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What to Know Before You Go


Evidence Dance Company 8 p.m. Fri., April 20; 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. Sat., April 21;
NOCCA| Riverfront, Freda Lupin Memorial Hall, 2700 Chartres St.,

In his choreography, Evidence Artistic Director Ronald K. Brown explores the history of African culture in America inspired by music, literature and folklore. Brown's Evidence Dance Company will perform three pieces blending ballet, African, modern and hip-hop dance styles in a celebration of movement. One Shot: First Glance is a piece based on the story and the work of Charles "Teenie" Harris, who was an African-American documentary photographer for the Pittsburgh Courier . Truth Don Die , set to African and hip-hop music, portrays a man named Truth who miraculously survives a gruesome accident in Nigeria. For the night's finale, Grace brings to life the story of a woman, or God, coming to earth to collect people who don't understand God's grace. Inspired in part by the music of Duke Ellington, Brown originally choreographed Grace for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1999. Tickets $30 adults, $15 students. — Emily Hohenwarter



Barrington Levy 9 p.m. Wed., April 18
House of Blues, 225 Decatur St., 310-4999;

Dancehall music is something like the wild-card younger sibling of reggae. It evolved as a separate style in Jamaica during the '70s, with faster rhythms under more risqué and violent lyrics than those typical of its more laid-back, irie progenitor. Many critics and music historians have posited a direct link between dancehall and the development of hip-hop in New York City in the late '70s, when immigrant dancehall DJs toasted, or chanted lyrics, over recorded tracks at block parties and fans danced Jamaican steps like the Butterfly and the Blaze. They say it was a short hop (and you don't stop) to rappers, B-boys and DJs. In any case, dancehall rhythms are dirty and infectious, and Barrington Levy is widely considered the godfather of the form. His solo career kicked of in the late '70s in Kingston, Jamaica, when Levy was still in his early teens. In the '80s, he became a huge star at home and in England. In the '90s, he left MCA records and surfaced mostly as a cult name contributing to an occasional track. Still in his early forties, with the dancehall sound being re-energized by hip-hop artists like Sean Paul, Levy seems poised for a slamming comeback. The Los Angeles-based reggae band Detour Posse joins him. Tickets $20. — Fensterstock


Bonerama CD-Release Party
10 p.m. Fri., April 20

Tipitina's, 501 Napoleon Ave., 895-TIPS; What do you call a trombone player with a pager? An optimist. What's the difference between a frog driving a car and a trombonist driving a car? The frog might be on his way to a gig. There's a million trombone jokes tossed around in the annals of jazz humor, poking fun at the traditional instrument's seeming anachronism in these modern times. Not so in New Orleans, where the trombone combo Bonerama, ably led by former Harry Connick Jr. Big Band members Mark Mullins and Craig Klein, has been throwing down serious New Orleans second-line style street funk with up to five long horns at a time since the late '90s. With Matt Perrine's sousaphone, occasional electric guitar and drums Ñ provided at times by alternate New Orleans rhythm all-stars like Kevin O'Day, Russell Batiste, Doug Belote and Chad Gilmore Ñ Bonerama brings forth the power of what Rolling Stone critic David Fricke accurately and memorably referred to as "brass balls." Indeed. And now, they've laid it down on wax for posterity yet again, to the delight of fans and probably the confusion of future archaeologists. Oh, and one more: How can you tell who's the trombone player's kid on the playground? He complains about the slide and he can't swing. Tickets $10. —Fensterstock


Alex McMurray CD-Release Party
10:30 p.m. Sat., April 21

Saturn Bar, 3067 St. Claude Ave., 949-7532 Fans of Alex McMurray should be well aware of his song "Captain F***ing Sandy," which chronicles his 2002 experiences working as an entertainer at Tokyo DisneySea. While singing sea shanties to throngs of Japanese park visitors, McMurray developed an interest in traditional songs of the rolling main. In 2004, with the Tin Men as his backing band, he convened the Valparaiso Men's Chorus, a one-off scurvy gang of local musicians and friends. They recorded a dozen or so maritime folk songs, arranged and sometimes rewritten to add a New Orleans touch, including a brass band version of "Drunken Sailor." A move to New York and back, plus Hurricane Katrina, helped push the project to the back burner during the years that have intervened, but finally (and just in time for Jazz Fest) the long-awaited sea shanty album is being christened. Since the album was recorded, pirates and things nautical have seen their hipness quotient increase alarmingly Ñ probably due to the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise, starring Johnny Depp. Last year, the Anti Records label released Rogue's Gallery , a double-disc set that collected variations on sea shanties performed by an impressive roster of artists, from Nick Cave to Bono. Is McMurray concerned that critics will write him off as a latecomer to the pirate trend? "I'm getting tired of correcting people. These songs are not pirate songs. É pirates actually worked on much smaller boats. So they didn't have huge crews of men pulling ropes and singing. I'm sure they had their own songs." Call club for cover. —Fensterstock

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