Music for the Holiday Season: 12.5 – 12.11

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:

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

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