While the Twin Cities Jazz Festival may be big news this week, there’s plenty of music for others as well, including a Honky Tonk Fest, and two African artists at the Cedar, a contemporary Brazilian group, and more. Remember, live music can lift your spirits.
Wednesday, June 26
Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This is as tight a unit as you will find in the Twin Cities. Phil Hey, drums; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes. A great way to get over hump day.
Thursday, June 27
Charmin & Shapira & Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Charmin Michelle, vocals; and Joel Shapira, guitar; have a natural affinity for playing together. They’ll be joined by Paul Harper, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, on drums. You can expect tasteful, swinging playing from all involved.
Maryann Sullivan and Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Go through the doors at 407 Central, NE, down the hall and down some steps to the rec-room like confines of Jazz Central to hear Sullivan, a swinging vocalist, and Taylor, a pianist who is in demand, whether as a leader, sideman, or accompanist to the area’s vocalists.
Thursday, June 27 – Saturday, June 29
Twin Cities Jazz Festival @ Various Saint Paul Locations. (Free) Most action will take place at Mears Park, but if you’re looking for some interesting gigs outside of Mears Park check out some of these acts. Friday: At the Artists’ Quarter – 7:30pm - Will Kjeer’s Blue Haven. At the Hat Trick – 8pm Johannes Tona; 9:30 JazZen. At The Amsterdam: 6pm – 12:30am – The Cannonball Collective w/Doug Haining, sax; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Matt Peterson, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. Saturday: At Black Bear Crossings, Como Lakeside Pavillion – 7pm – Larry McDonough Quartet. At Golden’s Deli – 9:30pm Tony London. At the Amsterdam – 10:30pm Javier Santiago Quartet. And don’t forget to check out the incredible music of young performers at the Youth Stage, outside of the Black Dog all day Saturday, featuring the Dakota Combo at 6:30. Check out the complete schedule here.
Friday, June 28
Lee Engele & Reynold Philipsek @ Kip’s Irish Pub, St. Louis Park. 9pm – 11pm. (No cover) If you’re looking for some enticing vocals (Engele), and tasty guitar playing (Phillipsek) to go with your Irish whiskey, look no further.
Saturday, June 29
Doug Little Trio @ Porter & Frye, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) A cozy lounge under Porter & Frye serves as a new venue for jazz. Doug Little is a master of sax and flute, and has an affinity for Cuban and Latin rhythms. I expect, however, that tonight he’ll be venturing into standards territory as well. And there is some room for dancing, whether it’s the Businessman’s Bounce, a Rhumba, or Salsa.
Sunday, June 30
Regina Marie Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Williams is an actor known for her role as Dinah Washington in Penumbra’s Dinah Was, and for acting at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood and theaters throughout the country. Her theater resume is extensive. She was so good as Dinah because she’s an exceptional singer, as evidenced by her 2011 CD, Regina Marie Williams. She’s particularly effective on ballads like “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone” and “Something to Live For.” Williams can mine the pathos of “The Other Woman,” celebrate in “What a Little Moonlight Can Do,” and speak her mind in “Rough and Ready Man.”
Blues, Roots, Other
Wednesday, June 26
Bloody Ol’ Mule on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) If you didn’t get out to the Deep Blues Festival last weekend, you can hear one of the headliners today on KFAI and at the 331 Club. Bloody Ol’Mule is a one-man band who draws inspiration from Hank Williams, John Lee Hooker, and the modal blues of the Mississippi Hill Country. It’s often raw, and always emotion packed music.
Femi Kuti @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45) Kuti’s appearance at the Cedar last summer was a rousing, dance-fueled Afrobeat event. Blazing horns and exotic drums combine to create ferocious rhythms underlying Kuti’s singing decrying poverty and government corruption. You may find yourself dancing to protest, escape reality, transcend differences, or simply to celebrate the joy of being alive. Our friends from Worldwide Diskotek will be spinning vinyl to open.
Thursday, June 27
Acoustic Blues Night, featuring Papa John Kolstad & Cal Hand @ Merlin’s Rest, East Lake St, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) What with the recent re-release of Mill City Blues, and these regular acoustic blues nights, Papa John has been visiting his blues roots with success. Tonight he has the talented Cal Hand on dobro to liven things up even more than usual. Papa John is also playing at the Black Dog on Saturday at 7:30 as part of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.
Friday, June 28
Amadou & Mariam @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45) Wow. Two African music events in one week! GRammy nominated Malian stars Amadou & Miriam sold out the Cedar last year with a joyous show. Their vocals charm and sparkle. Amadou’s guitar work is supple, yet highly rhythmic. It’s a celebration of Africa, but more importantly, a celebration of life. Once again, Dan McAllister and Brian Engel of Worldwide Diskotek will be spinning vinyl to open.
Biscuit Miller @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 5:30pm ($?) Miller played bass for Lonnie Brooks for ten years. He also recorded an award-winning single with Sonny Rogers, and spent some time playing with Mojo Buford. He and his band, The Mix, mix it up with a bit of funk, R&B, and of course, the blues – all designed to get you dancing. Lady J Griot opens at 5:30, and Miller will hit the stage at 7pm.
Saturday, June 29
Honky Tonk Fest @ Grumpy’s NE, Minneapolis. 2pm – 9pm (Suggested donation – $5) Honky Tonk music is a two-beat, easy-to-dance-to style that combines elements of Western Swing, traditional country, and a hint of rock n’ roll. It’s a dancer’s delight, with folks twirling, dipping, and, for the slower numbers, gliding across the floor. Today’s line-up features some of the best practitioners in the metro area: Jennifer Markey & the Hungry Truckers, The Cactus Blossoms, the Dreadlock Cowboys, Jillian Rae (a wonder on the fiddle, BTW), Leo Rondea, and Trailer Trash. Some food will be available, with all proceeds from this event going to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of MN.
Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sure the place is often noisy, and you might find a bachelorette party or two to be distracting, but if you sit down front, or even at the nearest end of the bar, you’ll be able to appreciate Nikki’s crystaline vocals, and Rich Rue’s playing on the resonator guitar.
Paul Mayasich & the RAMM Band @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Blues, rock, and other Real American Music from this tight trio.
Monday, July 1
Chasing Lovely @ The Coffee Shop NE, Minneapolis. 7:00pm. With lovely sisterly harmonies, this Minneapolis-raised, Nashville-based duo sings hook-laden original country songs with a pop bent. They’ve an EP with accompaniment from a number of Nashville’s best, but really don’t need backing to impress. Here’s a video.
Tinsley Ellis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Yes, the Power Blues guitarist will be playing the tony Dakota. The Atlanta guitarist put out his first solo album on Alligator in 1988, and he’s been tearing up stages ever since. Don’t be surprised if he peels some of the paint off the walls with his fleet-fingered, well crafted solos.
Tuesday, July 2
Choro Borealis and DIBIGODE @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($10 advance, $12 door) It’s billed as 150 Years of Brazilian music, and no wonder as these two bands will play music from the late 1800s to the present. DIBIGODE is from southeast Brazil. Their music music eschews bossas and sambas for a more contemporary sound that mixes electronica, jazz, and Tropicalia into a pleasing whole. You can hear them on their MySpace page. Choro Borealis is one of guitarist Robert Everest’s groups. Choro (pronounced Show-doo) is a Brazilian music that mixes European and African influences, and was popular from the late 1800s until the 1930s. Folks have been rediscovering this music. Charlie Musselwhite has even recorded a couple of tunes that are influenced by Choro. Joining Everest in Choro Borealis are Bob O’Keefe on reeds and percussion, and Tim O’Keefe on mandolin, percussion and cavaquinho. Here’s a video of DIBIGODE.