Central Arkansas venues have a full week of commemorative events planned
‘THE RAT PACK IS BACK'
7:30 p.m., Robinson Center Music Hall. $17-$34.
Sandy Hackett, son of world-renowned comic Buddy, serves as both writer and producer of this nightclub tribute to Frank, Sammy, Dean and Joey, which recreates one of the famous “Summit at the Sands” gigs from the 1960s. Impersonators of the four hipster legends and favorite sons of Vegas, performing vocal recreations laced with free-wheeling gags, are backed by a swinging 12-piece big band certain to churn out numbers such as “Fly Me to the Moon,” “That's Amore” and “Mr. Bojangles.” The premise finds the voice of God (an actual recording of Buddy Hackett) urging the boys to split their digs in heaven for a groovy romp in the City of Lights, to do it “just one more time,” to which they oblige. On a side note, these boys smoked like freight trains, due to the staggering amounts of booze and Dexedrine they indulged in, so I have to wonder if this Pack will employ some sort of cig props, such as rolled bubble gum sticks with powdered sugar. Regardless, their three-night stay at Robinson Center should swing hard nonetheless. PP.
7:30 p.m., Reynolds Performance Hall, UCA, Conway. $30-$35.
Rumor has it that at age 13, Poncho Sanchez' mother fled to the U.S. after hiding under the bed as revolutionary Pancho Villa stormed her village. For this I thank her, because rare are percussionists or drummers who front their own bands and rarer are those who embark and maintain successful careers spanning four decades. By fusing two of the most complex and beautiful rhythmic genres, world-famous conguero (conga player) Poncho Sanchez has become one of the most famous Latin jazz artists in music history. Raised on Afro-Cuban music such as mambo, cha-cha, rumba, and salsa, as well as on bebop jazz from greats such as Charlie Parker, Sanchez honed his skills as a percussionist and broke into the limelight at 23 when he joined vibraphonist Cal Tjader's famed Latin jazz ensemble in 1975. Since then, he's released an impressive 27 recordings, which have earned him several Grammy nominations and the 2000 Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Album. Other styles woven into Sanchez' musical tapestry include R&B and, best of all, funk, which can be attributed to many collaborations and performances with iconic 1970s high-octane funk ensemble Tower of Power, with whom Sanchez shared the stage as part of an all-star band assembled for the eighth anniversary of “The Late Show with David Letterman.” PP.
SEC WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
12 p.m., Alltel Arena. $10-$90.
For the first time in three years, the women's conference tourney returns to Alltel Arena. For fans of the Hogs women's team, that means a chance to coax the recently on-fire squad on a run. The team opens the tournament at noon Thursday against the No. 9-seeded Ole Miss Rebels. If they win, they'll face Auburn on Friday at noon. Start feigning sickness now, hoops fans. For out-of-towners here to support their team and looking for something to do, downtown North Little Rock's Argenta arts district is generally pretty jumping, with good food, cold beer, etc. Ditto for the River Market in Little Rock, just a trolley ride away (at last, a reason for someone to use it!). The Times is hosting a showcase of some of the finest music in Central Arkansas on Friday night at 8 p.m. at Revolution, which is at the west end of the River Market on President Clinton. We'd love to have you. LM.