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"What time is it?" Morris Day asked Sunday evening in downtown Minneapolis.

Time to put the Minneapolis Sound in the Taste of Minnesota and time for Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, behind-the-scenes architects of the Minneapolis Sound, to show up as a new performing duo.

Jam and Lewis are not lead singers. They earned five Grammys and a spot in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as producers and songwriters. But on their wish list was to showcase their remarkable canon of hit songs as performers.

After a one-off test last year at the Pittsburgh International Jazz Festival, Jam and Lewis performed for their hometown Sunday to close the two-day music-and-food fest in downtown Minneapolis. They relied on a parade of guest singers including "American Idol" favorite Ruben Studdard and Ann Nesby and Jamecia Bennett, the mother and daughter from Sounds of Blackness — all of whom they'd worked with before.

Missing, of course, was Janet Jackson, Jam and Lewis' signature artist, who was previously committed Sunday at the Essence Festival in New Orleans. It didn't matter.

Shanice Wilson, an R&B veteran, handled many of the Jackson songs with style, range and palpable emotion. Studdard took over tunes originally performed by Alexander O'Neal, Human League and others. His medley of Force M.D.s' "Tender Love" and Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee," a pair of ballads, ignited a crowd under mighty clouds of joy. A pleased Lewis gave Studdard a high-five as he exited.

But Nesby, former lead singer of Sounds of Blackness who now lives in Georgia, stole the show. With her 1996 number "I'm Still Wearing Your Name," she brought church on Sunday evening, testifying with her wondrous Aretha-like voice, bringing a wide smile to Jam's face.

Bloomington singer Lisa Keith, who hadn't talked to Lewis in 26 years, joined for her 1987 hit with Herb Alpert and Jackson, "Making Love in the Rain," as well as H.E.R.'s 2020 tune "Damage," the most recent Jam and Lewis tune featured on Sunday night.

Blazing through nearly 30 selections in a seamless 85 minutes with guests and a four-man band, Jam and Lewis delivered about half of their 16 No. 1 hits from Billboard's Hot 100 and a good helping of their 26 R&B chart-toppers. They boast the rare distinction of producing No. 1 hits in three consecutive decades — '80s, '90s and '00s.

They can add the distinction that Jam and Lewis, at ages 65 and 67 respectively, have created a new career for themselves — as performers with a sterling catalog of songs and help from many top-notch singers with whom they've worked. The joy on their faces throughout the concert couldn't be erased.

In their set, Jam and Lewis, original members of the Time on keyboards and bass respectively, intentionally did not dip into the catalog of the Time, their band before launching the studio phase of their career. They left the Time repertoire for Morris Day & the Time, who followed them on Taste of Minnesota's main stage.

About halfway through Day's hourlong set with his current incarnation of the Time, Jam, Lewis and Jerome Benton, Day's original "valet," joined their old mates, including original member Jellybean Johnson on drums. Benton tried to fire up the crowd and when the response wasn't what he hoped, he joked, "Y'all from Edina?"

It was time for a blast back to 1981 for an invigorating 15-minute dance-along medley of the Time's "The Walk" and "The Bird" sandwiched around a taste of Prince's "D.M.S.R." Yes, Day paid homage to Prince, who brought all these folks together in the Time and they all forged the Minneapolis Sound.