Wow, May already. This coming week brings the 38th Annual May Day Parade from the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater to South Minneapolis on Sunday. It’s a parade and festival full of dancing and music, from roots, to Ukrainian, and more. We also have a plethora of artists – both visiting and resident – performing around town. There are often evenings when it is hard to choose where to go, even if you have the stamina and time to squeeze in more than one show. These are but a few suggestions.
Wednesday, May 2
Carl Franzen with Rahita Ren and Jeff Carver @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm. (Tip Jar) An intriguing evening, as composer/lyricist Franzen is a songwriter who has written a number of notable and recognizable jingles, as well as introspective songs for you the listener. Tonight he’ll be joined by Rahita Ren on piano, and Jeff Carver on trumpet. Here’s what they sound like.
Michael Gold Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Michael Gold, bass; Dave Graf, trombone; Don Stille, piano; Doug Haining, saxes; Nathan Norman, drums. Gold has worked with Lee Konitz, Al Cohen, and Sheila Jordan, among others. Given the other members of this quintet, I expect this will be a pretty swinging evening.
Thursday, May 3
Keith Karns Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 – 10:30pm. This sounds very interesting, and should be cozy in the Jazz Central space. Karns is a trumpeter who is a student of the music of Stan Kenton and Maria Schneider, among others. He’s just released a new CD, Thought and Memory, and is touring the Midwest in support of it. Here’s a recent video of the group.
Good Vibes Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Having caught their last appearance at the AQ, I can say that Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Hey, drums, create music that’s complex, yet accessible. And why shouldn’t they, with their talent.
Charmin Michelle @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm. Classy room. Classy singer. Michelle is one of those singers who is so effortless when she sings, that you think you can do it. Mmm, no. Be aware, there may be a minimum if you sit at the tables.
Todd Clouser @ The Aster Cafe, St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Guitarist Clouser is going beyond his Love Electric group with a couple of performances here in different settings. First set will be a duo with Trevor Elrod. Second set a Trio with Hope Tonic: Greg Schutte on drums, and Chris Bates on bass.
Friday, Saturday, May 4,5
Magraw, Nichols, Peterson, Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The guitar wizardry of Dean Magraw, and the imaginative piano of Bryan Nichols, combined with what is becoming the oh-so-versatile house rhythm section of Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.
Saturday, May 5
Le Jazz Cool All-Stars @ Vincent A Restaurant, Minneapolis. 10:30 pm (no cover) Late night jazz at the tony French Restaurant, with Mary Louise Knutsen on piano, and three members of the Minnesota Orchestra: Peter Kogan, drums and leader; David Williamson, bass; Chuck Lazarus, trumpet.
Sunday, May 6
Pancho Sanchez & His Latin Jazz Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Sanchez is a master conga player who puts his stamp on jazz, soul, bebop, funk, and more. Here he is doing a salsa number.
Roots, Blues, Other
Wednesday, May 2
Carolina Chocolate Drops @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. ($30) This African-American string band won a grammy in 2010 in the traditional folk category for their album Genuine Negro Jigs. They’re back with an expanded line-up, but still manage to easily convey their joy in playing old-time fiddle and banjo music. Canadian duo Po’ Girl opens.
Wax Museum @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No cover) Open vinyl night. Deejays and vinyl lovers sign up for a 20 minute set to play whatever they want – reggae, film soundtracks, goth, soul, doo wop, psychedelic, early rock n’ roll, in any vinyl format – 12 inches remixes, LPs, 45s, eps, or even 78s (if you bring along your own turntable). Makes for an ear-opening evening at this West Bank institution.
Friday, May 4
Dred I Dred, Prizefighters, Upper Cuts @ Wild Thymes, Saint Paul. 80m (Tip Jar) Modern Reggae from PeeWee & Dred I Dred; Ska & Rocksteady and a little Soul from the 7-pice Prizefighters; and Punk, Rock, n Roots from the Upper Cuts.
Papa John Kolstad @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Head east until you smell the great ‘que coming from this 2012 City Pages Best Blues Club for a somewhat rare occurrence. Papa John is getting out his 12 string to play some blues, accompanied by Bill Smith on harmonica and Scott Sansby on rubboard. The Bayport isn’t very large, so best to call ahead to see if it’s sold out. 651-955-6337
Big Villain CD Release @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Hall Stage – $10) This is an interesting project, crossing hip-hop and jazz. Big Villain uses clever, often humorous lyrics over tuneful melodies with catchy choruses, all backed by some well-traveled jazz musicians. Toussaint Morrison, vocals; Maria Stukey, backup vocals; Phil Aaron, keyboards; Zach Schmidt, keyboards; Vinnie Rose, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums. Opening acts include: Sheeped, and West of Aldine
Saturday May 5
James Loney CD Release, w/ Gini Dodds, & Curtiss A. @ Wild Thymes, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) A rockin’ night of music. Loney fronted the House of Mirrors in the 80s and quit in the 90s to concentrate on songwriting. That paid off with songs in a couple of hit movies. Now he’s back with a new CD filled with local luminaries like Scott Sansby, Gini Dodds, and Curtiss A. Gini Dodds & the Dahlias open at 8pm, followed by Curtiss A. and the Jerks of Fate at 9:30, and Loney at 11pm.
Malamanya & Radio Pocho DJs @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with Malamanya, that highly danceable acoustic Cuban ensemble. I know Cinco de Mayo is Mexican, not Cuban, but hey, there will be plenty of dancers, and the Radio Pocho DJs will help you get down and in the spirit.
Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers and Hookers & Blow Rock the Cure @ O’Gara’s, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) A chance to hear two fine bands and benefit research into Breast & Ovarian Cancer. Maher and her band rock out in a very rootsy manner, doing her originals and some choice covers. Hookers & Blow play highly danceable tunes from a “more permissive era”, i.e., the late 70s.
Monday, May 7
Al’s Rockabilly Quartet @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) On Mondays, the tables are moved ad chairs set up on each side of the expanded dance floor. Get to Dave’s at about 7:15 for a dance lesson from Bill & Shannon, and then practice your moves with the slap bass, surf, & rockabilly sounds of Al Subola and the boys.