Spring has sprung. Bicyclists are everywhere, the Twins are playing ball, and trees are in bloom. Music is also in bloom. I’m always amazed at diversity of performances here in the Twin Cities. From Americana in a beautiful library, to and open rehearsal/workshop, to a bunch of musicians hanging out and playing the music they love. Spring. Music. What a combination.
Wednesday, April 25
Patty Peterson @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Patty will bring Phil Aaron on piano, and her brother Billy on bass to this neighborhood bistro. She’s a versatile singer, and tonight she has band mates to match. It will be fund to see her in this intimate, if sometimes noisy, setting. If you want dinner, get reservations and ask to be put near the music. Otherwise, try to find a place at the bar.
Thursday, April 26
Maude Hixson, Dean Magraw: The Moon Belongs to Everyone @ Como Planetarium, 780 West Wheelock Parkway, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Local astronomer Peter Kunkle will lead a tour of the stars while Maude Hixson and Dean magraw perform songs that evoke stellar travel. Registration required. Purchase tickets online.
The X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s the last Thursday, so Pete Whitman’s X-tet is holding forth at the AQ. Just because it’s a regular thing, don’t put off seeing this group until next time. Once you see them, you’ll be loading your phone with a reminder for every month.
Rhonda Laurie & Swing Set @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) Laurie sings and swings with a hint of sultriness and a dash of innocence, making for a sophisticated sound. The Trick’s intimate listening room has just enough room to take your sweetie on a romantic spin on the dance floor.
Friday, Saturday, April 27, 28
Dave Karr & Brian Grivna @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) A couple of musical pros having a good time. Though the sax is their main tool, both Karr and Grivna excel on a variety of wind instruments. Not only that, both have the musical imagination and chops to create an evening of joyous jazz.
Saturday, April 28
Red Planet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 4pm Workshop (Free); 7pm performance ($10) The Jazz at Studio Z series features open rehearsal/workshops in the afternoon, where you can watch a band work on its songs. Today Red Planet is the featured band, with Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. You’ll see three of the most versatile players in town performing two different Coltrane Medleys and some new material.
James Allen and Tom Pieper @ First Course Bistro, Minneapolis. 7pm. (No cover). Guitar and bass, respectively, performing acoustic jazz, bossas, and sambas for your listening pleasure while dining in this small neighborhood place.
Sunday, Monday, April 29,30
Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) 9pm ($30) With a career that spans four decades, most of which were spent producing, Tyrell has a Grammy and two Emmy nominations as a vocalist, as well as a version of “The Way You Look Tonight” that’s become a wedding dance favorite. He’s got a warm voice with a bit of a rasp that’s well suited to jazz standards and pop tunes. His last appearance at the Dakota was a relaxed, highly enjoyable affair.
For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, check out the Bebopified Calendar, here.
Blues, Roots, Other
Wednesday, April 25
Doug Otto & the Getaways on KFAI’s House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. House Party – 5pm, 331 Club – 7pm – 9pm (tip jar). You can usually catch this band at Mayslack’s on Thursday night. This week they have an extra gig so you can hear Doug’s sweet, mournful vocals performing Delta blues and early country on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7 FM) and then head to the 331 Club.
Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm. (no cover) If you’re up for a late night show in the middle of the week, you would have a hard time finding a more enjoyable group. They are putting the finishing touches on a new CD, featuring a wonderful mix of country blues and folk-rock.
Thursday, April 26
Charlie Parr @ The James J. Hill Library, downtown Saint Paul. 8pm ($25 – $10 for students w/ID) It’s the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, which isn’t a radio hour, but is real and very interesting, both in its line-ups and in its setting, the beautiful library facing Rice Park in Saint Paul. Hosted by Erik Koskinen and band, the series focuses on American roots music, poetry, and conversation. Tonight it’s Charlie Parr and his basic, basic blues, with Big George Jackson.
Saturday, April 28
Firefly Forest CD Release @ Fallout Urban Arts, 2601 2nd Ave S, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($8) Steven Hobert is a young keyboard player who is equally imaginative on piano or accordion. With FireFlyForest, he uses the both to good effect. This project includes Kip Jones, violin; Ben Lester, Pedal Steel; Jeremy Boettcher, bass: Jeff Schraw, percussion; Tyler Mickelson, guitar; James Kellerman, woodwinds; and Felicia Hobert on vocals. Hobert makes good use of these talented players, as well as snippets of taped sounds from his travels to create songs that are sometimes dreamy, sometimes whimsical, and often playful. Opening are the Hummingbirds, a female trio of acoustic musicians and harmonizers.
Saturday, Sunday, April 28, 29
Film Festival Screening: The Entertainers @ St. Anthony Main Theater, Minneapolis. 9:20PM Saturday, 3:30PM Sunday. A film about a Ragtime Piano Competition as six different performers use skill and showmanship to try to win. Think Scott Joplin’s kind of music – the first distinctly American popular music, and a foundation for much that followed. I will have the Directors on my show Saturday morning. (KFAI, 90.3 and 106.7 FM. 10:30 – Noon)
Sunday, April 29
Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4-8pm (tip jar). Papa John Kolstad, Doug Otto, Dan Schwalbe, Albert Perez, Mike Carvale and Hurricane Harold. Acoustic Blues and Swing with an occasional Gospel tune. Hangin’ out music, just right with a beverage or two, a burger, and some fries.
James Cotton Blues Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15 Adv/$20 Door) “Mr Superharp” had hip-replacement surgery at the end of last year and is now back on the road, with 68 years in the business. Guitarist Slam Allen handles the vocals, since Cotton’s voice has deteriorated. Cotton thus has more room to play, which is why you want to see him anyway. His latest CD, Giant, which brings him back to Alligator Records, has been getting good reviews.
For a more comprehensive listing of blues and roots, see the calendar of the Minnesota Blues Society.
For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.