Happy New Year. Music: 1.1 – 1.7

January 1, 2014

UnknownAnother day, another year. We have some fun things to look forward to as we start a new year. Maybe we can even carry out a resolution or two. An easy one would be to get out and see more music, supporting the musicians and venues that add so much to the vitality of our area. Remember that music lifts your spirits. Have a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 1

UnknownDebbie Duncan @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) If you’re one of those folks who didn’t stay out late to celebrate the New Year, you can welcome it in style with the inimitable Ms Duncan. No one is quite like Debbie. She can sing a lovely ballad, scat a jazz standard, and sass up a risque blues. Be sure to ask for a table close to the stage, as it can get noisy at the Kitchen.

Friday, January 3

Fuzzy Math @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) Imaginative contemporary jazz. Leader/composer Mark Vanderhyden shows a bit of Latin and world music influences in his compositions, swinging things quite nicely.

Saturday, January 4

Joel Shapira Trio @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) The quiet, unassuming guitar player can show off classical chops when the occasion calls for it, but it’s with acoustic jazz that he’s make his mark in town. This is another place where you’ll want to be close to the stage.

John Devine @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) Saxophonist Devine has been active in the Twin Cities since the early 80s. Along with cellist Michelle Kinny, he formed Imp Ork in 1986. A large ensemble with anywhere from 10 to 30 members, they worked with guest artists like Butch Morris, Julius Hemphill, and Don Cherry. Devine has won awards, fellowships, and commissions from foundations, and has played with R&B bands and classical ensembles, but it’s as a jazz player that he shines. He’s well known for his twice weekly solo gigs at the Loring Pasta Bar, but you can never tell who will show up to play with Devine.

Sunday, January 5

UnknownLarry Coryell Power Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) Coryell’s resume includes founding the jazz fusion group 11th House as well as working with Gary Burton and Jack Bruce and sessions with Charles Mingus, Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, and John McLaughlin. Tonight, he brings his considerable chops to town with the help of Paul Wertico on drums and Larry Gray on bass.

Monday, Tuesday January 6,7

Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Italian born, Ms Gambarini has been thrilling audiences with her singing since arriving in New York in 1998. She was befriended by artists like James Moody and Hank Jones, who called her the best singer to come along in 60 years. Gambarini has a supple voice, which she uses to scat with ease and swing like crazy. I didn an interview with her when she was last here almost three years ago. You can read it here. Here she is scattin’ away with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and Roy Hargrove.

Monday, January 6

Dave Karr, Courageous Endeavors @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) On Monday nights, the exuberant Icehouse quiets down somewhat, as (mostly youngish) jazz fans gather to hear the acts curated by drummer JT Bates. The first Monday of the month always features elder saxman Dave Karr, though you wouldn’t guess his age from the vitality of his playing or the beauty of his tone. Tonight he’s playing with JT and bassman Adam Linz. They’ll be followed by Brian Courage, who has become an in-demand bassist since arriving in town, and his group of young players, including Miguel Hurtado, drums; Joe Strachan, piano; and Nelson Devereaux on sax. It’s a late night hang, but definitely worth it.

Tuesday, January 7

Bill Simonsen Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Trumpeter Simonsen has had a long career playing in all kinds of bands, backing visiting artists, composing, and collaborating with artists from around the world.  He’ll be bringing 17 musicians to the underground confines of Jazz Central to play his music and his arrangements. It’s exciting stuff.

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 1

Eddies on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 – Tip Jar) The wags of the Eddies are calling it the “hair of the dog” show, which is appropriate. If you didn’t get enough frivolity last night, or perhaps want to recover from too much frivolity, then the almost-acapella quintet might be just what you need. Tune in to Harold’s House party at 90.3 or 106.7FM during the five o’clock hour to get a taste, then head to the 331 Club for a full serving of sea chanties, old folk songs, and occasional offerings of almost ancient rock n’ roll.

Curtiss A does Hank Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Today marks 60 years since Hank Williams died in a car accident on the way to a gig. Curtiss A first did a Hank Williams tribute back in May. It was so well received he’s reprising it to commemorate the anniversary, bringing in a number of musician friends that he’s accumulated over thirty-odd year career in Twin Cities rock n’ roll.

Thursday, January 2

The Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9pm ($5) R&B instrumentals (both originals and covers of Booker T, the Meters, etc.) from Chris Beaty, guitar; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jim Anton, bass; and noah Levy on drums.

Mr. Rowles @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5?) Swamp poppy, N’orleansy, cajunny music that will have you wishing you’re wearing dancing shoes instead of winter galoshes.

Friday, January 3

Hotpants East @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) It’s the East Metro version of the rare soul & funk 45 rpm dance party, held in the front bar of the Amsterdam, with fewer people, but the same joyous vibe.

imagesBarton’s Hallow @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) A young six-piece bluegrass, gospel, and acoustic music group. Though young is the operative word here (16 – 20 years old), they won the talent show at the 2011 MBOTMA music festival. Reservations are recommended, as the intimate room can fill up fast.

Stoked beyond Boredom w/The 99ers and The 221s @ The Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) A night of pop punk, power rockabilly, surf and more in the “Iron Range bar” in the heart of downtown Saint Paul. Listen to Godzilla’s a Punk, by the 99ers, which gives you an insight into their humor.

Friday, Saturday, January 3,4

Nachito Herrera Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) This is not your usual Nachito gig, as he’ll reportedly be bringing anywhere from ten to thirty musicians to the Dakota stage over the course of the evening. He’s been touring with the National Symphony of Cuba, and will be playing some classical pieces as well as the Cuban and Latin Jazz that’s made him such a favorite both here and throughout the country. Here’s a clip of Nachito with the symphony performing Rhapsody in Blue.

Saturday, January 4

Courtney Yasmineh @ the 318 Cafe, Wayzata. 8pm ($8) The talented, comely, and rockin’ Ms Yasmineh will be performing an evening of acoustic music featuring violin, mandolin, stripped-down percussion and Courtney herself on acoustic guitar.

Soul Tight Committee @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Old school R&B, Soul, n’ Funk, delivered by an eleven-piece band. Guaranteed to provide the kind of rhythms that will have you dancing, whether you’re in your chair or on the dance floor.

Sunday, January 5

Cactus Blossoms Brunch @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11AM – 1pm (No Cover) Brotherly harmonies doing classic country tunes and originals that fit right along side them. This gig is just the two of them. Here they are performing a fan favorite.

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


Happy Holidays. Music: 12.25 – 12.31

December 25, 2013

It’s a bit quiet this week, except for that New Year’s thing, of which I’ve included two low-key ideas. The Artist’s Quarter is sold out, and I won’t be surprised if the Dakota sells out as well. There are plenty of options, including private parties, and going to sleep early. I hope that those of you who don’t celebrate Christmas have a good day, maybe with Asian take-out and a technicolor movie. I’m also including a link to a video animation of my favorite Christmas song – White Christmas. It always brings a smile to my face as I hope it will to yours. Thanks for your support.

Jazz

The Quartet in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

The Quartet in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Thursday, December 26

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. ($5) Here is a quartet of musicians with both creative and technical skills. Since they’ve been playing a monthly gig at the AQ for about 13 years, they’ve developed the ability to communicate almost telepathically. Phil Hey, drums; Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Aaron, piano; play complex, yet highly swingin’ tunes. In short, if you haven’t heard them, they will knock your socks off.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, December 26, 27, 28

Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Kennedy, bass; Dave King, drums

Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Kennedy, bass; Dave King, drums

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) The uncompromising trio of former/current Midwest talents are back for their annual Christmas visit to the Dakota. The Bad Plus has pretty much redefined what it means to be a bass-drums-piano trio, producing sophisticated, at times avant, jazz, for the masses. One might call their music jazz with a punk attitude, if a punk attitude is also polite.

Friday, December 27

Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) The sassy lass isn’t singing out as much lately, what with motherhood as Nichola’s main focus, so catch her when you can, and prepare to want a cocktail and a cigarette when you hear her sing.

Friday, Saturday, December 27, 28

Final Weekend Jam @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. ($10) I believe New Year’s Eve is sold out, so this weekend will be your last chance to visit the AQ under the ownership of Kenny Horst. A person could be excused for going overboard with hyperbole, but if the musician turnout is anything like it was a few weeks ago for the benefit, this will be special occasion, both musically, and emotionally

Saturday, December 28

Lee Engele with Uptown Maxx @ Sawatdee, 13300 Technology Drive, Eden Priarie. 8pm – 10pm Laurie Melting, violin; Kirby Smith, keys. Engele swings so well she can confidently front a big band or sensitively front a guitar trio. Here, she’s joined by a duo.

Sunday, December 29

Bad Plus perform The Rite of Spring @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring is audacious, thrilling, heavy, and a bit bombastic to my non-classical ears at least. Which is what makes this a perfect vehicle for the Bad Plus.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Okay, so Minneapolis put the kibosh on trios at the Riverview, due to some archaic zoning laws. Then it seemed like they could book Zacc and the Trio again, but after one performance, found another odd regulation to keep them from performing. I’m told that all is now good. Let’s hope so, since it’s always a pleasure to sip wine and listen to Zacc on guitar, Matt Peterson, bass; and Pete Hennig on drums as they present originals and jazz standards.

Tuesday, December 31

Early New Year’s Eve @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm. (Tip Jar) Featuring Open Season, the 4th year -  with Todd Harper,(piano)Nathan Hanson, ( saxophones) Brian Roessler,( bass) & Pete Hennig. ( drums). Bubbles, appetizers, music, and you get to go home early, if you wish.

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 25

Christmas with The Steeles @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) The individual members of the Steele Family have brought their music to audiences throughout the world. They get together on Christmas night to bring us Soul-drenched Gospel and R&B.

Thursday, December 26

Maurice Jacox @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (Tip Jar) So maybe you have the day off, but you’re not up for making breakfast. Check out the brunch at Hell’s Kitchen, where you can whet your appetite with the soulful and jazzy vocals of Jacox, accompanied by pianist Thom West. You may want to make reservations and ask to be seated near the stage.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis ($5?, $10?) Nothin’ like a little Cajun & Zydeco dancing to work off excess calories from holiday dining. The Pinecones deliver some New Orleans R&B as well. They played for a few years in the late 80s, and reunited in 2004. Since then, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and his gang have audience spinning, twisting, and bouncing up and down to their infectious sounds.

Friday, December 27

Butanes Soul Revue @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 advance/$12 door) It’s the 26th Anniversary of the Butanes, and they’re celebrating with a performance of the legendary Soul Revue. In addition to Curt Obeda, guitar; John Lindberg, bass; Virgil Nelson, B-3, and Robb Stupka, drums, you’ve got the horn section of Michael Nelson, trombone; Steve Strand, trumpet; and the highly talented Sue Orfield on sax, with backup singers Aisha Baker and Deb Brown. Dancing shoes are not optional when this crew takes to the stage.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Guitarist Primer is one of the few surviving musicians who’s life reflects the archetypal Chicago blues musician. Initially raised on a cotton farm in Mississippi, he moved to Chicago and played with Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim. He’s been releasing his own records since 1995, and has earned a Blues Music Award and a Grammy nomination. It’s soul satisfying blues.

Saturday, December 28

Willie Murphy @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) There was a great turnout for Willie‘s birthday a month or so ago. Let’s hope most of those attending will again drop by to dance as this musical treasure sings rock n’ roll, blues, and rhythm and blues, all with his personal touch.

Sunday, December 29

The Guys All Star Shoe Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11AM (No Cover) The highly versatile band from Prairie Home Companion visits the Eat Street dining room and watering hole to entertain you during brunch.

The New Standards @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. ($30) This acoustic trio has made quite a name for itself reinterpreting the music of the eighties (Clash, Lou Reed, Mott the Hoople) for Gen Xers and Millenials. Pianist Chan Poling is a member of the Suburbs. Bassist John Munson is a founding member of Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic. Vibist Steve Roemer may not have been in a legendary rock band, but he’s found a couple of compadres in Poling and Munson.

Tuesday, December 31

Papa John Kolstad @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) If you’re looking for a New Year’s Eve gig that won’t be manic, but will still be entertaining, then Merlin’s Rest could be your choice. Papa John’s relaxed way will put you at ease. His dry, wry commentary will tickle your funnybone, and his music (along with his bandmates) will help you welcome the New Year in a festive, yet adult manner.

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


Holidazed: Music: 12.18 – 12.24

December 18, 2013
Santa got hip

Santa got hip

Well, the holidays are certainly upon us as there are special performances throughout the week. I’ve listed seven, and I’m sure you can find many more. Along with holiday specials are a few unique performances from both visiting and resident artists that are worth your while.  Of course, there is the whole finding time conundrum, which is especially difficult for many this time of year. At any rate, have a good week, and if you’re overwhelmed, remember, live music can lift the spirit.

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 18

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Joe leads his group through swinging love songs, some jump blues, and a few holiday favorites for those of you who like dancing with your jazz.

Snowblind w/Dave Hagedorn @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Since its inception in 2005, Snowblind has become a formidable ensemble of relatively young players, in part because they rehearse so much, and in part because the AQ has provided them with regular gigs. Tonight they join forces with vibist Dave Hagedorn to perform the music of Dave Holland. Members of the group include: Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Shilad Sen, tenor; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums. Should be a memorable evening.

Thursday, December 19

Larry McDonough CD Release @ The Artists’ Quarter. 9pm ($5) Pianist McDonough has gathered some of his favorite holiday songs in a new CD entitled, “Angels, Kings, and My Favorite Things.” He uses a variety of band formats, as well as odd time signatures and always interesting harmonies to have the listener hear such songs as My Favorite Things, and Scarborough Fair with new ears.  Here he is with a quartet.

George Maurer’s Big Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Pianist/composer/producer Maurer brings 14 other musicians with him to play some music for the holidays.

Friday, December 20

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10pm (No Cover)  Though some readers may equate going to Bloomington with a road trip, it is definitely worthwhile to hear Vicky sing, made all the better by the fact that she’ll be accompanied by Chris Lomheim on piano and Matt Peterson on bass.

Heather Masse – Red House Live! @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($15) Masse isn’t necessarily known as a jazz singer. After all, she was part of the Wailing Jennys, a folk duo that made the Billboard charts. However, she grew up listening to the Great American Songbook (her mom was a pianist), and a collaboration with pianist Dick Hyman on Prairie Home Companion led to the two of them recording the CD “Lock My Heart,” which has been well received in the jazz press, thanks in large part to her warm voice. She’ll be performing songs from the album, and perhaps a holiday chestnut or two.  BTW, I’ll be hosting.  Here she is doing a song that is definitely not of this season.

Watch out for these oung cats!

Watch out for these young cats!

Young Beasts @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Jazz is definitely not dead. It’s alive and well. The proof? This evening of music from three high school and college combos: The Farmington Quintessential Quintet; The Eau Claire Ice Bergh Combo; and The Will Kjeer Combo. Stick around for the jam that takes place during the second set.   

Friday, Saturday, December 20, 21

Eric Alexander & David Hazeltine @ the Artists’ Quarter, 9pm ($20) A couple of NYC stalwarts of the AQ return for one more performance before owner Kenny Horst calls it quits. Alexander has a big-toned, meaty sound on the sax and is a standard bearer for hard bop and post-bop jazz. Hazeltine‘s piano is a perfect match, as shown on a number of collaborations. They’ll be joined by Billy Peterson on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. Here’s an example of their playing from a few years ago.

Saturday, December 21

Let It Snow: Maud Hixson, the Wolverines Trio, & Dave Karr  @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($25) Maud, the Wolverines, and Dave visit classic carols and songs from vintage films, with the special help of film clips from the collection of Bob DeFlores.

Sunday, December 22

Doug Little Quartet @ Eat Street Social, Minneapolis. 8pm –  10:30pm (No Cover) A great way to end the weekend. Little is a reed player of immense talent, with a predilection for Latin rhythms. Listen while partaking of the room’s special cocktails.

Sunday, Monday, December 22, 23

The New CD

The New CD

Karrin Allyson’s Yuletide Hideaway @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($35) Ms Allyson has long had a large contingent of fans from the area, since she spent some of her formative singing years here. She has a warm voice and cool delivery, which she uses with equal aplomb on bossa novas, blues, and bop. The Wall Street Journal, in describing her newest, Yuletide Hideaway, said, “Even “Winter Wonderland” and “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” seem darker and moodier than ever before.” I’ll be doing a phone interview with her Saturday morning.

Monday, December 23

Jake Baldwin vs. B3 Organ @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Baldwin is a young trumpet player who has been making his mark around town in a number of group settings. Tonight promises a new adventure, as he is joined by two of the guiding lights of Jazz Central, Tanner Taylor on Hammond B3 (!) and Mac Santiago on drums.

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 18

Jeff Ray & the Stakes on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM) an 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Ray is a guitarist who can put a new spin on old traditions, whether playing a Chicago-style blues, Bob Dylan, or the Grateful Dead. He’ll be accompanied by Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckman, percussion, and Hurricane Harold, harmonica.

Thursday, December 19

images-2Louisiana Rhythms Christmas Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($? – probably $5, but maybe more) Okay, lots of Cajun, Zydeco, and New Orlean’s bands play the Eagles Club on Mondays and Thursdays. Louisiana Rhythms’ host Karl Smelker is gathering many of them to play Christmas tunes as well as other favorites. Of special note, Adam Kiesling of Pert Near Sandstone, Corpse Reviver, and the Tune Jerks among others, will do a reading of Christmas Eve on the Big Bayou.

Holiday Rhapsody @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free, but donations are welcome) Now for something completely different. This is a concert of two piano duets, featuring classical favorites such as An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, the Nutcracker Suite, and Russian Rhapsody, all performed on two grand pianos. Featured artists are Denis Evstuhin, Anton Melnichenko & Ivan Konev, with special guests, The Partners in Praise Girls Choir and Soloists from the Academy of Russian Ballet.

Johnny Rawls @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($10?)  Rawls is a journeyman soul singer who deserves wider recognition. He knows how to work the crowd, teasing the ladies, getting the men to dance and altogether delivering a soul-satisfying show. No wonder: he’s played for ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before going solo.

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees and Alicia Kay & the Changeups @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($6) Larson, with her sweet voice, bittersweet country-ish lyrics, and highly supportive band, opens at 9pm sharp. The Changeups are scheduled at 10pm playing Americans with country and rock overtones.  Reservations are always a good idea at this cozy spot overlooking the river and downtown.

Friday, December 20

Winter Soulstice: Black Market Brass @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) It’s the shortest night of the year, and time for a soulful evening of music featuring: soul revivalists Black Diet; the Grolar Bears, large band film scorers; and Afrobeat champs Black Market Brass  Between set music provide by DJ Rambo Salinas.

Steve Clarke & Blue Book @ Thunder Valley Bar & Grille, 3809 Highway 13 West, Burnsville. Swinging saxophonist Clarke has a new band, at least for tonight, and he’s invited a number of musicians to sit in, including Maurice Jacox. So, without knowing any more than the fact that Clarke is leading the band and Jacox will be singing, you have more than enough reasons to venture to Burnsville.

Saturday, December 21

Ms Haus

Ms Haus

Brunch with the Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (Free) You’ve got tasty food, tasty libations, and the ever-so-tasty country blues of Ms Haus, singing about chickens, mechanics, and fools in power.

Hotpants 45RPM Record Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out those dancing shoes to celebrate the fact that days are gonna get longer. Deejays Brian Engel and Ben Mena party down with rare 45s, all of which will give you that itchy twitchy feeling.

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


Musical Warmth: 12.11 – 12.17

December 11, 2013
Frozen cherry, anyone?

Frozen cherry, anyone?

Now that hearty Minnesotans have had a few days to get used to sub-zero weather, it will be easy to get out and enjoy the myriad musical and art offerings of our fair cities, since the temps will jump all the way up into the teens this weekend. If you’re wearing yourself out from shopping and preparing for the holidays, not to forget work, treat yourself to some live music, which lifts the spirits. Until next week.

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 11

Gypsy Mania @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Late night gypsy jazz from Gypsy Mania, featuring the masterful violin of Gary Schulte, and the guitars of Reynold Philipsek and Gary Helgeson. And Barbette’s happy hour prices to boot. Tres chic!

Wednesday, Thursday, December 11, 12

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Really. Get out and see Dave. As an 80-something mulit-reed player he’s got chops galore, with a fluid style that he serves up particularly well on bebop chestnuts.

Friday, December 13

UnknownLaura Caviani CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Laura has a new CD, Holly, Jolly, & Jazzy, just in time for the Christmas season. She’s a thoughtful, elegant, and imaginative player piano player. Tonight she’ll have Gordy Johnson on bass, and Joe Pulice on drums. Expect Santa and some special guests as well.

Saturday, December 14

John Devine and JT Bates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Devine) 5pm (Bates) (Tip Jar) Here’s a way to take a break from shopping with some fresh brews. At 3pm John Devine, sax; will be joined by Jon Pemberton, keys & trumpet; and then drummer JT Bates will take the stage at 5pm. No word on whether JT will just be exercising his chops (which is not to say it won’t be thoroughly entertaining) or have other players along.

Jack Brass Band B-Day Party @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm (Tip Jar) JBB Leader Mike Olander is celebrating his 40th Birthday, with special guests The Stooges Brass Band, an outstanding aggregation from New Orleans. For brass band fans, this is not to be missed, as it will be a brass blowout of epic proportions. Here’s the Stooges doing some Michael Jackson songs for Second Liners.

Lucia Newell @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free) 7pm concert ($10) This is part of the monthly Jazz at Studio Z series. Lucia is a wonderful singer, inspired by Betty Carter, but with a “voice” of her own (in two languages!). She’s also turned into a first rate writer. She’ll be addressing singing and composing during the 6pm workshop, and then illustrate her ideas by singing at 7pm.  Here’s an example of her singing.

Tuesday Night Band @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ahh, it’s hard to beat the funky, funky grooves of B-3 Organ Night. Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B-3; and Kenny Horst, drums, return for one last stand on the AQ stage. They spent many a Tuesday night over the years laying down some soulful jazz. Oftentimes special guests, including visiting artists, would sit in for a song or two. Will that happen tonight? You’ll only know if you attend.

Monday, December 16

images-2Peter Kogan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Kogan is the principal Tympanist of the Minnesota Orchestra, which, as we know, has not exactly had a full schedule for a while. He’s filled his time writing and recording a jazz album entitled Cornucopia. He’s no stranger to genres outside of classical music, as he’s spent time performing the Larry Elgart Orchestra and the fusion band, Scratch n Sniff, as well as backing folks like Jimmy Witherspoon, Lightin Hopkins, Bo Diddley, the Drifters, and the Crystals. He’ll be joined tonight by Pete Whitman, saxophones; Keith Hilson, trombone, Adam Meckler, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Cory Wong, guitar. I had Peter on my show on Saturday, December 7. You can get the archived show here. The interview starts at about 20 minutes into the show.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Stellar trumpeter Kenny, a founding member of the Illicit Sextet, has surrounded himself with a group of young, hungry artists: pianist Will Kjeer is a high school senior who is a member of the Dakota Combo and free-lances around town; Thomas Strommen on sax is a former member of the Dakota Combo and no a sophomore at UW-River Falls, where he works with a number of ensembles; bassist Adam Tucker has been around for a number of years, playing in the Sextons and engineering albums for the heavy metal community, Jana Nyberg, and the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Finally, drummer Alex Burgess is another UW-River Falls student, studying drums with Craig Hara, composition with Dave Milne, and playing in Bad Habits Brass.

Tuesday, December 17

Bryan Nichols & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The Tuesday Night offerings at the AQ are not exactly an open jam, but a gathering of compatible musicians, who often surprise by trying out new tunes. Tonight the performance is led by pianist Nichols, who has established himself as an imaginative composer and interpreter.

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 11

Everett Smithson Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (441 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a gumbo of music, drawing on Louisiana, roots, gospel and the occasional hillbilly hoedown. Besides his wife Cathy on vocals and squeezebox, Smithson’s cohorts include Phil Schmid on guitar, Jeremy Johnson on drums, and Bill Black on bass. Tune in to get a taste and then head over to the 331 Club for a full serving.

Wednesday, December 11 – Saturday, December 14

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm Wed, Sat. 8pm & 10pm Thurs, Fri. ($35 – $70) Well-oiled and precision-driven as a Ferrari, this 10-piece horn driven group has filled dance floors with its Bay-area funk since 1968. Fans of old school R&B will not want to miss this event. Check them out.

Friday, December 13

All Star Blues Revue @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Get new soles on your dancing shoes, because this band will prognosticate the pleasure in your brain and extrapolate the rhythm in your rump. Harpmeister Harold Tremblay has put together a stellar line-up, including, Dan Schwalbe and “Good Time Willy: Williams, guitars; Allen Kirk, drums; Bruce McCabe, keys; and Michael Caravale, bass. BTW, Michael is moving to Paris for a few months to work with some musicians there, so this will be your last chance to see him for a while.

Cafe Societe @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Pianist/composer Mark Chergosky is back at the Trick, with son Michael on mandolin and viola, and Amelia Rivera on vocals. Cafe Societe plays French Cafe music and bossa novas, along with some American pop and jazz, and Chergosky’s originals.

Saturday, December 14

Eddies Yulefest VI @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($15) Fundraiser for Emergency Foodshelf Network.  With Barra, the MN Ceili band, and the HiBs (instrumentalists). This is the sixth edition of the Eddies annual party, and it’s grown so much that a bigger venue is in order. And how appropriate to have it at the Celtic Junction, given the guest artists. It’s always an evening of warm music, made that much more enjoyable by the Eddies good-hearted hosting and singing.

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

Lowertown Santacon VI @ Lowertown Venues, Saint Paul. 6pm – late night (Free) This pubcrawl visits six venues in and around Lowertown, and is a true example of a community-organized event. Revelers dressed as Santas, Elves, Reindeers, or any imaginary person/creature of the season will start out at Golden’s Deli and trek to the Black Dog, Barrio & Bulldog, Mears Park, the Gopher Bar and Senor Wong’s. Expect the Brass Messengers to be parade leaders, a performance by fire-dancers at Mears Park, and an over-stuffed bag of other fun moments. A complete schedule and other information can be found here.

Jillian Rae CD Release Concert @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 7:30 ($15) The talented violinist/singer/songwriter first lit up the stage leading the Killer Hayseeds, and as a member of Two Many Banjos, and Steve Kaul’s Brass Kings. Since then she’s formed her own group to play her own compositions and occasionally defying audience expectations. Rae has released an album of heartache, titled Heartbeat and is celebrating its release tonight with opening acts by Gallupstar and The Honeydogs. Here she is with a surprising cover.

Sunday, December 15

The Roe Family Singers Bluegrass Brunch @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 1pm. Here’s a morning pick-me-up for breakfast that will set toes tapping and hearts laughing. The Roe Family Singers do bluegrass and old time music, while ringleader/poppa Quillan Roe lets loose with the occasional corny joke. It’s family friendly.

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


Rock n’ Roll is Here to Stay. Music: 12.4 – 12.10

December 4, 2013

imagesAs I write this, the snow is coming down, and I can hear snowplows on the streets. Fitting that the first week in December brings the first real snowstorm to the metro area. We’re in the final month of the Artists’ Quarter, as owned and managed by Kenny Horst. There’ll be a special benefit to help with closing costs and transition (hopefully there will be one, though there is no word on that yet). In other news, Ronnie Spector is back, as is Bill Frisell. There are a couple of CD Release parties taking place, and rock n’ roll is alive and well. Have a good week

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 4

Anthony Cox @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Uber bassist Cox is considered a national artist when he plays in other towns. Don’t know if he’ll have anyone with him, but even solo, he’ll have you shaking your head in wonder.

Evans, Wozniak, Courage, & Schutte @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul ($5) There really isn’t enough space to list all the credits of these four relatively young lions: Park Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Brian Courage, bass; and Greg Schuute, drums. Between them they’ve played with recognized veterans from elsewhere and in up and coming groups from this area. I expect they’ll be playing originals and jazz standards.

Thursday, December 5

This year's combo.  Photo by Andrea Canter

This year’s combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

Dakota Combo @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The combo is an open-audition group that consists of the best high school musicians in the area. A couple of them are already gigging as professionals. One listen, and you won’t worry about the future of jazz.

Dean Granros Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Granros is a highly respected guitarist – one of those artists that other musicians want to play with. He was in the New York band Curlew back in the day, has played with folks ranging from Ira Sullivan to Dean Konitz and Dave Dudley, and has been seen around here in How Birds Work and Starry Eyed Lovelies. Here he is with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.

Friday, December 6

Todd Harper Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm, more or less (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper is back with his trio, including Aaron Kerr on electric cello, and Peter Leggett on drums.  There’s also a gift bazaar going on at the same time. Shop and enjoy the music.

Friday, Saturday, December 6,7

Happy Apple @ The Artist’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Though undoubtedly a jazz group, it can easily be said that Happy Apple defies categorization. But that’s what you get when a bunch of rockin’ kids discover jazz. Mike Lewis, sax; Eric Fratzke, bass, and Dave King, drums have been at it for about seventeen years now, gaining an international following and garnering praise from the NY Times, among others. Here’s a performance from last year.

Saturday, December 7

Jana Nyberg Group CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Jana has a new CD, Winter Song, with seasonally appropriate songs. The originals, by Jana, and trumpeter hubby Adam Meckler, are at turns romantic and playful, and always well done. The standards are given new, original arrangements. The result is a CD that will have you pushing the Repeat button more than once.

Sunday, December 8

PipJazz @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm Pippi Ardennia’s guest this month is Nicholas Carter, of Paraguay, a harpist, and I don’t mean harmonica. It will certainly be fun to see how he interacts with Pippi and the members of the band. Young pianist Jordan Anderson is the youth guest. Though 15 year old, he’s proving to be a fast learner.

Lots of music at the AQ, plus, Davis will perform his Lord Buckley routine.

Lots of music at the AQ, plus, Davis will perform his Lord Buckley routine.

Friends of the AQ @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 5pm – Midnight? ($10 Minimum donation) Kenny Horst has managed to run the iconic AQ for a few decades now without going in debt, and the musicians involved want to make sure he doesn’t incur any expenses in closing the club and (hopefully) transitioning it to new ownership. At last count there were 38 musicians lined up for this event to show their appreciation for Kenny and this club, with the line-up changing every half hour between 5pm and 10pm and a jam starting at 10:30 or so.

Bill Frisell’s Big Sur Quintet @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45) The searching, exploratory guitarist will be backed by members of two other groups that he plays with: Jenny Scheinman, violin, Eyvind Kang, viola, Hank Roberts, cellok, and Rudy Royston, drums. Frisell brought this particular group together to play Big Sur, a piece commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival. Big Sur combines atmospheric elements of chamber jazz, folk, country, and rock – all elements of Frisell’s musical journey.

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 4

Mayor Chris Coleman & the McNally Smith Blues Ensemble @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Hizzoner has played guitar in public before, notably with the ‘Burbs at the Gay Marriage celebration. Wherever you stand on civic issues, you will have fun listening to him as he plays with some of McNally Smith’s best students.

Wax Museum @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Free) It’s open vinyl night at Palmer’s. Listen to an ever-changing rotation of deejays playing everything from classic country to worldbeats to punk, metal, and electronica, or, you can bring some vinyl of your own and sign up to spin a 20 minute set.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 4,5

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Show Ever @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm ($45, $55, $65) The best voice in rock n’ roll, the woman who taught Amy Winehouse how to properly do a beehive hairdo, the kid from the street who made teenage hearts pound back in the 60s and can still thrill, Ms Spector returns after a two year absence to sing her fabulous version of Sleigh Ride, one of the most popular of all Christmas songs, along with hits like Be My Baby, and more. Here’s her big hit.

Thursday, December 5

Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30 doors. ($20) The “Screamin’ Eagle” of soul is becoming, just like the man he impersonated for so long, the hardest working man in show business, criss-crossing the country and the globe to perform sweat-drenched soul.

Willie & the Spectres @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Willie Scott, on dobro and National Steel Guitar, leads Paul Fonfara, clarinet; Evan Clark, tuba; Bobby Eckstrand, guitar; and Chris Hepola, drums; in a blend of  traditional jazz, blues, and Latin influenced music.

UnknownCactus Blossoms Live at the Turf Club CD Release @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) The tight,brotherly harmonies of Blossoms, when applied to their originals as well as classic country and honky tonk tunes, can make a grown man cry in his beer and a young woman sigh with regret.

Friday, December 6

Rock n’ Roll Whores, Le Serpent Rouge, & Grenade Girls @ The Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free)  Want to get a sense of how some young folks are rockin’ out? Here’s a chance. Rock n Roll Whores are a punkish/garage-is quartet with a lead singer who may be the next Dean of Scream. Le Serpent Rouge creates dense, yet melodic songs, with influences of 70s rock & psychedelia throughout. The Grenade Girls take classic rock, amp it up, and spit it out.

Jon Rodine & Friends plus the Electro-Pigs @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($?) Rodine is a singer songwriter who isn’t afraid to tackle Dylan, Dan Penn, and other great songsmiths in addition to doing his originals. He’s a bit of country, and a bit of blues, and often tackles a groove. The Electro-Pigs are the electric version of the Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs, purveyors of a good time, whether electric or acoustic. The Tap Room is relatively small, so you may want to get there early.

Saturday, December 7

Savanna & the Saviours @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:3pm (Tip Jar) Savanna sings with controlled emotion, which isn’t to say she’s a “cool” singer, but rather a rocker who knows how to use her voice. She’s ably assisted by the Saviours, a four piece that is equally at home controlling their music.

New Sound Underground and Spare Parts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) New funk and jazz-funk fusion for your late night revelry. New Sound Underground is made up of regional jazz guys, but they get their funk on in a big way, with inspiration from Soulive, Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, and Weather Report. Spare Parts is a three-piece from Chicago that’s been getting lots of positive press in their hometown.

Sunday, December 8

34th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ First Avenue, Minneapolis – Suburbs, Cactus Blossoms, Sonny Knight & the Lakers. Well Curtiss A has some mighty fine help in his annual tribute. Always packed. Always fun.

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


Eat. Drink. Music. 11.27 – 12.3

November 27, 2013

Well, I thought readers might enjoy a little levity about Thanksgiving.  I realize that not everyone overeats or even goes shopping on Thanksgiving, which is once more upon us. Gathering with friends and family is a great tradition, and we can even find a way to enjoy meals without meltdowns over politics, religion or lifestyles. Please take note of the Brass Bash at the Amsterdam on Sunday. There will be lots of good music, and the proceeds go to KFAI. Would love to see you there. In the meantime, have a good holiday, and if you get stressed out, take some time to let music lift your spirits. There is certainly plenty of it around.

Jazz…

Wednesday, November 27

Davu Seru Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Davu Seru, percussion, Josh Granowski, bass; and Park Evans, guitar. Seru is a drummer/percussionist who is equally at home playing straight ahead jazz, free jazz, and desert blues, among others. Park Evans and Josh Granowski are equally versatile.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A long-running quartet that doesn’t seem to appear outside of monthly AQ performances, Phil Hey, drums; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano. Expect a very high level of performance of tunes by Coletrane, Coleman, Mingus, and more. Here they are a few years ago, doing a standard.

Friday, November 29

Talking Strings @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Pavel Jany, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; and Andrew Foreman, bass; playing global jazz – French jazz, bossa novas, gypsy jazz, and more.

Atlantis Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) Some late night modern jazz. The Atlantis Quartet has built a strong following in the Twin Cities based on the stellar playing of Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, tenor sax; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Friday, Saturday, November 29,30

Pat Mallinger & the Bill Carrothers Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Mallinger (sax) and Carrothers (piano) are Saint Paul talents who have made good and now live in Chicago and Upper Michigan, respectively. When they’re in town, they head to the AQ, where their combined talent makes for a very special show. Here’s Pat hard at work.

Saturday, November 30

George Maurer Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Maurer may be the most talented Minnesota musician you haven’t heard about, since he resides in Saint Cloud and only sporadically performs in the Twin Cities. He’s a pianist/composer/producer who has collaborated with musicians ranging from Prudence Johnson to Eric Clapton. Tonight he brings a septet, including two horns, to the Dakota. Check out their take on a Beatles tune.

Maryann Sullivan & Dave Martin@ Mendoberri Cafe & Wine Bar, Mendota. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a low-key way to eat out at a casual restaurant and hear some fine jazz. Vocalist Sullivan and guitarist Martin will be swinging some standards and a holiday tune or two.

Sunday, December 1

KFAI’s Brass Bash @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is a benefit I’ve put together for KFAI, featuring three bands with brass instruments. First up at 6:30 is The Jana Nyberg Group. Jana swings and sings with taste, and with the help of husband/trumpeter Adam Meckler, brings new life to bossa novas, jazz chestnuts, and contemporary pop. At 7:30pm it’s Parham, Schimke, Anderson, Boettcher, and Washington. This quintet represents some of the best of Twin Cities Jazz. Solomon Parham, trumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Kevin Washington, drums; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and up and coming new guy in town, Tyler Anderson on tenor sax. Suffice to say, the place will be swinging. Then, to close things up at 8:30 or so, we have the Jack Brass Band, whose infectious music encompasses  traditional brass band tunes, jazz standards like  Night in Tunisia and songs by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Bobby Brown and more. They’ve been together for a dozen years or so and have enough street cred to be featured in New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine, march in a Mardis Gras Parade, and play for WWOZ.  Here’s the Jana Nyberg Group in the KFAI studios.

Monday, December 2

Joey DeFrancesco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30)  Today’s Hammond organ giant was playing with Miles Davis as a teenager, and also played with John McLaughlin. Last seen here at the MN Zoo with Dave Sanborn, DeFrancesco will put on a smokin’ show of soul-jazz. Check out his take on a song that’s heavily identified with Sinatra.

Tuesday, December 3

Dean Magraw and Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) This monthly gig is always impressive, as Magraw on electric guitar, and Seru on drums and percussion use their vast knowledge of jazz, rock, and world musics to create enlightening and inspiring music.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 27

UnknownNikki & the Rue-Mates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5-ish (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – tip jar)  I’ve been a fan of Nikki’s crystaline voice for years. She’s turned into a fine writer and guitar player as well, ably assisted by Rich Rue on resonator guitar and Jon Larsen on bass. With any luck, she’ll have a drummer along to add some kick to the proceedings.

photoSonny Knight & Lakers and The Rich Lewis Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($5) Knight started out in the 60s when he was a teenager, and eventually sang with the legendary Twin Cities band Haze in the 70s. His appearance on the Secret Stash compilation of Twin Cities Soul & Funk has re-energized him and he’s put together a seven-piece horn and organ band to provide some funky backing. They’ve been doing a residency at the Eagles Club for the last month, creating good vibes and building an audience. Tonight’s bash features the Rich Lewis Band, purveyors of funky good times in their own right, albeit with a New Orleans bent to the music. The bash is in the big room, with plenty of space for dancers.

Thursday, November 28

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Not a lot to do on Thanksgiving night, but if you want something that will appeal across generations, you can’t go wrong with the highly unique, energetic blues, R&B, and jazz of Ms Davina and the highly polished Vagabonds.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Ray J’s Northeast, 500 Central Ave, Minneapolis. 9:30pm Doug’s mournful voice is perfect for the old timey roots music that he prefers. The Getaways include Josh Granowski, Alberto Castro Perez, Jr., and Chris Gray.

Friday, November 29

TAKK @ Juxtaposition Arts’ Moja Gallery, 1108 Broadway, Minneapolis. 7pm, performances at 8pm & 9pm (Free) TAKK is a dance project with video installation that looks at relationships through the lens of sports. There promises to be much interactivity during the dance performances.

Dee Miller Band @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Duchess of the Blues, helping you to dance off the Thanksgiving meal pounds.

The Butanes and the Marbles Acoustic Band @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 after 8pm) The Marbles Acoustic Band, an octet, start things off with their jam-ish versions of 60s and 70s folk-rock. Then The Butanes come on at 9 to take you down blues alley.

Saturday, November 30

MetsaWalkerPosterPaul Metsa & Willie Walker CD Release Party @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm. (No Cover) The other great singer/songwriter to come out of the Iron Range has been playing with soulman Willie Walker for a few years now. The combination of Paul’s sterling guitar playing and Willie’s angelic, yet soulful voice makes for good chemistry and great music. The CD is called Live from Highway 55.

Trashy Little Christmas Show @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s a Christmas Tradition. Trailer Trash begins their annual weekly residency bringing musical mayhem

Black Market Brass, Brass Messengers, and Body Omara @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Looking for some Afrobeat, world brass, and desert blues? You will want to be at the Nomad tonight.

Big George Jackson @ The Schooner, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Big George has a seemingly bottomless voice that is equal parts scary and comforting. Just right for the Delta-inspired blues that he sings. He has a crack band behind him as well. Here he is.

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


Last Chances, New Opportunities. Music: 11.20 – 11.26

November 20, 2013
The lights will soon be on in Saint Paul's downtown parks.

The lights will soon be on in Saint Paul’s downtown parks.

The lights may be going up in Saint Paul’s Rice Park, but the days are dwindling down for the Artists’ Quarter. And so, jazz fans will have limited opportunities to see some of their favorites in the place, at least while it’s under the ownership of Kenny Horst, who should be feted for the time and effort he’s put into making the club such a special place. Things are moving nicely in Blues and Roots music, though there seems to be an emphasis on roots this week, at least from my perspective, with a couple of events that surely qualify as “Other.” All in all, this week there are many great opportunities for you to hear live music.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 20

Miguel Hurtado & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Hurtado’s friends often include Brian Courage, bass; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Joe Strachan, on piano, who he’s been hangin’ with of late, but who really knows? Doesn’t matter, it will be an evening of invigorating jazz.

Maud Hixson and Robert Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm. (No cover) After singing with the Wolverines Trio earlier in the evening at Hell’s Kitchen, Ms Hixson will be making her way to Barbette to sing with guitarist Bell. The late night happy-hour vibe is just right for Hixson’s smoldering, yet cool takes on standards, old and new.

Thursday, November 21

Phil Mattson Singers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocal jazz from a sextet directed by Grammy nominatied pianist Phil Mattson, who has done arrangements for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and other notable singing groups.

Pete and some of the X-Tet.  Photo by Andrea Canter

Pete and some of the X-Tet. Photo by Andrea Canter

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) I believe this is the last appearance of the X-Tet before the closing of the AQ on December 31. To paraphrase the title of an old Count Basie album, it’s Ten Men Swinging, which flows better than the reality of eight men and two women swinging. The two women are Laura Caviani, piano; and Kathy Jensen, baritone sax.

Friday, November 22

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10pm. With Chris Lomheim, piano, Brian Courage, bass. Intimate songs in an intimate setting. Vicky is an experienced singer who knows her way around a scatted melody, and isn’t afraid to include some non-standards in her repertoire.

Friday, Saturday, November 22, 23

UnknownLulu’s Playground @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) As we head towards the end of the year, artists will have their last chance to play the AQ. Lulu’s Playground, the accordion – cello -guitar – trumpet group is going out with a CD Release Party for The Side Show Suite, a collection of 17 short pieces based on 17 Side Show Characters created by artist Tim Nyberg. Part of the show will include the kind of verbal come-ons you hear from a carnival barker. It’s Chamber Jazz with an healthy dose of humor.

Saturday, November 23

Linda Peterson @ School II Bistro, Chanhassen. 5:30 – 8pm ($?) Since the passing of her mom, the Matriarch of the musical Peterson clan, Linda has been living in the Twin Cities. This evening, West Metro residents have a chance to hear Linda sing and play piano. I’m sure she’ll sing her well known composition, “It’s Too Late to Leave Early,” as well as other originals and standards.

Tuesday, November 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Meckler keeps churning out new music for this aggregation. The AQ is a fine setting for this 17 piece band. Here they are playing in Rice Park last summer.

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, November 20

Jon Rodine on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rodine sings Americana music, though his definition of Americana embraces a big tent with rock n’ roll, country soul, and a bit of funky grooves. His latest album with just original music is getting some nice print.

Thursday, November 21

imagesAmy Helm @ The Real-Phonic Hour, Central Library, 4th & Market, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) With Martha Scanlan, Erik Koskinen & the Real-Phonic Band, comedian Thom Middlebrook. Singer Helm was last seen here with her dad, the late Levon Helm. She impressed mightily at the time, and was a real asset to the show. Martha Scanlan will open, and the Real -Phonic band will entertain, as usual.

Papa John Kostad’s Acoustic Blues @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) Papa John will be joined Cal Hand on dobro, and by Judy Larson for a song or two. These Acoustic Blues Nights are a chance for Papa John to concentrate on the blues, and on his twelve-string. Be sure to bring an ID if you want adult beverages, which include a wide variety of British beer and some of Scotland’s finest distilled spirits.

Friday, November 22

Sangam @ Sundlin Hall, 1536 Hewitt Ave, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 9:30pm ($25/$20 Students) A musical journey, if you will through both Eastern and Western musical milieus. The evening will begin with performance of both the Indian Carnatic and Western Classical music and conclude with a collaboration among performers, who include Davu Seru, percussion; along with Nirmala Rajasekar, veena; Shri Thanjavur K. Murugabhoopathi, mridangam; and Michelle Kinney, on cello.

American Roots Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30) Four long time musicians combine their considerable talents to explore a wide variety of American music: Folk, Cajun, Gospel, R&B, Rock, Swing and Country. Robert Robinson’s voice can shake a room. Larry Long’s gifted storytelling will bring you into his songs. Tonia Hughes and JD Steele complete the quartet, which will be backed by a first class set of musicians: Cory Wong, guitar; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Johannes Tona, bass; and Michael Bland, drums.

Saturday, November 23

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) Hey la bas. The Dakota may be a bit classy for the insistent, soul shakin’ undulatin’ sounds of zydeco, but leave it to CJ to break down a Minnesotan’s reserve, just as his father did back in the day. Here’s an example of his live show.

Caprice Saxophone Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Now for something completely different. Well, different in that this quartet  will be playing new classical music, an inadequate term, from Minnesota composers Katherine Bergman, Justin E.A. Busch, Ian Cook, and Justin Rubin. The group is composed of sax players Sarah Minette, soprano; Ross Wolf, alto; Katherine Bergman, tenor; and Jessica Martin, baritone.

Tribute to Sue McLean @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Well, this is a gathering of friends of the much loved late concert promoter Sue McLean, as a way to raise funds for her daughter Lily. It’s an all-star gathering, including Patty & Ricky Peterson with Paul Metsa and band. Metsa will be performing his song Jack Ruby. Others appearing include Eric Hutchinson, Soul Asylum, The BoDeans, the X-Boys, Marc Perlman & Tim O’Reagan of the Jayhawks, The Witnesses, Rogue Valley, Molly Maher and Haley Bonar. Phew!

Armadillo Jump @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) The tiny dance floor at Manitou Station is sure to be filled as Armadillo Jump brings their unique combination of blues and jump tunes to the East Metro hot spot.

Daisy Dillman @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Childhood friends who combined four-part country harmonies with a rock drummer and electric fiddle back in 1978, the Dillmans won a couple of Minnesota Music Awards, garnered national airplay,  and then toured the country through the early 80s. They’ve played sporadically since reuniting in 2003. They’ll be a sextet tonight, with the addition of Kenny Wilson on pedal steel, banjo, and dobro.

Unknown-1Sunday, November 24

Benefit for Liz Cummings @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 suggested donation) Cummings is a singer/songwriter/pianist who was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of dementia in August of 2012, so members of the blues community are coming together to support her. Scheduled to appear: Willie Walker & Paul Metsa; High and Mighty, Prophets of Peace, Maurice Jacox & Friends, Who Nu, and the Dee Miller Band.

 

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


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