Soul-jazz artist Will Holton is making sure it's "A Christmas to Remember."
In a special engagement at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Tralf Music Hall (622 Main St.), Holton's now-annual holiday concert will feature performances from his band, as well as Bruce Wojick, Buffalo's Best Kept Secret, Christy Smothers, Kissena and Daniel "DP" Powell.
Perhaps more significantly, Holton's show will honor a pair of most impressive and prestigious women involved in music education and community outreach in the area – Linda R.L. Appleby, pianist, co-founder of the Buffalo Select Chorus, and marketing director for revered soul/rock keyboardist Joseph Wooten; and Ella E. Robinson, Western New York Chapter representative of the Gospel Music Workshop, and a member of the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. According to a press release concerning the Tralf event, Robinson is also "the only African-American female to have her original compositions orchestrated and performed by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra."
Both Appleby and Robinson will be presented with Holton's "Reach Out and Lift Up" Award, and will appear during Saturday's event. Congratulations to both of them!
Doors for Saturday's show will open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 advance, $25 day of show (box office, www.ticketmaster.com or by calling SSP Events at 704-5400).
Hot Day at the Zoo, MiZ and the Andrew J. Reimers Country-Punk Extravaganza team up to jam some bluegrass and nu-grass at 10 p.m. Saturday in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.).
Spiritual Rez, Funktional Flow and Venture Pilots bring reggae, funk and various permutations thereof to the Forvm (4224 Maple Road) at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Hollerado and Young Rival play at 8 tonight in Mohawk Place (47 E. Mohawk St.). It's $14 at the door.
The second annual Neil Young Tribute takes place at 9 tonight in Nietzsche's (248 Allen St.). Bad Growlers, Bearhunter, Flatbed, Ten Cent Howl and Tom Maynor will all get their Neil on. In fact, Young's sister, Astrid Young, will be on hand as well, sitting in with various performers, and offering a set of her own interpretations of her brother's songs. Too cool!
> Elska arrives
Having taken in more than a handful of recent-era Wilco concerts, I tend to trust the words of the band's members when they sing the praises of another artist. So when Wilco's keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Mike Jorgensen said of alternative electro-pop artist Elska, "[She creates] crazy awesome electronic funderworld faerie tunes for the whole family," my interest was piqued. As it turns out, Elska has crafted music that suggests what it might sound like if the Teletubbies stumbled upon a Bjork box set and decided to sing along. Meaning, weird and wonderful.
Elska's "Middle of Nowhere" is a fantasy concept album that takes place on an Arctic island. It's a wholly disarming and charming indie-pop collection brimming with imagination and exuberance. The record was beautifully produced by Buffalo-born Allen Farmelo, who has been making quite the name for himself since relocating to New York City in 2005.
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Elska will transport the Burchfield Penney Art Center (1300 Elmwood Ave.), into her imaginative "Isle of Elska." Tickets are $10 general, $8 for children and Burchfield Penney members. Find them through www.burchfieldpenney.org or by calling 878-6011.