If you snap up the Jackson Free Press when it hits stands Wednesday, there's fun to be had that night. Head to The Commons at Eudora Welty's birthplace on Congress Street at 7:30 p.m. for a performance by the Mississippi Improvisation Alliance. Local musicians and the Front Porch Dance Company will join MIA for some great performance art. If you haven't been to the Commons, yet, it's next door to Two Sisters.
One of the best R&B soul acts to come out of Jackson returns to Hal & Mal's Big Room Thursday night, April 16. D'Mar and the Nu Funk Society are the perfect blend of old- and new-school groove that guarantees a great live show and good times. D'Mar has played drums for Little Richard for the past 11 years, and he displays national-caliber showmanship with his own band.
The annual Operation Shoestring Spring Fling Benefit is Friday night at the Mississippi Museum of Art; $50 at the door, $40 in advance at Be-Bop Record locations. Jazz favorites The Vamps kick off the event at 6:30 p.m., followed by the Rebirth Brass Band at 8 p.m. Head to Martin's after the benefit for Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm's Juke Joint Duo. If you've never seen this duo, they are the real-deal, dirty blues juke to howl to. Whatever demons you've got, the Juke Joint Duo will exorcise them. Don't forget to tip your bartender.
The highlight of this week's Eudora Welty Centennial Celebration is the singer/songwriter concert April 17 at the Belhaven College Center for the Arts with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kate Campbell, Caroline Herring and Claire Holly. The concert begins at 8 p.m.; purchase tickets at Be-Bop, ticketmaster.com or call 601-355-5252. Also part of the centennial celebration, the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra will present "Bravo V: Adoring Eudora" Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Thalia Mara Hall. The concert features two Welty favorites from Schubert and Beethoven and James Sclater's "Images of Welty." A birthday reception will follow on the plaza. Tickets are $20-$50. Go to http://www.eudorawelty.org to see all the centennial events.
If the symphony is not your bag, check out the variety of other events Saturday. Outdoor concerts will be going on all over the Jackson metro if the weather permits. The Pickin' and Paddlin' Outdoor Fest begins at 10:45 a.m. at LeFleur's Bluff with Rhonda Richmond, Mayhem String Band, The Zydepunks and others. The Township on Highland Colony offers more music options with its second annual jazz fest featuring The Vamps, Rhonda Richmond (after her LeFleur's gig), Swing de Paris and others. Later in the afternoon, the Barefoot Beats Brick Street Festival begins in Old Towne Clinton. They have a long list of performers from 3-11 p.m. for free. Later, head to the 29th Annual Alcorn State University Jazz Festival at the Vicksburg Convention Center 7 p.m., featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, Geri Allen, the Mississippi Jazz Educators and others; call 601-877-6602.
Late Saturday night, Mayhem String Band will head to Martin's for their CD release party at 10 p.m.
Mark your calendars now for Jazz, Art and Friends at the Mississippi Museum of Art next Thursday, April 23. R&B singer/songwriter Akami Graham will perform at Freelon's next Friday, and Ingram Hill returns to Hal & Mal's. Next Saturday, stay in town to check out the Roosevelt Noise CD release party at Martin's, or head north to Oxford for the annual Double Decker Arts Festival. Performers include Charlie Mars, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Jason Isbell, George McConnell and Robert Randolph. Visit the JFP music calendar at http://www.jacksonfreepress.com for complete details on these events.