IN TOWN, ON RECORD
What's an "Airplang?" Among other things, it's the name of fiddler Rodney Miller's new album (Rounder 0193). Miller, who will fuel New England contra and square dances at Takoma Park Junior High on Sunday night, offers a couple of other definitions, including "a fixed-winged aircraft designed specifically for carrying tunes." In this case, his craft provides a bunch of timeless New England fiddle tunes -- some as soulful as a Celtic air, others as rhythmically compelling as a barn dance -- all presented with great feeling and vitality. Guitarist Russ Barenberg's sparkling improvisations add to the fun.
Not much planning went into the making of "Two of a Mind" (ITI JL004). The album is merely the result of pianist Bill Mays and bassist Red Mitchell getting together in the recording studio to collaborate on a collection of jazz evergreens. The opener, "Willow Weep For Me," rendered as a stately blues, is rather typical of Mays' spacious arrangements. He even manages to maintain that same free, uncluttered feeling when the duo turns to darker and more percussive themes, such as Thelonious Monk's "Well, You Needn't" or Miles Davis' "All Blues." Mays and Mitchell are appearing Sunday at Charlie's Georgetown. KEENE ANTICIPATION
Local pop-rock favorite Tommy Keene, who's been getting the kinds of reviews that mark him as a talent deserving wider recognition and whose contract with Geffen Records is just about in the bag, will be giving one of his last local performances for a while on Thursday at the 9:30 Club. It's a $2 night, and Keene's hoping for a full house to impress potential producer Martin Rushent (Human League, Go-Go's, Buzzcocks), who's expected to fly in from England. BUCHANAN BREAK
Roy Buchanan, the legendary local guitarist whose vinyl work has never matched his reputation among guitar aficionados, has signed with Chicago's Alligator Records, the label that helped to revive the careers of both Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter. Buchanan, who has been playing professionally for 36 of his 45 years, was strictly a local legend until a 1970 PBS documentary thrust him into the limelight. He has recorded eight albums, the last one five years ago for Atlantic.