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Jeff Miers’ Gig of the Week: Bernard Fowler and funky friends are ready to 'Rumble'

Here’s a special show that, somewhat inexplicably is flying well beneath the radar. We’ve got some serious musical royalty passing through town to perform an unusual show in an incredibly intimate venue.

Billed as “The Rumble Tour,” the event slated for 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Bear’s Den, Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, will feature a performance by what is essentially a band that was once known as the IMFs – singer Bernard Fowler, guitarist Stevie Salas, bassist Doug Wimbish and drummer Brian Tichy.

The quartet formed in the 1990s as a super-group of sorts, but its members’ talents are so highly sought after that it has become increasingly rare for them to share the same stage.

Fowler has been a member of the Rolling Stones for some 30 years now, and has also worked with every member of that band on their various solo projects. (If you’ve never heard Fowler sing jazz standards with the Charlie Watts Quintet, you owe it to yourself to do so, post haste.)

Salas is a widely revered guitar virtuoso who, in addition to his own solo career, has worked with George Clinton, Terence Trent D’Arby, and Rod Stewart. Wimbish is a member of Living Color and has played with Mick Jagger, Mos Def, Depeche Mode and dozens more. Tichy is a hard rock drummer with credits including stints with Ozzy Osbourne, Billy Idol and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

When you get these guys in the same room, what gets cooked up is an incredibly spicy gumbo flavored with funk, rock, soul, R&B, hip-hop and whatever else they feel like referencing. It’s exciting stuff, of the sort that can sometimes be summoned by virtuoso musicians dedicated to playing for the greater collective good, and not the individual gratification of the ego.

This Bear’s Den gig is made all the more special by a pre-band screening of the film that gives the tour its name. “Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World” is a labor of love for Native American Salas, who co-created and served as executive producer for the film, which celebrates the contributions of indigenous musicians to the history of American music.

This is different, a pleasing deviation from the norm. And different is good. See you there. (Ticketmaster, $45/$55)

Scaling the heights

Man, you've never seen/heard anyone rock the steel pans the way that Jonathan Scales can. Sure, the traditional instrument from Trinidad is perhaps an unusual choice for a soloist steeped in jazz, but Scales and his Fourchestra employ the pans as a passport to a whole world of musical possibilities.

These guys can take it out there, bring it back home safely, and send it back on its way to parts unknown, which is probably why musicians like Mono Neon, Bela Fleck, nearly everyone with the last name Wooten, members of Snarky Puppy, and brothers Oteil and Kofi Burbridge have all played with Scales and/or sung his praises.

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra and Cold Lazarus perform at 7 p.m. Nov. 13 at Buffalo Iron Works and you should be there, if you can swing it. (Tunestub, $8)

The Jonathan Scales Fourchestra. (JonScales.com)

 

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