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The Bad Plus, Ben Sidran, Kelley Johnson: This week’s jazz picks

One of the most interesting music blogs on the web, Do the Math,  is written by Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus. He does major interviews (Wynton Marsalis, Charlie Haden, Stanley Crouch), gives us insights into his own band and provides thoughtful musical analysis and witty cultural commentary. See, for example, Iverson’s retelling of the prologue to Dan Brown’s “The Da Vinci Code,” written in the style of Richard Stark and a lot better than the original. Too bad it’s too late for Iverson to take a big, fat red pen to Brown’s forthcoming “The Lost Symbol.”

Earlier this week, Iverson announced a contest for other musicians who blog: Send him a link to a post you’ve written and you could get a $100 check from him. Tip: If you win, frame the check, don’t cash it. Meanwhile, check out TBP at the Cedar on Saturday.

Saturday: The Bad Plus: If you missed its free in-store performance at the Fetus last Saturday (or even if you didn’t), you’ll want the full-meal deal at the Cedar. TBP’s tour in support of its latest CD, “For All I Care,” has been selling out shows in Europe and across the United States. If tickets are still available here, shame on us … but grab yours. Yes, this show will include Minneapolis indie-rock singer Wendy Lewis, who fits right in. Watch on YouTube, or listen on MySpace. 7:30 p.m., Cedar Cultural Center ($30).

Sunday and Monday: Ben Sidran: Former pianist for the Steve Miller Band, Sidran also is a singer, producer, composer, author and songwriter (he co-wrote “Space Cowboy”). He has been compared to Mose Allison for his cool, urbane style. (Sidran produced several of Allison’s albums.) For years, he hosted NPR’s “Jazz Alive” (which won a Peabody Award) and “Sidran on Record” and VH1’s “New Visions” series. Like many jazz musicians today, he’s better known in Europe than he is here. See him on YouTube (that’s our own Billy Peterson on bass). 7 and 9:30 p.m., Dakota ($20/$15).

Tuesday: Kelley Johnson: When CeU’s three-night run at the Dakota was canceled, Seattle-based singer Kelley Johnson stepped into Tuesday’s slot. (On Wednesday: The Dakota Trio. On Thursday: Nancy Harms.) I’ve been listening to both of Johnson’s CDs, “Music Is the Magic” (2005) and “Home” (2008), and I like her voice and style very much: crisp, clear, relaxed and convincing. Listen to clips on her website. She’ll play here with her pianist (and husband), John Hansen and two wonderful area musicians, bassist Gary Raynor and drummer Jay Epstein. 7 p.m., Dakota ($7).

Pamela Espeland tweets a daily jazz calendar on Twitter and blogs about jazz at Bebopified. 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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