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.
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 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.