This week’s cultural highlights in our region include several jazz events, modern dance, orchestral music, an all-star comedy double-bill; and a whole lot more.
Take one-part compositional jazz virtuoso, add voice with astounding range, fold in the staggering knowledge of a highly accomplished ethnomusicologist, and you arrive at the supremely talented vocalist, Kavita Shah, who brings her “Night of Jazz Reverie” – a smoldering, jazzy blend of Brazilian, West African, and Indian musical traditions -- to Club B-10 at MASS MoCA in North Adams on Saturday at 8pm. NPR said about Shah, her “music reflects the insatiably curious mind of an ethnographer, the soul of a poet, and the eye of a painter,” and praised her “amazing dexterity for musical languages”
Acrobatic dance outfit Pilobolus brings a program called “Come to Your Senses,” featuring both classic and brand new repertory, to the Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington on Saturday at 3pm. The program begins by examining our biology and ends by utilizing the senses in a refreshing immersion in the biosphere.
Pianist Lincoln Mayorga and trumpeter Rob Fisch present An Evening of Jazz Classics at The Spencertown Academy in Spencertown, N.Y., on Saturday at 7:30pm. The program will include favorites by Jerome Kern, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and others. Also appearing with the group are Capital District jazz favorites Rich Syracuse on bass and Gene Garone on drums.
Trumpeter Keyon Harrold, a Grammy Award–winner named “the future of the trumpet” by no less an authority than Wynton Marsalis, leads a program called “Jazz and the Birth of Hip-Hop” in the Fisher Center’s intimate LUMA Theater at Bard College on Saturday at 7:30pm. The concert is the first in a tripartite winter jazz series called “Sound the Trumpet!” exploring the rhythmic influences and musical storytelling that have shaped hip-hop, reggae, merengue, and beyond. “Jazz and the Birth of Hip-Hop” positions the histories of hip-hop and jazz alongside one another through original compositions, classic songs from the evolution of hip-hop, and new works from Harrold’s recent album, “The Mugician. “ Joining Harrold are two special guests, Grammy Award-nominated vocalist Maimouna Youssef and producer/scholar/MC DJ Raydar Ellis.
Also in the Fisher Center at Bard this weekend, the Orchestra Now Plays works by Wagner, Tchaikovsky, and Richard Strauss on Saturday at 8pm and again on Sunday at 2pm. The concert, conducted by Leon Botstein, is dedicated to “The Romantic Hero,” and includes Richard Wagner “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung”; Tchaikovsky’s “Francesca da Rimini,” and Richard Strauss’s “Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life).”
Comedians John Mulaney and Pete Davidson, both associated with Saturday Night Live, headline a comedy double-bill at UPAC in Kingston on Sunday at 7pm. Mulaney got his big break as a writer on Saturday Night Live for six seasons from 2008-12. He now has three stand-up comedy specials available on Netflix: New in Town, The Comeback Kid, and his most recent, Kid Gorgeous at Radio City, which I saw and I highly recommend. A current cast member on Saturday Night Live, Pete Davidson has also appeared on the MTV shows Wild ‘n Out and Guy Code; Jimmy Kimmel Live; and guest-starred in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Davidson shot his first one-hour stand up special for Comedy Central in 2016 and was named one of Forbes’ 2016 “30 Under 30.”
Seth Rogovoy is editor of the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com