End of the Year Music: 12.26 – 1.1

December 26, 2012

imagesWell it’s another relatively quiet week, though Friday and Saturday offer a number of choices. Perhaps it’s all in anticipation of the big night next Monday, for which there are numerous musical and party choices. The big shows are easy to find, so I’ve included a few no cost/low cost choices. Have a safe and happy New Year’s Eve.


Wednesday, December 26

DownloadedFile-1Moore by Four @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. Glorious harmonies from a group that has been thrilling Twin Cities audiences since the 80s. Now they only perform a few times a year since Sandford Moore, piano; and vocalists Dennis Spears, Connie Evingson, Yolande Bruce, and Ginger Commodore are all successful solo performers.

Boot Camp @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Pianist Jeremy Walker gathers together Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums; to create sublime and exciting music.

Thursday, December 27

Donald Thomas and Rick Carlson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (donation) Thomas is a vocalist/drummer with a smooth baritone singer who can take on jazz standards and rhythm and blues with equal ease. Pianist Carlson is a favored foil for many vocalists, given his Basie-esque approach to playing and an ability to know when to accent and when to lay out.

DownloadedFile-1Thursday, Friday, Saturday, December 27, 28, 29

Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm. ($40) Since their first post-Christmas appearance at the old Dakota about 12 or 13 years ago, this chamber jazz trio with a rock n’ roll attitude has become a favorite of festivals and clubs around the world. It’s a grand opportunity to see them in a relatively small club.

Friday, Saturday, December 27, 28

Pat Mallinger Quartet w/Bill Carrothers @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Saint Paul born and Chicago based, Mallinger makes his annual return to the AQ, bringing pianist Carrothers along with him, as well as Chris Bates on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. Mallinger and Carrothers made an excellent live album entitled Home on Richmond. Expect to hear some things from that as well as other post-bop inspired material. I did an interview with him last year, which you can read here.

Saturday, December 29

Connie Evingson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 10:30pm ($30 minimum) Sophisticated thrush Ms Evingson brings Tanner Taylor (piano) and Dave Karr (reeds) along to serenade diners at the Saint Paul institution. The restaurant’s web site touts the minimum, but you may want to check, as I’ve found that arriving for the later sets hasn’t tripped that trigger.

DownloadedFile-2Peterson Family New Year’s Concert @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 8pm  ($45) Though it’s been announced that Jeanne Arland Peterson, the Matriarch of the talented Peterson clan, is retiring, she recently recorded album with Grammy Winning producer Bruce Swedien, so there may be another concert or two for the 90-something. This show, however,  will be her last performance with the whole family, which includes Patty, Linda, Billy, Ricky, and Paul, as well as members of the third generation.

New Year’s Eve 

Jon Pemberton Trio @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis 10:30pm (Free) Pemberton is a trumpeter/piano player/composer with serious chops, no matter what his instrument. Ring in the year with him and and have the added bonus of being able to order good cocktails and tasty goodies from the Red Stag’s kitchen.

Fat Kid Wednesdays & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($?) Okay, if you want to go whole hog in celebrating, you can go for the Prix Fixe Dinner with wine, beer or whiskey pairings, or you can show up late to ring in the new year, in which case the cover should be relatively small. The music starts and 6pm and includes a number of musicians from the Kid’s wide range of jazz, rock, and rootsy musical projects.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 26

The Eddies on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI) 7p, (331 Club – Tip jar) I’m a big fan of this group, which is unique in the Twin Cities. I mean, where else will you get sea shanties, whaling songs, Appalachian death ballads, and Bob Marley, all delivered by a five-man group, with only an occasional guitar or accordion as accompaniment. Tune in to 90.3 or 106.7FM at about 5pm to hear them live, then head over to the 331 Club for this annual between-holidays gig.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Vintage boogie-woogie, swing tunes, and jump blues. Plus you have a wonderful dance floor and value-priced drinks. Get out the dancing shoes.

Saturday, December 29

Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 9pm (no cover) I don’t know what’s in the water here, but over the years a number of finger-pickin’ champions have come from this area, including Heywood, who has a bluesy bent to his playing. The folks at Cafe Maude have put him in regular rotation between the two locations, all the better for us.

The Butanes w/Camile Baudoin @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The area’s hardest working (and often cited as best) blues band brings along guitarist/vocalist Baudoin, who spent 33 years with New Orleans’ Radiators. Baudoin recently recorded an album of country blues that he grew up with in Louisiana and has been doing some duo gigs with the Butanes Curt Obeda. Even though Christmas has passed, you may be able to get Curt to loosen things up with his version of Back Door Santa.

K-Libre @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) Calling all salsa dancers, though most are probably already aware of this gig.  K-Libre is an eleven piece band that  keeps the rhythms and the dancers flowing. BTW, this show is being recorded by KBEM for its series, Saint Paul Live!.

DJ Brian Engel @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm (free) The home of all things chocolate, The Chocolate Chateau, has this sweet little bar up on the third floor (duh!), where you can find chocolate cocktails, chocolate bourbon, dark beers, and a few light dishes. Tonight, you’ll also find DJ Brian (Hipshaker, Hot Pants, Worldwide Discotek) spinning a variety of jazz, soul, and world sounds.

imagesSunday, December 30

Rena Haus @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (free) A rootsy, bluesy accompaniment to go with your brunch & bloody marys. Rena is a singer-songwriter of considerable skill, with an ear for (sometimes humorous) detail and a winning way with a guitar.

New Year’s Eve

Paul Mayasich @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (free) You’ll have to make a reservation if you want dinner (served until 10pm) but otherwise Paul and the RAMM band will be playing for your dancing pleasure, whether you’re on the tiny dance floor, or boogying between tables.

Papa John Kolstad @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (tip jar) Papa John’s sly observations and storytelling, along with some swinging guitars, and top-notch players make this a relaxed, and family-friendly gig. Merlin’s is full of bonhomie, as well as an impressive array of single malt scotch, Irish Whiskey and beer. Make sure you have your ID, though, or you won’t be served adult beverages.

Roe Family Singers & Doug Otto & the Getaways @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis 9pm (tip jar) The Roe Family Singers are a loose congregation of folks that play Quillan Roe’s songs as well as some real old-timey tunes. Doug Otto’s voice is as world-weary as any hard-scrabble farmer’s. You can’t get a more rootsier New Year’s Eve than this one.

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.

New Traditions in Music: 12.19 – 12.25

December 19, 2012
Toy Trains - A Christmas Tradition for Many

Toy Trains – A Christmas Tradition for Many

To paraphrase a well-known storyteller, it’s a quiet week here in the Twin Cities, what with Christmas on Tuesday.  No matter what your tradition, or what you celebrate, or even if you don’t celebrate at all, I hope this finds you in good spirits. Unfortunately, we’ve been soundly reminded that this season isn’t always a happy one for many. Keep your heart open, and your thoughts and actions kind. And let music move your spirits.


Thursday, December 19

DownloadedFile-1Maude Hixson & French 75 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Continental jazz with the ever-so-cool vocals of Ms Hixson. Continental jazz as in songs from the Great American Songbook that actually have pedigrees from Britain, France, and other countries. Since it’s foodie night at the Dakota, you can be sure both performers and the restaurant will be working to make things tres chic. Eh, what.

Maryann Sullivan & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Charming vocals from Ms Sullivan, who recently celebrated the release of her CD Coffee Time, and tasteful, and often exciting, accompaniment by Taylor.

Laura Underwood @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5?) Underwood is a vocalist who can put a fine interpretation on a much recorded jazz song, and turn around and give new life to a blues standard.

Friday, December 21

Irv Williams and Peter Schimke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm (Free) Once you’re through with some of your last minute shopping on Nicollet Mall, head over to the Dakota for the often soothing, but always imaginative sounds of 93 year old Irv Williams on saxophone, accompanied by the younger, but equally talented Peter Schimke on piano.

Friday, Saturday, December 21, 22

imagesLee Engele’s Hot Christmas @ The Black Box Theater, Bloomington Center for the Arts. 7:30pm Friday, 2:00pm Saturday ($20) Vocalist Engele gathers Reynold Philipsek and Joan Griffith on guitar, along with Gary Schulte on violin, to create a program of  jazz and holiday standards using jazz, Latin, and gypsy jazz rhythms.

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Whether he’s playing tenor, flute, or baritone, the octogenarian Karr shows no sign of slowing down. He can always be depended upon to pull a bebop gem out of his axe.

Saturday, December 22

Deck the Halls with JoAnn Funk @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm (Free) JoAnn Funk (vocals, piano) and Jeff Brueske (bass) are joined by Gary Shulte (violin) and baritone Steve Marking, who will be singing O Holy Night and some other carols. JoAnn will stick to the lighter side of Christmas songs, and some gems from her usual repertoire of jazz standards, Blossom Dearie, and a few surprise choices.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 19

Graham Parker & Rumour @ Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($37) The pub rocker from the 70s returns with his original group and their first album in 31 years – Three Chord Good. Parker was always a snarling singer, but one who knew how to craft melodies that would grab you, and a good ear for a soulful cover like “Hold Back the Night.” He plays himself in “This is 40,” Judd Aptow’s new move, where he sings a duet and with his group. The movie is being released Friday.

Thursday, December 20

Fathom Lane, Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees, and Actual Wolf @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 advance/$15 door) A trio of country-rockish performers. Bethany Larson’s gorgeous voice and directness in songwriting power her country/folk-rock quartet. Actual Wolf is appearing solo, singing his songs that evoke early Dylan and 70s country rock. Fathom Lane is the creation of Michael Ferrier, formerly of the electro-jazz group Electropolis. With the help of Ashleigh Still (vocals, keys), Brian Roessler (bass), and Pete Hennig (drums) among others, he’s created a album of haunting tunes.

Friday, December 21

Chicago Afrobeat Project & Malamanya @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) An evening of outstanding music. The Chicago Afrobeat Project is an 8 piece group that melds the dense sound of Afrobeat with its own take on the Chicago music scene. Opener Malamanya has set many a feet to dancing with its take on Cuban dance beats.

Cool Disposition’s Final Gig @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 9pm After thirteen years, three CDs, a trip to the International Blues Challenge, and numerous bar and festival appearances, this is the last time you’ll get to hear the Dispos. Mickey Bauer, vocals; Hurricane Harold Tremblay, harmonica; Greg Beach, bass, Dan Scwalbe, guitar; and Marty Bryduck drums; have provided the Twin Cities with some jumpin’ and swingin’ blues over the years, and this is where it happened most. The fact that it’s the end of the Mayan calendar has nothing to do with this being their last gig.

Saturday, December 22

DownloadedFileDee Miller Band w/Jimi Primetime Smith @ Holihans Pub, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) The room is small, the bar is full, but it’s worth a crowd to hear Ms. Miller belt the blues, especially when the talented Mr. Smith is providing guitar fills and solos.

King Baron @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) Take a couple of guys from the Brass Messengers (Paul Fonfara and Scotty Anderson), and add Andy Hakala from the Southside Aces, and you get some Dixielandish street music.

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.

Music for a Winter Wonderland 12.12 – 12.18

December 12, 2012
The Brass Messengers will lead Santacon participants throughout Lowertown

The Brass Messengers will lead Santacon participants throughout Lowertown

Well, we finally have some weather to match our reputation. Don’t let that stop you from going out, however. There is too much good music out there to stay home. Simply make sure you have more time for travel. After all, we’re all getting used to driving in snow and ice again. Have a good week.


imagesWednesday, Thursday, December 12, 13

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) Though Pizzarelli is sometimes touted for his vocals on the Great American Songbook, it’s his guitar playing that stands out. He’s also a charming conversationalist, as anyone who has listened to his NPR show will attest.

Thursday, December 13

Ahmed & the Creators @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($?) It’s true, you have to climb stairs to get to this inviting venue, but when you do, you’ll be treated to the hard bop/mainstream sounds of this classic sextet.

Friday, December 14

Fratzke, Hanson, Roessler, Hennig & Legget @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) It’s a “Not so Silent Night” at the Black Dog, as Eric Fratzke, guitar; Brian Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig and Pete Legget, drums, create improvisational music.

Friday, Saturday, December 14, 15

Laura Caviani Holiday Show @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Caviani will be performing music from her cool album of holiday songs, Music We Have Heard On High, with Lucia Newell on vocals, Jay Young on bass, Dave Schmalenberger on drums, and Saturday only, Pete Whitman on sax. Though it’s not holiday music, here’s a video of Laura.

Saturday, December 15

University of Manitoba Jazz Studies Faculty Master Class @ Walker West Academy, Saint Paul.11am (Free with Pre-Registration)  Here’s a chance for aspiring young musicians to take a free master class with six internationally known musicians who teach at the University of Manitoba. This event, and their performance later in the day (see below) are part of an effort to recruit young musicians to their program in Winnipeg. If you know someone who might benefit from the class, register them at 651-224-2929.

Jazz Studies Faculty @ Progressive Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Ave, Saint Paul. 7:00pm (Free)  Steve Kirby, bass; Anna-Lisa Kirby, voice; Quincy Davis, drums; Will Bonness, paino; Laurent Roy, guitar; Derrick Gardner, trumpet; and Craig Bailey, sax, will be performing. These are nationally recognized musicians who have played with Basie; Ellington; Cyrus Chestnut, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, and Wynton Marsalis, among others.

imagesJef Lee Johnson, Yohannes Tona, & Michael Bland @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($12) Johnson  plays jazz, funk, and blues-rock, with an individual style that has Hendrix influences. He’s worked with, and earned praises from, folks like Chaka Khan (who called him a “gift from God”), as well as Esperanza Spalding, George Duke, Christian McBride, and McCoy Tyner. His cohorts tonight are Ethiopian-born Twin Cities bassist Yohannes Tona (Nachito Herrera and Stokely Williams), and drummer Michael Bland (Prince, Soul Asylum, Mambo’s Combo). Should be an evening of exciting music.

Monday, December 17

Pete Hennig & Jazz Central All-Stars @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Drummer Hennig is versatile enough to play   stripped down blues with Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, 21st Century jazz with the Atlantis Quartet, and provide the drum chair for Adam Meckler’s big band. He also plays the banjo, though I don’t think he’ll playing that percussive instrument tonight. Here’s a video of Pete with Nathan Hanson on sax at the Black Dog.

Charlie Christiansen Trio @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Christiansen is a vocalist and piano player who heads up the vocal department at MacNally Smith. He’ll be joined by trumpeter Adam Meckler for an evening of standards and original Christmas and Holiday music.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 12

imagesTim Sparks and Dean Magraw @ The Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – doors at 6:30 ($25) Sparks is a finger-picking monster, who will be playing selections from his revolutionary “Nutcracker Suite.” It’s the 20th Anniversary of the recording, which has been hailed as a significant contribution to the existing body of guitar literature. He’ll also be doing his rendition of East European dance tunes found in his latest work, Balkan Dreams. Dean Magraw, another terrific player opens. Tim came by my show and played a few tunes this past Saturday, the 8th. Go here to listen. The interview and songs start about 30 minutes into the show.

Thursday, December 13

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($15) Some call Watson alt-country, but he sure sounds like a traditional honky-tonker to me. Traditional as in Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Hank Thompson. This Texas Troubadour simply doesn’t go along with country cliches or current “Gnashville” approaches to the industry. Local faves The Cactus Blossoms open. Here’s a video.

Southside Aces Christmas CD Release Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($5) The Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz, which they’re applying to some Christmas tunes in the form of a CD called “Santaphone.” They’ll be joined by some special guests, as they are on the CD, including Charlie DeVore, Rick Rexroth, Nadine DuBois, Maude Hixon, and the Beaujolais Sisters. Let the dancing begin.

Friday, December 14

4th Annual Holiday Shindig @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) A collection of some of the best songwriters in the Twin Cities, including Martin Devaney, Steve kaul, Alison Rae, and Dan Gaardner. They’ll be doing seasonal originals and holiday favorites, and it will all culminate in a sing-a-long and free raffle. All ticket proceeds go to Open Arms of MN to cook and deliver meals to folks with life-threatening diseases. It’s a small club, so table reservations are recommended.

Lamont Cranston Band w/Bruce McCabe @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm  – 9pm ($?) This is the Cranston’s first album of all new studio material in 15 years for this veteran blues and boogie outfit. If you’ve never heard the Cranstons, especially with pianoman McCabe goosing the energy, you deserve to check them out.

Saturday, December 15

Just follow the tuba.

Follow the tuba.

Lowertown Santacon V @ Lowertown venues, Saint Paul. 5:30pm (Free) This is the fifth year for this rambling convocation of folks dressed as Santa’s, Mrs Santa, elves, and other Christmas beings. It starts at the Black Dog Cafe, where kids are welcome, but after that, it’s strolling to various venues throughout the neighborhood, led by the Brass Messengers, and singing songs and having a few adult beverages. Don’t overdo it, though. No one likes an inebriated elf.

Booker T and the MGs & The Ventures Cover Band @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 10pm. I’m not sure who is in this band, but it sounds intriguing and fun. The two bands created some of the most memorable instrumentals of the 60s, which should sound just fine in the cozy comfines of the downtown Maude.

Hot Pants Dance Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Time for the Holiday edition of dancing to rare soul and funk 45s. Their poster promises a Love Potion Voodoo Dance. Don’t know if that’s Love Potion #9, or another batch.

Monday, Tues, Wednesday, December 17, 18, 19

ToP Funkifying the Zoo last summer

Funkifying the Zoo last summer

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($70, $55), 9pm ($60, $45) The funkiest band from Oakland/San Francisco is still a powerhouse of butt-moving rhythms and horn licks. Though they’ve been going for 44 years, the band had 1400 people movin’ and groovin’ when they played the Zoo last summer. No doubt they will have folks shakin’ it and jumpin’ out of their seats at the Dakota.

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.

Music for the Holiday Season: 12.5 – 12.11

December 5, 2012

images-3This weeks music ideas include four holiday-themed shows, each of which takes holiday music in a different direction, and each of which arrives before you tire of the sounds that surround you when shopping. There are also six outstanding roots music shows and jazz that will please most anyone with an interest in music. Take some time out from shopping and enjoy some live music.


Wednesday, December 5

Cannonball Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Sax player Doug Haining is at it again, exploring different facets of jazz and his influences, this time the music of Cannonball Adderley. He’s joined by Zack Lozier, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Mac Santiago on drums.

images-2Sue Orfield Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Sue is a dynamic sax player who wowed folks at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a couple of summers ago. The Wisconsin based artist is a versatile player who can get down with the blues, or funk it up with the Butanes Soul Revue. Tonight Sue will bring her high energy to jazz, with Josh Gallagher on piano; Jeremy Boettcher on bass; and Mike Malone on drums.

Thursday, December 6

SAMSUNGMaryann Sullivan CD Release @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30  Sullivan’s new CD, Coffee Time, is a delightful recording of lesser known standards, well served by Ms Sullivan’s sweet voice and sense of swing. In fact, I expect a few swing dancers may show up at this new venue that features ten craft beers on tap, as well as wine and cocktails. With Doug Haining, sax; Reynold Philipsek, guitar; Denny Malmberg, accordion; Matt Peterson, bass; and Nathan Norman on drums.

Friday, December 7

images-4Connie Evingson @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Hear vocalist Evingson in Saint Paul’s intimate jazz club. With eight CDs to her credit, Evingson has appeared on Prairie Home Companion, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and has performed around the world. She has a perfectly cool way with a melody, whether singing the songs of Django Rheinhardt, the Beatles, or Peggy Lee.

Friday, Saturday, December 7,8

images-3Manhattan Transfer’s Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75, $50), 9pm ($65, $40) These Grammy winners have always been omnivorous in exploring four-part harmonies, taking their cues from modern harmony, jazz, doo-wop, bebop, and latin melodies. Tonight I expect we’ll hear some holiday favorites.

Body Omara @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Guitarist Joseph Damman, bassist Tom Reichert, and percussionist Davu Seru bring Damman’s original songs, a blend of desert blues of Mali and American jazz, to the downtown Cafe Maude.

Saturday, December 8

Lucia Newell & Zacc Harris @ Eat Street Social, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3:30pm Eat Street Social brings afternoon music to the Eat Street intersection of 26th & Nicollet. Lucia, of course, is one of the preeminent jazz singers in the area. Zacc Harris is the busiest jazz guitarist in town. A nice combination to go with a late brunch.

Sunday, December 9

Capri Big Band Holiday Concert @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) With 29 members, the Capri Big Band is the “biggest big band” in the area. It’s an intergenerational band, with seasoned veterans like Dean Brewington, Jimmy Wallace, and emcee/saxophonist Donald Washington, younger generation musicians like Solomon Parham and Kevin Washington, as well as a 12 year old piano player and a couple of teenagers. This past Saturday (December 1) I interviewed Donald and Faye Washington, and we played a couple of tracks from the band. Hear the interview at: http://www.kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves

PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20)  Vocalist Pippi Ardennia has a special show planned for the holidays, with youth guest Freeman Ryan on cello and vocalist Jason Richards. Richards comes from the Sinatra/Martin/Bennett school of sophisticated Bel Canto singing, with mature phrasing and a great sense of swing.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 5

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I expect the 331 Club will be packed, as this self-taught guitarist has attracted hordes of fans with his original, authentic folk blues. He grew up without a TV, but with this dad’s records of Charley Patton, Woody Guthrie, and Leadbelly, among others. If you haven’t heard him, be sure to listen the Harold’s House Party at 90.3 and 106.7FM to hear what the fuss is all about.

Thursday, December 6

Elizabeth Cook @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Honky-tonk, Country rock, alt-country, outlaw rock. Whatever you call Cook’s music, it’s well crafted, often funny, and invigorating. She’s host of Elizabeth Cook’s Apron Strings on Sirius XM, and with her Southern drawl, and “naive” wit, has been utterly charming in interviews on David Letterman and Craig Ferguson.

Nikki & The Rue-mates @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This is the start of a monthly, Thursday night gig for Nikki and her band-mates. The Driftwood’s low-key ambience  – food, beer, wine – is just right for the original blues and folk stylings of the band.

Daddy Squeeze @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (no cover) Dan Newton brings his accordion and his facility in any number of styles to one of the best late night happy hours in town.

Saturday, December 8

Crankshaft’s Second Annual Food Drive @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 2pm – 6pm ($10 minimum donation) What a great line-up for a Saturday afternoon. Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, Davina & the Vagabonds, The Jack Brass Band, and Poverty Hash. All proceeds from the door go to Second Harvest Heartland.

The SoulJazz Orchestra w/Brass Messengers @ Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) The SoulJazz Orchestra is a six-piece multi-ethnic Canadian group with a repertoire that blends soul, jazz, and tropical styles. The result is funky, invigorating, and innovative, all at once, and sure to please fans of Afrobeat and other world musics. Opening is the Twin Cities own Brass Messengers, whose joyous embrace and expansion of brass traditions from around the world always leaves you in good spirits. Here’s a video of the SoulJazz Orchestra.

Sunday, December 9

DownloadedFileTrashy Little Xmas Family Matinee @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 12 Noon. ($12, $6 for kids 2-12, kids under 2 – free). It’s December and time for Trailer Trash to bring out their honky-tonkin’ Christmas songs. While their weekly show at Lee’s Liquor Lounge isn’t exactly X-rated, they have taken the most kid-friendly songs to create a family-friendly experience. Though it’s a seated show, there is room set aside for the little ones to jump and dance.

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Both are alums of Prairie Home Companion (Pat is still on the show), and both are highly respected musicians – Butch for his light touch and imagination when interpreting early jazz, and Pat as a Grammy winning, finger-picking guitarist. At the Saint Paul event celebrating the release of Vicksburg Blues, their Red House release, Butch & Pat were consummate entertainers, as they played with alacrity and verve, and their quiet humor added to the warmth of the evening. Now they’re having a Minneapolis release party in a space perfectly suited to their intimate show.

Monday, Tuesday, December 10, 11

images-2Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45)  A group that has gone through a number of permutations over 70 years, yet still rules the gospel charts, whether performing traditional gospel rave-ups or tunes by Eric Clapton, Tom Waits, or Prince (!). Their performances in The Gospel at Colonus were electrifying, and their recent collaborations with Allen Toussaint, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others have only added to their legend.

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

%d bloggers like this: