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T.J. Kirk
Tribute bands are largely the stuff of nostalgia, often as celebratory of the coifs and fashion don'ts of yesteryear as an artist's signature songs. The Bay Area's T.J. Kirk is a notable exception. Focusing not on one but a trio of icons, the quartet radically reinterprets the already-radical life's work of three African-American originals -- the latent genius pianist Thelonious Monk; Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the blind inventor of contraptions like the "trumpophone"; and one of the most idiosyncratic men in all of show business, James Brown. Each T.J. Kirk medley combines Monk's and Kirk's clustered hard-bop sensibilities with the Godfather's relentless rhythms; guitarists Will Bernard and John Schott never let their considerable expertise stand in the way of entertainment, and Charlie Hunter's customized eight-string makes a non-issue of the band's lack of bass and organ. Most of all, T.J. Kirk's choice of gurus assures that its music is consistently adventurous, and just a little bit bughouse.

-- James Sullivan

T.J. Kirk plays Friday, Nov. 15, at 9 p.m. at Bimbo's 365 Club, 1025 Columbus. Tickets are $11; call 474-0365.

 
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