeter Eric Vloeimans studied under jazz and funk trumpeter Donald Byrd, but you wouldn't know it from his own freewheeling projects, which draw more heavily on the classical and avant-garde. Oliver's Cinema is a trio of trumpet, cello and accordion that interprets classic film scores—such as from Cinema Paradiso and Rosemary's Baby. Not to be tied down by existing material, the trio also improvises ethereal soundtracks to its own imaginary movies.
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave., 222-2301. 7 pm Tuesday, Oct. 14. $15-$20.
Bassekou Kouyate is one of the world's foremost players of the ngoni, basically the Malian version of the banjo. Though he specializes in the traditional music of his country, Kouyate has jammed with Bono and Taj Mahal, and when Béla Fleck heard Kouyate, he invited the virtuoso on a worldwide tour. Kouyate is now on his own national tour, shredding nightly with his ace band, Ngoni ba.
Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St., 719-6055. 8 pm Wednesday, Oct. 15. $15-$20. 21+.
With stints opening for the Zac Brown Band and the Goo Goo Dolls, and album titles like the recent Chicken Boxer, it doesn't seem Gaelic Storm takes itself too seriously. It doesn't help that the band's biggest exposure was playing the Irish party band in Titanic. But Gaelic Storm is actually quite focused on making top-shelf folk music with an emphasis on zany Celtic romps. While a shiny pop sensibility has seeped into the band's output, connoisseurs of Irish music shouldn't panic: The virtuoso mandolin-picking and furious fiddling remain in full form no matter how hooky the songs become.
Aladdin Theater, 3017 SE Milwaukie Ave., 234-9694. 8 pm Wednesday, Nov. 19. $25. Under 21 permitted with guardian.
Orquestra Pacifico Tropical
There are only a few cities in the country where traditional Central American dance music could be heard in the same places as jangly indie rock and trendy synthpop. In Portland, percussionist Papi Fimbres and Orquestra Pacifico Tropical have brought crowds to their feet with their lively take on Colombian cumbia music. Though many band members are active in other, more typically "Portland" projects, when the Orquestra takes the stage, what you'll hear is (mostly) unadulterated folk melodies delivered with unfettered rock-band intensity.
Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., 288-3895. 9 pm Thursday, Dec. 4. $6-$8. 21+.