It’s that odd time between Christmas and New Year’s. Lots of reunions as folks return to their nests and then seek out friends after family time. Where to go. What to do. Then, whoops, it’s New Year’s. Amateur night to some. A grand chance to celebrate for others, whether the past year was good or bad. There are many, many choices for New Year’s Eve, and I couldn’t begin to give them all, though I’ve a suggestion or two, especially in jazz, since there are but a few options. Whether you choose a night out, dinner with friends, or the comfort of your own home, have a healthy and prosperous New Year.
Wednesday, Dec 28
Minnesota Youth Jazz Band @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm. (No cover). The Twin Cities Jazz Society provides an opportunity for various young bands to perform from time to time. Hear’s your chance to hear the next generation of jazz musicians.
Nichola Miller @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5). Nichola has a take-no-prisoners attitude when it comes to singing torch songs. Tonight she will be accompanied by the Tanner Taylor Trio, making this gig doubly enjoyable. Word is, her latest CD, “Thou Swingeth,” will be reviewed in Downbeat. To hear some of her singing, go here.
Thursday, Dec 2
Dave Hagedorn and Dan Cavanagh @ The Artists Quarter. 9pm ($5). Hagedorn is the vibist/percussionist who plays in the Phil Hey Quartet and Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, in addition to his duties teaching at St. Olaf. Dan is a pianist/composer and former student of Dave’s who has won a number of awards and commissions for his compositions. Should be a heady evening of improvisation.
Friday, Dec 30
Rick Germanson Trio @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Rick returns for his annual stint at the AQ. He’s a winning pianist, with technique and taste, and a penchant for Latin rhythms. He’s played with Elvin Jones, Wynton Marsalis, and Marlena Shaw, as well as being a part of Louis Hayes’ Cannonball Adderley Legacy Band.
Saturday, Dec 31
Open Season @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8:30pm (tip jar) An early bird celebration with Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Cory Grossman, cello; and Pete Hennig, drums.
Maude Hixson & Rick Carlson @ Honey, NE Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm ($15) A cabaret/dinner show for those who want to get an early start on the evening. Hixson on vocals, and Carlson on piano – a perfect match.
JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul 8pm – Midnight (no cover). Great cocktails and appetizers, and elegant music from pianist/vocalist Funk and bassist Brueske.
Carole Martin @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($45) An annual tradition at the AQ, Martin has a warm, yet sophisticated singing style that creates an appropriately celebratory vibe for New Years. She’ll be accompanied by Dave Karr on sax, Rick Germanson on piano (see above), Graydon Peterson on bass, and Kenny Horst on drums.
Monday, January 2
Saint Paul Live! featuring Lucia Newell and Pete Whitman’s X-Tet on KBEM (88.5 FM) 7pm – 8pm During the Summer and early Fall I was mentioning performances that were being recorded for KBEM. Well, the results of those recordings are being broadcast every Monday at 7pm starting on January 2nd. Each one hour show will feature two artists. The inaugural show features the sublime Lucian Newell and the exciting X-Tet.
Roots, Blues, Other….
Wednesday, December 28
The Eddies on KFAI & @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip jar). Tune in to KFAI at 90.3FM or 106.7FM at 5pm to catch the Eddies, Saint Paul’s favorite almost acapella group. Then head over to the 331 in NE Mpls to catch them live.
Thursday, Dec 29
Butanes @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No cover) Whether they are backing national stars, heading up a revue, or simply laying it down in a neighborhood bar like Shaws, nobody plays the blues like Curt Obeda and the gang. Here’s a video of the Butanes at Famous Dave’s this past April, with both Willie Walker and Maurice Jaycox on vocals.
Havana Hi-Fi @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($10) A six-piece combo playing Cuban dance music and more. Featuring the trumpet sounds of Zack Lozier.
Friday, Dec 30
Cats Under the Stars Reunion @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9pm The legendary Iron Range turned Minneapolis band might be considered the first jam band in the area, with their blend of blues, bluegrass, reggae, and original songs. They were in heavy rotation in area roadhouses like The Cabooze, the Union, and the Uptown, and are the band that brought singer/songwriter/author Paul Metsa to the Twin Cities. This is their first reunion in three years.
Salsa del Soul @ Crooked Pint Ale House, 501 Washington, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) Looking to get some exercise and enjoy good music at the same time. The pulsing rhythms of Salsa del Soul will get you up and dancing, even if you’ve two left feet.
Jeffrey Broussard & the Creole Cowboys @ The Eagles Club #34, 25th & 25th, Minndapolis. 8pm ($12) Button accordionist Broussard plays that infectious music known as zydeco, and puts a slightly contemporary spin on it. The results had the NY Times dance critic full of praise for Broussard. This event is put on by the folks at Krewe de Walleye, so you know there’ll be dancin’ a plenty, with lessons starting at 7pm.
Saturday, Dec 31
Soul, Gypsy Jazz, & Daddy Squeeze @ Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 6pm. (No Cover) The evening starts with Paul Metsa & Willie Walker at 6pm, continues with the Big 3 Gypsy Jazz Trio at 8pm, and then Dan Newton & Daddy Squeeze come out to finish out the evening at 9:30. The Big Screen will feature the Times Square Ball Drop, as well as movie clips throughout the night.
Davina & Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 10pm. ($75) This is the big ticket item of my suggestions, though it’s hard to find a more appropriate group for a night of celebration and partying. Davina and the gang have been tearing it up throughout the nation and Europe, where her lively approach to traditional New Orleans jazz and rhythm & blues is well appreciated. Her latest CD, “Black Cloud,” made one of the Strib’s Top Ten for 2011. The early show includes dinner, while the late show includes a champagne toast and $20 food & beverage credit. Check out one of her originals with this video.
Hipshaker @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) For this special 45RPM rare funk n’ soul dance party, the Hipshaker guys will be joined by the Hot Pants crew for an evening of soul shakin, hip gyratin, dancing. This goes until 2am, for the party animals out there.
Sunday, January 1
Beverly McLellan CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($25 – $40) McLellan was one of four finalists on the smash tv show, “The Voice.” A powerful, soulful singer and multi-instrumentalist, who sing originals, and well as songs from singers that range from Ani DeFranco to Etta James. McLellan has the smarts and ability to keep her power in check, and then unleashes it to great effect. The new CD is produced by multi-platinum winner David Z, who has worked with Johnny Lang, the Time, and Prince, among others.
Monday, January 2
GrossMan Draper @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Liz Draper on upright bass (Black Blondie, Cactus Blossoms, Niki & the Rue-mates), and Cory Groossman on cello & percussion. Improvised chamber music.
For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.