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Second Chances

Happy returns for Metheny, Marsalis and others
Wynton Marsalis
Wynton Marsalis

It’s easy to miss some of the many excellent musicians who swing through town, thanks to conflicts with other shows, a skimpy entertainment budget or simply an overabundance of awesomeness. This month offers numerous second-chance opportunities to catch some highly recommended performers you may have missed last time around — or didn’t, and want to catch again.

The Shedd spillover from the Portland Jazz Festival and other upstream shows continues Thursday, Feb. 27, when two of the world’s greatest and most versatile mandolinists, Mike Marshall and Chris Thile, join forces to perform music of J.S. Bach and more. Marshall is well known for his work with Psychograss and other new acoustic outfits, while Thile — the Nickel Creek/Punch Brothers/MacArthur “genius” grantee/acoustic superstar — recently released an album of Bach’s violin music arranged for his instrument. 

Thile has also performed with another Shedd re-visitor, the Swedish folk trio Väsen, whose members play viola, specially tuned 12-string guitar, mandolin, bouzouki and nyckelharpa — a zingy stringed instrument worth a trip to The Shedd Tuesday, March 4, to hear in person. Folk, newgrass, Celtic and even jazz fans should give ’em a try.

Speaking of Celtic music, on March 7, Mick Moloney leads a trio of Irish traditional musicians including the harp/fiddle/accordion/tinwhistle virtuoso Michelle Mulcahy and fiddler Dana Lyn, plus the fun Corvallis band The Nettles, at the UO’s Beall Concert Hall. The concert kicks off the Eugene Irish Cultural Festival, which continues the next day at Sheldon High with performances by The Nettles and various other local Celtic musicians, dancers and storytellers, and includes workshops, open jams, crafts, sports, presentations, dances and more.

The happy returns resume Saturday, March 1, when Pat Metheny brings his Unity Group to The Shedd. Like Thile, the ever-popular protean guitarist has explored so many different areas that it’s difficult to encompass his full range on a single recording or concert, so he’s put together a diverse band featuring one of jazz’s finest saxmen, earlier Shedd visitor Chris Potter, along with other multi-instrumentalists whose versatility allows them to cover most of the territory Metheny has traversed in his brilliant four-decade career.

Yet another PDX Jazz Fest visitor, Wynton Marsalis brings his Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra down I-5 and back for another visit to the Hult on Wednesday, March 5. Probably the most accomplished big band in the world, JLCO’s all-star 15-member assemblage will play music from some of jazz history’s greatest bandleaders (Duke Ellington, Charles Mingus) as well as originals by Marsalis, his fab saxophonist/composer Ted Nash and more.

On Friday, March 7, another excellent jazz collective, Tunnel Six, precedes its next-day Portland gig with its first show at The Jazz Station since 2012. The young members, who met at the famous Banff jazz workshop, have managed to maintain their solid, straight-ahead yet original musical connection despite being scattered in cities as far-flung as Nashville, London, Chicago, Portland and Toronto.

The next couple weeks boast some fine hometown performances as well, especially for classical music fans. On March 7 at Central Lutheran Church, the early music ensemble Vox Resonat, led by UO prof Eric Mentzel, sings a mass by the French Baroque composer Andre Campra. At the Hult Center March 8, the Eugene Concert Choir and Oregon Mozart Players team up to perform French opera arias and the beautifully consoling sounds of another French masterwork: Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, one of the greatest of all requiems. And yes, there’s a second chance to catch Vox Resonat March 9 at First Methodist Church as the group sings music by William Byrd, Josquin des Prez, Orlando di Lasso and other great Renaissance and Medieval composers.