Whether visiting the Twin Cities, or living here, you may appreciate the chance to get out and hear music as the holiday season descends on us. Here are but a few ideas.
Wednesday, November 23
Mary Louise Knutson CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5) Ms Knutson is an in-demand pianist for vocalists as well as visiting artists like Doc Severinson. The new CD is In the Bubble. It’s a warm, swinging affair from the talented pianist, with plenty of soul on display. Gordy Johnson is on bass, while Phil Hey, Greg Schutte, and Craig Hara take turns on drums. Tonight she’ll have Gordy and Phil with her. Note the early start time for this Saint Paul version of the CD Release. The Minneapolis version occurs next week. You can hear a couple of tunes from the CD and my interview with Mary Louise by going here and clicking the Listen Now button for 11/19/11.
Maurice Jaycox @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. (no cover). Stay up late to catch Maurice. After all, you most likely have the day off tomorrow. Maurice is best known for his R&B work with Willie & The Bees, The Butanes Soul Revue, and The Soul Tight Committee (See Video), but he’s also been stopping into the AQ to jam (Video here), performing a Nat King Cole Tribute, and otherwise showcasing his vocal talents. He’s had some mighty talented friends along with him lately.
Wednesday, Thursday, November 22, 23
Davina & The Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) I’m always unsure of where to place Davina – Jazz or Blues. In actuality, she’s a little bit of both. Her raucous playing includes a huge nod to traditional jazz and New Orleans R&B, and her crackerjack horn players are always improvising. At any rate, she’s turning heads and ears from the East Metro to East Europe, from Minneapolis to Montana. Go and find out why. Even if you don’t dance, you’re likely to shake off some turkey Thursday night listening to her exuberant singing.
Friday, November 26
Irv Williams and Peter Schimke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30 – 6:30 (No cover) Whether or not you’ve been shopping all day, do yourself a favor and relax to the sounds of “Mr Smooth,” as Irv is called, and his compadre, the ever inventive Peter Schimke on piano. Together they create music that soothes and inspires. Plus, it’s happy hour.
Friday, Saturday, November 25, 26
Pat Mallinger CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($12) The new CD is “Home on Richmond,” and features fellow Twin Cites-to-Chicago transplant Bill Carrothers on piano, while Mallinger handles reeds. It was recorded live at the Green Mill in Chicago, and, as you might expect, is a blowing affair. Tonight’s quartet includes Bryan Nichols, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. Pamela Espeland was kind enough to post an interview that I did with Pat on excellent Bebopified blog back in 2010, before I had my own blog. Now that I have my own blog, I’ve reposted it below.
Tuesday, November 29
The Michael Gold Group @ The Nicollet, Franklin & Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. (Tip Jar) The Nicollet is a fine little place to hear jazz, with good acoustics, coffee and pastries, plus, a wood dance floor that is often populated by swing dancers, though fox trotters and simply slow dancers get there turns as well. Check it out.
For a comprehensive listing of jazz, go to KBEM’s jazz calendar.
Roots, Blues, Other…
Wednesday, November 22
Nikki & The Ruemates @ the 331 Club and on KFAI, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – tip jar); 5pm hour (KFAI 90.3 & 106.7FM) This is an annual event. Harold Tremblay of the House Party bring’s Nikki & the crew onto his show and then presents them at the 331 Club. Nikki’s clarion voice brings new meaning to classic country blues, and their originals fit right in. If you haven’t heard them lately, you’ll be surprised at contribution made by the standup bass.
Mashed Potatoes @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 10pm (no cover) So you’ve got the house cleaned as much as it needs to be (heck, its family & friends). The turkey is thawing. Desserts have been made (or bought), and tomorrow you’ll be on automatic as you prepare dinner. Get out tonight and listen to the warm sounds of vinyl from DJ’s Steely and O.D. Have a designated driver if you’re drinking alcohol, cuz it sneaks up on you at Palmers.
4th Annual Swamp Pop Marathon on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) Noon ’til 4pm. What happened when Cajun teenagers first heard Fats Domino in the 50s? Why, they created Swamp Pop. Karl Smelker and Mick Novak, of Louisiana Rhythms, will be joined by David Cummings of Rockin’ in Rhythm, Blanche Fubar, of Ominverse fame, while yours truly will also make an appearance. We’ll play music by Cookie & the Cupcakes, Warren Storm, Rod Bernard, The Lil’ Band of Gold, Jimmy Clanton, The Dukes of Rhythm, and more. Expect funny musical stories and verbal hi-jinx.
Randy Weeks and Molly Maher & Her Band of Disbelievers @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) The Sweethearts of the Radio (Jackson and Angie) are having an Anniversary Party that will appeal to lovers of Americana, and perhaps lovers in general. Randy Weeks is a Texan who visits the Twin Cities a few times a year, and has been gaining quite the following here. You may know his song “Can’t Let Go,” recorded by Lucinda Williams and others. Molly is a Twin Cities Treasure whose recently released CD, “Merry Come Up” is quickly becoming a turntable favorite.
Bernard Allison @ Wilebski’s Re-Opening, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The Blues Saloon at Rice & Larpenteur is opening after a two-month hiatus, and they’ve got Luther’s son to bring you back. Bernard started playing with his father while still in high school. Though his sound on the guitar is a bit thicker than his late dad, he plays and performs with the same high energy.
Saturday, November 26
4th Annual Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club, 25th and 25th, Minneapolis. 8pm – Midnight. An all-star band of TC Swamp Poppers (Poppas?) gather again to raise money for Second Harvest Heartland. The band includes Dan Newton, Dan Rowles, Scott Yoho, Paul Gagner, Joe Luoma, and Karl Smelker. They’ll be backing guest vocalists Becky Thompson, Tom Lieberman, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine and Lucinda Plaisance. Expect a set from the Rockin’ Pinecones as well. Last year they raised enough money to provide 16,000 meals. This year they’re shooting to raise enough for 20,000. Have fun for a good cause.
Tuesday, November 29
Marcia Ball @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($28) Long Tall Marcia Ball brings her rollickin’ roadhouse blend of blues and New Orleans R&B to Hopkins. Ball can always be depended upon for a great musical experience. There’s a social hour a 6pm with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.
For a listing of blues events, check out the Calendar of the Greater Twin Cities Blues Society.