While millennial hardcore fans go crazy over the Refused and At the Drive-In reunions announced this week, a certain other type of music fan is palpitating at the reunion of Montreux. Launched in the mid-’80s with a live recording from the Swedish jazz festival of the same name, Montreux honed a smooth hybrid of jazz, folk and composition for Windham Hill Records. Playing together for the first time in 20 years at the behest of Napa Valley Opera House director Peter Williams, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Michael Manring and Barbara Higbie relive the glory on Sunday, Jan. 15, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 7pm. $25—$30. 707.226.7372.
All comedians have a certain trademark, be it Patton Oswalt (drinking), Robin Williams (prattling like an ADHD child with Tourette’s) or Dave Chapelle (only playing secret shows announced hours before that start at midnight and go until 5am). Personally, I’m a fan of Lewis Black’s trademark: when he relates a story of unfathomable stupidity, perhaps involving Republicans, he shakes his head sharply, letting his jowls wiggle across his mouth, creating a distinctive “blubba-da blubba-da” sound. One never knows when the blubba-da blubba-da will strike, but when it does, it never fails to get a laugh—especially when combined with Black’s sharp wit. Blubba-da blubba-da the night away with Black on Friday, Jan. 13, at the Marin Center. 10 Avenue of the Flags, San Rafael. 8pm. $40—$75. 415.473.6800.
When Evan Bartholomew was a teenager living in Santa Rosa, in the early ’90s, he couldn’t have ever dreamed that one day he would tour around the globe performing his deep, transcendental electronic music. But under the name Bluetech, Bartholomew’s tonal bridge between the intellectual and the emotional now strikes a chord worldwide, from festival to festival. Now with name recognition, and having outgrown the need for ego fulfillment, Bartholomew is dedicating 100 percent of the proceeds from his seventh album Rainforest Reverberation to end deforestation in the Amazon. He appears in a homecoming show with the Polish Ambassador and DJ Delphi at Juke Joint on Thursday, Jan. 12, at Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 10pm. $20. 707.829.7300.
We admit it: we listened to Jay-Z’s song “Glory,” about his new baby, on repeat in the office when it went online on Monday. And how could we not? It’s rare to hear a rap star express gratitude, amazement and elation, but then again, folk artists like Will Kimbrough, hell, they’ve been doing it for years. Take Kimbrough’s “Three Angels,” an ode to his wife and daughters, which is basically the same thing as “Glory” (without the crying baby samples) or “A Couple Hundred Miracles,” which obliges life’s many blessings. Taking a break from playing with Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris, Kimbrough shows he knows the important things in life on Saturday, Jan. 14, at Studio E. Address provided with tickets, Sebastopol. 8pm. $25. www.northbaylive.com.
Roy Hargrove Quintet
Adroit and inventive jazz trumpeter adds Latin, R&B and hard-swinging bop. Jan 12-15 at Yoshi’s SF.
Loud, many-tentacled two-piece plays multiple instruments at once. Jan 13 at Hemlock Tavern.
Gospel songstress belts earthy civil rights anthems for Martin Luther King, Jr. day. Jan 15 at the Paramount Theater.
Singer / songwriter Andy Cavic traffics in dreamy folk-rock on new album, ‘Tight Knit.’ Jan 15 at the Independent.
Garage-rock belle du jour joins Shannon and the Clams in benefit for Jonathan Toubin. Jan 18 at Mezzanine.
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When everyone from James Brown to Parliament to Prince to De La Soul wants you in their band, you know you’re doing something right. The great saxophonist Maceo Parker is synonymous with soul music. Say just the first name—“Maceo”—and everyone knows there’s gonna be a riot goin’ on. Parker is 68 but looks 40, and still blows his horn like a teenager. He also brings with him one of the meanest bands in the business, with Rodney “Skeet” Curtis as a secret weapon on bass. It’s always a dance party when Maceo plays, and something tells me the seating chart isn’t going to be able to constrain the groove on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at the Napa Valley Opera House. 1030 Main St., Napa. 8pm. $35—$40. 707.226.7372.
In 2009, the local music community was shocked at the news that the great musician Johnny Downer died unexpectedly while vacationing in Mexico. To many, it still doesn’t seem real. Every year since, there has been a Johnny Downer Tribute at Hopmonk Tavern, where Downer performed often, either with his band Free Peoples or with any configuration of other musicians. In his memory, his mother has set up a fund benefiting music in Sebastopol schools, and previous benefits have helped carry on the thing Downer loved almost more than his fellow man—music. Keep his spirit alive on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Hopmonk Tavern. 230 Petaluma Ave., Sebastopol. 2pm. Free. 707.829.7300.
Though she’ll always be known for the hit “Midnight Train to Georgia”—even showing up on a 30 Rock performance of the song—there are plenty of other great tunes one can expect Gladys Knight to sing at her Santa Rosa show this week. “If I Were Your Woman,” the insistent “I’ve Got to Use My Imagination” and the beautiful “I Don’t Want to Do Wrong” are all songs the casual fan who got tickets as a stocking stuffer should study up on before witnessing Ms. Knight live. She’s a Mormon these days, so maybe she’ll even sing “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission” on Friday, Jan. 6, at the Wells Fargo Center. 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa. 8pm. $46—$88. 707.546.3600.
A few weeks ago in the pages of this paper, our own Rachel Dovey spotlighted Tom Cooper, a man fascinated with chronicling in book form the tankhouses of Sonoma County. We are enamored of those with idiosyncratic relationships to the minute details of their own terrain, and consequently we love Robert Sandberg and his single-focus book ‘Steps, Lanes and Paths of Mill Valley.’ Of course, these are no ordinary steps, lanes and paths; created around the turn of the century as shortcuts in town, they were abandoned with the advent of car travel, only to be unearthed and rebuilt in the 1990s. Sandberg is the premier authority on these small thoroughfares; he appears on Saturday, Jan. 7, at Book Passage. 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera. 2pm. Free. 415.927.0960.
With a supper-club setting, it only makes sense that the recently reopened George’s Nightclub would host a jazz series. This year, that idea comes true with Jazz at George’s, happening every first and third Thursday of the month. Upcoming artists in the series include the versatile bassist Marcus Shelby and guitarist Ray Obiedo, while the opening honors are given to Roberta Donnay. A backup singer with Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Donnay was mentored in recording jazz by the legendary producer Orin Keepnews, who helped nurture the careers of Bill Evans, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins. She must be doing something right; see her on Thursday, Jan. 5, at George’s Nightclub. 842 Fourth St., San Rafael. 9pm. $12—$15. 415.226.0262.