Cedar Cultural Center on Tuesday 9.20

The Cedar's annual Global Roots Festival opens with a tasty dose of Malian blues, but with a French twist. Guitarist and singer Sidi Touré is from Gao, Mali, and although his noble family discouraged his musical endeavors, he eventually became the lead vocalist for several regional orchestras. As a guitarist, he plays a variation of Songhai blues in a similar vein as the great Ali Farka Touré (although no relation). But on Sahel Folk, Sidi Touré plays strictly acoustic guitar, collaborating with friends in a recording made at his sister's house. The result is hauntingly immediate and intimate, Touré's singing strikingly soulful while his picking is warm and hypnotic. Ballaké Sissoko, also from Mali, is a master of the kora who has collaborated with many others including the great kora player Toumani Diabaté. But Sissoko's Chamber Music project with French cellist Vincent Segal is like no other. Segal plays with great sensitivity, imparting a measure of European classical music to the proceedings, but in a manner that enhances the essence of Sissoko's entrancing Malian blues. All ages. Free. 7 p.m. 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.2674. —Rick Mason

James Farm

Dakota Jazz Club on Tuesday 9.20 and Wednesday 9.21

Dave Grohl (left) launches the 
Foo Fighters' tour in the Twin Cities
Steve Gullick
Dave Grohl (left) launches the Foo Fighters' tour in the Twin Cities

An all-star-caliber collaborative band, James Farm features four outstanding members of jazz's younger generation, each leaders in their own right: saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman, and drummer Eric Harland. The group's professed aim is to take a "song-based" approach to jazz while incorporating a variety of contemporary influences, a formula for disastrous muzak in the wrong hands. But this quartet manage it quite brilliantly on thier eponymous debut. All four's compositions flirt with melodies enough to warrant the "song" tag as well as tapping elements of rock, funk, soul, electronica, and more, yet never compromise with the sense that this is serious jazz absorbing other influences, not to be confused with fusion. The smart, restless improvisations, meanwhile, carry the concoction to a different plane. Harland propels most of the material with slippery urgency that varies in textural intensity from a gospel-tinged ballad like Parks's "Bijou" to his own frenetic workout "I-10," while Redman shines throughout without stealing the spotlight. $40 at 7 p.m.; $30 at 9 p.m. 1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010. —Rick Mason

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