Elton John sang “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” but he didn’t mention Friday night and he didn’t mention dancing. This week Friday offers a number of musical choices, whether you want to dance or listen to jazz. Of course, the other nights of the week offer some great music as well.
Wednesday, Feb 29
Modern Time @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Vinnie Rose, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums; are Modern Time. Cafe Maude is a neighborhood bistro at 54th & Penn that serves imaginative cocktails and very good food. On music nights, they feature a Prix Fixe menu for $20. Reservations recommended. Mention that you want to hear the music.
Anton, Gravatt, & Little @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Jim Anton, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Doug Little, reeds. A good beer selection and amazing musicians.
Thursday, March 1, Saturday, March 3
Maude Hixson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) With a warm voice, wonderful enunciation, and great pitch, Hixson is perfect for the venerable Lexington’s Williamburg Room. A dining spot that’s old school clubby, what with its paneled walls and such. She has just released a CD single of Cottontail, a romp through Jon Hendrick’s vocalese lyrics to the Ellington standard.
Thursday, Friday, March 1,2
Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival @ The Walker Art Center. 8pm ($25/night or $22/night for both nights). The Jazz Hounds will be out as the Walker presents this Mini-Festival. Iyer is the young pianist that’s attracting much deserved attention (i.e., recent cover of Jazz Times). He will be performing solo as well as in small group contexts with a number of different guest musicians.
Nathan Hanson & Brian Roessler LP Release @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (tip jar) Regulars know the power and talent of the bassist (Roessler) and saxophone player (Hanson), both of whom have a deep well of imagination when it comes to improvisation. They are celebrating the release of a new LP. That’s right LP. Vinyl’s coming back.
Friday, Saturday, March 2,3
Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($10) A rare weekend outing for this outstanding quartet. That drummer Hey and his cohorts, Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano; live in the Twin Cities rather than the New York area is no reflection of their talent. Each has been recognized for their playing with numerous “national” artists, both here and on the road. Together they play tunes by Coltrane, Mingus, Coleman and others whose compositions demand the very best musicianship. And they deliver.
Saturday, March 3
Vicky Mountain & James Allen @ First Course Bistro (56th & Chicago), Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Vicky’s vocals mesh so very well with Allen’s guitar playing, whether they’re performing standards, a Fats Waller tune, or something by the Clovers. The result is music that will have you putting down your fork in order to listen. It’s a small place with good food, so you may want to call for a reservation. 612-825-6900.
Sunday, March 4
Nathan Hanson’s Saxophone Choir @ Roseville Area High School, 1240 County Rd B2 West, Roseville. 7pm ($10) Fantastic Merlins’ Brian Roessler (bass) and Pete Hennig (drums) will support an eight-piece horn section, which will include Hanson, George Cartwright, Pat Moriarty, Donald Washington, Daryl Narum, Joe Smith, Scott Fultz and Brandon Wozniak. Hanson is doing the arrangements for songs composed by Jacques Thollot, Milton Nascimento, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josef Zawinul and Nathan Hanson.
Monday, March 5
The Jack Brass Band and Beasly’s Big Band on Saint Paul Live!, KBEM, 88.5FM. The Beasly Band was recorded on November 1, and includes two songs sung by the late Christine Rosholt (see my remembrance). Jack Brass are their usual fun-loving selves at the Hat Trick Lounge. They hold down Tuesday nights at the Driftwood Char Bar.,
Blues, Roots, Other
Wednesday, Feb 29
RAMM on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 – Tip jar) RAMM is Paul Mayasich, guitar; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hy” Pockets, drums. Paul is a monster guitar slinger, especially on slide. Together the three create jumpin’ music that draws from a variety of sources, notably the blues. Find out for yourself by tuning in to KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour.
Thursday, March 1
Womenfolk Live @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Ellen Stanley, host of KFAI’s Womenfolk show on Tuesday afternoons, has been curating monthly roots shows at the Amsterdam. Tonight she’s presenting acts that are fronted by, including Black Audience, Reina del Cid, Mother Banjo (Stanley’s alter ego), and more. Tune in to KFAI between 2 and 4pm to hear Jayanthi Kyle of Black Audience performing live.
Friday, March 2
Julie Johnson & Rena Kraut w/special guests The No-Accounts @ Hotel 340, 4th & Cedar, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Johnson on flute, and Kraut on clarinet will interpret Minnesota folk songs with the help of Johnson’s group, The No-Accounts. The two will also play an original compositions. The community council for Saint Paul’s downtown will be holding its First Friday Community Happy Hour at the same time.
Crankshaft & The Gear Daddies and Lamont Cranston @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($?) Crankshaft is a new generation blues guitarist, whose sound is as raw, wild, and ready to unleash your primal instincts. Lamont Cranston has been shaking dance floors with jump blues and more for what, 35 years or so.
Randy Weeks @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (tip jar) Weeks is the Texas Troubador who comes town a few times a year and packs the 331 with his rockin’ alt-country. Check out this video to get a sense of his sound.
Socaholix @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) If you don’t want to rock to blues or alt-country, but still want to dance, check out the Caribbean sounds of this group, made up of former members of Shangoya. If this music doesn’t get you moving, I’d check to see if you have a pulse.
Afro Funk Vinyl LP Re-Release Party @ Club Jager, Minneapolis. 10pm – 2am. (Free) And just in case you want to stay up late dancing, the fine folks at Secret Stash Records are once again releasing a long-lost gem and having a party to celebrate. This time ’round it’s Afro Funk, a group of mostly West African expatriates living in London in the 70s, when a vibrant African music scene was causing all kinds of excitement. Tonight there will be Deejays a plenty spinning African dance grooves.
Saturday, March 3
Big George Jackson @ Hollihans, White Bear Lake. 6pm (No cover). It’s a small place, but it gets rockin. I haven’t noticed Jackson playing out too much lately, so here’s a chance to hear that great booming voice of his, and down a few adult beverages at the same time.
Dave Alvin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Since forming The Blasters oh, so many years ago, Alvin hasn’t been afraid to explore all sorts of byways in the world of roots music. He creates “loud folk music” and sings about folks like Big Joe Turner and Johnny Ace. Here he is singing a song about 4th of July.
For a complete list of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.