Kings from Different Addresses

by Josef Woodard

a single month, the Arlington Theatre will have hosted two
octogenarian musical legends, great musicians with staying power
and vast cultural influence. You might not find Ravi
(86) and B.B. King (80) within
easy jamming or riff-swapping proximity, but they share some common
traits. Each is a singularly important artist on his respective
stringed instrument — Shankar on sitar and King on his “Lucilles”
(the name given his signature Gibson 335s). And each helped to
evangelize about the power and beauty of precious musical
idioms — Hindustani music and the true-blue American
blues — outside the market-manipulated pop music monopoly.

King’s concert at the Arlington next Tuesday is part of a
yearlong celebration. It promises to be a more focused affair than
the multi-artist blues revue he brought to the Santa Barbara Bowl a
few years back (although that show included a rare and highly
memorable appearance by the King-loving Jeff

Shankar’s concert at the Arlington last week, in collaboration
with his virtuosic sitarist daughter Anoushka and an elaborate
Festival of India ensemble, had to be one of the standout events of
the season. To hear Shankar live is evermore a sublime experience
as he gets older, and proof of his thorough commitment to the
fabric and the spiritual iridescence of his great, ancient
tradition. We race forward into the future, but passionately played
Indian classical music hovers over the folly of fashion and time, a
reminder of deeper, truer things.

is a fairly ubiquitous musical figure around
town. The flutist has played often at SOhO and has been espied
jamming at the Farmers Market. She calls Santa Barbara home but
also hits the road for gigs elsewhere. Late last year, she released
a fine and ambitious self-produced CD, Raio de Sol (Sun Ray), with
a far-ranging cast of musicians and a stylistic map-quest
configuration situated around a diverse but somehow unified
Brazilian-cum-flamenco-cum-Latin-jazz sound.

Kleinmann, who plays SOhO on Mother’s Day night, May 14, in
celebration of the new CD, is proudly featuring the noted Brazilian
pianist Jovino Santos Neto in her live band for
the occasion (as well as a show at La Ve Lee in Studio City
tonight, May 11). The nimble Neto plays on several tracks on the
CD, as do such famed players as percussionist Airto
, and Neto’s original “Flauta de Tamoio” juicily
opens the proceedings. Neto plays both piano and accordion on the
intriguing closing track, “Shedding Skin,” a cerebral sort of waltz
credited to both Kleinmann and Brazilian legend Hermeto
. Also in the album’s musician mix are favorite
Santa Barbara-bred sons, bassist Randy Tico,
drummer Kevin Winard, and hot young pianist
Mitchell Yoshida, who lays out in a sinewy solo on

Speaking of celebrated guests, one of the finest pieces on the
CD is a seductively moody version of Tony
’s “Sister Cheryl,” featuring the sweet-smart
stylings of Benin-born Lionel Lueke (subject of a
Jazziz cover story this month, coincidentally). One of the most
interesting and inventive new guitarists on the current jazz scene,
Lueke has been playing in Terence Blanchard’s band
and his own culture-cross-stitch group. On Kleinmann’s album, his
supple, non-clichéd nylon-string musings nuzzle up nicely against
the flutist’s own heartfelt and versatile peregrinations.

TO-DOINGS: Fans of so-called world music, check
out An Evening of Near Eastern and Arab Music, Friday night at
UCSB’s MultiCultural Center, featuring Lebanese musicians
A.J. Racy and Souhail Kaspar.
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