Fat Mama, Thursday, April 20, at the Gothic Theatre, with Ron Miles and Joe Lukasik Trio, and Friday, April 21, at the Fox Theatre, offers two live shows to fans who've missed the band since its East Coast relocation last fall. The collective's ambitious experiments with jazz fusion have been well-received in the New York City clubs where its been jamming for the past eight months, and the outfit was even described by one Village Voice scribe as "quite possibly the most exciting young jazz band in the country." Not bad for a Boulder-born seven-piece that combines everything from bebop, pop, soul, turntable scratching and even country sounds into a mixture as smooth and invigorating as a fruit shake. What might most clearly separate Fat Mama from some of its free-jamming peers is the studied level of musicianship maintained by each of the band's members -- something nurtured, to some degree, by Ron Miles himself: The celebrated trumpeter has been a mentor and unofficial jazz professor to the band since it formed in 1996. Thursday's performance, then, provides a special opportunity to see the progression come full-circle, as Miles will share a stage with the Fat players. On Friday night, the band's performance will be supplemented by art exhibits and live DJs spinning between sets. Mama mia!
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