When: Sat., Feb. 13, 8 p.m. 2010
I once caught a show by the band Henry Cow in which horn player Tim Hodgkinson removed his mouthpiece and began blowing it into a fishbowl. The Bottesini Project will not be doing that tonight (sorry) at the Fine Arts Center (30 W. Dale St., thebottesiniproject.com), but the group will definitely be letting its free-jazz flag fly. Named after Giovanni Bottesini — who was pretty much 19th-century Europe's answer to Charles Mingus — the Denver-based ensemble features saxman Paul Riola, who recently recorded an album with Wilco guitarist Nels Cline. The creativity and musicianship here is top-flight but also accessible, so you don't have to be an avant-squonk aficionado to appreciate it. Showtime is 8; tickets are $5 for students, $7 for normal people.
Fresh from the recent International Blues Challenge in Memphis — which hosted Springs artists Big Jim Adam and Austin Young — comes Soulmate, a blues band based out of Shillong, India. I have to say that Soulmate's frontwoman, Tipriti "Tips" Kharbangar, is a whole lot prettier than Big Jim, and geography aside, the band's take on electric blues is way more Beale Street than Bollywood. Go see for yourself tonight at Venue 515 (515 Manitou Ave., amusiccompanyinc.com), and be sure to get there by 7 so you can catch Saptak and Grass It Up (featuring the Indy's own Jay Patel and David Jeffrey) debuting their raga/bluegrass collaboration. Tickets are $12 in advance, $17 at the door. Or super-size it with a full Indian buffet for $25 advance, $32 day-of. — Bill Forman