A two-nighter from our brightest R & B songstress

What do you think of, when you think of R & B? If the answer is Ray J—and there’s nothing wrong with that man’s pipes, or the rest of him—you’ve been listening to the radio for too long. Clearly, pop music and R & B are now basically the same thing. But in every city, there are musicians and vocalists working on a more authentic sound, and in Seattle, that would be Choklate. The soul singer combined her love of R & B, jazz, and hip-hop for a seductively unique groove on her 2006 self-titled debut, and now she’s on her way to show it (and new material) off at SXSW. But first, she’ll play a weekend at Jazz Alley with her band, which includes Josh Rawlings on piano, Dvonne Lewis on drums, and Evan Flory Barnes on bass. "They’re ridiculously talented and are definitely creating the show along with me on this night," says the first artist in her genre to be booked to headline the venue. About that, "I feel really honored and I have butterflies." And I felt the same when I noticed her at my local caucus, making a compelling case for a candidate—and for musicians that care about other things as passionately as they do their art. Dimitriou’s Jazz Alley, 2033 Sixth Ave., 441-9729. $20.50. 7:30 p.m. Also Wed., March 5. RACHEL SHIMP

March 4-5, 7:30 & 9:30 p.m., 2008

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