DAVID BOYKIN OUTET 4/2, HEARTLAND CAFE In his book Ascension: John Coltrane and His Quest, jazz writer Eric Nisenson takes some retrospective potshots at white lefty critics who tried to graft their own notions of what "revolutionary" black music ought to be onto the free jazz movement of the mid- and late 60s--particularly Frank Kofsky, a Marxist who notoriously tried to put his own ideals into the mouths of Coltrane and his peers. In fact a commentator would have to be pretty willfully blind to miss the explicitly spiritual intentions of players like 'Trane, Albert Ayler, and Pharoah Sanders, who built Christian, Hindu, and African religious sounds and images into any musical structure that could bear their weight. Local tenor saxist David Boykin knows this, and his five-member Outet is as faithful to Ayler's holy-rolling spirit as Mars Williams's tribute band Witches & Devils is to his music. His secret weapon is vocalist and storyteller Glenda Baker, who alternates improvised croons and serpentine wails with bits of poetry and ecofeminist parables from African and African-American traditions, creating a blend that serendipitously resists oversimplification. TATSUYA NAKATANI 4/2 & 9, NERVOUS CENTER; 4/6, LOGAN BEACH; 4/10, ARTEMISIA Boston-based percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani has studied with Yasuhiro Yoshigaki of Ground Zero, and he's capable of the extreme density and intensity to accompany, say, Sabir Mateen. But of late he's been interested in roomier, airier spaces, playing with economy and judicious use of pregnant silence and little-bit-pregnant near silence, with collaborators including saxist Bhob Rainey. In his weeklong Chicago residency, Nakatani will perform with various collaborators at various venues, as well as live on WNUR Friday at 2 PM. For the first Nervous Center gig, he'll be joined by keyboardist and electronics artist Bob Falesch, saxist Chris Warland, string player and flutist Bob Marsh, and bassist Tatsu Aoki; for the set at Logan Beach, the duo A-UN (Nakatani and New York-based guitarist Kenta Nagai) will expand to include Falesch, Marsh, and bassist Kurt Johnson; next Friday at the Nervous Center the lineup will be Nakatani, Nagai, Warland, Falesch, Marsh, Aoki, and vocalist Carol Genetti; Saturday at Artemisia he'll play with Nagai and Falesch. THE SWEETEST TABOO: A TRIBUTE TO SADE 4/3, EMPTY BOTTLE Lite radio is the bane of everyone who's ever called a friend at the office, but while on hold just last week I got such a surprisingly pleasant buzz from "Smooth Operator" that I was almost sorry when my party picked up the phone. That tune and others by the coolly glamorous African-born British singer who became a sort of cocktail-jazz Marlene Dietrich in the early 80s will be good-naturedly mangled at this show, a benefit for the women's housing center Deborah's Place. The 13 acts include frat poppers the Baltimores, masked trash rockers the Goblins, the J. Davis Trio, Mr. Rudy Day, Descendro Allegro, Kelly Hogan, and the ad hoc duo of John Greenfield (a veteran of the John Huss Moderate Combo who comes off like a sweatier-palmed Jonathan Richman) and Cynthia Plaster Caster. 2 FAST 4 LOVE 4/3, LOUNGE AX Can it really be six years since the local Motley Crue "tribute" band 2 Fast 4 Love shot its "tribute" video, with extreme-music bungee jumper Weasel Walter and his bare-chested, makeup-covered bandmates visiting the Hancock's 95th-floor lounge and giving the heavy-metal horny sign out the sunroof of a limo? That's enough to make even people too young to remember the Crue's heyday feel old. Now it's time for Weasel to smugly remind us that he was onto the hair-metal revival before anyone else thought it was a good joke; this "reunion" show is the "punch line." DESCENDRO ALLEGRO 4/7, DOUBLE DOOR It's never been cheaper or easier to produce your own CD, so this was bound to happen sooner or later: this local rock trio's debut, recorded raw with Gary Burger of early garage freaks the Monks, is a three-CD set. The artwork alone is pretty impressive, with silk-screened cardboard covers, typographically fanciful inserts, and trading cards--two band members also happen to run Crosshair, a competitor of the better-known local Fireproof-Screwball crew. Each CD is a stand-alone concept album of sorts: Honorable Treason is a Bond-esque epic introduced by a ballad that sounds like Obscured by Clouds-era Pink Floyd with insufficient drugs, and A Salute to Girls & Cars is a sometimes raucous, sometimes nostalgically poppy salute to said standard rock topics. My favorite of the three is the country-flavored The Story of the Donner Party, which faithfully details the fate of that unlucky pioneer group and conjures the image of the Descendro Allegro van trapped in snowy mountains somewhere, the band members forced to try to eat the excessive fruits of their labor. EMINEM 4/7, HOUSE OF BLUES I've tried to make sense of all the huffy-puffy about how particularly beastly this white hip-hop phenom is, and I say pish-posh. I don't see how anyone can miss the simple fact that the cartoonish trailer-trash b-boy's Slim Shady LP (Interscope) is the funniest novelty record in years, from Eminem's opening "Public Service Announcement" ("The views and events expressed here are totally fucked and are not necessarily the views of anyone....Children should not partake in the listening of this album with laces in their shoes") to the casting of producer Dr. Dre as his "motherfuckin' conscience" to the string of sublime kiss-offs that constitutes "If I Had." Eminem's inventive, only occasionally mean-spirited potty mouth links him more closely to Rudy Ray Moore than to Eazy-E. And the satire, even in the controversial "97' Bonnie & Clyde" (in which a dad and his little daughter dump mommy's body in the river), is broad enough that anyone who thinks their kids could miss it must think their kids are pretty stupid--and if they are, whose fault is that? RED MEAT 4/8, THE HIDEOUT These California honky-tonk revivalists write straightforward, harmonious originals on the usual topics--their Dave Alvin-produced debut, 13 (Ranchero), is full of loveless marriages, heartbreak, drinking, heartbreak, trying to give up drinking, heartbreak, and in a welcome kink, sadomasochism ("Baby Beats Me the Best"). Not bad, but if I want to cry in my beer I'll take my licks from George Jones. ZUBA 4/8, JOE'S Supposedly this Boulder band's name is the word for "good buzz" in some unspecified African language, and indeed, if its lazy-funky, blissed-out sound were any lazier or more blissed-out it'd be passed out on the futon. If you were too stoned to notice their music on the sound tracks to the Farrelly brothers' goofs Kingpin and There's Something About Mary, don't stress, dude: they're bringing their grinning stupor to a bar on, appropriately enough, Weed Street. --Monica Kendrick
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Descendro Allegro.