The title track of Jason Ricci & New Blood's Rocket Number 9 (Electro Groove) is a sizzling cover of outer limits jazz maestro Sun Ra, offering stark evidence that neither Ricci nor his band is what you might expect from a Nashville-based harmonica player and nominal blues-rock outfit. For one thing, Ricci, who grew up gay in rural Maine and has played with the likes of Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside, is pretty much as ferocious and adventurous on the mouth harp as anyone out there, combining speed, dexterity, and an eclectic array of licks that have earned comparisons to Little Walter, Jimi Hendrix, and John Coltrane. He's also a searing vocalist whose yowl wouldn't be out of place in, say, Lynyrd Skynyrd. Chief foil Shawn Starski is a dazzling electric guitarist who plays with passion and insight beyond his years. With bassist Todd Edmunds and drummer Ron Sutton, the especially versatile quartet rambles among blues, rock, and jazz with myriad influences ranging from swamp funk to punk, bop, and psychedelic jam band stuff, virtually guaranteeing that the fireworks this Fourth will come from Dave's stage as well as the sky.
Fri., July 4, 9 p.m., 2008