Here in the Twin Cities, we are lucky to be able to choose from a few competing festivals on Saturday, three of which are in Saint Paul. The Concrete and Grass Festival (free) offers a wide variety of music, from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Jack Brass Band on Thursday evening, through the Minnesota Opera and Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks) on Saturday.
Meanwhile, jazz is the order of the day at the 11th Annual Selby Jazz Festival (free), featuring Saint Paul bands and New York artists Abdul Zuhli on guitar, and Cheryl Pepsii Riley on vocals.
Finally, for Saint Paul, The Summit Backyard Bash ($14) features Doomtree, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, Halloween Alaska, and the Now Nows, as well as Hotpants DJs between sets.
If you live in the West Metro, you may want to check out Saturday’s street dance in Wayzata. See the listing for the Butanes Soul Revue, below. As always, check out my blog for photos, links, and videos. Note also, that I’m contributing a gig recommendation to the Daily Planet each week.
There is also much to enjoy earlier in the week, so get out and enjoy yourself.
Wednesday, September 5
Marv Dahlgren/John Dickinson Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) After 47 years playing with the Minnesota Orchestra and writing classic instructional books, Dahlgren is considered a master of drums and vibes. Tonight he’s paired with his grandson, who is a vibes player studying at the Lucerne Jazz School in Switzerland. They’ll be joined by Garty Gratz, piano; Jay Young, bass; and David Stanoch, drums. Betty Dahlgren will accompany her grandson on Celtic harp for a few numbers, for an evening of jazz that will surprise and delight.
Thursday, September 6
Valve Meets Slide and Horace Silver @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Brad Bellows (valve trombone) and David Graf (slide trombone) lead Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums in an evening of the music of Horace Silver. Horace Silver was one of the instagators of hard bop, using gospel and R&B influences to create jazz that both moved you and was moving. Bellows and Graf are two of the finest trombonists in town, and have a stellar rhythm section. This should be a groovin’ evening.
Friday, September 7
Ginger Commodore & Debbie Duncan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Commodore and Duncan are a couple of very soulful jazz singers, or very jazzy soul singers. Take your pick. Both have been successful in stage productions, which isn’t hard to believe given the power of their voices. Both have also been performing for ages, so you can expect a professional, and very satisfying show.
Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar)
Bellows (valve trombone) and Washington (sax) lead a quartet including Pete Hennig (drums) and Brian Roessler (bass) through free improvisation. Don’t be put off by that description, however. It’s highly accessible music, even if you can’t hum it. Here’s a video from an appearance last year.
Franze, Brown & Horst: The Tuesday Night Band @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Have you been having withdrawal pains from the lack of greasy, B-3 driven music for the last few months? Have no fear, this trio, better known as The Tuesday Night Band, returns for one night only as Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, Hammond B-3; and Kenny Horst on drums deliver the down home sounds of a groovin’ B-3 trio.
Friday, Saturday, September 7, 8
Happy Apple @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The hipness quotient of the Icehouse just jumped a few points, though it hardly needed a boost. Happy Apple is highly regarded among the relatively young (say, under 35), in part because the trio of Mike Lewis, sax; Eric Fratzke, electric bass; and Dave King, drums; exhibit a rock/punk attitude. However, their extreme talent plays a big part, as does the sometime rambling, often hilarious on-stage musings of King.
Saturday, September 8
JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske @ Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Suffice to say most of the folks at a hotel lobby bar are not there to listen to jazz. They simply want a drink or two while talking with fellow hotel guests. It’s a testament to the talent of JoAnn Funk (piano, vocals) and Jeff Brueske (bass) that they can catch the attention of aforementioned guests, handle their requests, and bring in customers just to hear the two of them. Funk and Brueske tackle the the songs of Nat King Cole, Blossom Dearie, Dan Penn, Madeline Peyroux and more with aplomb, taste, and imagination.
Roxanne Cruz & Jeremy Walker @ Ingredients Cafe, White Bear Lake. 6:30pm – 9:30pm. East metro denizens have a chance to hear a fine vocalist and excellent pianist while dining at Ingredients.
Sunday, September 9
Adieu Summer @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6:30pm. ($10) This is the fifth or sixth year that Ticket To Brasil is hosting an end-of-summer event. Today’s artists include: The Talking Strings, featuring Gary Shulte on violin; Trio Bossa Nova; vocalist Lee Engele; and the ten-piece Ticket to Brasil. The Pavillion is covered from all but sideways rain, and has plenty of room for dancing, whether you trip the light fantastic to swing or samba rhythms. This family friendly event will be a fitting goodbye to summer.
PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($25/door, $10/Student, children under 12 – free) Since singer Pippi Ardennia moved here from Chicago a few years ago she has been turning heads with her monthly series, bringing in guest artists and young musicians to share the stage. Her charming, welcoming manner makes these monthly events very family-friendly. The musicians and Pippi deliver first class music. Today’s guest is singer Dennis Spears, of Moore by Four, the Nat King Cole production at Penumbra, and numerous appearances around town.
Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Sidran is no stranger to this town, having appeared at both the AQ and the Dakota many times. Tonight he’ll use his piano and voice to tell the stories of “Jews, Music, and the American Dream,” which is also the title of his latest book. He’s got a PhD in American Studies, is well known as the host of NPR’s Peabody Award winning series “Jazz Alive,” and may be best known as the writer of Steve Miller’s big hit, Space Cowboy. Nevertheless, Sidran is an excellent piano player, and a hip storyteller, weaving complex, astute narratives over a vamp as he introduces each number. Expect songs written by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Carole King, Bob Dylan, and more.
Roots, Blues, Other…
Wednesday, September 5
Zack Lozier Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This is a slightly different booking than usual for Harold’s House Party, as Zack stepped in at the last minute when the originally booked group had to cancel. Zack is an in-demand, versatile trumpet player who is as down with the blues as he is with jazz. His clarion trumpet can be heard in the Jack Brass Band, Chris Bates Red 5, the Adam Meckler Big Band, and the Southside Aces, and other groups. He recently toured with the Doc Severinson Band, and has toured internatonally with Todd Clouser, Davina and the Vagabonds, and others. Zack will be accompanied by veteran bass player Keith Boyles and up and coming keyboard player Steven Hobart. A unique gig.
Friday, September 7
Flatt Foot Rollers @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. ($5) With a song list that ranges from the Temptations to the Gap Band to Albert KIng, this seven-piece R&B/Funk band will get you dancing, even this early in the evening.
Cliff Eberhardt @ The Gingko Coffee House, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 advance/$17 Door) The passionate, witty folk singer/songwriter is helping Gingko celebrate its 20th anniversary. On his latest album, All Wood and Doors, Eberhardt (with the help of some friends) does acoustic versions of songs from the Doors. His previous album 500 Miles, was recorded in Texas Hill Country and is flavored with musical influences from the region.
Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) As the name implies, this trio lays down cajun, zydeco, and swamp beats that will have you head-bobbing and toe tapping to the point where you’ll have to get out of your chair, or off your stool, and dance.
Corpse Reviver w/guest Dakota Dave Hull @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip jar) Mikkel Beckman’s salute to the Anthology of American Folk Music kicks off it’s third year at the 331 with a special guest. Dakota Dave Hull is a nationally renowned picker and singer with a vast repertoire in his guitar case.
Saturday, September 8
Butanes Soul Revue w/Willie Walker @ James J. Hill Days Street Dance, Wayzata. 7pm (Free) It’s a busy weekend for Curt Obeda and his band. The four piece is at Shaw’s in Minneapolis on Thursday, then they add Willie Walker for a Friday evening appearance at the Concrete and Grass Festival in downtown Saint Paul, and today they go full bore with the eleven-piece Soul Revue featuring Maurice Jaycox on vocals and guest Willie Walker. A lakeside street dance on a pleasant Saturday night. Life is good.
Lamont Cranston & Willie Murphy @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Willie and his band start things off at 9pm, followed by the Cranstons at 11PM. It will be a night of West Bank Boogie’n, as these stalwart bands fill the big dance floor at the MMC.
Monday, September 10
Al’s Rockabilly Quartet @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 8pm. (No cover) Swing dance lesson from the ubiquitous Ms Shannon Butler run from 7:15 to 8:00, when Al’s Rockabilly Quartet takes the stage and you can test out your new moves. Pomade, tight jeans with turned up cuffs, and poodle skirts are optional.
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.