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Robert Randolph
Courtesy Brooklyn Bowl

Sacred steel prodigy Robert Randolph

2015 Fall Culture Guide: Music

Desert Companion

Visual arts | Music | Theater & Dance | Literature & Ideas | Family, Festivals & Food

A big-deal poet comes to town. Offbeat musicians unite for an evening. Artists show their work, actors emote onstage: fall will be chockablock — that’s right, chockablock! — with culture. Our smartly curated guide will help you make the most of this autumn bounty.


 

{09|05

Nostro-what?

No idea what “Nostrosound” means, but the band definitely sounds dizzyingly eclectic: You got your pan flute (Hector Flavio Martinez), percussion section and small, guitar-like charango (David Seleme), more percussion (Antonio Pazos) and an extra dose of guitar (Carlos Urtubey). Expect an addictive mix of pan-Latin rhythms that will fire a little salsa into your veins. That’s what Nostrosound means. (AK) 2p, Winchester Cultural Center, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

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Nostrosound
Courtesy Nosotrosound

Nostrosound

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Poncho Sanchez
Courtesy of The Smith Center

Poncho Sanchez grew up in L.A., where cultural currents crossed, clashed and blended. That explains his eclectic, celebratory brand of salsa that mixes Latin jazz, bebop, swing and soul. (AK) 7p Nov. 27, 6p and 8:30p Nov. 28, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, $37-$59

{09|12

Sound introduction

2015 marks Donato Cabrera’s first full season as the LV Phil’s music director, and “Beethoven and Brahms: Opening Night” is an apt introduction to Cabrera’s range and sensibilities: the pastoral Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Opus 73, Beethoven’s more rigorous Piano Concerto No. 3 in C Minor, Opus 37 and contemporary composer Dan Visconti’s Breakdown, known for its vivid directness and fresh American idiom. In other words: A strong, friendly, inquisitive handshake. (AK) 7:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $26-$96, thesmithcenter.com

 

{09|13

Three’s a crowd-pleaser

They’re called the Laura Taylor Trio, but there’s only one Laura Taylor in this group, and that’s plenty. (Three might cause some kind of mass eargasmic jazzilicious overload.) The seasoned jazz songstress, pianist and composer (cred: she penned “Think I’m in Love” for Diana Ross) will dish out songs both modern and classic, including, no doubt, a generous helping from her latest release, Have Mercer on Me: Laura Taylor Sings Johnny Mercer. We think we’re in love. (AK) 2p, Winchester Cultural Center, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

 

{09|15

Essential voice

To call the enormously accomplished Plácido Domingo anything less than the quintessential voice of opera is a woeful understatement. And yet even that doesn’t do his multifaceted life justice — whether it’s his genre-spanning oeuvre, his tireless support of the arts or even his humanitarian work. (AK) 7p, The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, $79.50-$500, caesars.com

 

{09|18

Two harps enter ...

Mariano Gonzales and Cristina Cabrera both play harp — but their similarities end there. Gonzales is an internationally acclaimed master of the Paraguayan harp, famous for his sweeping, sensitive interpretations of traditional Paraguayan guarania music. A trained harp-maker, he’s also
hacked his instrument of choice for custom gear that embraces the entire chromatic scale. Mexican-born Cabrera specializes in a more nimble, sprightly form of harp music informed by Venezuelan and Mexican folk traditions. In this afternoon “dueling harps” concert, they’ll enter into a beautiful, border-spanning dialogue that will showcase their traditions’ similarities and singularities. (AK) Noon, Lloyd D. George Federal Courthouse, Jury Assembly Room, 333 Las Vegas Blvd. S., free, 702-229-3515

 

{09|18-19

ROCKJAZZINYERFACE!

Is it jazz? Is it rock? It doesn’t matter, because your body has combusted into a writhing volcanic fugue of vampiric life-lust. New York’s The Rad Trads mash up jazz, funk, rock and probably a few Schedule 1 drugs into their frenzied sound. (AK) 7p, $29-$49, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com

 

{10|04

Pop goes classical

A little classical, a little pop: Nevada Chamber Symphony Orchestra’s “Music Maestro” will feature both, including Warlock’s frenzied “Capriol Suite” — imagine a country dance gone crazy — Bach’s “Arioso” and more. (AK) 3p, Clark County Library Main Theater, free, lvccld.org

 

{10|06

Jesus is doing a guitar solo!

You’ve heard of church organs — but church guitars? Welcome to sacred steel, a form of pedal steel guitar music that blends the rousing religious ecstasy of traditional church music with steel guitar’s shimmering, six-string stylings. If on the eighth day God totally whaled on an axe, this is probably what it would sound like. In this concert, jazz funkists Medeski Martin & Wood and blues/soul supergroup North Mississippi Allstars join up with sacred steel prodigy Robert Randolph for a night of musical communion — and with this explosive blend of the sacred and the scorching, that’s sure to be true spiritually and otherwise. (AK) 8p, Brooklyn Bowl, $25-$30, brooklynbowl.com

 

{10|09

Mariachi

Mariachi: It’s not just great music to bwomp in your face at a Mexican restaurant. It’s also educational, teaching discipline, responsibility and the power of a well-placed trumpet fanfare. Kids in the school district’s mariachi program show their loco chops in ¡Viva el Mariachi! (AK) 7p, Clark County Library, free, lvccld.org

 

{10|15-16

Voice with a heart

Goapele (gwa-puh-lay) is a soul artist in more ways than one. To be sure, she’s got a voice that sounds like melted sex, and her videos are exercises in sophisticated seduction. But the Oakland-born artist has soul in a different sense, too: She puts her music into the service of the community, frequently performing at rallies, demonstrations and political gatherings. (AK) 7p $39-$69, Cabaret Jazz at The Smith Center, thesmithcenter.com

 

{10|22

Strings attached

The Pacifica Quartet is based in Bloomington, Indiana, but make no mistake: The ensemble is a force on the global chamber music scene, having earned a reputation as interpretive masters of string quartet cycles, acclaimed for their studied intensity and stamina. And, who knows, maybe a few screaming, stratospheric, hair-flinging solos too. (AK) 7:30, UNLV’s Dr. Arturo Rando-Grillot Recital Hall, unlv.edu

 

{10|23

A soothing bowl of sound

You could technically call Diáne Mandle a musician. But she’s something more like a spiritual flight attendant. Mandle, with her precisely tuned Tibetan bowls, planetary gongs and esoteric percussion instruments, creates otherworldly soundscapes that aim to soothe, inspire and transport listeners. Typically, you go to a concert for stimulation — volume, lights, $12 beer in a plastic cup?! Come to this concert to chill. It’s probably the only one you’ll ever go to where you’re encouraged to bring mats to lie down on. (AK) 7p, Winchester Cultural Center, $25-$30, 702-455-7340

 

{10|24

World in your ear

Travel the globe — minus the ritual indignity of having to remove your shoes and belt — at Passport to the World. The LV Phil will cover an eclectic international musical menu, from Manuel de Falla’s “Ritual Fire Dance” to Debussy’s “Claire de Lune” to Grieg’s “In the Hall of the Mountain King.” (AK) 7:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $26-$96, thesmithcenter.com

 

{10|25

Trio Camino

Talk about range: Classical guitar threesome Trio Camino performs songs from Greece to Latin America, including work by Mexico’s Julio César Oliva, Greece’s Manos Hatzidakis and more. (AK) 2p, Clark County Library Main Theater, free, lvccld.org

 

{11|05

String cred

In the Czech Republic, Jaroslav Svecen      is synonymous with the violin — and deservedly so. The renowned violinist is a considered a national treasure, and not just because of his long resumé of virtuoso performances or his role in popularizing the violin through his 44 albums and major media appearances. He’s also an expert on the history and construction of the violin, earning an appointment as the country’s official forensic expert on stringed instruments. Joining him on tour is acclaimed Czech pianist Vaclav Macha. (AK) 2p and 7p, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

 

{11|21

Finnish, him!

The main event of the Las Vegas Philharmonic’s “Cabrera Celebrates Sibelius” is, of course, Sibelius, with a performance of his vibrant, charged Symphony No. 1. But there’s also some local talent on tap: The philharmonic will also perform the world premiere of “Desert Flight,” composed by principal trombonist Nathan Tanuouye — yes, the same guy blowing the roof off the Palms every Monday night in Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns. (AK) 7:30p, Reynolds Hall in The Smith Center, $26-$96, thesmithcenter.com

 

{11|27-28

Poncho Sanchez

Poncho Sanchez grew up in L.A., where cultural currents crossed, clashed and blended. That explains his eclectic, celebratory brand of salsa that mixes Latin jazz, bebop, swing and soul. (AK) 7p Nov. 27, 6p and 8:30p Nov. 28, Cabaret Jazz in The Smith Center, $37-$59

 

{12|05

Beckin’ call

In 2012, musical artist Beck released the album Song Reader. Except it wasn’t an album. It was a book of sheet music for 20 songs — and a challenge and invitation to musicians everywhere: How would you perform these songs? Local experimental music collective Space Karate is taking Beck up on the offer, building a concert out of performing Song Reader. With a name like Space Karate, expect some fun and funky interpretive jiu jitsu — especially with a lineup that includes that four voices, basses, drums, guitars, banjos, clarinet, keyboards, accordion and, of course, ukulele. (AK) 7p, Winchester Cultural Center, $10-$12, 702-455-7340

 

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