Music News & Reviews

Lexington violinist returns home and brings some free jazz with him

Lexington native Zach Brock returns home this weekend with pianist Phil Markowitz.
Lexington native Zach Brock returns home this weekend with pianist Phil Markowitz.

Brockowitz: Zach Brock and Phil Markowitz

7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the John Jacobs Niles Gallery and Center for American Music, University of Kentucky (inside the Lucille Little Fine Arts Library). Free. Zachbrock.com, Philmarkowitzjazz.com.

When last we left Lexington-born, New York-based violinist Zach Brock, it was during a weeklong residency on home turf for the Chamber Music Festival of Lexington. Despite the jazz leanings in some performances, especially ones featuring the trio he regularly gigs with, Triptych, the repertoire understandably was geared more to classical compositions.

Friday, however, Brock returns to Lexington, and he’s bringing the jazz with him.

The occasion is a Niles Gallery performance that teams Brock with Phil Markowitz, a pianist with a three-decade-long list of credits alongside such giants as Chet Baker, Mel Lewis and Toots Thielemans, among many others, along with collaborations with veteran saxophonists Bob Mintzer and Dave Liebman (including the latter’s occasional all-star Saxophone Summit group with Joe Lovano and Ravi Coltrane).

Markowitz and Brock released a stunning quartet record in 2014 titled “Perpetuity.” Typical of the group’s exchanges are the mischievous runs and rolls in one of the recording’s standpoint tunes, “Notorious Z.”

Their concert will be a duo affair, hence the co-opted collaborative name the two have adopted when playing without a rhythm section: Brockowitz. The duo also will conduct a clinic at noon Friday in room 17 of the University of Kentucky Fine Arts Building. Both events are free.

Reckless Kelly/Grayson Jenkins and the Resolutions/ Jericho Woods

8 p.m. Nov. 5 at The Burl, 375 Thompson Rd. $20-$25. 859-447-8166. Theburlky.com.

Lera Lynn

8 p.m. Nov. 9 at The Burl, 375 Thompson Rd. $10. 859-447-8166. Theburlky.com

The Burl is going to be one busy hangout in the week ahead. Aside from Saturday’s record-release show by Italian Beaches, the venue will host the return of Reckless Kelly on Sunday.

The Austin band is celebrating 20 years of indie-forged Americana music, with songs penned by frontman Willy Braun, who formed the band with brother Cody Braun. The quintet’s most recent recording, “Sunset Motel,” is alternately warm and restless in feel, as shown by the country-esque unease of the album-opening title song.

But the Texas-sized vastness in Reckless Kelly’s sound is realized in many ways. A 2016 Youtube video captures a reflectively ominous cover of Richard Thompson’s “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” from which slowly erupts a plaintive electric guitar intro from David Abeyta. Kentucky originals Jericho Woods and Grayson Jenkins will open Sunday’s show.

Then on Nov. 9, The Burl welcomes Lera Lynn back to town. Two years ago, the Texas-born, Georgia-raised and now Nashville-based Lynn was in Central Kentucky to headline the Well-Crafted Festival at Shaker Village. The appearance came on the heels of an intriguing Americana-rich album called “The Avenues” that coincided with ties to the second season of the HBO series “True Detective” — specifically, songs for its soundtrack and even a cameo as a barroom songstress.

But on the 2016 album “Resistor,” Lynn reset the roots-savvy shades of her songs with a darker, more layered pop ambiance. A touch of guitar twang here, a dash of dance-friendly bass there and the occasional tunnel of reverb give “Cut + Burn,” “Drive” and “Little Ruby” a slight Neko Case cast. It all makes “Resistor” the work of nocturnal pop priestess rather than the reflection of the Americana stylist who called on Kentucky in 2015.

Riders in the Sky

7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Grand Theatre, 308 St Clair St. in Frankfort. $25-$40. (502) 352-7469. Grandtheatrefrankfort.org.

Rhonda Vincent and the Rage

8:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, 2380 Richmond St. in Mount Vernon. $25-$35 800-765-7464. Renfrovalley.com.

Here we have two more weekend concert picks.

Friday night brings us the last of the great American cowboy groups, Riders in the Sky, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Still in saddle are guitarist Ranger Doug, bassist Too Slim, fiddler Woody Paul and accordionist Joey the Cowpolka King. This latest Riders roundup takes place at the Grand Theatre in Frankfort.

Then on Saturday, bluegrass empress Rhonda Vincent performs at Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. The mandolinist/singer has regularly ventured out of traditional string music orbit, as displayed by her 2017 collaborative album “American Grandstand” with country singer Daryle Singletary, the Renfro show teams Vincent with her long-running bluegrass troupe The Rage.

Read Walter Tunis’ blog, The Musical Box, at LexGo.com

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