Current events |

Current events

New Orleans trumpeter-singer Kermit Ruffins and his Barbecue Swingers open Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz series with a concert in Two Rivers Park. Aspen Times photo/Stewart Oksenhorn.

In the early ’80s, two graduates from New Orleans’ Clark Senior High School – Kermit Ruffins and Philip Frazier – took to the streets of the French Quarter with their horns. As co-leaders of the Rebirth Brass Band, Ruffins and Frazier spent a decade infusing modern life into the New Orleans brass band tradition. In the mid-’90s, trumpeter-singer Ruffins split off and formed his Barbecue Swingers, which leaned more toward Louis Armstrong-style jazz. Finally, Ruffins has gone back to his roots, teaming with his old Rebirth buds for “Throwback,” a celebration of New Orleans music and his own history. When Ruffins appears in Glenwood Springs to kick off the Glenwood Summer of Jazz Series (Wednesday, June 1, in Two Rivers Park), it will be as Kermit Ruffins & the Barbecue Swingers. But hopefully some of that Rebirth grease will still be on his lips.

In “Fear & Trembling,” the Belgian woman Amelie returns to Japan, the place of her childhood, to start her career. But the corporate culture is not the serene and spiritual Japan of her early memories. Hired as a translator, Amelie find herself rapidly descending the company ladder as she learns that traits valued in the Western business world – initiative, especially – have a different place in the East. With a tone all its own, “Fear and Trembling” cuts into Japanese big business with a combination of humor and blunt criticism. At the same time, it crawls into the head of its characters – the tormented Amelie; the subservient middle manager Saito; and the cold, beautiful Fubuki – as they serve their master, the Yumimoto corporation. Directed by Alain Corneau, “Fear and Trembling” shows at the Wheeler Opera House Monday through Wednesday, May 30-June 1.

Who knows what to expect when Neko Case makes her Aspen debut (Thursday, June 2, at the Belly Up), backed by members of Toronto country-rock band the Sadies? The Washington state native played in punk bands before joining the Canadian indie-rock band the New Pornographers. Case, now a solo artist, is beyond all that – but she’s still got a range that makes her hard to pin down. While she fits in the alt-country realm, she has found plenty of corners to explore there. Her 2002 “Blacklisted” album wowed critics with its dark and lonely strains. Last year’s lo-fi live record “The Tigers Have Spoken” found a lighter Case covering Loretta Lynn, Buffy Sainte-Marie and the uplifting spiritual “This Little Light,” and also throwing some thrashing rock ‘n’ roll into the mix (“Loretta”). Beyond all that, the 34-year-old has an album of new material set to drop this summer, so expect some of those fresh tunes as well.