Six cool things in music this week, from two points of view:
Laura Pugh, Golden Valley:
1 Davina and the Vagabonds, the Dakota. Music lovers were eager to be in the Dakota's welcoming space for its inaugural 2021 shows, and Davina and crew satisfied them with original material and covers. A set of songs from 1945, when the world was emerging from the shadow of World War II, was a theme that resonated on this day.
2 Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Twin Cities Jazz Fest Live. The Louisiana veteran came to Minnesota to spread the zydeco gospel. The infectious rhythms made it easy to get on your feet and try out those rusty dance steps.
3 Taiko Arts Midwest, Lyndale Gardens. Ensō Daiko members Jeff Ellsworth, Craig Schultz and Hiroshi Yoshino blended new and traditional rhythmic drumming pieces with impressive choreographed movements. The family-friendly performance, with Richfield Lake as a backdrop, included both a history of the art of Taiko and some audience participation.
Jon Bream, Star Tribune critic:
Harry Styles, Xcel Energy Center. Part natural showman, part swaggering rock star, part affable gent, he was a total charmer, dancing with exaggerated moves, doling out advice in response to a fan's handmade sign, praising the courage of a concertgoer in a Packer T-shirt and grabbing flags, flowers and feathered boas tossed onstage. Styles had all the right moves.
Questlove, Paisley Park. The doc he directed, "Summer of Soul," was musically and culturally enlightening and the Q&A offered keen observations about Prince and Black culture, but his DJ set of Prince rehearsal recordings was an extraordinary nightcap to a funk-filled program, especially in Prince's house on that sound system.
Delfeayo Marsalis Quintet, Twin Cities Jazz Festival. His conversation and song titles ("Fauci's Science," "Notorious RBG," "Blues for Breonna") provided social commentary while his trombone and band, notably pianist Christian Sands, delivered soulful and sophisticated sounds in Mears Park.
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