THE REVEREND ROBERT JONES RME and Family Museum Wednesday, April 5, and Friday, April 7 As the final guest of the organization's 2005-6 "Blues in the Schools" program, the Mississippi Valley Blues Society has brought back the Reverend Robert Jones, the Detroit musician who enjoyed a similar residency here in November 2001.
The Reverend Jones will play two public performances during his stay - at Davenport's River Music Experience on April 5 (7 p.m.) and at Bettendorf's Family Museum on April 7 (6 p.m.) - and has twice been voted "Detroit's Best Blues Instrumentalist" by MetroTimes magazine; although a guitarist by trade, he has also proven adept at the harmonica, mandolin, fiddle, quills, and banjo. But he's also widely recognized for his educational contributions, having taught at the University of Alabama, Central Michigan University, and Chicago's Loyola, and he once led a course entitled "The American History of Music" at Ohio's Wayne State. And oh yeah - he's also an ordained Baptist minister with his own congregation. That's all well and good, but it would have been nice for the blues society to book someone inspiring ... . For more information on the Reverend Jones or the "Blues in the Schools" program, call (563)322-5837 or visit (http://www.mvbs.org). - Mike Schulz
Saturday, April 8, 9:30 p.m.
"The mockingbird sings each different song. Each song has wings - they won't stay long." A poetic truth by one of the most recognizable voices in folk-music history - Richie Havens, who will perform at CSPS/Legion Arts in Cedar Rapids at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 8. Havens recently recorded his 26th album, Grace of the Sun, on his own record label (Stormy Records). "This impressive CD captures the listener from nearly every angle," wrote Jill Holly of IntuneMag. "The mix is interesting, open but not sparse." The 10-track album features six originals, which he will perform at the CSPS/Legion Arts, and covers such classics as Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" and Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock." Some of his more famous albums are 1970's Stonehenge and 2002's Wishing Well, but Havens is probably best-remembered for kicking off three days of peace, love, and music at Woodstock in 1969. For tickets ($25) or more information, call (319)364-1580 or visit (http://www.legionarts.org). - Jesse Virgil
Wednesday, April 5, through Sunday, April 9
Knowing me, knowing you, we all have fond feelings for the music of ABBA. At least, one of us does. I do, I do, I do, I do, I do. The Swedish sensations were a super trouper group in the '70s and early '80s, and although occasionally under attack by music critics - who can often be an artist's Waterloo - the name of the game is longevity, and honey, honey, has ABBA's legacy endured. (Does your mother know how much money, money, money they've earned?) The group's continued popularity even led to a Broadway musical centered around their songs - Mamma Mia!, which earned five Tony Award nominations including Best Musical, and which is being performed at the University of Iowa's Hancher Auditorium April 5 through 9. Take a chance on me and secure seats; you'll want to lay all your love on me for the recommendation. You still rock, ABBA. Thank you for the music. I just wish I could remember some of their song titles. Seems they're slipping through my fingers. For reservations, call the Hancher box office at (319)335-1160 or (800)426-2437. I understand tickets are still available. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! - Mike Schulz
Penguin's Comedy Club
Thursday, April 6, through Saturday, April 8
Angel Salazar is the latest headliner at Penguin's Comedy Club, and from April 6 through 8, audiences will be treated to what the Bettendorf venue's Web site calls Salazar's "mixture of street-smart ethnic wisecracks, risqué humor, physical comedy, and audience involvement." The Cuban/Puerto Rican actor/comedian has performed at The Comedy Store in L.A. and New York City's Catch a Rising Star, and he was the winner of the 1984 Los Angeles Comedy Competition, but it's actually Salazar's gigs outside the comedy circuit that fascinate me. While I'm not suggesting that his performance credits have a running theme or anything, I find it interesting to note that his résumé includes appearances in Scarface, which involves cocaine; Carlito's Way, which involves heroin; Where the Buffalo Roam, which is about Hunter S. Thompson; and the music video for "Born in East L.A.," which is by Cheech & Chong. All this, and he's opened for Whitney Houston. (I swear, some of these jokes just write themselves.) For more information and show times, visit (http://www.penguinscomedyclub.com). - Mike Schulz
GENESIS "FIRE 'N' ICE" GALA
The Mark of the Quad Cities
Friday, April 7, 5:30 p.m.
The theme of this year's Genesis Health System gala is "Fire 'n' Ice," which suggests that the April 7 fundraiser at the Mark of the Quad Cities is bound to be very hot and very cool. Certainly, the funds are going to a good cause - "Fire 'n' Ice" proceeds aid the Clarissa C. Cook Hospice House, which, says event chair Michelle Yates, "will benefit terminally ill patients and their families throughout the region." Live entertainment for the event will be provided by the artists of the Gregangelo & Velocity Circus troupe, who have been called "phenomenal," "sophisticated," and "dramatic" by the L.A. Times and "amazing entertainment" by Entertainment Tonight (so they should know). These acrobatic comedians perform for special engagements and festivals throughout the world, and according to the group's Web site (http://www.gregangelo.com), included among their talent roster is a character named Orion who performs "treacherous comedy," and someone called "Zamora the Torture King." Yipes. Good thing there'll be doctors in the house. Tickets are $150 each, and reservations can be made by calling (563)421-6865. - Mike Schulz