Blues Rhythm Jazz. Music: 3.19 – 3.25

March 19, 2014


The Twin Cities continues to jump with music, and just like the ol’ Moondog, the pioneering Alan Freed, we’ve got Blues, Rhythm, and Jazz. We also have a visiting honky tonk inventor, a charming singer/songwriter, a gig with a trio of funky sounds and even a noontime classical concert. Get out and enjoy yourself. Music has the power to lift your spirits.


Wednesday, March 19

Ms Oatts

Ms Oatts

Sue Oatts with the Woverines Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sue has a winning way with lyrics, and the ever-steady, and always ready Wolverines are masters of accompaniment, and pretty mean players by themselves.

Zacc Harris Trio @ Café Maude, Minneapollis. 7pm (No Cover) Guitarist Zacc & his mates (Matt Peterson on bass and Pete Hennig on drums) travel a bit westward to play at this popular restaurant. Ask for a table near the band or sit at the bar.

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (tip Jar) Byron is a young drummer who plays with High & Mighty and other groups and is beginning to regularly gig around town with his quartet featuring David Hirsch, sax; Thomas Nordlund, guitar, and Andrew Foreman, bass.

Jazz Finest Big Band w/Special Guest Lila Ammons @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($12) This is a project of tenor sax man James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace and his wife Pennie, and features Jim TenBensel directing the band. I’ve written about Ammons before, a singer of classic blues and boogie woogie as well as jazz. There’ll be dance lessons from 8-9pm.

Thursday, March 20

Jazz @ Christos w/Alicia Renee & Chris Lomheim, Union Depot, Saint Paul. 6:00pm – 8:00pm  Stick around downtown after work to enjoy the vocals of the talented Ms Renee, and the piano artistry of Chris Lomheim.

Barbara Meyer & Liz Lupien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10 suggested donation) Vocalist Meyer and pianist Lupien shares songs about travel from the Great American Songbook in a cabaret show entitled, “Let’s Get Away!”

Friday, March 21

The Bridge Series @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10 – Suggested Donation) This series is designed to “bridge” the absence of the Artists’ Quarter. This week features the Adam Meckler Quintet, with Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums. I expect the musicianship will be high and the creativity overflowing.

Unknown-2Rhonda Laurie Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover)  Sophisticated vocals from Laurie in a sophisticated, yet comfortable setting, accompanied by the wonderful pianist Mary Louise Knutson, just off a tour with Doc Severinson, and Steve Pikal, the happiest bassist around, who is just off a tour with the Barbary Coast Show Band.

Courageous Endeavors @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30 ($5) New original music from a quartet of young musicians who are creating jazz for the 21st Century. Nelson Devereaux, sax; Brian Courage, bass; Joe Strachan, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here they are performing Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage:

Sunday, March 23

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) A couple of Minnesota Treasures. Thompson is a marvelous piano player as well as clarinet player, whose command of early styles is legendary. Grammy winning guitarist Donahue is a master finger-picker, which was proven when he won the National Championship some year back. Their recent album, Vicksburg Blues, is a delight.

Monday, March 2

Chris Olson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Guitarist Olson teaches at both McNally Smith and MacPhail, and his facile fretwork is well displayed in the trio Framework and the quartet Meantime. Tonight he’ll be joined by Tanner Taylor, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. Here is Chris with Framework:

Joel Shapira & Dean Magraw @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Cool guitar music for this late night happy hour spot. Shapira is a master of the nylon string, while Magraw is always full of musical ideas, whether he’s playing Celtic music, worldbeats, jazz fusion, or straight ahead swing.

Tuesday, March 25

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler writes interesting arrangements as well as interesting compositions, and he’s managed to snag 18 talented musicians to play them.  These guys are close to raising their Kickstarter goal to record an album. You can get a preview by attending tonight.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police, Bebopified, and JazzInk.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, March 19

Junior Brown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Brown’s standing as one of the best guitarists in country music has been long established. The inventor of the guit-steel, a double-neck hybrid combining a steel and six-string guitar is more honky-tonk and rock n’ roll than countrypolitan, which may be why he’s been lauded by rock critics as well as older country fans.

PaviElle & Band

PaviElle & Band

PaviElle @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) PaviElle is a young soul singer who uses modern rhythms to support her old school singing. She’s got a crack band that provides fine support, whether she’s recasting a Fleetwood Mac song in soulful terms, singing an original, or jamming a la Funkadelic.

Thursday, March 20

The Schubert Club Courtroom Concert @ Room 317, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Two Duos. Baritone Steve Marking and pianist Donald Livingston perform songs by both Charles Ives and Lee Hoiby, while Kairos – Preston Duncan on saxophone and Ann DuHamel on piano – perform Sonata by William Albright and Klonos by Piet Swerts

Charlie Lawson & Mikkel Beckman @ the Dubliner, University & Vandalia, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (No Cover) Lawson is a bluesman with a ferocious attack as a vocalist and guitarist. Beckman, who hosts a weekly show here,  plays the rub board, small percussion, and any other down-home utensil he can find, including a refrigerator door, which I’m told will be on hand tonight. Whether it’s a full-size refrigerator, or a dorm-sized one, we’ll have to wait and see.

Ashleigh & Michael, of Fathom Lane

Ashleigh & Michael, of Fathom Lane

Fathom Lane, Communist Daughter, and Taj Raj @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12) A concert sure to appeal to music lovers with wide tastes. Communist Daughter, the indie rock band that’s garnered national attention and just returned from South by Southwest is headlining. Fathom Lane, with their chamber-folk meets Gram Parsons music is second, while the rootsy Taj Raj uses elements of 70’s, from pop. to country, to folk-rock.

Friday, March 21

imagesBeverly McClellan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35) Last time in town, McClellan charmed the audience with her forthright personality, raspy voice, and direct lyrics. She was one of the final four on tv’s The Voice, and is deserving of wider recognition. There is no doubt she’ll get it.

Nick Moss Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) Moss plays a blend of classic Chicago blues and jam-oriented blues rock, using his firery guitar playing to win over jam-band lovers to the blues, and blues fans to the jam-band esthetic. Wilebeski’s early shows allows those of us of a certain age to get some sleep, while younger listeners can catch more music.

Saturday, March 22

Banjo Songwriter Night with Mother Banjo & Anthony Ihrig @ the 318 Café, Excelsior. 8pm ($7) Who knew the banjo could be used to create original songs? Mother Banjo & Anthony Ihrig, for two. Anthony will be accompanied by Dan Christensen-Cowan on the upright acoustic bass, while Mother Banjo will be joined by Dan Gaarder on guitar as each duo demonstrates the use of this much maligned instrument as a songwriter’s tool. The 318 is an intimate space with limited seating, so reservations are recommended at 952-401-7902.

New Sound Underground, Black Market Brass, & Pho @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) New Sound Underground is an six piece instrumental funk band whose members have played in jazz, reggae, funk, and salsa bands. Black Market Brass is a 10 piece that performs Afrobeat, that irresistible combination of funk and African rhythms, while Pho is a nine piece that mines jazzy funk, neo-soul, and underground hip-hop. Here’s a video of New Sound Underground.

Barely Bros Records Grand Opening Party, 763 Raynmond Avenue, Saint Paul. 10am – 9pm.  Vinyl aficionados are rejoicing over another store devoted to both new and old LPs and 45s. To celebrate, owners Mike Elias and Spencer Brooks are bringing in the following bands:

The way teens used to buy records

The way teens used to buy records

Matt Arthur & the Bratlanders at 12:00, Jon Rodine at 2:00, Brian Drake & the April Fools at 3:00, CP Lawson at 4:00, Nikki & the Ruemates at 5:00, M.O.R.T (The Mystic Order of Reverb and Twang) at 6:00, and Eleganza at 7:00

Monday, March 24

Millie & the Mill City Cajun Heavyweights @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Well it’s been a couple of weeks since the Mardis Gras celebrations, and some folks are itching to do some Cajun Two-steps, Waltzes, and twirls. Millie and the boys will help you do just that.

Tuesday, March 25

L.P. Music @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8 Advance/$10 door) It’s a Minnesota All-Star group playing improvised funk: Erik Leeds, sax, flute, vocals; Paul Peterson, bass, guitar; Peter Schimke, keys; and Stokely Williams, drums, percussion, & vocals.

Beijing Punk and Indie Rock on Film @ The Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8advance/$10door) Two Beijing groups will be performing in Mpls in a couple of days, so this is a chance to get some background on the punk and indie rock subculture of China. There will be a 2010 feature documentary entitled “Beijing Punk” as well as an award winning 2013 short, and short films, as well as a Q&A with Danny Sigelman, local DJ and writer who deejayed in Bejing.

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

Celebrations, Anniversaries, & Festivals, oh my. Music 8.8 – 8.13

August 8, 2013
An outdoor concert, waaay back in the day

An outdoor concert, waaay back in the day

It’s a week of celebrations, anniversaries, and outdoor festivals, ranging from the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth, to the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival in Richmond, to the Irish Fair on Harriet Island in Saint Paul. There are more, including music in the parks, but you’ll have to search newspapers or the internet to find them. Have a great week.



Thursday, August 8
Retro Sister Swing @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm. (Donation) Vocalists Rhonda Laurie and Maryann Sullivan have tweaked the name of their aggregation, but the sound remains the same – well done, swinging standards. 
Southside Aces 10th Anniversary Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm Traditional New Orleans jazz. As if that couldn’t be enough of a party, the Aces are celebrating their tenth anniversary.
Friday, Saturday, August 9, 10
UnknownIllicit Sextet CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) This six-piece aggregation plays nothing but original tunes, which tend to be inspired by hard bop, bebop, and mainstream jazz. They’re a tight outfit, and their new CD “Chapter Eleven,” deserves to be played on every jazz station in the nation. 
Chris Speed Trio @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) This Brooklyn via Seattle reed player has been in the forefront of adventurous music for a couple of decades now. His groups cover a wide range of music, from Balkan inspired jazz, to chamber and ambient music. Lately, he’s been playing with the Dave King Trucking Company. King will be playing drums with Speed for this engagement, along with Chris Tordini on bass. 
Sunday, August 11
Barbara LeShoure

Barbara LeShoure

PipJazz @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm ($10) Blues singer Barbara LeShoure is Pippi Ardennia’s guest today. Graduating members of the PipJazz Youth Orchestra will also be celebrated. 

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Thursday, August 8
Tom Rush @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30,$40) Rush started performing at the blossoming of the folk music boom in 1960, when he was a student at Harvard. He went on to be among the first to record and perform songs by Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, and James Taylor, and had his 1968 composition, “No Regret” recorded by the Walker Brothers and Emmylou Harris. More recently, a video of his performance of “The Remember Song” has gone viral, gaining over 6 million views.  Here it is.
Friday, August 9
Mauilotus: the Marilyn Allsum Group @ Barton School, 4237 Colfax So, Mpls. 7:30pm ($15 suggested donation) This sounds like a very interesting evening. Marily Allsum, vocals, flute; David Wolfe, Santoor Persian Harp; Mike Hurley, drums, percussion; and Charles Fletcher, bass; bring together both Eastern and Western instruments and styles to create a unique sound. In addition to the aforementioned instruments, they play piano, Chinese Harp, Indian Tablas, Tibetan Singing Bowls, African Udu (drums) and other instruments to create unique acoustic music.
The mysterious Mr. Lawson

The mysterious Mr. Lawson

Charlie Lawson’s Mystery Combo @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis.  9pm. (No Cover) Mr. Lawson brings together a number of his blues-playing pals, including Curtis Blake on harp, for an evening of various kinds of blues, from shuffles to rockers.

Saturday, August 10
Lowertown Guitar Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. Noon – 10pm (Free) Here’s a new twist on a festival – Ten guitarists in ten different styles, ranging from the fingerpicking of Pat Donahue, to the Brazilian stylings of Joan Griffith, and the cross-genre inventiveness of Dean Magraw, to national artists like Marc Ribot and Scott Henderson. Complete schedule and information here.
Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) As a pianist, Ms Ball calls on the spirits of Professor Longhair and numerous boogie woogie players. Together with her singing, “Long Tall Marcia Ball” can turn even a joint as classy as the Dakota into a roadhouse. 
Unknown-2Jerermy Ylvisaker and Hot Rod @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm, 10pm (tip jar) This show is part of an art opening for an exhibit entitled “This Is Not Your Father’s Radio,” by Robin Rife’. Ylvisaker is one of a group of musicians who have worked with each other in various, always interesting, groups such as Andrew Bird, Dosh, and Alpha Consumer. As a guitarist and songwriter, he favors clean lines and memorable melodies. He’ll play solo at 8ish and be joined by Michael Lewis on bass (yes, the saxophonist from Fat Kid Wednesdays), and Adrian Suarez on drums at 10pm. 
Sunday, August 11
Lakestock @ Lions Park, White Bear Lake. 1pm – 6pm. Here’s a chance to see a number of bands and help support efforts to restore White Bear Lake to its normal levels. Besides a speaker or two, and food and beverages, there will be five bands playing next to Admiral Ds: The Sydney Moore Band, Creedence Clearwater Survival (guess what they play); Billy McLaughlin, The 617 Band, and the newly reunited Free & Easy, the 70s funk band that was inducted into the MN Music Hall of Fame in 2008. Attendees are encouraged to wear 70′s attire. More info here. Get down, get funky, and get informed about water issues. 
Golden State Lone Star Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25)  Some Texas and California musicians get together to play the blues and have a good time, including Anson Funderburgh (Anson & the Rockets) and Little Charlie Baty (Little Charlie and the Nightcaps) on guitars, Mark Hummel, harp; RW Grigsby, bass; and Wes Starr, drums. Gonna be some hootin’ and hollerin’ tonight. Here’s Hummel on harp.
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: 4.24 – 4.30

April 24, 2013
What is that in the sky?

What is that in the sky?

A couple of renowned hometown heros – jazz pianist Craig Taborn and alt-country artists Gary Louris – are gracing our stages this week. We’ve also got the first real promise of 70 degree weather for the weekend, so you can celebrate by going out and about. The Saint Paul Art Crawl is also this weekend, so you can immerse yourself in both visual and performing arts. Have a good week.


Wednesday, April 24

Firebell @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 (donation) Park Evans, guitar, Graydon Peterson, bass,a nd Jay Epstein, drums, create swinging, 21st Century jazz.

Miguel Hurtado & Friends @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Hurtado is a talented young drummer who’s been playing around town since he was a teen, and more recently, since graduating from the Manhattan School of Music. He’s played with Jeremy Walker in Boot Camp, and has appeared with Davina & the Vagabonds, John Raymond, and other verteran and up and coming artists. Tonight he leads his own ensemble in jazz standards and more.

Thursday, April 25

Improvestra @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Large ensemble improvisation from a group that includes some Black Dog regulars, as well as MacNally Smith students, facult, alumni, and a few exceptional high school students.

Rhonda Laurie & Robert Bell @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) One voice. One guitar. Bell’s guitar playing is a perfect match for the softly swinging Ms Laurie.

Friday, April 26

The African Jazz Trio, featuring the Akou Brothers @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Guitarst Lobe Akou and bassist Serge Akou bring together African rhythms and jazz sensibility. Lobe’s highly melodic guitar playing is pushed along by the polyrhythms of Serge’s bass and Kevin Washington’s drums, for an exciting fusion of sounds.

Craig Taborn @ the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) This is a show that has the jazz community abuzz. After growing up in Golden Valley, where he was quickly recognized for his skill and imagination at the piano, Taborn has been garnering much well-deserved attention and high profile gigs in New York. He’ll be doing a solo turn with music from his 2011 album Avenging Angel, and will also perform with his trio – Gerald Clever, drums; Thomas Morgan, bass. Junk Magic – another of Dave King’s groups – will also perform. Here’s a video of his incredible solo playing.

Saturday, April 27

Eric Marienthal

Eric Marienthal

JazzMN Orchestra with Eric Marienthal @ Hopkins HS Center for Performing Arts, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($29, $33, $10 – student rush) Grammy winner Marienthal has 13 albums as a leader, and countless others as a sideman, including a number with Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, and work supporting Ramsey Lewis, BB King, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, and others. The JazzMN Orchestra is always a delight.

Insurgent @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Extended improvisations from Pat Moriarty, alto sax; Ellen Lease, piano; and Phil Hey, drums. These three musicians have been plying the high-wire act of free improvisation for many, many years. Their resulting ability to anticipate and respond to each other is as equally responsible for the brilliance of their music as their talents. Here’s a video from their performance at Studio Z a few years back.

Sunday, April 28

imagesJazz Noir: Charles & Avon @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 5pm and 8pm. The 8pm performance will be broadcast and streamed on KBEM. This is a radio drama that takes place during the 20s in the Rondo neighborhood. Music is written by George Maurer, and will be played by Maurer, piano; Soloman Parham, trumpet; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, percussion and banjo. More information and tickets are available here.

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…

Friday, April 26

Lamont Cranston @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) Here’s a way to get an early start on your weekend blues. Pay Hayes and the guys have been around for oh, so long, inspiring the Blues Brothers, opening for Bonnie Raitt, etc., etc., and put out a new CD last fall. Boogie Woogie, Chicago Blues, it’s all music that will make you move.

The Henchmen @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm Mike Goldberg (Captain Mike & Other bands) has come up with another power pop group. If you love ringing guitars, clever wordsmithing, and three part harmonies, you will want to check out this group.

Charles Lawson’s Group @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($? – maybe a Tip Jar) Charles Lawson serves as guitarist/ringleader of this collection of ace blues artists from the Twin Cities. John Franken and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; Loren Dwyer, bass; Curtis Blake, harp; Max Ray, sax; Greg Chuck, drums.

Saturday, April 27

Galactic Cowboys

Galactic Cowboys

Sol Bock Revival @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 2pm – 9pm. With the weekend forecast calling for the 70s, the warehouse/stage door  of Harriet Brewing will be opening, allowing people to taste a new brew while listening to music. Things get started at 2pm with singer/songwriter Dan Israel. Frogleg, a improvisation rock band, hits the stage at 3:30. Ace guitarist and country singer Erik Koskinen follows at 5:30, with the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra closing things off at 8pm.

Ray Bonneville @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bonneville had the most played song among folk deejays in 2009 (I Am the Big Easy), and won the solo turn at the 2012 International Blues Challenge. With a smoky voice, haunting harp, and greasy guitar, the Red House Records artist pulls you into his songs. The under appreciated Jon Rodine opens. Here’s a video.

Mega Release Party @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm The joint will be rockin’ with the sounds of vixen rockabillys L’Assasins, glam-punk Pink Mink, the snarling guitars of the Sex Rays, and the rockin’ Pinsch as they all celebrate releases of either singles, an ep, or a vinyl album. Extra added attraction: Lady Heat deejays will keep things rockin’ between sets.

Sunday, April 28

Road to Memphis Challenge @ O’Gara’s, Saint Paul. 12:30pm ($10 Donation) It’s time to choose Minnesota representatives to the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The Minnesota Blues Society has gathered 10 bands and 5 solo/duo acts to play on two stages. A panel of judges will choose the winners to represent Minnesota. More information and a list of participating performers can be found here.

Monday, April 29

Roots Night @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 6:30pm. (Tip Jar) Actually most nights at the 331 feature roots music, but this evening has 3 extraordinary groups. Doug Otto & the Getaways start things off at 6:30, followed by the Roe Family Singers at 9pm and Hillfolk Noir, with Charlie Parr at 10:30.

Monday, Tuesday, April 29, 30

Gary Louris @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) This is a last-minute booking. Louris is a home-grown star of alt-country, known for his work with the seminal Jayhawks. He’s got a worldwide audience, but for two nights he’s playing in his home town. You may want to act fast to make reservations.

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.

Springtime Music: 3.27 – 4.2

March 27, 2013
Just might be time to get the NiceRide bicycles out.

Just might be time to get the NiceRide bicycles out.

Maybe, just maybe, Spring is here in the Twin Cities. I’m still remembering an April 17 about 25 years ago when we got 17 inches of snow. I’m hoping climate change will at least prevent that from happening again. At any rate, it’s definitely much easier to get out and about and support live music (as well as the occasional dejay, cough cough). I’ve highlighted mostly home grown talent, but then we have many talented artists in our community who are worth supporting. Have a good week.


Thursday, March 28

Rhonda Laurie & Phil Mattson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Phil Mattson is a busy guy these days, what with the Phil Mattson Singers, recently at the AQ with Richie Cole, his CD with Dorothy Doring, which got a nice write-up on Amazon, and his seeming ability to pop up and accompany vocalists. Tonight he’s playing while Rhonda Laurie, the chanteuse with a slightly smoky voice and swinging sense of rhythm will sing.

Channeling Django

Channeling Django

Parisota Hot Club @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) The Parisota Hot Club (Robb Henry, guitar; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and Gary Schulte, violin) brings a taste of Paris and Django Rheinhardt to the Black Dog. Gypsy jazz, as applied to standards old and new.

Friday, March 29

Maude Hixson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) Maude recently went to the Big Apple to work on a new CD. Perhaps she’ll preview some songs tonight in the lounge of this Italian restaurant. Subtle, nuanced, and ever-so-lovely singing.

DownloadedFile-1Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Third Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (No cover) Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to standards. She’ll be accompanied on piano by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Kronick Quartet @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?) Swing, bebop, and some funky jazz from Richard Kronick, bass;  Dennis Landeen, sax; Scott Ives, guitar; and Dehl Gallagher, drums. They’ve been around, play in various cookin’ bands, and should swing the Trick tonight.

Friday, Saturday, March 29, 30

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Drummer Dave King brings one of his many groups  - Brandon Wozniak, saz; Adam Linz, bass; and Erik Fratzke, guitar to Saint Paul’s basement club once again.  The New York Times, in reviewing their recent CD “Good Old Light,” said, “Dave King’s dirty, aggressive, disciplined joy in playing drums conjoins many degrees between swing rhythm and more rigid backbeats.” With a stellar line-up of friends as his band-mates, there is bound to be many exciting moments, as well as King’s offbeat asides.

Saturday, March 30

images-2Brunch w/Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1AM. (Free) What a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning, with Sophia Shorai’s voice floating over you while you chow down on pancakes, waffles, or other tasty dishes. She’s been called “honey-voiced,” which is apt, but her voice is also sweet, aching, and even slightly sensuous.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other..

Wednesday, March 27

Jay Lang on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM) 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Tune in to hear some hill country blues from this Mississippi singer and guitarist, then head over to the 331 Club to catch him in person.

Thursday, March 28

Jenny Dalton @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Twin Citizen Dalton is a singer/songwriter who has been working the national circuit with some success. Her piano-based music can be ethereal, haunting, sometimes danceable, and always beautiful. If you like Tori Amos, Kate Bush, or Florence and the Machine, you will want to hear Jenny.  Here’s a video.

Jacob Hanson, Jeremy Hanson, and Frankie Lee @ the Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm. (no cover) Lee is an Americana/roots musician who’s been making a name for himself, and attracting folks like JT Bates and Erik Koskinen to play with him. If you didn’t make it to the crowded Icehouse for Lee’s recent CD release party of Middle West, you can catch him tonight in a less crowded, and more low key event with the talented Hanson brothers.

Friday, March 29

Havana Hi-Fi @ The 318 Club, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) Here’s a chance for those of you living in the West Metro to get a shot of Latin rhythms. The Afro-Cuban rhythms of this quintet will set the cozy 318 Club jumpin’. I wouldn’t be surprised if some folks try to squeeze some dancing in between the tables. Plus, the 318 has an imaginative selection of food and beverages.

imagesBeverly McLellan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) This vocal powerhouse will fill the Dakota with her voice and her personality. A finalist on the Voice, McLellan recorded her fifth album with local Grammy winner David Z as producer. Expect songs that range from modern country and folk to soul classics, all done in a personal style. As an added bonus, Mary Cutrufello opens.

Saturday, March 30

The Eddies @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. ($7) An evening of almost-acapella music featuring the occasional singalong, though you’ll likely not be adding your voice to the classic songs of death and hard life on the seas that this quintet serves up.

Badinovs @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Mike Niles and Pat Olberding used to have an alt-rock band called Smart Alex, which was smart enough to be noticed by many fans of good ol’ rock n’ roll. Now they’ve got the Badinovs, a band that evokes the British Invasion. Dwight Hobbes, of Twin Cities Daily Planet, said of their recent CD “Fess Up,” “…there’s no denying their respect for and ability at—even with modern-day production values—good old fashioned, raw-edged rock ‘n’ roll topped off by just the right touch of polish.” If you’re curious, you can check out their music on Reverbnation.

Tuesday, April 2

Halloween, Alaska @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($24) James Diers, guitar & keys; Jake Hanson, guitar; Bill Shaw, bass; and the ubiquitous Dave King on drums, combine electronics with an indie/alt/pop songwriting ascetic.

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 for an Icy Spring: 3.20 – 3.26

March 20, 2013

images-2It’s been a busy day and a busy week, and like many of you I’m gobsmacked by having single digit weather on the first day of Spring. But… Hope is eternal, and Spring will arrive eventually, though not soon enough for most of us. Nevertheless, put on those heavy coats and get out to hear some great music this week.


Wednesday, March 20

Pete Whitman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  (Donation) Master saxophonist Whitman is combining forces with Chris Olson, guitar; Bruce Heine, bass, and Dave Schmalenberger, drums to perform original compositions by Whitman and Olson.

You don't have to dance like Fred & Ginger, just enjoy yourself.

You don’t have to dance like Fred & Ginger, just enjoy yourself.

Sister Swing @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($7/$5 students & seniors)  Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie are two singers about town who have an affinity for swing music, so they’re combining forces and performing at the Eagles, a place with a dance floor just perfect for any kind of dancing you want to do. Even if you don’t dance, it’s still a great place to visit with friends old and new while listening to some sweet harmonies and solo pieces. Backing them are Kent Saunders, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; Doug Haining, sax.

Brian Courage Quartet @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Brian is a relatively new bassist in town, and has already managed to corral Park Evans, guitar; Bryan Nichols, pianol; and Jay Epstein, drums into playing music by Thelonious Monk and Paul Motian. Sounds like a very interesting evening.

Thursday, March 21

Phil Mattson Singers with Richie Cole @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) This should be quite the musical experience. Cole, the bebop alto player, could headline all by himself. This pairing, in which Cole is a guest playing with the Singers, makes sense in that Cole often played with Eddie Jefferson, one of the progenitors of vocalese, as well as with the Manhattan Transfer. Then there’s the fact that Cole and Mattson have worked together over the years since 1979.

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) The Barbette’s late night happy hour is a good reason to visit. A great reason to visit is pianist/trumpeter/composer Jon Pemberton, who creates some mighty fine music, whether composing or improvising. This video gives you a taste of his talent, even though he’ll be using a keyboard at Barbette.

Friday, Saturday, March 22, 23

images-4Atlantis Quartet @ Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Their last album, Lines in the Sand, was recorded at the AQ, so it’s always a bit of a homecoming when the Atlantis Quartet perform there. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums, are all talented improvisers and completely in communication with each other, which makes for thrilling playing, and accounts for their growing fan base.

Sunday, March 24

Nova Jazz Orchestra @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($10) The 19 piece big band will be premiering WA Matheiu’s six-movement suite, Concerto for Big Band. Matheiu wrote and arranged for Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, and others. Mathieu previously collaborated with Nova on the CD “Double Feature,” featuring 14 previously unrecorded orginals by Matheiu.

Tuesday, March 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Meckler is turning into a terrific composer as well as trumpet player. He’s assembled seventeen musicians to play his creations. Check them out.

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, March 20

Paul Geremia on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 – tip jar) If you didn’t get to see him at the Bayport BBQ this past week, you still have a chance to both hear and see him today.

Thursday, March 21

DownloadedFile-2Ronnie Baker Brooks @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm. Brooks is the son of Lonnie Brooks, and like his dad in the past, brings a contemporary Chicago Blues. After playing with his dad for twelve years, RBB, as he’s known, struck out on his own with the award-winning “Golddigger” in 1998. Whether adding some funky beats to a song, or a blistering solo on a blues-rock number, RBB will excite a crowd.

Friday, March 22

Blues Harmonica Blowout @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Wouldn’t be surprised to see a number of the area’s harp men turning out to see Mark Hummel, Corky Siegel, and Billy Boy Arnold play in this harp extravaganza. West coaster Hummel started up this series in 1991 and has drawn a who’s who of the mouth organ to play each year. Corky Siegel earned a fierce reputation as a member of the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band in the 70s. Billy Boy Arnold got his start helping Bo Diddley define his signature sound by playing on “I’m A Man.” Arnold had his own good sized hit with “I Wish You Would.”

Saturday, March 23

Big George Jackson @ Holihan’s, White Bear Lake. 7pm. Jackson has the deepest blues voice in town, and he knows how to use it, whether he’s giving an extra kick to a John Lee Hooker-like boogie or getting low down. Always has sterling players with him as well.

The Duchess of the blues

The Duchess of the blues

Dee Miller Band w/Jimi Prime Time Smith @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) The cozy, boozy space at Shaw’s will reverberate to the sound of Dee Miller’s vocals accompanied by  Prime Time Smith’s guitar playing. Dee follows in a long tradition of take-no-bull women who sing, growl, and have their way with the blues.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, March 26, 27, 28

Nanci Griffith @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60/$50) Grammy-winning Texan native Griffith is a literate folk/country singer who can tell a satisfying story within a three or four minute song. Whether they are stories about families, loves, or economic conditions, her insightfulness rings true. Here she is singing one of her classic tales of lifelong love.

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.


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.

A Whirlwind of Music and More: 5.16 – 5.22

May 16, 2012

This weekend you can explore the art studios, bars, and restaurants of NE Minneapolis.

This week we have a couple of sidemen stepping out as leaders of their own groups, and a number of outstanding visiting artists in jazz, blues, and roots, not to mention an art crawl that’s crawling with music, and a play with music.


Wednesday, May 16

Babatunde Lea w/Zacc Harris @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Lea is an Afr0-Cuban and World percussionist of many instruments who has played with Harris in the past to great success. As usual at this neighborhood restaurant, reservations are recommended for dinner.

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Peterson provides a steady bass for a variety of groups and singers around town, though lately he’s been coming up with his own compositions, many of which have odd time signatures and beautiful melodies. Consequently, to play his songs he’s put together a quartet which includes Adam Meckler on trumpet, Vinnie Rose on guitar, and Adam Suarez on drums.

Thursday, May 17

Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Snowblind is a musical collective that works so well because they’re committed to rehearsing and common musical goals. Members include Scott Agster, trombone; Shihad Sen, sax; Adam Rosmiller, trumpet, Graydon Peterson, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. Expect standards from Ellington, Monk, and Blakey, as well as Afro-Cuban and groove-oriented material.

Friday, May 18

Fratzke, Hanson, Roessler, Hennig, & Leggett @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Though it’s not a law firm, expect this group to steadfastly defend the principles of improvisation and the use of imagination in music. Erik Fratzke plays bass with Happy Apple and guitar with Zebulon Pike. Hanson on sax and Roessler on bass are members of the Fantastic Merlins and curate the biweekly jazz series at the Black Dog. Peter Hennig is a Black Dog regular who also plays drums with the Atlantis Quartet and other bands around town, not to mention playing banjo with his own group. Peter Leggett drums with Heiruspecs and other bands about town.

Saturday, May 19

Rhonda Laurie @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm ($10, $7 – TCJS Members, $5 – Students) This is the last concert of this year’s series at St. Barnabas Church, 15600 Old Rockford Road in Plymouth. Rhonda will be accompanied by pianist Phil Mattson in a program called Uncommon Standards, featuring songs by Ellington, Gershwin, Arlen, Monk, Mandel, Mercer, Gillespie, Bart, LeGrand, Wilder, Ivan Lins and Blossom Dearie and others

Reynold Phillipsek “Last Summer” CD Release @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($10 – includes a copy of the CD) Phillipsek continues his exploration of jazz and gypsy jazz styles. He can be subtle, as when accompanying vocalists, or he can be dazzling, though he doesn’t overdo it. Phillipsek will be accompanied by Matt Senjem on bass, and the outstanding violinist, Gary Schulte. Plus, you get a great view of downtown Minneapolis.

On a recent tour with Doc Severinson

Zack Lozier Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Whether trumpeter Lozier is playing with the Jack Brass Band, the Southside Aces, Havana Hi-Fi, Doc Severinson, Deodatos or any other band, you can expect stellar playing that’s exciting and imaginative. He’s the leader tonight, exploring the music of Lee Morgan, among others, with Brandon Wozniak on sax; Bryan Nichols on piano; Billy Peterson on bass; and Kenny Horst on drums, all of whom are worthy of leading their own groups.

Sunday, Monday, May 20, 21

Ramsey Lewis Electric Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65 – $40) The 77 year old NEA Jazz Master had his first hits with funky, hand clappin’ versions of the pop hits, “The In Crowd’ and “Hang on Sloopy” back in the mid-sixties. He’s received three Grammys and seven gold records since then, and had a monster hit with the album “Sun Goddess” in 1974. Lewis revisits some of the Sun Goddess tunes on his newest CD, and will be bringing a quintet to the Dakota to show us where he’s at these days.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other

Wednesday, May 16

Paul Geremia on KFAI’s House Party (5pm) and @ The 331 Club, Minnneapolis.  331 Club – 7pm – 9pm. (tip jar). You probably know the drill by now. Tune in to 90.3 or 106.7 FM to hear the artist, then head over to the 331 Club for a 7pm performance. Geremia plays acoustic, mostly pre-war, blues, with the occasional well-crafted original. He’s been playing this stuff for so long, that he completely inhabits it. Geremia is and internationally acclaimed musician, with his most recent album out on Saint Paul’s Red House Records.  If you like the blues at all, or if you simply like honest performances, you will want to check him out. Here’s a video.

Friday, May 18

Scottie Miller Band @ School II Bistro, Chanhanssen. 8pm ($7) Scottie’s piano playing has jump-started many a party and night out. With his Professor Longhair licks and triplett pounding rock n’ roll, Scottie will have you moving and groovin’ as they say.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s BBQ & Blues, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Lil’ Ed comes by his high-energy slide guitar playing almost naturally – his uncle and mentor was JB Hutto, one of the first-generation slide players out of Chicago. Ed and his band of 20 years deliver full tilt, raucous bues. His playing is contagious, and his moves – from deep back bends to toe-walks, are hugely entertaining. Check out this video.

Saturday, May 19

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue @ The Blue Fox Bar & Grill, Arden Hills. 9pm (No cover) This a Minnesota Blues Society gig celebrating the Fox as a new society sponsor. Hurricane Harold got his nickname for his ferocious attack on harp. He’s joined by guitarists Dave “Cool Breeze” Brown and Mark “Good Time Willy” Williams, as well as the rhythm section of Alan Kirk, and Chris Johnson.

Hotpants 45rpm Dance Parties @ Art-A-Whirl and The Nomad, Minneapolis. 5-8pm (Art-A-Whirl: Free), 9pm – 2am (Nomad: $5) The Hotpants crew will be spinning rare soul & funk during Art-A-Whirl at the Hill Valley Boutique, 33rd & Central Ave NE, then move to their normal monthly throw-down at the Nomad.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 18, 19, 20

Northeast Minneapolis Art-A-Whirl. Art-A-Whirl  has nothing to do with Spin Art, and everything to do with actual artists who have studios throughout NE Minneapolis. The three day shopping/meandering spree also has many bands playing at the outdoor stages of The 331 Club, Psycho Suzi’s, Grumpy’s NE, Anchor Fish & Chips, the Sample room, and Stanley’s during the weekend. Expect a few food trucks and even a trolly for those who are using adult beverages to cool off. More information is available at: and at the websites for the individual music venues.

John Sayles’ Honeydripper @ Old Arizona Theatre, 2821 Nicollet Ave, Mpls. 7:30pm ($10/$15 suggested donation)  Twin Cities playwright Judy Cooper Lyle has adapted the John Sayles film to the stage for this theater presentation. While I haven’t seen it, the story of a failing blues club in the 50s pinning it’s hope on a young impersonator of a big star is intriguing, to say the least. And the premise rings true. Back then, it wasn’t unusual for two or three versions of Guitar Slim, for instance, to be playing at the same time in different parts of the South.

Sunday, May 20

Curtis Blake & Greazy Gravy @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm. Harmonica Curtis Blake blows a mean harp in front of this down n’ dirty danceable blues band.

Spider John Koerner @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm. Catch a legend in his natural habitat – the last vestige of the legendary West Bank of old. Koerner’s disarming way with traditional folk tunes, together with his originals and groan-inducing jokes, are the perfect accompaniment to the bar’s strong drinks.

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.

Blossoms in the City – Music: 4.25 – 5.1

April 25, 2012

Blooming in the City

Spring has sprung. Bicyclists are everywhere, the Twins are playing ball, and trees are in bloom. Music is also in bloom. I’m always amazed at diversity of performances here in the Twin Cities. From Americana in a beautiful library, to and open rehearsal/workshop, to a bunch of musicians hanging out and playing the music they love. Spring. Music. What a combination.


Wednesday, April 25

Patty Peterson @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Patty will bring Phil Aaron on piano, and her brother Billy on bass to this neighborhood bistro. She’s a versatile singer, and tonight she has band mates to match. It will be fund to see her in this intimate, if sometimes noisy, setting. If you want dinner, get reservations and ask to be put near the music. Otherwise, try to find a place at the bar.

Thursday, April 26

Maude Hixson, Dean Magraw: The Moon Belongs to Everyone @ Como Planetarium, 780 West Wheelock Parkway, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Local astronomer Peter Kunkle will lead a tour of the stars while Maude Hixson and Dean magraw perform songs that evoke stellar travel. Registration required. Purchase tickets online.

The X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s the last Thursday, so Pete Whitman’s X-tet is holding forth at the AQ. Just because it’s a regular thing, don’t put off seeing this group until next time. Once you see them, you’ll be loading your phone with a reminder for every month.

Friday, April 27

Rhonda Laurie & Swing Set @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) Laurie sings and swings with a hint of sultriness and a dash of innocence, making for a sophisticated sound. The Trick’s intimate listening room has just enough room to take your sweetie on a romantic spin on the dance floor.

Friday, Saturday, April 27, 28

Dave Karr & Brian Grivna @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10)  A couple of musical pros having a good time. Though the sax is their main tool, both Karr and Grivna excel on a variety of wind instruments. Not only that, both have the musical imagination and chops to create an evening of joyous jazz.

Saturday, April 28

Red Planet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 4pm Workshop (Free); 7pm performance ($10) The Jazz at Studio Z series features open rehearsal/workshops in the afternoon, where you can watch a band work on its songs. Today Red Planet is the featured band, with Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. You’ll see three of the most versatile players in town performing two different Coltrane Medleys and some new material.

James Allen and Tom Pieper @ First Course Bistro, Minneapolis. 7pm. (No cover). Guitar and bass, respectively, performing acoustic jazz, bossas, and sambas for your listening pleasure while dining in this small neighborhood place.

Sunday, Monday, April 29,30

Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) 9pm ($30) With a career that spans four decades, most of which were spent producing, Tyrell has a Grammy and two Emmy nominations as a vocalist, as well as a version of “The Way You Look Tonight” that’s become a wedding dance favorite. He’s got a warm voice  with a bit of a rasp that’s well suited to jazz standards and pop tunes. His last appearance at the Dakota was a relaxed, highly enjoyable affair.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, check out the Bebopified Calendar, here.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, April 25

Doug Otto & the Getaways on KFAI’s House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis House Party – 5pm, 331 Club – 7pm – 9pm (tip jar). You can usually catch this band at Mayslack’s on Thursday night. This week they have an extra gig so you can hear Doug’s sweet, mournful vocals performing Delta blues and early country on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7 FM) and then head to the 331 Club.

Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm. (no cover) If you’re up for a late night show in the middle of the week, you would have a hard time finding a more enjoyable group. They are putting the finishing touches on a new CD, featuring a wonderful mix of country blues and folk-rock.

Thursday, April 26

Charlie Parr @ The James J. Hill Library, downtown Saint Paul. 8pm ($25 – $10 for students w/ID) It’s the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, which isn’t a radio hour, but is real and very  interesting, both in its line-ups and in its setting, the beautiful library facing Rice Park in Saint Paul. Hosted by Erik Koskinen and band, the series focuses on American roots music, poetry, and conversation. Tonight it’s Charlie Parr and his basic, basic blues, with Big George Jackson.

Saturday, April 28

Firefly Forest CD Release @ Fallout Urban Arts, 2601 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($8) Steven Hobert is a young keyboard player who is equally imaginative on piano or accordion. With FireFlyForest, he uses the both to good effect. This project includes Kip Jones, violin; Ben Lester, Pedal Steel; Jeremy Boettcher, bass: Jeff Schraw, percussion; Tyler Mickelson, guitar; James Kellerman, woodwinds; and Felicia Hobert on vocals.  Hobert makes good use of these talented players, as well as snippets of taped sounds from his travels to create songs that are sometimes dreamy, sometimes whimsical, and often playful. Opening are the Hummingbirds, a female trio of acoustic musicians and harmonizers.

Saturday, Sunday, April 28, 29

Film Festival Screening: The Entertainers @ St. Anthony Main Theater, Minneapolis. 9:20PM Saturday, 3:30PM Sunday. A film about a Ragtime Piano Competition as six different performers use skill and showmanship to try to win. Think Scott Joplin’s kind of music – the first distinctly American popular music, and a foundation for much that followed. I will have the Directors on my show Saturday morning. (KFAI, 90.3 and 106.7 FM. 10:30 – Noon)

Mischief Makers

Sunday, April 29

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4-8pm (tip jar). Papa John Kolstad, Doug Otto, Dan Schwalbe, Albert Perez, Mike Carvale and Hurricane Harold. Acoustic Blues and Swing with an occasional Gospel tune. Hangin’ out music, just right with a beverage or two, a burger, and some fries.

James Cotton Blues Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15 Adv/$20 Door) “Mr Superharp” had hip-replacement surgery at the end of last year and is now back on the road, with 68 years in the business. Guitarist Slam Allen handles the vocals, since Cotton’s  voice has deteriorated. Cotton thus has more room to play, which is why you want to see him anyway. His latest CD, Giant, which brings him back to Alligator Records, has been getting good reviews.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues and roots, see the calendar of the Minnesota Blues Society.

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


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