Festival Season Takes Hold: 6.17 – 6.23

June 17, 2015
Maybe you'll see a car like this around the Twin Cities this weekend

Maybe you’ll see a car like this around town this weekend

It’s Fathers Day weekend, with the Stone Arch Festival taking place on and Saturday and Sunday, including a car show and four stages of music each day. And it’s the Annual Back To The 50s Car Show at the State Fairgrounds.  Though the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place next weekend, we’re already seeing some pre-festival events around Saint Paul. All in all, it’s a good week for music, and music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 17

The trio at work/play

The trio at work/play

Chris Bates good Vibes Trio @ Hamline Library, 1558 Minnehaha Ave, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (Free) The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is producing a number of pre-festival warm-up events, including this one, in which you’ll get to see a highly developed trio of musicians having fun as they play. Besides Bates on bass, there is Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums.

Pete Whitman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxman Whitman is a veteran of numerous sideman gigs with artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney to Dave Stryker and Jack McDuff. He’s also led a few excellent groups such as the X-Tet. He’ll be joined tonight by Chris Lomheim, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, June 18

Minnesota Jazz Orchestra @ Rock Island Swing Bridge, Inver Grove Heights. 6pm – 9pm (Free) You can catch this band once a month at the Wabasha Caves, but tonight they’re playing a swing dance for a swing bridge, as the Rock Island Swing Bridge is being dedicated as part of a trail.

Bob Fantuzzo & Katia Cardenas @ The Kingfield Porchfest, 4515 1st Ave So. Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Both amateur and professional musicians who live in the Kingfield neighborhood will be featured on the porches of over 20 homes, allowing residents and visitors to roam the neighborhood and hear music. Most of the other artists come from genres other than jazz.

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($32 – $37) Liebert is credited with creating the Nouveau Flamenco style of guitar, incorporating traditional flamenco music into a modern context, creating a smooth, sensual sound in the process. Since his debut release in 1989 he’s released 25 albums, received five Grammy nominations, and reached 38 gold or platinum levels of sales here in the United States, not to mention sales around the world.

Friday, June 19

Bill Frisell Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) There are few, if any, electric guitarists who are as eclectic and successful in their recording and playing as Frisell  He’s worked in mainstream and experimental jazz, as well as folk, classical, Brazilian, soundtrack, and pop realmsd. Whether doing covers of John Lennon tunes, playing with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, or recording old country tunes, Frisell brings imagination and an instantly recognizable sound to the fore. His latest CD, Guitar in the Space Age, celebrates the twangy, reverberating sounds of songs from the late 50s and early 60s. Tonight he’ll be playing with a different group than in previous visits: Tony Scher, bass; and Rudy Royston, drums.

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pemberton is a triple threat: composer, pianist, and trumpet player. And, he’s excellent in all three roles. He’ll be joined by two other excellent musicians: Matt Peterson on bass, and Corey Healey on drums. Here he is at the piano with a different trio.

Dakota Combo and Dean Granros’ Tall Tales @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Eight very talented high school musicians who have been studying with Adam Linz, in one of their last performances for the year. (They’ll also be at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and the Iowa City Jazz Festival.) If you ever hear anyone say jazz is dead, point them to the excitement that these young players generate. Stick around at 9pm for some veterans: Dean Granros and Zacc Harris, guitars; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Steve Hobert & Steve Pikal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s two Steve’s swingin’ as Hobert (keys) and Pikal (bass) take to the stage. The two have worked together in the Zack Lozier Three, and go together as easily as red beans and rice.

Saturday, June 20

Adam Meckler Quintet @ Episcopal Homes, 1850 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 1:30pm – 3:30pm (Free) Here’s a pre-festival event featuring trumpeter Meckle  and his group performing Meckler originals. He’s joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Doug Haining’s Twin Cities 7 @ Episcopal Homes, 1850 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) The fun continues at Episcopal Homes as saxophonist Doug Haining brings his swinging septet to the stage. I’m sure that residents of the Homes willing be happily tapping their feet, and if they aren’t actually dancing, they’ll be dancing in their heads.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (tip Jar) Featuring John Penny & Jay Epstein (7pm) and the Phil Hey Quartet at 9pm.  Tonight, the weekly jazz performance starts out with the bound to be satisfying duo of Penny on guitar and Epstein on drums. Then Phil Hey and his quartet take the stage to perform flawless interpretations of jazz standards by the likes of Chick Corea and Ornette Coleman. Besides Hey on drums the quartet includes Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron on piano. They’ve been working together many, many years, and it shows.

Sunday, June 21

Francisco Mela Trio @ The Downtown Central Library, Saint Paul. 2pm – 4pm (Free) Mela is the relatively young drummer/percussionist who is serving as the Musical Director for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He’s toured and/or recorded with the like of Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron, and McCoy Tyner. Mela’s debut CD was called one of the best albums of the year in 2006 by All About Jazz, and was picked as the best debut by the Village Voice.

Monday, June 22

Sarah M Greer & BLU-7 @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No cover) Greer is a versatile vocalist who is particularly adept at improvisational singing. She leads a regular vocal workshop in spontaneous singing called Songtaneous, and has appeared in a variety of venues around town.

Kurt Elling @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Elling is one of the finest jazz vocalists around, specializing in vocalese as well as scat singing, and bringing new interpretations to a song, whether it’s from Sam Cooke or Charlie Parker. His rich emotive voice has earned him a number of accolades, including the Downbeat Critics Poll 14 years in a row.

Geoff Senn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Senn can be seen around town in a number of bands around town, including the Explosion Big Band, as well as with Steve Kenny. Tonight he stretches out.

Tuesday, June 23

Lila Ammons @ Highland Stage, 730 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul. 7-8:30pm (Free) Another Pre-Festival event, this time in Highland area of Saint Paul, and featuring songstress Ammons, who is equally at home with jazz and blues.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 22, 23

Cecile McLorin Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30) Vocalist Salvant’s career is rising fast. She seems to specialize in unique reinterpretations of long forgotten early jazz tunes. She’s earned high praise from Wynton Marsalis and the NY Times, and has appeared at numerous festivals around the world. Her last appearance at the Dakota was packed with cheering fans.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 17

Mother Banjo Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It seems that Gospel music is coming into its own in a couple of genre bending bands. There are a couple of “garage gospel” groups, and then there is Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo  who plays “pub gospel” on her third CD, The Devil Hasn’t Won. She’s won praise for her songwriting from artists such as John Gorka and Josh Ritter.

The Blasters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($22) Phil Alvin is leading this version of the Blasters without his brother Dave, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a high energy evening of rock n’ roll and rockabilly. There will be a packed house, I’m sure, that will be warmed up by Javier and the Innocent Sons.

Thursday, June 18

Reggae Sunsplash w/The Meditations @ The University Club of Saint Paul, Summit & Ramsey Hill. 5:30pm – 10pm. ($25 door) So we’ve got the Meditations as well as Irie Sol featuring Junior Williams, and a Reggae DJ and Jamaican Buffet ($10), all taking place poolside at the University Club on top of Ramsey Hill in Saint Paul. Advance tickets are available, including a VIP ticket ($55) with a drink and meet and greet. In case of rain, the concert will be held in downtown Saint Paul at the St. Paul Athletic Club.

Hmm, what should I play?

Hmm, what should I play?

Jillian Rae, with Pasadena 68 @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The weekly Music In Mears series is now in its 12th year of presenting bands on Thursday nights. All I know about Pasadena 68 is that it’s a rock n’ roll quartet. I can tell you about Jillian Rae  however, a talented fiddler/vocalist, who isn’t afraid of mixing up pop, rock, and old time music. She’s also a talented writer of original songs. There will be a number of food trucks available, as well as some adult beverages.

Birdstriking @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) This quartet from Beijing China is one of three bands on the bill. They are high energy, fierce rockers, with smart writing and arrangements, and hints of punk and psychedelia in their approach The other two bands for the night are Flavor Crystals and Magic Castles. From the Kitty Kat’s website, it appears that Birdstriking is the middle group, but one can never tell.

Saun and Starr @ The Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Saun and Starr have served as back-up singers to Sharon Jones and are now touring with Sharon and taking side gigs to promote their own new album on Daptone Records. Like Jones, they bring a contemporary perspective to their influence – medium tempo 60s soul. The evening also features Twin Cities own Gospel Machine and Tarik Thornton on the turntables.

Friday, June 19

Sweet Tea @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 10pm ($?) This quintet has been growing its fan base like crazy, as well they should. Lead vocalist Joy Ann has a strong voice, and is backed by an equally strong quartet of deep-rooted veterans led by guitarist Mark Lamoine.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 19, 20, 21

Drop the Mic ! @ Cowles Center, Minneapolis. Friday, Saturday, 7:30pm, Sunday, 2pm ($25) A cross-genre blend of dance, with live music, and DJing. The artists of Curio Dance will perform contemporary, traditional, and classical dance to live jazz trumpet, Latin congas, contemporary piano and a breakbeat DJ.

Saturday, June 20

The Tenderness Sessions @ Pepitos Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. Doors at 7pm, music at 8pm.  ($15 advance/$25 door) Soul music, both sweet and sweaty, as first performed by the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Wilson Picket. And who better to perform such music than resident soulmen Mick Sterling, Maurice Jacox, and Willie Walker. If you purchase tickets at the door, $10 of the price will go to saxophonist Pat Mackin, injured in a car accident last December.

Johnson, Babb, & Paul, with Mary Cutrufello @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($?) It’s hard to get rootsier than this group of artists. Cutrufello rocks out at 9pm, with her tear-in-your-beer story songs and rockin’ guitar, preceded by bluesman Baby Grant Johnson, along with Dave Babb (of the Liquor Pigs), and the sly “mayor of the West Bank,” percussionist Tony Paul as 7pm openers.

Rich Lewis Band @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:30pm (Tip Jar) Boomers and others who appreciate R&B, New Orleans, and Motown music can catch Lewis and his band at one of the best neighborhood bars in the Twin Cities. Get there early for a seat, and bring an ID if you want adult beverages. They’ve got a great selection of beers from Great Britain, Scotch and Irish whiskey, and British food, including Scotch eggs.

Sunday, June 21

Martha Davis & the Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) Here’s a show for Gen Xers and late boomers. The Motels burst on the music scene in 1982 with their LP All Four One, which produced a top ten song in Only The Lonely, and had three other singles reach the charts. The next year they again reached the Top Ten with Suddenly Last SummerMartha Davis has  been touring with various musicians as The Motels since the late 90s. Judging by recent videos, Davis’ voice remains strong, with a rueful tone which goes well with her songs.

Tuesday, June 23

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue @ Cabooze Plaza, Minneapolis. Doors 5:30/show 6:30pm ($35) Perhaps one of the most exciting young R&B musicians you may see in a long time, Trombone Shorty is a dynamic performer who knows how to work a crowd. He got his name as leader of a band at age six! He also plays trumpet and can acknowledge New Orleans jazz history and play contemporary funk and R&B at the same time, which has led to him having the closing show at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Today’s show also features Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hypsters, and the Jack Brass Band.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.


Art and Music: 4.22 – 4.28

April 22, 2015

blog-post-art-and-musicWell it’s Art Crawl Weekend in Saint Paul and Lowertown especially will be crawling with hipsters, would-be hipsters, folks looking for that perfect piece of art to match a sofa, and more. Music lovers will be hopping between the Black Dog, Studio Z, The Bedlam, PUBLIC, and The Hat Trick. There may even be a few more. That’s not to say that you won’t find plenty of music on the west side of the Mississippi, as you can tell from the ideas I’ve put forth below. Have a good week. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 22

Danilo Perez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm($30), 9pm ($20) Perez is one of the premier pianists of his generation, earning accolades from the likes of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, anymore. He’s the founder and artistic director of the Panama jazz Festival in his own country,m and tours with the wonderful rhythm section of Ben Street on bass and Adam Cruz on drums. His 2014 release, Panama 500, celebrates the five hundredth anniversary of the first permanent European settlement in Panama, yet incorporates jazz and classical music, as well as folk music from throughout Latin America.

Lila & Axel

Lila & Axel

Butch Thompson, Axel Zwingenberger & Lila Ammons @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 – $20) It’s an evening of early jazz, classic boogie boogie, and the blues, featuring our own pianist/clarinetist Butch Thompson, boogie boogie pianist Zwingenberger, and internationally acclaimed blues singer Lila Ammons, who is no slouch when it comes to jazz either. Zwingenberger and Ammons have toured Europe extensively for the last eight year.

Thursday, April 23

Fireside Five & Friends @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Five amazing musicians who you would expect to hear in a jumping’ nightclub rather than a wood-paneled coffeehouse (though beer and wine is served). Tom Ashworth, euphonium; Brian Grivna, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Plus, they bring in some very talented friends.

Rhonda Laurie & Phil Mattson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The always-swingin’ smoky-voiced Ms Laurie on vocals and pianoman/arranger Mr. Mattson will be exploring standards and more this evening. Here’s Rhonda with a bit different accompaniment.

Cartwright-Kinney-Lewis-Evans @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Michelle Kinney, cello; Michael Lewis, sax; George Cartwright, sax; Elaine Evans, pocket Trumpet. Adventurous improvised music from a quartet of musicians whose resumes run from Lou Reed, Alex Chilton, and Andrew Bird to Ornette Coleman and Happy Apple.

Friday, April 24

Endeavors @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A quintet with some great young players, including: Miguel Hurtado, drums; Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Joe Strachan, Piano; and Ryan Hays, bass. They have coalesced into a tight, passionate unit.

James Wallace Quartet @ Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Wallace has been playing sax in the area for a long, long time. In fact when the folks at Secret Stash Records were putting together a revue to celebrate the funk music of 40 years ago, they recruited Wallace as one of the players of the time. He’s joined by a group of slightly younger veterans: Steve Kenny, trumpet; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Alden Akeda on drums.

The Dakota Combo -  Image by Andrea Canter

The Dakota Combo – Image by Andrea Canter

Dakota Combo Spring Concert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This octet of high school players is strong in talent, technique, and execution. A couple of them even write. Despite their age, this is no novelty act, but rather a group of young musicians whose ability transcends their age. There will be some treats afterwards.

Saturday, April 25

Katia Cardenas & Joe Strachan @ PUBLIC Kitchen & Bar, Saint Paul.7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This is part of a new effort by the folks at PUBLIC to feature weekend music in their downstairs bar & lounge. Cardenas is a vocalist who is equally at home in jazz, R&B, and pop. Strachan is a pianist who is equally at home in jazz, Afro-Cuban music, and funk. Should be a fun pairing.

Bob Mintzer w/JazzMN Orchestra @ Hopkins High School, 2400 Lindberg Drive, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($32 – $34. Discounts for Students) As a saxophonist, MIntzer is a pretty versatile guy. He’s a composer, arranger, big band leader and a member of the storied fusion band, The Yellowjackets. His current project is an R&B big band featuring the music opt Sly Stone, the Isleys, James Brown and more. You’ll be hearing some of those tunes tonight, as well as some music from vocalist Patty Peterson.

Mancrush, with Jon Wood and Iron Chops @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Wood is a guitarist celebrating a CD release at 7pm. He’ll be joined by Dave Brattain, sax; Javi Santiago, keys; Graydon Peterison, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums. At 8:30 Mancrush, takes the stage, featuring Lars Erik-Larson on drums; Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, keys; Brandon Wozniak, sax.

Saturday, Sunday, April 25, 26

Legend Series with Irv Williams and Debbie Duncan @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($25) Williams is 95 and still deserving of his nationally known nickname, Mr. Smooth. The sass and swing of vocalist Ms Duncan will be complemented by the romantic sound os Williams’ saxophone.

Sunday, April 26

Jazz Noir @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 5pm, 8pm ($25) Kevin Barnes at KBEM is once again bringing live radio drama to the airwaves, this time at the old Artists’ Quarter in Saint Paul, which is slowly being transformed in anticipation of a late June opening. This is the third in a series of commissioned plays about jazz in the Twin Cities. With an original music score composed and performed by Chris Bates, bass; Steven Hobert, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet, tonight’s play is an original called Morning Follows Night, and follows a decorated WWII hero who is an ex-con trying to find out who double-crossed him. It takes place over a ten-year period in the jazz clubs of the Near North Side. The 8pm show will be broadcast live on KBEM (88.5FM).

Monday, April 27

Doug Haining @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Haining may well be the most swinging sax/clarinet player in town. He’s played with the Wolverine, Echoes of Ellington, JazzMN Orchestra, Charmin Michelle, and his own swinging septet the TC Seven, as well as being a co-leader of the Explosion Big Band

Tuesday, April 28

Paul Renz Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 5pm (No Cover) though it’s only been open as Crooners for five months, the folks there are digging right into the local jazz scene to feature artists from the area. Tonight it’s the great guitarist Paul Renz and his group. Renz may not be a familiar name, but rest assured, he’s well known on the East Coast, where he regularly tours, and is well-respected by his many students.

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 PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

 

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 22

A Night at the Opera @ The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($30) If you have any inclinations toward classical compositions and opera, this will be a treat, as Russian baritone Vladislav Sulimsky will be joined by pianist Denis Evsthin to perform popular operatic arias and art songs by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. The museum itself is a lovely place with good acoustics, not to mention extraordinary art. Go to the museum’s website to register.Malamanya,

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) Every time I see these proponents of Afro-Cuban and Latin rhythms, they get stronger and hotter. The chairs and tables will be cast aside at the Icehouse, so dancers can twirl and do their sexy thing.

 

Thursday, April 23

Mother Banjo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition is a sponsor of Foodie Nights at the Dakota and tonight is featuring Ellen Stanley and her band for an evening of indie folk/gospel music. Stanley has received accolades for her original lyrics and haunting vocals.

 

Friday, April 24

Schubert Club Mix @ Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($30) Tonight the Schubert Club presents pianist Stephen Prutsman in a program of Bach. Prutsman was an Artistic Partner of the SPCO in the mid-2000s, served as Artistic Director of the Cartegena International Festival of Music from 2009 – 2012, and has collaborated with the Kronos Quartet, creating over 40 arrangements and compositions for the Grammy winning chamber ensemble.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Rare 45s with the kind of beat that makes it easy to dance. Just ask the mostly young crowd that fills every edition of this dance night.

Hold Tight Dance Party @ Bedlam Theater, Lowertown. 10pm (No Cover) Bedlam employees will be scurrying to remove the piano from the Schubert Club program (see above) while things get set up for Hold Tight deejays Booka, Sam, and Del, who are bringing in another Deejay Crew, the guys from Wants vs Needs, for a dance night rooted in funk but likely to go anywhere.

Carnage Record Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($8) Warm, personable hip-hop artist Carnage has been called “The best drummer in town” because his vocal beat box skills are so right on. He’s celebrating the release of a new CD, “Up Close and Personal.”

Saturday, April 25

James McMurty and Max Gomez @ The Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) McMurty is an Austin, TX songwriter/singer who mines Americana and occasional folk-rock to help him tell his stories of hard characters facing life’s myriad challenges. Village Voice critic Robert Cristgau called his 2005 protest song, “We Can’t Make It Here” the best song of the 2000s. His recently released album “Complicated Game” continues his streak of well received releases. Opening set by promising young singer/songwriter Max Gomez, of Taos.

UnknownCasablanca Orchestra @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) Whether performing 80s new wave, old-school funk, classic Motown, or new music like Uptown Funk or All About that bass, his ten-piece show band will have dancers out on the commodious dance floor at MMC.

PaviElle and Nooky Jones @ The Ichouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($10) It’s an evening of 21st Century Soul. PaviElle French has quickly caught the ears and hearts of Twin Citizens since returning to the stage about a year ago. She sings with a bit of flavor of Sly Stone and even Bill Withers, with a band that can jam out a-la Parliament Funkadelic when the feeling arises. Nooky Jones features a fine vocalist in Cameron Kinghorn, backed by Adam Meckler, trumpet; Ryan Christianson, trombone; Kevin Gastonguay, dyes; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. They are all first rate jazz musicians who create a smooth, jazz flavored danceable R&B behind Kinghorn.

Sunday, April 26

Road to Memphis Band Challenge @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s another event sponsored by the Minnesota Blues society to pick a band that will represent us in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. Contestants include: Bludog, Sweet Tea, RAMM Band, Squishy Mud, Fattenin’ Frogs, Jimmi & the Band of Souls

Nellie McKay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) The quirkily delightful Ms McKay will once again bring her quit wit and often insightful satirical lyrics to the Dakota. She can skewer war and feminism with equal aplomb, and turn around and deliver a Dinah Shore ballad.

Monday, April 27

Hot Club of Cowtown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $30) This trio plays Western Swing with original compositions that reflect both Django Rheinhardt and early jazz, as well as Bob Wills. Much fun.

Tuesday, April 28

Labaja @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($22) This Nigerian Afrobeat artist differentiates himself by using  traditional Yoruba drums to establish a dance floor rhythm, creating a light, though still insinuating groove. Singing in Yoruba, English, and a blend of the two, he wears a mask as an icon of man’s facelessness.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.


Cold Weather. Hot Music; 1.7 – 1.13

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

The Ice Music Festival of Norway

A cold, wintry greetings and salutations;

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

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

Jazz

Wednesday, January 7

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

Wednesday, Thursday, January 7, 8

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

Thursday, January 8

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

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

Friday, January 9

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

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

Jerod Kaszynski

Jerod Kaszynski

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

Saturday, January 10

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

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

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

Monday, January 12

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

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

Tuesday, January 13

This year's Dakota Combo

This year’s Dakota Combo

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 7

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

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

Friday, January 9

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

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

Saturday, January 10

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

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

Sunday, January 11

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

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

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

Monday, January 12

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

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Another Good Week. Music: 5.7 – 5.13

May 7, 2014

images-1From young jazz musicians to boomer rockers, an oratorio on slavery and some mighty fine blues, we are privileged to be able to choose from a rich palette of music here in Minneapolis/Saint Paul. Music certainly lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 7

Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Two acoustic guitars + Jazz + Bluegrass + Two creative minds + Two virtuosos = Fireworks for guitar lovers.

O'Brien at play

O’Brien at play

Michael O’Brien Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Donation) Minneapolis bassist O’Brien has been based in Brooklyn for a few years now, and lately has been traveling (and playing) around the world. He’ll be joined tonight by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums; to rework some of his old arrangements and play songs from his fine CD, Tunes I Like to Play, which you can sample on his website.

Thursday, May 8

Charmin & Shapira & Friends @ The Dakota. 7pm (No Cover) When the sweet vocals of Charmin Michelle are combined with the tasteful, swinging sounds of Joel Shapira’s acoustic guitar, the results are sublime. Tonight they’re joined by friends on sax, bass & drums to round out an engaging evening of music.

Maurice Jacox @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Donation) Maurice brings his vocal chops to the “basement family room” of jazz. Thomas West will accompany him on the JC piano.

The Dakota Combo @ Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 8pm (Free) In September of each year, an open audition is held for high school students to study and perform as part of the Dakota Combo. They study with bassist Adam Linz, jazz coordinator at MacPhail, and then perform at various venues and schools during the school year. This marks the Spring concert for the group, which is as talented a group of young musicians as you can find. Full disclosure: I chair the organization that sponsors the group.

Friday, May 9

Paula Lammers @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Lammers, a sweetly swinging vocalist, teams up with Phil Aaron on piano and Ray Siegel on bass to deliver an evening of standards seasoned with some under-recorded gems. Here she is doing No Moon at All.

Will Kjeer/Levi Schwartzberg Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Here are two high school seniors who are members of the Dakota Combo and who also have been playing professionally around town. Pianist Will Kjeer has been playing with his own group, Blue Haven, as well as with veterans such as Steve Kenny, Dave Brittain, & Jana Nyberg. Levi Schwartzberg plays both vibes and piano in bands such as Blue Haven, Sound Skirmish, and the Cosmic Troubadours. Both are finishing their second year with the Dakota Combo and will be heading off to college next fall.

Courageous Endeavors CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm, ($8) Four twenty-somethings, each of whom has been making his mark in Twin Cities jazz, are releasing Prototype, their debut album of original songs. Though the use of a Fender Rhodes gives it a slightly 70s vibe, the time signatures and melodies are 21st Century. The group includes Nelson Devereaux, saxes; Joe Strachan, Fender Rhodes; Brian Courage, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, May 10

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Group 47 @ Sweet 317, Northern Warehouse, 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Trumpeter (Flumpeter?) Steve Kenny has gathered some of the best young talent around for this group: pianist Will Kjeer is finishing up his senior year in high school; Thomas Strommen, sax, is a sophomore at UW-River Falls; drummer Alex Burgess also studies at River Falls; while bassist Adam Tucker has been playing and recording music in the Twin Cities for a number of years. Though their new album, Straight to Vinyl, won’t be out for another month, you can hear some previews in the comfy confines of a house concert. For tickets and more info, go to http://Sweet317.com.

Monday, May 12

Brian Grivna @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Donation) Tenor sax player Grivna is a veteran of the Buddy Rich Orchestra, the Guthrie. He’s toured with the Minnesota Orchestra and with Bobby McFerrin and the SPCO. He continues to work with both the Orchestra and SPCO, as well as in the pit band for touring shows. His appearances at Jazz Central are always a delight.

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, May 7

Erik Koskinen Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) If anyone ever asks how to define Americana music, point them to Koskinen’s recordings. With his writing and singing, Koskinen has a way of connecting with the hopes and fears of both toilers and dreamers. His incisive guitar playing draws from rock n’ roll, country and even some classic folk.

Thursday, May 8

Cooker John & Mikkel Beckmen @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Mikkel Beckmen, of the rub board and found percussion, brings in a different guest each week for a genial gathering of business folk, old hippies, and young fans of roots music. This week he’s invited fingerpicker/acoustic blues singer Cooker John to share the stage.

Youngblood Brass Band @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12)  Madison is about as unlikely a place for a New Orleans Brass Band as Minneapolis, but these guys have made it work. YBB has collaborated with hip-hop artists, sold out dates in over 20 countries and continue to stretch boundaries and gain fans. Twin Cities trumpeter Adam Meckler has been playing with them on their recent tour through the west, which has also included a number of workshops in elementary and high schools. Opening is Mpls rapper Botzy.

 

Friday, May 9

Dee Miller Band @ The Sherwood Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) This venue has remained under the radar as far as I know. Not so The Dee Miller Band, with the potent combination of Miller on take-no-prisoners vocals and Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar.

Friday, Saturday, May 9, 10

Kelly Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) The piano-pounding sassy singer from Kansas City has been appearing at the Dakota so often, she’s probably sampled most of their dinners. She has a new CD, The Beautiful Bones, about to be released, and it’s already garnering praise, so expect some new material.

Saturday, May 10

Unknown-2TU Dance 10th Anniversary Concert @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23 – $48) It’s been ten years since Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, both veterans of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, started their own troupe. They are marking the anniversary with the premiere of Hikari, an Ordway-commissioned pice created by Uri Sands in collaboration with master wood block print artist Hiroki Morinoue. Uri Sands will also perform Alvin Ailey’s Twin Cities with special guest Laurel Keen, and the troupe will also perform Lady, a signature piece for the company, and the Minnesota premiere of Uri Sands’ One. All in all, a very special evening for fans of dance.

Let My People Go! A Spiritual Journey Along the Underground Railway @ Hamline United Methodist Church, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20, $30) This is a concert-length oratorio featuring T. Mychael Rambo and Aimee K. Bryant in the roles of narrator, and the 75-voice Oratorio Society Chorus. It’s presented by the Oratorio Society of Minnesota. In essence, the piece by composer Dolnald McCulloug interweaves spirituals into a script that explores the ingenuity of America’s slaves, who created “coded” messages within much of their music.

Boom Boom Steve & The Knockouts @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) This small East Metro club provides an intimate space for listening to the passionate harp playing of Boom Boom Steve, with John Franken, guitar; John Shroeder, bass; and Dwight Dario on drums. One or two couples can also dance.

Sunday, May 11

Pat Donahue & Daddy Squeeze @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip jar) Both Donahue and Dan Newton are expertly conversant in a number of genres. The master finger-picking guitarist and wizard of the “stomach Steinway” combine for an evening of music that may range from blues to gypsy jazz to polkas.

Sultans of String @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) This Canadian quartet of two guitars, bass, and fiddle has received raves wherever they go, with their blend of gypsy jazz, Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, and other genre-blending sounds.

Flamin’ Groovies @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25) Comning out of San Francisco in 1965, The Groovies played what would eventually become known as power pop, using a two-guitar attack to rock up some r&b, classic rock n’ roll, and originals. They were mostly ignored, and certainly outsold by the more psychedelic bands of the time. After the inevitably splintering, quitting, they became cult favorites. After finally reuniting a couple of years ago, they are on the move and on tour. They still rock out, as you can see in the video below. Might Mofos open.

 

Monday, May 12

Willie Murphy’s Blue Monday Jam @ Richfield American Legion, Richfield 7pm (Tip Jar) Willie’s been doing a Blue Monday Jam for  decades, though the location has changed from time to time, as when the old Viking Bar closed. You never know who will show up and take part, but you do know it will be fun, as Willie goes through a repertoire that includes old rock n’ roll, blues, and originals.

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.

 


Beautiful Weekend. Cool Music. 8.15 – 8.21

August 15, 2012

Maybe your weekend won’t be as cool (both literally and figuratively) as this pooch, but it will be another beautiful weekend, with more festivals and more music. Festivals are usually well promoted, so I don’t always mention them, though I have four listed for this week. Enjoy.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 15

Battlecat @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Well, I guess you should at least buy a drink and/or an appetizer. But hey, Maude has a good selection of both. Anyway, Battlecat is Park Evans, guitar, Cody McKinney on bass, and Greg Schutte on drums, and they all are veteran cats from jazz and other genres, which means you’ll hear some great music. If you call for reservations, ask for a table near the music, especially during the first hour, as the noise of everyone enjoying their meal can get quite loud.

Thursday, August 16

Charmin & Shapira & Friends @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm (No Cover)  Vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Joel Shapira make great music together. Her liquid vocals work well with Joel’s understated but always inventive guitar playing. They’ll be joined by Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Brattain, sax; and Nathan Norman on drums.

Chris Lomheim Trio: Bill Evans Birthday @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bill Evans would be 83 were he still alive. Chris Lomheim is a great admirer, a sensitive and imaginative pianist. He’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Jay Epstein on drums for an evening of exquisite jazz.

Friday, August 17

Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Miller is a no-nonsense vocalist, interpreting the standards with such confidence you’ll feel like you’re in a Mad Men episode. Bartender, I’ll have a Martini, please, extra olives.

Friday, Saturday, August 17, 18

Gravatt, Linz & Wozniak @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Their first gig at the Icehouse a few weeks ago was quite incendiary, as Eric Gravvat, drums, Adam Linz, bass, and Brandon Wozniak, sax, tore through standards and compositions by modern jazz masters.

Saturday, August 18

Randy Brecker

Burnsville Art and All That Jazz Festival Featuring Randy Brecker @ Nicollet Commons Park, Burnsville. Noon – 9:30pm. (Free) A very good line-up for this free outdoor event featuring an outstanding nationally known artist. The young artists of the Dakota Combo start things off at noon, followed by The Hot Swing Combo including Robert Bell on guitar and Erin Schwab on vocals, the nine-piece Charanga Tropical led by Flautists/Saxophonist Doug Little, the fusion of the Super Pilots, whose members met at the Berklee College of Music, and hard bop sounds of trumpeter Randy Brecker, a four-time Grammy nominee.

Dorothy Doring, with Phil Mattson & Greg Byers @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover, but there may be a minimum for some tables)  The parade of excellent vocalists at the Lex continues. Tonight, Ms Doring brings her considerable skills, including a bit of scatting, and charming stage personality to the library-like room.

Jake. Photo by Andrea Canter

Jake Baldwin Quartet @ Late Night at The Dakota, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Baldwin is a young trumpeter about to enter his last year at the New England Conservatory of Music. He also made his own trumpet, which has a couple of extra valves so he can hit some quarter notes. Imaginative in his soloing, Baldwin has a clean sound, and is well worth checking out by the late night crowd.

Monday, August 20

B3 Night with Zacc Harris @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Jazz Central’s B3 has hardly been used, and they’re raising funds for some minor repairs. Tonight, Tanner will be sitting down and playing it, with Zacc Harris playing guitar. Zacc is no stranger to B3 combos, so this should be a soulful, fun evening.

Tuesday, August 21

Doug Haining/Scott Agster Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Two swinging musicians have put together a big band. Can’t wait to see this.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink, which also features Andrea Canter’s fine photography.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, August 15

Boys N’ the Barrels and Sister Shaw @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm (Boys), 9:30pm (Sister) (Tip Jar)  The Boys give out their unique take on blue/new/neo grass, while Sister Shaw tackles classic Americana, from the Carter Family to Gillian Welch. You can catch the Boys on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7 FM) at 5pm before heading over to the 331.

Thursday, August 16

Reina Del Cid and the Cidizens @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip jar) Reina is a singer/songwriter whose honest declarations on love, heartache, and social commentary will charm you. After all, she’s already gotten about million views just for this video on YouTube.

Friday, August 17

The Dollys @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Dollys are three talented female singers who mine the music of the Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt) as well as other female country singers of the 80s and 90s.

Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The dancing faithful will be out, I’m sure, to hear Paul’s amalgam of funk, soul, R&B, and Caribbean rhythms.

Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s BBQ, Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Shorty was a member of Ray Charles’ band at 16, and later a member of the house band at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, where he backed numerous R&B and blues greats. He was Jimi Hendrix’s brother-in-law and friend, and recorded for Black Top, Evidence, and Alligator, where he received a couple of Blues Award nominations. Back in the day, Shorty used to do flips to celebrate some of his solos. He’s now 73, so I doubt we’ll see flips. What you will see and hear is a guitarist who plays long, classic blues lines, and has a flair for showmanship.

Janiva Magness @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Magness was here about six months ago to celebrate the release of Stronger for It, which has been called one of the best blues albums of the year. Just ask some of her many fans from the area, which she has cultivated during years of bringing her soulful vocals to town.

Friday, Saturday, August 17, 18

Hipshaker 10th Anniversary Celebration @ the Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Yes, it’s true, Deejays Greg and Brian have been carrying the torch for funk n’ soul 45s for ten years, bringing out dancing crowds on the 3rd Thursday of the month. To celebrate, they’re taking two weekend nights, so those of you who usually have work on Friday morning can take part. Special guest deejays will keep the surprises coming. Bring some talc to put on the floor – it’s so helpful for those spins, you know.

Saturday, August 18

Music Festival @ Christ The King Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake, 8600 Fremont Ave, Bloomington. 3pm – 9-ish. Bring a blanket and a picnic. Jack Brass Band kicks things off at 3pm, followed by Debbie Duncan, pop singer Alison Scot, and R&B frontman Mick Sterling.

West Bank Music Festival @ Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis. 3pm. ($5) Ten stages, thirty bands, including poverty Hash, Brass Messengers, Malamanya, L’Assassins, the Belfast Cowboys, and many, many more.

Backyard Bonfire @ The Cabooze Plaza, Minneapolis. 4pm ($20/Advance, $25/Gate) Here’s a party for those of you who are into the sounds of new bluegrass and classic country, as it features Pert Near Sandstone, Dead Man Winter, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, Cactus Blossoms, Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, Sans Souci Quartet and the Farm House Band. There’ll be stompin’ and a’ jumpin’ and a jamboree.

A Flamenco Fiesta @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. ($5 suggested donation) For a change of pace from roots and blues, catch Sendero Flamenco as they perform the percussive and sensuous dance. There will also be an open stage to allow for collaboration and experimentation with musicians and dancers.

Sunday, August 19

Cajun Dancers @ The Rec

Al Berard @ Half-Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Cajun dancers will be out in force to spin, duck, and trip the light fantastic to fiddler Al Berard, who has been nominated for a Grammy and won a half dozen or more Cajun music and fiddle awards. He’ll be backed by a variety of top-flight musicians from the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 21, 22

The Spinners. Waaay back in the day.

The Spinners @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $70), 9pm ($45 – $60) Yes, indeed, the Spinners. Though their big hits were years ago, two of the original members keep the flame going with the help of some newer, though no less polished, members. Twelve Gold Albums. Lots of hits, like It’s a Shame, Could It Be I’m Falling in Love, The Rubberband Man, and others. The soul faithful will be out.

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.


Out and About in the Twin Cities: June 6 – 12

June 6, 2012

This week we have a blues festival, a vineyard concert, a couple of visiting jazz artists, and a few unique combinations. Get out and hear some live music. Hope to see you out and about.

Jazz…

Wednesday, June 6

Black Heralds Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A young band that plays mostly originals, and features trumpeter Sten Johnson, who also performs with groups like the Jack Brass Band and the Nova Jazz Orchestra. Hear what they sound like at:  http://www.myspace.com/blackheraldsquartet

Thursday, June 7

Zack Lozier @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 10pm.  Zack, Joey Van Phillips, and Chris Bates explore the electric jazz of the 60s and 70s.

Thursday, Friday, June 7, 8

Rachelle Ferrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) & 9pm ($35) Though she got started in contemporary R&B, Ferrell has become better known for her jazz singing, ably abetted by a six-octave range.

Saturday, June 9

Wozniak, Linz, & Gravatt @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($10) Whew! a high powered trio sure to have you searching for appropriate words to describe them. Brandon Wozniak is a busy sax player who brings modern ideas to whatever group he’s in. Adam Linz held down the bass chair in Fat Kid Wednesdays for years and years, earning the delighted appreciation of jazz fans both here and in France. Eric Kamau Gravatt played with Weather Report, tours with McCoy Tyner, and has been an inspiration to any number of drummers.

Ginger Commodore Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($10)  For the last five months or so, Ginger has been playing Motormouth Maybelle in the Chanhanssen Theater’s version of “Hairspray.” Now she’s back to playing herself, one of the area’s fine, fine singers. She’ll be backed by GCQ –  Adi Yeshaya, piano; Mark Weisberg, bass; Kathy Jensen, sax; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; and Bobby Commodore holding down the drumset.

Sunday, June 10

Pippi Ardennia & Barbara Leshoure @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20 – $10 for students under 18 and college ID) Having attended a number of shows in this series, I can safely say that Pippi never approaches a song the same way twice. That’s part of the charm of this series, along with a welcoming attitude towards the audience and guests. Tonight’s guest is singer Barbara Leshoure, whose blues were shaped by visitors to her childhood home – folks like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf. The Student Guest is trumpeter Joe Suihkonen, of Minneapolis South HS and the Dakota Combo.

Connie Evingson CD Release @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm & 7:30pm ($25) Connie’s got a new album, “Sweet Happy Life,” which features the songs of Norman Gimbel. Who? Norman Gimbel, the lyricist behind the English versions of Girl From Ipanema and other bossas, not to mention Killing Me Softy and I will wait for you. She does her usual stellar job of finding nuance and harmonies that escape many listeners, not to mention other musicians. Food and drink in the lobby after each performance.

Firebell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; Jay Epstein, drums. If you’re up for staying out late on a Sunday night, Barbette has good happy hour prices on wine and appetizers. But that’s just icing on the cake since this band of experience players will transport you

Sunday, Monday, June 10, 11

Roy Hargrove @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) & 9pm ($25) Given the cost of many shows, this is an absolute steal in terms of talent per dollar.  Hargrove is an inquisitive, exciting trumpet player – among the best of the young(er) breed. He’s explored the music of Cuba, hip-hop, and post-bop jazz with grace and imagination. He always has top-notch players with him as well.

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 6

Papa John Kolstad @ the Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm. (Free) The Landmark Center is bringing back Music in the Cafe this season, and kicking it off with Papa John. This is a rare solo appearance, in which he’ll be playing 6 string and 12 string guitar.

Don Scott & Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI) 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – tip jar) Here we have a couple of kindred spirits having fun and letting the rest of us join in. Scott is a singer/guitarist/composer who was the guiding light behind the Dustbowl Blues Band back in the day. Lately he’s been traveling between here, Mexico, and New Orleans, playing (and gaining fans) in unlikely restaurants and coffeehouses. Blake is a WC Handy Award winner for his harpwork and is known for playing with Greazy Gravy as well as the Brothers Curtis. Fun indeed.

Friday, June 8

Charlie Parr @ Falconer Vineyards, Red Wing. 7pm ($15) Taste some wines from Falconer Vineyards, order a wood-fired pizza, and enjoy the rootsy blues of Mr. Parr performing on the vinter’s covered deck overlooking their vineyard. Cool.

Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters w/Willie Walker @ The Minnesota Music Cafe. 9pm ($10?) Not sure on the price, you’ll have to contact the club. At any rate, Murphy & Walker go way back, I think to a group called the Valdons, though I may be mistaken.  Nevertheless, you’ve got a great band with Murphy, and a terrific soul singer with Walker, and a big dance floor at MMC. The combination seems unbeatable.

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm. ($5) Larson is a preacher’s kid who studied classical music in college. She sings with a country-ish voice leavened with a touch of pop. The Bees Knees provide just the right backing. Here’s a video.

Saturday, June 9

Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues Festival @ Nicollet, between 3rd & 4th St, Minneapolis. Noon – 10:30pm. The festival is moving riverward for this year, but you still get ten acts on two stages. Charlie Parr plays twice (6:30 & 8:30) at the Juke Joint Stage. Other acts to be sure to see include Johnny Rawls at 3pm, Davina & the Vagabonds at 5pm, and Charlie Musselwhite at 7pm. For complete schedule, etc., go here.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm. ($5) Americana, including early blues and country. Otto’s way with a song will have you believing he’s lived every downtrodden word he sings. The Getaways bring intensity, space, and depth to each song. Listen to some of their songs here.

Sunday, June 10

Howlin’ Wolf’s Birthday, with Fattenin’ Frogs @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5)  The Frogs take traditional American music from country, blues, R&B, bluegrass, etc., and turn it up a notch. You can say that’s how rock n’ roll got it’s start, and you’d be right. You’ll be stompin’ your feet, clapping your hands, and singing along.

Tuesday, June 12

Mayasich, Kolstad, & Schulte @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Free) Now, this is a combination you’ll rarely see. Uber guitarist Paul Mayasich holds forth at the Station on a weekly basis these day, bringing in different guests each week. This week’s guests are Papa John Kolstad and violinist Gary Schulte, bringing a taste of swing to Paul’s slide and dobro playing.

Wednesday, June 13

Cadillac Kolstad @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm. Another early notice. The natural echo of the Landmark’s Cortile will reverberate with Cadillac’s pounding piano.

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.


Jazzy Women, Rootsy Men. Music for 3.7 – 3.13

March 7, 2012

Well, it wasn’t planned, but it seems that in the jazz world at least, I’m highlighting a number of women performers this week, and International Women’s Day is Thursday, March 8. Hence the above picture of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a pioneering big band of the 40s.

Fact is, you don’t need a special day to appreciate the role of women in jazz or any of the other arts. Just support their efforts. As for the guys, well support them too. Art in all its guises enriches our lives and gives us a different way of looking at the world.

Ed note: I now have a page with addresses, phone numbers, and short descriptions of most of the venues i cover in the Twin Cities. Access it above. I’ll be adding to the list as I can. Now to this week’s suggestions.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 7

Benny Golson Quartet featuring Nnenna Freelon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm. ($35) Golson, at 83, is one of the last of the hard bop generation. He played with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton, and co-founded the Jazztet. He’s responsible for such jazz standards as Stablemates, Along Came Betty, Killer Joe, and almost 300 more compositions. Nnenna Freelon is simply a terrific jazz singer – she’s been nominated for six grammys. Here’s Golson performing Killer Joe.

Thursday, Mar 8

Dakota Combo @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (No cover). The Twin Cities Jazz Society presents another in its Young Artists Series, featuring high school students that will surprise you with their jazz chops. Tonight it’s the Dakota Combo. This group changes every school year as students audition for the opportunity to study with Adam Linz at the MacPhail Center. Afterwards, stick around for Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson, and Kenny Horst at 9pm.

Friday, Mar 10

Lee Engele and James Allen @ The Wine Market in The Village, Mendota Heights. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Free) Well, it’s free as long as you don’t succumb to temptation and buy wine. This unusual gig is part of a wine tasting and sale taking place at the market. Allen is an accomplished guitarist, who has become an in-demand accompanist for vocalists, especially those who know how to swing, as Ms Engele so ably does.

Joe & Roxy Cruz @ Ingredients, White Bear Lake. 7pm – 10pm. Jazz standards and good food. Joe’s been pickin’ his guitar around the Twin Cities for 15 years or so. Roxy sings with the Minnesota Opera, but is flexible enough to handle bossas, swing, and bop, with a bit of scatting along the way.

Friday, Saturday, Mar 9, 10

Manhattan Transfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75) & 9pm ($50) Not sure what I can say about this legendary group that hasn’t already been said. If you’ve not listened to any music for the last 40 years or so you may have missed them. With two females and two male singers, this quartet has the flexibility and vocal chops to bring four-part harmonies to  bebop, doowop, Latin, pop, and more.

Saturday, March 10

Charmin Michelle @ The Lexington, Saint Paul 6:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) The wood lined walls of the Lex’s Williamsburg room are the perfect setting for Ms Michelle’s cool, yet swingin’ vocals. She’ll be accompanied by Phil Mattson on piano and Bruce Heine on bass. Belly up to the bar or get a close-by table and order some of the Lex’s fabled food.

Sunday, Mar 11

PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul 5pm – 7pm.  ($20). Pippi Ardennia starts up a new season of monthly concerts in the Weyerhauser Auditorium. Each concert features Pippi as singer/host and a special guest as well as young musicians. Today’s special guest is saxophonist Jason Delaire, from L.A., while high school sax player Devante Jackson will be the young guest. Also on hand will be M-Theory, a vocal ensemble from MacNally Smith College of Music. I interviewed some of these young artists last Saturday (March 3). You can hear the interview here. It starts about 15 minutes into the program. BTW, Student tickets are free. Check out the link above for details.

Monday, March 12

Regina Marie Williams CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10)  Besides acting at at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, and in New York, Williams successfully portrayed Dinah Washington in Dinah Was at the Ordway. None other than Angela Basset called her “the best singer you’ve never heard.” Well here’s your chance. The new CD is called When A Woman Loves A Man. In it, Williams renders her own effective renditions of well-known standards and a surprise or two. I’ll have her as a guest on my show Saturday, March 10, at 10:45.

Tuesday, March 13

Framework @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (tip jar) Framework is Chris Olson, guitar, Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Pretty tasty stuff.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the Bebopified Calendar, here.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, Mar 8

Joe & Vicki Price @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 7pm (tip jar) The Iowa blues duo are coming North once again. This time they’re joining Harold Tremblay as part of Harold’s All Stars. It’s an early show at the oldest continually operating bar in the state. If you miss ’em, they’ll be at Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis for another early show on Saturday (6:30pm).

Hipshaker @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Rare funk n’ soul. Head hipshaker DJ Greg won’t be there, but DJ Steely of KFAI’s Kinda Cloudy will step up to help DJ Brian, along with special guest Ryan Cameron, owner of the late, lamented Let It Be Records.

Friday, March 9

Swamp Kings @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis 9pm (No Cover). The Swamp Kings successfully channel Louisiana rhythms into a three-piece format. Shaws may not have a lot of room in front of the stage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time there.

Saturday, March 10

Hot Tuna @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 5pm and 9pm Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady started Hot Tuna as an acoustic spinoff of Jefferson Airplane back in the heady days of the 70s. Their rootsy approach to music struck a chord before anyone called it roots music. They are now touring in support of “Steady as She Goes,” their first studio album in 20 years.

Tab Benoit’s Swampland Jam @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) Guitarist Benoit was born on the bayous and has been recognized and praised for his work to protect the wetlands of his native Louisiana. His playing respects tradition, but also acknowledges modern influences. Tonight, he brings along Michael Doucet of Beausoleil as well as Chubby Carrier to create a foot stompin’ propulsive evening of tunes.

Sunday, March 11

Paul Manske Tribute @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm doors, music: 2pm ($10) The late bassist Paul Manske was well loved by all in the local music scene. He played with The Boogiemen, Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, and others, and was a booking agent and manger for many bands. His sudden death was a shock to all. There will be a surfeit of his musical friends appearing, from the Swamp Twisters and the Dough Bros, to the Butanes, Jack Brass Band, and Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls. Proceeds to his wife Karen to defray medical expenses. Exciting music for a good cause.

John Oates @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50-$40) The mustached half of Hall & Oates has long left his facial hair behind and has been releasing solo material for ten years or so. His latest is “Mississippi Mile,” an exploration of his early influences, as well as pop music.

Monday Mar 12

Peter Hennig and His Bluegrass Bandits @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (tip jar) Peter is a busy jazz drummer around town. Who knew that he also had inner yearnings for the high lonesome sound of bluegrass? Or that he played banjo? Find out tonight.

Tuesday, Mar 13

James Blood Ulmer Solo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Guitar geeks will be filling the Dakota to catch this 70 year old performer, who started out playing in organ combos, eventually blazed a trail with Ornette Coleman, played with Pharoah Sanders, led Punk-jazz groups, and generally creates blues so greasy you’ll be looking for that dinner napkin you were using with your chicken wings.  Check out this video.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues 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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