Music Suggestions for the First Week in February

The weather is unseasonably mild in the Twin Cities. Just right for getting out and supporting the creative musicians in our community. Here are some suggestions for February 1-7.


Wednesday, Feb 1

Photo by Tim Nyberg

Jana Nyberg Group @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. (No Cover)  Jana is picking up quite a bit of work around town, as club owners recognize her talent as a vocalist. Her considerable skills are enhanced by the crack band backing her: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Evan Montgomery, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday, Feb 2

Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5)  Chris is a busy pianist who admires Bill Evans, yet he has a style all his own. He’s sensitive enough to accompany the best vocalists, and imaginative enough to play in a variety of contexts, including the Illicit Sextet, where his modern, swinging compositions are well appreciated. This trio context will let his skills shine.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 3,4

Inspiring Dancers

JoAnn Funk & Jeff Brueske @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm.  Stopped down here a couple of weeks ago and had a delightful time listening to JoAnn sing and play songs from artists as diverse as Blossom Dearie and Dan Penn. With Jeff on bass, the two were able to generate enough heat to have a few couples dancing. Yes, dancing. In the lobby.

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists’ Quarter. 9pm ($15) Out of the many bands that King is part of, this one has been getting out and about a bit more of late. A recent review of their CD, Good Old Light, in the NY Times signals a growing reputation for this particular group. Read the review here.

Sat, Feb 4

Arne Fogel @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 10:30pm. The ever affable jazz crooner is performing at a new/old venue in town. The Lexington, long a hang-out for Saint Paul’s old guard (and young turks) has new owners, and is now featuring music in the Williamsburg Room. Mary Louise Knutson will be on piano, to complement Arne’s comfortable, yet swinging style, ala Crosby and Sinatra. Check out his chops with this video, a duet with bassist Keith Boyles.

Resurrection @ Studio Z, 275 East 4th St, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10/$5 for students) Resurrection is: Ellen Lease, piano; Pat Moriary, alto sax; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; and Evan Clark, tuba. An interesting combination of players who are good at listening to each other to create new sounds. Mostly new compositions. For reservations, click here.

Monday, Feb 6

Zacc Harris Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) For this gig, Zacc, the ever-busy guitarist, has Chris Bates on bass and Pete Hennig on drums. Standards and originals for a late night.

Tuesday, Feb 7

Magraw & Seru w/guest Anthony Cox @ The Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (tip jar) The Davu Deano Duo (try saying that twice) of Dean Magraw on guitar and Davu Seru on percussion have been producing some fine music at this monthly gig (first Tuesday). Now they’re bringing in guest artists, and for their first they have Anthony Cox, bassist extraordinaire. There simply isn’t enough room to list everyone Cox has played and toured with. Suffice it to say, this will be an evening of high caliber music.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink. For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the KBEM Calendar, here.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wed, Thurs, Fri, Feb 2,3

Buddy Holly Celebration w/Gary Busey @ The Parkway Theater, Mpls. For the 53rd Anniversary of the death of Buddy Holly in a plane crash in Iowa, The Parkway is presenting the movie, The Buddy Holly Story, which starred Gary Busey in an Oscar-nominated performance. Thursday Night will feature the band from the History Center’s production of Holly’s life. On Friday night Busey will come by to talk about the film, Holly, and to play a couple of tunes with the band. I recall seeing him guest at a Bonnie Raitt concert shortly after the film came out. Busey tore up the place.

Thursday, Feb 2

Gregg Inhofer & the Cockeyed Band @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 pm ($10) Inhofer is a pianist who was in the legendary Pepper Fog here in the Twin Cities, toured with Olivia Newton-John, and played piano on Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. He’s joined by long-time friend Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums (Weather Report, Wayne Shorter, McCoy Tyner) as well as Jason Parvey on sax, Charles Fletcher on bass, and Dale Strength on guitar. Inhofer’s recent release, Music for the Upright Walking, features elements of jazz, gospel, pop, and spoken word. Steve Sullivan & The Factory do an acoustic opening set.  I interviewed Gregg and Eric on my show this past Saturday. You can hear it here  Gregg’s music starts about 10 minutes into the show, with the interview starting about 4 or 5 minutes later.

Mother Banjo, Daddy Squeeze, & Baby Grant Johnson @ The Amsterdam, 6th & Wabasha, Saint Paul. 9pm (tip jar).  Banjo, Accordion, and blues. The self-deprecating among banjo players and accordionists would be the first to sympathize with a blues player who has to appear on the same bill with both. Funny thing is, Mother Banjo and Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton are highly creative and highly entertaining. Baby Grant is no slouch in that department either.

Johnny Rawls @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm. Johnny’s been touring around the state during the last few weeks, bringing his warm blues to the great white North. He started playing professionally while still in high school, with folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex. He served as bandleader for OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before going solo in the mid-80s. A thorough professional, Rawls will work the crowd, joking, getting folks onto the dance floor, and generally being an entertainer in the best sense of the word.

Friday, Feb 3

The Senders @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul.  7pm – 10pm.  ($7) Okay dancers, get out those shoes that are just right for trippin’ the light fantastic and head over to Rice Street up by Larpenteur. The Senders will be featuring a full horn section tonight, just right to punctuate the band’s swinging rhythms and jump blues. Whether you prefer West Coast Swing, the Lindy, or free-style dancing, you’re sure to have fun when this band plays. As an added incentive to get you there early, there’s a happy hour with free food from 5-7pm.

Saturday, Feb 4

Patty Peterson & Friends @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This is billed as an R&B show, though Peterson  readily straddles the boundary between R&B and jazz. Special guests include Rickey Peterson and Steve Cole. Bunker’s dance floor will be filled.

Viva Brazil @ The Dakota (Late Night), Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) A bunch of terrific musicians playing hip-swaying rhythmic music. Viva Brazil includes Altamir Coelho, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Cory Wong, guitar; Dan Musselman, piano; Eliezer Freitas Santos, percussion; Rubens de Mello, vocals. I think this is the third performance of Brazilian music that I’ve mentioned in a month. Is there a trend going on here? This group plays MPB (Brazilian Popular Music), which  encompasses more than bossa novas, as you will hear. Sambas, jazz, funk, & fusion are all part of their repertoire.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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