It’s not every day that a bona fide musical legend makes it his business to be seen playing with an upstart band. Let alone one whose members’ average age must surely be a few decades shy of their mentor’s.
Yet, such is the case for James Brown’s former band leader Fred Wesley and rising New Orleans funk sensations Groovesect. Late this past year, the iconic trombonist —who famously served as a key soloist in some of the Godfather of Soul’s best backing groups, as well as handling the charts and arranging for many of JB’s most explosive ‘60s and ‘70s tracks— toured with this phenomenally funky soul and Afro-Cuban influenced jazz combo after guesting on their debut CD On the Brim.
- Groovesect shown here backing up James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley (he will not be appearing at this Savannah gig)
Filled with wicked syncopation, slinky back beats and brass-and-percussion heavy dance fodder, that record posits this infectious group as one of the most promising bands of their kind in the country today. In fact, despite their relative youth, Groovesect’s self-described “nasty funk” (equal parts, rock, jazz and soul) is the product of veteran players who’ve been gigging in Crescent City clubs, house parties and street fests since their teens. Since Alfred “Uganda” Roberts (a living legend of N’awlins music who’s toured and recorded with Prof. Longhair, Dr. John, The Meters and Herbie Mann, among others) joined the group, they’ve been voted the #1 Funk Band and #2 Contemporary Jazz Band of 2007 in the Best of the Big Easy Awards — an impressive feat in such a talented town.
Click here for a great video of Groovesect performing live!
They usually play medium to large music venues and outdoor events like High Sierra or Voodoo Fest, and it’s incredibly rare for a group of this caliber, size and acclaim (their album hit #7 on the U.S. Jazz Charts) to appear in the corner of a small room like this subterranean bar and eatery near Ellis Square. There’s no cover, so get there early for a good view of the band. Listen & Learn: groovesect.com. Fri., 9 pm, Jazz’d Tapas Bar.
Akil & Quanstar
This return engagement by two well-known headliners on the underground hip-hop scene will doubtlessly bring out a diverse crowd of rappers, funk and soul phreaks and spoken word enthusiasts. Akil was a founding member of the highly influential —and now sadly defunct— early ‘90s West Coast group Jurassic 5. Quanstar is a Compton, Ca. born, Atlanta-based hip-hop revivalist who’s been rhyming since the age of 14, and earning raves for his DIY albums. He cites Common and other conscious rappers as strong influences, and says his goal is to bring the art form back to its populist roots.
Here's live video of Quanstar at the 2007 Hip-Hop Congress Conference:
This venue’s regular weekly Alternative Hip-Hop Night features Freestyling and Break-dancing contests, plus local DJs and MCs. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/akilthe1mc, myspace.com/quanstar. Tues., 10 pm, The Jinx.
The Sean Bolden Group
If you haven’t yet caught a performance by this lauded area jazz drummer and pianist, here’s your chance. Taught by AASU’s Dr. Steve Primatic and Wichita State University’s Dr. J.C. Combs, he’s toured both domestically and in Europe and become an in-demand sideman to nationally known artists such as Robin Eubanks, Tom Lure and Stefan Harris, in addition to leading his own gigs — such as this ALL-AGES event sponsored by the Coastal Jazz Association. As with all of the CJA’s monthly live music events, the show is free to their members, and they’ll waive the admission cost to anyone who goes ahead and joins the organization right then and there. Listen & Learn: www.myspace.com/seanboldenofficialmyspacepage, coastal-jazz.org. Sun., 5 pm, Four Points by Sheraton Historic Savannah (Bryan St. & MLK, Jr. Blvd.).
The Rent Boys (Reunion Gig) ***
If you ever had the chance to see Atlanta’s Rent Boys back in the day, you’ll know why many people swore they were the closest thing the U.S. ever came to The Clash. Their furious, besotted and cathartic shows were things of beauty: punk chaos infused with heartfelt paeans to brotherhood. As this venue’s previous incarnation as The Velvet Elvis was a favorite stop for the band in their prime, they’ve added a Savannah date to their one-off Atlanta reunion show (after almost 8 years apart). It should be a night to forget to remember. ATL power-pop trio The Young Antiques open with a set of insanely catchy originals draped with the ghosts of The Ramones, The Jam and HÜsker DÜ. Listen & Learn: myspace.com/therentboysatl, myspace.com/youngantiquesrock. Sat., 11 pm, The Jinx.