Autumn is Here: 9.19 – 9.25

September 19, 2018

This Saturday The Autumnal Equinox occurs, when the sun will appear to cross the celestial equator, marking the first day of Autumn. The outdoor music season is winding down, though there will undoubtedly be some glorious days ahead. In the meantime, we’ve a passel of shows for you to consider, from celebrations of artists who have passed over, to genre-bending jazz, to a CD release party, and an outdoor concert in a sculpture park.  Music Lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, September 19

Jazz Central Fundraiser  @ Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Avenue NE, Minneapolis. 3pm – 6pm (No Cover) All the proceeds from beer sales will benefit Jazz Central today, and starting at 6pm, 35 or 40 of the musicians that play at Jazz Central will perform in different combinations.

Kendra Shank @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Shank has released seven acclaimed CDs amid critical huzzahs from Time, Downbeat, and The Boston Globe. She’s a NYC jazz figure and has been featured n NPR, and has headlined the Blue Note, Birdland, the Jazz Standard, and the Iridum, in addition to festival appearances around the world. She’ll be accompanied by resident jazz stalwarts Phil Aaron, piano; and Graydon Peterson bass.

Thursday, September 20

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) Pianist Knutson is a bright light on theTwin Cities jazz scene, whether performing with a trio, accompanying a singer, touring with Doc Severinson, or playing with the MNJazz Orchestra and the Jazz Women All-Stars. She’ll be joined by bassist Chris Bates and drummer Greg Schulte.

Yasmeen Quintana @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This vocalist and native of Barcelona performs Latin Jazz and Neo Soul. Quintana will be backed by resident musicians Kevin Gastonguay, keys; David Feily, bass; and Arthur LA Buckner, drums.

Friday, September 21

Debbie Duncan @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Duncan is always entertaining, but more to the point, she’s a great singer who can croon ballads with great warmth, and be funky, funny, or sophisticated, as her songs require.

Saturday, September 22

Saturday Night Jazz @ the Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The17-piece Inatnas Orchestrais the brain child of the married couple composer/conducter Asuka Kakitani and trombonist/composer JC Sanford  After being an important part of the NYC large ensemble scene for years, the couple moved back to Sanford’s home town here in the Twin Cities and established Inatnas to showcase the couple’s compositions. The band includes many of the area’s A-list players, along with vocalist Kim Sueoka, joining the band for the first time. This show will be held in the large room at the Black Dog, which, based on previous shows, may still not be large enough to hold interested fans. Here is Kakitaniwith an orchestra she had in NYC aboutm6 years ago.

Larry McDonough Trio @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pn (Tip Jar) Pianist McDonough  and his trio will be presenting the Music of Bill Evans at this neighborhood pub that never has their TV on during a musical performance.

Monday, September 24

Dan Weiss Starebaby @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($20) NYC drummer Dan Weiss regularly performs with artists like Rudresh Mahanthappa, Chris Potter, and John Zorn, in addition to his own groups, one of which is Starebaby, conceived of as a group that combines jazz with the power of heavy metal and electronic new music. He’s created a group with some of the most talented and accomplished players in the current scene: Mpls native Craig Taborn and Matt Mitchell, keyboards, piano, and electronics; Ben Monder, guitar; and Trevor Dunn, bass.

Tuesday, September 25

Maud Hixson: The 1920s Songbook @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) Vocalist Maud Hixson and musical partner pianist Rick Carlson will present songs created in the 1920s, along with stories of th songwriters and singers and an explanation of the slang of the time.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 25, 26

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55, $65, $75) Vocalist Peyroux has come a long way since her days of busking in the streets of Paris. Her latest album,  Anthem!, received a glowing review in DownBeat, which called it “…a finely polished production, each performance in crisp servitude to the song.” Here’s a cut from the album.

Cyrus Chestnut Trio feat: Buster Williams, Lenny White @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) Oh my! Pianist Chestnut, called “The best jazz pianist of his generation” by Time magazine, is a draw all by himself with a sound that reflects a gospel background, but tonight he’s also joined by the master bassist Buster Williams and the formidable, Grammy-winning drummer Lenny White.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and roots events, while the Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews of jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, September 19

Stephanie Niles on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Pianist and singer/songwriter Niles can play raucous juke joint blues, then turn around and barrel through the changes on a jazz tune. Chicago born, she spends her time in New Orleans when not on the road, which is about 150 nights a year.

John Oates @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50, $55) You may know Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer John Oates as half of Hall & Oates, but you probably don’t know of his love for Americana music. He’ll demonstrate his approach the genre with songs from the recently released album Arkansas, backed by The Good Road Band: Russ Paul, pedal steel; Guthrie Trapp, guitar; Steve Mackey, bass; and Josh Day, drums.

Thursday, September 20

Gilded Palace Sinners @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis.7:30pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Eleven, count em, eleven talented musicians from various Americana bands in the area come together to celebrate the “Cosmic American Music” of Gram Parsons, who helped create country rock in the 70s playing in bands like The International Submarine Band, the Byrds circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

Miss Myra & the Moonshiners w/Special Guest Papa John Kolstad @ Vieux Carre, Satin Paul. 8pm ($7) Miss Myra and her band serve up a bracing dose of barrelhouse blues and jazz, with Miss Myra handling guitar and most vocals. They are joined tonight by Papa John Kolstad, who knows a thing or three about blues and swinging jazz himself.

Friday, September 21

Pat Donahue & the Prairie Home All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($12, $15 to guarantee your seat) You heard them on Prairie Home Companion, or you may have seen them on local stages.  Either way, you know guitarist Donahue leads a talented band that can take on the blues, jazz, folk, and pop, and will leave you musically satisfied.

Saturday, September 22

Annie Mack @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Mack isn’t your normal 12-bar blues singer. Her blues is tinged with gospel, a bit of classic Motown, and the occasional county twang. Come early to see the folk-blues of Nikki Roux & Rich Rue, who play from 6:30-8:30pm.

Built To Last Festival IV @ The Hook & Ladder and Moon Palace Courtyard, Minneapolis. 5pm ($15 Advance, $20 Door. GA plus Afterparty – $25 Advance, $30 door) Here’s a chance for Deadheads as well as more casual followers of The Grateful Dead to celebrate the legendary band’s music with headliner Peter Rowan, jam-grassers Kind Country, and a number of Grateful Dead tribute bands, including the Jones Gang, which will perform the Built to Last album.

22nd Annual Art & Artists Celebration @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Fraconia. 11am – 7pm (Free, $5 Parking) If you’re up for a small road trip, this day of music and sculpture is a chance to see new sculptures, listen to five different bands, and take part in some family-friendly activities, including the creation of solar fountains and transforming stuffed animals into one-of-a-kind assemblages. There will also be guided tours showing off just-completed sculptures. Musical acts include Harper’s Jar, a youth band; Sharon is Karen, a trio performing grunge, and indie music of the 90s; the soulful sounds of Retro Soul & the Westside Horns; the soul & funk of Jaedyn James & The Hunger; and the blues, roots, and country of Corey Medina & Brothers. FMI, go here.

Sunday, September 23

Ben Cook-Feltz Album Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Pianist/singer/songwriter Feltz is celebrating the release of his EP, BCF. It’s a charming project, from the punk-rockish Intro, through the gospelish Holy Water, the country rocker Come On By, a cover, and the funny rave up of the outro. Feltz will have a number of guests, many of whom took part in the EP, including Jillian Rae, Kari Arnett, Mother Banjo, Ben Miller of the Federales, and Haley Rydell of the Lowland Lkers. Opening set by Sarah Morris and the Sometimes Guys. Here’s something from his previous work.

Tribute to Aretha w/Ginger Commodore  @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) While no one can replace Ms Franklin, Ginger Commodore, with an background in gospel and stints in The Sounds of Blacknessand Moore By Four, will have no trouble honoring the spirit of the late Queen of Soul.

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.


Visiting Artists Galore: 9.12 – 9.18

September 12, 2018

Nancy Harms – photo by Lisa Venticinque

Well, this week over half of my suggestions are for visiting artists, though two of them have Twin cities roots. That’s not to say that resident musicians should be ignored, since many go on to achieve some national renown, such as Nancy Harms. It’s all good, since Music Lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, September 12

A Sound Decision @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10/$5 with Student ID) Another of Chris Bates’ new collaborations, featuring: Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Joe Strachan, piano; Kismat Shrestha, drums; Kristy Bergmark, tablas; and Chris Bates on basses.

Thursday, September 13

Marilyn Scott & the West Coast All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40) Vocalist Scott has been performing and recording for over four decades, as both leader and collaborator. She’s worked with folks like Spyro Gyra, The Yellowjackets, Tower of Power, Bobby Womack, and Etta James. There’s a good reason her band is called the West Coast All-Stars: she’ll be accompanied by pianist Russell Ferrante, of the Yellowjackets; ex-Yellowjacket Jimmy Haslip on bass; as well as well-traveled musicians guitarist James Harrah and drummer Gary Novak.

Kind Folk CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15, $10w/Student ID) Kind Folk is a group of musicians who have all received praise from the NY Times, Downbeat, Jazz Times, and other reviewers. Together, they make up Kind Folk: Trumpeter/ fleugelhonist John Raymond, a Twin Cities native; NYC based artists Alex LoRe, alto; Noam Wiesenberg, bass; and Colin Stranahan, drums. Their new CD features mostly original compositions by group members.

Saturday, September 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ the Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: JazzINK Youth showcase, with Below Zero – Noah Wilhiter, tenor sax; Jacob Rochelle-Share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; Nick Adams, drums. 8:30pm: The Joan Hutton Jazz Project – Joan Hutton & David Milne, woodwinds; Joan Griffith, bass; Laura Caviani, piano; and Jendeen Forberg, drums.

Pete Whitman’s Urban Nature @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door)   This is the opening performance of the Jazz at Studio Z series, tonight featuring saxman Pete Whitman’s new group, and it’s a great one: with Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Chris Lomheim, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey on drums. There will be two sets, as well as a free master class led by Whitman at 6pm. Advance tickets here.

Nancy Harms @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Vocalist Harms, who graced the Twin Cities with her music for a few years before moving to NYC, returns with a concert of original music, including songs from SHE, her upcoming album, as well as songs she wrote in Denmark during one of her recent tours.

Sunday, September 16

The Hot Sardines @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm ($35, $40, $45) The Hot Sardines mine the “Hot Jazz” tradition with verve and panache. With a four-piece horn section, a sense of humor, energy to burn, occasional French songs, and plenty of bluesy licks, they’re much fun and will leave you wanting more.

Sunday, Monday, September 16, 17

Ethan Iverson & Mark Turner @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm Sunday, 7:30pm Monday ($25, $30) Two pre-eminent jazz musicians collaborate on the intimate stage at the Dunsmore Room. Pianist, composer, and writer Ethan Iverson may be best known for his 17 years with The Bad Plus, but also regularly works with jazz masters such as Billy Hart, Tootie Heath, and Ron Carter. Saxophonist Turner moved to NYC after graduating from Berklee in 1990. He quickly became a sought-after collaborator and sideman, and recorded 5 albums as a leader between 1995 and 2001. Though he took time off from recording for parenthood, he still performed and collaborated, returning to recording in 2013. He released the well-received Lathe of Heaven last year, with Avishai Cohen, trumpet; Joe Martin, bass; and Marcus Gilmore, drums.

Monday, September 17

Nelson Devereaux @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm *$10, $5w/Student ID) Saxophonist Nelson Devereaux is a bright light on the Twin Cities music scene, appearing in a number of bands, and leading his own combos as he is tonight, when he’ll be joined by Joe Strachan, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums, and from Long Beach CA, saxophonist Eric Hirschorn.

Tuesday, September 18

Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Just because they play the Vieux with some regularity, doesn’t mean you should put off seeing these two masters tonight. Thompson  on piano and clarinet, and Magraw on guitar are among the finest, and most popular musicians in town.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, September 12

RJ Mischo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The “King of the Mighty Good Time” will help you forget your troubles as he sings and plays a mean, mean harp. If you can’t make it to the 331 Club, catch Mischo at Famous Dave’s on Saturday. Here’s a video with Jeremy Johnson on guitar, who will be accompanying Mischo on both drums and guitar.

Jesse Colin Young @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. ($45, $55, $65) “C’mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.”  Hear that song and many others from Young’s 15 solo albums and 40-odd years in music.

Thursday, September 13

David Babb & Mikkel Beckmen Folk It Up@ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist/singer Babb, of the Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs, and washboard percussionist Beckmen, host of Thursday afternoons at the Dubliner and member of numerous bands, will entertain this afternoon.

Friday, September 14

Joyann Parker Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Parker is a multi-instrumentalist blues singer whose recent album, Hard to Love, has been well received by reviewers at Blues Magazine, Cashbox, Living Blues, and Downbeat, more signs of her rising star power.

Saturday, September 15

Wanaku @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11am (No Cover) Have brunch and enjoy the melodic, rhythmic, and sensuous/swaying music of guitarist Wanaku, who grownup in KOM, a tribal kingdom in the grassfield highlands of the Adamawa range in West Africa. With dozens of tribes the region, Wanaku was exposed to multi-cultural traditions growing up, from which he draws inspiration, as reflected his songs, sung  in a number of different languages.

Chuck Brodsky @ The Gingko, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15) Guitarist/singer/songwriter Brodsky has worked as a migrant fruit picker, ice cream truck driver, laborer at an Israeli Kibbutz, bank courier, and street singer. All of which has given him an ability to write songs which have a down to earth, quirky, character filled with keen observations.

Ben Glaros @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) From his 80s days in the new wave Tone Poets, to recent work with Fathom Lane, versatile guitarist Glaros has incorporated influences from Jimi Hendrix and Paul Westerberg, to John Coltrane and Gram Parsons into his work. In 2016 he released three EPs – the power pop Celebrated Summerteenth and two furious punk rockers with his trio Dump Trunk. Glaros is re-emerging after taking over a year time to woodshed and write, and will be performing new songs and new sounds.

Hoven Droven w/Aar Maanta @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) To open its Annual Global Roots Festival, the Cedar has brought in one of the Twin Cities favorite Cedar artists – Hoven Droven. This Swedish band melds folk music melodies from Sweden with the energy and intensity of a power pop/heavy metal band. They even recorded an album there, Jumping at the Cedar, which was nominated for a Swedish Grammy. Opening is the Cedar’s Resident Artist, Aar Maanta, a Somali singer who makes for a combination just right for the beginning the Cedar’s 30th Season.

Monday, September 17

Harold Lopez-Nussa Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Cuban-born Lopez-Nussa is one of a long line of amazing Cuban pianists. He was featured on the album Ninety Miles, with David Sanchez, Christian Scot, and Stefon Harris. He holds a dual citizenship in both Cuba and France, while his latest album, Un Dia Cualqueria, was recorded in the U.S. and includes influences from both our country and his.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 18, 219

John Oates @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50, $55) You may know Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer John Oates as half of Hall & Oates, but you probably don’t know of his love for Americana music. He’ll demonstrate his love for the genre with songs from the recently released album Arkansas, backed by The Good Road Band: Russ Paul, pedal steel; Guthrie Trapp, guitar; Steve Mackey, bass; and Josh Day, drums.

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.

 

 

 


Resident and Visiting Artists: 9.5 – 9.11

September 5, 2018

Well, the outdoor concert season is coming to a close, though there are still a few events that one might attend, including The Selby Jazz Fest, listed below, which will have people dancing in the streets. Elsewhere, we have visiting performers from Downey & Lubock, Spanish Harlem, Colorado, New Orleans, Britain, and Moscow, as well as performances from our rich vein of resident musicians. Music lifts the Spirit!

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, September 5

Sophia Shorai & Tommy Barbarella @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($12, $15) A few years back vocalist Shorai and pianist Barbarella released a mighty fine album, Long as You’re Living. Tonight they’ll revisit that project, as well as some bossas, blues, and other tunes. Here’s an example from the album.

Thursday, September 6

Lindsay Pedalty @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Tonight’s vocalist is the clear-voiced Ms Pedalty  who can sing jazz, blues, and pop with comfort and sophistication. She’ll be accompanied by Bruce Pedalty, piano; John Knowles, bass; and Bill Paul, drums; all of whom play with the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra and the Jerry O’Hagen Orchestra.

Joel Shapira Trio @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 (Tip Jar) Whether he’s playing a nylon-stringed acoustic guitar, or a hollow body electric, Shapira is a master of his art. Tonight he’s joined by two other masters: Bruce Heine, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Rob Lundberg solo & The Michelle Kinney/Mankwe Ndosi duo @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5, $10) Lundberg is a bassist who, I believe, is from Wisconsin, though he often plays NYC. He’ll be performing solo. Kinney is a superb, and adventurous cellist and composer, while Ndosi is a multi-talented artist – singer, dancer, storyteller – with a three octave range.

Friday, September 7

Jazz Women All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley 7:30pm ($20, $25 for guaranteed seat) Once again, Patty Peterson taps into the impressive roster of women artists in the Twin Cities to come up with an outstanding band. Tonight’s group includes Connie Evingson, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Linda Peterson, keys and vocals; Mary Patrich, sax; Liz Draper, bass; and Sheila Earley, drums; and of course, Patty Peterson on vocals and as leader.

Nick’s Cousin’s @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) I believe this is a relatively new group: Matty Harris, saxes; Eric Carranza, guitar; Rocky Schultz, bass; Kismat Shrestha, drums.

Saturday, September 8

Selby Jazz Festival @ Selby & Milton, Saint Paul. 11am – 8pm (Free)  This annual one day neighborhood festival is filled with good vibes, as the local community welcomes one and all. The Selby Avenue Brass Bandkicks things off, with a second line parade followed by a wealth of Twin Cities talent, including Siama’s Congo Roots; up and coming vocalist Elaina McRath; fiery Cuban pianist Nachito Herrerra, the Urban Legends of Jazz, led by Felix James, and others. The headliner for the day is the crowd-pleasing Lao Tizer Bandfrom Colorado, which delivers a taste of funk along with their jazz.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm: Tony Cameau Quartet – Tony Cameau, violin; Cole Mickelson, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; Byron Blanchard-Johnson, drums. At 8:30pm, it’s The Juli Wood Quartet, from Chicago – Juli Wood  saxes; Paul Silbergleit, guitar; Clay Schaub, bass; Mike Schlick, drums. Wood and her group have appeared here a couple of times in the last year or so. Many Twin Citizens may remember Wood from her time with Paul Cebar & The Milwaukeeans in the 80s.

Swingin’ on a Star @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Can’t Tell you much about this group, except that they feature Dorothy Doring on vocals, so it’s bound to be swinging, which will bring dancers out.

Oudyano @ St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, 1895 Laurel Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10-$20 Suggested Donation) Arabic classical tradition, in the form of oud player Issam Rafea, meets American jazz, as played by pianist Steven Hobert, to the delight of audiences wherever they play.

Monday, September 10

Luke Peterson Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Young drummer Peterson leads some veterans: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass.

Tuesday, September 11

JT Bates Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Bates may be the busiest drummer in town, as you can find him behind the kit in any number of band configurations, from jazz to Americana, to pop groups.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and roots events, while the Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews of jazz in the Twin cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 5

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.5pm 90.3FM),7pm 331 Club – Tip Jar) Whether appearing as a one-man-band, or with a trio, Alex “Crankshaft” Larson delivers blues, country, and more with a take-no-prisoners attitude.

Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $80, $70) Ronnie and the original Ronettes were a trio of teens from Spanish Harlem when they hit with Be My Baby and helped define the Girl Group sound of the 60s. They were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and their huge hit Be My Baby, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. Walking in the Rain won a Grammy in 1965. Previous appearances at the Dakota have shown her be a charming performer and as rockin’ as when she appeared at the Brooklyn Fox more than 50 years ago.

Thursday, September 6

Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $55) Roots/Americana musicians Alvin and Gilmore have been friends for over thirty years, but only now are getting around to performing together. Both are consummate storytellers in song. Alvin has won a Grammy, and Gilmore has been nominated for one. They’ll be exploring classic blues, country and folk songs, as well as numbers from their recently released album on Yep Roc Records, Downey to Lubbock, with backing by Alvin’s Guilty Ones.

Friday, September 7

Jon Cleary @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 8pm show ($12 Advance/$15 Door/$40VIP) This is an album release performance for Cleary’s latest recording, Dyna-Mite, with special guest Adventure Box(Heatbox & Alex Rossi) Cleary may have been born in Britain, but after 35 years of living in New Orleans he’s absorbed that city’s musical culture like a baguette soaking up the juice from one of Mother’sdebris po-boys. .

Dakota Dave Hull, Richard Kriehn, & Eva Beneke @ Lowertown Classics, 255 Kellogg Blvd, East, 3rd Fl Atrium, Saint Paul. 8pm  ($10) Classical guitarist Eva Beneke will be joined by finger-picking’ master Dakota Dave Hull, and Prairie Home mandolinist Richard Kriehn for an evening of Bach, Scarlatti, Bartok, Chick Corea, and more…  Enter through the alley.

Thomasina @ Boyd’s Park, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) The Cathedral Hill Park next to the YWCA will be filled with the soulful sounds of Thomasina Petrus  who’s well known for her portrayal of Billie Holiday, but is as soulful as can be in her own voice. Rocker Eli Fayand a cohort of musical friends open.

Friday, Saturday, September 7, 8

Cabarave @ The Lab Theater, 700 North First Street, Minneapolis. 8pm & 10:30pm. (8pm performances: $30 – General Admission/Standing, $40 Tables), (10:30pm performances: $25 GA/Standing, $35 Tables). This blend of an “underground club with a modern cabaret” will feature aerial artists, dance and hoop performances, along with a performance painter and DJ. For more information, go here.

Saturday, September 8

The Last Waltz @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 6pm ($15) This is an annual end-of-summer event: A recreation of sorts of the music in the movie The Last Waltz, filmed in 1976 as the “Farewell Appearance” of The Band. Many resident performers will take on the music of the  film, representing artists from Dylan, Neil Young, and Clapton, to The Staples, Neil Diamond, Joni Mitchell, Dr. John, Emmy Lou Harris, and more.

The Blues Beatles @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($35 table, $30 Bar) Here’s a concept that grew out of a singer fiddling with Beatles tunes during a break from his band’s usual blues. The group, from Britain, began looking at other Beatles tunes and reworking them until The Blues Beatles was born.

Sunday, September 9

Moscow Ballet’s – A Children’s Program for Life @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 5:30pm – 7pm (Free) Here’s an interactive program for kids 4-10, conducted by ballerina Bogdana Kophy of The Moscow Ballet. Children will explore movement, learn a Russian folk dance, and hear stories from Russian culture, among other activities. Though this is free, advance registration is encouraged, which you can do here.

Tuesday, September 11

Dan Ristrom & Throwdown @ Gluek’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover?) Bassist and vocalist Dan Ristrom gets on the good foot with Throwdown, a 7-piece horn band that mines the rich musical vocabulary of 70s and 80s funk.

For more blues (and some roots), The MN Blues Society’s calendar is quite comprehensive. For all things Cajun and Zydeco, check out the calendar of the Krewe de Walleye.

 


State Fair Music, Part 2: 8.29 – 9.4

August 29, 2018

The Leinie Lodge Stage has many concerts during the Fair

So it’s the second week of The Minnesota State Fair. I’ve noted some of the acts on the free stages separately after Blues, Roots, and Other listings. Besides the music of the Fair, we have a few visiting artists of note, and our talented musicians to lift our spirits and cause us to dance. It’s true. Music lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, August 29

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) Pianist/clarinetist Thompsonand guitarist/vocalist Donahuehave an easy camaraderie, with a bit of humor thrown in every once in a while, making for a delightful evening of traditional jazz and blues.

Will Kjeer Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) I believe this is the last of Kjeer’s monthly summer residency at the Vieux. Joining the talented pianist are Graydon Peterson, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums.

Big Peach @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Big Peach is Patrick Adkins,piano; Benjamin Beyenne, drums; and sam Worthington, bass.  All were members of the Dakota Combo a few years ago, and continue to grow as artists.

Thursday, August 30

Julian Manzara & Graydon Peterson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.8pm ($10) Guitarist/vocalist Manzarawill be joined by bassist Peterson for Vocal Night at the basement venue.

Regional Jazz Trio @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5-10) Their understated name belies the vast amount of talent and creativity in this group:JT Bates, drums; Anthony Cox, bass; and Michael Lewis, saxophones.

Friday, August 31

Aja Parham’s Tribute to Sarah Vaughn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Classically trained vocalist Parhamis equally adept at show tunes, jazz, R&B, and Motown. Tonight she concentrates on jazz, as she sings the music of Sarah Vaughn.

Saturday, September 1

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen & Bar, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; bring their creative interpretations of standards to the intimate bar.

Sunday, September 2

Geoffrey Keezer Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($30, $35) Pianist Keezerwas already working with Art Blakey by the time he was 18. He’s collaborated with Sting, Wayne Shorter, and Christian McBride, among others, recorded with Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves, has been nominated for a Grammy a number of times, and notably, played with Ray Brown for a few years. He’s bringing special guest vocalist Gillian Margotwith him. She’s studied with Oscar Peterson and Freddy Cole, and sung with Sting, Kathleen Battle, Kevin Mahogany, Robert Glasper and a number of classical orchestras. They’ll be joined by our own stars, Jaff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Tuesday, September 4

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm ($8, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) The newly enlarged lounge at Crooners will reverberate with big band sounds, with special guest vocalist Arne Fogel.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and roots events, while the Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews of jazz in the Twin cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 29

Erik Brandt & The Urban Hillbilly Quartet on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM),7pm (3312 Club – Tip Jar) The Urban Hillbilly Quartethas  been playing together for 18 years now, developing a mix of country, bluegrass, and rock n’ roll that would make the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons proud. The show is being broadcast from the State Fair Education Building, after which the band will head to the 331 Club, where you can catch them live.

Salsa Del Soul @ Mill City Museum, Minneapolis. 6pm ($6) Includes museum admission from 4pm – 9pm. Listeners in the Museum’s courtyard will have a hard time sitting still as Salsa del Soulbrings various Latin rhythms to the courtyard’s stage.

Radio Joe & the JazzBo’s @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Vintage swing, boogie-woogie, and jump blues to keep heads bopping, feet tapping, and the dance floor filled.

Thursday, August 30

Roosevelt Collier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Collierplays pedal and steel guitar, having come up playing “sacred steel” with his uncle and cousins in the Lee boys in Florida. He’s lent his talents to the Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, The String Cheese Incident, Los Lobos, and more.

High & Mighty @ Lord Fletcher’s on the Lake, Spring Park. 6-9pm (No Cover) Head out to party central on Lake Minnetonka to catch this R&B/soul/pop horn band.

Erik Koskinen @ Music at Mears, Mears Park, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) For the last show of the season, the folks at Music in Mears brings vocalist/guitarist/composer Koskinenand his unflinching country music to the delightful series. Jake Jones opens, with a blend of Americana, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues.

Friday, August 31

Joyann Parker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12, $15) Talented vocalist/multi-instrumentalist, and composer Parker’s record, Hard to Love, recently received a very favorable review in DownBeat magazine, while Parker herself has been nominated as a Rising Star for the Blues Blast Awards.

Saturday, September 1

Maurice Jacox @ Lola’s on the Lake, 3000 East Calhoun Blvd, Minneapolis. 4-7pm (Free) As the late afternoon sets over Bde Maka Ska, enjoy the wings, fish, and other soulful food while vocalist Maurice Jacox delivers a mix of soul, jazz, R&B, and even some acoustic Motown. Should make for a lovely evening.

Sunday, September 2

5th Annual Minnesota Salsa Festival @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15 Advance/$20 Door) Things get started with DJs spinning salsa hits, then it’s time for a salsa lesson at 7:30 and live music at 8pm. Bands include Charanga Tropical, and the 18-piece La Gran Charanga, featuring members from Malamanya, Salsa del Soul, Seven Steps to Havana and other Twin Cities bands. Also performing: Craig Russo and Vivana Pintado.

Monday, September 3

Miss Myra & the Moonshiners @ Harriet Lake Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Vintage, often sassy, jazz and barrelhouse blues, including originals by the group featuring Miss Myra, vocals & guitar; and the Moonshiners: Zane Fitzgerald Palmer, guitar; Dolly Dagger, drums; and Ike Heath, tuba.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 3,4

Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $80, $70) Excuse me if I geek out about Ms Spector, one of my favorite rock n’ roll singers from my youth. Their song Walking in the Rain won a Grammy in 1965. The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and their huge hit Be My Baby, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. I recall seeing Ronnie and the original Ronettes at a Bronx bowling lane with Murray the “K” even though they didn’t perform. Previous appearances at the Dakota have shown her be as exciting a performer as when she appeared at the Brooklyn Fox more than 50 years ago.

For more blues (and some roots), The MN Blues Society’s calendar is quite omprehensive. For all things Cajun and Zydeco, check out the calendar of the Krewe de Walleye.

State Fair Music (Free w/Admission to the Fair)

Wednesday, August 29 

Ticket To Brasil @ The International Bazaar Stage. 10:45am, Noon, 1:15pm

Randy Sabien & the Fiddlehead Band @ The Schell’s Stage. 3pm, 4pm, 5pm

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 3:15, 4:30, 5:45pm

Annie Mack @ the International Bazaar Stage. 3:15, 4:30,5:45pm

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ RC’s BBQ. 6pm

Thursday, August 30

Ticket To Brasil @ The International Bazaar Stage. 10:45am, Noon, 1:15pm

Randy Sabien & the Fiddlehead Band @ The Schell’s Stage. 3pm, 4pm, 5pm

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 3:15, 4:30, 5:45pm

Annie Mack @ the International Bazaar Stage. 3:15, 4:30,5:45pm

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ RC’s BBQ. 6pm

Friday, August 31

Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 10:30am, 11:45am

Martin Devaney @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 10:30am, 11:45am; 1pm

MBOTMA presents the Minnesota Americana Roots Contest @ The Schell’s Stage. 11:30am – 2:15pm Featuring close-harmony duos

Saturday, September 1

Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 10:30am, 11:45am

MBOTMA presents the Minnesota Americana Roots Contest @ The Schell’s Stage. 11:30am – 2:15pm Featuring bluegrass groups

Martin Devaney @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 3:15, 4:30, 4:45pm

Sunday, September 2

Terrance Simein & the Zydeco Experience @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 3:30pm,4:45 pm

Har Mar Superstar @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm

Monday, September 3

Terrance Simein & the Zydeco Experience @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 3:30pm,4:45 pm

Har Mar Superstar @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm


State Fair Music and More: 8.22 -8.28

August 22, 2018

Design by Tim Nyberg, based on my photo

The Minnesota state Fair begins on Thursday, and since the Grandstand acts are well-publicized, I’ve listed some of the notable acts on the free stages, listed separately after Blues, Roots, and other. Outside the Fair, we have another week of intriguing music, with new jazz groups popping up, some see-worthy visitors, and reliable resident groups. Music lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, August 22

Ben Sidran’s 75th Birthday @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($30) Pianist/vocalist Ben Sidran started playing boogie-woogie as a child, eventually played with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs while in school at Madison, got a PhD in England, where he was a session player for Eric Clapton, The Rolling stones, and Peter Frampton, joined Miller’s band in California, appearing on four albums, and eventually recorded over 30 albums under his own name, bringing jazz to the masses. He hosted a number of jazz radio programs for NPR, a show for VH1, and has written four books, including one of interviews with musicians like Miles Davis and Art Blakey. He’s a renaissance man who’s comfortable living in Madison, and we’re lucky he does shows here with some regularity. Sidran will be accompanied by his son Leo on drums, Billy Peterson on bass, and Kenni Holmen on reeds.

Louis Armstrong Night w/The Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Get your traditional jazz here, with an emphasis on the music of Louis Armstrong. The Aces are: Dan Eickmeier, trumpet; Tony Balluff, clarinet; Rick Carlson, piano; Josh Granowski, string bass; and Dave Michael, drums.

Thursday, August 23

Rhythm’s Mama @ Studio Z, Saint Paul.7:30pm ($10?) Babatunde Lea; percussion; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Will Kjeer, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Taaji Maalik Hill, percussion. With two percussionists and a drummer this group, the name becomes apparent.

Connie Olson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocalist Olsen is a Mpls native who studied in Los Angeles and consequently worked with many of that towns’ musicians, as well as The Peter Duchin Big Band, The Peter Graves Orchestra, and musicians from The Manhattan Transfer, Brian Selzer Band, and the bands of Prince and Madonna.

Leo Sidran’s Cool School @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Drummer/composer/producer Leo Sidran is the son of Ben Sidran (see Wednesday), who has created a successful career as a film scorer and record producer. He co-produced an academy award winning song from the Motorcycle diaries, and has produced all ofnhis father’s albums for the last decade, in addition to playing with such luminaries as Phil Woods, David Fathead Newman, Clark Terry, and dave Grusin. Tonight he’ll be playing music froths latest album, Cool School, a tribute to the music of Michael Franks.

Friday, August 24

Happy Apple @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm  ($20, $25) The trioof Dave King, drums; Erik Fratzke, electric bass; and Michael Lewis, saxophone have been plying their unique version of jazz since the mid-90s. They’ve a complete grasp of jazz history, and can go from a beautiful ballad to free-jazz, bebop, and free-bop with ease. A bonus – the free association cultural ad-libs by King.

SPACE @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Here’s another group of talented young musicians – Jack Courtright, trombone; Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; and Luke Peterson, drums.

Saturday, August 25

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm: Bassist James Buckley & guitarist Tim Sparks have played together with some regularity. At 8:30pm the Sam Miltich-Dave Karr Quartet takes the stage. Guitaristn Miltich & saxophonist Karr have a natural communication, resulting in a swinging combo.

Monday, August 27

Trio KTB @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Trio KTB is the core rhythm section of Group 47 – Will Kjeer, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Their performance will be followed by a jam at 10pm.

Tuesday, August 28

Nichols/Bates/Bates @Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) A-listers Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums, continue the Shifting Paradigm Records Tuesday Night residency at the Vieux.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and some roots music. Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, August 22

Don Scott and Roseanne Licciardi on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm(90.3FM),m7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist/songwriter and vocalist Scott founded the legendary Dustbowl Blues Band back in 21970, and has been performing throughout there U.S. and Europe. Percussionist Roseanne Licciardi studied classical dance and piano and the rhythms of Africa. The couple winter in Zihuatenejo, Mexico and play there in various restaurants and bars.

Honky Tonk Jump @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm dance lessons, 9pm Music ($5) Texas dance hall music – swinging enough to bring out dancers for swing dance night at Lee’s, from: Daddy Squeeze, accordion & vocals; Tom Schaefer, violin; Dan Lowinger, guitar; Vaughn Assisting, bass; and Deal Galhager, drums and percussion.

Thursday, August 23

Due North @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. Doors: 7pm, Music: 9pm? ($10) An intriguing gig, as Due North is an A Capella quintet from the Twin Cities that sings songs by artists ranging from Daft Punk and Miley cyrus to The eagles and Alicia Keys.

Friday, August 24

Cuban Dance Party @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Malamanya’s lead singer Zusel curates a night of Cuban music and Social Dancing. I assume that it’s recorded music, but I could be wrong.

Nikki & The Ruemates @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Nikki’s clear-as-a-bell vocals, plus her guitar playing, not to mention the outstanding guitar work of Rich Rue, always fills up the little NE bar as they play blues and folk-rock. .

Friday, Saturday, August 24, 25

Hipshaker’s16th Anniversary @ The Kitty Cat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) It’s a dance party celebration of rare funk n’ soul from the 60s and 70s, all delivered via 45s.

Saturday, August 25

Alejandro Escovedo/Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $60) It’s a night of Texas roadhouse music, though a bit more lyrical than you would guess from that phrase. Escovedo is a renowned singer/songwriter in Americana circles. He started out in the punk band The Nuns, went on to the country-rock Rank and File, and starting in ’92, released a series of acclaimed solo albums. No Depression Magazine named him Artist of the Decade in 1998, and he won the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Ely is a Texas songwriter with a bent for rock and poetic lyrics. He was an original member of the Flatlanders, sang backup for The Clash, and was a member of Los Super Seven.

Willie Murphy @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) The venerable rocker/R&B multi-instrumentalist and singer Willie Murphy brings his band and his original music as well as his unique take on classics, to what may be the best dance floor in town.

Sunday, August 26

Asleep at the Wheel @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($35, $40, $45),9pm ($30, $40, $45) Ray Benson and his bandmates in the 8-piece Asleep at the Wheel have been playing Western Swing for 48 years, celebrating the genre’s unique mix of country music and swinging jazz. Here they are with a Bob Wills tune.

“That’ll Be the Day” @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm ($25) Vocalist Colleen Raye and guitarist Wayne Luchau head up this tribute to the music of Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt, and Gene Pitney.

Tuesday, August 28

Poco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60), 9pm ($35, $45, $50) Country-rock pioneers Poco was formed after the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, when Richie Furay and Jim Messina joined with Rusty Young and George Grantham. Though they’ve had a number of personnel changes over the years, Rusty Young remains as the only original member. The current quartet only plays sporadic shows, so this is a rare chance to hear this group, whose members play ten instruments between them.

Sprig of That w/The Orange Mighty Trio @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul 7pm (Tip Jar) Sprig of That is: Isabell Damman, fiddle; Ilan Blanck, guitar; and Krissy Bergmark, tabla. They describe their music as instrumental Newgrass/folk music. City Pages describes the music of the Orange Mighty Trio as “Maverick Chamber music.”

State Fair Music (Free w/Fair Entry)

Thursday, Friday, August 23, 24

The Last Revel @ West End Stage. 8pm. A Minneapolis trio that uses multi-instrumental talent to deliver”Front Porch Americans.”

Tower of Power @ The Leine Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm ToP, the 10-piece funk ’n soul band from Oakland, is  celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year, and are still sharp as your barber’s razor, as can be found on their recent release, Soul Side of Town. I recently interviewed leader Emilio Castillo, which you can read here. 

Saturday, Sunday, August 25, 26

Ipso Facto @ The International Bazaar Stage. 8pm. Funky, funky reggae, and oh yeah,  some straight-up funk..

Mayda @ West End Stage. 8pm. R&B-Infused pop.

Bodeans @ The Leine Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm. They just might be Minnesota’s favorite Wisconsin rock band, as well as favorites of anyone who first heard their high energy music in the 80s, or more recently, their almost annual shows at the MN Zoo.

Monday, Tuesday, August 27, 28

En Vogue @ The Leine Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm. En Vogue is considered one of the best female vocal groups of all time. This R&B trio from the 90s has sold more than 20 million records, received seven Grammy nominations, seven MTV Video Music Awards, and three Soul Train AwardsHere’s your chance to hear them sing such hits as Hold On, My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get it), and others.

For more blues (and some roots), the MN Blues Society has a comprehensive calendar. For all things Cajun and Zydeco, check out the calendar of the Krewe de Walleye


Tower of Power Interview

August 21, 2018

East Bay Grease – Tower of Power’s first album

If you think You Ought to be Having Fun, even though the phrase You’re Still a Young Man (or woman) no longer fits you, but you know What is Hip, and you want to go Down To The Nightclub to get a Soul Vaccination, than you should head to the Soul Side of Town. That’s the name of the album that Tower of Power released in June to celebrate their 50thAnniversary. It became their first Number 1 on Billboard, debuting atop the charts for both Jazz Albums and ContemporaryJazz Albums.

Downbeat says of the album ” this 50th-anniversary recording affirms the trademarks of the meticulous 10-piece ensemble: a razor-sharp horn section of distinctive saxophone drama, versatile lead vocalists, song titles demanding the listener join in the fun and just enough variety to avoid predictability.”

Here’s a cut.

Tower of Power is popular enough to sell out two gigs a night during four-night stands at the Dakota each year. They’ll be appearing at the Minnesota State Fair on Thursday and Friday, August 23rdand 24th where you can see them on the Leinie Lodge Stage. I had the opportunity to conduct a phone interview with founder/leader Emilio Castillo a couple of weeks before their appearance. The following version of the interview has been slightly edited for clarity and length.

When you first thought of the idea of having a band what was your inspiration? What made you want to do that?

(Slight chuckle and pause) Well, I got caught stealing a t-shirt. My dad told me, “You’ve got to come up with something to keep you out of trouble or you’re never coming out of that room again.” Well, the Beatles had just come out and I said, “I want to play music Dad.” We started the band that day, and then we learned how to play. We did it completely backwards.

How did you recruit nine other people to be in the band?

Well, when I started we were just a little four-piece and started playing rock n’ roll. It wasn’t until we’d been playing for a couple of years that I really learned how to play and started to get into soul music. I saw this band called the Spyders, and they had a horn section. The next day I hired a trumpet player, that was Nick Gilette, and I got addicted to horn players. Next thing I knew I had five horns. (Editors Note: Steve “Doc” Kupka, baritone sax and co-writer with Castillo of the band’s songs, joined the band on August 13, 1968, which is the date the band notes as its beginning.)

You’ve managed to keep a strong horn section for over 50 years. Congratulations on that as well as a great rhythm section. How is it you’ve managed to stay so tight, when there’s been a number of personnel changes over the years?

You know, it was a trademark for us when we first started. Like I said, I was patterning us after the Spyders, and that was their signature, they were soon tight. So back in the day, that’s what we always did. You’re going to stop it on a dime, you’re going to start together, do these things just really tight. We’ve been doing that for so many years. Now, we play so much that we keep it tight.

It is unusual for such a large band to last so long. What do you attribute that to?

These days, I tell everybody that God did it, I just showed up. For the first half of my career, I made every mistake possible known to man. God got my attention, I sobered up, we started praying together, and things have been better ever since. The other thing is, we make the music exactly the way we want it to be. We stopped chasing trends years ago. We went through a little period about ten years into our career where the record company was trying to get us to change the way we sounded. They wanted us to sound like other bands. We tried to do that, but always sounded like ourselves, and for a while, thought that was a curse, but when things dried up for us, I told the guys, let’s just make the music the way we make it. As soon as we did, things got better. We realized it’s not a curse that we don’t sound like other guys, it’s a blessing.

 

The Tower of Power Horns have a long history of providing background for many other artists. How did that come about?

Early in our career, we got a call one night from Nick Gravenites, who was a singer for Big Brother& The Holding Company. He used to do a lot of gigs with Mike Bloomfield, and we used to play with them a lot. He called us up and said, “What are you doing? We’re over at Wally Heider’s studio in San Francisco.” This was the middle of the night. He said, “Why don’t you guys come over. We’ve got a song that would sound good with horns.” We went over there, and made up some parts, it sounded good. We walked out and he gave us some money. We were like, “What’s this for?” And he said, cause you came over. A couple of months later, same thing – middle of the night, Carlos Santana calls. We knew him. We’d played lots of gigs with him, and he said, “We have this song, Everybody’s Everything, and think it would sound real good with horns. Why don’t you guys come over to CBS Studio and let’s see what we can do.” And we did, made up some parts, and within a week it was on the radio.

It was a big hit, and everybody’s going “Wow, Santana with horns, who’s that.”  Word got out and before you knew it, Elton John was calling us, and we were just playing with everybody. There’s a lot of guitar players, billions, but there’s probably only five horn sections in the world. We happened to be five-piece, and tight, and people like it.

Now you have a brand-new album that debuted at # one on some of the charts as soon as it came out. It’s a great album. I’ve been a fan since the early days, and to me it’s very classic, yet has some modern touches. How did that come about?

The band, from The Soul Side of Town

It took a long time. You know we’re a working band. So we have to go in and out (of the studio), but the last three years we worked on it the most. We did two albums. We have one waiting in the wings. It’ll come out in about a year. I worked with Joe Vanelli, who produced all those great records for his brother Gino Vanelli over the years. He’s a skilled producer and engineer and he pushed me on every level – harmonically, rhythmically, and technically. I think it’s one of the best records I’ve ever made in my career.

It really fulfills, all the way through. How many of the songs are in your current show?

We’re doing four songs right now. We usually do two a night.

You play that song, Diggin’on James Brown. I have to tell you, there’s a high school here in the area with a big R&B band that plays that tune, so your inspiration is an inspiration for young people today.

Yeah, you know that’s become a big song for a lot of bands. There’s a lot throughout the world. There’s a lot of bands that are Tower of Power clone bands that take my song titles to name the band. There’s a band called Soul Vaccination, and another called Souled Out, one called Soul With a Capital S. They all play Diggin’ on James Brown. And then there are marching bands, large stage bands, and jazz bands in high schools and colleges that are also working up our arrangements, so that’s been really nice over the years.

You mentioned that you’ve enough for another album. How long will we have to wait for that?

Well, we’re still touring behind this one. At least a year I would say. We also recorded a live DVD and CD. On June 1stand 2ndwe celebrated our 50thAnniversary in Oakland and we filmed that in HD. When we get off this particular leg of our tour, I’ll go to L.A. and work on that for a bit. Once we get the mixing done on that we’ll do the video editing, and come out with a two-disc package, so we’ve got a lot of stuff coming out in the next couple of years.

I sure appreciate your taking time for this interview and am looking forward to seeing you on the Leinie Lodge Stage at the Minnesota State Fair.

I appreciate it. God Bless. Bye Bye.

(Editor’s note: To close, and just for fun, here’s a classic instrumental from the band)


Grammys, Birthdays, and More: 8.15 – 8.21

August 15, 2018

The Rebirth Brass Band won a Grammy in 2012

This week we’ve got a few Grammy winners visiting us, and a slew of talented resident artists, as well as a guitar festival anda couple of fiery guitar players, including a five-time Grammy nominee. Whew! Music lifts the Spirit!


Jazz

Wednesday, August 15

Pete Whitman Presents New Boundaries @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Pete Whitman, saxes; Chris Olson, guitars; Ted Olsen, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Oscar Peterson’s Birthday, w/The Tanner Taylor Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $15) Taylor, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.

Friday, August 17

Javier Santiago; Eli Zukor Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 for both shows) Opening at 7pm are emerging artists, the Eli Zukor Quartet: Zukor, sax; Jackson Wheeler, guitar; Carter Pearson, drums; and Jorgen Linne, bass. At 8:30 it’s Javier Santiago and his group: Santiago, piano; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Ted Olsen, bass; and James Johnson, drums.

Sinatra! The Andrew Walesch Big Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25, $30) Though they’ve expanded the main room at Crooners, it might still be difficult to get in without a reservation – vocalist/pianist Walesch’sSinatra show is that popular.

Torch & Swing w/Tina Schlieske @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. ($30, $34, $38) Subtitled Sinatra to Simone, Ms Schlieske, of Tina and the B-Sides, for those of you old enough to remember the late 80s and early 90s, takes on grown-up songs.

Saturday, August 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm (TBA), 8:30pm Life-Force: Rich Manik, woodwinds; Dave Graf, trombone; Javier Santiago, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Kenne Thomas, drums.

Peter Schimke Trio @ The Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. (No Cover) Given the noise level of everybody talking, it’s best to sit close to pianist Schimke and his cohorts if you want to appreciate Schimke’s fine piano playing. Essentially, it’s music that does way more than provide ear candy for conversations.

Sunday, August 19

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ St. Albert the Great, 2836 33rd Av S, Mpls.1pm ($20) Once again, Ms Hixson and Mr Carlson will be making a joyful noise in this south Mpls church. This time they’re performing Songs of the Silver Screen.

Monday, August 20

Eliane Elias @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($30, $35, $40), 9pm ($20, $25, $30) Pianist/vocalist Eliane Eliascombines her Brazilian roots with fierce virtuosity at the piano, and a warm, alluring voice. Elias has won multiple Grammys, including 2017’s Best Latin Jazz album. She’s currently touring in support of her recent release, Man of La Mancha. Here’s a track from the album.

Hunter Delikowski Quartet @ The Amsterdam Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Hunter Delikowski is a drummer that’s new to the area. He’s enlisted three talented young musicians for tonight’s performance: Jordan Anderson, piano; Peter Goggin, alto sax; and Tyler Wagner, bass. You can expect they’ll be pushing some boundaries, whether in genres or compositions.

Tuesday, August 21

Irv William’s 99th Birthday @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20 Reserved, Pay What You Can for General Admission) It’s Mr Smooth’s 99th Birthday. Don’t know if he’ll play but there will be a band helping him celebrate. Proceeds will help fund a scholarship for next year’s Dakota Combo.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 21, 22

Ben Sidran’s 75th Birthday @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $30) Pianist/vocalist Ben Sidranstarted playing boogie woogie as a child. He played with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs while in school at Madison, got a PhD in England, where he was a session player for Eric Clapton, The Rolling stones, and Peter Frampton, joined Miller’s band in California, appearing on four albums, and eventually recorded over 30 albums under his own name, bringing jazz to the masses. He hosted a number of jazz radio programs for NPR, a show for VH1, and has written four books, including one of interviews with musicians like Miles Davis and Art Blakey. He’s a renaissance man who’s comfortable living in Madison, and we’re lucky he does shows here with some regularity. Sidran will be accompanied by his son Leo on drums, Billy Peterson on bass, and Kenni Holmen on reeds. Here he is doing a Dylan song.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and some roots music. Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 15

Ben Cook-Feitz on The House Party (KFAI), and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3fm), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Cook-Feitz is a singer, songwriter, drummer, and pianist whose observational lyrics and melodies can sometimes recall the music of the 60s and 70s.

Wednesday, Thursday, August 15, 16

Ana Popovic @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) Bruce Springsteen calls Serbian born, L.A. – based Popovic“One helluva guitar player.” She’s touring in support of Trilogy, her 2016 3-disc album of blues funk, and jazz, with production by Grammy award winners Warren Riker (Lauren Hill, Carlos Santana), and Tom Hambridge (Buddy Guy), as well as Delfeayo Marsalis.

Thursday, August 16

Big Wu Family Reunion Pre-Party @ The Hook& Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) Jam Band fans will want to prepare for the Family Reunionthis weekend with El Dub, Pat Ferguson, Space Junk, and more,  including a super jam.

Mark Healey @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($8) Bassist/guitarist Healeywas a key member of Badfinger during that band’s late 80s and early 90s reunion and touring. The Wisconsin native still occasionally tours with one of the competing Badfinger bands, but tonight you can see him in the intimate, 40-seat 318 Cafe.

Friday, August 17

Dee Miller Band @ The Mudd Room, Mendota. 8pm ($10 Guaranteed Seat) Ms Miller’sexplosive voice and danceable blues will likely pack the basement speakeasy. She and the band are winners of the 2018 Road to Memphis Challenge, and will be representing Minnesota at the next International Blues Challenge in Memphis

Saturday, August 18

Lowertown Guitar Festival @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. Noon – 9pm (Free) Siama Matuzungidi, Lonesome Dan Case, Jake Hanson & James Buckley, Paul Metzger, & more…. Performances will take place in a number of different areas, from the Hamm’s Waterfall, to a floating stage, a dockside stage, and the Pavillion’s Main Stage.

Jeff Ray & The Altered Stakes @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) This is a different version of The Stakes than usual – Jeff Rayguitar & vocals; Harold Tremblay, harp; Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson, hand drums; and Josh Granowski, bass.

Sunday, August 19

Phil Heywood @ Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) Enjoy some stellar picking and Heywood’ssmooth baritone on a late Sunday afternoon in the comfy confines of the Dubliner.

Rebirth Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($40), 9pm ($35) These Dakota regulars from New Orleans have been playing play modern day brass band music for the last 30 years. In 2012, Rebirthbecame the first Brass Band to win a Grammy.

Robben Ford @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35, $45) Fordis a 5-time Grammy nominee who has lent his blues guitaristry to concerts and recordings by the likes of Miles Davis, George Harrison, Barbra Streisand, KISS, Greg Allman, Phil Lesh, and more.

For more blues (and some roots), the MN Blues Society has a comprehensive calendar. For all things Cajun and Zydeco, check out the calendar of the Krewe de Walleye


%d bloggers like this: