- Vincent Soyez
- A GRAND BURST OF LIGHT: The Fabian Almazan Trio takes the stage at South on Main as part of Oxford American's Jazz Series.
FABIAN ALMAZAN TRIO
8 p.m. South on Main. $30-$44.
Pianist Fabian Almazan, bassist Linda May Han Oh and drummer Henry Cole have set up musical shop in a hybrid territory, somewhere in the periphery between improvisation's buzzy energy and composition's structured mathematics. See "Pet Step Sitters Theme Song," which Almazan wrote as a member of trumpeter Terence Blanchard's band. In it, the listener is bound to mistake liveliness and buoyancy for making-it-up-as-we-go-along, except that in those moments when the whole center of chordal gravity suddenly shifts, all three voices take the corner at the exact same time. Not to be missed before the trio's performance this Thursday is Almazan's stunning latest work, "Alcanza," a nine-movement suite with Spanish-language lyrics that opens with the grandest of directives: "Tear apart your prelude/Tell me how it is that I — I, came to be from such a grand burst of light.' " Those lyrics are sung playfully by Camila Meza in a recording at the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, encircled by the swirl and dense interplay of an unbelievable octet, Cole and Oh among them — a sort of string quartet-jazz combo hybrid. (As if to represent the music itself in its packaging, "Alcanza" arrives to album purchasers as a "BioPholio," a two-sided origami-inspired foldout with artwork, liner notes and a download code.) Almazan appears at South on Main as part of the Oxford American Jazz Series. Tickets are available through metrotix.com. SS
ST. PETERSBURG PIANO QUARTET
7:30 p.m. St. Mark's Episcopal Church. $25.
In the hands of chamber music masters in the revered St. Petersburg String Quartet (est. 1985), parts of Shostakovich's "String Quartet No. 8" in C minor are bone-chilling. A unison phrase near its beginning drips with dread, and the ensuing frenzy later on in the piece is the stuff of Ted Bundy's mental soundtrack. (No wonder Hitchock composer Bernard Hermann ripped Shostakovich off so beautifully.) Violinist Alla Aranovskaya, violist Boris Vayner and cellist Thomas Mesa — who form the backbone of the String Quartet's current roster — transfer that same personality and intensity to their newer project with pianist Tao Lin, the St. Petersburg Piano Quartet. Here, at this concert from the Chamber Music Society of Little Rock, Lin and the string players perform Jeremiah Bornfield's glassy six-minute wonder, "As it Happened," a 2016 piece composed especially for this ensemble to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11. Go to hear that dazzler in person, stay to hear Robert Schumann's "Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47, iii. Andante cantabile," Beethoven's "Piano Quartet in C Major, No. 3" and Brahms' "Piano Quartet in A Major, Op. 26." Wine and refreshments follow the concert, and admission is free for children and students of all ages. See chambermusiclr.com/tickets for tickets. SS
- Keith Urban
7:30 p.m. Verizon Arena. $20-$97.
Even if you went out of your way to ignore Keith Urban, you probably know a handful of things about his life: Australian country star, married to Nicole Kidman, shook a substance-abuse habit, sports a boy band-ready shag, represents his own signature brands of guitars and cologne. What I didn't know about him until SXSW 2018 is that, like so many of his musical peers from across the pond, he was hip to the musical traditions of the American South at an earlier age than most American Southerners typically are. His first concert was at age 5, when his dad took him to see Johnny Cash — an experience Urban credits with lighting his fire for country music. He got fired from a metal band called Fractured Mirror for playing a Ricky Skaggs-inspired bluegrass solo through a Marshall amp during a set. He'll take his 2018 release "Graffiti U" and its bass-thumping elixir of stadium anthem "Never Comin' Down" to the stage at Verizon Arena this weekend with an opening set from pop-country confrere Kelsea Ballerini. SS
- Brian Chilson
- Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival
ARKANSAS TIMES CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL
6-9 p.m. Fourth Street between Main and Maple streets, downtown North Little Rock. $25 advance, $35 at the door.
Pay close attention, beer lovers: The party of the year is just around the corner. The Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival, presented by the Arkansas Rice Council, returns to the Argenta neighborhood for the seventh year Friday. DJ extraordinaire Mike Poe will get the party started so folks can dance off their sipping at tents from Blue Canoe, Flyway, Karbach, Clown Shoes, New Province, Squatters, Lagunitas, Mothers, Shock Top, Stone's Throw, Superior Bathhouse, Tin Roof and many other craft brewers. There will also be eats, for purchase, from the Riceland Mobile Cafe, Reggae Flavas, Say Cheese, Wok 'n Roll, K&T Hot Dogs, Loblolly Creamery, Black Hound BBQ and more. The Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau will also promote its Locally Labeled Passport Program, and the Fayetteville Ale Trail will be on hand, too. Because of the construction of the Arkansas Plaza, the festival — which sells out fast, so get tickets now at centralarkansastickets.com — is in a new location on Fourth Street. LNP
- Joshua Asante
- A TWONESS: "My Selves In Constant Dissonance/My Selves In Perfected Harmony (Timothy)" is part of Joshua Asante's photography exhibit, next up in the Thea Foundation's Art Department series.
FRIDAY 11/2-FRIDAY 11/30
'MY SELVES IN CONSTANT DISSONANCE/MY SELVES IN PERFECTED HARMONY'
6:30 p.m. Thea Foundation. $15.
Thea Foundation's next installation of The Art Department features the work of Joshua Asante, photographer/poet/frontman for Amasa Hines and Velvet Kente. "The African in America soon found there to be a twoness in which she/he was to exist," Asante muses in a press release about the exhibit. "To be both bondsperson and boundless, to be property yet priceless, to yearn for love and home and to possess neither, save for the confines of her/his master's debased will. From that duplicity, a vast splintering of human identity was spawned and finds its way into the now." I recognized the individuals in the exhibition's two harbinger images at The Art Department's website, and perhaps others will, too: Dazzmin Murry and Timothy Howard both tend to exude a warmth particular to their personalities. I don't know if recognizing the people in the photos is necessary, or even desirable to the viewer, though; Asante's premise shines through in the layered portraits, even if the subjects in the photo are being observed for the first time: "We are all layering and shapeshifting in a constant flux of longing; for a safe space to simply exist without fear of deprivation, or violence against our minds and bodies. We shape selves atop selves within other selves, birthing even more in pursuit of the full right of citizenship and the liberties/protections hereof. It is exhausting. It is maddening. It is as necessary as the hope that somehow weaves into our cultural DNA also." Friday's reception opens the exhibition. Admission, $15, covers heavy hors d'oeuvres by Heritage Catering, an open beer and wine bar, and the chance to win one of Asante's pieces. The exhibition runs through Friday, Nov. 30. Gallery hours are 9 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. SS
- BRAND NEW OLD-TIME SONGS: Fiddler Rebecca Patek and bassist Melissa Carper duet at The Undercroft Friday night.
MELISSA CARPER & REBECCA PATEK
8 p.m. The Undercroft. $10.
With a reverence for old-time music and an appetite for keeping it playful, bassist/banjo player Melissa Carper and fiddle player Rebecca Patek put together "Brand New Old-Time Songs," a collection of originals the duo wrote, plus a formidable take on Shawn Camp/Guy Clark's "Death of Sis Draper." The duo's a cappella "Thought I Heard You Singing" is absolute evidence that Almeda Riddle's flame has living ambassadors, and the waltzing "Put On Your Shoes" is nothing short of celestial; it's the song of the winter, as far as my playlists go. This show's for fans of The Creek Rocks, Iris Dement, Erin McKeown — or, of course, fans of Patek and Carper's other band, Sad Daddy. But, even if you've never heard a lick from any of those ensembles, I doubt you'll leave this basement concert without falling head over heels for this duo. SS
- Brian Chilson
- Arkansas Times Craft Beer Festival
LITTLE ROCK NIGHT MARKET
5-9 p.m. Bernice Garden, 1401 Main St. Free.
Shopping and eating in the dark — that sounds like special fun, especially when it's the Night Market in SoMa. Thirty local merchants will sell handmade goods, including such holidays-are-around-the-corner gifty items as soaps, candles, sculpture made from horseshoes, jewelry and so forth. You will also find yourself in the Night Kitchen, as chefs from Venezuelan Food Truck, Kontiki African Restaurant, The House of Mental, Antojitos Colombianos, South on Main and others show off their cooking chops. DJ Charles Ray will provide the music and refreshments will be available. The motto of the Night Market, which is in its second year, reflects its goal of community building: "One City. One Love." Africa Day Festival organizer Benito Lubazibwa of Tanzania is the founder of Night Market, Remix Ideas is organizer and sponsors are ARORA, Central High School National Historic Site and the Bernice Garden. LNP
- Rett Peek
- Ben Dickey
11 a.m. Beechwood and Kavanaugh streets, Hillcrest neighborhood.
Hillcrest's favorite festival is cramming all of the following into the neighborhood this Saturday: performances from Shake Ray Turbine musician-turned-silver screen superstar Ben Dickey, Big Piph, Dazz & Brie, Little Joe & The BKs, The Frontier Circus, and Hemmed In Hollow; food from Adobo To Go, Banana Leaf, Bragg's Big Bites, Kona-Ice, Haygood BBQ Concession & Catering, Hot Rod Wieners, Katmandu Momo, Loblolly Creamery, Luncheria Mexicana Alicia, Pappy Jack's Street Pies, Salsa Wagon, Slader's Alaskan Dumpling Co.; a dog show, a gumbo cook-off, baby goat ambassadors from Heifer International; over 150 vendors; and local beer from Blue Canoe Brewing Co., Damgoode Brews, Diamond Bear Brewing Co., Flyway Brewing, Lost Forty Brewing, Rebel Kettle Brewing Co., Stone's Throw Brewing, Vino's Pizza-Pub-Brewery and The Water Buffalo. A pancake breakfast and Farmer's Market precede the festival; see harvestfest.us for a full schedule. SS
- Brian Stowell
- Ray LaMontagne
- The Secret Sisters
RAY LAMONTAGNE, SECRET SISTERS
8 p.m. Robinson Performance Hall. $35-$85.
I'm still surprised at the sound that comes out of Ray Lamontagne's mouth when he approaches the microphone, and at the death-defying stunt he manages to pull off, airlifting a delicate Christopher Cross-Barry Gibb lilt of a tenor out of its 1979 yacht rock context and pairing it with folky guitar strums, bare-bones arrangements and undeniable clarity. His latest, "Part of the Light," boasts an intimate heartbreaker Lamontagne acolytes probably already know by heart — "Such a Simple Thing" — that puts his voice front and center, making the Secret Sisters' Everly Brothers-incarnate harmonies a perfect match. This show will be gorgeous; if you're a lover of only one act on this bill, bet that you'll leave a fan of the other. SS
- City of Fayetteville
- Kessler Mountain Trail System
SATURDAY 11/3-SUNDAY 11/4
KESSLER MOUNTAIN JAM
8:30 a.m. Sat., 8 a.m. Sun. Kessler Mountain Regional Park, Fayetteville. $15-$40.
After nine years in Bentonville, the annual mountain biking festival formerly known as Slaughter Pen Jam is moving to Kessler Mountain Regional Park in Fayetteville, and adopting a new name. "As the largest cross-country mountain-biking race in the state, Slaughter Pen Jam has been a wildly successful tourism draw for our region for the past nine years," Experience Fayetteville Executive Director Molly Rawn said in a press release. "Along with Fayetteville Parks and Recreation and AMBCS, we look forward to bringing an exceptional single-track experience to the City of Fayetteville." The Kessler Jam centerpiece is a single-track race that's part of the Arkansas Mountain Bike Championship Series (AMBCS), a series of mountain bike races across The Natural State, but there's plenty to do for the not-so-hardcore cyclists; see bikereg.com/kesslerjam to see where your level of experience and bike savvy slots you. For the daredevils who aren't competing in the cross-country race, a "Funduro Race" is on for Saturday, with shuttles taking riders to the top of two different runs: Chinkapin Oak and Crazy Mary. Both mornings' rides are followed by an awards party between 2:30-5 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m-1 p.m. Sunday, with beer and live music. SS
- Dennis Andersen
- ALICE'S RESTAURANT, 50 YEARS LATER: Arlo Guthrie and his daughter appears at CALS Ron Robinson for Oxford American's annual gala, "Books, Bourbon & Boogie."
BOOKS, BOURBON & BOOGIE: ARLO GUTHRIE
7 p.m. CALS Ron Robinson Theater. $150-$200.
You can get almost anything you want from the Oxford American magazine, including Arlo Guthrie and his daughter, Sarah Lee Guthrie, who will make a tour stop in Little Rock in a benefit for the magazine. The tour celebrates the 50th anniversary of Arlo Guthrie's famed "Alice's Restaurant Massacree," his comic, embellished talking account about his post-Thanksgiving Day arrest for littering ("Yes sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie. I put that envelope under that garbage") that segues into the Vietnam draft and his spot on the "Group W" bench with "mother-rapers, father-stabbers, father rapers" who move away from him when they hear he was arrested for littering. The spoken song was 18 minutes-plus long on the LP this writer heard it on when it was brand-new, a length equal to one of the gaps in Richard Nixon's White House tapes, or so Guthrie said. If Guthrie's weird political shift from the folk-singing left to the Republican Party bothers you, relax: He's renounced the party. Third-generation Guthrie musician Sarah Lee Guthrie (granddaughter of Woody Guthrie) and her husband, Johnny Irion, have performed as a folk-rock-blues duo for nearly two decades. Tickets are available at metrotix.com or by calling 800-293-5949; only a few were available by press time. LNP
WEDNESDAY 11/7-FRIDAY 11/9
11 a.m. and 7 p.m. Wed.-Thu., 7 p.m. Fri. UA Pulaski Tech Center for the Humanities and Arts. $5-$7.
A play that resonates with the horror of school shootings and their aftermath premieres at CHARTS with an all-school cast. Playwright and Porter Prize winner Werner Trieschmann, who teaches theater, film and scriptwriting at UA-PTC, opens "The After" in a high school, where students have created a barrier of desks, chairs and music stands to block the flying bullets. Later they must face the pressures of grief, fear and focus by the media. The play's violent theme means leave the children at home, even if they know what's happening in American schools — and places of worship, concerts, restaurants and wherever hate comes to town. The play runs about 60 minutes, and doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Reserve a seat at uaptc.edu/charts or buy a ticket at the door. LNP