Well, here we are on the cusp of summer. Since 1968, we have reserved the last weekend in May to remember and honor those who have served our country. There will be some quiet moments, some high-flown speeches, and gatherings of friends and family in backyards, parks, and around outdoor grills. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy your time together as much as the folks at Renoir’s Luncheon, above. It’s also a weekend with a rich choice of musical options, including a New York sax player, two CD release parties, and some familiar, and entertaining friends. Take some time to recognize and remember those who have served. Then get out the barbeque, and don’t forget to enjoy and support the wonderful musicians in our area.
Wednesday, May 23
Jack Brass Band on KFAI’s House Party (5pm) and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (tip jar) I’ve extolled the virtues of JBB before – the clarion trumpets of Zack Lozier and Adam Meckler, the supple trombone of Scott Agster, the booming bass drum of Mike Olander, and the pure musicianship of the other members of the band. Not to forget their material, which ranges from traditional New Orleans tunes to Mardis Gras favorites to funk n’ soul hits. Listen in to KFAI, 90.3 or 106.7 FM at 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club to hear them in person.
Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s a monthly gig for Karr and his quartet, but that doesn’t mean they play the same ol’ same ol. Though in his 80s, Karr still brings fleet fingers and a vivid imagination to his sax solos. Always worth a listen. Here’s a sample:
Thursday, May 24
Santiago, Hurtado, & Smith @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A new generation of jazzers is coming up, and they’re hot. Case in point: Javier Santiago, piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums, and Chris Smith, bass. I recall introducing them at the Hot Summer Jazz Festival when they were still in high school some years back. Now, they’ve completed study at some of the nations’ top music schools and each of them is making a name for himself. Santiago and Smith are both working with some of New York’s hot talents, with Hurtado has returned to the Twin Cities, where he’s been working with Davina and the Vagabonds and others.
Nichola Miller @ Hells’ Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Begin your weekend with the sass and sophistication of Miller’s vocals, delivering standards with panache.
Saturday, May 26
Jazz Front @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm . Jeffrey Dunitz, drums, Vince Hyman, vibes, Eric Graham, bass. A quick set at the coffeehouse for this trio of talented players.
Young Lions Showcase @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) This is final show of the season for Jazz at Studio Z, and it’s a showcase of three bands, which will assure you that the future of jazz in the Twin Cities is in good hands. Hear the Adam Meckler Quintet, the Miguel Hurtado Group, and the Max Corcoran Project.
Saturday, Sunday, May 26, 27
Eric Alexander @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($18) A Memorial weekend visit to the AQ is an annual event for Alexander, whose warm tone on his tenor saxophone has earned him praise and fans. Whether blowing as a sideman or a leader, Alexander’s hard bop approach to playing is always imaginative and melodic.
Sunday, May 27
Jazz Mass @ Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, Portland & Kent, Saint Paul. 10AM. Here’s a way to get a double dose of spirituality, at least if you consider listening to jazz a spiritual experience. Tanner Taylor, piano & keys; Mac Santiago, drums; Chris Bates, bass; and Evan Montgomery, guitar will be providing the music.
Zacc Harris Trio 5th Anniversary @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar) if the weather is nice, you can bet this trio will be out on the patio. Harris, Matt Peterson (bass) and Pete Hennig (drums) create music that rewards the listener, even with the distractions of dog walkers, cyclists, and cars going by, not to mention folks chatting over their wine and tasty treats. They’ve been doing this weekly gig for five years now, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect way to enjoy an early summer evening.
Paul Renz Quartet w/Anders Bostrum @ Brit’s Pub Long Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($15) Renz is a prolific recording artist whose way with a guitar has earned him fans both here and up and down the East Coast. Tonight, Renz is bringing in long-time friend and cohort, Anders Bostrum, an in-demand flute player on Broadway. They’ll be backed by Renz’s rhythm section of Andy Shuster on bass, and Nathan Fryett on drums.
Monday, May 28
Scott Agster @ Jazz Central, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm. End your holiday weekend with trombonist-around-town Agster, the featured artist at the club that’s “for cats by cats.”
Tuesday, May 29
Vicky Mountain Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Vicky has the history and chops to successfully take on all manner of material, from bebop scatting, to Fats Waller, Ray Charles, and the Clovers. She’ll have Chris Lomheim on piano, Jim Chenoweth on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. Sure to be fun for both the audience and the musicians. Listen to her music here.
Roots, Blues, Other…
Wednesday, May 23
Anders Osborne @ The Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($20) Originally from Sweden, Osborne has lived in New Orleans since 1985, soaking up in music and becoming a favorite around Town. He’s an accomplished composer, penning a #1 country hit for Tim McGraw, and a couple of tunes on a grammy winning album for Keb Mo. New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine named the guitarist/composer/performer Best Guitar Player two years in a row, and featured him on its cover last year. “Black Eye Galaxy,” his latest on Alligator Records, ranges from raging to unabashedly confessional to hopeful. At times, it’s reminiscent of the best of 70s rock, with a bit of heavy metal (i.e., Black Tar) thrown in for good measure.
Thursday, May 24
Trio Bossa Nova @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) Three members of Ticket To Brazil deliver sensuous sounds for your late night.
Friday, May 25
Willie Murphy Solo @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. (Donation – $5 suggested) The highly talented, sometimes irascible, but always entertaining Murphy playing and singing songs he likes – rock n’ roll, R&B, blues, doo wop, standards, and originals. By the time he’s done, you’ll like them too.
Patty Peterson & Friends @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Patty is equally at home with jazz and R&B. Expect a bunch of the latter tonight as she’s joined by brother Ricky Peterson on Hammond B-3 and saxophonist Steve Cole, who’s played with Boz Scaggs and Larry Carlton, among others, and records for Universal. Patty’s usual cohorts include Paul Peterson on bass, Billy Franze on guitar and Bobby Vandell on drums.
Saturday, May 26
Papa John & the Cool Club of East Lake Street @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Blues, Swing, Jazz, Standards. With Sam Fiske, trumpet, Tom Lewis, bass, Deano Mikkelson, guitar. Relaxed music doesn’t need to mean boring. Case in point: Papa John and his crew. They can swing a standard, have fun with gypsy jazz, and include friends who sit in, while still creating imaginative riffs, melodies, and solos. This neighborhood bar has no TVs, but you must bring an ID if you want alcohol.
Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers CD Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Klatt and his band take country blues, swing, and ragtime and creates a highly entertaining blend of traditional and original music. On the new CD, “Mississippi Roll,” Klatt pulls in an older generation of musicians – Cornbread Harris, Spider John Koerner, Dakota Dave Hull, and Charlie Parr – to collaborate on a few of the numbers. Cornbread and Dakota Dave will be making guest appearances tonight. The Cactus Blossoms open with their terrific take on classic country music.
Sunday, May 27
Grolar Bears Vinyl Release Party @ The Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Interest in older musical forms continues with this Blaxploitation Funk Band, anchored by a trio, but ballooning at times to 19 people!. “Cos: The Original Motion Picture Score” is the product being released. It draws on early 70s Blaxploitation scores and soundtracks for inspiration. “Lucious Fox,” the radio single from the album, features all of the earmarks of the genre: funky drums n’ bass, hypnotic Rhodes electric piano, strings, and chorus. Perfect to run under a collage clip of some anti-hero’s day/night in the heart of the city. In fact, you can see a cheesy ten minute trailer for this imaginary film at: http://vimeo.com/35797845 The evening will be helped along by the Hipshaker deejays spinning soul 45s in between opening acts The Max Corcoran Project and Saltee.