Vassar Clements has earned his nickname, Superbow, over more than a quarter century of fiddling virtuosity in the country and bluegrass fields, including 10 years with Bill Monroe, a thousand recording sessions in Nashville and the seminal "Hillbilly Jazz" album. His motto is "Have fiddle, will jam," which is part of the promise he'll keep at Desperado's on Wednesday.

It's an interesting week for bebop singers: Betty Carter, who's the best, is at Blues Alley for a week; Al Jarreau, who's the most popular, is at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Friday; and Rickie Lee Jones, who tries the hardest, is also at the Pavilion, on Tuesday.

Papa's bag has had a few holes punched in it over the years, but James Brown can still set down the funkiest dance beat this side of Trouble Funk; and Wilson Pickett helped define soul music in the '60s. They can both be hot and nasty, so imagine Brown and the Wicked Pickett on the same bill. The Warner Theatre may never be the same after Saturday's two shows, one of which starts, appropriately, at the midnight hour.

Barbara Mandrell, with a little help from the tube, has become country's hottest female star. She'll be here twice next week, on Thursday at the Merriweather Post Pavilion and on Saturday at the Bull Run Country Jamboree in Manassas.