Annual Soul'd Out fest brings dozens of acts covering wide range of genres

SALLY FORD AND HER BANDNow in its fifth year, the Soul’d Out Music Festival has grown into one of the most eclectic and interesting sonic events our music-rich town hosts.

Thirteen venues will feature 33 performers, from hip-hop to indie rock, Thursday, April 10, through Sunday, April 20.

A cursory glance reveals a sweat-inducing lineup including Questlove of The Roots, Slick Rick, Little Dragon, CunninLynguists, Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard and Diana Krall.

Other performers include Pink Martini and The Oregon Symphony, John Scofield’s Uberjam, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, The Orb, Ural Thomas & the Pain, Caravan Palace and Jeni Wren.

Here’s a day-by-day look at various shows. We’ll look at other shows next week.

For a complete schedule and ticket info, check out

April 10

Alhambra Theatre, 4811 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd., hosts an all-ages show at 8 p.m. with CunninLynguists, J-Live, Sadistik, Nemo Achida and Son Real. The critically lauded Kentucky hip-hop trio, CunninLynguists were among the first 21st century stars in hip-hop, and have consistently put out quality product that has kept their fan base loyal.

Meanwhile, if you want to hear what Rickie Lee Jones would sound like if she was Japanese and sang with three Swedish guys, check out Little Dragon, which shares a bill with Unknown Mortal Orchestra at the Wonder Ballroom, 128 N.E. Russell St. Integrating synth-trip-hop with avant-garde soul, Little Dragon is about as contemporary sounding as it gets. Meanwhile, Portland-meets-Auckland UMO likes their prog rock psychedelic and will provide an excellent complementary sound to Little Dragon.

April 11

Star Theater, 13 N.W. Sixth Ave., hosts a great night of jazz, funk, rock and all sounds in between when John Scofield’s Uberjam headlines at 9 p.m. One of the last living links to jazz’s post-war golden era, Scofield famously played with Miles Davis, not to mention Charlie Mingus, McCoy Tyner and Chick Corea. Scofield makes jazz you can actually dance to and is refreshingly accessible, unpretentious and, dare we say ... fun! Meanwhile, Seattle punk-jazz saxophonist Skerik introduces his latest project Bandalabra, which features Andy Coe on electric guitar, Evan Flory-Barnes on upright bass, and Dvonne Lewis on drums. Bandalabra is intended to conjure the sounds of “Fela Kuti meeting Steve Reich in rock’s backyard.” Cool.

April 12

On March 1, Portland rapper Greg Poe, aka Illmaculate, decided to cancel his scheduled performance at the Blue Monk to protest what he considered the excessive number of cops, as well as a fire marshal. His action ignited a debate about alleged official bias against hip-hop culture as well as racism and discrimination in Portland. Illmaculate will mark the release of “Clay Pigeons,” his newest CD at Alhambra, on April 12, and says he’s currently exploring discussions about the controversy with Portland’s Independent Police Review Board, as well as the police and other officials.

“There just has to be a landscape created where we can have these shows in a positive outlet without overt and cumbersome shows of authority,” he says.

Illmaculate adds his latest CD “is my best piece of work to date. It’s more a reflection of every facet of my life over the past year.” His latest output tackles social issues and self-reflection. “I’m exploring my own depths.”

Seattle’s Nacho Picasso, along with Cassow, Load B, Cool Nutz and DJ Fatboy join Illmaculate’s bill along with Sandpeople. The cost: $12 in advance, $15 day of show.

Meanwhile, much acclaimed Portland indie rocker Sallie Ford joins Rick Bain & The Genius Position and Three For Silver for a show at Star Theater ($15). Formerly of The Sound Outside, Ford is bringing her relatively new all-female band to the stage.

“I was just going to do a side project with them, but it ended up working up so well that it’s a full-time thing,” she says.

She stresses that the decision to disband The Sound Outside was mutually made by all members. Her new band delves into surf, new wave and other genres, in addition to her patented rootsy sound, Ford says.

“These particular women I’m playing with are very special,” she adds. “We do some harmony stuff, and everyone is very excited about it.”

She also notes the band is working on a new album with producer Chris Funk of the Decemberists.

“He and I collaborated on the new sound of this band, bringing in more straightforward rock elements, a more crunchier punk rock sound,” she says.

April 13

Portland’s premiere “little orchestra,” Pink Martini, presents its classy combination of classical, Latin, jazz and pop with the Oregon Symphony at three 8:30 p.m. all-ages shows Friday through Sunday, April 11-13 ($35 to $127). Schnitzer Hall, 1037 S.W. Broadway.

Sunday also will see Malian singer-actress Fatoumata Diawara (aka Fatou) take the stage at the Star Theater with her Western African music, which combines traditional and contemporary influences in a percussive, melodic and haunting mix. Saratone shares the bill ($18).

April 14

GUITAR SHORTYCredited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy, Guitar Shorty will satisfy your blues hunger with Dovedriver, at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Ave., with this 9 p.m show ($17 in advance, $20 day of show).

April 15

Tinariwen includes Touareg musicians from the Sahara Desert region of northern Mali. Members of this band have fought in war, learned music in peace, and created some of the most soulful, poetic folk rock on the planet. Few, if any, bands on Earth have the kind of story Tinariwen has. Their 2011 album “Tassili” was recorded in the Algerian desert and won a Grammy for “Best World Music.” They share the stage with U.K. folk-Latin-roots band The Melodic. 9 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at the Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave. ($25 in advance, $30 day of show).

The same night, Jeni Wren, a founding member of Portland’s Shy Girls, brings her sexy soul music to the Doug Fir, 830 E. Burnside St. Gritty Portland R&B band Brownish Black joins the bill ($10 in advance, $12 at the door).

April 16

What can we say about Roots drummer Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson that hasn’t been said? If you haven’t seen him doing his latest gig on “The Tonight Show,” you’ve heard him on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” or heard his live-hop group breaking ground back in the day. He comes to the Alhambra to play DJ at 10 p.m. ($20).

Meanwhile, combining modern sounds with gypsy jazz and swing, France’s Caravan Palace promises to put on a frets-friendly show at Roseland Theater, 8 N.W. Sixth Ave., along with Bombino and Medium Troy with The Bohemian Dub Ensemble ($20).

April 17

JOE LOUIS WALKERJoe Louis Walker has more than a score of records under his own name and has played on numerous others. With a voice like Elmore James and a pronounced, somewhat angular guitar style that echoes another Walker — T-Bone — as well as Otis Rush and B.B. King, Walker has forged a distinct sound also rooted in what he calls the blues’ “cousin from the same tree” — gospel music. Walker takes the stage at 8 p.m. at Jimmy Mak’s, 221 N.W. 10th Ave. ($13, $17).

The Michael Moore Quartet features Moore, a saxophonist, clarinetist and composer, who jams American jazz and Dutch-improvised music traditions. His quartet features pianist Harmen Fraanje, bassist Clemens van der Feen, and drummer Michael Vatcher at 7 p.m. in the Mission Theater, 1624 N.W. Glisan St. ($20 in advance, $25 at the door).

Lalah Hathaway and Ruben Studdard bring jazz and soul to the Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W. Burnside St., at 8 p.m. Pianist-vocalist Hathaway, the daughter of Donny Hathaway, has spent more than 20 years in the business putting out mature music and recently snagged a Grammy, along with Snarky Puppy, for “Something.” Meanwhile, “American Idol” Studdard has put out a string of gold and platinum records.

April 18

Manchester, England, singer-songwriter Daley sports a strong tenor which he puts to good use on his soul, R&B and pop tunes. You can hear him at the Star Theater at 10 p.m. ($12).

April 19

Two words say it all — Slick Rick! The gentleman rapper with the Jamaican-British roots grew up in the Bronx, revolutionized hip-hop with his storytelling skills, went to jail on an attempted murder rap, became a model inmate, and eventually was pardoned by New York Gov. David Paterson. He brings his revitalized roadshow to the Alhambra at 9 p.m. ($20).

Meanwhile, Brooklyn’s Pleasure Drones features Will Bernard on guitar, keys and electronics, Jeff Hanley on bass, keys and electronics, and Eric Kalb on drums and electronics. All three cats have stellar pedigrees, including Grammy nominations, and members have worked with Tom Waits, Sharon Jones and Branford Marsalis, among others. They bring their trippy funky vibe to the Goodfoot, 2845 S.E. Stark St. at 9 p.m. ($8 in advance, $10 at the door).

April 20

DJs The Hood Internet hail from Chicago and specialize in mashing up indie rock and hip-hop and will share the stage with Portland pop rockers Pictorials at 8 p.m. at Holocene, 1001 S.E. Morrison St. ($12 in advance, $15 day of show).

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