If his career timing had been half as sharp as his musical timing, Burke would be as well-known as soulful contemporaries Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. As it is, late-life accolades like induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and a Grammy in the blues category are garnering Burke at least a fraction of the audience he deserves for ’60s classics such as “Cry to Me.” “I feel like a man who is finally coming out of exile,” Burke said a couple years ago. Said legendary Atlantic Records producer Jerry Wexler: “I rate him at the very top. … all singing is a tradeoff between music and drama; he’s a master of both.”
Saturday, 9:30 p.m., Masco/Metro Times Stage by the Detroit Science Center.
Finger-snapping ham Bobby Badfingers gets a TV commercial, so why not Clark Terry? The octogenarian jazz master does a tremendous comedy shtick with an invented language — mumbles — that is somewhere between hyperbolic scat singing and Pig Latin with “ixnay oopslay” for extra measure. Though great fun, this is the least of what Terry has to offer. The venerable trumpeter has been featured with both Duke Ellington and Count Basie, influenced Miles and added seven records to his discography in the last two years.
Friday, 9:30 p.m., Masco/Metro Times Stage.
Beat the Donkey
The name rolls of the tongue better in Portuguese as Pau Na Mula; in Brazil, it’s idiomatic for “let’s go,” or, in this case, “let’s go, man, go.” The leader, Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, has played with artists from Trey Anastio of Phish to Cassandra Wilson and played just about everything from a mule jaw to washboard. His own group, a hit at last year’s festival, is an 10-piece, wildly costumed, polyglot percussion ensemble that mashes up tap dance, Brazilian capoeira, doo-wop, rock, samba, you name it, with a radiant affection for each genre and a devilish disdain for the borders between any of them.
Friday, 7:30 p.m., Wayne State/WDET Stage, on Cass near the Detroit Historical Museum.
As oddly compelling a singer-songwriter as you’ll find these days, Stew’s subject matter includes getting high, not getting high, cross-dressing, rehab as a revolving door, and a femme fatale named Giselle who knows “the rules to crickets and speaks Chinese.” He’s tuneful in all sort of ways, trippy for one number, evoking Tin Pan Alley in another, rocking out on the next. He opened for Arthur Lee and Love at the Magic Stick a couple of years back to little effect (the curse of the little-known warm-up guy). Hopefully, his festival audience will give him a chance to really be heard.
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Bank One Music and Literary Lounge; Sunday, 7:30 p.m., MGM Grand Detroit Casino Music Café, Woodward at Kirby; workshop on Sunday, 2:30 p.m., Scarab Club.
Muruga & the Global Village Ceremonial Band
Percussionist Muruga Booker’s résumé includes studio work and live gigs with artists from George Clinton to Dave Brubeck to Weather Report to Jerry Garcia. Originally from this area, he moved back here from California about four years ago and made this jam-oriented world-beat band his main outlet. This edition of the group includes special guest Peter Madcat Ruth on guitars and harmonica.
Saturday, 5 p.m., MGM Grand Detroit Casino Music Café.
No, not exactly Elmore Leonard, the best-selling author of hard-boiled crime fiction. This time out the septuagenarian Leonard is reading from A Coyote’s in the House, a book aimed at young readers, beginning with his own brood of grandchildren (and a great-grandson). Leonard is hardly the only literary offering at the fest, which also includes Thomas Lynch (Milford mortician/undertaker turned author), Lorenzo Thomas (a ground-floor figure in the black arts movement by way of his work with the Umbra workshop), Detroit poet Leslie Reese, Saginaw’s Al Hellus and a number of acts that bridge poetry and music: M.L. Liebler and the Magic Poetry Band, Faruq Z. Bey & Speaking in Tongues and poet Melba Joyce Boyd with pianist Kenn Cox.
Leonard reads Saturday at 4:45 p.m. at the Field’s Go Read Garden Stage, Cass lawn of the Detroit Public Library; Lynch reads at 3:55 p.m. Saturday at the Bank One Music and Literary Lounge, while Liebler performs there at 4:20 on Saturday; Reese, Boyd and Bey are at the Bank One stage on Sunday at 2:45, 3 and 4:20, respectively.
Ken Butler’s Voices of Anxious Objects
Who hasn’t grabbed a tennis racket and pretended to be a wailing guitarist? Butler, part of the downtown New York musical scene, has built a whole visual and musical aesthetic out of doing something like that, taking the stage with string instruments that incorporate axes, snow shovels, bicycle wheels as bodies, for instance, and all manner of bric-a-brac as sound-generating adornments. Lured to the University of Michigan’s art department last year, he’s making his Detroit debut.
Sunday, 5:15 p.m., Bank One Music and Literary Lounge, Cass at Putnam; instrument workshop Saturday, 2:30 p.m., at Scarab Club.