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Beal: Lofton adds to KRTU's jazz fete-1950's Miles Davis tribute

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Jeff Lofton This weekend there's jazz, there's an “out of the house" concert and there's metal. Get busy.

Jazz ala Miles When Trinity University's KRTU kicked off its “Year of Jazz" in October, the station and its community organization partners aimed to stage a well-rounded concert series to showcase the station, the city's nonprofit organizations and a whole lot of varied jazz. The aim has been true.

Saturday the “Year of Jazz" moves to the East Side, to the Jo Long Theatre in the Carver Community Cultural Center, a building that has been a hotbed of jazz for decades. Austin trumpet ace, composer and bandleader Jeff Lofton will present his tribute to Miles Davis and the trumpet legend's '50s-era music.

Back in the day, when Jo Long, the theater's namesake and the Carver's founding director, was on the job, she tried to book Davis at a Carver jazz festival. Long tells the long story well, but the upshot is complex negotiations with the trumpeter broke down for good when Long refused to rent a forklift for Davis.

It's unlikely a forklift will be part of Lofton's requirements. The much-heralded Lofton and his band, Ray Charles Orchestra alum, noted player and educator James Polk (piano), Tony Bray ( tenor Sax) , Ed Friedland (bass) and Steve Schwelling (drums), will play Davis compositions and other songs made famous during the 1950-1959 part of Davis' career.

During a couple of festival appearances in S.A., Lofton has earned a large, loyal following with a mixture of sheer talent, repertoire and personality. Downbeat is 8 p.m. Admission is free to members of the Carver and KRTU; $15 at the door for others. Out of the house In '09, music fan and area music supporter Tim Slusher started Riff House Concerts. While house concerts aren't unusual, Slusher's are a bit different because he features the singer/songwriter and alternative sides. Some of the acts he's booked for Riff House are decidedly acoustic, but others are full-on rock bands.

Friday, Riff House will move from the house to the stage at Sam's Burger Joint. Showtime is 8 p.m. The lineup is set to include the Chris Taylor Band, The Rosedale Highs, The Canvas Waiting, Mobley, Little Brave and Pop Pistol. With that lineup, patrons get a bit of everything from Taylor's inventive take on the troubadour tradition to Pop Pistol's nuevo psychedelia. Tickets for the all-ages show cost $10 in advance at Sam's, $15 at the door.

Machine Head metal It has been more that four years since Oakland-bred metal monsters Machine Head released the CD “The Blackening." When the pounding outfit last year turned loose of “Unto the Locust," Machine Head served notice the quartet remains one of best of the hard-edged bunch.

Masters of tension and release, Machine Head with the new disc makes full use of dynamics, punctuating brutal assaults on the eardrums with more quiet, beautifully played guitar interludes that serve to build suspense until lead singer/guitarist Robb Flynn unleashes more fire and fury.

The Backstage Live walls might well shake Sunday when Machine Head stops in on its The Eighth Plague Tour with Suicide Silence, Darkest Hour and Rise to Remain. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Jim Beal Jr.'s Night Lights covers the area music scene. He also plays bass in the local band Miss Neesie & the Ear Food Orchestra. Send e-mail to jbeal@express- news.net. Beal is the host of the “Third Coast Music Network" show from 3-7 p.m. Thursdays on KSYM, 90.1 FM. Check the Music Beat blog at mySA.com; @jimbealjr on Twitter.


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