Music for an Icy Spring: 3.20 – 3.26

images-2It’s been a busy day and a busy week, and like many of you I’m gobsmacked by having single digit weather on the first day of Spring. But… Hope is eternal, and Spring will arrive eventually, though not soon enough for most of us. Nevertheless, put on those heavy coats and get out to hear some great music this week.


Wednesday, March 20

Pete Whitman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  (Donation) Master saxophonist Whitman is combining forces with Chris Olson, guitar; Bruce Heine, bass, and Dave Schmalenberger, drums to perform original compositions by Whitman and Olson.

You don't have to dance like Fred & Ginger, just enjoy yourself.

You don’t have to dance like Fred & Ginger, just enjoy yourself.

Sister Swing @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($7/$5 students & seniors)  Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie are two singers about town who have an affinity for swing music, so they’re combining forces and performing at the Eagles, a place with a dance floor just perfect for any kind of dancing you want to do. Even if you don’t dance, it’s still a great place to visit with friends old and new while listening to some sweet harmonies and solo pieces. Backing them are Kent Saunders, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; Doug Haining, sax.

Brian Courage Quartet @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Brian is a relatively new bassist in town, and has already managed to corral Park Evans, guitar; Bryan Nichols, pianol; and Jay Epstein, drums into playing music by Thelonious Monk and Paul Motian. Sounds like a very interesting evening.

Thursday, March 21

Phil Mattson Singers with Richie Cole @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) This should be quite the musical experience. Cole, the bebop alto player, could headline all by himself. This pairing, in which Cole is a guest playing with the Singers, makes sense in that Cole often played with Eddie Jefferson, one of the progenitors of vocalese, as well as with the Manhattan Transfer. Then there’s the fact that Cole and Mattson have worked together over the years since 1979.

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) The Barbette’s late night happy hour is a good reason to visit. A great reason to visit is pianist/trumpeter/composer Jon Pemberton, who creates some mighty fine music, whether composing or improvising. This video gives you a taste of his talent, even though he’ll be using a keyboard at Barbette.

Friday, Saturday, March 22, 23

images-4Atlantis Quartet @ Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Their last album, Lines in the Sand, was recorded at the AQ, so it’s always a bit of a homecoming when the Atlantis Quartet perform there. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums, are all talented improvisers and completely in communication with each other, which makes for thrilling playing, and accounts for their growing fan base.

Sunday, March 24

Nova Jazz Orchestra @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($10) The 19 piece big band will be premiering WA Matheiu’s six-movement suite, Concerto for Big Band. Matheiu wrote and arranged for Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, and others. Mathieu previously collaborated with Nova on the CD “Double Feature,” featuring 14 previously unrecorded orginals by Matheiu.

Tuesday, March 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Meckler is turning into a terrific composer as well as trumpet player. He’s assembled seventeen musicians to play his creations. Check them out.

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, March 20

Paul Geremia on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 – tip jar) If you didn’t get to see him at the Bayport BBQ this past week, you still have a chance to both hear and see him today.

Thursday, March 21

DownloadedFile-2Ronnie Baker Brooks @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm. Brooks is the son of Lonnie Brooks, and like his dad in the past, brings a contemporary Chicago Blues. After playing with his dad for twelve years, RBB, as he’s known, struck out on his own with the award-winning “Golddigger” in 1998. Whether adding some funky beats to a song, or a blistering solo on a blues-rock number, RBB will excite a crowd.

Friday, March 22

Blues Harmonica Blowout @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Wouldn’t be surprised to see a number of the area’s harp men turning out to see Mark Hummel, Corky Siegel, and Billy Boy Arnold play in this harp extravaganza. West coaster Hummel started up this series in 1991 and has drawn a who’s who of the mouth organ to play each year. Corky Siegel earned a fierce reputation as a member of the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band in the 70s. Billy Boy Arnold got his start helping Bo Diddley define his signature sound by playing on “I’m A Man.” Arnold had his own good sized hit with “I Wish You Would.”

Saturday, March 23

Big George Jackson @ Holihan’s, White Bear Lake. 7pm. Jackson has the deepest blues voice in town, and he knows how to use it, whether he’s giving an extra kick to a John Lee Hooker-like boogie or getting low down. Always has sterling players with him as well.

The Duchess of the blues

The Duchess of the blues

Dee Miller Band w/Jimi Prime Time Smith @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) The cozy, boozy space at Shaw’s will reverberate to the sound of Dee Miller’s vocals accompanied by  Prime Time Smith’s guitar playing. Dee follows in a long tradition of take-no-bull women who sing, growl, and have their way with the blues.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, March 26, 27, 28

Nanci Griffith @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60/$50) Grammy-winning Texan native Griffith is a literate folk/country singer who can tell a satisfying story within a three or four minute song. Whether they are stories about families, loves, or economic conditions, her insightfulness rings true. Here she is singing one of her classic tales of lifelong love.

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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