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Check It Out

Check It Out: April 12, 2013

Albert King —

Born Under a Bad Sign (Stax)

Despite being one of the three Kings of blues, (alongside B.B. and Freddie — both no relation), Albert King was actually born Albert Nelson. While the Mississippi native’s earliest recordings date back to the 1950s, it wasn’t until he hooked up with Memphis-based soul outfit Stax/Volt that King enjoyed crossover success. Ironically, it was at a time when his genre of choice was losing favor with African-Americans as young whites were starting to really delve into the blues. So it’s no surprise that Cream wound up delivering a solid cover of the title track to King’s Stax debut. And that future greats including Robert Cray and Stevie Ray Vaughan would constantly sing his praises.

Backed by Booker T. & the MGs, the imposing left-handed guitar slinger really dug in, serving up the stinging blues shuffle “Crosscut Saw,” affecting the requisite swagger throughout the brassy declarations of “The Hunter” and gently bobs along through a lightly swinging reading of “Kansas City.” Most surprising is King’s effectiveness as a balladeer, not only on the Ivory Joe Hunter’s juke joint weeper “I Almost Lost My Mind,” but on a reading of pop bandleader Ray Noble’s 1934 standard “The Very Thought Of You” that works far better than you’d expect it to. 

April 12


Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons at NYCB Theatre @ Westbury, 960 Brush Hollow Rd., 8 p.m.

$71.50, $61.50. 877-598-8497


Still hitting the stage at the age of 78, Frankie Valli is the last original member of the Four Seasons still giving live performances. As part of the best-selling musical groups of all times, thanks to selling in the neighborhood of 175 million records worldwide, Valli and his group are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Vocal Group Hall of Fame (of which the latter declared the Four Seasons to be “the most popular rock band before The Beatles.”)

With the ongoing popularity of the Broadway musical Jersey Boys and a hefty canon that includes numerous hits both solo and with his group including “Working My Way Back to You,” “Grease,” “December, 1963 (Oh What a Night),” “Walk Like a Man” and “Sherry,” there’ll be plenty of nostalgia to go around at Westbury during this three night stand. (Through April 14.)

April 13


Chris Botti at the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, 720 Northern Blvd., 8 p.m. $77, $57, $37. 516-299-3100


A child prodigy who wound up as a member of McDonalds’ All American High School Band, Chris Botti more than paid his dues over the past three decades plus. Along with studying alongside legendary trumpeter Woody Shaw and saxophonist George Coleman, the Oregon native also wound up getting tapped to record with numerous non-jazz artists including Paul Simon, Roger Daltrey, Bette Midler and Aretha Franklin. Ever since his 1995 debut First Wish, Botti has carved out quite a solo career for himself that found him to be one of the more successful jazz/pop crossover artists on the circuit. It’s a role that has continued through last year’s Impressions, a project that’s a mix of classical, jazz and pop standards goosed along by guest shots by Andrea Bocelli, Mark Knopfler, Herbie Hancock and Vince Gill. 

April 16

Garden City

Bobby McFerrin at the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center (AUPAC), Concert Hall, 1 South Ave.,

7 p.m. $55, $45, $30, $20.


Anyone who only knows Bobby McFerrin for his 1988 smash “Don’t Worry, Be Happy,” (pop music’s answer to “It’s a Small World After All” in terms of its high annoyance quotient), are certainly shortchanging themselves of experiencing some of the man’s more innovative abilities. The namesake son of the great operatic baritone and first African-American to sign a contract with the Metropolitan Opera Company, McFerrin has won multiple Grammys thanks to his polyphonic expertise at singing both a song’s main melody and its accompanying parts. His latest album, Spirityouall, finds him delving deeply into gospel with help from special guest Esperanza Spaldingon standards like “Swing Low Sweet Chariot,” “Fix Me Jesus,” “Wade in the Water” and “I Shall Be Released.” 

April 16


Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band at Barclays Center, 620 Atlantic Ave. 7:30 p.m.$125, $79, $45. 917-618-6700


Michigan’s favorite son is a part of the generation of classic heartland rockers whose ranks include Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and yes, Bruce Springsteen. If you want to start a fight, mention Seger being on the level of Springsteen within earshot of Boss devotees. In the meantime, the 2004 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee is in the midst of coming out of semi-retirement, having released and toured behind the 2011 2-CD anthology Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets. And while this tour, also called “Rock and Roll Never Forgets,” may prove to be the Lincoln Park native’s penultimate road swing, there is the promised release of a yet untitled new album on the horizon. Early reports have him performing a handful of new songs including covers of John Hiatt’s “Detroit Made” and the Wilco/Billy Bragg composed “California Stars” complete with Woody Guthrie lyrics. As an added bonus, Joe Walsh will be opening up the specific show.