Al Kooper

This unique, somewhat peculiar but brilliantly conceived event will gather some of the Twin Cities' premier musicians to pay tribute to keyboardist, guitarist, songwriter, and producer Al Kooper, whose uncanny presence and participation in landmark events over the past half-century have made him the rock equivalent of Forrest Gump or Zelig. His long association with Bob Dylan includes playing the prominent organ part on "Like a Rolling Stone" and being in the band when Dylan "went electric" at Newport. He also played on the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want," the Who's Sell Out, Jimi Hendrix's Electric Ladyland, and George Harrison's Beatles reminiscence "All Those Years Ago." He was a member of the Blues Project, founded Blood, Sweat & Tears and came up with the groundbreaking concept for their first album, discovered Lynyrd Skynyrd and produced their first three albums, and wrote songs covered by everyone from Gary Lewis and Gene Pitney to Carmen McRae and Freddie Cannon. And that barely scratches the surface. The Honeydogs' Adam Levy, a Kooper friend for a decade, organized the thing and coaxed Kooper to town for only the second time in his 52-year career (the first was an early-'80s Guthrie show with Dylan). With Levy leading the band (including fellow 'dogs Peter Sands, Trent Norton, and Steve Kung), the first set will be a who's-who of local singers (John Munson, Allison Scott, Ashleigh Still, Dave Campbell, Kevin Bowe, Martin Devaney, Kate Murray, Paul Metsa, Eric Koskinen, Jack Ventimiglia, Alicia Wiley) airing out the Kooper canon. The second set will be Kooper himself, playing solo and with the band. "I've never done anything like this before," Kooper said by phone last week. "It's very flattering and I'm very curious about it. And I'm really looking forward to it."
Sun., May 2, 7 p.m., 2010

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