Ramsey Lewis is like a fine wine

It makes sense that the music of Ramsey Lewis is aging well. The 82-year-old pianist was always comfortable folding pop, gospel, classical and R&B into his jazz template, keeping the toes tapping and the mind engaged. By now, his seven gold records are almost beside the point. His electric, Chicago-centric quintet features wizened masters — such as guitarist Henry Johnson — who have played with him for decades and ride the same wavelength of his casual versatility. (7 and 9 p.m. Thu. and Fri., Dakota, Mpls.; $30-$50, dakotacooks.com)

License to compose

From the Motion Poets to Hoaxer, the Twin Cities is known for fostering many decades of jazz ensembles that play nearly all-original material written by various members of each group. Formed in 1987 and enjoying a second wind for the past few years, the Illicit Sextet certainly qualifies and will likely dig deep in this intimate venue for jazz die-hards. (8 p.m. Fri., Jazz Central, Mpls.; $10, jazzcentralstudios.org)

Come early, stay late

The Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quartet has had the killer rhythm section of bassist Chris Bates and drummer Davu Seru for a while. The group really ought to get into the recording studio and make a companion to their superb 2008 Innova disc, “Chance, Love, Logic.” Moriarty’s alto sax usually finds a way to make this “avant-garde” jazz prance, while Lease’s piano work is crisp and creatively exacting. Come early for the Nathan Hanson Trio, fresh off a gig of improvisations the previous night at Khyber Pass, featuring bass clarinet luminary Sylvain Kassap. (7 p.m. Sat., Black Dog Café, St. Paul; $10 suggested donation, blackdogstpaul.com)

Poetry in motion

The Bridge calls itself “a transatlantic network for creative music.” And its Epiphany (The Bridge #9) project promises a riveting meld of spoken word and jazz, with a quartet including improvising wordsmith Mike Ladd, who has worked with Vijay Iyer and will double on synthesizer for this performance. The great Chicago drummer Dana Hall and the French bass clarinetist Sylvain Kassap (mentioned above) further bolster the lineup, with Mankwe Ndosi providing voice, poetry, story and texture. (9:30 p.m. Mon., Icehouse, Mpls.; $15, icehousempls.com)