Jazz Comes Home

Great touring and local blues acts and an exciting Omaha jazz musicians' homecoming show are among February's highlights.


The Thursday Blues Society of Omaha (BSO) series at Chrome Lounge continues with JJ Thames & the Violet Revolt Thursday, Feb. 1. Thames is a dynamic, soulful vocalist and entertainer. See iamjjthames.com. Popular East Coast blues-rock guitarist Tinsley Ellis plugs in Thursday, Feb. 8. His newest release, Winning Hand, finds him returning to Alligator Records. Astonishingly gifted harmonica player and vocalist Jason Ricci takes the stage Thursday, Feb. 15. The Nace Brothers are up Thursday, Feb. 22. Thursday shows at Chrome happen 6-9 p.m.

Omaha Legends of Jazz

After a series of “jazz lab” shows at Hi-Fi House, acclaimed Omaha jazz drummer Curly Martin brings local and visiting Omaha-born jazz artists together at the Holland’s 1200 Club Friday, Feb. 2, 8 p.m. The performance, dubbed Curly Martin & Friends, No Place Like Home, is an all-star Omaha jazz celebration. Performing with Martin is guitarist Wali Ali who has worked with The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, The Jacksons, Aretha Franklin, Eddie Kendricks, Teena Marie, Rick James and Patrice Rushen. Also in the band is vocalist and sax player Stemsy Hunter, whose credits include working with The Electric Flag, Buddy Miles and Gil Scott-Heron. Guitarist Calvin Keys worked early on with Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, ultimately working with organ greats the Jimmy Smith Trio, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff and Groove Holmes. Sax man Hank Redd has worked with artists from Stevie Wonder to Johnny “Guitar” Watson to Buddy Miles. Expect some special surprise guests too. Tickets for this extravaganza of Omaha jazz talent are $20 and available at ticketomaha.com.

Zoo Bar Highlights

Lincoln’s Zoo Bar’s shows of note include Wayne Baker Brooks for the FAC, 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 2. Harmonica master Jason Ricci performs Wednesday, Feb. 14, 6-9 p.m. Lloyd McCarter plays Friday, Feb. 16, 9 p.m. You can get your karaoke on fronting a live band with the longstanding Sh*thook, Live Karaoke show Thursdays, 9:30 p.m. Keep up with the latest on the Zoo’s schedule at zoobar.com.

Road Trip

Central Iowa Blues Society’s annual Winter Blues Fest Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10, in Des Moines has a great line-up this year. If you are up for a mid-February road trip, check out cibs.org and follow the link to the 2018 Winter Blues Fest for set times and details. The event takes place in Des Moines’ downtown Marriott with music on multiple stages. Make your plans in advance as the Marriott sells out quickly but there may be rooms in nearby hotels. Performers include Omaha’s Rex Granite Band featuring Sarah Benck, along with Amanda Fish Band, Steepwater Band, Kilborn Alley, Grand Marquis, Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, Eric Jerardi, Anthony Gomes, Jason Ricci and Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys.

Hot Notes

An excellent triple bill of Mesonjixx with Marcey Yates and CJ Mills is up at Reverb Lounge Saturday, Feb. 3. Mesonjixx is led by the marvelous singer-songwriter Mary Elizabeth Lawson. The band also performs at Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre Saturday, Feb. 10, as part of Lincoln Exposed. Hear their music at mesonjixxmusic.com.

Blues-based vocalist, songwriter, guitarist and harmonica player ZZ Ward hits Waiting Room Monday, Feb. 5 with Black Pistol Fire and Billy Raffoul. Ward mixes blues roots with contemporary rock and rap for a sound all her own. Take a listen at zzward.com.

Vocalist and accomplished keyboard player Kelley Hunt plays a special show Thursday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m. at Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre. See bourbontheatre.com for details and tickets.

Frontier Ruckus is out on their acoustic tour and they hit Reverb Lounge Feb. 18.

Kris Lager Band is back from their winter tour and plays Bourbon Theatre Friday, Feb. 23. Music starts at 8 p.m. with Sophistafunk and Opal Agafia & The Sweet Nothings opening. KLB plugs in at Waiting Room Saturday, Feb. 24, 9 p.m. with Domestic Blend opening.


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