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MARCH 14

Its greatest practitioners are dead. It’s heard more often on public radio than on commercial stations. Most of its fans are aging white people. It is used by the manufacturers of alcoholic beverages to provide their products with associations of class and quality. That’s right, folks: The blues now officially qualifies as classical music. Which means it’s headed for the floor. But if you just know where to look, there’s a dance in the old dame yet. One of last year’s best releases resulted when Matador teamed septuagenarian Holly Springs, Miss., bluesman R.L. Burnside with wiseass punks the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for a one-day jam. A couple of tracks from the A Ass Pocket of Whiskey session have now surfaced on the new Epitaph/Fat Possum release, Mr. Wizard, which also contains cuts from ’94-96 by a trio featuring guitarist Kenny Brown and Burnside’s grandson, drummer Cedric. Efforts by both bands are just what Ass Pocket fans would expect: funk-hard shuffle-beat burners borne aloft on waves of ear-piercing fuzz and bolstered by Burnside’s full-throated field holler. But Wizard is bracketed by a couple of solo acoustic gospel numbers that prove Burnside can still hold the stage by himself, his holler muted to a moan and his so-bent-it’s-almost-broken slide work twisting the scale until it bleeds the blood of Blind Willie Johnson. With 26-year-old Colorado bluesman Corey Harris at 8 p.m. at the Barns of Wolf Trap, 1624 Trap Rd., Vienna. $14. (703) 938-2404. (Glenn Dixon)