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THEATER REVIEW

This righteous hipster doesn't miss a beat, man

October 20, 2006|David C. Nichols | Special to The Times

"Dig infinity!" proclaimed the late, great Lord Buckley. He would be 100 this year, and "Lord Buckley in Los Angeles" at M Bar is one far-out centenary gift. The iconic hip messiah riffs his way into the pounce of the now through this tight set by divine swinger Jake Broder.

Born in Tuolumne in 1906, former lumberjack Richard Myrle Buckley rattled '50s counterculture much as Elvis shook up pop culture, albeit from underground. With a mix of British posh and Dizzy Gillespie rasp, Buckley's persona, lingo and watershed records influenced countless artists, starting with Lenny Bruce and Bob Dylan, and presaged modern rap.

Broder, immaculately decked out, nails this prophet of "hipsemantic," even without the pith helmet and waxed mustache. Aided by groovy side cat John Keefe and a solid sent band -- pianist Derek Yellin, bassist Ryan Feves and drummer Mark Sanfelippo -- the gimlet-eyed Broder lays down His Royal Hipness with breathtaking results.

Take his "H-bomb" ditty, which here folds current entities into its Cold War curlicues. Jazzed by "hip news" breaks and beatnik takes on Dickens and Browning, we are stunned when acute comment communes with our subconscious.

The reconstituted Gettysburg Address, featuring an American flag and Keefe as "Lanky Linc," is a righteous ride. And the deathless accounts of Gandhi ("The Hip Gan") and Jesus ("The Nazz") fly sky high.

Broder's scatting runs and sax licks testify to his bebop bona fides. Viewers brought down by a white man affecting Southern black patois might recall that Buckley juiced up with the legends he invokes, a stompin' believer in the human family.

Attuned to the plush supper club venue, this crazy daddy-o and his ace cronies come on like Vesuvius reaching for Pompeii. They totally connect, and it is the coolest act in town.

*

`Lord Buckley in Los Angeles'

Where: M Bar, 1253 N. Vine St., Hollywood

When: 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4; 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 17

Ends: Nov. 17

Price: $15 plus dinner ($10 minimum)

Contact: (323) 856-0036

Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

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