Out and About: Music for March 28 – April 3

March 28, 2012

Another good week to be out and about in the Twin Cities. We’ve got some fine visiting artists, including the legendary Van Dyke Parks, JaLaLa, a trio of female jazz vocalists, and a Grammy-winning zydeco performer. Plus, we have a number of very interesting resident artists at work this week.


Wednesday, March 28

Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($5) Joe Demko on vocals & guitar, Bruce Wintervold, vibes; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Guscetti, drums. This is an all-ages swing dance party, though the club has a bar, for which of course, you will need an ID. Bonus: Nice dance floor!

Brian Grivna Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A rare club appearance by Grivna, whose alto playing is melodic, imaginative, and swinging. He’s played with Buddy Rich, and has played in the orchestras of many local performing venues, such as the Guthrie, the MN Orchestra and others.

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm. (No Cover) Clouser has discovered that the sound of his group, featuring electric guitar and trumpet, has lots of appeal, especially to a younger audience. His latest CD, “20th Century Folk Songs” has a broad interpretation of folk songs, so don’t let the title fool you. This is energetic jazz.

Thursday, March 29

John Raymond Quintet CD Release @ The Dakota, Minnneapolis. 7pm ($10) Even as a high school student, trumpeter Raymond had a great sound and played in interesting bands. He left the Twin Cities for New York a few years ago after graduating from the music program at Eau Claire. Now, after gigging in New York, Raymond’s released an album entitled “Strength and Song,” co-produced by trumpet great Jon Faddis. It’s a contemporary, accessible, and filled with strong songs, if you’ll pardon the puny pun.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul.  9pm ($5) If it’s the last Thursday of the month, than saxman Whitman and nine of his talented musician friends are holding court at the AQ. Just because it’s a monthly gig don’t ignore it and say you’ll go another time. The power and artistry of this group is one to behold.

Friday, March 30

Merciless Ghost @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 8pm (Tip Jar) The ‘Dog continues its booking of all kinds of music. Tonight they feature George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, and Davu Seru listening intently to each other as they improvise original music.

Friday, Saturday, March 30, 31

Good Life @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The name is new, but the players are among the best of Twin City jazzers. What we have is two (or maybe two and a half) generations of players: Brandon Wozniak, alto; Peter Schimke, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums.

Saturday, March 31

Ticket to Brasil @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (No cover) Are your hips twitching? Do they want to sway? Are you longing for some sensuous music? Ticket to Brasil will meet your needs, at least til about 9pm. At 10pm a Salsa Deejay takes over and the crowds spill out onto the street.

Sophia Shorai @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No cover – $20 minimum per person at a table) Though Shorai has been effective in any room where I’ve seen her, the wood-paneled walls and clubby atmosphere of the Lex’s Williambridge Room seem perfectly suited to the sweet seductiveness of her voice. Taking a table is worth the minimum, as the bar area gets a bit chatty at times. Hear Sophia on her MySpace page.

JazZen @ The Hat Trick Lounge
, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A group built around the flute work of Bob Fantauzzo, who works with various wooden flutes from Native American cultures and around the world. Though the sound of wooden flutes can inspire meditative and soothing moments, JazZen inserts twists and turns via percussion, and electric cello.

Sunday, April 1

JaLaLa @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse, and Lauren Kinham in close harmony. Siegel is a member of Manhattan Transfer. Masse was a founding member of the group. Kinham is a member of New York Voices. Sounds heavenly. The video hardly begins to show their talent.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other

Wednesday, March 28

Tou Saiko Lee & his O.G. (Original Grandma) @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm. The Saint Paul Almanac presents an event for those interested in the spoken work and in cross-cultural understanding. Tou Saiko Lee is a Hmong Rap/Spoken Word artist. His grandmother noted that his rapping has similarities to traditional Hmong poetry, and so for the last year or two, they have occasionally collaborated. Tonight they headline the Lowertown Reading Jam, curated by Lee, entitled “Stories from the OGs: Honoring the Original Generation.” Other participants include b-girl Chilli, black/Anishinabe poet Louis Alemayehu, and Somali artist Abdifatah Farah Ali.

Thursday, Friday, March 29, 30

Claudia Schmidt CD Release Party @ Open Eye Figure Theater, 506 East 24th St, Minneapolis. 7:30 pm ($20) Red House Records is releasing  “Bend in the River” a collection of music culled from five of Schmidt’s albums for the label. Dean Magraw (guitar) and Marc Anderson (percussion) will be on hand to help out. Though she started out as a folk singer (I recall interviewing her in 1987), Schmidt is equally effective singing jazz and blues.

Friday, March 30

Chubby Carrier @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 9pm ($15/$20) Do ya have any zydeco shoes? You’ll need ’em to keep up with the insistent, chugging sounds of Carrier, a Grammy-Winning, third generation purveyor of two-steps, waltzes, and funky zydeco.

STAX Tribute @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($12 – $40) A night of music featuring a six-piece horn-driven band led by Jimi “Prime Time” Smith, and some of the best soul singers in the Twin Cities area. If you’re a fan of Booker T, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, The Staples, et al, this is right up your alley.

Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul.  8pm ($10) Swaggerin’ straight-up blues from the Reverend, featuring his stinging guitar, along with some smokin’ sax, and hot harp. The Swamp Kings bring some Louisiana sounds to the opening.

Saturday, March 31

L’Assassins Record Release and Pajama Party @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Get yer pomade out, those pointy dancin’ shoes, and your cat clothes, cuz KFAI’s Freewheelin’ is presenting  a night of red hot music from this female rockabilly band and more. With the Reckless Ones and Violent Shifters.

This ain't Frankie & Annette's Pajama Party.

Pajamas have been called for, which should make this a very colorful evening, and perhaps reveal more tatoos than usual. Tatters, the retro/vintage clothing store will have some pjs available for those whose wardrobe isn’t sufficiently colorful for the event.

Hookers $ Blow @ Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Yeah, it’s a cover band, but that’s the point. Dance grooves from the 60s and 70s R&B, performed by a veritable who’s who of performers from bands around town.

dVRG @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) R&B and soul flavored songs from dVRG on keys and vocals, Jacob Hanson on guitar, and Joey Van Phillips on drums. Devon Gray (dVRG) is the pianist for Heiruspecs, does jazz gigs, and collaborates with folks from throughout the Twin Cities music community, so you’ll never no who will drop by.

Monday, April 2

Robb Henry Trio @ The Red Stag,NE Minneapolis.  9pm. (No Cover) Henry, guitar; Jim Chenoweth bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums, play a blend of instrumental originals with a melange of influences, from psychedelic Brit-rock, to Henry Mancini, Jimi Hendrix, and more.

Monday, Tuesday, April 2, 3

Ruthie Foster and Paul Thorn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Gospel-infused blues, folk and R&B from this pair. Foster will be appearing with a band, as she has in the past. Thorn will be solo. Both come from a Gospel tradition, though they aren’t bound by it, and both and are great storytellers. A pretty special evening.

Tuesday, April 3

Parks and the head Beach Boy, many years ago.

Van Dyke Parks @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Parks has been a composer, arranger, producer, musician, author and actor for about 50 years. He is best known as Brian Wilson’s co-conspirator, writing lyrics for the Beach Boys’ “Smile,” and for his landmark solo albums “Song Cycle” and “Discover America.” Younger fans may know him from his orchestral arrangements on Joanna Newsom’s “Ys” LP, though he’s also worked with artists ranging from Toad the Wet Sprocket, to Silverchair, to Phil Ochs, the Byrds, and Bonnie Raitt. From 6pm to 7:30pm he’ll do an in-store appearance at Treehouse Records on 26th & Lyndale, where he’ll talk a bit and sign records, etc., before heading to the Cedar to perform.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Music for an Early Spring: 3.21 – 3.27

March 21, 2012

Minnesota Spring. Photo by Ellen Empson (www.ellenempson.com)

Well, Spring has officially arrived, though the warm weather we’ve had makes it seem that perhaps we’ve skipped Spring entirely. Not many are complaining. Though the outdoors beckon, there are many good reasons to go indoors and hear music this week, including an open rehearsal, and a modern big band performance, some touring artists, a couple of CD release parties, and a benefit with some very unique combinations of musicians.  Have fun.


Wednesday, March 21

Good Vibes @ Cafe Maude, South Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover)  The diners at Cafe Maude will get a special treat tonight. Chris Bates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes, perform sometimes intricate, often beautiful music. Call for reservations and say you’d like to be near the music.

Thursday, March 22

Nick Haas Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. An early evening gig from Haas, a guitarist/composer with good taste in both originals and standards.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Piano jazz the way you want it, tasteful, yet exciting. That’s not a paradox in Lomheim’s case.

JelloSlave @ Barbette, Uptown Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) JelloSlave has been using the combination of two cellos, tablas, and trapset for a few years now, creating a highly unique combination of drones, groans, and moans for originals, pop tunes, and classical numbers.

Sons of Daughters @ Jazz Central, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. (Donation)  Word is getting out to musicians that Jazz Central is a great venue for DIY performances. Sons of Daughters are an avant-garde jazz trio from New York City, though all three members are originally from Washington. They’re touring in support of their latest album, “Beyond Animals.” You can hear some of their music on their myspace page. BTW, at Jazz Central, it’s always BYOB.

Friday, Saturday, March 23, 24

Bruce Henry @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The master vocalist may now live in Chicago, but he does return a few times a year. His singing is informed by a thorough knowledge of all types of African American music. Whether he’s doing Marvin Gaye or Freddie Hubbard, the results are worth going out of your way to hear. Luckily, The AQ is smack in the middle of downtown Saint Paul.

Saturday, March 24

James Allen & Tom Peiper @ First Course Bistro, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover). This tiny place is hosting Allen, a guitarist whose combination of single lines and chords brings out much in his instrument. With Peiper on bass the two will be treating diners to acoustic jazz, bossa novas, and sambas.

Sunday, March 26

Chris Bates Quintet Open Rehearsal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm (Donation – $5 encouraged).  This is the third of three open rehearsals for the band before heading into the recording studio. After working on arrangements over the last few weeks, they’ll be playing new songs in their entirety. Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Brandon Wozniak, alto sax; Chris Thomson, tenor sax; Zac Lozier, trumpet.

Sunday, Monday, March 25, 26

Hiromi: The Trio Project @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($35, $25) Okay. Hiromi has blinding technique, but there is much, much more, such as the pure joy that she emanates when at the keyboard. Her imaginative playing has attracted the likes of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and others with whom she’s played and toured. A recent Downbeat review of The Trio’s performance spoke of “a remarkably high level of intense-but-controlled energy.”

Monday, March 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ O’Gara’s, Saint Paul. 8pm – 9:30pm ($7). Adam is bringing an 18 piece big band to O’Gara’s Shamrock room. They play Adam’s original music, and will be premiering two new pieces. I saw this exciting group at their last O’Gara’s appearance. Anyone with an interest in big bands should check them out.

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 Bebopified Calendar, here.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, March 22

Camille Baudoin w/the Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) You may know Baudoin as the guitarist for the long lived-but-no-longer extant Radiators out of New Orleans. Winner of Offbeat Awards for his 2011 acoustic album “Old Bayou Blues,” he’s in town for a couple of gigs, including the Sunday benefit listed below. Tonight he’s playing with Curt Obeda and the Butanes, the award-winning blues group that’s versatile enough to tackle all sorts of rhythms and blues with equal elán.

Friday, March 23

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings CD/LP Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10). Take a washtub (played by Brad Ptacek) and a washboard (Mikkel Beckman) from the laundry room. Add a broom and rope to the tub as per the diagram. Bring in a guitarist (Kaul) who is especially effective on Resonator, and who can write old sounding songs about contemporary life, and you’ve got the formula for an engaging trio. On “Machine,”the new CD/LP, and for tonight’s performance, the crew expands with the addition of fiddler Jillian Rae from the Killer Hayseeds.

Bethany Larson & the Bee’s Knees, Joey Ryan & the Inks, and Communist Daughter @ The Varsity, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8) Three young bands that feature excellent writing and vocals, fine musicianship and a sunny sound that sometimes hints at darker concerns.

Saturday, March 24

Janiva Magness CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Aside from Koko Taylor, Janiva is the only woman to receive the BB King Entertainer of the Year Award. A man is the target of some particularly tough words on her latest CD, “Stronger for It,” though that shouldn’t stop guys from listening or attending this show. After all, it’s the blues. Mighty fine blues, goosed along by Janiva’s soulful singing. Here’s a video of her doing a song from the new album.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Soul. Funk. Vinyl. 45s. Dancing. Lots, and lots, and lots of Dancing.

Sunday, March 25

Brunch w/Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm. (No cover) More bracing than the hair of the dog, easier to take than a Rocky Balboa health drink, the swinging country blues of Javier & the boys will go well with the Kitchen’s famed breakfast dishes.

Never Let Your Fire Go Out: Benefit or Karl Bremer @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. Doors at Noon, Music 2pm – 9pm. ($25) Members of the New Orleans Radiators, The Butanes, the Cats Under the Stars Acoustic Trio, along with Willie West, Tony Glover, Gene LaFond and more. This is a unique and extraordinary gathering of veteran musicians. Well worth the entry, PLUS, it’s going to benefit Karl Bremer, founder of the Krewe of Dads, music writer, former Brewmeister of St. Croix Brewing,and author of “The Madness of Michelle Bachman” (2011, John Wiley & Sons).

Maurice Jaycox Band @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul 4pm (No Cover) This talented singer/instrumentalist has a long history with a number of highly popular bands. He’s also done a Nat King Cole tribute show, and of late has been sitting in at various venues around town. Jaycox has particularly good rapport with guitarists Bobby E. and Dean Mikkelson, who he’s been playing with lately. Hope they are with him for this late afternoon show. Well worth taking some time out of a sunny day.

Tuesday, March 27

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30) Back when pop music was in love with psychedelic guitars, obtuse words, and overblown suites, along came the witty acoustic swing of Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks, providing a refreshing blend of folk, jazz, and country music and retro/nouveau hipsterism. He still concocts deliciously funny lyrics, and still swings. Here’s an example of his droll humor.

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

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Music for a Warm Week: March 14 – 20

March 14, 2012

The big event this week is Saint Patrick’s Day, of course, which falls on a Saturday this year, making it easier for revelers to party all night. If you have a  ”Kiss Me I’m Irish” T-Shirt, you probably know where you’re going that evening. If you want to avoid green beer, I’ve a few suggestions for jazz, but have to admit that most blues and roots venues will be partying up.  Nevertheless, there are opportunities to hear music during the rest of the week, and it will be unseasonably warm.  So get out. Have fun. Stay safe.


Wednesday, March 14

Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No cover) If you’re not up for staying out late in the middle of the week, check out this early show with the jazz & world grooves of Axis Mundi: Glen Helgeson, guitar; Michael Bissonnette, percussion; Dave Stanoch, drums; Gary Shulte, violin; and special guest Jim Anton on bass.

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) This is a late-breaking addition to the Dakota calendar. Shorai can apply her sweet, tender vocals to jazz standards, pop, and the occasional Brazilian tune with equal elan. She’s always backed by talented players. Plus it’s Foodie Night, with $10 bottles of wine and no cover if you purchase $20 of food. Hear examples of her singing at this website.

Thursday, March 15

REEL Jazz: Mose Allison – Ever Since I Stole the Blues @ Trylon Microcinema, 4358 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) 7pm show is sold out for this documentary on Mose and his influence. A Second show has been added. Only 50 seats are available. Learn more about the REEL Jazz series and register here.

Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Original music that pays homage to masters like Ellington, Blakey, Monk & others, created by accomplished young musicians, each of whom is busy in a number of other projects. The quintet is Shihad Sen, tenor; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. Well worth discovering.

Friday, Saturday, March 16, 17

Richard Johnson Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($15)  Johnson continues his series of themed performances. This time he tackles TV Themes from the 80s. What will he play – Miami Vice? Hill Street Blues? the Golden Girls? Love Boat? One Day at a Time? The mind boggles. No matter what Johnson plays, he transforms it with exquisite taste, beauty, and imagination, which is probably why he held down the piano chair with both Wynton Marsalis (5 years) and Irvin Mayfield. Here’s a video of the trio at the AQ doing a song from West Side Story.

Saturday, March 17

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar. 7pm – 11pm. (No cover) It’s difficult to say if the perenially hardy Saint Paul partiers will be stopping into the Hotel. If so, it’ll make for an interesting evening of people watching. But the real appeal is JoAnn on piano and vocals, Jeff Brueske, bass, and Nathan Norman, drums. Sit at the bar area, or on the comfy couches of the lobby and enjoy the trio’s laid back, yet swinging tunes.

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ D’Amico Kitchen at The Chambers Hotel, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11:30pm. (No Cover) If the St. Patty’s day crowds are not your cup of tea, start the evening here, with music from A-listers, Weinbeck on piano, Gordy Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums. Get your swank on with a cocktail from the bar and sit on a couch, or hang at the bar.

Le Jazz Cool All-Stars @ Vincent. A Restaurant, Minneapolis. 10:30pm – Midnight. (No cover) Continue your Minneapolis escape from St. Patty’s crowds by walking a few blocks from The Chambers to Vincent at 11th & Nicollet where you can listen to Mary Louise Knutson, piano; and three members of the Minnesota Orchestra: Peter Kogan, drums; Charles Lazarus, trumpet; and David Williamson, bass.

Sunday, March 18

Well, maybe no sunglasses at Jazz Central

Adam Meckler Big Band Open Rehearsal @ Jazz Central, 407 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis. 4pm – 8pm. (donation) Adam held an open workshop at O’Garas a few months back that was quite lively and fun. Then he took part in Chris Bates open rehearsal at Jazz Central. Now, Adam is bringing the big band into the basement “rec-room” in the nondescript building across from Aveda. For those of us who’ll be able to fit in, this should be informative and fun as the band rehearses and Adam talks about the process of composing and arranging his music.

Tuesday, March 20

Doug Haining & “Cool Breeze” Brown @ The Nicollet Coffeehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. (tip jar) Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie continue to bring in surprising combinations of artists for this swing dance -friendly venue. Doug is well known for his work on sax, while “Cool Breeze” on guitar has propelled the Senders (and dancers) for years.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 20, 21

Al di Meola & Gonzalo Rubulcaba @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) & 9pm ($25)  A couple of virtuoso artists. Di Meola first came to attention  for his electric work with Return to Forever. Since then, his solo work has moved towards Latin and Flamenco rhythms with his group World Sinfonia, so the pairing with the dazzling Cuban pianist Rubulcaba is a natural.

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 Bebopified Calendar, here.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Thursday, March 15

Orkestar Bez Ime w/Yale Women’s Slavic Choir @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm. (tip jar) Music that will have you spinning, twirling, jumping, and yelling. It’s Balkan party music and dancing is encouraged. Special guests are the Yale Women’s Slavic Choir, whose music just might make the hair on the back of your head stand up.

Friday, Mar 16

Havana Hi-Fi @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Last time this six-piece group appeared at the somewhat tiny Aster, many folks managed to find enough room to dance to theit hard-to-resist Latin rhythms.

Daddy Squeeze w/Erik Koskinen @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, 501 Washington, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Dan Newton has been squeezing amazing music from the accordion for over 25 years. Koskinen’s guitar work is tasty as can be, with an alt-country/rock n’ roll bent that serves folks like Molly Maher and Randy Weeks so well, not to mention Erik’s own compositions.

Lights Out Committee @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Payne at East 7th St, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) This 8 piece band gives out big doses of the Philly Sound and New York disco (disco before it became solely a producer’s medium). They were local faves in the 90s, and their reunion at Lee’s a few months back was so successful that they’ve been lured to Saint Paul. Prime dancing music at a place with a good size dance floor and great sight lines. Plus, you can get some eats to replenish the calories you burn on the dance floor. Catch them while you can as members have gone on to other pursuits, and another performance is highly unlikely.

Worldwide Diskotek @ Club Jaeger, Minneapolis. 10pm. (No cover)  Deejays Brian (Hipshaker) and Steely (KFAI’s Kinda Cloudy) are bringing some righteous, funky vinyl from Africa, the Caribbean, Europe and other far-flung environs to the warehouse district’s North Loop so you can get down aroun’ the world, so to speak.

Sunday, March 19

Lynwood Slim Benefit @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 2pm – 7pm. Once again, a bunch of bands and are getting together to raise funds to help a friend. Lynwood Slim, a former Twin Citizen and harp player extraordinaire, needs a liver transplant. Without one, he’s got bout two years to live. Today’s performers include the Butanes, Maurice Jaycox, Willie Walker, Big Walter Smith, Willie Murphy, Lisa Wenger, Big George Jackson, and others.

Monday, March 20

Mary Cutrufello and Butch & Spider on Saint Paul Live!, KBEM 88.5FM. 7pm – 8pm. Two performances from last fall. Mary’s into a country thing, as recorded at The Amsterdam, while Butch & Spider perform together and solo at an SRO performance at the Artists’ Quarter.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.  For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Jazzy Women, Rootsy Men. Music for 3.7 – 3.13

March 7, 2012

Well, it wasn’t planned, but it seems that in the jazz world at least, I’m highlighting a number of women performers this week, and International Women’s Day is Thursday, March 8. Hence the above picture of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, a pioneering big band of the 40s.

Fact is, you don’t need a special day to appreciate the role of women in jazz or any of the other arts. Just support their efforts. As for the guys, well support them too. Art in all its guises enriches our lives and gives us a different way of looking at the world.

Ed note: I now have a page with addresses, phone numbers, and short descriptions of most of the venues i cover in the Twin Cities. Access it above. I’ll be adding to the list as I can. Now to this week’s suggestions.


Wednesday, March 7

Benny Golson Quartet featuring Nnenna Freelon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm. ($35) Golson, at 83, is one of the last of the hard bop generation. He played with Art Blakey, Dizzy Gillespie, Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton, and co-founded the Jazztet. He’s responsible for such jazz standards as Stablemates, Along Came Betty, Killer Joe, and almost 300 more compositions. Nnenna Freelon is simply a terrific jazz singer – she’s been nominated for six grammys. Here’s Golson performing Killer Joe.

Thursday, Mar 8

Dakota Combo @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (No cover). The Twin Cities Jazz Society presents another in its Young Artists Series, featuring high school students that will surprise you with their jazz chops. Tonight it’s the Dakota Combo. This group changes every school year as students audition for the opportunity to study with Adam Linz at the MacPhail Center. Afterwards, stick around for Peter Schimke, Billy Peterson, and Kenny Horst at 9pm.

Friday, Mar 10

Lee Engele and James Allen @ The Wine Market in The Village, Mendota Heights. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Free) Well, it’s free as long as you don’t succumb to temptation and buy wine. This unusual gig is part of a wine tasting and sale taking place at the market. Allen is an accomplished guitarist, who has become an in-demand accompanist for vocalists, especially those who know how to swing, as Ms Engele so ably does.

Joe & Roxy Cruz @ Ingredients, White Bear Lake. 7pm – 10pm. Jazz standards and good food. Joe’s been pickin’ his guitar around the Twin Cities for 15 years or so. Roxy sings with the Minnesota Opera, but is flexible enough to handle bossas, swing, and bop, with a bit of scatting along the way.

Friday, Saturday, Mar 9, 10

Manhattan Transfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75) & 9pm ($50) Not sure what I can say about this legendary group that hasn’t already been said. If you’ve not listened to any music for the last 40 years or so you may have missed them. With two females and two male singers, this quartet has the flexibility and vocal chops to bring four-part harmonies to  bebop, doowop, Latin, pop, and more.

Saturday, March 10

Charmin Michelle @ The Lexington, Saint Paul 6:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) The wood lined walls of the Lex’s Williamsburg room are the perfect setting for Ms Michelle’s cool, yet swingin’ vocals. She’ll be accompanied by Phil Mattson on piano and Bruce Heine on bass. Belly up to the bar or get a close-by table and order some of the Lex’s fabled food.

Sunday, Mar 11

PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul 5pm – 7pm.  ($20). Pippi Ardennia starts up a new season of monthly concerts in the Weyerhauser Auditorium. Each concert features Pippi as singer/host and a special guest as well as young musicians. Today’s special guest is saxophonist Jason Delaire, from L.A., while high school sax player Devante Jackson will be the young guest. Also on hand will be M-Theory, a vocal ensemble from MacNally Smith College of Music. I interviewed some of these young artists last Saturday (March 3). You can hear the interview here. It starts about 15 minutes into the program. BTW, Student tickets are free. Check out the link above for details.

Monday, March 12

Regina Marie Williams CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10)  Besides acting at at the Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, and in New York, Williams successfully portrayed Dinah Washington in Dinah Was at the Ordway. None other than Angela Basset called her “the best singer you’ve never heard.” Well here’s your chance. The new CD is called When A Woman Loves A Man. In it, Williams renders her own effective renditions of well-known standards and a surprise or two. I’ll have her as a guest on my show Saturday, March 10, at 10:45.

Tuesday, March 13

Framework @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (tip jar) Framework is Chris Olson, guitar, Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Pretty tasty stuff.

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 Bebopified Calendar, here.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, Mar 8

Joe & Vicki Price @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 7pm (tip jar) The Iowa blues duo are coming North once again. This time they’re joining Harold Tremblay as part of Harold’s All Stars. It’s an early show at the oldest continually operating bar in the state. If you miss ’em, they’ll be at Hell’s Kitchen in Minneapolis for another early show on Saturday (6:30pm).

Hipshaker @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Rare funk n’ soul. Head hipshaker DJ Greg won’t be there, but DJ Steely of KFAI’s Kinda Cloudy will step up to help DJ Brian, along with special guest Ryan Cameron, owner of the late, lamented Let It Be Records.

Friday, March 9

Swamp Kings @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis 9pm (No Cover). The Swamp Kings successfully channel Louisiana rhythms into a three-piece format. Shaws may not have a lot of room in front of the stage, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time there.

Saturday, March 10

Hot Tuna @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 5pm and 9pm Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady started Hot Tuna as an acoustic spinoff of Jefferson Airplane back in the heady days of the 70s. Their rootsy approach to music struck a chord before anyone called it roots music. They are now touring in support of “Steady as She Goes,” their first studio album in 20 years.

Tab Benoit’s Swampland Jam @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) Guitarist Benoit was born on the bayous and has been recognized and praised for his work to protect the wetlands of his native Louisiana. His playing respects tradition, but also acknowledges modern influences. Tonight, he brings along Michael Doucet of Beausoleil as well as Chubby Carrier to create a foot stompin’ propulsive evening of tunes.

Sunday, March 11

Paul Manske Tribute @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm doors, music: 2pm ($10) The late bassist Paul Manske was well loved by all in the local music scene. He played with The Boogiemen, Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, and others, and was a booking agent and manger for many bands. His sudden death was a shock to all. There will be a surfeit of his musical friends appearing, from the Swamp Twisters and the Dough Bros, to the Butanes, Jack Brass Band, and Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls. Proceeds to his wife Karen to defray medical expenses. Exciting music for a good cause.

John Oates @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50-$40) The mustached half of Hall & Oates has long left his facial hair behind and has been releasing solo material for ten years or so. His latest is “Mississippi Mile,” an exploration of his early influences, as well as pop music.

Monday Mar 12

Peter Hennig and His Bluegrass Bandits @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (tip jar) Peter is a busy jazz drummer around town. Who knew that he also had inner yearnings for the high lonesome sound of bluegrass? Or that he played banjo? Find out tonight.

Tuesday, Mar 13

James Blood Ulmer Solo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Guitar geeks will be filling the Dakota to catch this 70 year old performer, who started out playing in organ combos, eventually blazed a trail with Ornette Coleman, played with Pharoah Sanders, led Punk-jazz groups, and generally creates blues so greasy you’ll be looking for that dinner napkin you were using with your chicken wings.  Check out this video.

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

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Bill Cosby Gets Schooled by Sonny Stitt

March 6, 2012

You may have seen this, but Cosby tells such a good story, and it gives some insight into jazz and jam sessions. Plus, check out Jack Benny’s reaction.

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