Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… 5.9 – 5.15

Yeah, they don’t spend the weekend with the girls on Father’s Day.

Mother’s Day. Fishing opener. Music. Mother’s Day. Fishing Opener. Music. What a confluence of opportunities, at least one of which could produce domestic difficulties for some men. There is a cornucopia of music during the weekend, which only adds to the difficulty of making a choice.  Here’s Taj Mahal with the Fishin’ Blues


Thursday May 10

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No cover)  Jeff Brueske, bass;  & Gary Shulte, violin. The Lex continues to have some of the town’s best vocalists. This time it’s JoAnn Funk, who can be seen weekends at the Saint Paul Hotel with Jeff Brueske. Making this an extra special occasion is the addition of Gary Shulte on violin.

Money Jungle @ The Black Dog Coffeee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar). Steve Hobert, piano, Josh Granowski, bass, and Chris Hepola, drums pay tribute to the Ellington/MIngus/Roach album.

Phil Mattson Singers @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. ($10) Mattson has been the go-to guy for a number of national acts looking for something special in their vocal arrangements. (The Four Freshmen and Manhattan Transfer are but two.) This early show is a showcase for pianist/arranger/vocal coach Mattson and his group of six vocalists.

Dakota Combo @ MacPhail Center, Minneapolis. 8pm. (free) Each September, high school students audition for the Combo, and then work all year under the direction of bassist Adam Linz, Jazz Coordinator at MacPhail. It’s a formula that’s been turning out successful young musicians for a number of years now. Come hear this year’s edition of the combo as they approach the end of their time together.

Friday, Saturday, May 11, 12

The Garden

Zacc Harris Group CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter. 9pm ($10) Though hard-working guitarist Zacc Harris has released two CDs with The Atlantis Quartet, and one with a trio, this is the first CD to have his own stamp on it. With the exception of “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise,” The Garden, as it’s titled features Harris’s own compositions. Members of the group include Bryan Nichols, keys, JT Bates, drums, Chris Bates, bass, and Brandon Wozniack, sax.

Dane Stauffer Mama I Can Scat CD Release @ Illusion Theater, Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) This Minnesotan/Los Angeleno promises an evening of  “jazzy-bossa nova 60s-guy group-girl group-jumpin’ blues and swinging-dinging tune-o-sity.” Though that sounds like over-the-top hype, Stauffer will be backed by Peter Schimke, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, which gives plenty of swinging heft to the claim.

Saturday, May 12

Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm  ($10/$5 students) Ellen Lease, piano; Pat Moriarty, sax; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Stanoch, drums, and newcomer to the group Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, on trumpet. Lease and Moriary always make improvisational music of the most arresting kind – beautiful, emotional, and spirited. Trust them to lead this quintet down similar paths.

Photo by Jim McGuire

Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road with vocalist Lee Engele @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 8pm ($24) New Orleans clarinetist Christopher puts a contemporary spin on early jazz, using his considerable chops, as well as a knowledge of the early forms. Twin Citizen Engele is well suited to swinging the vocal chores, and she’s put together a sterling group of area players to goose things along. Lee Engele will be my guest on Rhythm and Grooves Saturday morning (10:30AM – KFAI, 90.3FM and 106.7FM)

Sunday, May 13

PipJazz Sunday w/guest Debbie Duncan @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20) Vocalist Pippi Ardennia continues her monthly series featuring a guest artist and a guest youth performer. Debbie Duncan doesn’t need much of an introduction – she’s a superb vocalist who has sung everywhere in town. The idea of she and Ardennia doing a duet or two is thrilling. This month’s youth artist is Jack Breen.

Double Bass, Double Voice @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This is an intriguing project from New York City, featuring erstwhile Minnesota singer Nancy Harms, as well as Emily Braden and the double bass of Steve Whipple. Ms Harms is always a paragon of taste and swing, and I expect this project will be likewise.

Monday, May 14

Irv Williams Retirement Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Well, it’s been announced before, but this just might be it for the 93-year old Williams. The notes that he coaxes from his saxophone are still smoother than the lines of a new Rolls Royce, and just as luxurious.

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.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, May 9

Liminal Phase @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Liminal Phase is Adam Levy’s experimental group. You may know Adam from The Honeydogs and Hookers $ Blow, but here he goes in a very different direction, combining acoustic and electronic instrumentation to create music with jazz, psychedelic, and African influences. His bandmates come from groups like Heirospecs and Mystery Palace, as well as the DJ world. Reservations are always recommended for dinner, or else you’ll have to squeeze into space by the bar.

Friday, May 11

Grandmothers of Invention @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Just in time for Mother’s Day. If you loved Frank Zappa’ Mothers of Invention, you may already know about this. The Grandmothers, with three original members of the group, keep his music alive, with three original members of a group fueled by Zappa’s brilliance. Though sometimes complex, Zappa’s music was earthbound enough to avoid the pretentiousness of the “art-rock” groups. Tonight, the Grandmothers will be performing the album, “Roxy & Elswhere” in its entirety for the first set, before returning to play other hits for the second set.

Martin Devaney @ The Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) The multi-talented guitarist, composer, and sax player recently released his fifth CD. Check him out on the latenight stage.

Friday, Saturday, May 11, 12

Girls Got Rhythm Fest @ The Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm until..  ($65/2 day pass) For some women, this may be a Fishing Day alternative to sitting at home. It’s a two day celebration of Rockin’ Females with the great Ronnie Spector as the Saturday Headliner. These are women who embrace heavy drums, shredding guitars and have more energy than your local power plant. Pop, punk, rockabilly and more spanning five decades and three continents.

Saturday, May 12

Roots of the West Bank Festival @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 5pm  ($10) Yeah, the West Bank is still kickin. Case in point. Large Hall: Hye Pockets Robertson w/RAMM; Swamp Kings; Curtis and the Kicks; Swingin’ Liquor Pigs. Small Hall: Papa John Kolstad; Pop Wagner; Phil Heywood; Dakota Dave Hull;  Spider John Koerner. $1 dollar of every cover to West Bank School of Music.

Saltee CD Release, w/Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Jacqueline Ultan (cello), Mike Michel (guitar) and Carnage The Executioner (beatboxing), form this unique group. Each is a master musician, and the combination creates genre-bending music that will cause you to tap your feet and then listen in wonder. Kaul & the Brass Kings open with their combination of washtub bass, rubboard, and resonator guitar.

NRBQ @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis.  9pm ($20) Terry Adams has gathered up a new crew for America’s favorite bar band, and from all reports, they are living up to their legacy. You can never tell what will come out of Adam’s brain when it comes to a set list. Heck, he is likely to call an old Ellington chestnut, an obscure rockabilly gem, a paen to wrestler Captain Lou Albano, or a sweet original like “Riding in My Car.” He recently sat in with the percussion section of the Sun Ra Arkestra, whose “Planet Number 9” was on the first NRBQ record, and the latest CD includes a head boppin’ version of Sun Ra’s “We Travel The Spaceways.” Here’s a video of Terry and the new crew.

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.

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