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Keeping the beat in New Orleans: Preservation Hall Jazz Band 

Wednesday, Feb 21 2007
For two decades, the world-renowned Los Angeles Guitar Quartet has aimed to bring classical music to the masses by expanding conventional repertoire with titles from all over the map. On Guitar Heroes, the group's standout 2004 recording, the players reworked compositions from six-string gods of many faiths, including Jimi Hendrix (psychedelic blues-rock), Chet Atkins (country), Steve Howe (art rock), Django Reinhardt (Gypsy jazz), Michael Hedges (New Age), and Frank Zappa (mondo bizarro). LAGQ is more virtuosic, open-minded, and egalitarian than most. For its latest project, the combo has teamed up with bossa nova chanteuse Luciana Souza to explore the charms of the Latin American masters, including Brazilian pioneers Hermeto Pascoal and Antonio Carlos Jobim. Hear the hot six-strings on Thursday, Feb. 22, at Herbst Theatre at 8 p.m. Admission is $26-39; call 392-2545 or visit for more info. — Sam Prestianni

The centerpiece of Cold War Kids' full-length debut Robbers & Cowards is the masterfully tense "Hospital Beds." Like many of the album's tracks, it's a remake of a tune from one of the California quartet's previous three EPs. Nathan Willett's tapering wail, unusually supple for indie rock (soulful, even), drives home the song's harrowing ICU scenario: "I got one friend laying across from me/ I did not choose him; he did not choose me/ We got no chance of recovery/ Sharing hospital joy and misery." There's something about his deliberate pronunciation of the line "Vietnam, fishing trips, I-ta-li-an op-er-a" that creates goosebump-raising frisson every time you hear it. The Cold War Kids perform on Friday, Feb. 23, at Great American Music Hall at 9 p.m. Tickets are sold out; call 855-0750 or visit for more info. — J. Niimi

One of the most accomplished and versatile guitarists working today, Nels Cline is at home whether providing virtuoso support for alt-rockers Wilco, dealing out laser-guided stun guitar as a member of jazz-funk powerhouse Banyan, or leading numerous experimental rock and free-jazz projects. While Cline received glowing praise for his 2006 album New Monastery: A View Into the Music of Andrew Hill — a stunning homage to the legendary Blue Note pianist and composer — this visit finds the guitarist matched with Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche for a loose-limbed series of solo performances and improvised duets on Monday, Feb. 26, at Café du Nord at 9:30 p.m. Admission is $12-14; call 861-5016 or visit for more info. — Dave Pehling

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band calls New Orleans' Preservation Hall home. The group is dedicated to keeping the sound of Dixieland Jazz (once the only jazz there was) alive. Founded by Alan and Sandra Jaffe in 1961, the original band included musicians who played with such legends as Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Bunk Johnson. The personnel has evolved over the years, but today's lineup keeps the good-time sound of New Orleans vital with sterling musicianship, a task even more important in the wake of Katrina. The band's hard work was recently awarded the National Medal of the Arts, acknowledging its extraordinary commitment to American music. PHJB will blow the roof off the sucker this Tuesday, Feb. 27, at Great American Music Hall at 8 p. m. Admission is $30; call 855-0750 or visit for more info. — J. Poet


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