© New York Times, 08/01/03

Pop and Jazz Listings
selective listing by Times critics of noteworthy pop and jazz concerts in the New York metropolitan region this weekend. * denotes a highly recommended concert.

AMERICAN IDOLS LIVE, Nassau Coliseum, 1255 Hempstead Turnpike, Uniondale, N.Y., (631) 888-9000. The inevitable touring version of the television show. Expect to hear the winner (and lots of losers) croon and croon and croon. Tonight at 7:30; tickets are $25 to $45 (Kelefa Sanneh).

* DEVENDRA BANHART, Tonic, 107 Norfolk Street, near Delancey Street, Lower East Side, (212) 358-7503. Devendra Banhart's cracked tunes, free-associating lyrics and eerie, quivering voice hark back to 1960's oddballs like Syd Barrett and the pre-glam-rock Marc Bolan, but he has a strange streak that's all his own. Sunday night at 8, with Entrance and White Magic opening; admission is $8 (Jon Pareles).

BRUCE BARTH TRIO, Sweet Rhythm, 88 Seventh Avenue South, above Bleecker Street, West Village, (212) 255-3626. Now in his early 40's, Mr. Barth is perfectly emblematic of his generation in New York's mainstream jazz underground: the man has breadth. He is wide ranging, an adept soloist with a fine touch, a sympathetic rhythm section player and an especially good accompanist for singers. Working with musicians like Steve Wilson and Leon Parker, he has put subtle new wrinkles on the small-group concept, and since his stint with David Sanchez in the late 90's he has dug into Latin rhythms in earnest. Tonight and tomorrow at 8, 10 and midnight; cover charge is $15 (Ben Ratliff).

B2K, Madison Square Garden, (212) 465-6741; Hartford Civic Center, One Civic Center Plaza, Hartford, (860) 727-8010. This is billed as "Scream Tour III," in the hope that the squeals of young girls will drown out any slips in the close-harmony rhythm-and-blues ballads of B2K or the unctuous come-ons of Mario and Marques Houston and the player posturing of the rapper Nick Cannon. At Madison Square Garden tomorrow night at 7:30; tickets are $44.75 to $49.75. At Hartford Civic Center Sunday night at 7; tickets are $34 and $42 (Pareles).

* ROBERT CRAY, JOHN HIATT, Westbury Music Fair, 960 Brush Hollow Road, Westbury, N.Y., (516) 334-0800. Blues and Memphis soul music merge in the songs of Robert Cray, whose aching voice and searing guitar delineate the hopes and pain of a lover with a tortured conscience. John Hiatt is the kind of songwriter who not only rhymes "Queen of Sheba" with amoeba but fits those rhymes into songs that rock and country singers are eager to perform. With a deep-diving baritone and enough strange facial expressions to rival Jim Carrey, and with the twang-happy backup of the Goners (featuring Sonny Landreth's brilliant slide guitar), Mr. Hiatt sings his own songs as convincingly as anyone. Tonight at 8; tickets are $40.50 (Pareles).

DEF LEPPARD, Jones Beach Theater, Wantagh, N.Y., (516) 221-1000; PNC Bank Arts Center, Garden State Parkway Exit 116, Holmdel, N.J., (732) 335-0400. Def Leppard's canny combination of pop melody and power chords made it a staple of MTV in the 1980's and early 90's with songs like "Photograph" and "Pour a Little Sugar on Me." No doubt its members are still keeping hair and guitars carefully coiffed. At Jones Beach tonight at 8; tickets are $36.50 to $51.50. At PNC Bank Arts Center tomorrow night at 8; tickets are $27.50 to $49.75 (Pareles).

* D.J. LE SPAM AND THE SPAM ALL-STARS, S.O.B.'s (Sounds of Brazil), 204 Varick Street, at Houston Street, South Village, (212) 243-4940. D.J. Le Spam's regular club shows became a sensation in Miami, where he mixed the electronic rhythms of dance-club music with live musicians steeped in Cuban salsa. Now he's establishing a New York outpost. Tonight at 10; admission is $12 (Pareles).

WAYNE ESCOFFERY QUARTET, Fat Cat, 75 Christopher Street, West Village, (212) 675-6056. This young, self-assured, hard-swinging tenor saxophonist has in his group the trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and the drummer Ralph Peterson, who play like pile drivers. Tonight and tomorrow night at 10; admission is $15 (Ratliff).

"FAST 'N' BULBOUS: THE CAPTAIN BEEFHEART PROJECT," Knitting Factory, 74 Leonard Street, TriBeCa, (212) 219-3006. Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, with its clashing meters, crisscrossing melody lines vaulting over wide intervals and precision timing, was always several steps closer to jazz than to rock. And so the great intuitive artist of rock, Captain Beefheart (real name: Don Van Vliet) — who is said to be in poor health, at home in Northern California after 20 years of forswearing music for a successful second career in oil painting — now has a proper repertory project dedicated to his music. A septet led by the guitarist Gary Lucas, who played with Beefheart in the 1980's, and the saxophonist Phillip Johnston, who played with the Microscopic Septet, "Fast 'n' Bulbous" is a studious, energetic and reinterpretive band, a bit like what jazz-repertory orchestras aim for these days. Tonight at 9; tickets are $17 (Ratliff).

* ELY GUERRA, Central Park SummerStage, midpark at 69th Street, Manhattan, (212) 360-2777; Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, East Village, (212) 539-8778 or (212) 239-6200. Ely Guerra, one the most intriguing songwriters in Mexican rock, makes converts whenever she performs. On her superb album "Lotofire" (Higher Octave), she sings about passion: gazing at it from a distance, then plunging into the turbulence. Her songs incorporate rock, electronica and the torchy emotion of Mexican pop in a shifting balance of poise and obsession. At SummerStage tomorrow at 3 p.m. she shares the bill with Aventura, a band from the Dominican Republic, and a set by the disc jockey Tony Touch; admission is free, with donations requested. At Joe's Pub on Sunday at 9:30 she plays a solo acoustic concert that could be even more intense; admission is $15 (Pareles).

* LA INDIA, Krash, 34-48 Steinway Street, Astoria, Queens, (718) 937-2400; Celebrate Brooklyn!, Prospect Park Band Shell, Ninth Street and Prospect Park West, (718) 855-7882, Ext. 45. After some early dance-music hits with the producer Little Louie Vega, La India rediscovered her Latin roots, teaming up with musicians like Eddie Palmieri, Tito Puente and Marc Anthony. She has applied her brash voice, with its occasional growl, to Latin jazz and to the dance-floor salsa that has brought her a string of hits. At Krash tomorrow night at 2 a.m.; admission is $15 in advance, $20 tomorrow. On Sunday La India headlines the Boricua Festival, an afternoon of Puerto Rican music, crafts and food at Prospect Park. Sunday from 2 to 9 p.m.; free, with a $3 donation requested (Pareles).

LADYBUG TRANSISTOR, Southpaw, 125 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope, Brooklyn, (718) 230-0236. Ladybug Transistor, a band fascinated with 1960's pop, seeks a middle ground between the calmer side of the Velvet Underground and the horns, flute and keyboards of bands like the Association and the Fifth Dimension. Tonight at 9, with the Lucksmiths sharing the bill; admission is $10 (Pareles).

* BETTYE LAVETTE, Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street, East Village, (212) 539-8778 or (212) 239-6200. Bettye Lavette was a teenager when she started her recording career in the early 1960's. She hung in through years of near misses, restarting her career in Europe and finally releasing the second American album of her career this year: the pure Southern soul of "A Woman Like Me" (Blues Express). Her weathered, gutsy voice brings out all the drama in her songs about romantic ups and downs. Tonight at 7:30; admission is $20 (Pareles).

JASON LINDNER GROUP, Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, below Spring Street, South Village, (212) 242-1063. Mr. Lindner, a smart, rhythmic pianist who brings together bop, Cuban and all sorts of progressive influences, has become a regular feature at this club; this particular group includes a rare sighting around here of the saxophonist Jimmy Vass, a little-known jazz elder from Philadelphia. Tonight and tomorrow night at 9 and 10:30; admission is $12 a set, $10 for members (Ratliff).

LONGWAVE, Maxwell's, 1039 Washington Street, Hoboken, N.J., (201) 798-0406. Longwave is a New York band that looks across the Atlantic to find models for its stately, slow-building songs. The guitar lines coil and climb as the songs ponder self-destruction and transcendence. Tomorrow night at 10, with Orange Park opening; admission is $10 (Pareles).

For the rest of the listings...

Pop and Jazz Listings

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