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French Connection


Victor Wooten
From Ray Brown and Ron Carter to Les Claypool and Bootsy Collins, the bass is the least appreciated and most important instrument in music. Drums keep rhythm, guitar and keys provide harmony, singers and horns provide melody. The bass provides groove. A band is made great simply by the virtue of its bassist, and anyone who tells you differently probably plays guitar and has more mirrors in his house than pictures of his family. Victor Wooten is among the legendary, in terms of the doghouse. Wooten made his name as Bela Flecks’ sideman, but he’s carved his own place in the annals of rock. Double-thumping, tapping, hammer-plucking, Wooten’s a master of it all, and his approach to music remains pure. 8 p.m., May 8, Oriental Theater, Denver, 303.455.2124. $25-$30

Duran Duran

Aside from being relentlessly adored by heterosexual females more than just about any other group in history, Duran Duran also happened to be responsible for almost single-handedly launching the New Wave movement into the mainstream in the ’80s. Duran Duran helped bring the synthesizer notoriety and popularized the post-punk movement. Today, the group not only continues almost unfettered in the same direction they started in, but manages to sprinkle enough contemporary references in that they still sound fresh. 7:30 p.m., May 12, Wells Fargo Theatre, Denver, 303.228.8000. $44+

Return to Forever
Next to Weather Report, Return to Forever is one of the most important post-bop jazz groups that didn’t contain Miles Davis. Though the lineup evolved around two constants—Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke—the mid-70s offering was by far the best. Corea and Clarke were joined by Al Di Meola and Lenny White. They cut a new swath through jazz-rock fusion, cementing Di Meola as a star in his own right. It’s this lineup that returns to the stage this summer. It’s one of those jazz super groups you’ll tell your grandkids about seeing. 8 p.m., June 3, Paramount Theatre, Denver, $303.623.0106. 46.50+

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