Summer’s End. Music: 8.29 – 9.4

August 29, 2012

One of the aerial rides at the Minnesota State Fair.

Where did the summer go? We’re looking at Labor Day this weekend. I hope you have been able to enjoy the summer. With the State Fair upon us, and school starting up, we’ll start to see fewer outdoor events, though a couple are on hand in the next week or two. in the meantime, we have some unique combinations of jazz players, a few significant birthday celebrations, and  two blues acts from Texas hitting town.


Wednesday, August 20

Thomson, Johnson, & Ikeda @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. That’s Chris Thomson, sax; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Alden Ikeda, drums, bringing jazz to the neighborhood bistro at 54th & Penn. It’s jazz that can stand up to careful listening as well as being in the background. If you go for the music, be sure to reserve a table near the band.

Thursday, August 30

Photo by Bruce Christianson

John Devine & Friends @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (No cover) Devine has been playing his saxophone at this venue for ohh, about twenty or more years. He’s a singular player, who has won awards, fellowships, and commissions from foundations, and has played with R&B bands and classical ensembles, in addition to improvisational groups. You can never tell who will show up to play with Devine, but rest assured, they will be among the most talented musicians in town.

Birthday Celebration for Jeanne Arland Peterson, Irv Williams, and Cliff Brunzell @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10:30pm. Here is a chance to honor and respect some of the musical elders in our midst. Peterson on piano, is 91, as is violinist Brunzell. Williams is 93. Each still plays with verve and imagination.

Friday, Saturday, August 31, September 1

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Okay, so you’re staying in town for the Labor Day weekend, and you’ve exhausted your appreciation for the State Fair. Here’s an opportunity to hear some jazz from musicians that more than hold their own with any group in the nation. Hey is on drums, with Dave Hagedorn on Vibes, Tom Lewis on bass, and Phil Aaron on piano. They usually appear at the AQ on weeknights, so here’s a chance for those of you who have school, work, etc. during the week to see this great band.

Saturday, September 1

Steve Hobart’s Hot Club @ the Harriet Brewing Tap Room. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Here’s an afternoon stop that will pick you up. Steve Hobert is a pianist/accordionist about town who’s been perking up ears in various ensembles. He’s bringing some gypsy jazz to the Tap Room this afternoon. Sounds like a great destination for a bike ride. Music. Beer. And food from Potter’s Pasties

Sunday, September 2

Photo by Andrea Canter

Leigh Kamman’s 90th Birthday Celebration @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 6pm. Another nonagerian in the jazz community. Kammen set vivid scenes and regaled listeners with many stories on Saturday nights as he broadcast the Jazz Image on MPR for so many years. Musical guests include Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Brad Bellows, Carole Martin and more.

Dean Harrington Trio @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Harrington is a relatively unsung jazz guitarist  who can swing standards and Django Rheinhardt tunes with equal aplomb. Tonight he’s joined by Dean “Many Notes” Mikkelson on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass.

Tuesday, September 4

Nichols, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) No, it’s not a law firm, but rather Bryan Nichols, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. A Tuesday night that promises moments of sublime taste as well as effortless flights of imagination.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wednesday, August 29

617 Band @ Groovin in the Garden, Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The 617 Band creates highly danceable R&B, Latin, and rock grooves with creative covers and a few originals. Grab a blanket or camp chairs, bring a picnic and have a fun evening on the lawn of the conservatory. A cash bar and lawn games will be available.

Albert Lee @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Not to be confused with Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, Albert Lee is a revered guitarist with a country/rockabilly bent. He’s played with The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmy Lou Harris, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Cocker, and BB King, to name a few. Considered by many (including Clapton) to be one of the finest guitarists on the planet. Here’s a video of Lee doing his thing.

Thursday, August 30

Andrew Jr. Boy Jones @ Famous Daves Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm. (No Cover). Texas Guitarist Jones was a member of Freddy King’s band twice, in the 60s (when Jones was 16) and again in the 70s. He’s also worked with the Louisiana soul singer Bobby Patterson, as well as Johnny Taylor, appeared on Katie Webster’s album Swamp Boogie Queen, and recorded three albums with Charlie Musselwhite, winning a WC Handy Award in 1995. He’s recorded five of his own albums since then, getting a WC Handy nomination for Watch What You Say on Rounder. In other words, the deep voiced Mr. Jones is the real deal, and for fans of the blues, is well worth seeing.

Friday, August 31

Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold @ the Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm (free) Jeff plays dynamite guitar, Harold blows a mean harp. Together they produce energetic acoustic blues. Freshly tapped beers and the Anchor Fish & Chips Food truck are a plus.

Mary Cutrufello @ Cajun Potuck, 5936 Lexington Ave, Shoreview. 7pm – 9pm. Cajun Potluck is an unassuming little cafe that specializes in one Louisiana dish each day, and sells all sorts of authentic ingredients for those who want to try their own hand at Cajun and Creole cooking. While I’ve recommended Mary Cutrufello in the recent past, a chance to hear her singing solo while having Jambalaya is unique, and worthy of your attention. Though no alcohol is served, you certainly don’t need it to enjoy Mary’s country-rock.

Carolyn Wonderland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Wonderland is an Austin, Texas multi-instrumentalist and composer with a soulful voice that’s tough enough for the blues, and a guitar style to fit. She’s pretty good at singing country and gospel as well.

Sunday, Monday, September 2, 3

Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Bettye Lavette @ The Leinie Lodge Bandshell, MN State Fair, Saint Paul. 3:30 & 4:45 (Big Sam) 8:30pm (Bettye)  (Free with $12 Admission to the Fair) Okay, arrive early in the day and catch New Orleans’ Big Sam who used to be top trombonist in the Dirty Dozen, and his brass heavy funk band. If you’re not familiar with them, check out the video, below. Have some dinner, check out the produce hall, or the sales pitches under the grandstand, and come back to see soul legend Bettye Lavette, a singer who gets inside a song like no one else. Her performances will wring the soul out of you – in the best way possible.

Monday, September 3

Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival @ Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6:30pm. (Free) This is the 14th year for this family-friendly outdoor festival. Twin Cities bands  Ivory BridgeSawtooth, The Platte Valley Boys, and the Middle Spunk Creek Boys, will be joined by up and coming guitarist/singer/composer Nora Jane Struthers will be providing the music. Nearby Sea Salt can provide food and drink, while there will no doubt be other vendors around as well. Stop by while traversing the bikeways, or make a day of it.

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard and Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Here’s a two-fer that’s sure to be entertaining, not to mention a bargain. You’ve got vocal powerhouse Davina & the Vagabonds, who bring down the house whether playing a festival in the neighborhood or Switzerland. Robillard is the guitarist who started Roomful of Blues, and has played with folks ranging from Pinetop Perkins to Bob Dylan. His jump blues playing has always included some jazz elements, and in fact, he’s put out a few albums of very swinging standards and originals.

Tuesday, September 4

Jack Klatt @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30 pm (no cover) Klatt can co a Western swing number and turn around and play some bluegrass.

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.

And the Days Grow Short. Music: 8.23 – 8.28

August 23, 2012

You may need umbrellas before the weekend.

It’s been a busy week, and so I’m a day behind in this post. We’ve got some much needed rain in the forecast, which will certainly put a damper on outdoor events. That won’t stop intrepid folks from going to the State Fair, where there’s some mighty fine music taking place on the free stages, as well as Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples in the grandstand on opening night.


Thursday, August 23

Capri Big Band @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) The Capri Big Band is one of the  positive stories of Minneapolis’ North Side. It has proven to be a great training ground for young musicians as well as a place for older musicians to keep their chops up while mentoring students. You’ve got the lake, sailboats, cyclists riding by, grills, and picnic grounds. As long as the weather is good, it makes for a perfect summer evening.

Snowblind’s Tribute to Blue Note Records @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Blue Note has long been recognized for its stellar jazz recordings of the 50s and 60s which set the standard for jazz. In fact, much of what we consider mainstream jazz today is directly descended from the hard bop that was brought to the public’s attention by Blue Note. Tonight, Snowblind, a collective ensemble with a predilection for grooves, will perform some of the label’s hits, and perhaps a few misses. The group consists of Scott Agster, trombone; Shihad Sen, sax; Adam Rosmiller, trumpet, Graydon Peterson, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. Fine musicians all.

Friday, August 24

Boot Camp @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Pianist Jeremy Walker (aka Boot) moved to NYC for a couple of years to compose and play in the Big Apple. Since returning, he’s put together a number of projects to play his thoughtful music including this group: Walker, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, August 25

Lucia Newell @ the Lexington, Saint Paul 6:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover) Ada Ashaya, piano, and Jeff Bailey, bass. Around here, other singers come out to see Lucia perform. You should too, especially since the setting is so warm and clubby. There may be a minimum at some of the tables, but given the quality of the food and drinks at the Lex, it should be easy to meet.

Whitman, Schimke, Lewis & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Kenny Horst continues to feature new groupings of players at the AQ. This time we’ve got a swinging saxophonist/composer (Pete Whitman); a pianist who is equally at home with the swing, jazzy R&B, and Latin music (Peter Schimke), a journeyman bassist who can be depended upon for a firm foundation (Tom Lewis) and Kenny Horst himself on drums. Sounds like some great jazz is in the offing.

Culbertson, Sanborn

Dave Sanborn & Brian Culbertson @ Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Burnsville. 7:30pm ($48 ) Sanborn is one of the most influential successful sax players on the planet (take that, Kenny G), winning six Grammys, eight Gold Records, and one Platinum. He’s a passionate player, who tempers his commercial, danceable, R&B with improvisation and surprising forays into projects like a TV series where he played with guests ranging from Sonny Rollins and Sun Ra, as well as a recording project with Avant Gardist Tim Berne and a recent album with Joey DeFrancesco and Steve Gadd. Keyboardist & trombone player Culbertson has been called jazz lite, which is too bad, because his jazz is a funky as can be. It’s allowed him to amass a considerable fan base.Patty Peterson & Friends open. Check out a video of his below. I interviewed Patty on my show this past Friday. You can hear the interview here.

Monday, August 27

Gypsy Mania Trio w/special guest Patrick Harrison @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm – Midnight (No cover) Folks who like Gypsy jazz know  Glen Helgeson on guitar, Matt Senjem on bass, and Patrick Harrison on accordion can swing with taste and finesse. Those looking for food and drink late at night know that Barbette has a great late night happy hour. Sounds like a great combination.

From a European Tour a few years ago.

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 & 11:30pm. ($5) Mike Lewis (sax), Adam Linz (bass), and JT Bates (drums) have been so busy with numerous other projects that the three friends (since high school) haven’t played much in the last year or so. See why they’re popular in France and  hear them deconstruct ballads, bebop, and tunes from the likes of Ornette Coleman. The first show gets pretty crowded, and rowdy, but that’s part of the fun.

Tuesday, August 28

Cory Wong Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 7pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Wong’s recent release, Quartet/Quntet, has moved into the top ten on the CMJ Jazz Charts. He was recently featured on the Voice of America as well. Check out his guitar wizardry at this early show. It’s a weekly thing, but that doesn’t mean you should put off going. Besides, this performance is being recorded by KBEM for its series Saint Paul Live!, so head down and add to the atmosphere.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 22

Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts on KFAI , Minneapolis. 5pm on KFAI, and 7pm – 9pm at the 331. (Free – tip jar @ 331) Okay, you’ve missed this but it’s still available in archive. I was the host on Harold’s House Party this afternoon from 4pm – 6pm, so I invited Julie and the guys to be my in studio guests during the 5pm hour. They play historic folk songs from Minnesota and Wisconsin, with Julie playing flute and Doug Otto and Drew Druckery on guitar, mandolin, and vocals. They played three songs live in the studio, which you can listen to here.

Thursday, August 23

Brooklyn Rider with Bela Fleck @ The Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater. 7:30pm (Adults: $25, Students: $10) This is the final concert in the Stillwater Music Festival, organized by Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet from Brooklyn with Minnesota roots. They are certainly not your father’s string quartet, as they are unafraid of pushing the boundaries of the genre. If you didn’t see them at the Cedar or in other Stillwater Music Festival appearances earlier in the week, here’s your chance. Their special guest for this evening is virtuoso banjo player Bela Fleck, who has been known to cross a genre or two himself.

Deadstring Brothers @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) Deadstring Brothers bring to mind the Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street – a bit raw, a bit ragged, a bit country, and a lot of hard rock n’ roll. Dirt Road Ramblers start the evening, followed by Cannon’s North celebrating a CD release before Deadstring takes the stage to close off the evening.

Friday, August 24

Ronn Easton’s All Star Soul Revue @ Famous Dave’s, Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) If you want to hear some old school music from Motown, the O’Jays, Ohio Players and more check out Che nine-piece revue. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes.

Cool Disposition @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Dan Schwalbe’s guitar, Harold Tremblay’s harp, and Mickey’s vocals are just a few of the forces driving this band’s combination of jump, Chicago, and West Coast blues. There isn’t much room for dancing at the oldest continually operating bar in the state, but that just adds to the fun.

Saturday, August 25

Mother Banjo @ The Saint Paul Farmer’s Market, Saint Paul. 9AM (Free) Listen to the sounds of traditional folk, gospel, and alt-country from Ellen Stanley (aka Mother Banjo) as you roam the aisles of the market picking up fresh basil, fruit, and (if you are so inclined) some meat that was on the hoof a couple of days ago.

Maurice Jacox @ Hollihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Free) Jacox recently sang some gospel tunes for a church service. He’s equally at home with soul music (naturally), and jazz standards, including Nat King Cole’s songs. I suspect this gig will fine him in an R&B/Blues vein.

Jennifer Markey & the Tennesee Snowpants @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Markey sings country. Not the country of Nashville today, but country that sounds like it was written in little towns, hollers, and even on the plains. Plus, they’re originals.

Saturday, Sunday, August 25, 26

Robby Vee, Jeffrey Broussard, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds @ The Minnesota State Fair Leinie Stage, Saint Paul. (free with $12 Fair Admission) Get there early, fill up at the milk truck, take in some animal barns (you may want to avoid the swine barn) and check out Robby Vee and his Rock n’ Roll Caravan at 10:30 and 11:45am. Test your Zydeco and Cajun dance steps with Jeffrey Broussard & His Creole Cowboys at 3:30 or 4:45, and top your day off with the butt-rockin’ blues of the Fabulous Thunderbirds at 8:30. Grab some desert-on-a-stick and head home, tired and spent.

Monday, Tuesday, August 27, 28

Their first album.

Desert Rose Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Wow. Chris Hillman (guitar), founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, along with Herb Pederson (banjo.guitar) who played with both of those groups as well as Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, John Jorgenson (guitar), a wizard who can go from bluegrass to Beatles in the blink of an eye, and Bill Bryson (bass) who played with Ry Cooder. The Desert Rose Band combined Bakersfield honky-tonk with country rock to cause a sensation in country music during the late 80s and 90s. I’ve got two of their first albums on vinyl and play them a lot.

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.

Beautiful Weekend. Cool Music. 8.15 – 8.21

August 15, 2012

Maybe your weekend won’t be as cool (both literally and figuratively) as this pooch, but it will be another beautiful weekend, with more festivals and more music. Festivals are usually well promoted, so I don’t always mention them, though I have four listed for this week. Enjoy.


Wednesday, August 15

Battlecat @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Well, I guess you should at least buy a drink and/or an appetizer. But hey, Maude has a good selection of both. Anyway, Battlecat is Park Evans, guitar, Cody McKinney on bass, and Greg Schutte on drums, and they all are veteran cats from jazz and other genres, which means you’ll hear some great music. If you call for reservations, ask for a table near the music, especially during the first hour, as the noise of everyone enjoying their meal can get quite loud.

Thursday, August 16

Charmin & Shapira & Friends @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm (No Cover)  Vocalist Charmin Michelle and guitarist Joel Shapira make great music together. Her liquid vocals work well with Joel’s understated but always inventive guitar playing. They’ll be joined by Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Brattain, sax; and Nathan Norman on drums.

Chris Lomheim Trio: Bill Evans Birthday @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bill Evans would be 83 were he still alive. Chris Lomheim is a great admirer, a sensitive and imaginative pianist. He’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Jay Epstein on drums for an evening of exquisite jazz.

Friday, August 17

Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Miller is a no-nonsense vocalist, interpreting the standards with such confidence you’ll feel like you’re in a Mad Men episode. Bartender, I’ll have a Martini, please, extra olives.

Friday, Saturday, August 17, 18

Gravatt, Linz & Wozniak @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Their first gig at the Icehouse a few weeks ago was quite incendiary, as Eric Gravvat, drums, Adam Linz, bass, and Brandon Wozniak, sax, tore through standards and compositions by modern jazz masters.

Saturday, August 18

Randy Brecker

Burnsville Art and All That Jazz Festival Featuring Randy Brecker @ Nicollet Commons Park, Burnsville. Noon – 9:30pm. (Free) A very good line-up for this free outdoor event featuring an outstanding nationally known artist. The young artists of the Dakota Combo start things off at noon, followed by The Hot Swing Combo including Robert Bell on guitar and Erin Schwab on vocals, the nine-piece Charanga Tropical led by Flautists/Saxophonist Doug Little, the fusion of the Super Pilots, whose members met at the Berklee College of Music, and hard bop sounds of trumpeter Randy Brecker, a four-time Grammy nominee.

Dorothy Doring, with Phil Mattson & Greg Byers @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover, but there may be a minimum for some tables)  The parade of excellent vocalists at the Lex continues. Tonight, Ms Doring brings her considerable skills, including a bit of scatting, and charming stage personality to the library-like room.

Jake. Photo by Andrea Canter

Jake Baldwin Quartet @ Late Night at The Dakota, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Baldwin is a young trumpeter about to enter his last year at the New England Conservatory of Music. He also made his own trumpet, which has a couple of extra valves so he can hit some quarter notes. Imaginative in his soloing, Baldwin has a clean sound, and is well worth checking out by the late night crowd.

Monday, August 20

B3 Night with Zacc Harris @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Jazz Central’s B3 has hardly been used, and they’re raising funds for some minor repairs. Tonight, Tanner will be sitting down and playing it, with Zacc Harris playing guitar. Zacc is no stranger to B3 combos, so this should be a soulful, fun evening.

Tuesday, August 21

Doug Haining/Scott Agster Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Two swinging musicians have put together a big band. Can’t wait to see this.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink, which also features Andrea Canter’s fine photography.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, August 15

Boys N’ the Barrels and Sister Shaw @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm (Boys), 9:30pm (Sister) (Tip Jar)  The Boys give out their unique take on blue/new/neo grass, while Sister Shaw tackles classic Americana, from the Carter Family to Gillian Welch. You can catch the Boys on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7 FM) at 5pm before heading over to the 331.

Thursday, August 16

Reina Del Cid and the Cidizens @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip jar) Reina is a singer/songwriter whose honest declarations on love, heartache, and social commentary will charm you. After all, she’s already gotten about million views just for this video on YouTube.

Friday, August 17

The Dollys @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Dollys are three talented female singers who mine the music of the Trio (Dolly Parton, Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt) as well as other female country singers of the 80s and 90s.

Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The dancing faithful will be out, I’m sure, to hear Paul’s amalgam of funk, soul, R&B, and Caribbean rhythms.

Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s BBQ, Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Shorty was a member of Ray Charles’ band at 16, and later a member of the house band at the Dew Drop Inn in New Orleans, where he backed numerous R&B and blues greats. He was Jimi Hendrix’s brother-in-law and friend, and recorded for Black Top, Evidence, and Alligator, where he received a couple of Blues Award nominations. Back in the day, Shorty used to do flips to celebrate some of his solos. He’s now 73, so I doubt we’ll see flips. What you will see and hear is a guitarist who plays long, classic blues lines, and has a flair for showmanship.

Janiva Magness @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Magness was here about six months ago to celebrate the release of Stronger for It, which has been called one of the best blues albums of the year. Just ask some of her many fans from the area, which she has cultivated during years of bringing her soulful vocals to town.

Friday, Saturday, August 17, 18

Hipshaker 10th Anniversary Celebration @ the Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Yes, it’s true, Deejays Greg and Brian have been carrying the torch for funk n’ soul 45s for ten years, bringing out dancing crowds on the 3rd Thursday of the month. To celebrate, they’re taking two weekend nights, so those of you who usually have work on Friday morning can take part. Special guest deejays will keep the surprises coming. Bring some talc to put on the floor – it’s so helpful for those spins, you know.

Saturday, August 18

Music Festival @ Christ The King Lutheran Church, White Bear Lake, 8600 Fremont Ave, Bloomington. 3pm – 9-ish. Bring a blanket and a picnic. Jack Brass Band kicks things off at 3pm, followed by Debbie Duncan, pop singer Alison Scot, and R&B frontman Mick Sterling.

West Bank Music Festival @ Cedar Avenue, Minneapolis. 3pm. ($5) Ten stages, thirty bands, including poverty Hash, Brass Messengers, Malamanya, L’Assassins, the Belfast Cowboys, and many, many more.

Backyard Bonfire @ The Cabooze Plaza, Minneapolis. 4pm ($20/Advance, $25/Gate) Here’s a party for those of you who are into the sounds of new bluegrass and classic country, as it features Pert Near Sandstone, Dead Man Winter, Lucy Michelle & the Velvet Lapelles, Cactus Blossoms, Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, Sans Souci Quartet and the Farm House Band. There’ll be stompin’ and a’ jumpin’ and a jamboree.

A Flamenco Fiesta @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. ($5 suggested donation) For a change of pace from roots and blues, catch Sendero Flamenco as they perform the percussive and sensuous dance. There will also be an open stage to allow for collaboration and experimentation with musicians and dancers.

Sunday, August 19

Cajun Dancers @ The Rec

Al Berard @ Half-Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Cajun dancers will be out in force to spin, duck, and trip the light fantastic to fiddler Al Berard, who has been nominated for a Grammy and won a half dozen or more Cajun music and fiddle awards. He’ll be backed by a variety of top-flight musicians from the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 21, 22

The Spinners. Waaay back in the day.

The Spinners @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $70), 9pm ($45 – $60) Yes, indeed, the Spinners. Though their big hits were years ago, two of the original members keep the flame going with the help of some newer, though no less polished, members. Twelve Gold Albums. Lots of hits, like It’s a Shame, Could It Be I’m Falling in Love, The Rubberband Man, and others. The soul faithful will be out.

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.

Summer In The City. Music: 8.8 – 8.14

August 8, 2012

Another summer weekend. More Festivals, including the Bayfront Blues Festival in Duluth and the Square Lake Festival in Square Lake. If you are sticking around, there’s more than enough music for listening, dancing, and inspiration. Here are some ideas.


Wednesday, August 8

Give Him the Ooh La La: a Tribute to Blossom Dearie by JoAnn Funk @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Though she has a style of her own, JoAnn‘s approach to singing owes a bit to Blossom Dearie, the coquettish singer of the 50s and 60s. Dearie often sang light-hearted tunes that were heavy on wit and dry in humor. The pianist/vocalist will be accompanied by Jeff Brueske on bass, and Nathan Norman on drums. It’s an early show, so you can catch some tunes and be home in time to get a good night’s rest.

Thursday, August 9

McNally Smith Venue Night @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear up and coming young musicians and three jazz ensembles from McNally Smith take to the AQ’s stage. There will be two ensembles under the direction of saxophonist Chris Thomson and one under the tutelage of pianist/vocalist Kristin Sponcia. It’s another early show.

Friday, August 10

Tommy Bruce @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm  With Phil Mattson on piano, and Steve Pikal on bass. (no cover, though a minimum may be charged at some tables)  I don’t know if this is Phil’s gig or Bruce’s, but it really doesn’t matter as you’ll hear a fine male vocalist (Bruce) accompanied by a piano player who’s legendary in these parts.

Friday, Saturday, August 9, 10

Anthony Cox Group @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Cox was playing bass with Eddie Berger’s group oh, so many years ago, before moving to New York and gaining an international reputation playing with folks like Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, and Ed Blackwell, not to mention numerous recordings by other forward thinking players. Since returning to the Twin Cites in the early aughties he’s been in a number of interesting projects, and will be bringing a new one to the AQ tonight.

Saturday, August 11

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 8pm ($12) A highly inventive drummer and wit, King has founded or co-founded nine different ensembles, including Happy Apple and the Bad Plus. His bandmates for this expressive, thoroughly modern outfit include Adam Linz, bass; Eric Fratzke, guitar; and saxophonists Brandon Wozniak and Chris Speed (of New York). You can find a review of their album here.

Sunday, August 12

Jimmy Wallace Trio @ Alexis Bailey Vinyards, 18200 Kirby Avenue, Hastings. 1pm (Free) Here is an example of a growing and welcome trend – jazz in the vineyards. You don’t even have to try the wines to enjoy the music, but hey, you may as well. Saxman “Jimmyapolis” Wallace will be leading a trio that includes Brock Thorsen on bass and pianist/Trumpeter Jon Pemberton.

PipJazz Sunday w/guest Yolande Bruce and youth artist Jake Baldwin @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20) Pippi Ardennia once again works her vocal magic, this time bringing guest Yolande Bruce to the stage in the Weyerhauser Auditorium Bruce may be best known as a member of Moore by Four, but she’s performed in musicals, and on stages throughout the world. Jake Baldwin is a young trumpet player, just graduated from two years in the Dakota Combo and will be studying at the New England Conservatory of music. Pippi’s ace backing band is The PipJazz Experience.

Connie Evingson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) An elegant singer in an elegant room. Plus, Evingson has an all-star backing band, including long time cohort Dave Karr on sax and flute; Phil Aaron on piano; Gordy Johnson on bass; and Phil Hey on drums.

Monday, Augusts 13

Dave Hagedorn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis 8:30pm (donation) Hagedorn is the vibist/teacher whose skills with the mallets make him a first call musician in the Twin Cities and beyond. He’s a featured player with both the X-Tet and the Phil Hey Quartet, making the difficult repertoire of those groups seem easy. Tonight he’ll join the Jazz Central all-stars for what promises to be a night of invigorating music. Here’s a video of Dave with Phil Hey and Chris Bates.

Chris Bates Red 5 @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis 9:30 & 11:30 ($5) If you go out to hear jazz, you’ve undoubtedly heard bassist Chris Bates playing in the Atlantis Quartet, Framework, or Red Planet. Perhaps you’ve seen him solo at the Clown Lounge or Rogue Buddha, or as a sideman in any number of one-off gigs. Well, he’s put together a quintet and they’re working on an album to be released in September. Get a preview as Chris is joined by brother JT on drums, Chris Thomson and Brandon Wozniak on saxes, and Zack Lozier on trumpet.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink, which also features Andrea Canter’s fine photography.

Roots, Blues, Other...

Wednesday, August 8

Scottie Miller on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), and 7-9pm (331 Club – No cover) A first class pianist, more than worthy of touring with Ruthie Foster, Miller can plan New Orleans, Chicago, and other styles of piano with elan. He’ll be Harold Tremblay’s guest on the House Party on KFAI and then head over to the 331 Club. It’s Harold’s birthday, so it should be a fun night, as the musical mayhem continues with Harold and Jeff Ray at 9:30 and the Farmhouse Band at 11:00

Groovin’ in the Garden with Detroit Don King @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm. The Como Zoo & Conservatory just keeps getting groovier and groovier. This performance by gritty bluesman Detroit Don King is part of a weekly series through Sept 5, highlighting Twin Cities artists. It’s on the visitor center lawn outside the conservatory. Pack a picnic, spread out a blanket and enjoy the evening. Beverages (both adult and otherwise) will be available for purchase.

Thursday, August 9

Lost Marbles @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) An eight-piece folk-rock jam band with two drummers, horns, and the usual instruments rockin’ out at the Tap Room, influenced by the Dead, Tom Waits, Neil Young and other bands from the 60s and 70s. Outdoor seating if it’s nice, a selection of freshly brewed beers, and a food truck in the early part of the evening.

Hootenany @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm. (Free) This is part of the Walker’s Open Field series. It’s stripped-down music from Jim Walsh, Lianne Smith, Chris Osgood, and Chan Poling. Here’s your chance to hear some Twin Cities favorites from the 80s in a relaxed, outdoor setting.

Friday, August 10

The Senders @ Schooner Tavern, 29th & 27th Ave South, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The Schooner is a neighborhood bar with small dance floor, though I’m betting the Senders will have you shaking it and swingin’ with abandon. A prime example of a jump blues band. Check them out in this video.

Saturday, August 11

Hotpants 45rpm Dance Party @ The Nomad. 9pm – 2am. ($5) Another sweaty evening dancing to rare soul and funk served up by a quartet of guys who scour thrift shops, estate sales, e-bay and other sources to find great dancing music.

Bethany & two of the Knees

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis 10:30pm (No cover) The somewhat winsome, sometimes edgy voice of Bethany Larson will appeal to folks who like Patsy Cline and Lucinda Williams. The Bees Knees provide just the right folkish/rockish backing to illuminate and punctuate her songs.

Dylan Hicks @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis 11:30pm ($5) For a while in the 90s Hicks was the most literate songwriter around. Then he became a published writer, penning reviews and articles for City Pages, the Village Voice and the NY Times. Now he’s a newly published author with a novel, but is taking time from book appearances to perform his witty songs for a few venues. Welcome back.

Tuesday, August 14

Paul Metsa & Cats Under the Stars @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 8:30pm. (Free) Dance lessons at 6:30. Music starts at 7pm. This is the last night of this series, and they’ve got a good un’ for ya. Metsa is the troubador who’s played with many a big name star. He & the Cats play danceable tunes that are somewhat jam-oriented. You won’t be under the stars, but rather under the setting sun overlooking downtown Saint Paul.

Summer Days, Summer Nights. Music: 8.1 – 8.7

August 1, 2012

Night Time is the Right Time

Okay, so I guess you can say we’re halfway through the summer. Hope you’ve been having a good one and have been able to attend some of the many outdoor events that we try to squeeze in here in the Twin Cities. If you’ve not gotten out much, don’t despair. There is more to come, including music at a brewery tap room, some neighborhood celebrations, and more festivals. These are just a few of your music options for the coming week.


Wednesday, Thursday, August 1,2

DeFrancesco, Coryell, and Cobb: A Tribute to Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgomery @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25)  The Jimmy Smith/Wes Montgoemery recordings of the 60s set a high bar for organ trios. The music was soulful and highly inventive, yet never lost its groove. Joey DeFrancesco was an acolyte of Smith’s. Coryell has his own clean way with the guitar. Joining them is Jimmy Cobb on drums, the last surviving member of the Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” recording. This is as good as it gets.

Peter Schimke Trio @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Peter is a talented pianist, who can go from swing to latin rhythms at the drop of a beat. Cafe Maude is a neighbohood bistro with inventive food and top-notch cocktails. Tell them you’d like a seat near the music.

Thursday, August 2

Zack Lozier’s Jazz Night @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) The Brewpub on Minnehaha just south of Lake has developed an adventurous booking policy in a short time, with music ranging from jazz to folk to rock, country, and the occasional deejay. Trumpeter-about-town Lozier brings his formidible attack to the Tap Room every month with different sidemen. Tonight it’s Adrian Suarez on drums and Chris Bates on bass. Chris is threatening to break out the electronics.

Friday, August 3

Pat Mallinger Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Born and raised in Saint Paul, and living in Chicago, Mallinger has developed into a powerhouse sax player. He’s toured with the orchestras of Cab Calloway and Artie Shaw, and regularly plays with Kurt Elling. Every week for almost twenty years, he and his band Sabertooth have played  the Green Mill in Chi-town, starting at Midnight and going until the wee hours. I did an interview with him a couple of years ago which you can read here.

Saturday, August 4

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm. (No Cover) An early evening show featuring composer/trumpeter/pianist Pemberton. Whether he’s interpreting a Lee Morgan piece on trumpet, or a Monk piece on piano, Pemberton is always lyrical, always melodic.

“Serious” musicians.

Atlantis Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) This tight quartet with serious chops has been “laying in the weeds” lately, as guitarist Zacc Harris put it. Well, they’ve all been busy with other projects but have still found the time to work up some new tunes. See what they’re up to with a visit to the AQ.

Tuesday, August 7

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis 9:30 and 11:30pm ($5) JT Bates is doing the curating, and he puts together interesting combinations of players. Sometimes he doesn’t get it done until the last minute. Nevertheless, I can say that whoever he books for Monday night will provide a satisfying take on 21st Century jazz.

A Note: Pamela Espeland has recently stopped publishing a calendar of upcoming jazz events at Bebopified, though she continues her insightful commentary and interviews. The calendar is a mighty effort, and I thank her for her work on it, since I often used the calendar myself. Happily, Jazz Police will take up the slack with a calendar, in addition to continuing their excellent commentary on jazz in the Twin Cities and elsewhere.  Other blogs that feature jazz commentary for the Twin Cities include the aforementioned Bebopified, and Jazz Ink, which also features previews and interviews, in addition to Andrea Canter’s fine photography.

Roots, Blues, Other….

Wednesday, August 1

Hair Club for Cowboys on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm hour (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7 FM) and 7pm (331 Club) Free. Jay Peterson is back in town for a visit and he’s gathered some friends to play, including Dan Newton on Accordion, Rusty Jones on bass, Dan Gaarder of Trailer Trash on guitar, and Dehl Gallagher on drums. Jay especially likes Western Swing. Listen on KFAI and then head over to the 331 Club.

Friday, August 3

Musicpalooza w/Mary Cutrufello, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm – Close.  Also including Mary Elias and the Young Relics, and the Jonards. Don’t know about the other acts, but Cutrufello is a powerful singer with a country bent who is in the midst of a Midwest tour with a full band. Crankshaft does raw blues like no one else in the area.

Saturday, August 4

Past Barfest

Red House Barnfest in Red Wing. 1pm -7:30pm ($30 at the gate) Get in the car and head down to Red Wing for a day of folk and roots music. Performers include: Lucy Kaplansky, Bill Staines, Dean Magraw and John Williams, Drew Nelson, Natalia Zukerman, The High 48s, Black Audience, and Jon Rodine. A family friendly event that’s a perfect way to spend a summer day. For more information, including driving directions, go to:

Seward Co-op 40th Anniversary Party @ East River Flats Park, Minnenapolis. Noon to 8pm. (Free) If you’re not up for a drive to Red Wing, you can help celebrate the 40th Anniversary of one of the oldest co-ops in the area, with over 8,000 members. The line-up includes the family-friendly Bunny Clogs, The Brass Messengers, Malamanya, and Willie Murphy and the Angel-Headed Hipsters. Expect food trucks and more. FMI:

Sunday, August 5

Camile Baudoin & Curt Obeda @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 2pm ($15) After 33 years as a member of New Orleans’ Radiators, Baudoin has issued a solo country/folk album, Old Bayou Blues, which features songs from his boyhood on the bayou. He now tours with various sidemen, and often pairs with Twin Cities bluesman Curt Obeda (of the Butanes) when he’s in this area. The Bayport BBQ is a cash-only place that serves the real thing – smoked meat that melts in your mouth along with the classic sides for ‘Q. Here’s a video of their March appearance at the Bayport. Curt is taking vocals on this one.

Jake Manders @ Merlins’ Rest, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm (No Cover)  Jake is joined by Mikkel Beckman on washboard and percussion and Gretta Hunstiger on vocals and guitar for an afternoon of folky-rootsy music. Bring an ID if you want adult beverages.

Sunday, Monday, August 5,6

Dan Penn @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($35) With his relaxed demeanor, it’s sometimes hard to believe that Penn was responsible for hits like The Letter,  Cry Like a Baby, I’m Your Puppet, Do Right Woman, not to mention, numerous hits for Aretha Franklin, James Carr, Solomon Burke, Percy Sledge Ronnie Milsap, and others. It’s a special night whenever he performs, especially in an intimate, yet elegant setting like The Dakota.

Tuesday, August 7

Ahh, summer at the bandshell

Alison Scott @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. (Free) A talented young pianist/singer performing original, soulful tunes on a beautiful bandshell stage in a park on a lake. Picnic areas close by, sailboats in the background, the occasional plane overhead, and the sound of kids enjoying a swim. This is the summer we love.

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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