Mardi Gras is always rich with history in New Orleans, but the one that took place in 1976 created a legacy. That was when the Neville Brothers first teamed as a musical act, becoming part of the Indian group the Wild Tchoupitoulas. Art, Charles, Aaron and Cyril Neville went on to become an essential part of the city’s music.
Now only Aaron Neville, 75, is performing regularly. He will be at Jackson Rancheria on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Aaron Neville’s solo career took off in 1967 in a big way with the hit “Tell It Like It Is,” and he has, of course, followed with many others, including the landmark “Cry Like a Rainstorm” with Linda Ronstadt (1989). There haven’t been many visits to the studio lately, but 2013 saw one of the most joyous albums he’s ever done.
“My True Story,” despite its title, is a tribute to the music of his youth, with covers of songs by the likes of Hank Ballard and the Moonlighters, Little Anthony and the Imperials, and the Drifters. Its focus is on doo-wop (Neville has said he attended the “university of doo-wopology”) and it even includes some of the original doo-woppers – Eugene Pitt of the Jive Five, Bobby Jay of the Teenagers and Dickie Harmon of the Del-Vikings. (7 p.m.; $30-$50; jacksoncasino.com)
▪ There are great singers who are just flatly underrated, and an opportunity to hear them live may not create a big fanfare but is cause for celebration. Such is Al Jarreau, who arrives at Cache Creek on Saturday, Feb. 6. For years, Jarreau found himself stuck in a niche as a “jazz singer” when he is, as he once called himself, “a jazz singer with broader notions.” He can mix pop with R&B with jazz, having won Grammys in all three categories, and he is a most gracious presence on the stage. His first major album, the 1977 double-live “Look to the Rainbow,” remains definitive. His latest is “My Old Friend: Celebrating George Duke” from 2014. (8 p.m.; $49-$75; cachecreek.com)
▪ Bumpsters get ready. Tower of Power plays Saturday, Feb. 6, at Harrah’s Tahoe with its powerful brass sound, which goes on despite the death last month of player Mic Gillette. (7:30 p.m.; $48; Ticketmaster)
▪ Finally, there is some tempting boxing set for Friday, Feb. 5 at the Eldorado in Reno with collegiate teams (the University of Nevada, Reno; UNLV; UC Berkeley; UC Davis; and San Jose State) going up against the West Point U.S. Military Academy. (First round at 7 p.m.; $15; eldoradoreno.com)