For more than two decades, Andy Narell has helped redefine the performance and recording parameters for the steel drum. In the '80s, he was an integral part of wonderful multi-stylistic Windham Hill albums featuring Darol Anger, Mike Marshall and Barbara Higbie. A guest of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones on their records Outbound and Live at the Quick, Narrell also has pioneered new possibilities for the steel drum's Caribbean and calypso heritage while opening up the instrument to jazz and orchestral ensembles. Such exploration reached a zenith on the 2007 Telarc recording Tatoom: Music for Steel Orchestra. On Tuesday, Narrell teams with the Eastern Kentucky University Percussion Ensemble and Steel Band at EKU's Brock Auditorium in Richmond. (8 p.m. $3 for EKU students, $5 for the public. (859) 622-1334.)
The Jazz: Live at the Library series re-convenes on Thursday at the Central Library Theatre, 140 East Main Street, with a visit by Cincinnati guitarist Dan Faehnle) and his quartet. Faehnle boasts bold credentials in the jazz and pop worlds. He recorded with onetime Bill Evans bassist Chuck Israels and spent three years touring the world with Diana Krall. Faehnle also is part of Pink Martini's retro lounge pop escapades, including its 2007 hit Hey Eugene. Additionally, he will perform concerts this summer with celebrated B3 organist Dr. Lonnie Smith. Pianist Jim Connerly, bassist Mike Sharfe and drummer Tony Franklin complete Faehnle's quartet. Show time for the free performance is 7 p.m. (859) 231-5530.
Pandit Shivkumar Sharma and Zakir Hussain
7:30 p.m. April 4 at the Singletary Center for the Arts. $25, $30, $35. (859) 257-4929. www.singletarytickets.com.
In the United States, tabla master Zakir Hussain is recognized as an almost entrepreneurial voice for Indian classical music.
He has collaborated with jazz giants including guitarist John McLaughlin and saxophonist Charles Lloyd, has worked as an educator, has toured as an artist and has founded Moment Records, a label devoted to the contemporary and classical avenues of Indian music. Among upcoming projects for Hussain, 58, is a collaboration with banjo great Béla Fleck and bluegrass-turned-classical bassist Edgar Meyer.
So there's understandable excitement that Hussain will perform at the Singletary Center for the Arts on Saturday. But ask Lexingtonians of Indian heritage about the performance and they probably will hail its other featured artist, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, as the star attraction. Even outside his homeland, Sharma, 71, is credited for introducing the hammer dulcimer-like santoor to the world.
Saturday's performance, then, will be a performance of two lifelong friends devoted to meditative dialogues between santoor and tabla. For Hussain, performances with Sharma remain, after decades of his own groundbreaking world music, learning experiences.
"Shivkumar Sharma has been what you may call a willing listener to what I wanted to say," Hussain said. "He has been a very important influence in my life."
Our man Todd
One of pop's most tireless and inventive stylists, Todd Rundgren, is back in the region for concerts next week at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Road in Louisville at 8 p.m. Tuesday ($22) and the Madison Theater, 730 Madison Avenue in Covington at 8 p.m. Thursday ($22.50). The repertoire gets a shakeup this time around, though. In addition to opening and closing segments that will draw on nearly 40 years worth of exemplary recordings, Rundgren and his band will perform his 2008 album Arena in its entirety. Rundgren discusses the topical, social and, at times, political fabric of Arena along with the unexpected musical tie-ins that led up to it in Sunday's Arts and Life. Tickets for both performances are available through Ticketmaster, 1-800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com.