What Is Hip? Motown, Mozart & Montgomery: the early Spring music and concert scene blossoms

Sinbad

A vast variety of exciting music and theatrical events are coming to downtown Nashville in April, mainly at TPAC and the War Memorial Auditorium, and also at the Ryman and the Schermerhorn. This should offer amazing and great family fun for just about any taste in music or comedy. You can enjoy everything from a night at the opera to stellar standup comedy to a full-on Broadway musical to an “Old School Funk Party” over the next few weeks. Here’s the lowdown on some of what’s happening downtown:

You can start off this Sunday evening with Sinbad, the comedian ranked by Comedy Central as one of the top 100 standup comedians of all time, who has built a loyal following by taking audiences’ painful trials or embarrassing tribulations of day-by-day life, throwing them back in their faces, and causing uproar of comedic hysteria. He starred in the television sitcom “A Different World” as well as his own series, “The Sinbad Show.”

Spend an evening with “Weird Al” Yankovic at Andrew Jackson Hall on Thursday, April 18, at 8:00 p.m. Now entering his fourth career decade, “Weird Al” has won 3 Grammys (with 14 nominations) and countless awards and accolades for Weird Al classics like “Eat It” and “Like a Surgeon.”

Emmy winner Sarah Silverman is as versatile of a performer as they come, dubbed “the most outrageously funny woman alive,” by Rolling Stone, she’ll be at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Tuesday, April 23 at 7:30 pm.

Classical music and opera get no better than this! The genius of Mozart shines bright in this masterfully diverse mix of unforgettable melodies, majestic choruses, and stratospheric, show-stopping coloratura singing.  Follow the adventures of Prince Tamino and Papageno the Bird Catcher as they set forth to save the captured Princess Pamina. One of the most imaginative entertainments ever created, The Magic Flute blends myth, enchantment, and the fight between good and evil to deliver the life-affirming message that love conquers all.

Featuring the Nashville Symphony, and sung in German with projected English translations and spoken dialogue in English, the show is 2 hours, 45 minutes long in 2 acts, with a 20-minute intermission on Thursday, April 11, at 7 PM, and Saturday, April 13, at 8 PM at TPAC’s Jackson Hall.

Are you ready to party?

WAR

WAR and Tower of Power will be at War Memorial Auditorium on Friday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m. “What do you get when you take Funk, Rock, Latin, Reggae, Jazz & R&B and mix it all together perfectly over 40 years? The answer is “War” according to Mario Lopez. Jam to their hits including “Low Rider,” “The Cisco Kid,” “Spill The Wine,” “Why Can’t We Be Friends,” and many more!

Tower of Power, after 40 years, is experiencing more popularity than ever before as they tour year ’round packing venues in the United States, the Pacific Rim, and all over Europe. The group still garners rave reviews, and leaves the audiences dancing in their seats in the arenas, theatres, and outdoor venues they play year ’round. Melding soul, jazz, funk, and rock in a way no group ever has, the ten-piece outfit is, according to the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, “tighter than a clenched fist.”

Tower of Power

You may have heard their iconic hit classic, “What Is Hip?” featured on the new Amazon commercials. Group founder Emilio Castello told the PRIDE in an exclusive interview, that the bit has renewed interest in the group for a lot of folks. He said the idea for the song came to them decades ago when they noticed how trends pop up, and then usually fade: “what’s hip today might become passé.”

Arron Neville

And, decisions, decisions: Aaron Neville will be at War Memorial Auditorium April 14, at 7:00 pm, as one of the world’s finest singers is revisiting the music he grew up with, and adding a few new spins along the way. Motown takes over the historic Ryman Auditorium stage with a special appearance by The Temptations and The Four Tops on April 14 at 7:30 pm. The legendary performers are credited with helping to define the “Motown Sound” of the 1960s.

The Temptations, who were ranked #67 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time, are most well-known for their hits “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” and “Papa Was A Rolling Stone.” The Four Tops’ chart-topping hits “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch)” and “Reach Out I’ll Be There” are always crowd sing-along favorites.  The band was honored with The Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.

Broadway show Rock of Ages will be at Andrew Jackson Hall in TPAC April 19 through April 20. The worldwide party musical ROCK OF AGES features a mix of 28 rockin’ 80’s tunes including DON’T STOP BELIEVIN’, WE BUILT THIS CITY, THE FINAL COUNTDOWN, WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE, HERE I GO AGAIN, CAN’T FIGHT THIS FEELING, and I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS. In 1987 on the Sunset Strip, a small town girl met a big city rocker and in LA’s most famous rock club, they fell in love to the greatest songs of the 80’s. It’s five time 2009 Tony nominee ROCK OF AGES, an arena-rock love story told through the mind-blowing, face-melting hits of JOURNEY, NIGHT RANGER, STYX, REO SPEEDWAGON, PAT BENATAR, TWISTED SISTER, POISON, ASIA, WHITESNAKE and many more. Don’t miss this awesomely good time about dreaming big, playing loud and partying on.

Disney’s The Lion King will be at TPAC May 7 through June 2. Experience the phenomenon of Disney’s THE LION KING when Nashville’s best-loved musical makes a triumphant return to TPAC following its record-breaking 2006 engagement! Marvel at the breathtaking spectacle of animals brought to life by award-winning director Julie Taymor, whose visual images for this show you’ll remember forever. Thrill to the pulsating rhythms of the African Pridelands and an unforgettable score including Elton John and Tim Rice’s Oscar-winning song, “Can You Feel The Love Tonight” and “Circle of Life.” Let your imagination run wild when the Tony Award-winning Broadway sensation returns to Jackson Hall.

The Nashville Jazz Workshop and the Frist Center for the Visual Arts present a lecture and performance highlighting the Music of Wes Montgomery featuring Geary Moore April 28 at 3 pm in the auditorium at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, 919 Broadway, Nashville, free and open to the public. Those attending Jazz on the Move will be able to visit the Frist’s exhibits free of charge, and will also receive discounted parking. Seating is first come, first seated.

Wes Montgomery is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time, and an influence on most modern jazz guitarists. A self-taught musician with an original style, he set a standard that others have struggled to emulate ever since. A mainstay of the Indianapolis jazz scene, he spent his formative years playing in the hard-driving style for which that city is known. Early in his career he recorded a number of classic jazz albums for the Riverside label, before achieving national renown for pop albums on the Verve and A&M labels. Only 44 years old when he suffered a heart attack and died, Wes nonetheless left behind a rich recorded legacy and standard to which guitar players aspire. 2013 would have been Wes’s 90th year, and is a fitting occasion to honor this jazz legend.

Pittsburgh native Geary Moore enjoyed a long career in the New York City area before moving to Nashville several years ago. A protege of George Benson and Jimmy Ponder, his playing reflects jazz, R&B, and pop influences. His fluid technique includes the “octave” style for which Wes Montgomery is famous. Along with the Lori Mechem Trio, Geary will take listeners through a selection of Wes’s most famous recordings and will talk about the guitarist’s life and music.

Here’s a schedule by venue:

TPAC:

April 7                  Sinbad

April 11 & 13         Mozart’s The Magic Flute by Nashville OPERA

April 18                  “Weird Al” Yankovic

April 19-20                  Rock of Ages

May 7 – June 2         The Lion King

War Memorial Auditorium:

April 12                  WAR & Tower of Power

April 14                  Aaron Neville

Ryman Auditorium:

April 14                  Temptations & Four Tops

Schermerhorn Symphony Center:

April 23 Sarah Silverman