State Fair Music and More, Pt II: 8.27 – 9.2

August 27, 2014

STATE_FAIR_MUSIC

First, my thanks to Tim Nyberg of Octane Creative for his witty redesign of the image I used last week. The Labor Day Weekend is upon us, with it’s “end of summer” designation, as school begins in earnest, and the long weekend finds folks visiting cabins and otherwise going Up North. For those of who stay in town, the State Fair is still offering many music attractions, a few of which I’ve included. On a personal note, if you’re in town Sunday, you can join me at the Nightingale, where I’ll be spinning soul and funk for Sunday Brunch. In the meantime, have a good week. Music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 27

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Quartet @ Minnehaha Falls Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Here’s a fine way spend a lovely evening – checking out some jazz while enjoying a picnic, or, if you’re willing to get there early and get in line, a meal from Sea Salt.  Either way, drummer Johnson-Blanchard, who plays with High & Mighty, as well as this group, will satisfy your craving for jazz.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Davu Seru Photo by Andrea Canter

Davu Seru Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Percussionist Seru is highly versatile, able to freely improvise, play Desert Blues, and jazz standards. He’ll be joined by Scott Fultz, sax; Tom Reichert, guitar; and Josh Granowski on bass.

Thursday, August 27

The Atlantis Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The All Originals Jazz Series continues with a group that’s been named Best Jazz Band in the Twin Cities by City Pages, as well as a number of fans, and no wonder – their originals are full of spark and fire, and their members are among the best in town. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Arne Fogel @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Fogel is one of the best male vocalists in town. He’s a master at interpreting Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. He’s also good at putting together performances that showcase particular composers and themes such as movie songs. Always a pro, always enjoyable.

Dean Granros @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) We have a surfeit of excellent jazz guitarists in town. Case in point: Mr. Granros, who will be playing solo tonight at the cafe with authentic Afghan cuisine, some of which will be available, along with beer and wine.

Friday, August 28

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm, ($10 Suggested Donation) I’ve mentioned Gravatt about every time he plays, since he deserves to be heard here in his home town. After all, he’s good enough to have recorded and toured with Weather Report, and has toured with McCoy Tyner, among other jazz giants. He’ll be joined by other Twin Cities musicians that are worthy of his skill and leadership: Dean Magraw, guitar; Dave Graf, trombone; Solomon Parhan, trumpet; and Ron Evaniuk, bass. Here’s a video that features Gravatt’s drum solo on a McCoy Tyner performance.

Reynold Philipsek, Matt Senjem, & Michael Bissonnet @ the 318 Cafe, Excelsior; 8pm ($10) The 318 is a fairly intimate room – about 40 seats, including the bar, so it’s a good idea to call and get reservations. Philipsek, on guitar, Senjem on bass, Bissonet on percussion. This performance is being filmed for a video project, so you can say you were there.

Saturday, August 30

Mike Doolin Guitar Making/Repair Workshop & Concert, and Tough Commute CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 3pm (Workshop/Concert), 8pm (CD Release) ($10 for workshop is also good for CD Release). Mike Doolin is a guitar maker from Portland, Oregon who has released a CD with David Martin. At the workshop, Doolin will discuss the construction and repair of various guitars he has made and then perform on some of them along David Martin, with whom he’s made the CD Tough Commute. I interviewed David Martin on my show this past Saturday (the 23rd), which you can listen to here. Their performance at the Icehouse Monday night was very, very good. Attend the workshop and CD release for one price.

Foreign Motion featuring Patty Peterson @ The Icehouse,Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($10Advance/$15Door) Guitarist Cory Wong leads Foreign Motion through some original jazz for the 21st Century. I suspect, however, that there will be some standards and contemporary songs for Patty Peterson to sing as well. (Wong regularly plays in her group). Other members of Foreign Motion include Yohannes Tona, bass; Kevin Gastonguay, keys; and Peter Janjic, drums. Here’s an example of Foreign Motion’s work.

Sunday, August 31

Connie Evingson & Jon Weber: More from Ella Fitzgerald’s Songbooks@ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Here’s a noteworthy duo. Evingson is at ease singing anything from standards to Peggy Lee, the Beatles, and Gypsy Jazz. Weber  s a virtuoso pianist with an encyclopedic knowledge of music and the ability to play almost anything. You may know him from his annual appearances at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. They did the first round round of Ella Fitzgerald classics in June and are returning with more.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 27

Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Klatt & the Cat Swingers perform acoustic swing and blues, as well as a bit of ragtime. In other words they’re lots of fun. Check them out on the radio, and if you like em’ head over to the 331 Club.

Lake Street Dive w/Southside Desire @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm (7:30 doors), ($20) Lake Street Dive came together in Boston where they were attending the New England Conservatory and were named by their trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson, who is from Minneapolis. Their acoustic, slowed down version of I Want You Back went viral and garnered over a million views, catapulting them to some fame and into a recording studio for a full-length album full of garage pop-soul. Southside Desire, with their girl group meets garage band/Stax sound is the perfect opening act.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Radio Joe Demko plays guitar, sings, and leads this excellent small swing outfit: Bruce Wintervold, vibes; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Guscetti, drums. Expect some Swing, Tango, Calypso, Rhumba,. jump blues, boogie boogie & more. In other words, get your dancing shoes out. Here’s proof of their effect on dancers.

Thursday, August 28

Siama Matuzungidi @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (tip jar) Matuzungidi is an African guitarist who has played on over 100 popular singles from the golden era of soukous. He’s lived in Minneapolis since 1995, and regularly performs with Socaholix, Marimba Africa, and Cyril Paul, and has recently received a McKnight Fellowship. Lately, he’s been performing acoustically. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Scott Fultz on flute, sax, and guitar, as well as a percussionist. Here he is at the Harriet Bandshell.

Liv Warfield & NPG Hornz @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($75, $60) 10pm ($45) This is Paisley Park production featuring Warfield, who is a Prince protoge. The NPG Horns add a blast of pure energy, as evidenced in this video from the Jimmy Fallon show.

Tony Allen & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm, ($15) Allen was the drummer for most of Fela’s incendiary music – a true architect of Afrobeat. He’s appearing with the Chicago Afrobeat Project, a band that has thoroughly infused the sound into their bloodstreams.

Friday, August 29

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The International Bazaar Stage, MN State Fair. 7:30pm, 8:45pm (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Funkin’ up the International Bazaar, Knight and his crew continue to work as hard as possible to spread the gospel of not-so-retro funk.

Buckwheat Zydeco @ the Leinie Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm  (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Propulsive, high-powered Zydeco music from one of the few zydeco artists to achieve mainstream success. The New York Times say he leads “one of the best bands in America.” ‘Nuff said.

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Blues with a broad sense of humor. However, don’t laugh so hard that you miss out on Estrin’s harp playing.  Plus, as the kids used to say, It’s got a good beat. You can dance to it.

Sunday, Monday, August 31, September 1

RAMM Band with Horns @ The International Bazaar Stage, MN State Fair. 3pm – 7pm (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Paul Mayasich and his friends will be tearing up the stage at the Fair. Good thing there’s room for dancing.

Marcia Ball @ The Leinie Stage, MN State Fair. 3:30pm, 4:45pm  (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Ahhh, Long Tall Marcia Ball  The honky-tonkin’ boogie boogie piano player never disappoints, whether she’s singing about backyard barbecues, the Mississippi flood, newlyweds, or playing with your “poodle.”

Monday, September 1

Salif Keita @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($50) The Golden Voice of Africa is a direct descendant of the founder of the Mali Empire. Keita’s rhythmic, sensuous music and supple voice has helped him become pretty big around the rest of the world as well, earning him the respect of many big stars. Guest artists like Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul have appeared on his albums.

Tuesday, September 2

Vinyl Voices @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) This is a weekly gig in which KFAI-certified deejays spin vinyl while you enjoy the Tap Room’s beer and food truck edibles. Tonight I’ll be spinning funky jazz, New Orleans R&B, and a bit of R&B from elsewhere. I’ll be trading off with Emily Krumberger, who will be spinning R&B, Soul, and hip-hop. Stop on by.

Fat Chance Jug Band & Jug Band Jam @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (Tip Jar)  Fat Chance has this good-time, homemade music  thing pretty well in hand, since they’ve been at it so long. Stick around for a bit of a jam. Maybe you can even learn how to make a washboard bass.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


State Fair Fair Music and More: 8.20 – 8.26

August 20, 2014

DSC01997This week brings many opportunities for hearing music, including the Minnesota State Fair, where, in addition to food-on-a-stick, you’ll have a number of opportunities to see, and dance to, visiting and resident musicians.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 20

Mountain King @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the last appearance of this bass trio, since Brian Courage is moving to New York. Catch em’ While you can. Jeremy Boettcher, Graydon Peterson, Brian Courage. Who says people don’t listen during a bass solo?

Thursday, August 21

Unknown-3Maryann Sullivan @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sullivan is usually curating this vocal series, but tonight she’s stepping out front. She’s a singer who knows how to swing Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, and more. With Doug Haining, on reeds, and David Martin on guitar.

Group 47 @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) I’ve written a bit about this band in the past few months, given their new album, Straight To Vinyl. Like the other bands in this Thursday night series, Group 47 play original compositions, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw in a jazz standard or two. Led by trumpeter Steve Kenny, the group includes some young lions: Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.

Topher Dunlap Jazz Trio @ Mattie’s on Main, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Mattie’s is a new venue located in St. Anthony Main. It seems a bit strange as a venue for jazz – a self-styled “modern day saloon” with 16 beers on tap, an eclectic bar menu, TVs with sports, and a fine stage. They also feature karaoke, as well as other types of bands. I know little about this group, except that Topher helps out at Jazz Central, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

Friday, August 22

Phil Hey Quartet and Stefan Kac’s Band of No Return @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Phil Hey Quartet is a known entity here in the Twin Cities: marvelous, well-played jazz. They’ll be starting at 7:30pm. Along about 9:30 or 10pm, Stefan Kac’ Band of No Return will take the stage. Kac is a tuba player and composer who is originally from the area and currently based in Los Angeles. The award-winning composer will be joined by Geoff Senn, trumpet; Shilad Sen, tenor; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Saturday, August 23

They actually face the audience when they play

They actually face the audience when they play

Lulu’s Playground @ FunArt Studio, Stillwater. 2pm – 4pm (Free – entrance at 9030 Fairy Falls Road, Stillwater) Chamber jazz performed on the patio of Tim Nyberg’s studio overlooking the Saint Croix River. Lulu’s Playground has not played much this past year since guitarist Evan Montgomery has been studying in Los Angeles. He’s back for a short while and taking advantage of the opportunity to play with his mates: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; and Cory Grossman, cello. Bring a beverage and a lawn chair and watch as Nyberg draws inspiration from the music as he paints. In case of rain, the concert (and painting) will move indoors

Sunday, August 24

Pavel Jany & the Talking Strings @ Alexis Bailly Vineyard, 18200 Kirby Ave S, Hastings. 1pm – 4pm (Free) Take in a wine tasting, have a little picnic on the Vineyard’s patio, and listen to East European Gypsy music, French jazz, and Brazilian bossa novas, as well as other world music and originals from this group. Pavel Jany, guitar; Gary Shulte, violin, and Dan Weston, bass.

Monday, August 25

Jazz Central All-Stars @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tanner Taylor, piano; Dave Graf, trombone; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zach Lozier, trumpet; Doug Haining, reeds; and Mac Santiago on drums. Tanner returns for an evening with this group that’s been bringing it’s music to parks and auditoriums around the state.

Mike, left, and Dave

Mike, left, and Dave

Dave Martin/Mike Doolin Group and Courageous Endeavors @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) It’s a two-fer night as Twin Cities guitarist Dave Martin and Portland, Oregon guitarist Mike Doolin celebrate the release of their CD Tough Commute. They’ll be joined by Chris Bates on bass and Pete Hennig on drums. Then Courageous Endeavors will perform what I believe is their last gig before Brian Courage leaves for New York. Joe Strachan, piano; Nelson Deveraux, sax; Miguel Hurtado, drums. Brian Courage, bass;

Tuesday, August 26

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) They wowed at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, with a big, big, rhythmic sound. It’s more or less an open rehearsal, so you may get some insight into how a song is arranged.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, August 20

Stephanie Nilles @ KFAI and The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 1206.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Nilles is a classically trained barrelhouse piano player from New Orleans, who has sung with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and has performed at official showcases at SXSW and the International Folk Alliance. As Hurricane Harold would say, “You know the drill,” tune in and get to the 331.

Thursday, August 21

Rich Lewis Band @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) What a great way to spend a summer evening. Lewis and the band play New Orleans R&B,vintage rock n’ roll, soul music, and even standards, not to forget their own originals. Always a good time, especially if you like to dance.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Raucous Balkan party music, for movers and shakers, whether you’re in your chair or on a dance floor.

Thursday, Friday, August 21, 22

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Schell’s Stage, MN State Fair. 2pm, 3pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Lots of good music at the Fair this year, including the sweat-inducing Cajun and Zydeco of the Pinecones.

Blood, Sweat, & Tears @ the Leine Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Guilty pleasure of the week. Even though none of the current members of the band were in the original configuration of the 70s, all play in a myriad of other rock, soul, and jazz bands when not on the road with BS&T. They’re professional through and through and though David Clayton-Thomas may not be singing lead, Bo Bice, runner-up in the fourth season of American Idol, is sure to handle the chore with aplomb.

Friday, August 22

Aretha Franklin & The Four Tops @ the Grandstand, MN State Fair. 7:30pm ($45 + $13 Fair admission) The Queen of Soul returns to Minnesota after an absence that’s lasted far too long. Though the hit-making Four Tops had its original line-up for 44 years, death has reduced the band to original member Duke Fakir, along with three other singers.

Don Scott & Curtis Blake @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($6) Guitar/harp blues duo with interesting arrangements of songs you know and even more interesting originals.

The Original Wailers @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 advance/$25Door) It doesn’t get much heavier in reggae than the sound of the group that backed Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all those years ago.

Friday, Saturday, August 22, 23

Hipshaker 12th Anniversary Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Rare soul and funk 45s from Brian, George, and Greg, along with special guests, shaking the dance floor at the Kitty Kat.

Saturday, August 23

Alejandro Escovedo & Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) If you’re looking for literate songwriting, this is the place tonight. Escovedo and Ely are a couple of Texas music legends getting together for an evening of music. Both have long careers spanning genres from country to punk. Ely appeared at the Dakota in May, putting on an engaging performance.

Cedar’s 25th Anniversary Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm (Free)  It’s a Latin night at the Cedar, with Making Movies (Kansas City);  De La Buena (Milwaukee);  and deejays from Worldwide Discotheque (Minneapolis).

Prophets of Peace @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Funk & Soul from this tight ensemble that reformed after the success of the Twin Cities Funk & Soul record compilation.

Saturday, Sunday, August 23, 24

Paul Cebar and Tomorrow Sound @ The Leine Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Cebar is moving up to the larger stage and two night, bringing along his talented band and highly literate originals as calypsos, R&B, and soul music just right for dancing.

Monday, August 25

Happy Together Tour 2014 @ The Grandstand, MN State Fair ($21 + $13 Fair Admission) It’s a nostalgic night for boomers, with the under-rated Turtles (w/Flo & Eddie), as well as Chuck Netron of # Dog Night, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, and the explosive Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

Tuesday, August 26

Vinyl Voices @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) A group of vinyl junkies from KFAI have started this weekly gig, which generally features two KFAI volunteers spinning LPs and 45s. This week it’s DJ Steely from Kinda Cloudy and Miguel Vargas from Radio Pocho spinning a mix of international records, including Latin, soul, and other genres. The O’Cheeze food truck will be on hand.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 26, 27

DakhaBrahka @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $32) This Ukrainian quartet dubs their music “ethnic chaos.” It’s a highly theatrical troupe using costumes, a variety of instrumentation and uncompromising vocals to create a mesmerizing music and a circus-like atmosphere. LOTT opens.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.

 


Jazz, Rockabilly, Crawfish, and More. Music: 8.13 – 8.19

August 13, 2014
Crawfish, Crayfish - no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Crawfish, Crayfish – no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Summer in the City. It’s hard to beat, what with lakes and trees to help us keep cool, and hot music all about town. And hey, we’ve even got a crawfish (crayfish?) festival with finger-lickin’ music to lift our spirits and help us dance.

 

Jazz…

Wednesday, August 13
Vicky Mountain @ The Piazza on the Mall, Minneapolis. 5pm – 6:15pm (Free) Here’s an after-work treat for downtowners. The Piazza is set up in front of Westminster Church on 12th & Nicollet. There you’ll get to hear the wonderfully assured and melodic voice of Vicky Mountain, accompanied by James Allen on guitar and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Larry McDonough Quartet Anniversary of Simple Gifts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($5) It’s been ten years since pianist McDonogh released his album Simple Gifts. He’s celebrating with a full length performance of the album tonight.

Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) For those of you who didn’t stay up late to catch them at the Icehouse. See last week’s entry for Monday.

Thursday, August 14
Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Each Thursday you can find a vocalist performing at Jazz Central. Sometimes it’s someone who is established on the scene. Other times you can be delightfully surprised at a newcomer to the Twin Cities jazz scene. Zuther is one such singer.  She has sung a range of music from opera to country to jazz, appearing with variety bands in the Midwest and in musical theater here in town. She’s an alumna of the Cabaret Conference at Yale and is a founder of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The Bill Evans-inspired pianist and his fine trio (which includes Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) take their place in the series that features groups playing original compositions. Here’s a cut from this CD.

Friday, August 15
Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover)  Glen Helgeson, guitrar; Dave Stanoch, drums; Gary Schulte, violin, and Chris Bates, bass. Worldbeats combined with elements of modern and traditional jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The first jazz composer’s collective, or perhaps the one that we remember. Dave Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, tenor; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Keith Karns Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A 17 piece band led by trumpeter-arranger-composer Karns, whose arrangements are called dense but also rhythmic by the noted jazz critic Scott Yanow. The band includes Aaron Hedenstrom on sax and Brian Claxton on drums, both of whom performed earlier in the week with their own quintet. Here’s an example of them at work.

Saturday, August 16
Sublime Curve @ the Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This tiny bar feels a bit like a NYC bar in the 60s. It’s got good cocktails, a decent wine list and an award winning kitchen. There’s about 15 places at the bar, and 6-8 high top tables, so reservations are recommended. Anyway, Sublime Curve has been appearing hear every other month or so. The band includes: Jim ‘Tice, keys; Stevie D, percussion; Jeff Moe, bass; Marc Partridge, guitar; and Tom Church on sax. It’s not quite chamber jazz, but it’s far from raucous. Simply good music in a fine setting.

Monday, August 18
Fantastic Merlins @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) Brain Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums explore the sonic possibilities of original compositions, free improvisation, and reworking the occasional jazz standard.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Evan Montgomery Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Guitarist Montgomery has been off studying in California since last Fall. It’s good to have him back, even if for a little while, to see what he’s added to his clean technique.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Jazz doesn’t get much more sophisticated, or well played, than what is offered by this long-working group: Phil Hey, drums, Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Aaron on piano. You can expect tunes from Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Miles Davis, and others of that standing.

Tuesday, August 19
River City Jazz Orchestra @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like Tuesday has become Big Band Night in the Twin Cities. The kind folks at MMC are showcasing big bands for those who like an early show. Tonight, the River City Jazz Orchestra will play from a book that includes tunes by Basie, Dorsy, Ellington, Miller, and more.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested donation) Meanwhile, over in Mill City, The Explosion Big Bandm, led by Doug Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, will fill the intimate space at Jazz Central. When they recently played outdoors at the MN History Center, the Center reported they had the largest crowd, and largest number of dancers of any band that’s ever played there during their summertime series.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 13
Tim Sparks on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) He’s a fingerpicking ace, with the awards and credentials to back up that sobriquet. Sparks‘ latest album, Chasin’ The Boogie, re-imagines songs from the Beatles, Roy Orbison, and Joni Mitchell, as well as gold standards and some gritty blues. Here he is doing I’ll Fly Away.”

The Holmes Brothers @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) By the time they were “discovered” in the late 80s, the Holmes Brothers already had years and years of experience, often backing singers ranging from Jerry Butler and John Lee Hooker to Jimmy Jones, originator of Handyman, not to mention playing blues in bars on Saturday nights and Gospel in churches on Sunday morning. All of which gives some insight into the winning way they can incorporate country, blue, doo-wop, gospel, and more into their act. It’s good to have them back after a long absence from our stages.

Rosie rocks out

Rosie rocks out

Thursday, August 14
Rosie Flores @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) If you didn’t catch Flores at the Guitar Festival last weekend, you still have a chance to get your “Rockabilly Jones” met. I don’t count you’ll be moving, so you may as well wear dancing shoes. Sweet Mama J opens at 9pm, Rosie Flores at 10:15pm

Friday, August 15
Candye Kane @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($8) Kane’s story is unbelievable. She has been called a survivor, a superhero, and the toughest girl alive. The jump blues singer is a mother of two and has been a pin up cover girl, and had sung punk rock, hillbilly music and blues by the time she was 21. Known for shows that are often a celebration of sexuality, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about seven years ago, and has undergone two surgeries since then. In spite of the fact that such cancer has poor survival rates, she’s still on the road, and still a dynamic performer. Ross Kleiner & the Thrill open. Candye Kane at 10:45pm. Here’s an example of what she’s been up to in the past year.

Jack Klatt & Charlie Parr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) In 2012 guitarist/singer Klatt recorded Mississippi Roll with Charlie Parr. This is their first chance to play together onstage. This is roots music that is authentic as can be.

Saturday, August 16
Crayfish Festival @ the Smack Shack, 6th & Washington, Minneapolis. Noon until…  ($40Advance/$50Door) Okay, so it’s not a free street festival, but it is a Louisiana-styled Crayfish Boil featuring a 1/2 dozen bands, all-yoou-can-eat Minnesota mudbugs, and all the Hurricanes and Beer you can drink. Work off that gluttony dancing to The Droppers, Butanes, Wayne McFarlane & Zydeco Blue and the headliners – Davina & the Vagabonds. As they say in the Big Easy: We Be Partyannnnn!Global Rhythm Festival @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St.Croix Trail. Noon – 5pm ($5 Parking) Pack a picnic, some blankets or chairs, and take a pleasant drive to the Franconia Sculpture Park, just SE of Taylors Falls, right off Highway 8. There you’ll find acres of sculptures of all types and sizes in a sunny setting. On-site vendors will have some food and beverages. You can take part in a guided tour during band breaks, and even meet some of the artists-in-residence. Pan Dimensions Steel Drums open at 12:30, followed at 2:15 by guitarist Greg Herriges with percussionist Michael Bissonnette playing a mix of international music. Finally, at 4pm, the Duniya Drum and Dance troupe will take the stage, dancing and moving to traditional West African rhythms.

Unknown-5Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Bluesman Guitar Shorty has quite the resume. At 16, he toured with Ray Charles. At 17 he recorded a single supervised by Willie Dixon.  He led the house band at New Orleans’ legendary Dew Drop Inn for a couple of years and then took a job with Sam Cooke. By the way, Jimi Hendrix was his brother-in-law. He’s been living in L.A. since 1971, playing the blues, recording, jamming, and rocking out around the world. His latest, Watch Your Back, for Alligator Records, was nominated for two Blues Music Awards.

Sunday, Monday, August 17, 18
The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) They play every Sunday and Monday night, bringing out dancers and fellow musicians (some of whom sit in). After 20-some years, they’re as tight as can be, performing some classic soul and funk, and newer tunes as well.

Monday, Tuesday, August 18, 19
Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Pianist Crawford is known as the “Crown Prince of New Orleans,’ a well deserved title, since he incorporates all elements of New Orleans’ music into his own compositions. He is also comes from one of the “royal” lines of N’Awlins’ musical families: his grandfather was James Sugar Boy Crawford, who penned the iconic “Jock-A-Mo” way back in the 50s. He’s been a favorite of the New Orleans Jazz Festival for a number of years now.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Brass, Guitars, and More… Music: 8.6 – 8.12

August 6, 2014

Unknown-3

Lots of horns in the jazz community this week, from both visiting and resident artists. On the Blues and Roots side, there’s a guitar festival, and Irish festival, a rockin’ piano player, and some sizzling zydeco and Cuban music. A good week for music lovers. Get out and hear some live music – it lifts the spirit. Note that I try to be accurate about these listings, but, being human, mistakes occur, and it doesn’t hurt to check with the venue beforehand.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 6

Sue Oatts @ Hells Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Oatts is an underrated vocalist who has a swinging way with a melody. She’ll be joining the well-rated Wolverines Trio on this gig.

Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Martin is the drummer with Medeski, Martin, and Wood, a band that has been vital in exposing younger listeners to improvisational jazz. He calls Wicked Knee a juke-joint brass band that plays ragtime funk. To understand why, not that other members are Brian Drye, trombone; Marcus Rojaz, tuba; and Steven Bernstein, trumpet. Sounds like a raucous night to me.  Here’s an example.

The Reverse of Sam & Dave @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) We’re not talking about the soul men, but rather Sam Rivers and Dave Holland, who made some duo recordings in the late 1970’s. Anthony Cox, bass; and Michael Lewis, sax, will explore the sonic possibilities of such a duo with originals, a reworking of standards, and free improvisation. Q&A are part of the performance.

Thursday, August 7

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Whether singing the blues or the music of Billy Strayhorn, Doring brings passion and taste to her performance. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by the imaginative piano stylings of Steven Hobert to interpret the Great American Songbook.

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance to see this trio of veteran musicians without going to Bloomington’s Parma 8200, where they hold forth every Saturday. Weinbeck, piano; Gordon Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums produce elegant jazz. Here they are.

Mississippi @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is another in the All Originals Jazz Series. Tonight, the all-star quartet of Pete Whitman, sax; Peter Schimke, piano, Jeff Bailey, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; will be stoking the intimate Studio Z.

Friday, August 8

Valve Meets Slide @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s always fun and uplifting to see and hear Brad Bellows, valve trombone, and Dave Graf, slide trombone, lock horns, so to speak. These versatile musicians take the somewhat maligned ‘bone and turn it into an instrument of bop and beauty.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Flumpeter Kenny is on a tear these days, as noted in the two interviews I posted on my blog last week (July 28, July 31). Tonight he’s joined by Christopher Thomson, sax; Babatunde Lea, drums; Brian Courage, bass. It’s a chordless quartet, playing an evening-length repertoire of standards.

Saturday, August 9

What Would Monk Do @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The coffee shop on Franklin & Nicollet is once again presenting music. Tonight we have a relatively rare appearance by WWMD, featuring Kenny Horst on drums; along with Brian Courage, bass;, Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny on flumpet, that combination of fluegelhorn and trumpet. Monk and Monk-Inspired tunes.

Monday, August 11

The Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Aaron Hedenstrom is a young, award-winning saxophonist & composer who grew up in the area and is now pursuing a doctorate in composition at the renowned University of North Texas. Drummer Brian Claxton is also from the area, having gone to school at UW-Eau Claire with Hedenstrom. Claxton is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to interview Hedenstrom on my show. You can hear it here. The interview begins at about 19 minutes into the show. For tonight and Wednesday night at Jazz Central, they are partnering with Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Zacc Harris, guitar. Here are Hedenstrom and Claxton with a couple of other players taking on a standard.

Tuesday, August 12

Framework @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7 pm ($5-$10 Suggested for Tip jar) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; create shimmering, imaginative music.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 6

Izzy & Chris on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This Southern guitar/harp duo met at an open stage and got a standing ovation from the crowd. A few weeks later, they were on the main stage at the 2006 West Virginia Blues Festival.

Trombone Shorty @ The Minnesota Zoo, Eagan. 8pm ($43) The amphitheater at the Apple Valley Zoo will be shakin’ as Trombone Shorty (who also plays trumpet) brings his jazzy funk, along with some traditional New Orleans jazz & R&B to town. He’s a master showman, who knows how to milk the audience’s attention with long, long notes, and a sense of drama.

Erik Koskinen @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Some folks call him country, but the music he plays is far from the slick bro-country product that inhabits the country charts these days. Koskinen’s songs show him to be an authentic chronicler of life. And, he’s a heck of a guitarist, busy with many projects besides his own.

Thursday, August 7

The Butanes @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) It’s Curt Obeda’s Birthday – He’s hit the double nickel, and the usual fun at Shaw’s is sure to be doubled as well. Expect a number of guests to pop in and wish Curt a happy, happy. Plus they serve ribs all night long.

Alexander Abreu Y Havana D’Primera @ the Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30 doors ($30 advance/$40 door) The dance floor at the Varsity will be filled as Cuban trumpet player Abreu brings this band, which he organized in 2008, to the Twin Towns. They are currently on a world-wide tour, and we’re lucky to have them visit. Check them out.

Friday, August 8

Ginger Commodore & Debbie Duncan Sing Aretha @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Oh boy, can it get any better, at least until Aretha Franklin herself plays the State Fair. Two powerhouse singers who can caress a melody as well, interpreting the songs of Aretha.

Saturday, August 9

The Eddies @ The Irish Fair, Harriet Island, Saint Paul. 11:30am – 12:30pm. (Free) Sunday morning workshop from 11am – Noon Sunday. There are many things to do at the Irish Fair, which actually runs from Friday through Sunday, including hurling competitions, dancing, and watching dogs herd sheep. Stick around after the Eddies and you can hear Altan and Gaelic Storm as well.

Lowertown Guitar Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 2:30pm – 10pm (Free) A day-long free event put on by McNally Smith College of Music, showcasing guitarists that range from ace finger-picker Phil Heywood  to rockabilly queen Rosie Flores  to blues rock titan Robben Ford. Plus, there are a number of great soloists on the acoustic stage. Two stages. Main Stage:2:30 Phil Heywood (45-min. set); 4:00 Rosie Flores; 5:30 Jim Campilongo Trio; 7:00 Greg Koch Trio; 8:30 Robben Ford. Acoustic Stage: 3:30 Jeremy Ylvisaker; 5:00 Chris Beaty; 6:30 Trevor Wiest; 8:00 Molly Maher & Gabriela Sweet

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) High energy 21st Century zydeco by the son of Rockin’ Dopsie. As one review put it, Dwayne infuses “blues, soul, and fun with a driving rub-board rhythm.” Now, if the Dakota will set aside a dance floor…

Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Woods is a powerhouse piano player who can play boogie boogie and jump blues with the best of them. If Shaw’s had any real dance floor, it would fill with swing dancers. As it is, the small club will provide an up-close, sweat inducing immersion in Woods’ piano-pounding. Curtis Marlatt & the Kicks are featured, so I’m not sure if they are opening, or accompanying, or maybe both. Listen to this.

Sunday, August 10

Scarlet Rivera @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Violinist Rivera first came to the public’s attention when Bob Dylan tapped her for his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1979. Since then, she’s recorded with Tracy Chapman, Keb Mo, and others. Kevin Bowe opens.

Tuesday, August 9

Bruce Cockburn Band w/Jenny Scheinman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) Artist/Activist Cockburn has been traveling the world, often to trouble spots that have inspired his songs about humanitarian concerns. He’s recorded over 31 albums, blending folk, blues, jazz and rock, singing about those concerns. Scheinman is a violinist, singer, and composer who is familiar to fans of Brill Frisell, and has contributed arrangements to Lucinda Williams, Bono, and Lou Reed, among others. She’s recorded seven CDs of original music, the latest of which, The Littlest Prisoner, has been well-recieved in the jazz press. She opens & then plays with Cockburn, with whom she recorded on his latest CD. Here’s something with the two of them.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar. .


The All Originals Jazz Series

July 31, 2014

Steve Kenny Interview, Part 2: D-I-Y Jazz

Photo by Andrea Canter

Steve Kenny. Photo by Andrea Canter

Since the closing of the Artists’ Quarter at the end of last year, a few of the area’s jazz musicians have taken a do-it-yourself attitude when it comes to performing. Zacc Harris is now in the third year of Jazz at Studio Z, having started the trend of producing a series a couple of years ago. Jazz Central, which is run by musicians, has expanded its offerings to five nights a week. And now Steve Kenny is producing The All Originals Jazz Series. I posted an interview with Steve a few days ago in which he talked about one of his groups – Group 47. This portion of the interview is about his work producing a jazz series at Studio Z every Thursday this summer. Each of the featured artists have played at the Artists’ Quarter with some regularity. Tonight’s perfomance features Dean Magraw’s Red Planet as the fourth of ten performances.

LE: You are involved with many projects these days.

SK: The All Originals Jazz Series, Group 47, Illicit Sextet, What Would Monk Do, and the Steve Kenny Quartet, which is starting to get more gigs. There are 4 bands that I’m actively involved in and have projects in planning. Of the four bands I’m the only common musician – four different units. This is feast or famine. I’m so happy to be in that situation. It took a suspension of disbelief and relentless pursuits to get these bookings. On top of that, the concert series is going on.

LE: How did the All Originals Jazz Series come about?

SK: There are a couple of things. On the one hand in the Twin Cities we have a number of organizations that provide small arts grants, MRAC (The Minnesota Regional Arts Council), for one. From a strict financial side this (series) wouldn’t happen without the legislature appropriating funds and without a wider commitment to the arts. Minnesotans are putting their money where their mouth is, and supporting small-scale arts. Small grants are available that non-professional fundraisers can apply for to fund raise. That’s one thing. Kudos to them.

The second answer goes back to when I first came on scene in mind to late 80s with my band mates (Editor’s Note: the Illicit Sextet). We’d all gotten music degrees or minors at River Falls in Wisconsin. It’s a local college with strong music program. Not as big as the U of M, but definitely in the running. I’ve got a little pride in my alma mater.

LE: So many of you went to school together?

SK: We came out of school and had learned about not just jazz, but composition. It’s a real focus of the school, bringing in internationally renowned composers and exposing people to experimentation. In that fertile ground we (my band mates & I) made the decision to be a composer’s collective, giving us a reason to keep composing music. In those days that was a strange thing for a jazz band locally. There had only been one other band in the Twin Cities that was similar – Natural Life – to me they’re in running for one of the all time greatest jazz bands. I have seen unbelievable videos of that group. They were really good, played originals, but were off the scene in the late 80s. It was in that vacuum that Illicit sextet was formed, the only band playing originals for years and years.

LE: Now there are many.

SK: This jazz series is a celebration of the fact that during the years I was off the scene due to chemical dependency – 15 years – the landscape had changed considerably. Every band was doing originals. The Illicit Sextet is host of the series – we claim our place. We’re so happy that nowadays that the average band almost can’t be a jazz band without a book of originals. To underline how things have changed, in the final week we have the Adam Meckler Orchestra. We have in our midst a big band entirely focused on originals.

LE: What will you do next?

SK: On the horizon, I’m starting a partnership with Black Dog to curate a Saturday night jazz series there.

I’ve already signed up Fat Kids, the Atlantis Quartet, some of the usual bands. We have such an amazing number of established excellent bands in the city that this type of thing is possible. Little by little each group gets more of a following. Which is important, since we don’t have the drawing power of a club – where the club itself has drawing power. So we have to increase the band image of individuals and ensembles to draw sufficient numbers on a Saturday night.

Every Saturday night, there will be some serious jazz happening at the Black Dog. It will be produced in cooperation with my production company and the Black Dog, to step up marketing and compensation.

The All Originals Jazz Series Schedule takes place at 8pm every Thursday evening at Studio Z, East Fourth Street, Suite 200, in Lowertown Saint Paul – 275 . ($10)

Schedule

July 31: Red Planet

Aug 7: Mississippi

Aug14: Chris Lomheim Trio

Aug 21: Steve Kenny’s Group 47

Aug 28: Atlantis Quartet

Sep 4: Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates, JT Bates

Sep 10: Adam Meckler Orchestra

 

 


Indoors, Outdoors, Summer Celebrations. Music: 7.30 – 8.5

July 30, 2014

Unknown-4The outdoor (and often free) music events just keep on coming. That’s no reason to ignore events at the usual gaggle of indoor venues. It’s all good. Here in the Twin Cities we’re blessed to have such a wide variety of musical experiences available to us. Take advantage of them. Music lifts the spirit.

 Jazz

Wednesday, July 30

Kinghorn/Baldwin, Inc. @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Cameron Kinghorn, vocals; Jake Baldwin, trumpet & trombone; Ted Godbout, piano; Matt Peterson, bass; Andres Crovetti, drums. A mix of jazz standards, originals, and soul tunes.

Thursday, July 31

Unknown-6Judi Donaghy Vinar & Rick Carlson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vocalist Vinar and Pianist Carlson are two treasures of the Twin Cities jazz scene. They rarely perform together, though Carlson’s Basie-fied approach to piano will match up quite will with Vinar’s strong voice.

Tierney Sutton & Mark Summer @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Six-time Grammy Nominee Sutton is one of the finest singers out there. Summer is a Grammy winning Cellist. They’ll be joined by Parisian guitarist Serge Merlaud to celebrate the music of Joni Mitchell, as well as songs from the Great American Songbook. Sutton’s latest album, After Blue, is a stunning performance of Mitchell songs. Here she is doing one of those songs.

Red Planet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, acoustic bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. For my money, Red Planet is what jazz fusion should sound like – electrified, but not bombastic. Bates’ acoustic bass and Epstein’s tasteful drumming provide just the right rhythmic bed for Magraw’s sonic explorations. Part of the All Originals Jazz Series. I’ll post an interview with Steve Kenny, curator of the series, later today.  Here’s an example.

Friday, August 1

No Coast Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A group of young players who are building a reputation for creativity with both originals and jazz standards. Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brian Courage, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums. It might even be a quintet,

Saturday, August 2

Dennis Gonzalez Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Dallas trumpeter Gonzalez has composed hymns based on American, South African, and Norwegian religious melodies, using the hymns as a structure for ensemble improvisation. Joining him tonight are four of the area’s finest improvisors: Brandon Wozniak and Nathan Hanson, saxes; Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Jake Baldwin Quartet @ Dakota Late Night, MInneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Baldwin is becoming a trumpet man about town, showing his versatility in a number of groups. I’m not sure who is in his quartet, but it will likely include Joe Strachan, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. It might even be a quintet, with the addition of Nelson Deveraux on sax. Here is Jake at the 2013 National Trumpet competition.

Monday, August 4

Tommy & The Liebermen @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Lighthearted pop and jazz from a guitarist/vocalist who was a member of the seminal jazz trio Rio Nido.

Geoff Senn & Brian Perez @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Senn and saxophonist Perez are the featured players for this Monday Night performance and jam.

Thomson, Bergmann, Bates & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) JT Bates has put together another interesting combination of area musicians for this late night hang. Chris Thomsom, sax: Bill Bergmann, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; & JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, August 5

Tim Patrick & his Blue Eyes Band @ the Minnetonka Amphitheater, Minnetonka. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) For some singing and swinging a la the Rat Pack, check out Tim Patrick in an outdoor setting. BTOPicnic.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, July 30

Joey Ryan @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Ryan composes and sings sunny melodies, and isn’t averse to covering classic pop like the Everly Brothers.

Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) With Doug’s mournful voice and Harold’s biting harp play, you have a duo that can evoke the sound of Chicago’s Maxwell Street as well as the sounds of the Delta. As it is, Doug and Harold are celebrating the release of Blues at Barkin’ Jacks. Tune in to hear them at 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis.

Groove Worldwide @ Union Depot Plaza, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) A world music event featuring Amit Singh, Estifanos, Viviana Pintado, and Alma Andina. BYOP (Bring your Own Picnic) Portando is a Cuban pianist who often plays with Doug Little, but is mighty exciting on her own. Alma Andina plays the music of Chile. I’m unfamiliar with the other two artists, though a brief internet search makes it appear that Amit Singh is an East Asian singer, and Estifanos is Eritrean. This looks like a very interesting show, no matter who plays. Check out the sound of Alma Andina.

Thursday, July 31

Wenger, Franken, Schnitzer, Wiegand, & Sansby @ Hollihan’s, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) This is part of a weekly performance anchored by Bobby Schnitzer, guitar; Larry Wiegand, bass; and Scott Sansby, drums. Tonight they’re joined by John Franken, guitar, and Lisa Wenger on vocals.

Friday, August 1

Everett Smithson Band @ The Washington County Fair, Lake Elmo. 1pm (Free for seniors until 1pm, $7) Smithson will bring a bit of Louisiana party music to Washington County. The band is anchored by Bill Black, standup bass and Jeremy Johnson, drums. Add in Phil Schmid, guitar, Kathy Smithson plays the button accordion and rub board, while Everett handles vocals and harp. He’ll be giving harp lessons to kids after the performance.

Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($5?) It’s the first Friday of the month so Freewheelin’ Jackson Buck of KFAI has put together another great show to welcome the weekend. Cooker John opens at 7pm. The singer/guitarist learned fingerpicking from Artie Traum way back in the day. Javier & the Innocent Sons are on at 9pm with bluesy roots music by Javier, guitar, vocals, harmonica; and Grant Wibben, upright bass; Dan Schwalbe, guitar; Dave Larson, drums.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 – $15) Bluesman Allison is the guitar-slinging son of the late Luther Allison, and as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Saturday, Sunday, Aug 2,3

Blues on the Chippewa @ Memorial Park, Durand, WI. (Free) If you’re willing to drive about 90 minutes SE of Minneapolis, you can catch this Free festival featuring bands like Armadillo Jump, Sue Orfield and Bernard Allison on Saturday (start time – Noon), and Annie Mack, Davina & the Vagabonds, and Kelley Hunt on Sunday (Start time – 1pm). Monetary donations or non-perishable food items are accepted for the local food pantry. Find out the full schedule here.

Sunday, August 3rd

Second Annual Phillips Music Festival @ Phillips Community Center, 23rd & 11th Ave South, Minneapolis. 11am – 10pm. Musical guests include Malamanya, Sol Flower Collective, Nelson Valdes, Manny Phesto, the Afro Brazilian Capoeira Association and much, much more.

Red Stag In Cahoots Party @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 2pm – 8pm (Free) Another outdoor summer celebration. This one features E.L.No, Shiro Dame, Frankie Lee, Alpha Consumer, Romantica, and Sonny Knight & the Lakers.

Who Nu @ McCarron’s Pub, 1986 Rice Street, Saint Paul. 3pm (No cover) It’s a funky afternoon at this place on the border of Saint   Paul and Maplewood. Today is extra special because Dee Miller, who regularly sings a few songs with the group, is celebrating her marriage to Mike DuBois. Dorothy Doring and Donald Thomas will also be sitting in for a few songs.

Tuesday, August 5

Unknown-5Vinyl Voices Kickoff @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm  (Free) So a group of vinyl fans at KFAI have formed a coalition to spin vinyl at KFAI events, including every Tuesday at the Tap Room from 6pm – 9pm. For this first event, six of them will take part, spinning music that will include Detroit Rock (Pattie Walsh);  Midwest Rock (Liberty Finch & Izzy), Detroit Soul (myself), funk n’ soul (Tarik Thornton),  funky worldbeats (Steely Dan), and Mod & Ska (Mr Gosh, aka Greg Carr).  As usual, a food truck will be on hand, along with fresh beer.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

 


Steve Kenny’s Group 47

July 28, 2014

Veteran trumpeter/composer Steve Kenny is one busy musician. He’s currently playing in The Illicit Sextet, The Steve Kenny Quartet, What Would Monk Do, and Steve Kenny’s Group 47, the last of which is celebrating the release of an album, Straight to Vinyl, at the Icehouse this evening. Besides Kenny, the group consists of four college aged musicians: Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. This group of young lions exhibits the creativity and cohesion usually found in groups with much more experience.

Steve Kenny. Photo by Andrea Canter

Steve Kenny. Photo by Andrea Canter

I had a chance to talk with Steve about Group 47 and the All Originals Jazz Series, a ten-week series he is curating at Studio Z every Thursday during the summer. This post will cover Group 47, while our discussion about the Jazz Series will be posted later this week.

LE: You’ve become quite the busy person these days.

SK: That’s true. Maybe it’s a perfect storm or maybe it’s the way I like to operate. I’m thinking ahead to the things that will be happening in Jan and Feb right now. That’s way, when the dates roll around it’s easier to book people, a studio is already booked if I need it. I had it figured out in the 90s and now back to that thinking that way.

LE: Why such an approach?

SK: I like to play some pretty serious music in public at least one a week, and that takes lots of planning. I play trumpet, and for that particular instrument, people don’t call you. It might be different for a rhythm section player. People don’t call trumpet players for modern jazz gigs, so I figured out you have to be very creative. And now, with the club scene getting more challenging, it takes more self-promotion and effort to make sure there’s a show every week or every couple of weeks.

LE: How did Group 47 come about?

Group 47 at the late, lamented Artists' Quarter

Group 47 at the late, lamented Artists’ Quarter

SK: It came out of the fact that for 5 or more years, I had the privilege of playing the early gig at the AQ. The group was known by a variety of names. The way things progressed; it started as a loose, jam session, and as years went by there was a tendency to push away from pure jam to incubating some kind of group. Then we found out the club was going to close.

At that point, it became: let’s see if we can bootstrap something that can exist outside of the club. Right around that time I met Will Kjeer on street. While I was warming up outside, and he walked up and introduced himself, claiming he was a pianist who could play jazz. I started asking what tunes do you know, to find out how successful it would be to bring him up. After talking, I said come on down. He came down, and played great. I asked him if he would come back, and every time he returned he was better. As he got his wherewithal, his true abilities came out – holy crap. After a year, he’s improved so much – it’s crazy. He plays as well as anybody in town and this is a piano town.

LE: How did you find the other players in the band?

SK: When playing free gigs, a lot of established players aren’t going to play. Many did come down, but I was looking to shift to a steady membership for the group. As I approached players who sat in every week for the next 6 months, the membership changed according to whoever was willing to play. It was happenstance. Good ones stayed, what we ended up with was the group. It’s a band that can play on the same bill with any band in town and I’m really proud of it. And they’re monster players, the likes of which people don’t even know yet.

LE: How did the concept of the album originate?

SK: With Will joining we started writing. Six months before club closed we changed the name of the group. Then we booked studio time, played the Dakota, a college concert and other venues. We got enough material in recording sessions for Straight to Vinyl.

Straight to Vinyl happened in bassist Adam Tucker’s studio, where they have a track record of doing vinyl. We decided to record in the round, originally to 2 inch analogue tape and then to vinyl. There is no actual editing, just selecting the order of songs. No editing of beginnings, ends, no pitch correction. Ignoring the CD format because it’s a dead format. Except for radio stations, many devices no longer have CD drives. We made sure that the release is available in every digital format, iTunes, Wav files, CD baby, MP3, etc. Scary digital precision is also available. And of course the vinyl version with nice artwork, real liner notes, all the touch feely things we like about vinyl.

Note: Steve Kenny’s Group 47 will be celebrating the release of Straight to Vinyl at the Icehouse in Minneapolis Monday evening, July 28 at 10pm. Copies of the album will be available for sale.

You can also hear the group as part of the All Originals Jazz Series at Studio Z on Thursday, August 21st at 8pm.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 756 other followers

%d bloggers like this: