Festivals, Worldbeats, and Jazz, Oh My! 7.20 – 7.26

July 20, 2016

Unknown-1What a week coming up! We’ve got the Black Dog’s remodel celebration, the opening of The World of Beer across from Mears Park, the Lowertown Blues Festival (right), Palmfest, a winery jazz festival, the JuJu rhythms of King Sunny Ade, the Afrobeat of Antibalas, and The Minnesota Orchestra embracing Latin rhythms. Additionally, we have performances from a couple of young guns in the Twin Cities jazz world, as well as some daring, and much beloved jazz veterans at work.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 20

Connie Evingson and Jon Weber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 dinner) Evingson’s vocals are both lush and cool at the same time, while Weber’s encyclopedic knowledge of piano styles gives him the ability to be adept as both an accompanist and soloist. It’s Evingson’s show, but don’t be surprised if Weber’s knowledge of arcane music facts makes its way into the between songs commentary.

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/student ID) This is the debut for Lomheim’s new group. The pianist has always had a trio, played solo, though he’s no stranger to larger bands, and is a founding member of the Illicit Sextet. Tonight he’s debuting a lineup that’s reminiscent of hard bop’s heyday: Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums, to revisit some of his originals, and undoubtedly throw in some jazz standards.

Thursday, July 21

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The college-age musicians of Sound Skirmish open at 7pm. Members are Patrick Adkins, piano; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ben Ehrlich, drums, and Drew Stinson bass. At 9pm it’s The Zacc Harris GroupHarris  guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Friday, July 22

Jeremy Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 6pm (No Cover) Enjoy the Dinner Hour with pianist Walker and you’ll be treated to tasty, thoughtful music, including Walker’s engaging originals and his interpretation of jazz standards while you chow down on items from the club’s menu.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Traditional New Orleans jazz, as in a sousaphone rather than bass, clarinet, guitar, and horns. It’s jazz that makes you want to dance.

Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5 w/StudentID) Ruckus has been making waves and garnering attention during various performances since enrolling in McNally Smith’s graduate program last year. He’s an alumni of Berklee, where he had a full scholarship, and has already traveled the world playing with such stellar musicians as Tia Fuller, Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Charles Lloyd, and others. Though drums are his main instrument, he’s also quite adept at bass and piano. Here he is in an unexpected setting.

Saturday, July 23

Chateau Jazz Festival @ Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Fall, WI. Noon – 6pm (free) Take a reactively short road trip to this winery, which will have food trucks, local craft beers, and of course, wine, while listening to music by: Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, the Zacc Harris Quartet, Pete Whitman’s Mississippi, and Doug Little’s Charanga Tropical.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Ted Godbout Trio at 7pm. Artists Quarter Tuesday Night Band from 9pm – Midnight. It’s the second day of the Lowertown Blues Festival, and the Tuesday Night Band, with Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Franze, guitar; and Downtown Bill Brown on the Hammond B3 is a good fit for blues lovers, given the affinity of B3 organ groups for the blues. No doubt there will be some guests as well, which was the norm when the band played the old AQ. The Ted Godbout Trio opens at 7pm with Godbout, piano; Dan Carpel, bass; and Jared Mondlock drums. Godbout is a young player who’s been accompanying vocalists like Katia Cardenas, as well as playing in a number of other jazz groups around town.  Here’s the Tuesday Night band with guest Sue Orfield.

Nachito Herrera Plays Gershwin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Like many Cuban pianists, Herrera is dazzling with his technique. He also has the imagination and creativity to encompass traditional Cuban rhythms, the funk of folks like Earth, Wind, & Fire, and classical music. Tonight he takes on the music of George Gershwin, music as rich as anything you might find.

AcoustElectric @ The World of Beer, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover?) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet helps the World of Beer celebrate their opening, at the corner of 5th and Sibley in Lowertown. The first set consists of acoustic jazz of Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, and more, while the second, electric set will feature jazz rock fusion of songs by Sting, Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Prince.

Sunday, July 24

Sophia Shorai Quartet @ Alexis Bailey Vineyard, Hastings. 1:30pm (Free) Head downriver to Hastings for a delightful afternoon at the Bailey Vineyard. Aside from tasting their wines, you get to hear the talented vocalist Ms Shorai  who can express heartbreak , determination, and grace with a combination of sweetness and aplomb.

Monday, July 25

Omar AbdulKarim @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  ($10, $5 w/student ID) AbdulKarim is an ups and coming young trumpet player who impresses with his tone and thoughtful improvisations. He’ll be accompanied by Pierre Lewis, organ; and Batume, drums, for what promises to be a swinging set of music.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 26, 27

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20) After having a CD release at Vieux Carre for his five-piece Trucking Company last weekend, drummer Dave King brings bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to Crooners’ Dunsmore Room. King is well known for his stints with Happy Apple, Bad Plus, and the aforementioned Trucking Company, groups that traffic in avant/indie/experimental approaches to jazz. However, this trio, which has received rave reviews in the New York Times and on NPR, mines a treasure trove of standards from jazz and the Great American Songbook, bringing a fresh interpretation to songs each time they play. Here’s an extended video of one of their international performances.

For more listings, 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, July 20

King Sunny Ade @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($35 Advance, $40 Door) A winner of two Grammys, Nigerian Sunny Ade brings his sinuous juju rhythms back to the Twin Cities. Since his first hit single in 1968, Ade has been nominated for two Grammys and taken his music around the world, helping to define worldbeat and Afropop in the process.

Thursday, July 21

Big George Jackson @ The Lowertown Line Stage at TPT, 172 4th Street East, Saint Paul.  6pm (Free) The organizers of the Lowertown Blues Festival (see below) made a great choice when they picked Big George for the event’s kick-off party. You get to hear George’s booming voice and his otherworldly growl, as well as the guitar of Jeremy Johnson within the new reception/event space of TPT. A must for blues fans.

Paul Mayasich, Bobby Vandell & Billy Franze @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley,. 7pm (No Cover) It’s another Hot Seat evening at Crooners, with ace guitarist Mayasich joined by R&B/jazz veterans Bobby Vandell on drums, and Billy Franze on guitar.

Thursday, Friday, July 21, 22

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($33 – $37) 1979 was “The Year of the Cat” and the year of “Time Passages,” two songs that were FM Radio staples. Stewart’s light, appealing voice was backed by a full rock band at the time, but he has since returned to his folk/troubadour roots, playing in partnership with guitarist Dave Nachmonoff and basset Mike Lindauer, revisiting hits, and reinterpreting historical gems.

Friday, July 22

Krar Collective @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The final show of the Cedar’s African Summer features a trio with a contemporary spin on the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition. The krar lyre is a 5 or 6 stringed harp, which legends say descends from Kin David’s lyre. Tmesegen Zeleke plays it plugged in to create a sound reminiscent of an ancient rock guitar. Beisdes Zeleke, the group include singer Genet Asefa and Drummer Grumn Begashaw. Their minimalist sound has led some to call them the “White Stripes of Ethiopia.” Opening act TBD.

Big George Jackson and the Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 12 am (Tip Jar) Here we have what is essentially a two-fer event. The Black Dog is celebrating their expansion and redesign of what is now a music room and bar, and the Lowertown Blues Festival is happening. Get here early to see Big George Jackson, who opens. You’ll also get proper seats for Murphy’s  9:30 show featuring his stellar mix of rock n’ roll and R&B. If you come by after  the Blues Festival closes down for the night, you may end up standing, though regular Murphy fans already know that.

Antibalas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15 Advance/$20 door) Saint Paul is hopping tonight, what with the Blues Festival and this performance, featuring the Brooklyn Afrobeat wonders Antibalas  who were the band for Femi!, the award winning broadway and touring show. Our own Black Market Brass opens, while The Worldwide Discoteque DJs will keep things going between sets.

Minnesota Orchestra: A Night in the Tropics @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $70) Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus is joined by his own jazz quartet and the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, in a concert inspired by the sultry melodies and evocative rhythms of Brazil, Cuba, Hawaii and more. The program features originals by Lazarus, a tribute to Brazilian composer Antonio Carlo Jobim, Duke Ellington’s Caravan and other selections. This is part of the closing weekend for Sommerfest, and will include other music and activities as well.

Friday, Saturday, July 22, 23

Palmfest 2016 @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 4pm – Close Friday, 2pm – Close Saturday ($5 each day) With 10 bands on Friday and 12 on Saturday this is a good time to catch bands you may not have heard, such as Half Moon Devil, or the King of Tramps, as well as some old favorites, like the Liquor Pigs, Spider John Koerner, Poverty Hash, and Charlie Parr. Weather permitting it will be on the outdoor patio until 10pm, after which final bands will move indoors. For more information, go to their FaceBook page or their website.

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 9:30pm Friday, Noon – 10pm Saturday (Free) It’s a Funky Friday, with The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly; Otis Day & the Knights (from Animal House); and The Family Stone, sans Sly, but with original members Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, leading the group through the hits like Everyday People, and Dance to the Music. . Then on Saturday, it’s a celebration of the Blues, with The Brother John Band (winners of Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands), and continue with the high energy Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials; our own Butanes Soul Revue; Corey Stevens; Bernard Allison; and the festival headliner, Stax keyboard man Booker T Jones! There’s a side stage as well both days, and additional stages at The Bedlam, Golden’s Deli, and the Black Dog. Complete information at: http://lowertownbluesfestival.com

Divas Of Disco @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, 8pm ($40-$55)  Who remembers bell bottoms, platform shoes and lip gloss? Lori Dokken has put together a show that brings back the days of mirror balls, gold chains, and disco fever. Performing songs by Chaka Kahn, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and others will be some fabulous Twin City Vocalists: Debbie Duncan, Rachel Holder Hennig, Patty Peterson, and Judy Vinar. They’ll be backed by Peter Hennig, drums; Jay Young, bass; Cory Wong, guitar, Jimmy Steffen on keys; and Dokken on keys and vocals.

Saturday, July 23

Willie Walker & We R @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners know that when you have a band that does well, you bring them back on a somewhat regular basis. Such is the case with Soulman Willie Walker  a long time resident treasure who got his start recording for the Goldwax label out of Memphis back in the 60s, and also released a couple of singles on Chess/Checker. He can caress a ballad, and give uptempo songs appropriate grit, whether they’re originals, or classics by Al Green and Sam Cooke.

Sunday, July 24

Open Streets @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. Noon – 5pm (No Cover) It’s Open Streets Day for East Lake Street, and this neighborhood bar (without TVs) is hosting a number of excellent musical acts starting at Noon with Meg Ashling, and continuing with pianist/composer DeVon Grey at 1:20, Lucy Michell at 2:30/3PM, and finishing at 4pm with the old time/folky sounds of guitarist/singer/songwriter Jake Manders.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, July 24, 25, 26

Brian McKnight 4 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $75), 9pm ($45 – $65) Adult R&B, from McKnight, singer/songwriter/pianist/producer, who has sold over 30 million records and received 16 Grammy nominations over the past 20 years.

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.


Hot Fun in the Summertime! Music: 7.13 – 7.19

July 13, 2016
The Brass Messengers at a previous Bastille Day celebratio

The Brass Messengers at a previous Bastille Day celebration

As the headline states, we’ve got lots of fun music lined up for this week. We have 3 CD release parties, visiting artists from New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco, Central America, and Africa, an outdoor dance in downtown Saint Paul, and two Bastille Day celebrations as well as new and up and coming bands from the area. Whew! Remember, music lifts our spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 13

Maud Hixson w/Rick Carlson CD Release @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) Vocalist Maud Hixson has recorded a CD entitled Listening for Your Song, which is a collection of songs popular at the turn of the last century (1890s – Pre-WW1). The songs are all referenced in the Betsy-Tracy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, written about life in Mankato during that time period. It was before the advent of radio, when songs were sung around the house. Hixson and pianist Rick Carlson do a wonderful job of presenting songs like In My Merry Oldsmobile, Moonlight Bay, and Come Josephine in My Flying Machine. Hixson’s voice envelopes the songs with warmth and charm, while Carlson’s spare piano provides just the right foundation to let the songs shine. Here she is with a song from a later era.

Charlie Lincoln Presents the Music of Paul Motian @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Young bassist Charlie Lincoln is making the most of his summer vacation from Berklee School of Music. Tonight, he’s assembled a band to play the music of Paul Motian, which Lincoln describes as beguiling and mysterious. He’s got an intergenerational band: Jay Epstein, drums; Chris Cunninghan, guitar; and Patrick Adkins, piano.

Thursday, July 14

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz, together with drummer Cory Healey, trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin and vibist Levi Schwartzberg will have a special guest to open for this evening of 21st Century jazz.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) A new trio called American Reverie is the headliner at 9pm, with Zacc Harris, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums; and Matt Peterson, bass. Things start off at 7pm with the JazzINK Youth Showcase, featuring Matt Cousins and Band.

Bonearama @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Fun and funk-filled music from this modern take on a New Orleans Brass Band. With three trombones, a guitar, drums, and sousaphone, Bonerama attacks jazz, rock, and funk with brio, and in the course of fifteen years and six albums, has changed the way many folks think about the trombone.

Friday, July 15

Charmin Michelle @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The swanky little lounge of this D’Amico restaurant provides a perfect setting for the warm buttery vocals of Ms Michelle.

Mississippi Hot Club CD Release @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($5) Get out your dancing shoes for this party featuring the acoustic swing and gypsy jazz sounds of the Mississippi Hot Club  Joshua Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass. Jazzland Wonderband, with its modern take on traditional New Orleans music, opens. Doors at 8, dance lesson at 8:30. Here they are from a could of years ago.

Friday, Saturday, July 15, 16

Dave King Trucking Company CD Release @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) With five members The Trucking Company is of King’s larger projects, and includes: Erik Fratzke, guitar; Brandon Wozniak tenor, with New Yorkers Chris Morrisey on bass and Chris Speed on tenor. The inventive drummer/composer brings a fertile imagination to his drumming and composing, and as an added bonus, you get his unfiltered pop culture commentary between songs on stage. Here’s a slightly different version of the band.

Saturday, July 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The Grayson Peterson Quartet + 1  headlines at 8:30pm: Peterson  bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, keys; and Adrian Suarez on drums, with Andrew Gillespie on Congas for songs inspired by Peterson’s trip to Cuba. Opening at 7pm is a group that I believe is new: The Midwest Coast Quintet, with Jesse Myers, drums; John Schreier, trumpet; Mike Barunek, sax; Gus Murphy, bass; and Cole Mahlem, guitar.

Judi Vinar & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover) The main lounge at Crooners may get loud with the date night crowd, but that generally makes for a fun background for the  swingability of Ms Vinar’s vocalizing, which is further enhanced with the support of the Wolverines Trio: Rick Carlson, piano; Jendeen Forberg, drums; and Steve Pikal, bass. Here she is before she changed her name a few years ago.

Kronick Quartet @ Public Kitchen and Lounge, 229 E 6th St, Saint Paul. 9:30? (Tip Jar) The Kronick Quartet is: Dennis Landeen, sax; Scott Ives, guitar; Tony Guscetti, drums; Richard Kronick  bass & vocals. The basement lounge at Public has a bit of a speakeasy vibe, but it’s stone walls contribute to crowd noise, so be sure to sit near the band as they play standards, bossas, and funky jazz.

Monday, July 18 

Medeski, Clouser, & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($15) John Medeski, of Medeski, Martin, and Wood, has been working his keyboard magic with that band for over twenty years, gaining young fans around the world by incorporating freewheeling jazz with jam band eclecticism. Guitarist Todd Clouser, a former Twin Citizen now living in Mexico City, has released a few genre-bending albums of his own, and has toured throughout Central America and the United States. They’ll be joined by versatile drummer JT Bates for an evening of exciting music.

Tuesday, July 19

Jazz Improvisation Clinic with John Medeski and Todd Clouser @ Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free and Open to the public) Here’s a chance to learn about improvisation, expression, and the importance of listening to playing jazz. All instruments and levels are welcome.

For more listings, 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, July 13

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin & Aki Kumar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rockin’ Johnny is a blues guitarist from Chicago, who was born in south Carolina and went to Chicago to go to school. He earned the nickname Rockin’ Johnny as a DJ at WHPK and began playing guitar with Taildragger, after which he began touring with drummer Sam Lay and Pinetop Perkins. He started his own band in 1995, recording two albums for Delmark and two others. Aki Kumar is a San Francisco Harp player whose muscular vocals have made him a favorite of Bay area blues fans for years. They’re touring together and we’re lucky enough to be able to hear them on-air before heading to the 331 Club.  Here they are with a band.

Curt Obeda and Camille Baudoin @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) Guitarist Camille Baudoin was a member of New Orleans’ Radiators, those purveyors of Fish Head Music for 33 years, while Obeda is the leader of our own Butanes, and a highly regarded guitarist in his own right. Since Baudoin has a cabin up north, he visits each summer and we get to hear the two friends have fun playing together.

FireFlyForest @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Pianist/accordionist Steven Hobert leads this aggregation, which has a somewhat ethereal approach to worldbeats, with influences that range from Bela Fleck to Ali Farka Toure and Paul Simon.

Thursday, July 14

Armadillo Jump @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) This five -piece band has been playing very regularly lately, a sign of their growing popularity with folks who like to dance to rockin’ rhythm and blues. Here’s a demo video.

Friday, July 15

New Primitives and the Loba Jazz Trio @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Outdoor dancing to a blend of ska, rock, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and Mexican music from the New Primitives, while the opener, the Loba Jazz Trio, will provide sinuous rhythms from Africa.

Villalobos Brothers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30, $35)  Last month we had the duo of Black Violin melding classical and R&B Sounds. Tonight we have three violinists combining traditional Mexican song with jazz, rock, and classical sounds. USA Today call them “A crazy ball of sound: Mexican coastal traditions meet Sam Cooke in the Bronx!”

Femi Kuti & Positive Force @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis.  8pm ($50 Advance, $55 Door)  The son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela, Femi was amazing at his Cedar show about three years ago. While he has the same commitment to social and political change as his father, he applies his own energy and style to Afrobeat. With Zuluzulu and Worldwide Discoteque DJs.

Salsabrosa @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This is the inaugural event in Dayblock’s upstairs ballroom, which has a wood floor and a capacity of 250, so there’s plenty of room to dance to the salsas, Bachatas, Cumbias, Merengues, Cha Chas and other Latin Rhythms of Salsabrosa  A DJ starts things off at 8pm, along with some dance lessons, and helps to close things down after midnight. In between you get invigorating live music from this eleven-piece band.

Saturday, July 16

Longefellow Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival @ Patrick’s Cabaret & Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 2pm – 9pm ($15 Advance) Kent Burnside & New Generation, Black-Eyed Snakes, Left Lane Cruiser, Joe & Vicki Price, Spider John Koerner, Charlie Parr, Food Trucks, and much, much more. For More Information, go to: http://rootsrockdeepblues.com

Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys @ The Eagles Club #34, Minnapolis. 7pm ($15) Things start off with Zydeco dance lessons at 7pm, and then Louisiana’s Broussard and his band take the stage so you can practice what you just learned.

Janiva Magness @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Her fans include Mavis Staples and Bettye LaVette, and she’s won the BB King Blues Entertainer of the Year Award, in addition to winning Contemporary Female Blues Artists of the Year four times. She had a hard life, and was even homeless as a teenager, but when she snuck into a Minneapolis club to see Otis Rush, Magness found her mission in life. If you like the blues but haven’t seen her, this is the show to see. Heck, even if you’ve seen her before, you’ll likely want to see her again. She’s a dynamic performer.

Sunday, July 17

Bastille Day Block Party @ Barbette, Irving & Lagoon, Minneapolis. 3pm – 10pm (Free) A Fire Circus! Roller Girls! The Brass Messengers! And Cake! And on stage: Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows, Bad, Bad Hats; Nadine DuBois & Les Folies Risque; and Babes in Toyland.

Bastille Day Celebration @ Roseville Central Park, Roseville. 5pm – 8pm (Free) Celebrate Bastille Day and joie de vivre on a smaller scale at the amphitheater of Roseville’s Central Park. The celebration starts with Mark Stillman on accordion and vocalist Francine Roche performing French songs. Continue at 6:30 with the Cafe Accordion Orchestra and their musettes and chansons.

La Conja in “Noche de Andalucia,” @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) World-renowned flamenco dancer and singer, La Conja will be joined by guitarists Ben Abrahamson and Trevor May, as well as Catherine Higgins-Whiteside and Christine Kozachok, dancers from the Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater here in town.

Sweet Honey in the Rock @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($45), 8pm ($35) This female African American a cappella quintet delivers uplifting messages through their music and American Sign Language. The group has been thrilling multi-generaltional and multi-ethnic audiences for over forty years.

Monday, July 18

Pape Diouf with Special Guest @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 Door) Pape Cheikh Diouf is from a guewel (griot) family originally of the Sine-Saloum Delta region in Southwestern Senegal. He sings in the Wolof language about love and life’s lessons, and especially about ”teranga,” mutual respect, acceptance, and hospitality as a way of life – social values that are central to Senegalese culture.

Gaby Moreno @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Guatemalan born Moreno is a rising star on the Latin Music scene. She won the Best New Artist Award at the 2013 Latin Grammys, and the grand prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her song “Escondidos.” She’s got a clear, strong, direct voice that lends itself well to a variety of genres and rhythms.

Wednesday, July 20 – Early Notice

Film – Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot @ Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Avenue So, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free, but RSVP required). In this somber and upsetting time, with our long, long election season, some of you might want to see this Teaching Tolerance documentary of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march and the battle for voting rights. It features the perspective of teachers and students at the forefront of the movement. The 40 minute film will be introduced by Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center and followed by a panel discussion with attorney Pam Horowitz, Rep. Keith Ellison, and former MN Secty of State Mark Ritchie. It’s a free event but you must RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/selma-the-bridge-to-the-ballot-community-screening-tickets-26002182227

 

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.


Lotsa Choices. Music: 7.6 – 7.12

July 6, 2016
Where to go? What to hear?

Where to go? What to hear?

Another week and more visiting artists, more interesting combinations of resident artists, some new bands, a CD release, and a couple of outdoor events. All in all, another good week for music lovers. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 6

Unknown-2Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Where else can you hear two such stellar musicians for a fin, to use an old term. Guitarist Magraw can play acoustically, bring a bit of Hendrix to Coltrane on electric guitar, and turn around and effortlessly play Irish music and the blues. Thompson, who is at home on piano and clarinet, has spent 45 years studying and playing early jazz around the world.

The Exceptional Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Bassist Anthony Cox continues to bring surprising combinations of musicians to his monthly Wednesday night gig at Jazz Central. Tonight he’s joined by tabla master Marcus Wise and violinist Laura Hirada.

Thursday, July 7

Surprise Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This quintet tackles the music of such rock n’ pop stars as The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and more, restructuring them into jazz, funk, Latin, and other types of music. Rachelle Smith, vocals; Evan Bendt, sax; Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Phil Hey Quartet is the main attraction tonight, back in town after a successful appearance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend: Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Hey on drums. The opening act is the Julian Manzara Quartet: Drew Stinson, bass; Geo Randall, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, drums, and Manzara, guitar.

Friday, July 8

Todd Harper’s CD Release Party @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper celebrates the release of 9th Stream Music, a delightful collection of Harper’s compositions, which seem somewhat familiar, yet always hold a surprise or two, such as the use of Aaron Kerr’s cello, and the playful sound of Nathan Hanson’s soprano saxophone. Others on the CD include drummer Eric Coursen, and Keith Yanes on bass viol.

Hoaxer @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Charlie Lincoln, bass; with Peter Goggin, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Each of the band members have contributed an original to tonight’s playlist.

Paul Harper Bardo Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Harper has been in the Illicit Sextet since its beginning two decades ago, and regularly appears with Charmin & Shapira, Spirit Jazz, Roos & Harper, and with his own ensembles: Show & Tell, and the Chordless Quartet. Tonight he assembles a band of first listers: Joel Shapira, guitar; Nathan Norman, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Drummer Kogan recently retired as principal tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and set to work putting together two well-recieved albums, both of which teem with energy and imagination, covering hard bop, bebop, and postbop sounds. He’s recruited a stellar quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s something from his second album.

Saturday, July 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm it’s the Pete Snell Trio, with Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Snell on drums. At 8:30, it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, July 10

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzy Math is Mark Vandermyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; Matt Peterson, bass. Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House.

Monday, July 11

Bruce Henry @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 with Dinner) Even though vocalist Henry moved to Chicago a few years ago, he regularly returns to the Twin Cities to perform. He’s an imaginative singer and arranger, and always has a band of fine musicians to accompany him.

Tuesday, July 12

Vanessa Trouble, w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Trumpeter Charlie Caranicas is originally from Minnesota, and studied at the UofMN before heading to the Big Apple after graduation. He’s performed with folks like Karryn Allison, the Chico  O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Orchestra. He and his quartet will perform at 7pm, and then at 9pm he and vocalist Vanessa Trouble will perform. Trouble has an affinity for traditional jazz. In addition to songs from her two CDs, you can expect songs that are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings with Louis Armstrong. Here’s the two of them.

For more listings, 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, July 6

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke on KFAI and @ The 331Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) KFAI is broadcasting live from Indeed Brewing in NE Minneapolis this afternoon, starting with Jackson Buck’s Freewheeling Show at 2pm. Harold’s House Party continues at 4pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke appearing during the 5pm hour. He then heads to the 331 Club for a 7pm show. Luedtke has been performing in the upper Midwest for over 40 years, gaining some international experience along the way. He’ll be playing acoustic and solo, showing off some of his fine flatpicking as he regales us with the blues.

Katy Vernon Band @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Vernon’s melancholy and very British acoustic pop (with overtones of Americana) has endeared her to Twin Citizens of all stripes. Her album, Present, was one of the year’s Top 10 for the Pioneer Press and Album of the Year in the Country/Folk category for L’Etoile Magazine. Bring a picnic, lay back, and enjoy her charming patter and learn how she’s become known as a singer of sad songs using a happy instrument – her ukelele.

XIXA @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) This Tucson band plays Chicha music, that Peruvian combination of Cumbias and rock n’ roll, using swirling, psychedelic guitars, a skittering farfisa, and infectious, dance-inducing Latin rhythms. Matt Jennings, who knows a thing or two about cross-cultural musical influences himself, opens.

Thursday, July 7

Blues U Social Hour @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition and Blues U, which is bringing talented teens from across the country to play together and learn from professionals, are sponsoring this free event, which features music from Colin Campbell & the Shackletones and Tres Leches.

Pines @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Benson Ramsey, and David Huckfelt are native Iowans who met in Arizona and proceeded to make music together, moving to the Twin Cities and releasing their first album in 2004. Since then, the Pines have crossed the country, bringing their blend of indie-folk/Americana roots to new fans wherever they appear. They add a rhythm section for some dates, but it appears that Benson’s brother Alex is performing with them for this tour. Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola opens.

Friday, July 8

Ipso Facto @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) It’s an evening of outdoor Reggae at Rice! Ipso Facto has been playing a blend of reggae, funk, and even a bit of jazz since the early 80s, and has been called “the best reggae band ever to emerge from Minnesota’s Tundra” by City Pages. Ryan Liestman’s Reggae Revival opens.

Debo Band @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This is the opening concert in a summer of African music at the Cedar, and features an 11-piece band, with instrumentation reminiscent of Easter European brass bands, playing Ethiopian pop. They are led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, and use traditional Ethiopian scales and vocal styles, integrating them with American soul and funk rhythms.

Drew Druckery & the Dharma Hounds @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Members of this quartet have played in various rock and roots bands around town for over a decade. Together, their sound encompasses blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock, making for a combustible combination. Drew Druckery, vocals, guitar; Paul Mikolich, keys/B3; Joshua Walton, bass; Brett Behrens, drums.

Saturday, July 9

Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a band that can vary in size from 5 to 16 pieces, depending on the occasion. The Pan Handlers may have a full rhythm section, or simply be a collection of differently tuned steel drums. No matter the size, their repertoire ranges from Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to Bob Marly, and calypso favorites Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get yourself some rockabilly and Western Swing from this trio, formed in 1984 by ace guitarist Rick Hollister. He’s joined by Jack Erickson on bass; and Patricia Halverson on drums.

Sunday, July 10

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover)  Spend Sunday afternoon and early evening grooving and dancing to the soulful sounds of Mr Walker  whose soulful singing goes back to the 60s when he recorded a few singles for Goldwax and Chess. His latest album, Nothing Ever Changes, was nominated for three Blues Music Awards.

Tuesday, July 12

Rockin’ Rondo with Bruce Henry and Friends @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 8:30pm. Though he might have sung jazz last night at the Dunsmore Room, Henry will undoubtedly take a turn towards danceable R&B tonight to celebrate the community that was Rondo. Saint Paul Welcome Hat will have a ceremony during the evening to introduce newcomers to the city to its businesses, music and culture. Weather permitting, this will be outdoors on the History Center’s plaza. Bring a picnic or buy food and drinks on-site.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12,13

Sarah Jarosz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $35) Jarosz is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has just released her fourth album, Undercurrent. though she’s a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, she has already received Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations with her first two records. Jarosz is from the Austin Texas area and has appeared on Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC, and have garnered highly positive reviews in publications ranging from Mojo and Paste, to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The Brother Brothers open.

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.


The 4th and More: 6.29 – 7.5

June 29, 2016

Unknown-1We’ve got the 4th of July coming up and a great line-up of music to choose from in the days leading up to it, including visits from outstanding jazz and blues artists, not to forget the talented musicians of our area. Have a good week. As for the 4th, well there are celebrations that include live music, though you’ll have to check you local paper to find them, since their main attraction will undoubtedly be fireworks. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz
Wednesday, June 29
Zosha Warpeha & Dean Magraw @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) Zosha Warpeha is a young violinist and vocalist who has been studying at the New School in NYC for the past couple of years. She was already very, very good when she played with the Dakota Combo a few years back, and has played with guitarist Dean Magraw in Pippi Ardennia’s band, where their compatibility is evident.

Thursday, June 30
Marquis Hill & The Blacktet @ The Dakota, Minnenapolis. 7pm ($25) Hill  as a performer at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years back, before he won the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition. He uses a warm tone on both trumpet and fluegelhorn to create melodic tunes that synthesize jazz and elements of hip-hop. After seeing the band perform, Jazz critic Nate Chinen wrote in Jazz Times that he “came away marveling at the intuitive coordination between the players, the rare level of on-th-spot composure that only a serious working band can attempt.”

Sara Greer & BLU 7 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/studentID) Greer is a remarkable singer, whose ability to improvise and scat has earned her many admirers among the very talented singers of the Twin Cities.

Headspace @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Rob Dewey, keys, Aaron Rupar, drums; and Matt Senjem, bass, have been playing together for years. This is a monthly gig for them, and often features specialty cocktails.

Parisota Hot Club @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Guitarist Robb Henry leads this group  which brings the sound of Django Rheinhardt and Stephane Grapelli into the 21st Century with music from those masters, as well as more modern composers like Paul McCartney and Eric Clapton. Henry, guitar; Jim Plattes, violin, Jim Chenoweth, bass; Jay Epstein, drums, and Erin Livingston, vocals.

Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ The Reverie Coffee & Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Chris Bates  bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Hey, drums, recently released an outstanding CD, The Good Vibes Trio. Of course, this is an outstanding band, with three of the best players in town tackling originals and standards with style, aplomb, and excitement.

Friday, July 1
Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz @ Public Kitchen and Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) A bit of swing music in the grotto-like basement of Public, with Ms Sullivan on vocals, Ted Godbout on piano, and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Black Violin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) Classical music meets R&B as this classically trained violin duo meld jazz, R&B, pop, roots, and rap into a sound all their own.

Jazzland Wonderband @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Here’s a relatively young jazz band that can start an audience dancing with their blend of traditional New Orleans jazz and second line music with R&B of a more recent vintage. Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet and vocals; Nelson Deveraux, reeds; Keith Holson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; and Evan Clark, tuba.

Saturday, July 2
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator Steve Kenny continues to give exposure to young groups with this series. The evening begins at 7pm with fusion from theDark Blue Quartet: Thomas Strommen, sax; Alex Burgess drums; Dylan Nelson, guitar; and Jason McLean, bass. The Junior Ranger Expanded Ensemble goes on at 8:30, featuring Joe Suihkonen, trumpet; Nathan Hanson, saxes; Eric Krouse, Fender Rhodes; Noah Gershwin guitar; Ted Olsen, bass; and Emerson Hunton, drums.

Sunday, July 3
Jazz Brunch w/the James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) This may be a jazz brunch, but James Buckley, bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and Miguel Hurtado, drums; will deliver anything but “wallpaper music.”

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Ms Fischer and her band are becoming regulars at the Dakota, having appeared at least three times in the last year. After forty years of singing background vocals, Ms Fischer has broken out into a club act that leaves you awe-struck.

Monday, July 4 
Happy 4th!

Tuesday, July 5
Chick Corea Trilogy @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75 – $110), 9pm ($60 – $95) Well, the price is a little steep, but the only other place you will hear this trio is a concert hall. Tonight you get a chance to hear three of the most gifted jazzers of this century: NEA Jazz Master, Downbeat Hall of Famer, and 22-time Grammy winner Chick Corea playing piano, along with the highly talented Christian McBride on bass; and Brian Blade, who has drummed with Bob Dylan, Bill Frisell, and Emmylou Harris, among others.  Here’s what they sound like.

For more listings, 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 29
Adam Kiesling and Mikkel Beckmen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7 FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Duo Roots, from Kiesling, the bass player for Pert Near Sandstone and Corpse Reviver, and Beckmen, who has recorded and toured with Charlie Parr, the Brass Kings, Jeff Ray & the Stakes, and Corpse Reviver.

Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($25) Towering blues from Texas and California, featuring harpmeisterMark Hummel, swingin’ guitarists Anson Funderberg and Charlie Baty, and a rhythm section of Wes Starr on drums and RW Grigsby on bass. Their appearance at the Dakota last year was highly entertaining. The Midwest Record Review rightly called them “a total modern blues super group.”

Doug Deming & The Jewel Tones w/Dennis Gruening @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Members of The Minnesota Blues Society have teamed up with the Minnesota Music Cafe to bring a fabulous night of jump blues. They’re keeping the price low to introduce the blues to as many people as possible.Deming is a vocalist and guitarist who has played with Kim Wilson, Lazy Lester, and AC Reed, among others. Harp player Gruening incorporates the style and tradition of swingin’ saxophones into his harmonica playing.

Thursday, June 30
MMC Fiscal New Year’s Eve Party @ Summit Brewing, 910 Montreal Circle, Saint Paul. 5pm – 9pm (Free) The Minnesota Music Coalition is about to end it’s fiscal year and is celebrating with this party featuring the bluegrass of the Sawtooth Brothers, acoustic pop songwriter Katy Vernon, and the genre-bending Channeling Grey trio. And if you want to support MMC, you can bid on silent auction items. Even better, you can support them when you buy some beer, since 50% of all beer sales will benefit the MMC>

Big George Jackson @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) A pleasure to once again have the big voice of Big George booming the blues in the re-opened Viking.

Friday, July 1
Paul Mayasich & The Benderheads @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Mayasich brings his four-piece band to the park across from the Landmark Center for outside dancing. Celestial Blue opens

Joe Cruz & Jennifer Grimm @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) It’s a bit of a trek from White Bear Lake to Excelsior for Cruz & Grimm, but folks from the west suburbs will surely enjoy WBL stalwarts Cruz on guitar and Grimm on vocals.

Trailer Trash @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Let’s go Honky-Tonkin’ at the Viking with this six piece band that’s been entertaining Twin Citizens with retro-country and swing dance music for 22 years. Here they are doing a song from one of their annual Christmas shows.

Saturday, July 2
The Butanes @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance to have a bigger dance floor than the one found at the Butanes’Thursday night gigs at Shaws in NE Mpls. Curt Obeda, guitar, John Lundberg, bass; Virgil Nelson, keys; and Robb Stupka, drums deliver the blues like no one else in town, it’s that simple.

Javier & The Innocent Sons @ Washington Square Bar & Grill, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Between Javier’s bottleneck slide, and Dan Schwalbe’s searing guitar solos, backed by the solid foundation of Greg Wibben’s upright bass and Dave Larson’s drums, this band can rock the blues as well as swing them.

Sunday, July 3
Molly Maher & Her Assorted Malcontents @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Maher may well be the Queen of the Twin Cities roots scene. the guitar tech is a singer and songwriter with depth and soul. This is the start of a Sunday night residency for the month. Given her wide circle of musical friends, its’ hard to say just who the assorted malcontents will be, but they will undoubtedly be talented. Here’s an example of her songwriting, as she sings with her regular band, the Disbelievers.

Monday, July 4
Happy 4th!

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.


Russell Malone: Being Himself

June 24, 2016
Russell Malone between sets

Russell Malone between sets

Self-taught guitarist Russell Malone has a very clean, elegant style, and is equally at home playing ballads or swinging. When he was in his 20s, he joined the band of organist Jimmy Smith, and went on to join Harry Connick Jr.’s big and. He then worked with Diana Krall during much of the 90s and early 2000s, appearing on three Grammy winning albums with her, as well as on Roy Hargove’s Grammy winner Crisol, and on a couple of albums with pianist Benny Green. Malone most recently appeared in the Twin Cities with Ron Carter last Fall. He’s released a dozen albums of his own since 1992, all of which have been well received.

As part of the 2016 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Malone will bring an all-star quartet to Mears Park on Saturday, June 25th, at 6:30pm — Rick Germanson, a frequent visitor to our town on piano, Luke Sellick on bass, and acclaimed drummer Willie Jones III. I had a chance to see Malone and his quartet during the 2015 Jazz Cruise, where he was sitting in with a number of groups in addition to leading his own. He was gracious enough to grant me a few minutes time in between sets. This is a lightly edited version of the interview.

LE: What was your very first musical memory?

RM: Growing up in the church, hearing church music. That was the first music I heard before I got into jazz. My mother had records by groups like the Dixie Hummingbirds, Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers, and just hearing the people in the church sing those songs. It was very moving music. Not sophisticated, but very moving.

LE: What drew you to the guitar?

RM: Hearing the gentleman in my church perform. This old man, that I never got to meet, but I saw him (regularly). Keep in mind that I already had a love and a fascination with music. Even at the age of 4 years old I was aware of the different types of emotions and feelings and reactions that you could get from people through playing music. I was aware of that, which always fascinated me. You could play music and you could connect with total strangers. Somebody you don’t know would hear you and then they laugh, they cry, you get these different types of reactions. That’s so powerful.

The gentleman brought the guitar to church, and I was fascinated by the way that it looked, going to church one Sunday and seeing it perched against one of the pews. This interesting looking object that was totally foreign to me at the time sitting there perched up against the bench, And then there was this cable that extended from the guitar into this box, which was the amplifier. The whole getup was just so fascinating, and then when he started to play and I heard the sound and knew that whatever I was thinking musically, or feeling musically, that would be the vehicle that I would use to express those thoughts or feelings. That’s how I became fascinated with the instrument.

LE: You’ve talked about being a young man and transcribing and playing other people’s solos to learning how to play chords. How did you know you had a sound that was yours?

That’s a good question. I think everybody has their own voice, their own identity. They may not know that when they’re younger, but when you’re younger you want to be validated and you want to be liked. I’ll use myself as an example. There was a period when I felt I needed to play certain types of songs and play things a certain way because I wanted the approval of other people. I wanted them to like me.

After a while, this happened when I reached my mid-thirties, I came to the conclusion that no matter how much I loved my mentors like Wes Montgomery and George Benson, and all the people I grew up listening to, no matter how much I loved them, when it came to being Russell Malone, I’m the best there is. No one can outdo me at being that.

It’s kind of like getting to the point of realizing your parents aren’t perfect. You don’t have to make the same choices that they made. You don’t have to like everything about them. You don’t have to like everything about your heroes. That doesn’t mean that you don’t love them or respect them, but you don’t have to make the same choices in life that they made. That same thing applies to music. You find yourself on stage with some of the guys you came up listening to, like Kenny Burrell or George Benson, if you’re on stage playing with them, what are you going to do, play like them or play like you? Nobody wants to hear that.

LE: How did you know you had reached that point where it was your sound, where it was distinct from others?

RM: Well, once I realized I didn’t have to make the same musical choices, I learned to accept myself. You have to accept yourself warts and all. If anybody else doesn’t like it, that’s not your problem. You can’t let that be your problem. You have to let that be their problem.

LE: Were you doing things in terms of the use of your instrument?

RM: Just playing like me. Just accepting my sound. I’m never going to sound like those guys. You have to accept that. I’m never going to be them, but I am going to be me. I’m the best there is at being me.

LE: Thank you very much for your time. I know you have a full schedule here on the ship.

RM: My pleasure.

 

 


A Short Guide to The 2016 Twin Cities Jazz Festival

June 22, 2016

3946f1e9-70cb-408a-b402-d6e32360bd80As in the past, the Twin Cities Jazz Festival continues to add stages, notably the Kellogg Stage on Kellogg Boulevard just outside Lowertown, as well as around Saint Paul. This presents the best kind of problem – one of figuring out where to go, so I’ve put together this short guide to a few of the different kinds of performers at the fest. If a band isn’t listed here, it’s not because they aren’t worth seeing. It’s just that with so many bands to choose from, it’s as daunting for me as it is for you. Besides the styles that I listed, you’ll find brass bands, traditional jazz, and post-modern bands.  Look for a copy of the official program at venues around town. It lists performances by stage and time to further help you decide. Don’t be afraid to check out any of the other performers on the bill.  That’s the way you discover someone new.

Blues, R&B, and Funky Jazz

Thursday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

8:00pm – No Limits The B-Side Band @ The Hat Trick Lounge

10:30pm Smooth & Groove Jam Session @ The Bedlam Theater

Outside Downtown

7pm – The Groove Merchants @ Langfod & Karls Chiropractic, Highland

Friday, June 24

Lowertown/Downtown

5:00pm – Pho @ Kellogg Park Stage

5:30pm – New Sound Underground @ Union Depot Stage

6:30pm – Hornucopia @ Kellogg Park Stage (Chicago, Earth Wind & Fire tribute band)

7:00pm – LP Music @ Union Depot Stage (Eric Leeds & Paul Peterson from Prince, etc.)

7:30pm – Nooky Jones @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall

8:00pm – Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ Kellogg Park Stage

8:00pm – No Limits The B-Side Band @ The Hat Trick Lounge

10:30pm – Smooth & Groove Jam Session @ The Bedlam Theater

Saturday, June 25

Lowertown/Downtown

2:00pm – Apple Valley R&B Band @ Union Depot Stage

5:00pm – Jack Brass Band @ 6th Street Stage

7:00pm – JT Bates’ Grain Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

8:00pm – Soul Beautiful @ Hat Trick Lounge (double bill w/Alma Andina)

8:30pm – BZ3 Organ Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

10:30pm –  Smooth & Groove Jam Session @ The Bedlam Theater

Latin and World Music

Friday, June 24

Lowertown/Downtown

5:00pm – Jazzoneando @ The 6th Street Stage

7:30pm – Irie Sol @ Rice Park

Saturday, June 25

Lowertown/Downtown

5:00pm  – Black Market Brass @ Kellogg Park Stage (Afrobeat)

7:30pm – Michael Franti & Speahead @ Kellogg Park Stage

8:00pm – Alma Andina @ Hat Trick Lounge

Youth Jazz

Thursday, June 23

8:00pm – Joey Alexander Trio @ Mears Park Main Stage (He’s almost 13, but a pro)

Friday, June 24

5:30pm – Pip Jazz Foundation Youth Showcase @ Bedlam Lowertown

8:30pm – Will Schmid/Adam Astrup Guitar Duo @ Golden’s Deli

Saturday, June 25

11:00am – Joe’s Jazz Camp @ Union Depot Stage

12:00pm – JAM (Jazz Around Minneapolis) @ Union Depot Stage

2:00pm – Apple Valley R&B Band @ Union Depot Stage

2:00pm – Walker West Music Academy @ Mears Park Main Stage

3:00pm – Iowa Jazz Ambassadors @ Union Depot Stage

4:00pm – Dakota Combo @ Union Depot Stage

5:15pm – Twin cities Honors Vocal Ensemble @ Bedlam Lowertown

Vocalists

Thursday, June 23 

Lowertown/Downtown

6:00pm – Debbie Duncan @ TPT Stage

7:30pm – Singer Scat-off @ Golden’s Deli

Outside Downtown

8:30pm – Wolverines with Maud Hixson @ Mancini’s

Friday, June 24

Lowertown/Downtown

4:00pm – Patty Peterson hosts Jazz Women All-Stars @ Mears Park Main Stage

6:00pm – Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

8:00pm – Pippi Ardennia Hosts Women of Jazz @ Bedlam Lowertown

Outside Downtown

2:00pm – Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Episcopal Homes Stage

Saturday, June 25

Lowertown/Downtown

5:15pm – Twin Cities Honors Vocal Ensemble @ Bedlam Lowertown

6:30pm – Lee Engewle & Reynold Philipsek @ Golden’s Deli

7:00pm – JoAnn funk @ Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

7:00pm – Pete Whitman X-Tet w/Lucia Newell @ Union Depot Stage

Mainstream Jazz

Thursday, June 23

Downtown/Lowertown

4:00pm – Dave Brattain Trio @ The Black Dog

6:00pm – Delfeayo Marsalis Quartet @ Mears Park Main Stage

7:00pm – Chris Lomheim Trio @ Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

7:00pm – Jon Pemberton Quaret @ SW Craft Bar

8:00pm – Joey Alexander Trio @ Mears Park Main Stage

8:30pm – Jon Wever Trio @ Vieux Carre

10:00pm – Solomon Parham Group @ Bedlam

10:00pm – Jam Session Hosted by Jon Weber @ Vieux Carre

Friday, June 24

Lowertown/Downtown

4:00pm – Dave Karr Quartet @ Union Depot Stage

4:00pm – Jazz Women All Stars, Hosted by Patty Peterson @ Mears Park Main Stage

7:00pm – Chris Lomheim Trio @ Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

7:00pm – Larry McDonough Quartet @ SW Craft Bar

8:00pm – Pippi Ardennia Hosts Women of Jazz @ Bedlam Lowertown

8:30pm – Ellis Marsalis Quartet @ Mears Park Main Stage

10:00pm – Jam Session Hosted by Jon Weber @ Vieux Carre

10:30pm – Adam Booker Quartet @ SW Craft Bar

Outside Downtown

2:00pm – Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Episcopal Homes Stage

Saturday, June 25

Lowertown/Downtown

6:00pm – Chris Lomheim @ Vieux Carre

6:00pm – Russell Malone Quartet @ Mears Park Main Stage

7:00pm – JoAnn Funk Trio @ Saint Paul Hotel

7:15pm – Jon Weber, Francisco Mela & Friends @ 6th Street Stage

8:00pm – Lucia Sarmiento Group @ The Black Dog

8:30pm – John Pizzarelli Quartet @ Mears Park Main Street Stage

10:00pm – Jazz Central All-Stars @ Bedlam Lowertown (two sets)

10:00pm – Kevin Washington Quintet @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

10:00pm – Steve Kenny Quintet @ the Black Dog (two sets)

10:30pm – Jam Session Hosted by Jon Weber @ Vieux Carre

11:00pm – Phil Hey Quartet @ SW Craft Bar

Guitar Jazz

Thursday, June 23

Downtown/Lowertown

6:00pm – Joel Shapira @ Big River Pizza

10:00pm – Dean Magraw & Steven Hobert @ Golden’s Deli

Friday, June 24

Lowertown/Downtown

6:00pm – Gypsy Mania Hot Club @ Heartland Restaurant

7:15pm – Clearwater Hot Club @ 6th Street Stage

8:30pm – Will Schmid/Adam Astrup Duo @ Golden’s Deli

9:00pm – Zacc Harris Trio @ Public Kitchen & Bar

Saturday, June 25

Lowertown/Downtown

6;00pm – Russell Malone Quartet @ Mears park Main Stage

8:00pm – John Penny Trio @ SW Craft Bar

8:30pm – John Pizzarelli Quartet @ Mears Park Main Stage

9:30pm – Cory Wong @ SW Craft Bar

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink.


Awash in Music: 6.22 – 6.28

June 22, 2016

imagesIt’s once again time for Saint Paul’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival  Executive Director Steve Heckler and his staff and volunteers have  put together a great weekend of music that will appeal to a wide variety of listeners. It features a number of great headlining musicians: Delfeayo Marsalis and piano phenom Joey Alexander on Thursday, Ellis Marsalis on Friday, and Russell Malone and John Pizzarelli on Saturday. Additionally, over 300 musicians from the area will perform in over a dozen venues and four outdoor stages, and best of all, it’s free. I will be sending out a short guide to the Festival in a separate e-mail, but you can get more information, including the whole schedule here. In the meantime, here’s a listing of other music ideas for the coming week. Music lifts the spirit.

Larry

Jazz
Wednesday, June 22
Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Vocalist and bassist Ms Lynch is building a following as she makes her way through a number of venues in the area. She’s backed by some truly excellent musicians, including guitarist Chris Beaty, trumpeter Greg Lewis, and trombonist Michael Nelson. Kate & the Fellows play music from the 30s to the 60s, and it’s always an entertaining performance.

Katia Cardenas EP Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Ms Cardenas will be backed by her working trio: Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. At 10pm it’s  Jazzoneando, a Latin Jazz Trio from Mexico: Alberto “Yamil” Vazquez, piano, leader, arranger; Aaron Romo, bass, vocals; Kimani Carranzana, percussion, vocals. PS: If you want to hear a couple of tunes from the EP, you can listen to an interview I did with Katia this past Saturday (the 18th) by going here and clicking on one of the listen icons for June 18. The interview starts about 20 minutes into the show.

David Hazeltine & Billy Peterson CD Release Party @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $50 w/Dinner), 9pm ($15, $45 w/Dinner) Here we have the 3rd of three special nights at the Dunsmore Room, where two musicians who have a 40 year musical history release their first CD, NEXT DOOR. Pianist Hazeltine is a major player, and is especially well regarded in NYC and Japan. Raised in Milwaukee, he was encouraged by Chet Baker to go to NYC, where his Charlie Parker-influenced playing was welcomed. He’s well known as a composer and arranger, and for taking contemporary tunes and making them into “standards.” Our own Billy Peterson is equally at home with R&B and rock music as he is with jazz, having toured for decades with the Steve Miller Band. He received notable praise for his appearance with Bill Carrothers and Dave King at the Village Vanguard a few years back, and regularly tours with Ben Sidran. This CD release party will include a few well-chosen covers as well as some originals. Here’s an example of Hazeltine’s work.

Balluff/Pikal/Thompson Trio @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Traditional jazz, well served by Tony Balluff, clarinet; Steve Pikal, bass; and Butch Thompson  piano and clarinet. It’s a new combination that’s hard to beat.

Thursday, June 23
Chris Bates’ Red5 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 10pm (Tip Jar) Two late night sets from bassist Bates and his crew, doing originals by Bates. Chris Bates, basses; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Jt Bates, drums; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Chris Thomson, tenor and soprano. Check them out after the Mears Park main stage performances.

Friday, June 25
Dennis Spears Quartet @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Spear’s smooth baritone is a pleasure to hear, whether he’s performing R&B, pop, or jazz.

Saturday, June 26
Brad Bellows & Friends @ Boom Island Brewing Tap Room, 2014 North Washington, Minneapolis. (No Cover) If you don’t want to head to downtown Saint Paul for Jazz Fest, this is a chance to hear some jazz while taking in the current taps at Boom Island Brewing. Valve trombonist Brad Bellows can be depended on for having talented friends and creating great music.

Sunday, June 26
Paula Lammers @ The Eagan Art Festival, Central Park, Eagan. 2:30pm (Free) Ms Lammers and her supple voice close out the entertainment at this community art fair. And with accompanists such as  Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Greg Byers, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, you may even be inspired to make a last minute purchase.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) After three days of crowds at the TC Jazz Fest, you may want the comfort of a small wine bar to take in the tasty sounds of guitarist Harris and his trio. Here he is with his quartet.

Monday, June 27
Charmin Michelle & Rick Carlson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner) This is part of a series called In the Crook, whereby a vocalist is situated in the “crook” of a piano. In this case, you have the buttery, elegant singing of Charmin Michelle, accompanied by the spare, ever tasteful piano stylings of Rick Carlson.

Jazzoneando @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/w student ID) If you missed them at the Icehouse Wednesday, or the Jazz Fest on Saturday, you can still catch this trio from Mexico, as they apply all sorts of Latin rhythms to jazz.

Monday, Tuesday, June 27, 28
The Rad Trads @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) The Rad Trads: Take a three horn front line, add a rock rhythm section, and an additional drummer/percussionist, stir with music that ranges from traditional jazz to blues from Chicago and the Delta, add in a touch of New Orleans R&B, and season with a bit of rock n’ roll, and you get lively, celebratory music.

For more listings, 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 22
The Beavers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This all-female Americana group started as a jam band, but whether they’re covering John Prine or performing one of their originals, their light-hearted approach to folk and country (or whatever) is sure to bring a smile to your face.

Samba Meu @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) A bit of Brazil comes to the newly expanded Black Dog. The party starts with a dance lesson after which you can dance to sambas and forros from Karen Quiroz and Samba Meu, and be entertained by SnapFrost!, a group of women with Shakeres, that beaded gourd that, in the hands of this group, creates irresistible rhythms.

Thursday, June 23
Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 10pm. The Pinecones will fill the wonderful dance floor at the Eagles Club with folks twirling, spinning, and two-stepping to the R&B of New Orleans R&B, as well as some Cajun and Zydeco.

Friday, June 24
Nachito Herrera @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) It’s always difficult to know where to place Nachito in these listings, as he is equally conversant in Classical, pop, jazz, and Cuban music (he is, after all, from Havana). Whatever he plays, it will leave the audience breathless.

Fathom Lane @ The Warming House, 4001 Bryant Ave So, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 – $15) The Warming House is a new basement listening room in South Minneapolis, just right for the ethereal and fragile-seeming music of Fathom Lane. They released two well-recieved albums, which reveal a hard -to-define sound, that implies influences ranging from Gram Parsons to The Velvet Underground. Seth Michael Davin opens.


Dee Miller Band featuring Jimi “Prime Time” Smith @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) With strong vocals, dynamite guitar courtesy of “Prime Time” and a driving rhythm section, Ms Miller and her compradres offer up a blast of the blues.

Mary Cutrufello Band @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) This FedEx driver has a voice that’s been honed with sandpaper, a Telecaster that she rocks with abandon, and a predilection for Texas twang and country tales. In short, Cutrufello goes against all the stereotypes a Yale graduate from Connecticut might engender.

Saturday, June 25
Honky Tonk Fest VI @ Grumpy’s Northeast, 2200 4th St. NE, Minneapolis. 1:30pm – 10pm Sixth annual country music benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Minnesota, featuring six bands, a ticket raffle, cakewalk, and Hee-Haw photo booth! 1:30 PM sound check by Country Mike; 2:00 Trailer Trash; 3:15 The Beavers; 4:30 Katy Bellville & The Sonsabitches; 5:45 The Hillions; 7:00 Doug Otto & the Getaways; 8:15 Leo Rondeau (from Austin, TX)

Charles Lawson & the Crazy Snakes All-Stars @ Barely Brothers Records, Saint Paul. 2pm – 4pm (Free) Waay back in the day, Lawson fronted a blues band called the KingSnakes, which would cover under appreciated songs to incite dancing wherever they played. Then, he and Ed Pesche held down a weekly gig at the old incarnation of the Viking for a few years. I don’t know who he’s got with him today, but it will be fun. And, if you can’t make it to this gig, he’s got another at the Dubliner tomorrow from 5-7pm with the Slender Men.

Cactus Blossoms & Eelpout Stringers @ Franconia Sculpture Park, Franconia. 2pm – 6pm (Fee – $5 to park) Looking for a short road trip to an interesting place? The Franconia Sculpture Park might be just the ticket. Pack a picnic and listen to the acoustic string tunes of the Eelpout Stringers, followed by The Cactus Blossoms, purveyors of modern songs inspired by the classic Country & Western performers of the 50s.

Erik Koskinen Band @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$12 Door) Koskinen is a fine guitarist and writer/composer of tales from America’s main street, sung with much affection for traditional C&W.

Céu @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $45) Céu is a singer/songwriter with a voice as sensuous as the rhythms of her country. She creates beautiful Brazilian electro-pop, encompassing Afrobeat, jazz, and, as might be expected, a number of Brazilian rhythms. Kauf, a Los Angeles singer/songwriter who uses electronics to good effect, opens.

Sunday, June 26
Captain Gravitone @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul 11am – 1pm (Tip Jar) Banjo-led Americana, along with a touch of humor while you have brunch, and after all, isn’t the banjo an easy punch line for many jokes. Consider just a couple of the songs of Captain Gravitone: “Daydreaming Out of the 9 to 5 Corporate Office Window,” and “Hula-hoop Girl on Bourbon Street.”

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.


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