Omer Avital & the Band of the East at the Jewish Community Center, 1375 Saint Paul Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($20) The Israeli-born bassist has been called one of the most exciting musicians to come along in twenty years. Though he’s played with some musical giants, like Roy Haynes and Jimmy Cobb, he’s really been making waves since he formed his own group in the mid-nineties and collaborating with pianist Jason Lindner. Note that a photo ID is needed for entry. Sleeper gig of the week
Southside Aces with Maude Hixson & Rick Carlson: The Music of Johnny Mercer @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) The Aces play traditional jazz but can swing with the best of them. With guest vocalist Hixson, and guest pianist Carlson, they’ll be tackling a portion of the Johnny Mercer songbook, which is just about as good as a songbook gets.
Friday, January 11
Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Whether he’s singing a Marvin Gaye tune or Freddy Hubbard’s Red Clay, Henry is a subtle, effective vocalist, creating layers of meaning out of nuance. He always attracts good players, as well.
Lulu’s Playground CD Release @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The four musicians in Lulu’s Playground have, as you might suspect, a playful approach to their art. If the name of the band isn’t enough of a hint, look at the instrumentation: Adam Meckler on trumpet, Evan Montgomery on guitar, Cory Grossman on cello, and Steven Hobert on accordion. They’re all terrific jazz players, but are comfortable in pop, rock, and even salsa.
Saturday, January 12
Vicky Mountain Sings JImmy Van Heusen @ Black Box Theater, 1800 Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($20/$18 seniors/$15 students) Van Heusen was an accomplished composer who won four Oscars and an Emmy for his songs, often written with lyricist Sammy Cahn. Vicky will be exploring his songbook, which includes standards like Swinging on A Star, Love and Marriage, Come Fly With Me, and Call Me Irresponsible, among others. She’ll be joined by Reuben Ristrom, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Jim Chenowith, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums, along with special guests Arne Fogel and Phil Mattson.
Parker Paisley @ Cafe Maude at Loring. 9pm (No Cover) This guitar/sax quartet has some serious chops. It’s led by Park Evans on guitar, and includes Brandon Wozniak, alto; Brian Wozniak, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. They put out a fine album last year, “Sartori for a Hungry Ghost.” It’s full of modern beats, as well as a nod or two to hard bop, and a lovely album closer that incorporates the traditional hymn “O Come Emmanuel.”
Chris Bates’ Red5 @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) The debut recording from Chris and his group was among the top CDs of the year, according to the Strib, and rightfully so. As a bassist, Bates is a first-call musician for many visiting artists. He excels as a composer and bandleader as well.
Sunday, January 13
Capri Big Band @ The Capri Theater, 2027 Broadway, 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 is a “make-up” concert, since the last one was overwhelmed by a blizzard.
Nathan Hanson Saxophone Choir @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Hanson is known as the adventurous, often free-playing sax player in the Fantastic Merlins. He’s premiering some new compositions, as well as some old ones and compositions by others, which he’s arranged for a saxophone choir of George Cartwright, Scott Fultz, Pat Moriarty, and Donald Washington – whew! They’ll be ably backed by Brian Roessler on bass and Pete Hennig on drums.
Tuesday, January 15
Latin Jazz All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) Steve Turre, Nestor Torres, and Pete Escovedo head up this rhythmic extravaganza. Turre plays trombone and conch shells (yes, conch shells), and is a veteran of the Saturday Night Live band, as well as a number of jazz and latin bands. He’s been at the Dakota before. Nestor Torres on flute can play classical, jazz, and latin, while Pete Escovedo is a legendary percussionist whose playing also crossing multiple genres, and had patrons dancing in the aisles last time he was at The Dakota. Their collective experience includes work with Prince, Ray Charles, Carlos Santana, and Dizzy Gillespie, among others. Sure to be an exciting evening of pulse-pounding music.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, January 9
World Music Showcase @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Here’s a show that really highlights the depth of talent we have in this area, as all the groups in the line-up are from here, though the music will take you to far-flung places. Ticket to Brasil will perform acoustic sambas and bossa, as well as Afro-Brazilian fusion; Kim Sueoka & Lau Hawaiian Collective will perform traditional Hawaiian music, and the Robert Everest Expedition will explore American Jazz, Cuban Son, Italian folk, and West African music. You don’t need a passport, just your imagination.
Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold @ KFAI & 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip jar) Jeff is an extraordinary guitar player. Hurricane Harold is one of the leading lights of harp playing in the area. Together they’ll stomp the blues, and throw in a tune by Dylan or the Dead for good measure. Catch ’em on the radio and then see them in person.
Martha Reeves & the Vandellas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65/$50), 9pm ($45/$40) For a few years there in the 60s you couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing the stellar voice of Ms Reeves, belting out songs like So Many Memories, Dancing in the Street, Heatwave, and Quicksand, among others, charting 24 R&B hits in all. They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Now Ms Reeves tours with her sisters as the Vandellas, and judging by their show last year, there’s still plenty of fire in her pipes.
Friday, January 11
North Country Bandits, Julie Johnson & the No-Accounts, and the Jason Dixon Line @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 10pm (No cover) It’s a night of country/folk/rock with a twist. The Bandits play a little blues, a little country & western, and a bit of Southern rock n’ roll. Julie Johnson plays original North country folk music on a flute, with the help of Drew Druckery and Doug Otto. Jason Dixon has a two guitar line-up, ala the Allmans, and are ready to rock out.
Saturday, January 12
Eclectic Electric Series @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Deep Blues, punk blues, whatever you call it, you’ll find it at Patrick’s as Kent Burnside & the New Generation are joined by Poverty Hash, Mississippi Hill Stomp, and Carnival blues. Burnside is the grandson of the late Hill Country blues stomper RL Burnside. Poverty Hash started in Connecticut, but has transferred here to the Twin Cities where they’ve recruited a couple of rockers. Can’t say much about Mississippi Hill Stomp or Carnival Blues, but nevertheless it should be a stomping, shouting night. Here’s a video of Kent Burnside:
Sunday, January 13
Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm. (No cover) Here’s a way to while away a January afternoon. Soul singer extraordinaire Walker doesn’t go in for over-the-top vocalizing. His is a more nuanced approach, though he can worry a note when he is so inclined. You can read about him here.
Tuesday, January 15
Jack Brass Band @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Haven’t seen much of these guys since their regular gig at the Driftwood stopped, but now I’m happy to report they may have a place to play on a semi-regular basis. Come to downtown Saint Paul to hear their uplifiting versions of brass band standards, as well as Motown and New Jack Swing done brass band style, not to mention a couple of other surprises in their repertoire.