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The Scott Giddens Trio

Man, there is nothing like the sound of a Hammond B-3 organ in the capable hands of a jazz musician that really knows how to use one. The swirling, reedy tones that a masterful keyboardist can coax out of these vintage instruments have helped to form the backbone of jazz, soul, R & B and even much of the rock music that is still considered “classic” in today’s world.

Whether it be the wordless funk grooves of Booker T & The MG’s (alright, alright, purists know that Booker didn’t actually switch to the B-3 model till years after his breakthrough ‘62 hit “Green Onions”), the swinging, root-down runs of the late improv mastermind Jimmy Smith, or Rami Jaffee’s reverent Kooper-isms as longtime foil to Jakob Dylan in The Wallflowers, a Hammond B-3 through a rotating Leslie speaker cabinet is where it’s at.

Jacksonville, Fl. native Giddens knows this better than most. He started as a child on the Hammond before being studying professionally as a pianist — however, he’s recently found success and acclaim by returning to his original bag. He’s been recognized by the jazz mag Down Beat as an outstanding artist, and has gigged in Sydney, Australia, Paris, New York City and a handful of major annual jazz festivals.

His shows are often billed as tributes to Jimmy Smith, and this venue’s management says his two-night stand will be the first of three upcoming engagements showcasing B-3 players. $10 cover per set. Dig it. Fri. - Sat., 9 pm, 10:30 pm, midnight, Kokopelli’s Jazz Club. 

Mountain Heart

One of the most accomplished and critically-acclaimed bluegrass “supergroups” around today, this stellar outfit formed in 1998 and almost immediately started racking up kudos from the press and fans alike for their outstanding prowess on their instruments, their down-home crowd appeal, and their knack for penning memorable original tunes in a business often known for (understandably) resting on decades’ worth of standards.

A part of Ricky Skaggs’ record label since 2002, they recently lost original member Steve Gulley (who left to form yet another supergroup, Grasstowne), but welcomed Josh Shilling as their new frontman at a Grand Ole Opry show this past January. This will be the band’s first local appearance with their new lineup. Their shows at this wonderful, 100-seat  smoke and alcohol-free listening room always sell out, and as of press time, barely 20 of the $30 tickets remained available. Call 748-1930 to grab one if you can. Sun., 7 pm, Randy Wood’s Concert Hall (1304 E. Hwy 80, Bloomingdale) - ALL-AGES.

Bonnie Raitt

When her 1989 album Nick Of Time earned 3 Grammy Awards, this sultry blues and soul vocalist and shit-hot slide guitarist became a household name after straddling the line between moderate fame and relative anonymity for almost two decades.  She’s a tough, scrappy broad who’s been through hell, lived to tell about it, and even been inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Only around 200 tickets remain unsold for this highly-anticipated show. Wed., 8 pm, Johnny Mercer Theater. 

The Sapphire Bullets

This rare public show by Savannah’s only big-band-styled R & B revue (13 pieces at last count, including a full horn section!) allows their friends and fans to catch them live, as most of The Bullets’ local gigs are at private functions. Expect plenty of well-known, hard-swinging Motown, Stax, classic rock and funk hits from some of the better players in the area. Opening act Bottles & Cans plays a low-down, hopped-up amalgam of Delta blues, Nuggets-esque garage rock and Basement Tapes-era Americana. $10 tickets to this 21+ show available from the band. For more info, call Phil McDonald at 507-7992. Fri., 9 pm, American Legion Post #135 (1108 Bull St.). 

The Jim Weider Band

Though The Band famously retired after The Last Waltz, a combination of ego, financial pressures and flat-out boredom found them reuniting almost a decade later to no small amount of acclaim. However, estranged founding guitarist and co-frontman Robbie Robertson was nowhere to be found. This Woodstock, N.Y. native joined up in his stead and remained with the group until their final dissolution in 2000. An imaginative and impressive player (especially on bottleneck), he continues to tour and record with everyone from Keith Richards to Bob Weir, and his live shows mix original material with re-worked versions of tunes he helped The Band keep alive. Showing a ticket stub from one of P-Groove’s Roundhouse shows this weekend get you $4 off at the door. Sat., 10 pm, Loco’s (downtown).