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A&E Feature 

What to Know Before You Go

MUSIC

Maceo Parker
8 p.m. Thu., Feb. 28
Republic, 828 S. Peters St., 528-8282; www.republicnola.com

How many artists can say that a stint in James Brown's legendary boot camp of a band was only a career warm-up? Sax player and former JB Horn member Maceo Parker, who's called his time at the side of the late Godfather of Soul "like going to university," can. His post-graduate work was spent in the company of former classmate Bootsy Collins in both Collins' Rubber Band and assorted versions of Parliament and Funkadelic, taking spit-shined '60s soul to a visionary new freak-funk frontier. Having been a linchpin for nearly every crucial development in the history of soul music for almost 30 years, Parker exploded as a solo artist with his own blend of tight R&B and free-flowing funk in the early '90s. His latest release, 2007's live double-CD Roots and Grooves , shows the man looking back in time — the first disc, a tribute to Ray Charles, has Parker channeling his own early influence, Charles' longtime sax player David "Fathead" Newman. Tickets $30. — Alison Fensterstock

 

 

STAGE

Tosca
7:30 p.m. Fri., Feb. 29; 5 p.m. Sun., March 2
Jefferson Performing Arts Center, 400 Phlox St., Metairie, 885-2000; www.jpas.org

The singer Floria Tosca has an impossible decision to make in Giocomo Puccini's impassioned opera Tosca . She is in love with the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who is sympathetic to political rebels. He is imprisoned by Baron Scarpia when the politician suspects him of harboring a fugitive. Scarpia even has the painter tortured in order to find the rebel. But Scarpia lusts for Tosca and tells her that he will spare her lover's life if she'll submit to him. In order to save Cavaradossi, Tosca agrees to the bargain but tries to save both herself and the painter in spite of the terms that have been laid out. The Jefferson Performing Arts Society presents Tosca reset to Italy in the 1940s under the reign of fascism. Spanish director Carlos Rebullida works with an international cast including soprano Isabella Mederi (Floria Tosca), tenor Guillermo Armada (Mario Cavaradossi) and baritone Peter Lindskoog (Baron Scarpia). Tickets $20-$35. — Will Coviello

 

 

MUSIC

Harlan T. Bobo
10 p.m. Sun., March 2
Saturn Bar, 3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532

Memphis-based artist Harlan T. Bobo may be one of the best singer/songwriters you've never heard of. Fans of Viva L'American Deathray Music, the scorching art-punk outfit which visits New Orleans a few times each year, have seen his skills as a sideman. When playing solo, the clanging musical brio is toned down and the lyrical craft turned up to near-genius level. His two releases on Memphis' independent Goner label, 2004's Too Much Love and last year's I'm Your Man , are masterful and articulate meditations that plumb every dark corner of heartbreak via honky-tonk, dark folk and touches of '60s-era pop. The bittersweet balance of regret, resignation, sarcasm and wistfulness is worthy of Leonard Cohen. He shares the bill with Luke Allen, frontman for the sweetly sardonic local alt-country outfit the Happy Talk Band. Tickets $5. — Fensterstock

 

 

MUSIC

Back to BASICs — An Evening with Maze featuring Frankie Beverly
9 p.m. Fri., Feb. 29
Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, 900 Convention Center Blvd., 582-3023; www.basicinc.org

The sophisticated and passionate urban-contemporary sounds of Frankie Beverly and Maze have long been well received by New Orleans audiences, from the group's top-selling 1981 album Live in New Orleans — recorded at the Saenger Theatre — to headlining spots at this past summer's Essence Fest and the upcoming Jazz Fest. Formed in Philadelphia in the mid-'70s, Maze's slick, stylized grown-folks soul didn't jibe with the gritty soul pumping out of the Northeast at the time. A move to California turned out to be perfectly timed, and the group began churning out a string of chart-topping singles that would extend through the '80s. Obviously still much in demand, the band has also helped launch the careers of urban R&B chanteuses like Anita Baker and Toni Braxton. This time around, they're working for a good cause. Proceeds from this show will benefit BASIC, a substance-abuse treatment program in New Orleans (see "BASIC Instincts," News & Views, Feb. 19). Tickets $50. — Fensterstock

click to enlarge WES FRAZIER
  • Wes Frazier
click to enlarge RICK OLIVIER
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