A Semi-Thaw. Music: 1.28 – 2.3

January 28, 2015

Unknown-3Wow, can it really be January? Generally, the last weekend in January is bitterly cold, and here we are flirting with the thirties all week. We seem to be in the midst of a thaw, which everyone is happy about. Does that mean you don’t need a jacket? Of course not, at least if you’ll be out for a longer period than taking out the garbage. I guess I’m trying to say we need to stay comfortable, and a good way to do that is to hear music. It will inspire us, and lift us up, so, if you are in town, take advantage of the rich music tradition we have in these cities. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 28

Jake Baldwin Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here is a quintet of Twin Cities’ Young Lions playing often fierce, and occasionally beautiful jazz.  Baldwin, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Nelson Devereux, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Thursday, January 30

Tim Kaiser @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Kaiser sits in the midst of hand-crafted electro-acoustic instruments that would seem at home in a steampunk movie, and creates sheets of reverb and unique sounds that range from toy ray-guns to theraminic tones, manufacturing hums, and marimba-like bleats, all of which bring into question the definition of music. It’s more experimental than the electronic music of dancers, or even classicists, and is definitely improvised, so I’m listing it under jazz. Perhaps this interview with him will help you understand what he does.

Friday, January 30

What Would Monk Do @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The music of Thelonious Monk and Monk-inspired originals from some bad cats: Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Peterson, bass; Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny, flumpet. Based on past performances, I believe it will be cooking’

Mississippi Hot Club @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 10pm ($7) It’s more or less a light night acoustic swing party, with a good dose of Djano Rheinhardt, some Latin music, originals, and a touch of Americana from this Northern Minnesota quintet  They just released a self-titled debut CD, which you can listen to on their website (previous link). Members include:  Ian Stenlund and Luke Zupan, la pompe rhythm guitars; Joe Downing, upright bass; Josh Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin.

Saturday, January 31

Thompson, Balluf, & Pikal @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm – 9pm ($10, adults, $5 Students) Lovers of traditional jazz will be out in force to hear pianist Butch Thompson  Clarinetist Tony Balluf, and bassist Steve Pikal. What they play is anything but stodgy, and far from being stuck in the early 20th Century. They bring a joy and liveliness to the music to make it swing beyond its years.

Dean Granros Quartet @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. I was surprised at a recent Anthony Cox show in which Granros played to learn that Granros is known among some listeners as a “noise” guitarist, which never occurred to me. From his work with groups such as How Birds Work and others, it’s obvious that he’s a stellar player with a rich imagination. Tonight he’s joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. They hit the stage at 8:30pm while the Dave Brattain Quartet opens at 7pm: Brattain, sax; Kevin Daley, Billy Peterson, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.  Here’s Granros doing a solo number.

Katia Cardenas w/Ted Godbout @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) If you’re looking for an entertaining evening in a place that isn’t overly crowded, you may want to check out the Nicollet tonight. Katia Cardenas is a fine singer who is building an audience, while the Nicollet provides an intimate setting where she and pianist Ted Godbout can perform both R&B and jazz standards.

Monday, February 2

Zach Schmidt @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Zach has been drumming since he was four. When he got older he attended McNally Smith, where he studied with Dave Stanoch,Marv Dahlgren, Dave Schmalenberger and Gordy Knutson. He regularly plays with the Cory Wong Quartet, but has also performs with Zack Lozier, Chris Olson, Rachel Holder, Jana Nyberg, and more.

Matt Otto & the Fantastic Merlins @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Otto is a Kansas City based saxophonist who has played with the likes of Ben Monder, Wadada Leo Smith, Willi Jones III, Tootie Heath, Charlie Haden Leroy Vinegar, Jimmy Smith, Bobby Watson, and Larry Goldings, to name just a few – whew! Tonight he is joined by the Fantastic Merlins for two exciting sets: Nathan Hanson, sax, Doan Roessler, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Monday, Tuesday, February 2,3

Chris Potter Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($15) Saxophonist Potter entered the NYC jazz scene as an 18 yr old playing with bebop icon Red Rodney. Since then he’s been a sideman on over 100 albums and a leader on fifteen. He’s performed with folks like Herb i.e. Hancock, Davi Holland, The Mingus Big Band, Rayt Brown, and was featured on Steely Dan’t Grammy winning album Two Against Nature. He regularly receives high praise from critics, magazines, and fellow musicians. His quartet includes Adam Rogers, guitar; Fima Ephron, bass; and Nate Smith, drums.  Listen to his take on Charlie Parker’s Anthropology.

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

Paul Mayasich w/ Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Moe’s, Moundsview. 7:30pm (Tip Jar?) Guitarist Mayasich appears here on a weekly basis with different guests each week. Tonight he’s got big-voiced harmonica player Big George Jackson  and guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, two unsung (or under appreciated) heroes of the Twin Cities blues scene.

Thursday, January 29

Viva Brazil @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) This octet is consist of four Brazilians and four musicians who are currently from the Twin Cities, though a few of them were born and raised elsewhere. Geography doesn’t matter as much as talent, however when they start playing sambas, bossa novas, Brazilian jazz, and funky derivations of all. Their sensuous rhythms may have you pushing tables out of the way to dance.

Friday, January 30

Kelley Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Hunt is a barrelhouse piano pounder from Kansas City whose frequent forays into the Northland have earned her a devoted following for her blues/R&B/Americana. She’s steeped in Blues and Gospel and has earned praise from critics and fans alike for her originals. Her latest CD, Beautiful Bones, has been called inspirational and beautiful. Its up to you to figure out if you agree.

Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door)  Cebar integrates the rhythms of New Orleans, the Caribbean, western Louisiana, and Africa with the classic rhythms of 60s soul and 70s funk, to create highly infectious dance music. Opening is Poverty Hash, from Connecticut, seen around here at the Deep Blues Festival of some years back and at the Bayport BBQ.

Big George Jackson @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) So maybe you didn’t want to go to Moundsview to hear George with Paul Mayasich on Wednesday. Check him out with his band at this modest, somewhat dicey bar. He’ll have you boogieing all through the night and onto home.

Friday, Saturday, January 30, 31

Monsieur Jeffrey Evans @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Evans is a singer/songwriter/producer who has recorded dozens of albums and singles with groups such as ’68 comeback, the Gibson Brothers, and the Memphis Roadmasters. The Memphis based musician cites RL Burnside, Charlie Feathers, Gene Vincent, and Doc Watson among his influences, while his music has been described as gutter blues, psychobilly, punk blues, and a half dozen other terms. He’s also the subject of a documentary entitled, the Man Who Loved Couch Dancing. (?!)

Saturday, January 31

Marshall Tucker Band & the Atlanta Rhythm Section @ The Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Highway 55, Medina. 7:30 Doors ($35 – $52) Fans of Southern rock will not want to miss this concert by two of the groups that founded the genre about 40 years ago. Each band contains at least one original member. The Marshall Tucker Band had 5 gold albums in the 70s, followed by Carolina Dreams, which went platinum, and still performs 150-200 shows a year. The Atlanta Rhythm Section didn’t quite hit those heights, but consistently charted and still has a strong following in the South.

Tim Sparks & James Buckley @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 9:00pm (No Cover) Here you have a certified champion flat picker (Sparks) who is comfortable with Yiddish music, jazz, and even the Nutcracker Suite, along with a bassist (Buckley) who has performed with as many as seven different bands in one month, ranging from new wavers, to new folkies, to new jazz. Sparks will fly (no pun intended).

Wild Colonial Bhoys & The Beavers @ Lees Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) The Wild Colonial Bhoys are a Celtic band that has been rockin’ out for over eleven years, and five albums. They’ve a guitar-driven sound that gets it’s Irish lilt from a fiddle. Opening are The Beavers, an all-female band that delves into folk pop, with a touch of old timey music for leavening.

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.


More Winter, More Music: 1.21 – 1.27

January 21, 2015
Are we getting hazardous pay for this gig?

Are we getting hazardous pay for this gig?

The weather is warming and Saint Paul is about to celebrate Winter Carnival, with all the hoopla and shenanigans that entails, including a downhill ice-skating event (don’t ask). Whether you attend the Carnival festivities or not, there is still plenty of music for your enjoyment and participation this week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 21

McNally Smith College of Music Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman directs this collection of about 16 musicians who are studying at McNally Smith. It’s an explosive group with outstanding musicians, including an African violinist, Brazilian bass player and some graduate level students. A very exciting group.

Thursday, January 22

David Berkman @ Jazz in the Target Atrium, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($25)  The Jazz in The Target Atrium is a new series by Orchestra Hall, pairing visiting musicians with an ensemble of resident musicians: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Anthony Cox, bass; and JT Bats, drums. Pianist/composer/bandleader Berkman is an award-winning musician whose recordings often end up on the best-of critics lists in Downbeat, The Village Voice and the NY Times.

Pavel Jany & Gary Schulte @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested donation) A special appearance by two members of the Talking Strings Trio  Jany is an exceptional guitarist with a bent for Brazilian rhythms (he leads Ticket to Brasil) and international jazz. Schulte is a violinist who brilliantly plays in a number of genres, from Gypsy Jazz, to classical improvisation to poetry-jazz and Black Gospel music.

Friday, January 23

null-1 Unknown-2Maryann Sullivan & Andrea Canter Photo Reception @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Reception), 8pm – 11pm (Music – Tip Jar). The Black Dog is featuring the wonderful photography of Andrea Canter this week. Andrea is a constant presence on the jazz scene and has had a number of her jazz photos featured in Downbeat. This exhibit features photos of both resident and visiting musicians as well as some of Andrea’s landscapes and urban images. After the reception, vocalist Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz take the stage to deliver some swinging music. Don’t be surprised if some of the tables are moved to accommodate dancers.

Atlantis Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) 21st Century Jazz from a group that is slowly expanding its fan base beyond the Twin Cities, having recently performed in Chicago and points around the Midwest. They’ll be appearing at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in July.

Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) If you haven’t had a chance to travel south this winter, here’s an opportunity to experience the warmth of Latin America music with this band led by multi-reedman Doug Little, and including artists from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean and North America. Expect salsas, rumbas, and bolero rhythms to get your heart pumping.

Saturday, January 24

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. Opening at 7 by the Dark Blue Quartet: Thomas Strommen, Dylan Nelson, Jason McLean, Alex Burges. Illicit Sextet: Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, sax; Nathan Norman, drums; David Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; Steve Kenny, trumpet.

Coloring Time with guest Steve Davis @ the Dakota Late Night, Minnepolis. 11:30pm ($5) Coloring Time is a group of Twin Cities musicians that come from Jazz and hip-hop backgrounds: Casey O’Brien, bass; Graham O’Brien drums; John Keston, keys; Robert Mulrennen, guitar; Jon Davis, reeds; and Zach Bagaason, sampler & keys, with Joe Horton, Kristoff Krane, and Adam Svec as vocalists/MCs. Special guest trombonist Steve Davis is playing couple of other gigs this weekend (see below), Here’s a Coloring Time video with a slightly different makeup.

Saturday, Sunday, January 24, 25

Century Jazz Ensemble w/Steve Davis @ Century College, White Bear Lake. 8pm Sat, 3pm Sun. ($?) The Century College Jazz Ensemble invites a guest every year. This year trombonist Steve Davis is on tap. He’s world in the bands of Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, as well as in two of Chick Corea’s sextets. He leads a quartet featuring pianist Larry Willis, and is a member of the collective One For All, with Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, John Webber, and Joe Farnsworth. In other words, Davis is a heavy hitter in the jazz world. Jana Nyberg plays the Pre-Concert Reception at 7pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday.

Sunday, January 24

Leigh Kammen Tribute @ The Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($20 Suggested Donation) Many area musicians, including Dean Magraw, Patty Peterson, Kenny Horst, Irv Williams, Conning Evingson and Butch Thompson, among others, will be performing at this tribute to a man who enriched the lives of many of us with his descriptions of places and events from so long ago. He was a jazz broadcaster for 60 years, starting in the Twin Cities, and moving to Duluth, Denver, and New York City before returning here in 1956. The jazz world is an emptier space without the voice of Leigh Kammen.

Monday, January 26

Fireside Five Jazz Quintet @ U of M Ultan Recital Hall, Minneapolis. 3:30pm – 5:00pm. ($?) If you can get the afternoon off, you can treat yourself to the sounds of a new quintet featuring Tom Ashworth, trombone & euphonious; Brian Grivna, flute & reeds; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. A top-notch group of musicians.

Fireside Five Quintet @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10pm. Well, if you couldn’t get the afternoon off, you still have a chance to see this group.

Steve Davis @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Trombonist Davis is in town as a guest of the Century Jazz Ensemble (see above) and has picked up a completely different kind of gig at the Icehouse. The first set will feature Davis with Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, drums. For the second set, Steve and his cousin John Davis have a group called Bonkers Electrorchestra, which which sets up a groove while other players drop in and out.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 27, 28

Diane Reeves @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $65), 9pm ($35 – $50) A headliner at last June’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival, vocalist Reeves was rained out of the main stage and played the Hall at the Amsterdam, where her exciting performance brought the packed house down.  She’s a skilled interpreter of lyrics and a scat singer as well, with an attractive voice and personable on-stage presence. Her latest album, Beautiful Life, has been nominated for a 2015 Grammy.

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, January 21

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nye’s Polonaise Room, Minneapolis. The side bar at Nye’s has been hosting Wednesday night roots music for quite a while. Doug and his compatriots have been there a few years now, and often welcome guests onto the tiny, tiny stage. Doug has a voice that sounds lived in beyond his years. It’s perfect for 20s & 30s style blues, classic country, and their original tunes as well as some early rock n’ roll.

Steve Sullivan & The Factory @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Sullivan plays guitar and sings rhythm & blues, dirty swing, and other roots music, while the Factory, which includes a 3-piece horn section, provides the muscle and rhythm to get dancers on the floor.

Thursday, January 22

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. ($5) Let les Bons Temps Rouler! If you’re familiar with Clarence Garlow, Dave Bartholemew, Professor Longhair, and Boozoo Chavis, then you’ll want to be hear as Dan Newton and his quintet play Southern Louisiana music designed to fill dance floors.

Friday, January 23

UnknownDee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. ($5) The folks at U Wanna Dance are putting on another dance-focused event, and they have the right band to help them out. Miller  as leader of the band, is a powerhouse vocalist, which is what you need when you’re performing barrelhouse blues. Paul Mejia on harp, also takes lead on a tune or two. Jimi Primetime Smith provides scorching guitar, and everybody in the audience dances. 

Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs & the Dead Pigeons @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar)  Here’s a couple of long time denizen’s of the somewhat infamous bar. The Liquor Pigs have been holding down the 7pm Friday spot ever since the Viking closed down in 2006. You never know quite who will show up, but it will be fun as they mine a rootsy repertoire that ranges from Roger Miller to Elvis to originals. The Dead Pigeons come on at 10pm. They came together during a five year residency at Palmers, and feature Drew Peterson, on guitar, banjo, & vocals; Ryan Douglas Canyon on mandolin and backing vocals; Gretta Hunstiger, fiddle and backing vocals; Andy Caroll or John Reinhart, bass; and Daryn Christensen, drums.  They can whip up a fast-paced banjo tune (see below) or sing a sweet ballad, and are just about ready to release a new album this spring.

The Dollys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) This group features Joanna Joahn, Kari Shaw, and Megan Shaw doing the music of The Trio: EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt, as well as other female country artists of the 70s through the 90s. They’er backed by a quartet of quality musicians whose collective resume runs from the Rocket Club, Honeydogs and Ashleigh Still to Mick Sterling, Percy Strother, and Chuck Suchy.

Mighty Diamonds @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Sweet, sweet harmonies from a vocal trio that was formed in Trenchtown Jamaica back in 1969, and inspired by Motown vocal groups. The Mighty Diamonds had a number of hits in Jamaica in the early 70s, but when Virgin Records signed them and released Right Time in 1975, they achieved international fame. Pass the Kouchie was a big hit for them in 1982, and once the drug references were expunged, became a hit for Musical Youth as Pass the Dutchie. Expect a crowd.

Saturday, January 24

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Half Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm (No Cover) Wow! A new venue for Davina and the guys  with a commodious dance floor. And, they’ve got a new kitchen, so you can fortify yourself for the energy you’ll need to dance to Davina. The Paddy Shack, features Fish & Chips, sandwiches, a variety of hot dogs, and the Butcher and The Boar’s Bangers and Mash.

Gospel Machine & Voice of Culture @ A Room With a Vieux, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) The pop-up events at what will become the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray) are being billed as A Room With A Vieux. Tonight features Gospel Machine, a quintet that does some “garage gospel” as well as original material in the vein of Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, and Otis Redding. Judging by the below video from their debut album, Gospel Machine will gain fans across generations. Vocals are handled by Jayanthi Kyle, of Black Audience, while group founder Wes Burdine is on guitars; Jimmy Osterholt, bass; Scott Munson, keys; and David Osborn, drums. Voice of Culture, a drumming and dance group led by Kenna Cottman., opens at 9pm.

Singer Songwriter XTRAV 10 @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) This is the finale of 10 events during the past year featuring Twin Cities artists, giving attendees a chance to hear a wide variety of genres and artists. There are 10 acts tonight, including fiddler Jillian Rae, Jenny Dalton, battery boy, Phanton Tails, Courtney Yasmineh w/JJ Benson, and more.

Monday, January 26

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) So, here you have five midwestern musicians who have developed a love for Cajun music, specifically the kind that was played before electricity came to the Bayous, when Saturday night dances were the main form of entertainment each week. Doug Lohman, guitar; John Terr, accordion; Mary DuShane, fiddle; Dawn Doering, triangle and snare; and Eric Paulson, bass. Each is a veteran of various bands, and can play in numerous acoustic genres, though the infectious rhythms of Cajun music have proven to be a uniting force.

Tuesday, January 27

Nikki & the RueMates @ Day Block Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Day Block Brewing is celebrating their one year anniversary with a week of events, and tonight they have Nikki & the RueMates  You have Nikki’s marvelous voice, Rich Rue’s inventive guitar work, discounts on their brews, raffles, and food. What’s not to like?

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.

 


Decisions, Decisions. Music: 1.14 – 1.20

January 14, 2015

Decisions-thanks-to-SubhanWell, with the weather breaking a bit, we’ve got a fine week of music ahead of us, with a couple of Billie Holiday tributes (one which also includes a tribute to Sinatra), a Carmen McRae tribute, some funky, funky, blues and a couple of African inspired projects. Lots of other good music as well. We are lucky to have such a rich musical community in our towns. Have a good week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 14

Triosé  @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Trirosé  is Vinnie Rose, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. They perform jazz standards, contemporary pop, and original compositions in a straightforward, yet dashing manner.

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Once a month Chris Bates brings in a group to play this basement space. Tonight the group includes Bates on bass, of course, with the wonderful Peter Schimke on keys and Cory Healy on drums.

Thursday, January 15

Beasley’s Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($8) Here’s a refreshing change of pace, as BBB plays for swing dancers young and old – especially young. The exhilaration of the young dancers – some still in high school – is certainly catching, and if you check out the side rooms, you may see them practicing their more acrobatic moves.

Chet-the Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker: Larry McDonough Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chet Baker was a 50s trumpeter with movie-star good looks, and a “cool” almost detached way of playing and singing. Drug addiction ruined his looks, but even after losing his teeth in a bad drug deal, he was able to perform in the 70s and 80s, producing a number of great CDs before he was found dead on the street below his Amsterdam hotel room. McDonough s singing is also quiet and cool, and has been favorably compared to Baker’s. He’s bringing in Steve Kenny for the trumpet parts, along with Richard Terrill on saxes; Greg Stinson bass; and Dean White on drums. The first set will be “all Chet,” while the second will feature some of McDonough’s songs sung in Chet’s style. It’s rare that anyone tackles Baker’s catalog, especially his singing, so if you’re a fan of jazz singing, you will want to make your way to Jazz Central. Here’s a video of Larry playing piano at Charles DeGaulle airport.

Donald Washington Solo @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Though Washington is mainly known as the “musical father” of the great James Carter, his musicality is a joy to behold. The founder (with wife Faye) of the The New Day Blues Band (with son Kevin Washington and the late pianist Sam Favors) will be flying solo tonight, exhibiting his imagination and deep love for music through completely free improvisation.

Friday, January 16

Joyce Lyons @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7:30pm ($20 – includes sandwiches or pizza) Lyons is an accomplished singer with fans all over the country. Tonight she’ll be spotlighting the songs of Carmen McRae in a show titled “An Intimate Conversation,” accompanied by Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zack Lozier,trumpet; & Jay Epstein, drums, all of whom will only elevate her already impressive singing. I haven’t been to this place lately, so the idea of a cover that includes some food is intriguing, to say the least. Here she is singing at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Thomas Bruce @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) You can count on quality vocalists every Friday night in the lounge of this Italian place, and Bruce is no exception, with a voice that ranges from baritone to tenor, and good taste in sidemen.

Far Cry @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Far Cry is Paul Metzger, guitar; JT Bates, drums; Josh Granowski, bass; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet. Given the presence of Metzger and Bates, this may be one of the more adventurous groups to play at the basement club.

Friday, Saturday, January 16, 17

Debbie Duncan in a Room With a Vieux – Part Deux @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) After a successful New Year’s Eve, the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray – the name of New Orleans French Quarter) will open again this weekend, this time featuring Debbie Duncan, vocalist supreme, with Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Joe Pulice, drums; Kenny Holmen, sax. The menu offering is hose made Muffaletta sandwiches.

Friday,Saturday, Sunday, January 16, 17, 18

Holiday for Frank: Arne Fogel & Maud Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  Fri, Sat; 2:00pm Sunday ($20/$18 Seniors/$15 25 & Under) 2015 marks the Centennial year of the birth of both Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson will be doing the songs of both for this show, with musical direction from Rick Carlson  Musical integrity and fine musicianship are just about guaranteed with this group.

Saturday, January 17

bottomless_pit__640x480_The Bottomless Pit @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is the debut performance of this group of veterans, which includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Tom Lewis, bass. Opening at 7pm is Jazz Front: Jeffrey Dunitz, drums; Eric Graham, bass; Ted Godbout, piano. BP this the stage at 8:30pm.

Monday, January 19

Real Bulls & the PBR Street Gang @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s a Mini-Minne-Monster night as some of the best jazz musicians in town take to the stage. The first set is a double drum extravaganza with JT Bates and Dave King performing as the Real Bulls. Second set in the PBR Street Gang: Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Dean Granros, guitar.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 20, 21

José James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) James is the Minneapolis native who made a name for himself singing jazz with his 2008 debut, The Dreamer. Since then he’s grown as an artist, integrating all forms of Black Music into his singing, and even using elements of indie rock and folk in a seamless manner. His latest project, due out later this Spring is While You Were Sleeping, the Music of Billie Holiday, which he’s previewing with this appearance.

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, January 14

Annie Mack on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) Mack is a blues singer who represented Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge last year, even though she was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It’s typical of her spirit and her ferocity. You know the drill by now. Listen in during the 5pm hour, and if you’re impressed, which I think you may be if you like the blues, gospel, and old school R&B, head over to the 331 to catch her act live.

Morgan James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) James is a classically trained singer who found her voice singing soul music on stage with Motown, the Musical, where she sang Teena Marie songs. Berry Gordy steered her to Epic Records, where her first release was from a live show at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, singing the songs of Nina Simone. Her first studio album came out last summer, and features her as a co-writer on 8 of 11 songs. The New York Times has praised her feel for classic soul music.

Thursday, January 15

Non-Prophets do Toots & the Maytals @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) I’ve to to give props to anyone who will attempt the soulful reggae of Toots and the Maytals. Opening is the ska band, Pretty Ugly.

Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s instrumental nirvana (no not the group) when this quartet takes the stage emulating the Southern sounds of Booker T & the MGs and the New Orleans funk of the Meters.

Friday, January 16

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5)  This event is sponsored by U Wanna Dance (see link to their calendar, below), so you can be assured that the large dance floor at Wilebski’s will be packed. You can also be assured that Armadillo Jump will be up to the task of keeping people on the dance floor.

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get your share of swampy, bluesy goodness from guitarist Tom Harkness and his mates in the Swamp Kings  CJ Vanderpool, percussion; Steve :Dancin” Hansen, bass & vocals; and Harry Pulver, accordion.

Hot Pants Dance Party & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?)  While the Hot Pants DJs have often been guests at concerts, this is the first time a band is guesting at a Hot Pants gig. Besides the rare funk n’ soul 45s that the Hot Pants crew will be spinning, you be treated to the Afro-funk sounds of the Chicago Afrobeat Project  a 10-piece group that pushes the boundaries of that genre. Should be a hot night, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Saturday, January 17

Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($13) Old timey sensibilities collide with rock n’ punk energy as Kaul, guitar; Mikkel Beckman, washboard; and Brad Ptek, on washboard bass play old blues, and Kaul’s originals, which are quite good. It’s a small space, with limited seating, so you may want to call and buy tickets in advance. Need I remind you that the Riverview has a great wine list?

People Brothers Band @ the Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) This 8 piece band from Madison is a rhythm n’ soul group with a debut CD that’s a solid slab of original songs set to mid-tempo rhythms and danceable beats that range from second line funk to reggae and more.

Sunday, January 18

Patty & The Buttons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Patty & the Buttons just released a fine album, Mercury Blues, which has received glowing reviews, including a mention as one of the best of 2014. This is a regular Sunday morning gig for them, which often finds them playing for some dancers. Members include Patrick Harrison – Button Accordion; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Bailuff, clarinet, and Mark Kreitzer, guitar.

Paul Mayasich & the RAMM Band@ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover) They call it the RAMM Band because they play Real American Made Music, which perfectly encapsulates the Motown, R&B, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues that they play. Paul is a soulful, emotional guitar player, ably complemented by John Iden on bass; and Hye Pockets Robertson on drums.

Tuesday, January 20

H’SAO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($25) H’SAO is a Montreal-based quintet is originally from Chad. They started out as an acapella group delivering rich, beautiful harmonies. They draw from gospel, R&B, reggae, and of course, Chadian music and other African influences. Since their beginning about 13 years ago, they’ve taken up a few instruments to add to their sound, but the harmonies remain at the center of their appeal. You can see and hear what I’m talking about in this video.

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.


Cold Weather. Hot Music; 1.7 – 1.13

January 7, 2015
These people know how to party - the Ice Music Festival of Norway

The Ice Music Festival of Norway

A cold, wintry greetings and salutations;

The wind chill may be cold enough to close schools, but hey, we’re Minnesotans, so we’ll go out to hear music and dance, even when it’s cold. Of course some of us are lucky enough to go somewhere warm for at least a few days each winter, but wherever it is, I’ll bet they don’t have as good a music scene as we do here in the Twin Cities.

If I may, I’d like to draw your attention to a special event occurring Tuesday evening, January 13th. It’s a benefit, with no cover charge, for the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, an organization that brings working musicians into schools to encourage and support jazz as part of a young persons education. More information is found below. Now, put on your layers of clothing, just like the folks in the above picture, and enjoy the talent found in our cities. Music is good for the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 7

Chomsky and Thomas Nordlund @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s a double-bill, double bass night at Jazz Central. Bassist Andrew Foreman will start out the evening with his new group Chomsky, which includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; and Zach Schmidt on drums. Then, with a bit of reconfiguration, Thomas Nordland and group will play new music from his forthcoming EP of baritone guitar music: Nordlund, baritone guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; Lars-Erik Larson, drums; and Kevin Gastonguay, keyboards.

Wednesday, Thursday, January 7, 8

Ramsey Lewis Electic Band w/Philip Bailey @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70), 9pm ($35 – $60) Back in 1974 Ramsey Lewis was a bit tired of his acoustic approach to jazz and wanted to liven things up a bit. He reunited with Maurice White, who had been in his band and was now leading Earth, Wind, and Fire, and created an up to date sound featuring members of that group. the resulting album and its singles shot up the charts, hitting number 1 on both the Black charts and Jazz charts of the time. Philip Bailey  also of EWF, contributed vocals, and he’s back with Lewis for this tour, which I suspect will feature soaring vocals, and some funky funky jazz.

Thursday, January 8

Radio Joe Demko @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Radio Joe brings his swing-centric band, together with their tangos, ballads, and other groovy music, to the basement club.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz has put together this band, which has only played a handful of gigs to date, but what a band! Brandon Wozniak on sax; Cory Healey on drums; and the young, but very talented Levi Schwartzberg on vibes. The first set will consist of duets, and the second set will feature the full band. Wine, beer, and small plates are available.

Friday, January 9

Joel Shapira/Dean Granros CD Release @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Last June guitarists Shapira and Granros performed at the Black Dog as part of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and recorded the results, now being released as Jazz Guitar Duets. It’s a delightful compendium of songs plucked on steel and nylon strings, with tunes ranging form Ornette Coleman compositions to standards.

JT Bates Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) I’ll admit I’m a sucker for B3 groups. If the soulful, greasy sound of guitar, organ and drums gets your fingers snapping, your toes tapping, and your head bobbing, head over to Jazz Central to catch JT Bates, drums; Kevin Gastonguay, organ, and Zacc Harris on guitar.

Jerod Kaszynski

Jerod Kaszynski

Jerod Kaszynski Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s a double header at JC tonight with saxophonist Kaszynski, a native of the Twin Cities currently living and teaching in Eau Claire taking the second spotlight. Tonight’s show has a literary bent. Author Miri Francis haas written (and will read) a love story, with accompaniment by Kaszynski and his band, including: Josh Huot-Gallus, trombone; Josh Gallagherm, piano; Sam Olson, bass, and Adam Nussbaum, drums.

Saturday, January 10

Bill Carrothers Trio @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) I know of many Twin Cities jazz fans who are salivating over this date. In a rare appearance with his own trio, pianist Carrothers returns to his home town of Saint Paul. He’s recorded 17 albums as a leader, and has worked with artists ranging from Buddy DeFranco and Curtis Fuller to Lee Konitz, Dewey Redman, and Gary Peacock. He’s bringing a couple of Irish musicians with him: drummer Kevin Brady, and bassist David Redmond. There will be a short master class at 6pm, included in the admission price.

Mancrush @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Mancrush is Lars-Erik Larson, drums; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Bryan Nichols, piano. Opening set by Tommy Bentz Quartet at 7pm.

Connie Evingson w/The Parisota Hot Club @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) Vocalist Evingson recently received a positive  review in Downbeat for her album “All the Cats Join In.” Tonight, she’s performing songs from the album, with the Parisota Hot Club and special guest, the ever-youthful octogenarian saxophonist Dave Karr. Here’s a selection from the album.

Monday, January 12

Adam Meckler @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Meckler leads his own 17 piece band, is a key member of the Jana Nyberg Group, leads a quintet, and is a member of a few other groups as well. Tonight he gets to step out on his own, playing originals and original arrangements of other songs.

Ryan Franesconi and JT Bates & Michael Lewis @ the Icehouse, Minnepolis. 9;30pm )$10) Guitarist Franesconi, 1st set. Bates (drums) & Lewis (sax), 2nd set. Franesconi is a Portland based guitarist and composer whose way with stringed instruments from Eastern Europe qualifies him as a multi-instrumentalist obsessed with Balkan Folk Music. Bates and Lewis are 2/3 of Fat Kid Wednesdays, with enough imagination between the two of them to grab your attention and hold it tight.

Tuesday, January 13

This year's Dakota Combo

This year’s Dakota Combo

Dakota Combo & Kevin Washington Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Though there is no cover, this is a fundraising benefit for the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, which brings working jazz musicians into area schools to work with student musicians, provides free-metro wide workshops for young musicians, and gives out scholarships to summer jazz camps and members of the Dakota Combo. This year’s edition of the Dakota Combo will perform, as well as a group comprising Kevin Washington  drums; Jeff Bailey, bass; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.

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, January 7

Reina Del Cid on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) Reina Del Cid is coming into her own as a folk-rock singer/songwriter with a great back up band. She recently performed well-recieved sets at CMJ – New York, Summerfest in Milwaukee and The Underground Music Showcase in Denver. Part of the band’s appeal is flat-picking guitarist Toni Lindgren, who always surprises with her choice of licks.

Lisa Wenger & Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Wenger’s direct approach to singing the blues appeals to hard-core blues fans as well as more casual fans, say those who may be just going out with their spouse or date. She’s got an excellent band as well.

Friday, January 9

Malamanya @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) It’s Latin night at the Cedar, as Malamanya brings their hip-swaying, toe-tapping, salsa dancing melodies and traditional Cuban rhythms to the concert/dance hall. Opening act Alma Andina goes further South for their inspiration, performing music of the Andes and Latin America.

Ronnie Baker Brooks @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) The son of the late Lonnie Brooks, guitarist  Ronnie  is proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, yet he is moving beyond what his father did by occasionally incorporating funk rhythms and a bit of hip hop into his musical mix. As he put it, “It’s a hip hop world right now, but I want to bring a little blues to the party.”  His latest CD, The Torch, was produced by Minneapolis producer/guitarist Jellybean Johnson.

Saturday, January 10

Daisy Dillman CD Release @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($24) Thirty-four years after their last album, these Minnesota country rockers from the 70s and 80s are back with a new CD, Radio. the current lineup features four of the original five members, who charted in the Billboard Hot 100 and toured with bands like Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bonnie Raitt, the Allman Brothers and many others. They

The Groove Merchants w/Jimi “Prime time” Smith @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No Cover) The Groove Merchants are aptly named, as the late Big Walter Smith built them into a funky blues group that easily inspires dancers. Since his death, they’ve recruited talented guitarist Jimi Prime Time Smith as a front man, a good decision on their part.

Sunday, January 11

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 2pm – 6pm ($10?) Okay, this is the last fundraiser to help this year’s Minnesota representatives to the International Blues Challenge pay their way to Memphis. Today’s performers include  Jimmi & the Band of Souls, and Brother Sun, Sister Moon, both of which are this year’s representatives, as well as  the Annie Mack Band, Tampa Spatz, The Black Water Band, and the IBC All-Stars, made of of past participants.

Mikkel Beckmen & Charlie Parr @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5:30 pm. Mikkel is celebrating a birthday, and he’s got Charlie Parr to help him out. An irish Bar. Minnesota’s nationally recognized bluesman. Mikkel’s always fun percussion. Sounds like a heck of a party.

Dobet Gnahoré @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $45) Gnahoré is one of Africa’s premier contemporary vocalists and talents. She stunned at her appearance at the Dakota in November of 2011, for which I wrote a brief review which you can find here. Prior to the show, at 6:30, there will be a discussion on Afro-pop with Janis Lane-Ewart, drummer Sowah Mensah, and Doug Cain, of KFAI’s Global Beat.

Monday, January 12

Marshall Crenshaw Solo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Back in the 80s, Crenshaw was all over the place, performing in the off Broadway production of Beatlemania, playing Buddy Holly in the Richie Valens biopic, and hitting the charts with songs long Something’s Gonna Happen, and Someday, Someway, which became a hit for Robert Gordon. With 13 albums and hundreds of songs recorded over three decades, Crenshaw has proven to be a master of melody and songwriting. His songs have been recorded by folks like Bette Midler, Rlonnie Sp;ector, Kelly Willis, and the Gin Blossoms. Tonight it’s just Crenshaw and his guitar. Opening is Kevin Bowe, the Twin Cities own prolific songwriter.

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.


Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

December 31, 2014

images-2Greetings to one and all;

I trust and hope that you have had a good holiday season thus far.  We’re coming to its end and beginning a new year, where we can hope for more progress in creating a world of justice, harmony, and prosperity for all. In the meantime here are some ideas for music in the coming week. Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Jazz

Wednesday, December 31

Early New Year’s @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm  (Tip Jar) This is a family-friendly event designed to let you celebrate the arrival a New Year and still get home in time to put the kids to bed and avoid tipsy revelers on the road. w/Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; & Davu Seru; drums.

A Very Pippi New Year @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($25) Pippi, that purveyor of feel good jazz and blues, brings Patty Lacy, of Sounds of Blackness, and Judi Gronseth, of musicals, to the stage at the Weyerhauser Auditorium to sing tunes from the Great American Songbook, Motown, and more.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($102), 10:30pm ($82) Yes, it is spendy, but Davina and her band put on a rousing show, to say the least, and at the 6pm show you get a five-course dinner (vegetarian option available), and at the 10:30 show you get a complimentary champagne toast and $20 voucher good for food or drinks.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Charmin Michelle w/ The Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra @ Shakopee Ballroom, 2400 4th Ave East, Shakopee. 6pm – 12:30am ($50 – dinner & Dance, $35 – Dance only) Dinner from 6pm – 8pm. Dancing starts at 8:30pm. Big Band sounds from Jerry O’Hagen with the added bonus of the marvelous Ms. Michelle on vocals.

Southside Aces @ A Room with A Vieux (Old Artists’ Quarter), Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The Dakota is presenting a pop-up New Year’s Eve party in the space they’re developing at the old Artists’ Quarter. It’s billed as a Hot New orleans party with beads, brass, and a midnight countdown parade as a preview of what’s to come in the space. The Aces fill the bill on all counts.

Thursday, January 1

Zack Lozier Three @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Zack is one of the many talented trumpet players in town. He’s also good at traditional jazz vocals, i.e., the kind of things you hear at Preservation Hall. He always surrounds himself with good players, and it’s no wonder. He’s good enough to get solos in Doc Severinson’s band.

Seru, Hanson, & Roessler @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) So after an early New Year’s at the Black Dog, Davu Seru, drums; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Brian Roessler, bass; head to Grand Avenue to perform in the intimate space at the Khyber Pass Cafe. Though Emil, the owner of the Khyber Pass, loves music that’s “outside,” this trio manages to play such music without alienating more casual listeners.

Friday, January 2

Jeremy Walker’s Small City Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jeremy has grown into a piano player and composer of note, as shown 7 Psalms, the excellent album he released this year. Though that piece was composed for a jazz ensemble, voice and choir, he is equally adept and composing for small groups and arranging the songs of other composers. Tonight he’ll be joined by Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne on drums. This electronic press kit from a few years ago will give you a good idea of the group’s talent.

Saturday, January 3

Pigs Eye Jass Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm ($?) Traditional jazz band that seems to draw swing dancers. It’s a casual, fun-filled good thing.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) With pianist Will Kjeer home for the holidays, Group 47 is complete, and can continue its winning ways with original tunes and such. Opening set by Ramtrak (Lars-Erik Larson, Jake Baldwin, Tom Nordlund) at 7pm. Here’s a link to Andrea Canter’s article about Group 47.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Henry is as fine a male vocalist as you will find in these parts. Though he now lives in Chicago, he makes it back here often enough to whet our appetites for more, whether he’s singing originals, the Great American Songbook, or the Great American Soul Book.

Sunday, January 4

Mill City Hot Club @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Get your brunch and a hit of gypsy jazz and acoustic swing at the same time as Mill City Hot Club  featuring the underrated Dean Harrington on guitar; along with Gary Shulte on violin; and Tom Lewis on bass provide the music.

Monday, January 5

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The old Shorewood is now Crooners. The new owners have added an extension to their stage for a piano, leaving more room for the members of this big band  Given the name of the club, and artists that are usually appearing here, Arne Fogel is the go-to guy to sing here. No one knows the music of Der Bingle and Frank better than Arne. Of course, he’s no slouch when it comes to interpreting the songs of others as well.

Brian Ziemniak Organ Trio @ The Narrows Saloon, 3380 Shoreline Drive, Navarre. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance for those of you who live in the West Metro area to hear some soul jazz, you know, the kind of stuff that Jimmy Smith did back in the day. Brian Ziemniak is at the keys and pedals, while Troy Norton is on guitar and funky drummer Kevin Washington lays down the beat. That’s not to say they won’t be exploring modern tunes as well as some classics. Plus, the Narrows will be offering a special on their craft beers.

O’Brien, Hanson, & Seru: CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)  A double header for the late night crowd, starting with a CD release party by bassist Casey O’Brien  ably assisted by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Davu Seru, drums. Christopher Thomson follows, on solo sax (at least that’s what’s implied in the announcement).

Tuesday, January 6

Douglas Ewart & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s a busy week for Davu Seru, drums; as he returns to the Black Dog, this time with multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart, which should make for some very interesting music. Here’s a video where Ewart performs and talks about his craft.

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The honey-toned vocalist returns to the Dakota for a Foodie Night. Sophia is always a treat, whether channeling her sunshine personality or digging into deeper emotions.

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, December 31

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become a tradition, as Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to bring sea chanties, work songs, and death ballads to the young and the restless (as well as the old & sedentary) that often inhabit the 331 on early Wednesday evenings. Start your NYE partying by tuning in the the House Party on KFAI and then heading over to the 331.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Another way to start off your New Year’s celebration is with Nikki & the Ruemates, bringing Nikki’s wonderful vocals, and Rich Rue’s imaginative guitar to the unique downtown restaurant. As I often warn, try to get a table near the stage, since the boisterous activity throughout the restaurant can make listening a bit difficult.

Tim Sparks, Phil Heywood, & Tim O’Keefe Dinner Set @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm  (No Cover) Another dining while listening option is the Icehouse, where guitar wizards Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood will hold forth. They’ve been playing together quite a bit lately, but tonight they’re joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe, whose presence will undoubtedly create some aural surprises.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So you’re looking for a celebration that’s festive yet inexpensive. Look no further, as the Hipshaker Deejays bring rare funk n’ soul into your life from those little 7 inch records. It’s a relatively young crowd, but dancers of a certain age will certainly find plenty of musical reasons to have fun.

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Some people still call them Mambo’s Combo, but everyone calls them fun. If you’re looking for old school R&B, you’d be hard pressed to find a better band in town. Of course, they throw in a rock n’ roll number or two, and almost always have a guest or two sit in. No reason why tonight should deviate from the norm.

Bedlam & Brass @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door, $5 Lowertown Residents) Dance your Brass off with the zany, free-spirited Brass Messengers & special Deejays. there will be a midnight ball drop, free champagne at midnight, and more. They’re even encouraging masquerade outfits, so do you best.

Thursday, January 1

Church of Cash @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) It’s a Johnny Cash tribute show. Hipsters of every age seem to agree on him music, so you’ve got that. Opening by Mississippi Driftwood, those Anoka purveyors of psychedelic Blues & Swamp Rock. There’s bound to be dancing.

Friday, January 2

Jack Klatt w/Mike Gunter @ Harriet Brewiing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5?) During the many years he’s been on the air at KFAI, Jackson Buck has gotten to know many of the area’s rootsier acts, which fit his Freewheelin’ Fridays just fine. Continue your celebration of the new year with two of the area’s finest roots acts: Mike Gunter at 7pm, and Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers at 9pm.

Mick Sterling & the Irresistables @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Sterling is a multiple winner of the Minnesota Music Awards. He’s a powerhouse singer who with this group has surrounded himself with a bunch of talented musicians, including singers Katie Gearty and Cate Fierro, as well as bassist and musical director Nick Salisbury; drummer Aaron Johnson; Luke Fredrickson, guitar; Jason Craft, keys; Scott Snyder, trumpet; and Gus Sandberg, sax.

Graveyard Club @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Opening acts: Warehouse Eyes, Wooden Antler. Graveyard Club is a four-piece indie band that takes at least some of their inspiration from synthesizer-fueled British bands of the 80s: think New Order and The Cure. Their first EP was recorded in the basement of a possibly haunted Summit Avenue mansion, which accounts for it dark tone, while “Nightingale” was recorded at Flowers studio. Though it’s lighter in tone than the EP, it still has moments of darkness, and has been receiving internet play in Brazil, England, and Germany. The pop-ish Warehouse Eyes and Wooden Antler, with lush harmonies and fuzzed out amps, open. Listen to them here.

Saturday, January 3

Szaszka @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($?) This three-piece string band plays Transylvanian village dance music  including  Hungarian, Romanian, and Roma tunes. Its members are: Colleen Bertsch, violin; Sara Bruins, bass and violin; and Doug Code, kontra, viola, and koboz.

Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) They’re described as Swamp country blues and truck driving music. Given that their vocalist is Ray Bernard (formerly of the Copperheads), and other members have served in the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, A Certain General, and Curtiss A’s band, that description sounds just about right.

Sunday, January 4

Dirty Shorts Brass Band CD Release Party @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm (No Cover) This is a classic brass band of mostly older players, though their energy belies the age of its members. Mea Culpa: In my weekly e-mail of this information I mixed up these guys with the McNasty Brass Band, recent grads of McNally Smith.

Monday, January 5

Roe Family Singers @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Start off your Mondays in 2015 with a visit to the weekly gig, which has become something of an institution. The Roe Family Singers are led by Kim and Quillan Roe, whose young children are often on stage, or at least in the audience. As a “jug band” with a sometimes revolving group of members, the Singers approach old time music with a modern (dare I say rock/punk) attitude, though they can be pretty straight ahead as well.  Here they are doing the same song as the Dirty Shorts Band, above.

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.

 


It’s a White Christmas Somewhere. Music: 12.24 – 12.31

December 24, 2014
A visitor to the town of Muddy Waters. Photo by Kelle Green

A visitor to the town of Muddy Waters. Photo by Kelle Green

Well, the big day is upon us. Hopefully, you’ve survived shopping, cooking, office parties, and the like to remember this as the only time of year when we unabashedly wish people well. There are, as may be expected few choices for music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If you don’t celebrate the day, you’ll likely end up at a movie and eating Asian food. However, the rest of the week holds plenty of promise, not to forget New Year’s Eve. I’ve included a few options for next Wednesday, just to give everyone a chance to plan.

So, though it’s likely to be a brown Christmas here in the Twin Cities, it’s a White Christmas somewhere, even if it’s a holiday train display, as shown. So, to wish you a Happy Holiday, here’s a song written 1940 by a Russian Jewish composer living in Los Angeles, performed in 1954 by a group of African Americans, and animated in 2007 by someone who loved this version of White Christmas.

Have a great day. Remember Music can lift the Spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, December 24

Bob Bowman Christmas Spectacular @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bowman is a Kansas City bassist who is perhaps best known in these parts for his recording and touring work with Karrin Allyson. In the 70s he was a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Leis Orchestra and the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band. He’s toured with Carmen McCrae and performed with Freddie Hubbard, Bud Shank, and others. After playing at the Dakota with Allyson on Sunday and Monday, Bowman will be joined tonight by Brian Roessler, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Peter Hennig, drums; to play originals and some promised surprises. Here he is with a trio.

Thursday – Sunday, December 25 – 28

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus are Dave King, drums; Ethan Iverson, piano; and Reid Anderson, bass. They have been playing the Dakota at Christmastime for about 15 years now. They were unknowns when they started this tradition and now command headline status at festivals and clubs around the world. Their music is hard to describe to casual music listeners: It’s jazz, but more than that. They turn pop songs upside down and inside out; they tackle classic compositions with an indie-rock attitude; and they create often humorous, intelligent originals.

Friday, December 26

Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Hey, drums released a wonderful CD early this year, featuring originals as well as tunes from Mingus, Coltrane, David Berkman, and Freddie Hubbard. Here’s a chance to hear them in the intimate confines of Jazz Central, where the shimmering sounds of Hagedorn’s vibes, the snap of Hey’s cymbals, and the warmth of Bates’ bass can be readily enjoyed.

Saturday, December 27

Aaron Hedenstrom CD Release @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 5:30pm workshop, 7pm concert ($10) Saxophonist and composer Aaron Hedenstrom has been composing, arranging, and performing music professionally for over a decade. He has recently recorded his first album as a saxophonist, “A Moment of Clarity,” on Shifting Paradigm Records, the new Twin Cities label. The album features Aaron’s elaborate but heartfelt compositions and includes some of the most talented young musicians in the country. Come early for a free master class with Aaron Hedenstrom, and stay for the concert with Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Brian Claxton, drums. I will have Aaron on my show Saturday morning (90.3 & 106.7FM – 10:30am – Noon)

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Saturday Jazz at the Black Dog continues with this post-Christmas gig by FKW, whose members are so busy with other projects that they no longer play regularly. Enjoy their inside/outside approach to familiar and original tunes. Mike Lewis, sax; Adam Linz, bass; JT Bates, drums. The evenings bonus: an opening set by the Steve Kenny Trio.

James Wallace @ Ngon Vietnames Bistro, University & Avon, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm. (No Cover) Saxophonist James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace has been playing around the Twin Cites for decades. Lately he’s been showing up at the Ngon and other unlikely venues to play standards and more with a small group of mostly veteran players.

Laura Caviani & Bob Bowman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Caviani is a delightfully inventive pianist who has often played and occasionally toured with Karrin Allyson, where she met bassist Bob Bowman. This promises to be a very different, if equally enjoyable show, the Bowman’s show at Jazz Central on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 28

Connie Evingson @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Some more holiday music for you. This time it’s a Holiday on Golden Pond, as Ms Evingson performs a jazz concert of holiday songs with the cabin set of On Golden Pond as a backdrop.  Selections will include some lesser known holiday gems like the “Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” from the film White Christmas, as well as one of my favorites, her own “Nutcracker Petite Suite.” She’ll be accompanied by Tanner Taylor, piano (visiting from Iowa); Dave Karr, sax; and Gordon Johnson, bass.

Monday, December 29

Wozniak, Nichols, & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) That’s Brandon Wozniak, sax; Bryan Nichols, piano, and JT Bates, drums. They’ve worked together in many different configurations, so tonight should feature some pretty seamless, and outstanding, music.

Rhonda Laurie & Robert Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Laurie’s sophisticated vocals go well with Bell’s understated guitar work. When you add in an outstanding happy hour, you end up with a relaxed, enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, December 30

KC Gospel Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The KC Gospel Orchestra (KCGO) has been swinging in the Twin Cities since the summer of 1995, under the direction of leader/writer/arranger Kevin Mills. Expect some  Christmas Big Band arrangements by Kevin Mills and KCGO bassist Pete Karstad, plus selections from the great Los Angeles arranger Tom Kubis of LA.

Wednesday, December 31

Early New Year’s @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm  (Tip Jar) This is a family-friendly event designed to let you celebrate the arrival a New Year and still get home in time to put the kids to bed and avoid tipsy revelers on the road. w/Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; & Davu Seru; drums.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($102), 10:30pm ($82) Yes, it is spendy, but Davina and her band put on a rousing show, to say the least, and at the 6pm show you get a five-course dinner (vegetarian option available), and at the 10:30 show you get a complimentary champagne toast and $20 voucher good for food or drinks.

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…

Thursday, December 25

The Butanes @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar). Okay, so I found out about this late, so you do have a place to escape if you’re looking for something other than a movie. Heck, this weekly gig is fun no matter what the time of year. So go hear some blues, dance a bit, and meet old and new friends.

Friday, December 26

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Let someone else serve you brunch today, while you listen to Ms Haus, her brother Bob, and guitarist Ed Petsche, as she sings blues from the heart as all as the head. Here she is doing an atypical tune for her.

Boogie Wonderland @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Get your 70s disco on, with this six piece band that channels Earth, Wind, and Fire, Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Band, et al. A good way to dance off the calories from your holiday meals.

Friday, Saturday, December 26, 27

Paul Metsa’s Blue Guitar Highway – The Musical @ The Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 – $25, $10 Students) Since publishing Blue Guitar Highway in 2011, Paul has worked with  Jim Stowell to turn some of the stories in the book into musical theater. He’ll be joined by musicians Willie Walker, Sonny Earl, Mari Harris, Randi Starr Hudson, and Dave Maslow at the old Brave New Workshop on Hennepin.

Saturday, December 27

Papa John Kolstad & Clint Hoover @ The Gingko Coffee House, Saint Paul. 8pm ($14) Harpmaster Clint Hoover  is fluent in a number of styles using both the Diatonic (Blues Harp) and the Chromatic Harmonica. He’s back in town for the holidays and his hooking up with his long-time playing partner, Papa John  The two recorded “Alive and Well at the Gingko” here, showcasing their musicality in jazz, blues, and folk music. Then too, you have Papa John’s way with a story to entertain you as well. Seating is limited, so you may want to consider buying tickets in advance. Here’s Papa John by himself.

Armadillo Jump @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) So how much have you overeaten during the last few weeks? You can burn off lots of calories with the rockin’ sax and guitar driven blues of Armadillo Jump  even if the dance floor at Shaw’s is tiny. Just move a few of the tables.

Sunday, December 28

Who Nu @ Jimmy’s Food & Drink, 1132 County Rd E, East, Vadnais Heights. 2:30pm. Some highly danceable R&B for a Sunday afternoon.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s Bar & Grill, North Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Papa John Kolstad leads this motley crew of excellent players. The number and the members may change from time to time, but Hurricane Harold and Doug Otto are two of the regulars that Papa John calls on to perform various and sundry mostly acoustic blues.

Monday, December 29

Willie Murphy Blues Jam @ The Richfield American Legion, Richfield. 7pm  (Tip Jar) You never know just who will show up to jam with Willie  It might be someone with a washtub bass, or a trumpet, or guitar. Doesn’t matter. Willie certainly knows how to make the best of an ever changing situation, and his listeners benefit. Check out this video from one of his jam sessions.

Jumbo Ya Ya @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5?) There’s nothing quite like Cajun and Zydeco dancing to get the heart racing, what with their twirls, spins, and dips, and Jumbo Ya Ya is just the group to provide the music.

Wednesday, December 31

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become a tradition, as Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to bring sea chanties, work songs, and death ballads to the young and the restless (as well as the old & sedentary) that often inhabit the 331 on early Wednesday evenings. Start your NYE partying by tuning in the the House Party on KFAI and then heading over to the 331.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Another way to start off your New Year’s celebration is with Nikki & the Ruemates, bringing Nikki’s wonderful vocals, and Rich Rue’s imaginative guitar to the unique downtown restaurant. As I often warn, try to get a table near the stage, since the boisterous activity throughout the restaurant can make listening a bit difficult.

Tim Sparks, Phil Heywood, & Tim O’Keefe Dinner Set @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm  (No Cover) Another dining while listening option is the Icehouse, where guitar wizards Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood will hold forth. They’ve been playing together quite a bit lately, but tonight they’re joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe, whose presence will undoubtedly create some aural surprises.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So you’re looking for a celebration that’s festive yet inexpensive. Look no further, as the Hipshaker Deejays bring rare funk n’ soul into your life from those little 7 inch records. It’s a relatively young crowd, but dancers of a certain age will certainly find plenty of musical reasons to have fun.

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.


Seasonal Music and Much, Much, More: 12.17 – 12.23

December 17, 2014

Unknown-2Greetings to one and all;

Though the music calendar for the coming week may contain many shows for the holiday season, there is enough music for those who don’t celebrate to have a great time as well. After all, one way or another, music lifts the spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, December 17

George Maurer Christmas Show @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Maurer is a pianist/composer who is well known outside of Minnesota as well as in the state. He’s composed movie scores, has collaborated with a number of artists, including Eric Clapton, leads his own groups, and is a desired accompanist for many vocalists. He’ll be leading a sextet with a vocalist for this holiday show.

Thursday, December 18

Fuzzy Math @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No cover) This fine four piece has been cooking up some new tunes to add to its mix of original jazz and creative arrangements of other tunes. With Mark Vanderhyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums.

Lee Engele & Reynold Philipsek @ Cupcake/Mason Jar, 1565 Cliff Road, Eagan. 7pm – 9pm (No cover) Engele (vocals) and Philipsek (guitar) go together like two straws in a coke, performing standards and occasionally dipping into gypsy jazz arrangements.

Mike Lewis Solo @ the Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Lewis is a first rate sax player, who can play inside or outside, depending on the situation. He’s best known perhaps, for his work with Happy Apple and Fat Kid Wednesdays, though his work with Bon Iver and his bass playing with pop/folk star Andrew Bird has also earned him kudos. Tonight he takes a solo turn, as shown in this video.

Friday, December 19

Dean Granros Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Granros is one of the elders of jazz guitar in this town, having inspired many other players in the past few decades. Bandmate and fellow guitarist Zacc Harris has proven to be a jazz entrepreneur and top-notch player since arriving in town some years ago. They’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Jingle Bell Doc @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $75) It’s become a tradition for Doc Severinson  of the Tonight Show Band, and former Pops Conductor at Orchestra Hall, to come to down with a holiday show. The ageless, colorfully dressed  trumpeter can still blow a mean horn. He’ll have a band that includes a number of Twin Cities musicians, and will also have the Minnesota Chorale and Twin Cities Bronze, a handbell ensemble, as part of the celebration. The band will likely sound like the one in this video.

The Power’s Project @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) If you’re looking for something that’s under the radar, this is it. Frankly, I don’t know too much about this group other than the fact that they feature a female singer and the price is right.

Saturday, December 20

JoAnn Funk: Deck The Halls @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 11pm, (No Cover) Pianist Funk & bassist Jeff Brueske celebrate the holidays with seasonal songs, abetted by special guests Gary Schulte, violin; and Steven Marking, baritone vocals.

Twin Cities Jazz Sampler CD Release Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Steve Kenny has put together a compilation CD that proves how much talent we have in the Twin Cities jazz community. There are tracks from the Zacc Harris Quartet, Chris Bates’ Red5, Jana Nyberg. Chris Lomheim, The Illicit Sextet, Bryan Nichols, Adam Meckler Orchestra and more. The evening’s celebration includes live performances by the Atlantis Quartet, Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio, and Steve Kenny’s Group 47. Steve will be a guest on my radio show, Rhythm and Grooves, Saturday morning about 10:45am. Here’s a video of the Good Vibes Trio.

Sunday, December 21

Jingle Bell Doc @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 2pm ($30 – $70) See Friday for a description.

Sunday, Monday, December 21, 22

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($40), 8pm ($25) Allyson, a one-time Twin Cities resident returns with her sublime voice and impeccable taste. She is a four-time Grammy nominee who will be singing selections from Yuletide Hideaway, her gorgeous CD from last year, featuring holiday favorites and originals. Listen to her do a favorite of Twin Cities audiences.

Monday, December 22

Javier Santiago @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Javi, as he is known, was a member of the Dakota Combo back in 2007. Since then he’s been part of an award-winning Brubeck Institute jazz Quintet and received his bachelor degree in performance (2011) from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC. He has been making his way in New York since, and returns home for the holiday. He is a virtuoso pianist, as well as a producer, educator, composer, and arranger.  I’m not sure if he’ll have a group with him or not, but if so, it will certainly contain his old running partner, Miguel Hurtado on drums. Here he is with fellow schoolmates, performing one of his tunes at his Senior Recital at the New School.

Regional Jazz Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Anthony Cox  bass; leads this trio, which includes Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates, drums. JT and Lewis are long-time mates from Fat Kid Wednesdays. Occasionally, they play with other bassists, and the result always takes an unexpected turn from their FKW work. Tonight, they join Cox, who made a national name for himself while living in NYC for years before returning to the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, December 23

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s the ticket if you’re looking for something other than holiday offerings, mainstream, or free jazz. The TCLJO, as the name suggests, is a big band with big rhythm. This event tends to be an open rehearsal, with the band sometimes repeating sections. It’s a fascinating peek into the arranging process, as well as an exciting listening experience.

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, December 17

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90,3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s the 10th Anniversary of Harold Tremblay’s House Party on KFAI, and to celebrate, he’s bringing in the first artist to have appeared on his show, Duluth’s Charlie Parr a practitioner of Piedmont style blues who has garnered a national reputation. check him out.

Thursday, December 18

You don't have to go to the Bayous to celebrate a Louisiana Christmas

You don’t have to go to the Bayous to celebrate a Louisiana Christmas

A Louisiana Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) It’s a Christmas Party and Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland. Helping you celebrate will be the Rockin’ Pinecones, The Southside Aces, the Swamp Poppas, Rich Lewis, Lucinda Plaisance, and many more. Bring some food and/or money for the food shelf and don’t forget those dancing shoes!

Thursday, Friday, December 18, 19

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm (Thurs), 7pm, 9:30pm (Friday) ($20) It’s been a heckuva year for the comeback soulman of Minneapolis. After a weekly residency at the Eagle Club early in the year, Knight and his young band have coalesced into a tight funk/soul outfit, touring touring the world, from South by Southwest to Europe. They’ve been writing some new material and will be recording these sessions for a new record. Friday’s late show is at 9:30 to give the Dakota staff time to clear out tables so people can dance. Here they are putting their own stamp on a Beatles tune.

Friday, December 19

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue Holiday Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10?) Blues Harpist Hurricane Harold knows all the players in town, and when he puts together a revue, it’s always outstanding. You can hear Harold’s playing at: http://www.reverbnation.com/hurricaneharold

Jackson’s Juke Joint Holiday Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Crankshaft at 7pm. Javier & the Innocent Sons at 9pm. I’m not sure if holiday songs will be included in this party, but you will have the chance to shake your money-maker as Crankshaft plays his high-energy, often funny blues and Javier & The Innocent Sons swing out.

Claudia Schmidt @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Schmidt has been an area favorite for about 40 years now, using her four octave range to present folk, blues and the occasional jazz number with her charming humor. She’s released 16 albums, the latest of which New Whirled Order, is on Red House Records.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbo’s @ Crooners, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is the old Shorewood on Central Avenue. I’m told the new owners have expanded the stage a bit, and judging by their calendar, will be featuring singers that fit the new name. Radio Joe Demko is perfect for this place, with songs that range from Tangos to swing, to belly grinders, all delivered with stylish élan.

Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, December 19, 20, 23

Trashy Little Christmas @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s time once again for Trailer Trash  purveyors of honky-tonk, traditional country, and swinging rock n’ roll to bring their trashy view of the holidays to Lee’s. It’s the 21st year for these Candy Cane hi-jinks, and if you haven’t attended for a while, this might just be the time. Saturday’s show is sold out, so you’ll have go on Friday, or stay up late on Christmas Eve’s Eve.

Saturday, December 20

Ukelele Alley Cartoon ExtravaGONZO @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. Noon – Doors at 11am ($8, $5 for kids 12 and under) Luke the Uke (aka Tom Lieberman) and Deejay Mr Gosh (of spinning 78s) have mined some cartoon archives to present classic animation with music, laughter, and more. Child-safe and family friendly.

Singer/Songwriter Showcase @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Four singer/songwriters gather to share their songs and stories, including Mother Banjo (aka Ellen Stanley), George Scot (Hookers $ Blos, Ipso Facto), Doug Otto (The Getaways, Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars, The No-Accounts), and Nikki Roux (Nikki & the Rue-Mates).

Maurice Jacox Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7 pm – 10pm (No Cover) Versatile vocalist Jacox will be joined by guitarists Bobby E and Dean Mikkelson for what promises to be a delightful evening of stripped down R&B, Motown, and songs from the Great American Songbook. The Normandy Kitchen is somewhat small, so reservations are always a good idea.

Sunday, December 21

The principals of BAIN

Jayanthi, Davis, & Erick

BAIN @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) BAIN is Davis Bain, vocals & production; Erick “Afrokeys”Anderson, keys; and Jayanthi Kyle, vocals. Tonight they celebrate the release of Love In Blue, an album (CD & LP) filled with groovy, hypnotic, often down-tempo music featuring both male and female vocals. The live band includes Matt Stevens, bass; Anslem Pierre, guitar; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Walter Chancellor Jr., sax; and Greg Schutte, drums. I’ve been playing tracks from Love in Blue on some of my DJ gigs and getting good response. Ashley Gold will open, and DJ Fourfeet will spin between sets.

Obviously a long tradition

The combination has been around for a long, long time

The Accordion/Banjo Xmas @ Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7pm – 9pm. Oh boy, this is an event that’s ripe for jokes about the two most maligned instruments in modern music. However, there is no joking about the skills of Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton on accordion or Mark Kreitzer on banjo, who will be duetting on some of your favorite holiday songs and more.

Tuesday, December 23

L.P. Music @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($10) L.P. Music plays funky, groove oriented music with a proclivity for improvisation, featuring Grammy winning saxophonist Eric Leeds; bassist (and multi-instrumentalist) Paul Peterson, pianist Peter Schimke, and drummer Stokely Williams. Given the resumes of these musicians (from Prince to Mark Murphy to Mint Condition), this should be a stellar performance.

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.


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