Press Clipping
02/11/2016
Article
Eclectic Jazz

Badi Assad comes from a distinguished Brazilian musical family, but she’s blazed new trails, not just as a guitarist (like her brothers Sergio and Odair) but also as a vocalist and body-and-vocal percussionist. Her musical vision broadened to embrace jazz, pop and world music, including collaborations with jazz giants John Abercrombie and Larry Coryell, as well as covers of U2, Bjork, Tori Amos and more.

Assad’s new album, Hatched, which she’ll play from in her show 7:30 pm Friday, Feb. 12, at The Shedd, features her own compositions alongside Afro-Brazilian style covers of hits by Hozier, Mumford & Sons, Lorde, Skrillex and more, performed in her own easygoing yet electrifying style.

Assad’s show is only one of a Shedd-load of standouts this month. On Feb. 17, maybe the most intrepid of today’s jazz masters, Dave Douglas, brings his new quintet to The Shedd. As usual with the creatively dynamic trumpeter and composer, this band (saxman Jon Irabagon, pianist Matt Mitchell, bassist Linda Oh, drummer Rudy Royston) explores different territories than his previous ensembles, so even if you’ve seen one of his many prior Shedd shows, this one should offer new thrills by one of jazz’s greatest artists.

The Shedd surge continues at 7:30 pm Saturday, Feb. 20, when the southern California a cappella harmonizers of Honey Whiskey Trio return to sing their energetic mix of folk, bluegrass, pop and jazz.

And on Feb. 24, jazz fans will find yet another international star, drummer and composer Brian Blade, leading his Fellowship Band. Blade’s been the first-call sideman in some of jazz’s finest bands, not to mention he’s played with Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and other pop stars. Yet somehow during his peripatetic, perpetually on-the-road life, the Shreveport, Louisiana native has found time to cut four albums on Blue Note records in the past 20 years with his own quintet (two saxes, piano and bass) that soulfully summon more of the gospel and country influences from his homeland.

Not all the jazz happens at The Shedd. On Feb. 19, New York-via-Seattle’s Westerlies brass quartet brings its mix of composed and improvised chamber jazz to Broadway House (call 686-9270 for info). Without sounding pedantic or merely conceptual, the group manages to amalgamate folk, jazz and contemporary classical music into a rich potion that should go down smoothly in the intimate bungalow show.

It’s hard to confine the L.A. quintet Kneebody, performing Feb. 21 at the WOW Hall, to a term as narrow as “jazz,” since they started out playing groove music in rock clubs. “Virtuosic Electrojazz” keyboardist Ben Wendel summed it up in an interview with me last year, adding that the band’s lineage “really goes back as far as Weather Report — groove-based music improvisation, lots of different influences. Back then, they called it fusion music; I like to call it hybrid.” Incorporating rock (Elliott Smith, Kimbra) and even classical influences, the band’s music just got even harder to describe since they teamed up with old buddy Daedalus, adding his skittering electronica textures.

There’s some cool 20th- and 21st-century classical music at the UO’s Beall Hall this month too, including the 7:30 pm Thursday, Feb. 11, show by the university’s Sospiro chamber choir singing new music for voices and wind instruments by UO composers.

Also mark your calendars for more UO concerts: the UO Opera Ensemble’s Feb. 19 performance of the great French composer Francis Poulenc’s searing anti-war classic The Voice of Humanity; the American Brass Quintet’s Feb. 21 concert featuring music by the terrific contemporary American composer Eric Ewazen along with classics by Gesualdo and Gabrieli; the free Oregon Composers Forum Feb. 23 concert offering premieres by UO composers; the Oregon Percussion Ensemble’s Feb. 24 concert at the school’s Aasen-Hull Hall.