We are blessed with a cornucopia of music and arts here in the Twin Cities, and, it seems, we have enough music fans to support regular appearances from musicians that call other parts of the world home. It is more than even an avid fan can follow. This week we have a couple of CD release parties as well as jazz vocalists, improvised music, roots, Americana, and old school R&B from which to choose. Enjoy yourself.
Wednesday, November 30
Lila Ammons Jazz Quintet @ Honey, NE Minneapolis. 7pm ($5). with Ted Godbout, piano; Azhary Warpinski, bs; Tim Zhorne, drums; and Dean Brewington, sax. A rare chance to see Ms Ammons, who spends much of her performing time in Europe. As a vocalist, Ammons is equally conversant in blues and jazz. I’ve seen her scat bebop tunes with ease, and turn around and kill a blues.
Mary Louise Knutson CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5). Last week’s Saint Paul release party was a blast. Now you who live in the West Metro can enjoy an evening of her warm, soulful playing. See my recent interview with her below.
Thursday, December 1
Christine Rosholt “Pazz” Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm ($16) An evening of pop and jazz from chanteuse Rosholt. It’s a celebration of her transatlantic collaboration with British songwriter Kevin Hall. Instead of singing standards, she’s got this trove of originals that she’s interpreted, and quite successfully, I may add. The evening will feature many Twin Cities musicians, including The Hornheads, JD Steele, Randy Sabien, Sophia Shorai, Graydon Peterson, Mac Santiago, Vince Hyman, Zacc Harris, and more…. The performance will feature the music from the CD in its entirety, as well as some added surprises.
Friday, December 2
Community Pool @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar). Not only will Nathan Hanson (sax) and Brian Roessler (bass) perform their duo magic, but they’ll be joined by Pat Moriarty (sax) and Ellen Lease (piano) for an evening of two duos and a quartet. Improvised composing doesn’t get any better – adventurous and accessible.
Friday, Saturday, December 2, 3
What Would Monk Do? @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) No it’s not a new bumper sticker, though that’s an idea for an entrepreneur. It’s a quartet of Twin Cities ace musicians, exploring the music of the brilliant Thelonious Monk. Steve Kenny, trumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. Sure to be fun.
Saturday, December 3
JazZen @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm (tip jar). Flautist Bob Fantauzzo has added a keyboard player to the group, which includes a drummer and electric cellist. It’s sure to add to the already interesting music that Bob creates on wooden flutes from around the world. Nice to see The Nicollet having jazz on the occasional Saturdays as well as Tuesdays.
Sunday, December 4
PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20) Vocalist Pippi Ardennia continues her monthly residency at the Landmark Center. Her musical guests today include former MN Viking Esera Tualo, and high school student Zosha Warpeha, who is an inventive, melodic improviser on the violin. Ardennia is an engaging vocalist, who successfully takes chances with rhythm and melody. Her warm, welcoming demeanor is a big part of what makes these events family-friendly.
Wolff Jabbr @ Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Three multi-instrumentalists who emerged from the Minneapolis Free Music Society events at the Acadia Cafe. Their website says they create “adventurous instrumental music that fluctuates between minimalism, lyricism, and discordance.” At a recent Black Dog appearance I found them swinging quite a bit more than that description implies.
Catherine Russell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) What a treat. Russell is an accomplished singer who has done backup vocals for Al Kooper and Steely Dan, to name just two. She was in town a few months ago and stole the show as part of a Grateful Dead tribute at Orchestra Hall, and has appeared on Marian McPartland’s piano jazz show. In her recent CD, “Inside this Heart of Mine,” she evokes wistfulness, playfulness, and braggadocio. It’s spent a lot of time on my CD player.
Tuesday, December 6
Joel Shapira @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Though a number of venues in town have Tuesday residencies, the Nicollet has an ever-changing roster of talented folks. The acoustics are very good, which will allow you to clearly hear Shapira’s nylon guitar, and appreciate his facile fretwork.
For a comprehensive listing of jazz events, go to KBEM’s calendar.
Roots, Blues, Other…
Wednesday, November 30
Taylor Baggott on the House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI 90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm – 9pm (331 Club). A couple of months ago, when Harold asked me to host today’s House Party, I immediately thought of having Baggott as my guest. He’s a soulful singer, with an appreciation for classics, and a winning way on stage. He just released an EP and packed the house at the Dakota. Baggott will be on KFAI during the 5 o’clock hour, and then scoot over to the 331 Club for the 7pm show.
Friday, December 2
Yulefest IV, Feat. The Eddies, Patrick O’Brien, & Barra @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Downtown Saint Paul. 7:30pm. ($10) It’s an evening of festivities to benefit the Minnesota Food Shelf. Join others in the intimate music room for Celtic music and more, including almost acapella ruminations on love, life, work, and death from The Eddies.
Mississippi Heat @ Wilebski’s, Rice & Larpenteur, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Powered by the harp of Pierre Lacocque, this Chicago band delivers electrified blues that draws on the heritage of its hometown, as well as the Delta. With their ability to fill a dance floor, this is a fitting band to play the newly re-opened bar.
Friday, Saturday, December 2,3
Kelly Hunt@ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Hunt has steadily built a fan base here and throughout the country with her hard work and good humor, not to mention boundless talent. It would be easy to call her piano playing boogie-woogie, but that wouldn’t begin to encompass her gifts. Even the record charts list her in multiple genres – blues, Americana, and Adult Alternative, among others. Hunt is a piano-pounder, for sure, but this powerful singer will entrance and delight, all the while keeping your kiester moving as she lays out a ferocious beat with her left hand.
Saturday, December 3
Brass Messengers CD Release Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm. Ain’t no party like a Brass Messengers party. With a repertoire that stretches from the Balkans to New Orleans, and beyond, and an attitude that’s part circus, part vaudeville, and completely irreverent, the Messengers are simply like no other band in town. Should be mucho fun, what with dancing, etc.
Scottie Miller @ The Loring Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Scottie hasn’t been playing in the area too much lately, as he has been touring far and wide as a member of Ruthie Foster’s band, and as a leader of his own funky, soulful group. As a pianist, he proudly calls upon New Orleans piano professors for inspiration, and does them proud. Tonight he’s bringing his game up a notch, by combining the music of his band with string arrangements by composer/arranger Victor Zupanc, and featuring the critically acclaimed violinist Margaret Humphrey.
Alvin Youngblood Hart w/Staving Chain @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($25) Here’s a chance to see acoustic bluesman Hart, a Grammy Winner, in a very intimate setting and get some good BBQ to boot. Seating is very limited, so reservations are highy recommended (call 651-955-6337)
Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70) “What is Hip?” Going “Down to The Nighclub.” The ten-piece band with the tight horn section has been delivering their unique brand of soul for forty some odd years now, and, judging by their last appearance, can still bring on the funk. If “You’re Still A Young Man,” you can find out where modern bands like the Dap-Kings, Kings Go Forth, and the Soul Investigators got some of their influences.
For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.