Gypsy jazz, caviar, and a wailer sighting

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About a dozen Rake readers and friends showed up last Wednesday – at my invitation – for dinner and a show at T’s Place. You can find better Malaysian dishes elsewhere, (like at Peninsula Malaysian Cuisine) but the Ethiopian dishes were hearty and flavorful, prices extremely reasonable, and the contemporary jazz by Ethiopian-born bass guitarist Yohannes Tona and his band was first-rate.

Toma’s a musician of the the caliber you expect to hear at the Dakota, where he sometimes performs. But for aging hipsters, the real musical highlight came late in the evening, when a grey-bearded guy got up on stage with the band and sang No Woman No Cry, followed by an a capella rendition of Redemption Song, a capella. It turns out he’s Devon Evans, who used to play percussion with Bob Marley and the Wailers. A memorable moment.

Looking for things to do this week?:

If you can’t get a table at Cafe Maude, check in at nearby Cave Vin, 5555 Xerxes Ave.S., where Rhonda Laurie (that’s her, above) and her trio play every Wednesday, performing jazz standards and gypsy swing in the keys of mellow and romantic. No cover charge. Best bets from the menu include the steak tartare and the steamed mussels – order them with the frites for a light supper. And Yohannes Toma will be back at T’s place, starting at 9 p.m.

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