Summer in the Phoenix Valley doesn't wait for any official proclamation -- it just comes on hard in early May. With that in mind, the Musical Instrument Museum's summer concert series officially begins May 1.
"We get some of the greatest [musicians in the world] here," MIM music director Lowell Pickett says of the museum's 300-seat acoustically perfect theater. Tickets are on sale at www.mim.org.
Cristina Pato, a master of the Galician bagpipes, opens the season May 1. But don't expect any Highlands marching music. Pato brings a jazz sensibility to the stage, having "done time" in jazz expressionist John Zorn's band.
Jazz is an important aspect of the MIM summer season. Headliners include The Bad Plus, Cassandra Wilson in her first ever visit to Phoenix, former James Brown band leader Maceo Parker, Dorado Schmitt's gypsy jazz tribute to Django Reinhardt and Bill Frisell. Considered one of the pre-eminent jazz guitarists today, Frisell will rework the music of John Lennon into otherworldly shapes without sacrificing -- perhaps enhancing -- the original scores.
Folk and bluegrass fans have plenty to cheer about as well as Bela Fleck returns with wife Abigail Washburn, The Milk Carton Kids play two shows, and Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle share a stage. Additionally, Greg Brown continues his self exploration, Shelby Lynne sings from her battered heart, Marc Cohn goes deep, Loudon Wainwright III gets silly (and deep), and Rodney Crowell unveils a new album.
Blues fans will relish James Cotton's first trip to the Valley in years, while Joan "What if God was One of Us" Osborne gets bluesy as well. Pete's little brother and second best guitarist in The Who, Simon Townshend, will shred a little solo-style, and Canadian Bruce Cockburn usually gets introspective on world affairs. Former Berlin and Frank Zappa drummer Terry Bozio--he of the world's largest drum kit--closes out the season August 17 with a show where anything is possible.
There's more in the mix in multiple genres -- from an American Idol singer to Ethiopian pop chanteuse -- at MIM this summer, including "some things I can't reveal yet," Pickett says with a knowing smile. Given the line-up so far, it's got to be good.
Go to page 2 for the complete schedule.
April 27 - AZ Musicfest Young Musicians April 30 - ASU Guitar Ensembles April 30 - John McEuen, John Carter Cash, and family
May 1 - Cristina Pato May 2 - Simon Townshend May 3 - The Bad Plus May 4 - The Mowgli's - Unplugged! May 6 - Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn May 7 - Regina Carter May 8 - Loudon Wainwright III May 9 - Crystal Bowersox May 10 - Shelby Lynne May 11 - Cassandra Wilson May 12 - Reunion - Lettermen Jim and Gary ... May 13 - Reunion - Lettermen Jim and Gary ... May 17 - Bill Frisell Explores the Music o... May 18 - Chuck Hall and Hans Olson May 19 - James Cotton Blues Band May 20 - Joan Osborne May 22 - Alice Cooper's Solid Rock May 23 - Greg Brown May 24 - Maceo Parker May 26 - Shawn Colvin and Steve Earle
June 2 - Young Sounds of Arizona June 5 - Ester Rada June 6 - Peter Asher June 7 - The Webb Sisters June 10 - Downtown Chamber Series with Spec... June 12 - Marc Cohn June 18 - Rodney Crowell June 20 - Bruce Cockburn June 21 - Paula Cole June 23 - The Milk Carton Kids June 24 - The Milk Carton Kids June 25 - Playing for Change
July 13 - RUNA July 19 - The Brubeck Brothers Quartet July 26 - Dorado Schmitt and the Django All-Stars
August 17 - Terry Bozzio
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.