The weekend highlights in our region include monsters of indie rock; three dance companies; jazz; urban-folk; and a whole lot more.
My Morning Jacket, a perennial contender for the Best Alternative Music Album at the Grammy Awards, brings its moody, rootsy indie rock sound to MASS MoCA in North Adams, Mass., on Saturday, at 7:30pm. My Morning Jacket has been called “Kentucky’s answer to Wilco,” as a way to indicate both the group’s Midwest-meets-the South roots and its broad and diverse musical palette, as well as its tendency toward experimentation.
Camille A. Brown brings her evening-length work, BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, to Jacob’s Pillow in Becket, Mass., along with dendy/donovan project’s Elvis Everywhere, today through Sunday. Brown’s work explores representations of black women through modern dance, hip-hop, African-American social dances, ballet, and tap dance, with throbbing rhythms, color chalk scenery, and live music. dendy/donovan’s Elvis Everywhere is inspired by an interview with Donald Rumsfeld about his encounter with Elvis Presley in Las Vegas, which of course is an inspiration to us all.
Caleb Teicher & Company brings its mix of tap, lindy hop, and vernacular jazz dance to PS21 in Chatham, N.Y., tonight and tomorrow at 8pm, as part of the Chatham Dance Festival. The PS21 program will include Variations, in which three tap dancers make Bach’s Goldberg Variations leap from the page; Small & Tall, in which “small” Macy Sullivan and “tall” Lindsey Jones pair up for a funny and heartwarming duet; and Meet Ella, in which Teicher collaborates with swing legend Nathan Bugh to riff to the music of Ella Fitzgerald.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Kolbert will discuss the current environmental crisis, including the imminent threat of planetary extinction, in the Food for Thought dinner series at Hancock Shaker Village tonight at 6pm. A resident of Williamstown and visiting fellow at Williams College, Elizabeth Kolbert is a staff writer at the New Yorker and the author of “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,’ for which she was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction.
Jazz guitarist/composer Freddie Bryant headlines the 11th annual Hudson Jazz Workshop concert at Hudson Hall on Sunday at 4:30pm. Bryant will perform with pianist Armen Donelian and saxophonist Marc Mommaas, as well as an international lineup of workshop participants. The concert is preceded by a free talk with the artists at 4pm.
And finally, singer-songwriter Jen Chapin brings her unique style of soulful, jazzy “urban folk” to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday at 7pm. Jen Chapin is a remarkable songwriter, an untouchable vocalist, and one of our greatest song interpreters. While to some extent to the manor born – her father is the late Harry Chapin - Jen has totally carved out her own unique path, with her vocals that owe as much to jazz artists including Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, and Cassandra Wilson as to any folk singers; her compositions that are likewise infused with soul influences including Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Marley; all delivered as if she were a new-folk singer-songwriter, except that she’s not.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com
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