Friday and Saturday: Jef Lee Johnson. He’s a bluesman with jazz chops, a jazzer who gets funky, a funkster who rocks, a rocker adept at bluegrass. He has played with McCoy Tyner and Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin and D’Angelo; he counts Eric Dolphy and Vanilla Fudge among his influences. Here he sounds like Hendrix. Philadelphia-based guitarist Johnson does it all, which is why so many people want to play with him. (He’s also a composer, bassist, keyboard player, and lyricist with several respected solo albums to his name.) Sample his many and varied sounds on his myspace page. Johnson will be joined by bassist Johannes Tona (Nachito Herrera, Stokely Williams) and drummer Michael Bland (Prince, George Benson), both of whom he has played with many times before. 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9, Artists’ Quarter, in the basement of the Hamm Building in St. Paul ($15).
Saturday and Sunday: Blue: Songs on the Indigo Side. The Capri Theater launches its “Legends” series with a program of jazz standards and jazz-shaded pop tunes based on blue — color, mood and feeling. Vocalists Katie Gearty, Rachel Holder and Nancy Harms (now living in NYC, recently returned from Norway’s Sortland Jazz Festival) will be backed by the Phil Aaron Trio (Aaron on piano, Graydon Peterson on bass, Jay Epstein on drums). Arne Fogel directs. Expect “In the Indigo” (the title song from Harms’s debut CD), “Blue Moon,” “Blueberry Hill,” and “Blue Monk,” with lyrics by Harms. 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, The Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway, Minneapolis ($25). Tickets online or call 866-811-4111.
Thursday: Meditations and Revelations Concert 1: Please Don’t Come Back from the Moon. Earlier this year, MacPhail Center for Music was given a $15,000 grant from the NEA for a performance and education project featuring the music of Charles Mingus. Four concerts were planned and the first takes place on Thursday. (It was originally scheduled for last Thursday, in case you were wondering.) Saxophonist Chris Thomson, bassist Adam Linz and drummer Alden Ikeda will play Mingus’ music plus Duke Ellington’s “Sound of Love.” I’m pretty psyched about this series — four nights of great music, musicians who get it and the chance to learn more about Mingus, all in one of my favorite venues, the exquisite Antonello Hall. 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 14, MacPhail Center for Music, 501 S. Second St., Minneapolis ($10/$5 youth). Pre-concert Q&A at 7:30. Tickets at the door or call 612-767-5250.
Also worth noting:
- Sunday, Oct. 10, Bloomington Center for the Arts: Drummer Butch Miles and the Wolverines Big Band with Judi Donaghy
- Sunday and Monday, Oct. 10 and11, Dakota: New Orleans pianist Davell Crawford
- Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 11 and 12, Dakota: Saxophonist Gerald Albright
- Wednesday, Oct. 13, Artists’ Quarter: Drummer Louis Hayes and his trio
- Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 20 and 21: Dakota: Hugh Masekela
- Saturday, Oct. 23: Hopkins Center for the Arts: With These Songs in Our Hearts: The Music of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart
- Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 23 and 24: Jazz 88 FM (KBEM) 40th Anniversary Gala
- Friday-Saturday, November 5-6: Walker Art Center: Brad Mehldau’s Highway Rider