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Continued: Big gigs June 27-July 3: Lauryn Hill, Ray LaMontagne, John Mark Nelson and much, much more

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  • Last update: June 27, 2014 - 1:09 PM

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival turns sweet 16 this year, with a fair amount of cosmopolitan star power. Besides headlining sets from New Orleans sax titan Branford Marsalis (8:30 p.m. Fri.) and “Goodnight, and Good Luck” soundtrack singer Dianne Reeves (8:30 p.m. Sat.), the two free stages at St. Paul’s Mears Park will feature Peruvian guitar ace and composer Andres Prado with his quintet, Mississippi (5 p.m. Fri.); the local debut of impressive young Chilean saxophonist Melissa Aldana and her Crash Trio (6 p.m. Sat.), and always-engaging world jazz percussionist Babatunde Lea (7:15 pm. Fri.). (4-10 p.m. Fri., 2-10 p.m. Sat., Mears Park, Sibley & E. 5th Sts., St. Paul. Free. Full schedule at Tom Surowicz

Saxophonist Craig Handy was born in Oakland, and has lived in New York City since 1986, yet he’s diving into the sounds of New Orleans with his groove-minded new band, Craig Handy & 2nd Line Smith. The second line part is obvious, being the signature street beat of the Crescent City, while “Smith” refers to Hammond B-3 king Jimmy Smith, whose timeless sound is referenced by organist Kyle Koehler. The band also features a savvy sousaphonist, Clark Gayton. (7 & 9 p.m. Mon., Dakota Jazz Club, $25.) Surowicz

With Wilco on a longer-than-usual break, its guitar maestro Nels Cline is cutting loose with another outside project, this one a jazzy pairing with New York six-string prodigy Julian Lage, who has also played with vibes vet Gary Burton. Fans should expect a more lightly swinging hollow-body sound that’s half improv and half composition, and part Django and part Can. (7 p.m. Tue., Dakota, $25-$35.) Riemenschneider


One of alt-country’s best golden-voiced starlets and one of Texas’ all-time great songwriters, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison only started recording and touring together last year despite two decades of marriage. The resulting album,“Cheater’s Game,” and local tour date were both as charming as a road trip to Robison’s cowboy-centric hometown of Bandera. They have a new duo record, “Our Year,” a mixed bag with a Zombies cover, an Emmylou Harris guest appearance, three new Robison co-writes, plus a clever remake of “Harper Valley PTA” that was the TKO at last year’s show. The duo is also playing a free cameo gig at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Electric Fetus. (7 p.m. Sun., Dakota, $29.) Riemenschneider


A New Orleans favorite, the Joe Krown Trio returns for indoor and outdoor shows. Led by Hammond B-3 and piano man Krown, the band’s best-known member is a Crescent City legend, soulful singer and guitar groover Walter “Wolfman” Washington. Drummer Russell Batiste completes the all-star trio. (7 p.m. Fri., Dakota, $20. 7 p.m. Sat., Union Depot Stage, 214 E. 4th St., St. Paul, free.) Surowicz

KFAI-FM, the little public radio station that could, is staging an all-day Roots Music Benefit with lots of esteemed blues, folk and rock veterans, including Papa John Kolstad, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, Scottie Miller, Dave Babb, Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures, Roe Family Singers and James Loney, all for five George Washingtons. (2-11 p.m. Sat., Harriet Brewing, 3036 Minnehaha Av. S., Mpls., $5.) Surowicz

A curious new event makes its debut with the Great Minnesota Ukulele Gathering. The once-humble uke is experiencing a popularity surge, and this free soiree features workshops, jam sessions and performances by the likes of Two Harbors Ukulele Group, the StrumMn Ukulele Players and T-CUP — which may sound like a rapper, but is actually the hip handle of the Twin Cities Ukulele Players. (10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sat., Kordiak Park, 1845 49th Av. NE., Columbia Heights. Free. Surowicz


For more than 40 years, the Minnesota Orchestra’s “Symphony for the Cities” free outdoor concerts have been an annual tradition. This year, associate conductor Courtney Lewis leads a diverse program that includes such July 4th favorites as Stanislaw Skrowaczewski’s arrangement of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture,” along with light classical fare — Strauss’ “Emperor Waltzes,” Sousa’s “El Capitan” and John Williams’ “Theme From Jurassic Park.” (7:30 p.m. Mon., Lakefront Park Bandshell, 505 1st St., Hudson, Wis.; 8:40 p.m. Tue., Hilde Center for the Performing Arts, 3500 Plymouth Blvd., Plymouth.) William Randall Beard

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