Nothing fancy about this week’s music roundup. Just three great events worth your time and attention.
James Blood Ulmer Is in Town?
Every week I try to gather as many of the week’s gigs as I can on this handy if simple little list. Of course, I miss stuff. It’s inevitable. Some might say that’s part of the list’s homemade artisanal charm. (“Might” is doing a lot of work there.) But I certainly shouldn’t have overlooked the Lakeside Guitar Festival, a two-day event at Como Pavilion organized by Molly Maher and Todd Clouser. Tomorrow offers a full day of guitar-based music, beginning at 10:30 a.m. Highlights include singer-songwriter trio Turn to Turn, West African-born performer Wanaku, and acoustic blues notable Keb’ Mo’. But the exciting news for me is a free chance tonight see a true jazz/blues original, James Blood Ulmer. The first electric guitarist to tour with Ornette Coleman (and an inspiration for much of Ornette’s electric jazz work), dude really cut loose back in his free jazz days. He spends more time on the blues side of the street now, but he’s unlike any 12-bar six-stringer you’ve heard.
Let There Be Drums
If for some reason you’d rather not hear guitars this weekend, head to Frogtown Farms in St. Paul tonight. The astounding local free-jazz drummer Davu Seru will be premiering a new work with the new-music group, Zeitgeist. Do Hay is billed as a work for “three bass drummers and an audience.” (Hey, that could be you!) The attendees are encouraged to contribute voices. No more detail than that, Seru and Zeitgeist know what they’re doing and you are in competent hands. Here are the details.
Seru will also be performing next Thursday with Pieta Brown at the Walker’s Sound for Silents, along with Ben Lester and Jeremy Ylvisaker. The event, dubbed “This Land is Your Music,” features more than an hour of silent films by Maya Deren, Sheryl Mousley, Rini Yun Keagy, Kelly Gallagher, Sama Alshaibi, and others, with live accompaniment. This is free too. (Heroically holding back from making a bad “free jazz” joke here.) You can also catch Seru with the Mike Wolter Trio at Hymie’s Records on two consecutive Sundays, August 21 and 28. And further down his calendar—well, let’s just say we’re fortunate to have plenty of opportunities to catch him live.
Northeast Sound Clash
A sound-system block party in Northeast? That’s what Word.Sound.Power promises, in the style of Jamaica’s classic gatherings, bringing together performers from Kingston to Texas to Uruguay to (you better believe it) Minneapolis. Big names include Jamaican singers Mykal Rose of Black Uhuru and Johnny Osbourne, dub master the Scientist, hip-hop DJ Cut Chemist, and Jurassic 5’s Charli 2na. As for locals, familiar names Prince Jabba and Truth Maze will be joined by younger performers such as Prizefighters, Necromancer, aиtithesis, Jen Symmetry & Nick Merchant, Nick Twist, Moonlit Mushroom, Arion Lee, MC Hyde. The event runs from noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday at 56 Brewing. You can find the proverbial “more info” here.