The Jazz Foundation of Memphis' World Class Jazz Series gets going again this week with a performance from pianist Donald Brown at CafÇ Soul on Saturday, March 20th. Brown will perform two sets at 7:30 and 10 p.m. in a trio format with Renardo Ward on drums and an as-yet-unnamed bassist. Tickets are on sale at the Memphis Drum Shop and at Davis-Kidd Booksellers.
Brown, who records for New York's Muse Records, is a Memphis native and University of Memphis grad. He got his start as a staff musician at Hi Records and spent time in the '70s backing up (often as a bassist) soul and blues stars such as Al Green and B.B. King. Currently a member of the music faculty at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Brown has toured as a jazz pianist with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Freddie Hubbard, and Donald Byrd, among others.
At the Hi-Tone CafÇ Tuesday, March 23rd, Oklahoma shoegazers Ester Drang hit town on their way back from the South By Southwest festival. The band's ethereal, arty, low-key rock sounds swell on Infinite Keys, their new record for emo-identified indie Jade Tree. They'll be joined by a couple of local faves also heading back from Austin: The Reigning Sound and Mr. Airplane Man.
Also at the Hi-Tone this week, on Friday, March 19th, local cleaning company 2 Chicks and a Broom will throw a benefit concert for V-day.org, an organization dedicated to stopping violence against women. Locals Dearest Darlins and Bella Sun and out-of-towners Mad Happy are set to play.-- Chris Herrington
A few years back I described Crimson Sweet's sound as New York gutter punk made exclusively for 16-year-olds or for oldsters who want to feel like they just got their driver's license. The group's sound has matured since then, but my original assessment stands. Robbie Kongress' bass lines throb with punk simplicity, but thanks to Al Huckabee's quirky drumming they are never exactly simple. Polly Watson's guitar runs the gamut between divine Replacements slop and Cheap Trick's tainted splendor, and her raspy voice crawls through a song like a mortally wounded soldier making his way back to the front for one more go at the bad guys. The group is named for a variety of watermelon for gosh sakes. That should tell you everything you need to know: The flavor is intense, but sooner or later you're going to have to spit. Hearing Crimson Sweet makes me want to break out my Joan Jett cassettes and play "Starfucker" so loud that the neighbors call the cops. Since I don't have a cassette player anymore, it looks like I'm stuck with Polly and the boys. Nothing wrong with that. Crimson Sweet is playing the Hi-Tone CafÇ on Wednesday, March 24th.
Yeah, I know there's a lot going on in town right now, and after reading about Crimson Sweet, you're probably already marking your calendar. But if you like your rock-and-roll just a little louder and a little rougher, you might want to drive on down to Oxford town on March 24th to see The Bloody Hollies. The band sounds like AC/DC minus the solos. It's pure rock muscle combined with a total absence of flash and lead vocals with the Pentecostal fury of Greg Cartwright circa 1998. "Tired of This Shit" is a teen-age anthem in the making. They'll be playing at everyone's favorite sushi bar cum punk club, Two Stick. --Chris Davis