Trio brings jazz in from the edge.
If listening to free jazz makes your head hurt, but you still like the idea behind it, there are some bands that are kind enough to filter some principles of that spontaneous art form through the prism of more conventional songcraft.
We're not going so far as to call Marco Benevento "conventional." But he is bridge-builder between fringe jazz movements and creative indie sensibilities. On his brand new album, "Me Not Me," Benevento interprets songs by Deerhoof, Leonard Cohen, George Harrison and My Morning Jacket, and the longest piece clocks in at less than six minutes.
Marco Benevento's trio is coming to the Axe and Fiddle tonight, and Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey's bassist is part of the package. JFJO's Reed Mathis plays on the new Benevento album, and he's making the trip to promote it.
Same goes for drummer Andrew Barr, who since attending the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston on a merit scholarship has studied music from all over the world. At Berklee, he also studied with jazz innovator and percussion teacher Bob Gullotti, a bio says.
After this five-show mini-tour, pianist Benevento will spend the rest of February playing at Yoshi's in Oakland, which a news release says is a revered jazz venue.
"Benevento is actually a pop formalist, albeit a sneaky one," the Village Voice says. "For all his improvisational chops, (he is) a textural minimalist very much in the tradition of Brian Eno or Sigur Ros.
"Chaos and chance are the calling cards, but his songs are always accessible."
The trio, according to a news release, is "guaranteed to deliver an incendiary concoction of post-jazz improvisations and experimental rock, wrapped in a warm blanket of sonic color and harmonic texture."
The Axe and Fiddle is at 657 E. Main St., Cottage Grove. The show starts at 8:30 p.m. for an $8 cover.
Soldiers of Jah Army
Today, McDonald Theatre
We would love to see Lafa Taylor sing a dubbed-out, hip-hop version of the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four" tonight at the McDonald Theatre.
After all, today would have been Bob Marley's 64th birthday. And this concert, with headliner Soldiers of Jah Army, is in celebration of that milestone.
The song is classic enough that it would be familiar through any amount of haze. How about it Lafa?
We can dream. We can only dream.
SOJA hails from Virginia and calls the Washington, D.C., music scene home. But the group has established itself on the West Coast, stopping in particular in Eugene frequently.
Taylor is a homegrown talent who probably will lean on his reggae roots more heavily for this show. The entrepreneur and hip-hop artist is versatile like that.
Tickets are $20 at the door, 1010 Willamette St. The show starts at 8 p.m.
Today, Indigo District
This early, all-ages show will give those in attendance enough time to recover before heading off to sleep.
That way, the Only Nightmares to be had will be during the Eugene metal band's set at 6:30 p.m. today.
In addition to Only Nightmares opening, the hard rock show features Pantheon, We Have Guns and the Athiarchists.
A news bio says Only Nightmares formed after a student and teacher started a band together in a garage. They collected new members by a series of jam sessions and online postings.
Only Nightmares is working on a full-length debut album.
The Athiarchists are a two-piece band with a loyal local following who appreciates the free music these two guys dole out at shows.
"When the Athiarchists open a show, they leave the audience in awe," a news release says, noting the duo plays 12 to 14 shows a month.
We Have Guns shares a drummer with Grynch. Pantheon is a new group featuring guitarist Justin Velez, bassist Justin Snyder, drummer Jeremy Figueroa and "vocalist- screamer" Breanna Snyder, according to a news release.
The show will be over by 10:30 p.m. to make way for the late 21-and-older crowd. The cover is $6.
The Indigo District is at 1290 Oak St.
The Helio Sequence
Thursday, WOW Hall
The Helio Sequence was part of the 2008 Eugene Celebration's Rogue Stage, which lured in the young folks like moths to a vintage wool V-neck sweater. Now, the Portland-based duo with a well-deserved and sparkling indie cape is back to headline a show at the WOW Hall.
The Helio Sequence's latest album, "Keep Your Eyes Ahead," is a year old, so perhaps the biggest news on the bill is Audrye Sessions, the middle act.
(Yeltsin opens, making this show's bill too strong to even go out and smoke a cigarette. Please, stop smoking everyone.)
The Oakland, Calif., band Audrye Sessions is one of those groups with a name that sounds as if there must be a female in the band. Add to that a somewhat androgenous male lead vocalist (at least on softer songs, such as their cover of Elliott Smith's "Waltz No. 2") and people start thinking Alicia Marie Campbell is the singer.
Actually, she was a co-founder of the band and started out as its guitarist. Now, she plays bass.
Audrye Sessions has been around for more than five years, but it just released an EP that is supposed to lead up to a full-length debut really soon.
Tickets for the 9 p.m. Thursday show are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. The WOW Hall is at 291 W. Eighth Ave.