Seems there are quite a few female vocalists – jazz, roots, & rockers – in this week’s selection of mostly under-the-radar gigs. Then we have some up and coming artists, as well as a couple of veteran performers. Plus there are a few gigs outside the core downtowns of these Twin Cities. All of which makes for a wonderful week of music.
Wednesday, July 31
Anthony Cox’s Happy Spirits Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Cox has gathered Peter Schimke, piano; Kevin Washington, drums; and Solomon Parham, trumpet, to create modern, post bop jazz. They cooked at the recent Jeremy Walker benefit, laying down complex rhythms and melodies that swung.
Opus @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This Milwaukee group has been together for 35 years, playing both straight ahead jazz and their own brand of fusion. They’ve played with the Milwaukee Symphony and won a WAMI, for Wisconsin’s best jazz group.
Thursday, August 1
Jana Nyberg Group Tour Kick-Off @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Jana and the guys have some new tunes under their belts and they’re ready for their annual tour to Door County and Eastern Wisconsin, where they’ll be playing a festival in Appleton. Jana is a fun vocalist, and whether she’s singing originals, standards, or new interpretations of recent pop fare, she’ll have you thinking about songs in a new light.
Young Lions Night, Part 1 @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Anyone who thinks jazz is dead is not aware of the steady growth of young players in this area. Thanks to the folks at Jazz Police, the monthly Young Artists series continues at the AQ, tonight featuring Joe Suihkonen, trumpet; Sam Wildenauer, bass; and Ermerson Hunton, drums. All three are recent grads of South High in Minneapolis. Suikhonen and Hunton have just completed their first year at Oberlin Conservatory. Wildenauer has been working as a free-lance bassist and playing free jazz.
Young Lions Night, Part 2 @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Stick around for a slightly older generation of musicians, as Miguel Hurtado, drums; Javier Santiago, piano; and James Buckley, bass, take the stage. Hurtado and Santiago have been playing in various groups for years now. As far as I know, this is the first time they’re featured with Buckley, the old man of the group. He has been playing professionally in the Twin Cities since 1999, and was profiled in City Pages in 2009.
Friday, August 2
Connie Olson & Marie Louise Knutson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Ms Olson has sung with the Peter Duchin Big Band, and musicians from the bands of Prince, Madonna, and Brian Setzer, and you have undoubtedly heard her on any number of commercials. Tonight, she’s singing with the wonderful pianist Mary Louise Knutson, who has her own impressive list of credits, including numerous stints with Doc Severinsen, in the lounge area of Parma 8200, a D’Amico restaurant in an office tower. It’s quite a nice little spot.
Vicky Mountain @ Kelly Park, 6855 Fortino Street, Apple Valley. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Summer certainly brings out music in the parks, in the suburbs as well as in the core cities. Tonight, vocalist Vicky Mountain is joined by James Allen, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. Food and drink are available for sale and there will be some give-aways as well.
Saturday, August 3
Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Whether you’re dining at the Kitchen, or looking for a cocktail before heading out on the town, Ms Miller will provide a sophisticated soundtrack for an early evening rendezvous. Her singing will make your Martinis seem drier and your Cosmos seem sweeter.
Horst, Whitman, Hagedorn, and Bates @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Kenny Horst continues to find ways to bring together new combinations of musicians. Pete Whitman, sax; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes; have played together in Pete’s X-Tet, and Chris Bates, bass; has played with Kenny before, but I think this is a first time for this combination. Given the melodic strengths of Whitman and Hagedorn, and the rhythmic strengths of Horst and Bates, this should be a night of great music.
Linda and Patty Peterson @ The Ivy Hotel, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The siblings of Minnesota’s first family of music sing alone and together, while Linda tickles the ivories at this new, cozy destination for Saturday Night Jazz.
Saturday, Sunday, August 3, 4
Aakash Mittal CD Release Party @ Dakota Late Night, and The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11:30pm (Saturday, Dakota – $5), and 7pm (Sunday, The Icehouse – $7) Two opportunities to see Mittal, an alto saxophonist from Denver who is exploring new territory in jazz by incorporating elements of music from India, his parent’s birthplace. The results are imaginative and energizing, key ingredients in jazz, as seen in this video.
Monday, August 5
Minnesota Jazz All Stars @ The Old Log Theater, Greenwood. 7:30pm ($24) Here’s a chance for those in the western burbs to hear some of the best jazz Minnesota has to offer in their own back yard. This group of veterans includes Cliff Brunsell, violin; Tanner Taylor, piano; Irv Williams and Dave Karr, on saxes; Clyde Anderson, bass; Reuben Ristrom, guitar; and Mac Santiago, drums. Charmin Michelle is the guest vocalist. Nuff said.
More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.
Blues, Roots, Other
Wednesday, July 31
Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Ahh, Berets and Bongos, Musette music and a bit of swing. If the accordion is a natural instrument in a land of Scandinavians and Germans, then credit Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton with showing us it’s possibilities in a variety of genres, from blues to cajun/zydeco, to rock n’ roll and swing. This noontime performance is sure to rejuvenate you for an afternoon of work. Bring a lunch or get one at the Center’s cafe.
Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($5) Do some swing dancing on a great dance floor as Radio Joe lays down classic boogie woogie, the occasional Sinatra-type swing number, and then hug your honey as he sings and plays I Only Have Eyes for You. You can also catch him on Friday at the Minnehaha Falls Pavillion (7:30) where the dancing is a bit harder on dirt and grass.
Thursday, August 1 – Sunday, August 11
Minnesota Fringe Festival @ various venues around town. (Times, $, Varies) Normally, I wouldn’t write about something so large, but there are a few shows here that are worth noting: Standing on the Hollow features music by flutist Julie Johnson and dance by Tamara Ober; five appearances @ Intermedia Arts. Bump in the Night, written by bluegrass comedienne Courtney McLean, features dancing and adult language; five appearances @ U of M Rarig Auditorium. The Education of Murray Sanderson @ Theater in the Round is a comedy about four parents stuck in parent/teacher conferences. Naturally, there’s much, much more. Check out the Fringe Festival website for a complete schedule and rundown of performances.
Javier & the Innocent Sons, featuring Hurricane Harold @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No Cover) If we had out-of-the-way roadhouses, or back alley joints in the Twin Cities, Javier & the guys would be the perfect house band, with their clean, swinging blues, and the potent guitars of Javier Matos and Dan Scwalbe. They’ll be joined tonight by harpmaster Hurricane Harold, whose playing adds new spice to an already hot recipe for fun.
Friday, August 2
Reina del Cid & the Cidizens @ 318 Cafe, Excelsior, 8pm ($6) Reina del Cid is more than a singer/songwriter, she’s a storyteller whose tales of heartbreak and social ills seem the product of someone who is way older than 24. If you’re of a similar age and have any thoughts of writing songs, listening to Reina will cause you to either change professions, or double down on your efforts. The Cidizens, her backing band, are coming into their own as well. Here they are doing a Van Morrison song.
Dee Miller Band featuring Jimi “PrimeTime” Smith @ School II Bistro, Chanhassen. 8pm – 11pm. ($7) Head further south and a bit to the west to this wine bar in a shopping center to hear the Duchess of the Blues. Miller sings with the authority of a woman that won’t brook any BS. Smith plays guitar to match.
The Meadows @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 9 -11pm (Tip Jar) Together, Pete Linman, Wendy Lewis, andJeff Waryan, have played and performed with a number of bands over the years, ranging from North Equator Nine, to the Bad Plus, to Curtiss A. Now, they’re playing together, and the results are folkish, noirish, and darkish, and delish.
Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) When people say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, they are thinking of someone like Allison, the guitar slinging progeny of Luther Allison. Like his dad, he plays the blues with rock n’ roll energy, but without blues-rock excess. David Z produced his 2011 album the Otherside, and managed to bring in a contemporary sound while displaying Allison’s stinging guitar and R&B vocals.
Saturday, August 3
Papa John & the Cool Club of East Lake @ St Anthony Village Beer Garden, 35th & Silver Lake Road, Saint Anthony Village. 4pm – 7pm. (Free) Papa John will have the usual suspects on hand: Sam on trumpet, Deano on guitar, and Bill Grenke on bass. Outdoors at a beer garden. Sounds great. And if you don’t catch them there, check out Merlins on East Lake, from 8:30pm – 12:30am.
Silvertones @ Kenny SummerFest, Kenny Park, 1328 58th St, W, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 9:00pm (Free) It’s a neighborhood festival in southwest Minneapolis, with sno-cones, mini-donuts, and other foods, a car show from 5-7pm, and bike and stroller parade, and fun for the whole family. Opening, from 5:15 – 6:15 are Dynamaxium & the Cosmic Troubadors. Then come the Silvertones, whose cover tunes will entertain moms and dads of all ages.
The Eddies @ Cafe Amore, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm. A rare chance to catch the almost-acapella purveyors of sea shanties and work songs in their natural habitat – Saint Paul’s WestSide neighborhood (I know, I know, it’s South of downtown – just let it go). Head up the High Bridge to Smith and Anapolis, where they are performing as part of “Art on the Avenue” a neighborhood art crawl.
Eilen Jewel @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) The Queen of the Minor Key uses rockabilly, alt-country, and folk as starting points for slyly written tunes that will have you bouncing in your seat, if not stompin’ on the non-existent dance floor of the Dakota. Here she is singing the song that earned her that nickname.
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.