It’s quite a week here in the Twin Cities. The announcement that Prince will be at the 300-seat Dakota for three nights has caused quite a stir and sold out in 45 minutes. However, there’s more than enough music in town to satisfy many tastes, including a couple of visiting blues artists on Friday, some jazz that ranges from traditional to contemporary to free, a few festival-type events and Jose Feliciano on Tuesday. And it’s only the third week of the year!
Wednesday, January 16
Graydon Peterson Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) After years of being known as a versatile bass player, called upon to work in a variety of both area and touring groups, Peterson is stepping up as a leader, performing his own very modern compositions. Other members of the group are Adam Meckler, trumpet; Vinnie Rose, guitar; and Adrian Suarez, drums. Check out this video.
Thursday, January 17
Youngsters and Veterans @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. Suihkonen, Hunton, & Wildenauer, 7pm (Free) This is part of the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s Young Artists Series. Joe Suihkonen, trumpet; Emerson Hunton, drums; and Sam Wildenauer, bass; are recent graduates of South High. Suihkonen and Hunton are studying at Oberlin Conservatory, while Wildenauer is taking a twist on the old fashioned route – playing with veterans, but veterans in the free jazz orbit in town. There will be originals as well as some band favorites from Ornette Coleman and others. Followed by the Brian Grivna Quartet at 9pm ($5) Saxophonist Grivna played with Buddy Rich for two years, appearing on a number of albums and television shows. It’s always a treat to hear him play.
St Peter Stompers @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) A late night excursion into New Orleans-style jazz. That is, the kind of music where the lead horn solos while other horns play around the solo and each other. In print it may sound like it’s noisy and confusing, but in reality, this polyphonic approach provides a happy sound. The Stompers include: Chuck DeVore, leader and Tenor Saxophone; Joy Judge, Trombone; Jason Berg, Drums; Eddie Sekula, Stand-Up Bass; Dave Wilkening, Guitar; and Milo Grika, Cornet.
Dorothy Doring & Phil Mattson CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Doring and pianist Mattson have created a delightful, charming album entitled “Compositions of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn.” You can catch my January 5th radio interview with the two of them and a couple of tracks from the CD here. It starts at about 60 or 65 minutes into the show.
Saturday, January 19
Lila Ammons Quintet @ Honey, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($8) Here’s an early start to your Saturday evening. Though classically trained, Ammons spends much of her time touring Europe and singing jazz, and jazz-oriented blues. You can read an interview I did with her here.
Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) This is a collective of six fine young musicians who write original music and take their cues from Blue Note recordings as well as Monk, and Ellington. The group consists of Scott Agster, trombone; Shihad Sen, sax; Adam Rosmiller, trumpet, Graydon Peterson, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. You’ll be tapping your feet and bopping your head to their groovalicious sounds.
Monday, January 21
Embezzler and Merciless Ghost @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) JT Bates continues to program adventurous jazz for the Monday night Jazz Implosion series. Tonight it’s Embezzler (JT, drums; Adam Linz, bass; Paul Metzger, guitar) performing free-ish, though accessible music, while Merciless Ghost (George Cartwright, sax; Josh Granowski, bass; Davu Seru, drums) will create music that is in turns emotional and beautiful. Here is a video of Merciless Ghost.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, January 16
String Theory @ 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10pm ($6) There CD, “What’s the Matter With Captain Gravitone?” is a genre-crossing excursion full of original delights. On it, the trio uses two guitars, a banjo, and vocals, String Theory evokes 70s folk -rock, a bit of jazz, and blues, while using a variety of rhythms. They’re also inclined to play music by Miles Davis, Django Rheinhardt, and the Zombies. It’s a small room, so you may want to make reservations (952-401-7902).
Friday, January 18
Daddy Mack @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) Here’s a chance to hear down-home, back o’ the alley blues from Memphis. Each member of Daddy Mack’s quartet has played in the legendary Fieldstones. Daddy Mack’s guitar strikes and slashes, while his voice rumbles with authority. Watch his band playing the Great Recession Blues.
Lucky Peterson @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) What? Two visiting bluesers on one night? Thankfully, the timing is right so fans get get to hear both. Peterson has quite the pedigree. He was five years old when Willie Dixon took a liking to him and had him playing on The Tonight Show and Ed Sullivan. As a teen he played French horn in his school’s orchestra, and then started playing keyboards and guitar for Etta James, Little Milton, and Bobby Blue Bland. Since then, he’s recorded fourteen albums as a leader, one of which, 2010′s You Can Always Turn Around, won Best Blues Album from Grand Prix du Disque and was nominated for Best Acoustic Album in the Blues Music Awards.
Cash Only: Tribute to the Man in Black @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15/$12 Advance) A tribute to the one country artist that almost everyone likes, but then, he was more than country. It’ll be a honky tonkin, rockin’ evening of Cash’s music, performed by Cash’s friend and torch carrier Sherwin Linton, as well as Trailer Trash, Erik Koskinen, the White Iron Band, and more.
Saturday, January 19
Harriet Brewing Second Anniversary Bash @ Nuevo Rodeo, Minneapolis. 6pm – 1AM ($14 advance/$20 door) The folks at Harriet Brewing are doing a good job of booking area talent, and tonight they’re going all out to celebrate their anniversary. Postina kicks things off at 7pm, followed by the Brass Kings at 8:45, and Malamanya at 10:30. Across the street in the brewery’s Tap Room, there is free music, with Daddy Squeeze, Kris Koza and others starting at 3pm.
STAX Tribute @ Pepito’s Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) A nine-piece horn-driven band and three vocalists recreate the soulful sounds that emanated from STAX records during the 60s and 70s. Expect hits like Soul Man, In the Midnight Hour, Green Onions, Walkin’ the Dog, the Theme from Shaft, Respect Yourself, and much, much more.
Sunday, January 20
Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 3pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The folks at the Minnesota Blues Society are once again working to bring some of the area’s finest blues musicians to a wider audience – that of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, where festival organizers from around the world gather, not to mention blues fans from around the world. To get you to support this effort, Good Time Willy (w/John Franken), Papa John Kolstad, Hurricane Harold, and Javier and the Innocent Sons will perform. This year’s Minnesota entrants – Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders and Kildahl and Vonderharr will also perform. A definite treat for blues lovers.
Tuesday, January 22
Jose Feliciano @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70), 9pm ($35 – $60) If all you know of Feliciano is his version of Light My Fire (which is pretty awesome), then you’re missing a lot. He’s an 8 time Grammy winner and often hailed as one of the world’s greatest guitar player. He’s played with the London Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, and Carlos Santana, and has 45 Gold albums to his credit.