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.


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.


Music Matters: 5.29 – 6.4

May 29, 2013

imagesNot many visiting artists in this week’s preview. But then, many of our resident artists are visiting artists elsewhere, known throughout the country, and even internationally. We have a deep pool of talent in this region. It has often been said that music creates community, and that it can move and uplift our souls. I hope that is true for you. Have a good week.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 29

The cover of Maud's new CD.

The cover of Maud’s new CD.

Maud Hixson CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Hixson is a singer with a voice that is cool, but certainly not detached, and inviting, but proper. Her new album, Don’t Let A Good Thing Get Away, is full of tunes composed by Mickey Leonard, best known for ‘I’m All Smiles” and “Why Did I Choose You.” Leonard, who is still working, has partnered with a number of lyricists over the course of his life to create little gems of melody and storytelling, including a couple that haven’t been recorded before this venture. You can hear my phone interview with Maud, as well as a couple of tunes from the album, in the archive for my show on May 25. The interview starts at about 15 minutes into the program.

Phil Mattson Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Pianist Mattson is a choral music maestro, arranger, and conductor who has arranged for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and others. He has been a busy guy since locating to the area, what with teaching at MacPhail, leading the Phil Mattson Singers, recording with Dorothy Doring, and accompanying a number of Twin Cities singers. Tonight he brings a new project to the fore, with a team of veteran players including Dale Mendenhall on sax; Tom Lewis on bass; and Nathan Norman on drums. They’ll be playing old and new standards.

Thursday, May 30

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Ten musicians, young, old, male and female, professionals all, playing bracing music, much of it written especially for the group by its members.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 31, June 1, June 2

Happy Apple @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm, Fri, Sat; 8pm Sun. ($15) Count this trio among the coterie of relatively young artists from the area who group up with rock n’ roll, then discovered Coltrane, Mingus, and Ornette Coleman, among others. Dave King, drums; Mike Lewis, sax; and Eric Fratzke, electric bass; play with intensity, originality, and power, yet they can caress a ballad as well. They’ve been playing together since 1996, have an international following, and have received raves in the New York Times.  Here they are, playing at Lawrence University last year.

Friday, May 31

Irv Williams & Peter Schimke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (free) Start your weekend with some lovely music from 93 year old saxophonist Williams, and his piano partner Schimke, who is decades younger.

Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) After giving birth to a baby boy, Miller is back singing, giving out sass where sass is due.

Kevin Washington Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($5) With teachers like Max Roach and Roy Brooks, and travels to Latin countries to learn their rhythms, Washington is a drummer to be reckoned with. He teaches at McNally Smith and Walker West Academy, and plays with Nachito Herrera and Bruce Henry. I’m not sure who he’ll have with him, but given the quality of past shows and performances, this show is an excellent way to end an evening.

Monday, June 3

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Let’s hope the weather finally clears up for this outdoor concert by an 17 piece band. Meckler is a trumpet-player about town who has been arranging his own compositions (mostly) for this young big band. The band may be a traditionally sized big band, but Meckler’s orchestrations are influenced by modern composers such as Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmyer. Bring your brown bag lunch or get something from a nearby food truck and enjoy the big sounds of this band.

Will Kjeer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Will is still in high school, yet he’s a giant talent on the piano, as he has shown when performing with the Dakota Combo. At their annual concert, Will took a Chick Corea tune and created an imaginative arrangement for the 8 piece band. He’ll be joined by the Jazz Central stalwarts tonight.  Even if you aren’t planning on attending tonight, check out this video of the Dakota Combo playing Will’s arrangement. Will has a fine solo starting at about 4:30 minutes.

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, May 19

Andra Suchy & Spare Change on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm hour (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Red House recording artist Andra Suchy is an Americana/Twang/folk singer/songwriter. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion and on recordings with artists ranging from mandolinist Peter Ostroushko to blues rocker Jonny Lang.

Thursday, May 30

Unknown-1Trio Bossa Nova & Friends @ The Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (tip jar) An evening of Bossa Novas and Sambas with Brazilian artists Joyce Perez, Natania Kamin, and Josue Alfaro. They’ll be joined by guitarist Pavel Jany and bassist Dan Weston.

Scottie Miller Band @ Washington Square Bar & Grill, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No cover) Pianist Miller was touring as a member of Bo Diddley’s band when he met popular singer/songwriter Ruthie Foster, with whom he now regularly tours. He’s got his own band and his own recordings, on which he exhibits his Professor Longhair-meets-Bruce Springsteen style of playing. Here’s a chance to see him in an intimate setting.

Saturday, June 1

Rum Cullies Brunch @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11AM – 1PM (No Cover) Here’s a trio of Twin Cities musicians playing old time string band music for your brunch. Matt Neil, fiddle, Liz Draper, bass, and Adam Kiesling, guitar play slow waltzes, fast fiddle tunes, and everything in between.

Lonesome Dan Case; Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Lonesome Dan); 4:30pm (Nikki) Lonesome Dan plays Guitar Rags, Hollers, and Blues, including originals that sound like they were written in the 1930s as well as knowing interpretations of songs from that time. Nikki & the Rue-Mates use the psychedelic sounds of the late 60s as inspiration for the folk-a-delic gems given life by Nikki’s crystaline voice.

Sunday, June 2

Mother Banjo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Bluegrass at the tony Dakota? Well, Yeah! Throw in a little gospel, a bunch of originals, and some folky tunes, and you’ve got Mother Banjo a group led by Ellen Stanley, who knows her way around a banjo.

Monday, June 3

Cactus Blossoms @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 6pm door, 7pm music ($5) The Blossoms play country music that’s as natural as it comes, that is, the kind of traditional C&W that you heard before Nashville started “countrypolitan” music and then moved to being mostly rock n’ roll with a steel guitar. Bring dancing shoes and a partner, or find a partner at the club.

Tuesday, June 4

Chris Mann @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($45 – $35) Mann was a finalist on the second season of The Voice, and his subsequent album, Roads, went to the top of both the pop and classical charts. He’s been on the Today Show, Jay Leno, Conan, and has had his own PBS Special. Here’s your chance to see him up close and personal.

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.


New Jazz, World Music and more for 9.12 – 9.18

September 12, 2012

Where to find some music.

In the  coming week we can look forward to a new release by the in-demand bassist Chris Bates and his three-horn group, as well as visits from some established artists from across the country and around the world.  Not to forget the work of Twin Cities area artists as well.

Jazz

Wednesday, September 12

Lulu’s Playground @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) I’m excited to see this band, making their debut at the AQ tonight. Adam Meckler on trumpet, Evan Montgomery on guitar, Cory Grossman on cello, and Steven Hobert on accordion. They’re all terrific jazz players, but are comfortable in pop, rock, and even salsa. It’s an intriguing combination, made doubly so by the fact that all four have been playing together since college. Here they are doing a Dave Douglas tune.

Rhonda Laurie Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Rhonda has been playing a number of events outside the metro area, bringing her show about the Uplifting Songs of the Greatest Generation to the suburbs and rural areas, where she’s been warmly welcomed. No wonder. She gets inside the songs, and delivers them with enough swing to jog long ago memories and create new ones for younger listeners. Always worth your while. Plus, Barbette has great happy hour deals for weekday late nights.

Thursday, September 13

Lee Engele & Reynold Philipsek @ Centennial Lakes Farmers Market, 75th & France, Edina. 4pm – 6pm. (Free) Here’s a late afternoon treat for those of you living or working in the inner ring suburbs south of Minneapolis. vocalist Lee and guitarist Reynold are regular performing partners, with the ability to anticipate each other’s musical moves and the experience to make everything swing.

Black Heralds @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A relatively new group on the scene, with Sten Johnson, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, keys; Andy Schuster, bass; and Jay Augspurger on drums. Original music that melds 21st Century grooves and 20th Century influences.

Jack Brass Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm. ($5) Sure, it’s a late night gig on a school night, but if you’ve the energy to make it there, you’ll be energized for the ride home. JBB‘s ability to encompass the musical traditions of early jazz (no charts, improvised arrangements and singing) as well as modern era R&B (M. Gaye and R. Kelly) are the result of hard work and lots of talent.

Friday, September 14

Steven Hobert & Brian Courage @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (free) Though the ambient noise is quite loud during the dinner hour, this is a chance to see and appreciate Hobert’s thoughtful, inventive piano playing. He’s been playing with a wide variety of groups, and is always a positive contributor to whatever aggregation he’s in. I have to admit I don’t know bassist Brian Courage, but given Hobert’s taste, I’m sure the music will take flight. Just be sure to get a table near the stage.

Friday, Saturday, September 14, 15

Chris Bates Red 5 CD Release @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Then name of the CD is New Hope and the music is original, mostly penned by by bassist Chris Bates. The group features three horns: Zack Lozier, trumpet; Chris Thomson tenor and soprano sax; Brandon Wozniak, tenor and alto sax. Brother JT on drums rounds out the group. You’ll note there is no piano and no guitar. You can hear a couple of the tunes and my interview with Chris here. The music and interview start at about 20 minutes into the show.

Saturday, September 15

Mike Salovich Trio @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6-9pm (no cover) World beat guitarist Mike Salovich is joined by Marc Anderson, percussion, and Larry McDonough on piano performing some of Salovich’s originals and more.

Certain Standards: Arne Fogel & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz @ St. Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) If you were lucky enough to be listening to KBEM at about 8:30am during the past year, your day was made brighter by a segment that featured Minnesota singers performing classic standards. Fogel conceived and produced the segments which included background on each song, while pianist Tanner Taylor provided subtle, knowing accompaniment. Tonight, Fogel will be singing those songs himself, and really, is there any other male vocalist in town that can deliver the same mix of romance and ruefulness.

Dan Musselman Trio @ Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (free) With Zach Schmidt and Andrew Foreman. Musselman is a talented, melodic pianist with an album in his own name and another with vocalist Rachel Holder. He also plays and records with Cory Wong, teaches at MacNally Smith, and is working on a doctorate in composition. Talented, indeed.

Tuesday, September 18

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm. (Suggested donation – $7) There’s been a change of plan, and Adam’s Orchestra, which usually plays the last Tuesday of the month, is playing tonight since he’ll be on the road. The talented trumpet player has been busy writing original compositions and charts for a band that’s about 18 members strong and includes a number of talented young artists. Jazz Central is located across the street from the Aveda Institute on Central, NE. Look for the glass doors at 407 Central, walk down the hall and turn left down some stairs. BYOB. To hear what they sound like, go here.

More jazz listings for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. It also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 12

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – tip jar) It is said that Crankshaft‘s approach to the blues and roots music wouldn’t be possible before punk music came along. That may be right, but don’t let the idea keep you from checking out this high-energy one-man band. You probably know the drill: tune in to KFAI during the 5:00 hour and listen, then head on down to the 331 Club to get a full blast of Crankshaft’s music.

Friday, September 14

Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm. Freshly brewed beer and freshly written tunes. It’s a 21st century version of classic blues along with a touch of folk-rock. A winning combination.

Friday, Saturday, September 14, 15

Joan Osborne @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45/$40) Inspired by Etta James and Tina Turner, Osborne has gone way past her 90s hit “(What if God Was) One of Us,” to embrace soul and R&B. She can burn through the Slim Harpo hit, “Shake Your Hips,” and turn around and kill “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.” Should be an evening of foot stomping and hand clapping, at the very least.

Saturday, September 15

Cactus Blossoms @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($?) Classic country. Fiddle, acoustic guitars, and pedal steel. I’m talking the kind of stuff that made it to the pop charts in the 50s and 60s, with unforgettable brotherly harmonies (think of the Louvins, Delmores, or the Everlys), done up to encourage dancing. The Eagles Club features cheap drinks, just the thing for crying in your beer songs, and ruminations on modern life. For a review of their album from No Depression, click here.

Uke-Fest 2012 @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Well the ukelele keeps popping up in pop and folk music. It’s even got a superstar in Jake Shmabukuro, who’s appeared at both The Dakota and The Cedar Cultural Center. While he won’t be at the Aster tonight, a half-dozen or so players will be in attendance, including Katy Vernon, Kim Sueoka, Savanna Smith, the Meteor Boys, and the Broken Bicycles.

Sunday, September 16

Faux Playboys w/guest Eric Mohring @ The Half Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm. ($8) Show up by 7:30 and get a free lesson in Cajun dancing. The Playboys play all sorts of Louisiana music, but given that they have fiddler Mohring with them, I am sure that they’ll concentrate on Cajun and Zydeco tonight.

Saturday, Sunday, September 15,16

Namaste! Slalnte! @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm Sat, 2:30pm Sun ($15)  Here’s an intriguing change of pace. A concert of original music influenced by the Indian and Irish Traditions with Michelle Kinney (cello), Nirmala Rajasekar (veena), Thanjavur Murugaboopathi (Mridangam Drums), Graham O. Brien (Drums).

Tuesday, September 18

International Reggae All-Stars @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) Thought all reggae was the same? Check out this band. Its members hail from Trinidad, Ghana, Venezuela, and Jamaica. With Lival Jackson on vocals, and Tony Paul on percussion, the All-Stars deliver a wide range of reggae, from roots, to lovers rock and dance hall. Hear their songs on their MySpace page.

JPP & Trio Brasileiro @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) The Cedar kicks off it Global Roots Festival with a Finnish fiddle group and a Brazilian trio. Both heavily rely on strings: JPP has been playing their “Wave of Fiddles” for 30 years, and are on their 11th tour of the US. Trio Brasileiro is an acoustic group playing choro and other Brazilian music.

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.


It’s Officially Summer. Music for 6.20 – 6.26

June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice is upon us. Heat is upon us. Rains are upon us. And we have a new music venue in town. The Icehouse in the Whittier neighborhood is presenting jazz late night on Mondays, and from 8:30 – 10:30 weekends. Other nights feature soul & funk deejays, and acoustic, rootsy music. Around the corner, The Eat Street Social is beginning to have afternoon music on Saturdays. We have some stellar artists performing this week. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is next week. Life is good.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 20

Off the Map @ The Clown Lounge. Photo by Howard Gittelson

Off The Map @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm. (Tip jar) Brandon Wozniak, alto; Bryan Nichols, keyboards; and Jay Epstein, drums. This bass-less trio used to perform more often, but each of them is so busy with other projects that this is a rare appearance.

Maude Hixson and French 75 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Maude and her sextet perform “foreign-born offerings from 20th Century songwriters.” Maude’s cool, inviting voice is the perfect vehicle for evoking smoky clubs with a distingue clientele.

Friday, June 22

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric and Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Ritz Theater, NE Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This is a CD Release Party for A Love Electric’s 2nd CD on Royal Potato Records. The Adam Meckler Orchestra is proving to be an exciting aggregation, playing Meckler’s original compositions and premiering his arrangement of one of Clouser’s tunes.

Jeremy Boettcher and Phil Aaron @ The Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Boettcher is a young, up and coming bassist. Aaron is a seasoned piano player with exquisite taste. The Icehouse is a new restaurant/music venue.

Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) This group was originally put together for the celebration of drummer King’s music at the Walker a couple of years ago. They’ve proven to be popular enough to play and tour regularly, adding another component to King’s plethora of groups. Erik Fratzke, guitar; Adam Linz, bass, Brandon Wozniak and Chris Speed, saxes.

Saturday, June 23

Linda Peterson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Another talented member of the Peterson clan, Linda is an accomplished composer and pianist with slightly smoky vocals.

Monday, June 25

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 & 11:30 ($5) Wow, it’s been a long time since Mike Lewis, sax; Adam Linz, bass; and JT Bates, drums, performed at the Clown Lounge. This time around they’re playing a venue with a wide variety of drinks and an appealing bar menu. If you’ve never seen FKW, expect adventurous forays into originals and jazz standards. For a review of a NYC appearance of a few years ago, click here.

Tuesday, June 26

Clouser & Buckley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:00pm (No Cover) Todd Clouser is the inventive guitarist who has been touring both nationally and internationally with his band A Love Electric. James Buckley plays bass in a number of aggregations, including some whose music strays far from jazz. If you’re going for music, get there early to find a seat at the bar. If you want to eat at this popular neighborhood bistro, make sure to get reservations and ask to be near the music.

Emily Singin’ for Swing Dancers

Emily Green @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Green is a nuanced vocalist with an easy way with swing. Just right for the couples that come out to dance at this coffeehouse. Hear examples of Emiy’s singing on her myspace page.

Magraw, Nichols, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The AQ continues to find new combinations of musicians. This time the “house rhythm section” of Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums; is joined by guitarmaster Dean Magraw and ever-busy pianist Bryan Nichols.

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, June 20

Dustin Hatzenbuhler @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (free) Hatzenbuhler goes for the nerdy look, which you’ll forget once he starts singing, as he has a soulful voice and is a good songwriter, with a penchant for covers of Marvin Gaye and Adele, among others.

Cactus Blossoms on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – tip Jar). With their brotherly harmonies (think of the Everlys or the Delmore Brothers), and ability to write country tunes that sound 60 years old, I’m thinking the patrons at the 331 may do some waltzes and two steps among the tables. You may dance at home as well when they play live on KFAI (90.3 & 106.7FM).

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($15) Watson is a huge honky-tonk hero in Europe and pockets of the US, deplores the current state of country music, and loves Lee’s enough to have written a song about the place. Rachael and the Ranch Hand Resistance open, with dance lessons at 8pm. Here’s an example of his honky-tonk/Bakersfield country music.

Thursday, June 21
Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) 9pm ($30) With the recent passing of “Duck” Dunn, we won’t be seeing Booker T with the MGs anymore. Nevertheless, Jones is an architect of American soul music, and has released two well-received solo projects in recent years, collaborating first with the Drive-By Truckers ( Grammy winner), and then with the Roots band. A genuine, soulful force on the Hammond B-3.

Friday, June 22

Old Californio and Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($6) Old Californio is a Pasadena quintet with a sound that evokes a number of country-rock, slightly psychedelicized bands, from the New Riders of the Purple Sage, to Canned Heat and the Byrds. Yet their recent release, Sundrunk Angels, shows they’re more than throwbacks. They’ll appeal to today’s young audience for Americana and roots as well as to those of a certain age. Steve Kaul and the boys (correction: they’ve added fiddler Jillian Rae) explore Americana in highly unexpected ways, weaving jug band music into ragas and back again.

617 Band @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) A versatile quintet of seasoned musicians that have fun playing originals and dance tunes from a variety of genres – Latin, Rock, R&B, and more. They’ve got the grooves that will free any aversion to dancing.

Sunday, June 24

Henry’s Funeral Shoe @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This UK brothers act plays blues that’s been re-filtered through the Who and The Clash, among others. One of their songs is featured in a funny commercial from Fiat. Reservations: 651-955-6337

Saturday, June 23

Hootenanny VI @ Tuttles, 107 Shady Oak Rd, Hopkins. 2pm – 2AM. ($15 Suggested donation) A benefit for the wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, an organization that provides homes for wild animals that had previously been held as pets. It’s not a zoo, but a place where wild cats can live out their days. It’s a day filled with Americana, Bluegrass, and jamgrass stylings. String Theory starts the proceedings at 2pm. Other bands include: Shotgun Ragtime Band  (A Grateful Dead tribute band), Brady Perl, Boys N’ the Barrels, Moss Piglets, and Drew Peterson, among others.

Sunday, June 24

Havana Hi-Fi @ the Aster Cafe, St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The Aster has a tiny dance floor, but the joyous sensuous Latin sound of this group will undoubtedly move listeners to squeeze into the space. Don’t dance? Then simply enjoy the food, wine and tea list, and view of DT Minneapolis across the river.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 26, 27

Les Nubians @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) This sister act from Paris sings pan-global music in a variety of languages, both aural and musical. Expect elements of Afrobeat, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, soul, and hip-hop. Here’s a video.

Wednesday, June 27

Mother Banjo @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (free) Early warning for this untraditional traditionalist.

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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