the singletary looks to autumn

What’s this? Summer’s not even here and we’re already looking ahead to next fall and winter? Indeed so. The bulk of the concert season to be at the Singletary Center for the Arts is already posted on the venue’s website. Rich Copley offers a complete run down of the entire season this morning in Copious Notes. But we thought we’d spill the beans on three performances The Musical Box is especially thrilled about.

+ David Sanborn, Oct. 9 – One of the most distinctive alto saxophonists in or out of the jazz world, Sanborn has played with everyone from Paul Simon to The Rolling Stones to Roger Waters to James Taylor to a few hundred others. But with a catalogue of solo recordings dating back to 1975, Sanborn’s music has also been unfairly been stamped with that most dreaded of labels: smooth jazz. Admittedly, his mid ‘80s recordings approached such commercial turf. But for well over a decade – and especially on his last two albums, 2008’s Here and Gone and 2010’s Only Everything – Sanborn has channeled the sterling soul-jazz inspirations of Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman. This will be his first Lexington concert since a sold out performance at the Opera House nearly 15 years ago.

+ Branford Marsalis Nov. 13 – A member of the first family of New Orleans jazz and an alumnus of jazz music’s most storied stepping stone band, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Marsalis is a profoundly versatile saxophonist, composer, improviser, bandleader and, increasingly of late, educator. He hasn’t performed in Lexington in over 22 years. But three successive mid ‘80s performances nicely summed up the stylistic breadth of his playing – a 1984 performance with brother Wynton Marsalis at Memorial Hall, a 1985 outing at Memorial Coliseum as a member of Sting’s celebrated Blue Turtles band and a 1987 concert with his own quartet back at Memorial Hall. More recently, he released a sublime album that emphasized the compositions of his then-decade-old quartet (2009’s Metamorphosen). This time out, he plays the Singletary on a Saturday night. Autumn rules!

+ Bang on a Can All-Stars with Glenn Kotche, Jan. 30 – While we’ve all been salivating for a return outing by Wilco at the Singletary, the side projects by the band’s drummer, Glenn Kotche, have proven equally fascinating. Sure, that’s partly because Kotche is a University of Kentucky album and has played the Singletary numerous times as a student. But a far bigger reason is that Kotche is a stylistic journeyman. While he bashed about on the Singletary stage with Wilco in April 2003, he also performed an arrangement there the preceding winter of the Balinese Monkey Chant aided by an orchestra of “cricket boxes.” And that doesn’t even include one of my favorite non-Wilco Kotche projects, the recent, ultra cool Extended Vacation album by On Fillmore (Kotche’s duo project with bassist Darin Gray). Next January, Kotche will be featured with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, a New York ensemble that has regularly meshed progressive chamber music, jazz improvisation, pop experimentation and a modest theatricality since forming in 1987.

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