Sol Testimony's weekly Soul Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session is da joint!
Yours truly found out firsthand, after covering the event on assignment a couple of times and then signing up to go sit in: headlining draws such as Debbie Duncan, Da Black Pearl and Madame Mimi have graced the stage of Sol Testimony's Souls Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session. Yours truly found out firsthand, after covering the event on assignment a couple of times and then signing up to go sit in: headlining draws such as Debbie Duncan, Da Black Pearl and Madame Mimi have graced the stage of Sol Testimony's Souls Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session. Since only this spring, producer-host Sol Testimony has seen a strong roster of emerging talent on the order of gifted comic K Jay, brilliant spoken wordsmith Ibe (pronounced E-Bay) and superb vocalist Kash, along with promising anonymous performers, show up and seriously throw down. And every Thursday you can depend on Sol herself to take some time away from running things, grab the mic and get bad.
About a month ago, Sol Testimony blew a packed house away with such verse as her sterling prose-poem "Officer White." Fueled by her customary bittersweet salt, she intoned, "They're always talking about revolution. Those poets on that stage. Talking about it while I'm out on the streets from sundown to sunup, protecting their revolutionary ideals. Lost in a world of grime. Areas where even the lowest forms of human life are trying to escape. I clean those areas over and over without hope of it ever staying clean. And where is the stage for the proud men in blue? When do we get to use a microphone instead of a billy club to get our point across?" Do something with that.
The same night, Ibe, as a featured artist, held forth from his spellbinding book of poetry, Bumper-Sticker Self-Expression. A sampling of his published work is "At least once," part of which reads, "Listen/Look in a mirror and say 'I love you.'/'I'm so fine, I make me sick'/When they say you are conceited, say, 'Thank you.'/Fall in love/Get your heart broken/Fall in love again/Let a loved one go/Talk to a stranger/Go to a house of worship not your faith." Existentialism par excellence. Lightening this up, K Jay also hit it straight from the hip with air-tight humor that ranged from slyly topical to uproariously ribald. And (shameless plug) I got a chance to sing to locked-in-the-pocket backup: Gregory Washington (piano), Johannes Tona (bass) and Kevin Washington (drums), doing down-in-the-alley blues and The Temps' "Ain't Too Proud to Beg" - and didn't get run off the stage.
At Sol Testimony's Soul Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session, name artists get a chance to give back. Would-be names get a chance to try and make one. Those just trying to break in - well, they get a chance. Word of advisory, though: if you comin' with negative noise - gratuitously cussin', calling women names you'd kill somebody for calling your mother, take a pass, 'cause Sol don't allow that kind of carrying on. You might just get bounced faster than a bad check. By a guy named Dwight (that's his real name), who is nice, in fact personable as can be, and still will reacquaint you with the fresh air if that's what your hand calls for. Simply be prepared to go have a nice time and that's exactly what you'll get.
K Jay is on the bill Sept. 7 at the inaugural Laugh 'Til It Hurts Comedy Show, Sabbathani Community Center Auditorium, 310 E38th St., South Minneapolis. $10/$8 in advance. 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. 18+. Tel: 612-229-8136, 763-213-5538. Also on the bill: Boima Freeman, Simply Kenya, Art, Kevin Craft and Swhin. Hosted by Derrick Hardy. Music by DJ King and the IBBA All-Stars.
Soul Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session happens every Thursday at Palm Court Restaurant & Music Lounge, 2424 Central Avenue N.E., Minneapolis. $3 (free if you just don't have it). Doors at 8:00 p.m. Show starts 9:00 p.m. There's a jam session from midnight to 1:00 a.m. 18+ event (ID required). Find out more about Soul Sounds Open Mic & Jam Session at www.myspace.com/soulsou