Music of Times and Places

heard Juanes — the pop sensation from
Colombia — doing his charismatic thing at the Chumash Casino a few
weeks ago. You may know Colombian sexy-popstress émigré
Shakira. To get a truer, rootsier taste of
Colombian music, proceed to the UCSB MultiCultural Center on Friday
to check out the L.A.-based Very Be Careful. As
heard on the band’s third and latest album, ÑACAS (Downtown Pijao),
they make a mighty, accordion-driven and rhythmically fiery

Led by the brothers Guzman (bassist
Arturo and accordionist Ricardo),
VBC is stoking the flames of the Afro-Colombian style known as
Vallenato, dating back to the early 20th century, and a beloved
sound the brothers heard, growing up in L.A. in the ’70s. Who
woulda’ thunk that this music would make for one of the hottest
tickets in town this week? They’ve been building a diversified
fanbase from rock and world music corners, including the likes of
Ed Ruscha and Joe Strummer (who
invited them to open for him at the Troubadour).

SPANK YOU VERY MUCH: From a very different set
of roots — rising up from a proudly disreputable, impure musical
gene pool — the Austin, Texas-based Asylum Street
return to SOhO on Sunday. The Spankers — aka
ASS — are no strangers to town, having played the Mercury Lounge
and SOhO many times, making their blissfully nasty and
old-fashioned music (’20s and ’30s is a favorite era). They’re
always good for a laugh and a dance, a snort of ribaldry, and an
American musical history lesson. The band is led by the artist
known as Wammo and sassy vocalist
Christina Marrs, with a rotating cast of fine
pickers, fiddlers, and washboarders, and recently released a live
DVD, Reassembly (Spanks-a-Lot Records). This is one of few bands
for whom a live DVD makes poetic sense: they put on a real, bona
fide, italics-worthy show.

OTHER SOhO SHOW BIZ: Plenty of strong
singer-songwriters are making the rounds these days, whether or not
the labels or radio are noticing. Quincy Coleman
is one of them. Coleman, who has gotten a buzz from KCRW airplay
and exposure from a song in the film Crash, plays SOhO on Tuesday,
and it should be a good, full opportunity to experience her unique
blend of retro roots — alt-country, old-timey music, Hot Club
vibes, salty soul — and some new x factor. About to release her way
cool album Come Closer, Coleman pulls it all together into a tidy
post-Americana package, thanks to her bold voice and confident,
curious musical brain.

IDAHO SWING VOTE: Late February in Moscow,
Idaho means jazz time, when the annual Lionel Hampton Jazz
takes over the University of Idaho and the cool
small college town surrounding it. Jazz luminaries, student
bands — mostly from the greater Northwest — and a complement of
fine jazz musicians from Russia, the land of the other Moscow, pour

The recent festival was the last under the guidance of
Dr. Lynn Skinner, in charge since 1977 and a close
ally with Hampton when “Gates” decided to lend his name and
energies to the festival — instantly raising the bar and luring
world-class players to the Palouse yearly. This festival is big on
inviting returnees, making the line-up a déjà vu scenario, but who
can complain when the “house band” features guitarist
Russell Malone, pianist Benny
, bassist John Clayton, and drummer
Jeff Hamilton?

The featured performers this year included the fine
pianist-singer Dena Derose, young-at-heart octogenarian
James Moody, Jack Jones, and
Slide Hampton leading the Dizzy Gillespie
All-Star Big Band
(with Roy Hargrove in
the ranks). Lurking, luminously, in the wings was the great pianist
Hank Jones, who was ostensibly being paid tribute
to, but was so characteristically self-effacing and low-key, he
kept deflecting the deserved spotlight. Jones, now 88, may be
jazz’s humblest hero. (Got e?


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