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25

FRIDAY

According to South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela, fellow countryman Jimmy Dludlu “stands side by side with the guitar masters of the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Charlie Christian, Wes Montgomery, George Benson, and Django Reinhardt.” Some of these comparisons seem a tad hyperbolic, and one isn’t altogether flattering. Dludlu—billed as his homeland’s leading Afro-jazz artist—has indeed specialized in the type of polished fretwork and over-tasteful scat singing that made Benson more of a buppie Muzak fave than a name dropped by left-of-the-dial improvisational-music fans. But, even if Dludlu can be found on a contemporary jazz compilation called Smooth Africa, fans of more progressive sounds shouldn’t write him off completely: His Smooth contribution features some distinctly Cape Town rhythmic strumming. Dludlu has also backed Congolese rumba singer Papa Wemba, and has allowed members of the ensemble Amampondo to reimagine one of his songs. If nothing else, this shows that Dludlu can get people off the lounge couches and onto their feet. He plays with Atilla at 9 p.m. at Zanzibar on the Waterfront, 700 Water St. SW. $25. (202) 554-9100. (Steve Kiviat)