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JUSTICE FOR ALL

Think there's no common ground between Bobby McFerrin, Yo Yo Ma and Jimi Hendrix? Think again. Hank Roberts and Wiggly Dog Boy are here to lay down some justice with their "Truth and Reconciliation Show," which rolls into Nietzsche's, 248 Allen St., Thursday for a 9:30 p.m. show.

That Roberts, an acclaimed cellist, can lead such an eclectic ensemble while sitting down tells you a thing or two about his inner resolve. But Wiggly Dog Boy is about much more than the opportunity for Roberts to show off his ample chops. In fact, the band unleashes some of the most rich, creative, genre-defying music it's ever been this writer's pleasure to hear. Bill Frisell, certainly one of the most vibrant instrumental voices in modern jazz, has said of Roberts, "It's so rare to hear music this pure, and it's so inspiring to know someone with the strength and courage to stay so true."

Clearly, Roberts has a lyrical agenda -- his songs read like clever, insightful and off-beat socio-political-economical theses. But this is not some hard-left crank easily dismissed by the nearest Fox News mouthpiece; Roberts is too darn smart to be so easily marginalized. And when the music's this good, it speaks louder than any potential naysayer might.

Buffalo's Liz Abbott, a huge Roberts enthusiast and a talented performer, opens. Call 886-8539.
-- Jeff Miers

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