The Outpost Performance Space will present its Kids Variety Show on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 1 p.m. Such shows have become a tradition at the Outpost, featuring dance, music, comedy and theater conceived and performed by and for children. Call the Outpost at 268-0044 for information and to reserve a performance slot for your child or children. Admission is free! ... Also on Saturday, Dec. 6, it's time for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop's annual Yule Struttin' Holiday Fundraiser Party. This year's event will take place once again at the Albuquerque Museum (2000 Mountain NW) from 7 to 11 p.m., and will feature live music, art, food and a silent auction. Pianist Steve Figueroa and Friends will deliver straight-ahead jazz, Linda Cotton's ensemble will serve up funky jazz grooves and Guajira will spread the Latin and salsa love. Complimentary hors d'oeuvres and desserts, along with a variety of beverages, will be served throughout the evening courtesy of the Cooperage, and all guests will be able to enjoy the many exhibits currently on display at the museum. The silent auction opens at 7 p.m. and boasts more ticket packages, fine art and unique gifts than ever before. The auction will close promptly at 9:30 p.m. and all proceeds will benefit the New Mexico Jazz Workshop's educational programs. Those of you who haven't attended Yule Struttin' in the past have been missing out on one of the premier parties of the year in all of Albuquerque. Tickets are $35 and available from the NMJW. Call 255-9798 for reservations and more information.
Luciana Souza Quartet
Saturday, Dec. 6; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 8 p.m.): You won't find Brazilian composer and singer Luciana Souza's name in most of the exhaustive and homogenous books on jazz that line the shelves of your local bookstore. Yet, that is. With a musical background that extends into early childhood visits with Milton Nascimento and Hermento Pascoal and an upbringing by a family of bossa nova innovators, followed by a formal education at the New England Conservatory of Music and four years on faculty of the Berklee College of Music, Souza's stars are aligned in such a way as to ensure that she'll eventually be a household name.
She's released four albums as a leader, the latest of which, North and South (Sunnyside), completes a trilogy she began by putting the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop to music (The Poems of Elizabeth Bishop and Other Songs) and continued with 2001's Brazilian Duos. The trilogy, says Souza, was meant to underscore the fact that she could leave her native country only to find that it would never leave her. North and South is composed of some of Souza's favorite jazz and Brazilian tunes—several of them standards—along with a pair of her own works. The resulting album is a spacious rendering of her Brazilian roots that traces a graceful arc through contemporary jazz. Her choice of songs, from Jobim's "Corcovado" to Carlos Lyra and Ronaldo Bôscoli's "Se é Tarde me Peroda," and her treatment of them paint a sort of musical self portrait of Souza, whose artistry is almost unimaginably broad in scope and steeped in visceral understanding.
The Mavericks The Mavericks (Sanctuary)
Five years and a new guitarist later, singer-songwriter Raul Malo has revived the Mavericks and ushered in a new album that retains much of the rock-infused country magic that made the band an early '90s platinum-selling sensation. Malo, who during the Mavs hiatus spent time recording with Los Super Seven, has become an elemental songwriter, able to capture the classic Nashville sound, then soup it up using Cuban folk and Orbison-era rock. His Chris Isaak-like vocals and ability to put a pop twist on just about everything he writes provides us once again with a glistening Mavericks effort.
Release date: out now
Kool and the Gang
Friday, Dec. 5; Route 66 Casino (21 and over, 7 p.m.)
With a pair of Grammys, seven American Music Awards and 31 gold and platinum albums to show for their 30-plus years together, few would argue that Kool and the Gang are one of the most important funk-soul groups of all time. The hits—there have been 25 in the Top 10, including "Celebration," "Jungle Boogie," "Too Hot," "Ladies Night," "Fresh" and others too numerous to mention—haven't stopped coming, and brothers Robert "Kool" Bell and brother Ronald haven't stopped bringing on the funk, touring almost ceaselessly throughout their long careers.
with S.T.U.N., Armor for Sleep and Pris Friday, Dec. 5; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.)
Think of Seattle's Vendetta Red as pioneers of what will one day (very soon) be referred to as post-grunge. The five-member band have as much in common with Fugazi and early Smashing Pumpkins as they do with StonePearlGardenJam and the like—stadium rockers with feet firmly planted in the fertile garden of punk and hardcore of days gone by. If Screaming Trees had merged with the Pixies, you'd have the template for Vendetta Red.
The Shins Chutes Too Narrow (Sub Pop)
Sounding more confident than ever, James Mercer appears to have grown into his spectacular voice on the band's second release for Sub Pop. Chutes is impressive for its evenness—rather than relying on a handful of miraculous hits like their first record's "New Slang" and "Know Your Onion!," Chutes rests balanced on Mercer's increasingly introspective lyrical genius and his ability to craft melodies to envelope it. The result is classic '60s pop fed through a kaleidoscope of contemporary indie rock. Chutes isn't quite the gold mine that is Oh, Inverted World, but it's a subtle masterwork in its own.
George Cables Looking for the Light (Muse FX)
Aside from being my personal favorite jazz pianist, George Cables is largely responsible for defining modern jazz piano as we now know it. His latest recording offers a pleasing variety of post-bop up-tempo swing numbers and hushed ballads, all recorded with his "classic" quartet (Gary Bartz, Peter Washington and Victor Lewis). Eight of the 10 compositions are Cables' own, and the pair of covers, Carol King's "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and Eric Satie's "Gymnopedie," prove to be excellent choices for the ensemble. Cables' lyrical style coupled with Bartz' equally enchanting soprano sax work makes for incredibly satisfying listening.