Live Music Roundup: Tuesday, May 12

The Vaselines play Neumos tonight; you can read a great interview with Kelly over in the music section. Doors are at 8 p.m., and the show costs $20.

There's also another edition of The Round at the Fremont Abbey Arts Center with Daniel G. Harmann, Shelby Earl, Eric Anderson and Laura "Piece" Kelley; that starts at 8 p.m. and costs $6-$10. It is also all ages.

Then there's Eric Alexander, who's doing a two-night stint today and tomorrow at Dimitriou's for $22.50; that starts at 7:30 p.m. both nights and is all ages.

Museum pieces are no good for jazz. But then there are players who speak a vocabulary of the past with so much power and conviction that they make it a living tongue, and Eric Alexander is one of the most valuable of these. The Olympia-reared saxophonist is fully planted in the Blue Note hard-bop tradition, but he never sounds like an homage act; he's got too many surprising ideas, too many sparks flying off the bell of his horn. With his regular New York pianist, David Hazeltine, and Seattle support from Chuck Deardorf and Matt Jorgensen, Alexander will make his persuasive case that the muscle-swing format of the '50s and '60s can yet reach the hearts and minds of the Twittering class. MARK D. FEFER

Finally, Leon Russell (pictured) is also doing two nights at the Tractor Tavern with Jeff Fielder; that starts at 8 p.m. and costs $30.

Veteran singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Leon Russell - he of the Old Testament-looking white beard and flowing white locks - may be the ultimate all-time session musician: Since the early '60s, when he got his start working with Phil Spector, he's been the go-to keyboardist for the likes of Bob Dylan, the Stones, the Beach Boys, George Harrison, B.B. King, Glen Campbell, Elton John, Joe Cocker, Eric Clapton, Frank Sinatra, and the Band. And Gary Busey. But Russell's own songs and sprawling discography across that span are impressive in their own right; a swampy sort of Southern rock, gospel, blues, country, pop, and funk - all rendered with grit and soul, and brought to life by his idiosyncratic drawl - have all found their way into his work. Russell's solo career has been one of relatively brief but prolific bursts and lengthy hiatuses; right now he seems in the midst of the former, as he recently released three albums. Tonight should provide plenty of reasons why Russell has been so in-demand by the best for most of his 67 years. MICHAEL ALAN GOLDBERG

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