Well 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
Moore 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.
Thursday, 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.
Peterson 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.
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.
Sunday, 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.