Walter Tunis: Six performances promise a range of choices, none of them bad

Contributing Music WriterFebruary 6, 2014 

Drummer Tim Daisy will perform with saxophonist Mikołaj Trzaska at Mecca on Monday.


Consider this weekend as a preface of sorts to a full concert week ahead.

We're not ignoring the weekend itself. Look at the links to the right to find stories about Delbert McClinton, performing Saturday at the Frankfort Convention Center, and Sunday's return of JJ Grey & Mofro to Buster's.

But get a load of all the sounds heading our way once Monday rolls around.

Tim Daisy and Mikołaj Trzaska

8 p.m. Feb. 10 at Mecca, 948 Manchester St. $5 public, free for University of Kentucky students.

If any instrumentalist can be viewed as the face of Lexington's long- running Outside the Spotlight Series, it would be Tim Daisy.

Since making his series debut in November 2002 as a fill-in drummer for Ken Vandermark's Free Music Ensemble, Daisy has performed on dozens of OTS bills in a number of duo, trio, quintet and full-ensemble settings. His ongoing OTS alliance culminated last summer with a solo percussion concert.

As an onstage collaborator, Daisy has long been keenly instinctual, especially when playing in duos with such resourceful saxophonist/ improvisers as Vandermark and Dave Rempis, both of whom are slated for OTS returns this winter and spring).

As a soloist, Daisy has created a library of sounds and textures, often by placing assorted gongs, bowls and cymbals on drum heads, in addition to spacious and fractured runs on conventional drum kits. Daisy also has worked equally colorful instrumentation on marimba into his solo and band projects.

All of this leads to a new duo tour this month. Daisy's performance Monday at Mecca will team him with Polish saxophonist and composer Mikołaj Trzaska. They will release a concert album this month called In This Moment, which features a set of five 2012 improvisations recorded in Daisy's home base of Chicago.

The Steel Wheels

8 p.m. Feb. 10 at Natasha's Bistro, 112 Esplanade. $15. (859) 259-2754.

Carrie Rodriguez with Luke Jacobs

8 p.m. Feb. 12 at Natasha's. $15.

Peter Walker/Doc Feldman

9 p.m. Feb. 13 at Natasha's. $10.

A full week at Natasha's gets underway Monday with the Virginia-based quartet The Steel Wheels. The band's roots-savvy music encompasses folk-leaning bluegrass, pre-bluegrass country and more.

The concert run concludes Thursday with Peter Walker, a pioneering acoustic guitarist during the 1960s, reminiscent — in temperament as much as technique — of innovators like John Fahey. Curiously, Walker disappeared from public view in the early '70s. At age 72, he is back on the road to promote his newly released Has Anybody Seen Our Freedoms?, an album he recorded in 1970.

But the main event plays out Wednesday with the return of Carrie Rodriguez.

An industrious Austin, Texas, fiddler, vocalist and songwriter, Rodriguez has developed a devout Americana fan base during the past 12 years that led to the release of her outstanding 2013 album, Give Me All You Got, and a duo concert with guitarist Luke Jacobs at Natasha's shortly after the record's release.

Rodriguez's concert Wednesday, which also will feature Jacobs, continues what already has been an active 2014 performance schedule. Last month, she dug into the vintage country music of Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family alongside modern Americana great Buddy Miller and guitar journeyman Bill Frisell for a Jazz at Lincoln Center program in New York titled Reflections on the Bristol Sessions.

Dark Star Orchestra

7:30 p.m. Feb. 11 at Buster's Billiards & Backroom, 899 Manchester St. $22 advance, $25 day of show. (859) 368-8871.

Bringing the Dead back to life on Tuesday will be the Dark Star Orchestra. More than a Dead tribute troupe, DSO uses full concert set lists by the legendary jam band as the basis for its nightly repertoire. It's a formula that has served the band well. DSO has performed more concerts in its 15 years together than the Dead did during its 30-year history.

DSO possesses a prime local connection, too. Lexingtonian Dino English continues to tour with DSO as half of its two-man drum team.

Patrons also should note that the Tuesday's concert, originally scheduled for The Kentucky Theatre, has been moved to Buster's. All tickets for The Kentucky booking will be honored.

The Robert Cray Band

7:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center, 300 E. Third. Sold out. (859) 280-2218.

Back again so soon? Indeed, Grammy-winning bluesman Robert Cray is, having played the Lexington Opera House as recently as December 2012. This time, he is playing the Lyric and the show is sold out. A call to the Lyric closer to Thursday might prove worthwhile as additional seats for sold-out shows sometimes become available. Otherwise, Cray fans who don't have tickets really will be facing the blues.

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