A couple of renowned hometown heros – jazz pianist Craig Taborn and alt-country artists Gary Louris – are gracing our stages this week. We’ve also got the first real promise of 70 degree weather for the weekend, so you can celebrate by going out and about. The Saint Paul Art Crawl is also this weekend, so you can immerse yourself in both visual and performing arts. Have a good week.
Wednesday, April 24
Firebell @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 (donation) Park Evans, guitar, Graydon Peterson, bass,a nd Jay Epstein, drums, create swinging, 21st Century jazz.
Miguel Hurtado & Friends @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Hurtado is a talented young drummer who’s been playing around town since he was a teen, and more recently, since graduating from the Manhattan School of Music. He’s played with Jeremy Walker in Boot Camp, and has appeared with Davina & the Vagabonds, John Raymond, and other verteran and up and coming artists. Tonight he leads his own ensemble in jazz standards and more.
Thursday, April 25
Improvestra @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Large ensemble improvisation from a group that includes some Black Dog regulars, as well as MacNally Smith students, facult, alumni, and a few exceptional high school students.
Rhonda Laurie & Robert Bell @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) One voice. One guitar. Bell’s guitar playing is a perfect match for the softly swinging Ms Laurie.
Friday, April 26
The African Jazz Trio, featuring the Akou Brothers @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Guitarst Lobe Akou and bassist Serge Akou bring together African rhythms and jazz sensibility. Lobe’s highly melodic guitar playing is pushed along by the polyrhythms of Serge’s bass and Kevin Washington’s drums, for an exciting fusion of sounds.
Craig Taborn @ the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) This is a show that has the jazz community abuzz. After growing up in Golden Valley, where he was quickly recognized for his skill and imagination at the piano, Taborn has been garnering much well-deserved attention and high profile gigs in New York. He’ll be doing a solo turn with music from his 2011 album Avenging Angel, and will also perform with his trio – Gerald Clever, drums; Thomas Morgan, bass. Junk Magic – another of Dave King’s groups – will also perform. Here’s a video of his incredible solo playing.
Saturday, April 27
JazzMN Orchestra with Eric Marienthal @ Hopkins HS Center for Performing Arts, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($29, $33, $10 – student rush) Grammy winner Marienthal has 13 albums as a leader, and countless others as a sideman, including a number with Chick Corea’s Elektric Band, and work supporting Ramsey Lewis, BB King, Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, and others. The JazzMN Orchestra is always a delight.
Insurgent @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Extended improvisations from Pat Moriarty, alto sax; Ellen Lease, piano; and Phil Hey, drums. These three musicians have been plying the high-wire act of free improvisation for many, many years. Their resulting ability to anticipate and respond to each other is as equally responsible for the brilliance of their music as their talents. Here’s a video from their performance at Studio Z a few years back.
Sunday, April 28
Jazz Noir: Charles & Avon @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 5pm and 8pm. The 8pm performance will be broadcast and streamed on KBEM. This is a radio drama that takes place during the 20s in the Rondo neighborhood. Music is written by George Maurer, and will be played by Maurer, piano; Soloman Parham, trumpet; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, percussion and banjo. More information and tickets are available here.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Friday, April 26
Lamont Cranston @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) Here’s a way to get an early start on your weekend blues. Pay Hayes and the guys have been around for oh, so long, inspiring the Blues Brothers, opening for Bonnie Raitt, etc., etc., and put out a new CD last fall. Boogie Woogie, Chicago Blues, it’s all music that will make you move.
The Henchmen @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm Mike Goldberg (Captain Mike & Other bands) has come up with another power pop group. If you love ringing guitars, clever wordsmithing, and three part harmonies, you will want to check out this group.
Charles Lawson’s Group @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($? – maybe a Tip Jar) Charles Lawson serves as guitarist/ringleader of this collection of ace blues artists from the Twin Cities. John Franken and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; Loren Dwyer, bass; Curtis Blake, harp; Max Ray, sax; Greg Chuck, drums.
Saturday, April 27
Sol Bock Revival @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 2pm – 9pm. With the weekend forecast calling for the 70s, the warehouse/stage door of Harriet Brewing will be opening, allowing people to taste a new brew while listening to music. Things get started at 2pm with singer/songwriter Dan Israel. Frogleg, a improvisation rock band, hits the stage at 3:30. Ace guitarist and country singer Erik Koskinen follows at 5:30, with the Galactic Cowboy Orchestra closing things off at 8pm.
Ray Bonneville @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bonneville had the most played song among folk deejays in 2009 (I Am the Big Easy), and won the solo turn at the 2012 International Blues Challenge. With a smoky voice, haunting harp, and greasy guitar, the Red House Records artist pulls you into his songs. The under appreciated Jon Rodine opens. Here’s a video.
Mega Release Party @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm The joint will be rockin’ with the sounds of vixen rockabillys L’Assasins, glam-punk Pink Mink, the snarling guitars of the Sex Rays, and the rockin’ Pinsch as they all celebrate releases of either singles, an ep, or a vinyl album. Extra added attraction: Lady Heat deejays will keep things rockin’ between sets.
Sunday, April 28
Road to Memphis Challenge @ O’Gara’s, Saint Paul. 12:30pm ($10 Donation) It’s time to choose Minnesota representatives to the 2014 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. The Minnesota Blues Society has gathered 10 bands and 5 solo/duo acts to play on two stages. A panel of judges will choose the winners to represent Minnesota. More information and a list of participating performers can be found here.
Monday, April 29
Roots Night @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 6:30pm. (Tip Jar) Actually most nights at the 331 feature roots music, but this evening has 3 extraordinary groups. Doug Otto & the Getaways start things off at 6:30, followed by the Roe Family Singers at 9pm and Hillfolk Noir, with Charlie Parr at 10:30.
Monday, Tuesday, April 29, 30
Gary Louris @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) This is a last-minute booking. Louris is a home-grown star of alt-country, known for his work with the seminal Jayhawks. He’s got a worldwide audience, but for two nights he’s playing in his home town. You may want to act fast to make reservations.