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March Music Highlights

Fridays and Saturdays in March- KIM CLARKE presents “LADY GOT CHOPS WOMEN’S MONTH MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL” at the Bean Runner Café, Peekskill—What better way to celebrate Women’s History Month than to enjoy a stellar array of talented female artists and groups—primarily in the fields of jazz and R&B—throughout March, at the intimate Bean Runner Café in Peekskill? Jazz bassist, composer, and producer Kim Clarke (DeFunkt, Joe Henderson, Yusef Lateef, Queen Latifah) usually promotes this month-long festival exclusively in New York City, but in its ninth year she’s bringing it all upstate. The festival kicks off with the R&B and Jazz standards of Rhonda Denet and the Bad Cats (Fr 3/4) and the fierce rhythms of guitarist Jane Getter (Sa 3/5), joined by Brazilian bassist Amanda Ruzza, saxophonist Laura Dreyer, and drummer Sylvia Cuenca. Then it’s critically acclaimed jazz pianist Sumi Tonooka (Sa 3/12) with bassist Debbie Kennedy, Russian-born saxophonist Lena Bloch, and drummer Jocelyn Pleasant. Soulful singer/pianist Mala Waldron brings her quartet back for the third time (Fr 3/18), and then it’s violinist Marlene Rice with special guests (Sa 3/19), who has graced performances and recordings by Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé, India Arie, and Lauryn Hill. The festival closes with none other than the dynamic Clarke herself (Sa 3/26), backed by vibraphonist Diana Herold, saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, and drummer Luciana Padmore. Bean Runner Café, 201 S. Division St., Peekskill,, 914.737.1701. Shows are at 7:30 PM

Fr 3/4- JONELL MOSSER at the Bearsville Theater, Bearsville/Woodstock—Want proof that life is unfair? The simple fact that I even have to tell you who Jonell Mosser is, that’s all the proof I need. Oh, they know who she is in Nashville all right; with her kickass band Enough Rope, she’s been an off-Music Row nightclub mainstay there for quite some time, and more than one out-of-towner has stumbled into one of her gigs to discover a packed house enjoying one of the most compelling, expressive, soulful and charismatic singers around, and wonder aloud “why isn’t this woman a STAR?” It’s a damn good question; she’s had four official releases so far…and three more that somehow didn’t make it past the “business.” She’s backed up some of the best: B.B. King, Trisha Yearwood, Etta James, Wynona (on the hit “No One Else on Earth”), Rodney Crowell, Vince Gill, Waylon Jennings, Patty Smyth, A.J. Croce, and Bruce Cockburn, to name a few. She’s also a gifted songwriter with a local connection: her So Like Joy release (2000) was co-written with John and Johanna Hall, and she’s performed at a Levon Helm’s Midnight Ramble or two. Maybe with her upcoming release, Fortunes Lost, Fortunes Told, and her new crack band, the NicoTeen Idols, Jonell can get some deserved appreciation outside of her loyal fan base, long overdue. Bottom line: if you think that Bonnie Raitt, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin are/were great singers, you should definitely make this show, because that’s the level of company she rolls with. Bearsville Theater, 291 Tinker St. (Rte. 212), Bearsville/Woodstock,, 845.679.4406. 9 PM

Sa 3/5- NATALIE MERCHANT with the BARD COLLEGE CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC ORCHESTRA, at the Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson—Not many artists do five years of research before making a record. But not many artists are Natalie Merchant, a longtime Hudson Valley recorder and resident—who is also one of the few solo artists who flourished after leaving a successful band at their peak. Without the rest of the 10,000 Maniacs to keep her musical ideas in check, as they did in the 80s, her post-Maniacs 90s output—particularly Tigerlily (1995) and Ophelia (1998)—caught the full bloom of the artist, resonating strongly with the public, selling multi-platinum. Though the double-naughts saw a decline in output and popularity, Merchant stayed the course quality-wise with her next two releases, Motherland (2001) and The House Carpenter’s Daughter (2003), the latter on her own Myth America label. Then she embarked on the aforementioned research for what became Leave Your Sleep (Nonesuch Records, 2010). Produced by Andres Levin, the sprawling work calls on a wide foundation of musical styles, employing the talents of The Wynton Marsalis Quintet, Medeski, Martin & Wood, The Klezmatics, members of the New York Philharmonic, Lúnasa, The Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, The Memphis Boys, Katell Keineg, the Ditty Bops, The Fairfield Four and Hazmat Modine. Merchant eschews her usual lyric duties relying on other writers: Ogden Nash, e.e. cummings, Robert Louis Stevenson, Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Graves get her vocal and musical treatment. This benefit for the Bard College Conservatory of Music Scholarship Fund features the artist performing works from Leave Your Sleep—as well as others from her catalog—with the Bard College of Conservatory of Music Orchestra, onducted by James Bagwell, with special guests Uri Sharlin (piano, accordion) and Erik Della Penna (guitar). Richard B. Fisher Center, Bard College, Rte. 9G, Annandale-on-Hudson,, 845.758.7900. 8 PM

Fr 3/11- RHYTHMS benefit for those with Multiple Sclerosis, featuring THE KISS UPS, VOODELIC, THE BIG HEAVY, JULIE NOVAK, and DJ ALI, at the Rosendale Recreational Center, Rosendale—It’s been a tough couple of months for some Rosendale families, with two very engaging and creative young 20-somethings both being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis recently, one of the more mysterious diseases of the nervous system, with its wide array of symptoms, and no known cure. Artist/actress/musician/ladies arm-wrestling M.C. Julie Novak has spurred the local community to action, forming Rosendale Helps Those Handling Multiple Sclerosis (RHYTHMS) to put together events to raise funds, as the therapies available for MS are not inexpensive, and insurance is often inadequate. Novak has assembled a good time here: area music lovers no doubt are familiar with The Kiss-Ups, the ferocious powerpop bass/drums duo of Paul Heath and Michael Wilcock (a.k.a Truckpile), who blast out of retirement for the occasion. The steamy R&B/rock ‘n’ roll of Voodelic takes water from both the North and South, and makes a potent whiskey-strong brew from the mix, powered by the sweaty shamanism of singer Little Earl. The Big Heavy is one of the region’s most solid and sought after cover bands, with some reggae flavor added to their selection of pop and R&B. And, of course, there’s a solo set by Julie Novak, perhaps best known musically for her groups Guitar With Hearts and Gigantic! Food and beverages will be served, and DJ Ali spins old school grooves into the evening. Rosendale Recreational Center, 1055 Rte. 32, 845.658.8198. 5 PM

Sa 3/19, 4/2- Jazz artists JAMIE SAFT (3/19) and ALI RYERSON (4/2) at Jack & Luna’s Café, Stone Ridge—It’s a great little lunch bistro out at the corner of Rtes. 213 and 209, winning awards for their homemade soups and coffee (mmm, Monkey Joe), with its delightfully austere and open design full of glass, wood, and natural light. But Jack & Luna’s has a monthly alter ego of a swinging little jazz bar, serving wine and beer, and featuring a combination of local jazz stalwarts—which usually include J&L co-owner/feisty drummer Chris Bowman and bass legend Charlie Kniceley—with New York City cats like Blue Lou Marini (Blues Bros., SNL). Pianist/multi-keyboardist Jamie Saft (Sa 3/19, with bassist Don Miller, and Bowman on drums) has made his mark on the New York City scene with a wide palette of styles and talents, working with Beastie Boys, Bad Brains, the B-52’s, Laurie Anderson, John Zorn, Marc Ribot’s Los Cubanos Postisos, and Antony and the Johnsons. He played piano for the New York and Paris premieres of John Adams’ opera I Was Looking at the Ceiling and then I Saw the Sky, and provided musical scores to Murderball and God Grew Tired of Us. Then it’s the amazing flutist Ali Ryerson (Sa 4/2, with piano by Pete Levin, bass and drums by Kniceley and Bowman), who has run the gamut of the instrument, from the classical and symphonic to jazz and experimental, working with the likes of Joe Beck, Dr. Billy Taylor, Kenny Barron, Stephane Grappelli, Red Rodney, Laurindo Almeida, Art Farmer, Roy Haynes, and (as principal flutist with the Monterey Bay Symphony) Luciano Pavarotti. And she was the acting musical director of a Hudson River Regional Jazz Festival from 2001 through 2004. Jack & Luna’s, 3928 Main St. (Rte. 209), Stone Ridge,, 845.687.9794. Both shows 7:30 & 9 PM

Sa 3/26- DAVID LINDLEY at the Towne Crier Café, Pawling—If the hit tune was coming out of Southern California in the ‘70s, and it had some bitchin’ slide guitar on it, I’ve got five dollars right here says it’s David Lindley playing on the track. OK, if not Ry Cooder. But seriously, those Jackson Browne, Warren Zevon, Crosby & Nash, and Linda Ronstadt records benefitted mightily from Lindley’s tasty and often humorous fretwork (and freakish falsetto, as with Browne’s popular live version of “Stay”), and if you liked that you owe it to yourself to check out his legendary 80s goodtime band El Rayo-X and subsequent work with Henry Kaiser, Hani Naser, Wally Ingram, and good buddy, Ry Cooder. The recent version of “Mr. Dave” has him going global, combining American folk, blues, and bluegrass traditions with elements from African, Arabic, Asian, Celtic, Malagasy, and Turkish musical sources. To do so, Lindley incorporates an incredible array of stringed instruments, including Kona and Weissenborn Hawaiian lap steel guitar (favorite of Ben Harper), Turkish saz and chumbus, Middle Eastern oud, and Greek bouzouki. Though there is no question this will be a somewhat esoteric auditory experience with all the exotic instruments, Lindley’s music has always had solid grounding in the deep universal funk. This promises to be a very entertaining evening, and the man has been known to have a tale or two to tell. We recommend reservations….and dinner. The Towne Crier Café, 130 Rte. 22, Pawling,, 845.855.1300. 8:30 PM

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