Jazz, Blues, and Roots, Oh My! Music: 4.4 – 4.11

This week we’ve got some unexpected combinations of musicians, as well as a stellar line-up of Twin Cities artists. Some nights feature a plethora of good choices. We’re lucky.

By the way, Big Thanks to those of you who pledged during my show on KFAI Community Radio. If you missed that opportunity, you can still go to the KFAI website and pledge. Just be sure to mention Rhythm and Grooves as the show you want to receive your pledge.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 4

Chris Thomson Quartet @ Café Maude, Minneapolis.  7pm. (No cover) The neighborhood bistro that could continues to showcase great jazz. Tonight it’s Chris Thomson, sax; Sean Carey drums; James Buckley, bass; and Patrick Harrison on accordion. If you can find a seat at the bar you can hang there. Otherwise it’s best to get a reservation and ask for a table near the music.

Thursday, April 5

Larry McDonough Quartet DVD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) McDonough is a pianist of considerable skill and sensitivity who sometimes takes an “offbeat” approach to his music.  He and his quartet (Richard Terrill, saxes, lyrics; Craig Matarrese, bass; Chaz Draper, drums) have filmed “Live at the Music Connection” for public television. They perform poetry as well as odd-metered jazz based on melodies from children with disabilities, as well as from composers as disparate as Betthoven, Brubeck, and Spinal Tap. BTW, it’s foodie night at the Dakota.  Here’s a preview.

Friday, April 6

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric and Tim O’Keefe’s Batucada do Norte @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Tim O’Keefe brings a seven piece version of the Brazilian percussion ensemble Batucade do Norte to the Studio to join with Clouser’s electric jazz group. The results should be invigorating, to say the least.

What song was Ophelia singing that shocked her parents so?

Naughty Songs for Nice Girls @ The Bryant Lake Bowl Theater, Minneapolis. 10pm – doors at 9:30pm ($12 – $10 for TCS members) Is this an attention-getting concept or what? Sassy songs, double-entendred and innocent, all expressing female views on femininity and sexuality, as sung by Rhonda Laurie and Bobbi Miller. Expect tunes from the likes of Dinah Washington (the dentist song?), Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, and others.

Friday, Saturday, April 6, 7

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Don’t miss a chance to see this drum master at work. Miles Davis wanted Gravatt, but Gravatt went with Weather Report instead. He’s also played with Joe Henderson, and still tours with McCoy Tyner from time to time. Working with Gravatt is Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Ron Evaniuk, bass, and Gene Rush, piano.

Saturday, April 7

Lila Ammons Trio @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) Chicago-born, Minneapolis-based Ammons has strong roots in jazz and blues. Her grandfather was boogie woogie pianist Albert Ammons, and her uncle was the monster sax player Gene Ammons. Since 2008 she’s been touring Europe alot, playing clubs and festivals throughout the continent.  She’s finishing up her debut jazz CD, so expect some previews. If you want to hear what she sounds like, tune in to my show Saturday morning on KFAI, 90.3 and 106.7FM, at 10:30AM.

Sunday, April 8

Charmin & Shapira @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Cool jazz from Charmin Michelle on vocals and Joel Shapira on guitar. Their CD is delightful.

Monday, April 9

Dave Karr and Dave Shmalenberger @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm. (Donation, BYOB) As usual, Jazz Central is featuring a couple of cool cats for its Monday night performance & jam. Karr plays just the right notes, whether he’s on tenor, baritone, or flute. Shamlenberger is a well respected drummer/percussionist who’s played with the JazzMN big band, The Fifth Dimension, Steve Turre, a number of local artists, and a host of others.

Tuesday April 10

Peña @ Southwest HS, 3414 W. 48th St., Minneapolis. 7pm. ($10/$8/$5) The Twin Cities Jazz Society presents this seven-piece ensemble that led by guitarist Cory J. Wong and cajón specialist Chico Chavez. The group emphasizes the cajón, a box-like percussion instrument that is at the center of Afro-Peruvian music. They will be playing unique song forms such as Festejos and Landos. The SW High Jazz Ensemble, led by music director Keith Liuzzi, will open the show.

McNally Smith X-Tet w/Gary Smulyan @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) X-Tet is actually a nisnomer, as Pete Whitman (who is on the faculty at McNally Smith College of Music) has put together a 17 piece jazz band. They’ll be playing with Smulyan, a NYC-based, award winning baritone sax player. Smulyan’s playing is muscular, fluid, and imaginative, as heard on his recent release “Smul’s Paradise,” a B3 organ romp.

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, check out the Bebopified Calendar, here.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, April 4

Rena Haus on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm on KFAI (90.3 7 106.7 FM) and 7pm at the 331 Club (Tip Jar). Haus may be the only artists that has been heard on both Prairie Home Companion and on Car Talk (for her deliciously risque Mechanic’s tune). She’s got a directness to her blues that keeps many (including me) coming back for more.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm Davina and the guys continue to tour around the states, with the occasional European trip. They’ll be performing on the Blues stage at the New Orleans Jazz Fest, where they’ll be exposed to a whole new set of fans. They fill the Dakota on weekends, where there’s little space to dance. These monthly mid-week sojourns take care of that, what with swing dance lessons at 8pm, and a spacious dance floor.

Thursday, April 5

Kari, Lisa, friend, and instruments

Ditch Lilies @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm. (No Cover) What a nice surprise to see this talented duo appearing at the Kitchen. Lisa and Kari play all sorts of acoustic instruments and blend their voices quite well on originals, Western Swing, and old time tunes. Down home, front porch music for old friends and new ones.

Javier & the Innocent Sons w/guest Hurricane Harold @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8-11pm. (No cover) Javier ramps up his rootsy, swinging music with the addition of harpmaster Harold. Washington Square isn’t particularly big, so you may have to hang at the bar until diners leave. But hey, good choices in all beverage departments.

Friday, April 6

Thomas Dolby @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) In the 80s Dolby hit it big with a couple of tunes, including “She Blinded Me With Science,” recently heard on a local TV stations weather segment. But being on top of the charts was nothing compared to his next move – creating a Silicon Valley tech company that built the ringtone synthesizer found in over 3 billion phones around the world. He’s retired, and once again returned to the world of music. His first studio album in 20 years, Floating City, has been launched coincidentally with his transmedia game of the same name. Think web, phones, I-pads all taking part in real time. Anyway, he’s back and should provide an interesting, if not eye-opening experience at the Cedar.

Yodel A Go Go @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm The Schooner is a neighborhood hole-in-the-wall with a good beer list at 29th St and 27th Avenue South – directly east of Target. Dan Peterson’s little group plays rockabilly and danceable country. with guitarist Clay Williams providing tasteful fills and leads. Jennifer Markey used to sing with the group, and word is she’ll be dropping by for a song or two.

Saturday, April 7

Dough Bros @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm. (No cover) When Paul Mayasich and Andy Dee get out their resonator guitars (also known as Dobros), the results are mesmerizing. Not so mesmerizing that you won’t order another drink, or even dance a little jig, but mesmerizing nonetheless. Hear examples on their MySpace site.

Lamont Cranston @ The Narrows Blues Saloon, Navarre. 9pm (No cover) Over in the Western part of the Twin Cities area, Pat Hayes and his band will be delivering butt-rockin’ blues.

What’s Going On? @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($15) It’s the annual celebration of the music of Marvin Gaye, and what could be sweeter? Some of the musicians that will be performing include Julius Collins, Jay Bee, Lynval Jackson, Yohannes Tona, and Daryl Boudreaux, among others. As Marvin once sang, “How Sweet It iis.”

1/2 Birthday, Saturday.

Big Fat Love: John Prine’s 1/2 Birthday @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) Well, 1/2 birthday, or Saturday, do you really need an excuse to celebrate the creativity of Mr. Prine? Tonight’s program is hosted by Mother Banjo and Art Vandalay, with guests Dan Newton, Caitlin Robertson, Jon Rodine and more.

Sunday, April 8

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm (No Cover)  Okay, here’s an alternative to a fancy Easter celebration. Willie Walker is a soul singer who can fill your heart and move your feet, not to mention other parts of your body. Plus, you can indulge your need for good bar food.

Zydeco Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland @ The Half Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm (Donation) It’s the Faux Playboys, JJ’s Zydeco Paydirt, and Dan Newton Plays Clifton, all for a good cause. You’d have to go to Louisiana to get this kind of music and fun, as folks of all ages will be dancin’ spinnin’ circlin’ and more.

Monday, April 9

Cactus Blossoms @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Fans of classic country (Hank Williams, Hank Thompson, George Jones) are discovering the brotherly harmonies and and down home appeal of this talented quintet. Their Monday night residency at the Turf is attracting dancers of all stripes, which resulted in about a 1/2 dozen couples waltzing on the Turf’s dance floor. Waltzing. Probably hasn’t happened since the heyday of the Turf as a C&W bar many moons ago.

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.

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