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‘And the winners are …’ This week’s jazz picks

Among the nominees for Best Song at the 1937 Academy Awards was a tune by the Gershwins called “They Can’t Take That Away from Me.” It lost to “Sweet Leilani.” Go figure. In 1955, “(Love Is) The Tender Trap” was trounced by “Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.” And in 1961, “Moon River” beat out “Town Without Pity.”

“Moon” vs. “Town” must have been a tough call. Gene Pitney’s aching ballad (“When you’re young and so in love as we/And bewildered by the world we see…”) is one of the all-time great school-gym get-into-trouble slow-dancing songs, not that I would know anything about that.

On Saturday, vocalist Arne Fogel will present an entire evening of nice songs that finished last. It’s the perfect program for a man who counts “Here’s to the Losers” among his favorite tunes. I profiled Fogel for MinnPost last year when he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Mid-America Music Hall of Fame. He’s a terrific entertainer and storyteller with an encyclopedic knowledge of the music he loves, and he leads this week’s jazz picks.

Saturday, April 18: Arne Fogel: “And the Nominees Were …” With vocalist Nancy Harms, the Tanner Taylor Quartet (Taylor on piano, Doug Haining on saxophone and clarinet, Steve Pikal on bass, Dick Bortolussi on drums), and guest Connie Evingson. Here’s a video of Fogel at the Dakota. 7:30 p.m., Hopkins Center for the Arts ($24).

Sunday, April 19: B-Side Presents B-Side Jazz Festival: Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio with Imani Uzuri. A master of the Hammond B-3, the Doctor is a character on stage; Jazz Times described him as “a riddle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a turban.” His latest CD, “Rise Up,” is No. 1 on the national jazz charts. Here’s a video of his 2007 appearance at the Dakota. I had never heard of Imani Uzuri but checked out “Her Holy Water” on her MySpace page and got goose bumps. She’ll be backed by our own Atlantis Quartet, which should be amazing. 6:30 p.m. (doors at 6), Cedar Cultural Center ($22 advance, $24 at the door).

Sunday, April 19: Sam Miltich and Dave Karr CD Release. Miltich is the young guitar genius who walked out of Minnesota’s North Woods channeling Django Reinhardt; Karr is the McKnight-winning saxophonist who can play anything with anyone. Karr was a guest on the most recent release by Miltich’s group, Clearwater Hot Club; it went so well they decided to do an intimate duet recording, “Darn That Dream.” It’s a beauty. The new Sam & Dave won’t dance, but they probably will wear red socks. 7 p.m., Artists’ Quarter ($10).

Note: If you’re out and about on Saturday, stop by the Electric Fetus for Record Store Day. The Bad Plus will give an in-store performance at 4 p.m., a taste of its upcoming show at the Cedar (April 25).

Pamela Espeland tweets a daily jazz calendar on Twitter. Find Twin Cities jazz calendars and more jazz news online at Jazz Police. In the Main Menu at the left, click on Twin Cities. Jazz radio station KBEM 88.5FM posts a live music calendar each week; view it online in the Events menu.

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