It may be a gray day outside as this is being written, but the opportunities for listening to music provide a sunny outlook. I know that figure of speech is a stretch, but work with me here. Halloween celebrations will be in full force this weekend, and I’ll let others give you the lowdown on where to see the most outrageous/sexiest/goriest/funniest costumes. Anyway, ffrom large orchestras to duos; from Desert Blues to elegant bossas, you have many choices when it comes to stimulating your brains with music. Have a good week.
Wednesday, October 24
Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Here’s a mid-week pick-me-up for jazz fans; just the thing to get you over “hump day.” Drummer Hey leads a group of highly accomplished musicians, whose long-term relationship allows them to communicate almost telepathically to the twists and turns of songs by Bobby Hutcherson, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and more. Besides Phil Hey on drums, there is Phil Aaron on piano, Dave Hagedorn on vibes, and Tom Lewis on bass.
Friday, October 26
Lila Ammons Quartet @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Ammons is a vocalist with a strong pedigree – her uncle was Gene Ammons, and her grandfather was pianist Albert Ammons. Lila Ammons, however studied and performed classical music before turning to jazz. Read an interview I did with her earlier this year here. She’ll be joined by saxman Dean Brewington, among others.
Connie Evingson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) There’s a reason she’s one of the area’s favorite vocalists. Whether she’s singing standards, the Beatles, Peggy Lee, or the music of Norman Gimbel, Evingson swings. Tonight she’s backed by a terrific group of musicians: Tanner Taylor, piano; Dave Karr; sax & flute; Terry Burns, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums.
Friday, Saturday, October 26,27
Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Drummer Gravatt turned down Miles Davis to play with Weather Report. He’s also played with Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, and other illustrious jazz folk. Lucky for us he lives in the area, though that doesn’t mean he’s a ubiquitous presence on our jazz scene. He’s joined by Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Gene Rush on piano.
Saturday, October 27
Maurice Jacox @ Eat Street Social, Minneapolis. 1:30 – 3:30pm (free) Take a break this afternoon to hear Jacox apply his considerable vocal skills to soul standards and the Great American Songbook. It’s an intimate affair, and if you’re not going to have a cocktail, you may want to try an egg cream. Just ask that they don’t use ice, in order to get the true flavor.
Benny Weinbeck Trio @ D’Amico Kitchen at Chambers Hotel, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 11:30pm (free) Well, it would be good if you ordered a drink or food, which are bound to be well-crafted. Of course the music is well-crafted as well, as Weinbeck, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums; provide music that goes way-beyond the cocktail lounge.
Sunday, October 28
Donald Thomas Birthday Bash & Benefit @ Baystreet Grill and Pub, 731 Randolph, Saint Paul. 3:00pm – 7:00pm ($10 Donation) The donation includes a free drink and a free taco bar. Lincoln Berry on organ will be leading a trio. Thomas had open heart surgery this summer, so this is the perfect time to celebrate the singer and drummer and help raise some funds to help him through his recovery.
Monday, October 29
Chris Bates Red5 @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) It’s the Jazz Implosion at Icehouse, tonight featuring the music of Chris Bates, notably from the group’s CD, New Hope. The group features Zack Lozier, trumpet; Chris Thomson tenor and soprano sax; Brandon Wozniak, tenor and alto sax. Brother JT on drums rounds out the group.
Tuesday, Wednesday, October 30, 31
Maria Schneider Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($60 – $40) Nineteen musicians on the Dakota stage, with two Grammys and nine nominations. Whatever I can say about Schneider, who is originally from Windom, would pale in comparison to the raves she has received for her compositions.
Roots, Blues, Other
Wednesday, October 27
Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric Does Brian Eno @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis 7pm – 10pm. (No cover) Wow! Clouser’s electric guitar playing has enthralled audiences from Prague to New York to our own Twin Cities. Tonight he’s interpreting the music of Brian Eno, from ambient scores to the Talking Heads and way beyond. Good food and cocktails as well. Just be sure to ask for a table near the music.
Friday, October 26
Trio Bossa Nova @ 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) For those of you in the Western suburbs, the tiny 318 Cafe offers a chance to hear music up close and personal. Guitarist Pavel Jany leads this subset of Ticket to Brasil in a program of sultry bossa novas and originals. You may want to get a reservation.
Mother Banjo @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Charmingly dark songs, along with some bluegrass gospel, make up the repertoire of Mother Banjo, aka Ellen Stanley of KFAI’s Womenfolk.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday, October 26, 27, 28
Barebones Puppet Extravaganza @ Hidden Falls Park, Saint Paul 7pm. (donation) Spectacle. Larger-than-Life Puppets. Stilting, Fire, Song & Dance. The annual extravaganza is equal parts entertaining and thoughtful, including a public naming ceremony, where the audience is invited to honor the memories of those who have passed by saying their names out loud. The Brass Messengers will be playing afterward on Friday and Sunday. A Ukranian band will play on Saturday.
Saturday, October 27
Everett Smithson Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm. ($?) Everett & Kathy Smithson and their band play the kind of party music you might hear in Southern Louisiana: a bit of swamp, zydeco, blues, and rockabilly. Backing them up is a team of veteran Twin Citizens: Phil Schmid on guitar, Jeremy Johnson on drums, and Bill Black on upright bass. Early birds may want to take advantage of Wilebski’s free buffet from 5pm – 7pm.
Tinariwen @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($35) Formed in the Southern Sahara Touareg rebel camps about 30 years ago, this Grammy-winning group uses electric guitars to create trance-like, blues-laden sounds to back their poetic lyrics about he lives of Touareg refugees. Tinariwen has earned praise from Elvis Costello and Carlos Santana, among others. Call it Desert Blues or Desert Rock, their hypnotic sounds will draw you in and have you clapping along. Here’s a video of them.
Sunday, October 28
Malone Brothers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Dave Malone (of the Subdudes) and Russell Malone (of the Radiators) are touring together after the Radiators have broken up and while the Subdudes are on hiatus. This is New Orleans rock at it’s best – a mixture of blues, zydeco, and country roots.