Acclaimed drummer Bob James headlines the Fiesta Jazz Festival at St. Mary's University this Friday, pulling from his 50 year career behind the kit. James began playing as a teenager with the blind multi-instrumentalist Rahsaan Roland Kirk before joining vibraphonist Gary Burton, guitarists Pat Metheny and Larry Coryell and drummer Jack DeJohnette. This ain't the smooth stuff, jazzheads. Recording on weirdo labels like ECM and Gramavision, James and his trio aren't weird on out.
Free, 8:30-10pm, St. Mary's University, 1 Camino Santa Maria, stmarytx.edu
Mr. Composition CD Release, Friday (4/25)
Kevin Prince, aka Mr. Composition, is one of the hardest workers in SA music. The 23-year-old has released at least one LP or mixtape every year since he was 18 (much of this material is available at mrcomposition.bandcamp.com). Last year’s release, Running Red Lights Through Life, was one of my favorite local albums of 2013. It laid bare the rapper’s growth from a curious and earnest wordsmith to a master of his craft, gifted at melding personal narrative with commentary on universal concerns. Graffiti the Mind, out on May 2, sees the emcee truly coming into his own. Produced by San Anto native Ruler Why, Graffiti the Mind features beats that enhance the meaning of individual songs. Prince rhymes with entertaining, engaging lyrics, delivered with a unique flare in diverse styles. As Prince told the Current, he has long used rap as “a means of expressing [himself] and [his] experiences and frustrations.” As Prince has grown as an artist, he’s expanded his scope, concerned now with broader societal issues. Most impressively, these aren’t just raps; these are songs. Graffiti, anchored by the anthemic posse cut “Believe” and thought-provoking extended metaphor “Graffiti Lenz,” is a joy to bump and communicates an unstoppably positive message: Be patient, work your ass off, ask questions and give of yourself if you want to receive anything in return.—James Courtney
$5, 9pm, Fitzgerald's Bar, 437 McCarty, fitzgeraldsbar.com
Deer Vibes Album Fundraiser, Saturday (4/26)
This one's a little weird. To help payroll the SA art-pop ensemble's upcoming album, Deer Vibes is holding a fundraiser show that they're not playing. But some Deer Vibes affiliates are picking up their instruments for the cause, performing in their extracurricular groups. Featuring DV leader Michael J. & the Foxes, Crown, Of the Lion and the Freebies playing their own tunes and tackling some Deer Vibes material, the show proves just how talented the ] cast is on their own merits.
$5, 9pm,Limelight, 2718 N St. Marys, thelimelightsa.com
Audacity, Monday (4/28)
Sometimes it’s best to start a garage band before you know how to play your instrument. Songs come out more fluidly, with less of a self-conscious editing process, most likely ’cause you don’t know any better. The Black Lips did it in Atlanta, the Arctic Monkeys did it in England and the Ramones trashed around flawlessly in NYC. Together since their days in junior high, Fullerton, Calif.’s Audacity sounds like a band that learned to play shortly after they came up with a band name. The songs on their third release Butterknife sound like effortless, sun-kissed garage rock from dudes who’ve known each other since the days of braces and oppressive acne. Playing tight, feeling loose and representing the best of golden state garage rock, it’s Milo Goes to College in the 21st century. With the Rich Hands, Dark Planes and Junkie.
$5-$7, 9pm,Limelight, 2718 N St. Marys, thelimelightsa.com
Night Beats, (Tuesday 4/29)
Touring on their strong second LP Sonic Bloom, Night Beats stop by SA on their way to Austin Psych Fest, where they'll be opening up the party at the Mohawk on Thursday night. Inspired by the soul sounds of Sam Cooke, the trio plays a psych-soul medley, tripping to the territory of 60's psychedelia. With Cosmonauts, Dahga Bloom, Creatura, The Oblios and DJ Proper Yarn.
$10-$12, 8pm, Limelight, 2718 N St. Marys, thelimelightsa.com