Rock for Art Majors

Kingsbury Manx's self-titled debut is one of those quiet little discs that sneaks up on you with how good it is. Built around a trio of singers, mellow chord progressions and understated drumming, the album radiates simple beauty, which is what makes this North Carolina band so solid. The group combines established indie- and classic-rock elements often enough to sound both familiar and fresh, leaving room for some inspired and unexpected moments as well. Kingsbury Manx's sound rests somewhere between American Analog Set's droning dreaminess and the psychedelic southern Gothic of Elephant 6 groups. Three-part harmonies in counterpoint to extended instrumental sections makes for some gorgeous stuff. -- David Simutis

Kingsbury Manx performs Saturday, April 1, at Rudyard's, 2010 Waugh Drive. For more information, call (713)521-0251.

Glenn Miller Orchestra -- It took legendary trombonist Glenn Miller two tries to make a go of his original big band. The first outfit he put together in 1937 went south financially. But just a year later his second effort, with its mellow, brassy rhythms, launched a variety of swing that still defines big band. Miller's group made history with "Moonlight Serenade," "Chattanooga Choo-Choo" and "Sentimental Journey," among others. The Glenn Miller Orchestra cut more hit tunes in one year (1941) than anyone else in recording history up until then. Miller dissolved the group in 1942 to volunteer for the army. Two years later, while flying from England to France in a single-engine plane, Miller disappeared. The army pronounced him dead a year later.

Although the real Glenn Miller Orchestra existed for only four years, the musician's estate has licensed the use of his name since 1956. The latest incarnation to carry the trademarked name racks up nearly 300 dates a year, cranking out oldies around the world. It doesn't skimp on players, either. There are five saxophonists, four trumpeters, four trombonists, a pianist, a bass player and a drummer. The Houston Symphony sponsors the Glenn Miller Orchestra as part of its ExxonMobil Pops series from Friday, March 31, through Sunday, April 2, at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana Street. Shows start at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets range from $20 to $69. For more information, call (713)224-7575. (Cynthia Greenwood)

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Cynthia Greenwood
David Simutis