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Back Beat

Music News & notes from down in the Willamette valley.
Slum Village. Photo by Todd Cooper.
Slum Village. Photo by Todd Cooper.

If you strolled downtown last weekend you may have caught a glimpse of new lights on Broadway: The Jazz Station revealed its new double-sided neon sign pairing the venue’s name with a saxophone. The sign helps highlight the West Broadway block as the arts and nightlife anchor its becoming with neighbors Oregon Contemporary Theatre (which also has some great neon signage), The New Zone Gallery, The Wayward Lamb and Nephos Vape Werks.

It’s hard to believe that groundbreaking Detroit hip-hop artist J. Dilla has been gone for 10 years — he passed from a blood disease in 2006 — but his legacy lives on. The J. Dilla Family “Kings Court” tour is coming to Hi-Fi Music Hall with a fully loaded bill of artists sprung from Detroit’s underground rap scene in the ’90s: the Slum Village group (Dilla was a member until 2001) who released their 8th studio album Yes! in 2015; rapper Guilty Simpson who came out with solo album Detroit’s Son in 2015; rapper Phat Kat; soulful producer and emcee Black Milk; and local hip-hop artist Landon Wordswell, whose “Rock Paper Scissors” tour kicks off April 15. The all-ages show hits 8 pm Tuesday, March 29, at Hi-Fi; $15 adv.; $18 door.

Wandering Goat hosts Death to Music IX, a 21-plus “noise” event featuring a slew of bands with a bent toward dark, ambient and experimental sounds, 8 pm Friday, March 25, at 268 Madison Street; $5. On the docket is Hobby Knife, Lower Tar, DoppelGanga, Beige Slime and Equalityisafalsegod.

Regular McDonald Theatre headliners Greensky Bluegrass are back with Portland’s Shook Twins for an all-ages evening of bluegrass and folk 8 pm Saturday, March 26; $20 adv.; $23 door.

Mark your calendars: The Eugene Composer’s Big Band — directed by award-winning saxophonist Jessika Smith and featuring new big-band jazz by local composers — performs 7:30 pm Monday, April 18, at Springfield’s Roaring Rapids Pizza Company, 4006 Franklin Blvd., Springfield; FREE and all ages. With a playful poke at EW’s recent controversial Springfield comic, band contact Paul Roth writes: “The Eugene Composer’s Big Band is risking their lives to put on a show in (gasp!) Springfield.” The least you can do is come out for this very brave collection of musicians — wink.