Tonight in live music; Branford Marsalis Quartet at Mahaffey, Trunkweed plays The Hub and more

Zombies, Josh Cruz, Ari Chi, songwriter night at Ella's and more

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✔️ = Critic's Pick

✔️ An Evening with Branford Marsalis Quartet Legit jazz concerts are few and far between in Tampa Bay, so kudos to the Mahaffey for booking the sax-playing oldest sibling of the Marsalis clan. With longtime pianist Joey Calderazzo, bassist Eric Revis and drummer Justin Faulkner, this facile unit delivers energetic, all-acoustic post-bop. Marsalis, 57, who plays tenor and soprano saxophones, has enjoyed a rich and peripatetic career. In the latter half of the ‘80s, he departed his brother Wynton’s high-profile jazz quintet to become the featured sideman and soloist in Sting’s band. That began a pattern of Branford Marsalis making the music he wants and collaborating with whomever he damn well pleases — be it the Grateful Dead, Public Enemy, symphony orchestras in classical performances, or, from 1992-95, leading The Tonight Show with Jay Leno band. Branford has always made straight-ahead jazz his bedrock, though, and that’s what we’ll get at this “An Evening with” performance. (Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg) INFO  —Eric Snider

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✔️ Singer-Songwriter Night w/Jack Sprouse/Will Quinlan/Shae Krispinsky/Scott Harrell Watching Jack Sprouse lead Band of Sorrows through a set is enough to make someone go home, pick up a guitar and try to write a song. On Thursday, the Band of Sorrows frontman hosts a songwriter’s evening where some of the area’s best storytellers will share their own. There’ll be tears (Will Quinlan), ridiculously literary lyrics (Shae Krispinsky) and at least one CL employee (managing online editor Scott Harrell, who also pushed the pen for now-defunct Bay area rock heavyweights Nessie). It’s a chance to be amongst your neighbors while local creators do their thing. No cover, and plenty of meatloaf, too. (Ella’s Americana Folk Art Cafe, Tampa) INFO

✔️ The Zombies A 1968 breakup was a bummer for fans of The Zombies, but the surviving members of the hyper-melodic ‘60s pop group — frontman Colin Blunstone, keyboardist Rod Argent, Chris White on bass and Hugh Grundy on drums — are making it up to fans on this final run of dates celebrating the 50th anniversary of the band’s iconic album, Odessey and Oracle, which was a milestone of the British psych-rock boom. (Capitol Theatre, Clearwater) INFO

Florida Orchestra Coffee Concerts: Musicians in the Spotlight We’re always gonna tell you about these early morning (10 a.m.) Florida Orchestra shows (this one features Stuart Molina leading individual musicians through Rossini’s William Tell Overture, Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No. 2). Why? For starters, we don’t want to assume that anyone who makes it to these back pages is a degenerate who gets up at noon. Plus, there’ll be coffee and doughnuts. (Mahaffey Theater, St. Petersburg) INFO

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✔️ Ari Chi w/Joshua Cruz Both of these pop/R&B songwriters landed albums on CL’s list of best local albums, and both of ‘em have the potential to bust outta this town on the way to record deals and all that comes with them. If CL’s crystal ball is correct, then you probably won’t be able to see ukulele-slinger Ari Chi and powerhouse vocalist Joshua Cruz together in a room this intimate for much longer. (SubCentral Iberian Rooster, St. Petersburg) INFO

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Joshua Cruz is the king of Bay area pop singers on Black Is Classier

New Music Conflagration & the MIRA program at St. Petersburg College pre-sent: Whim Ensemble The International Toy Piano Festival may be over, but the New Music Conflagration isn’t abandoning its way-left-of-center approach to mind-fucking the more curious denizens of Tampa Bay’s music scene. This free show taps pianist Ofer Pelz and percussionist Preston Beebe — collectively known as Whim — to straddle the line between improvisation and composition in route to creating “percussive landscapes by inventing instrument modifications and techniques to build an unusually rich sound world.” It’s jazz, experimental music and more than a little of what lives in between. (SPC Music Center, St. Petersburg) INFO

Steve Poltz Often satirical lyricist and Rugburns co-founder Steve Poltz brings his Canadian/Californian wit and charm to Ybor, where he might play his most famous song (“You Were Meant For Me,” co-written with Jewel) plus a whole lot from the dozen solo releases he’s put out since 1998. (The Attic at Rock Brothers Brewing, Ybor City) INFO

✔️ Trunkweed w/Carl/Mushmind/Story Mode If Pocket Sand’s first-week-of-January show with Dirtbike was any indication, then we should all be paying attention to the Tampa promoter’s itinerary in 2018. This one finds Baltimore fuzz-pop makers Trunkweed coming to our favorite downtown Tampa dive to play songs from its 2017 cassette — negative universe — on which big, distorted melodies get tossed in with kitschy, catchy hooks and often droning guitar riffs all set to tempos perfect for both headbanging and swaying sweetly while holding the hips of the human you love. Delightfully irreverent Sarasota faux-emo/pop outfit Carl travels up from Sarasota, and a couple of Bay area locals (Mushmind, Story Mode) open this free show where you should tip the shit out of your bartender and buy some band merch, too. (The Hub Bar, Tampa) INFO

ALSO PLAYING

Backup Planet (Dunedin Brewery, Dunedin) INFO

Flaw (Brass Mug, Tampa) INFO

Grateful Dead Night w/Uncle John's Band (Skipper's Smokehouse, Tampa) INFO

Mallory Moyer (The Living Room on Main, Dunedin) INFO

T.B.H.C. Presents Some Kind Of Nightmare w/Saints Brigade/Silver Alert (Fubar, St. Petersburg) INFO

Doo Wop Project (Ruth Eckerd Hall, Clearwater) INFO

Living Room Open Mic (Hideaway Café, St. Petersburg) INFO

About The Author

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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