Music Matters: 5.29 – 6.4

May 29, 2013

imagesNot many visiting artists in this week’s preview. But then, many of our resident artists are visiting artists elsewhere, known throughout the country, and even internationally. We have a deep pool of talent in this region. It has often been said that music creates community, and that it can move and uplift our souls. I hope that is true for you. Have a good week.


Wednesday, May 29

The cover of Maud's new CD.

The cover of Maud’s new CD.

Maud Hixson CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Hixson is a singer with a voice that is cool, but certainly not detached, and inviting, but proper. Her new album, Don’t Let A Good Thing Get Away, is full of tunes composed by Mickey Leonard, best known for ‘I’m All Smiles” and “Why Did I Choose You.” Leonard, who is still working, has partnered with a number of lyricists over the course of his life to create little gems of melody and storytelling, including a couple that haven’t been recorded before this venture. You can hear my phone interview with Maud, as well as a couple of tunes from the album, in the archive for my show on May 25. The interview starts at about 15 minutes into the program.

Phil Mattson Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Pianist Mattson is a choral music maestro, arranger, and conductor who has arranged for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and others. He has been a busy guy since locating to the area, what with teaching at MacPhail, leading the Phil Mattson Singers, recording with Dorothy Doring, and accompanying a number of Twin Cities singers. Tonight he brings a new project to the fore, with a team of veteran players including Dale Mendenhall on sax; Tom Lewis on bass; and Nathan Norman on drums. They’ll be playing old and new standards.

Thursday, May 30

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Ten musicians, young, old, male and female, professionals all, playing bracing music, much of it written especially for the group by its members.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 31, June 1, June 2

Happy Apple @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm, Fri, Sat; 8pm Sun. ($15) Count this trio among the coterie of relatively young artists from the area who group up with rock n’ roll, then discovered Coltrane, Mingus, and Ornette Coleman, among others. Dave King, drums; Mike Lewis, sax; and Eric Fratzke, electric bass; play with intensity, originality, and power, yet they can caress a ballad as well. They’ve been playing together since 1996, have an international following, and have received raves in the New York Times.  Here they are, playing at Lawrence University last year.

Friday, May 31

Irv Williams & Peter Schimke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (free) Start your weekend with some lovely music from 93 year old saxophonist Williams, and his piano partner Schimke, who is decades younger.

Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) After giving birth to a baby boy, Miller is back singing, giving out sass where sass is due.

Kevin Washington Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($5) With teachers like Max Roach and Roy Brooks, and travels to Latin countries to learn their rhythms, Washington is a drummer to be reckoned with. He teaches at McNally Smith and Walker West Academy, and plays with Nachito Herrera and Bruce Henry. I’m not sure who he’ll have with him, but given the quality of past shows and performances, this show is an excellent way to end an evening.

Monday, June 3

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Let’s hope the weather finally clears up for this outdoor concert by an 17 piece band. Meckler is a trumpet-player about town who has been arranging his own compositions (mostly) for this young big band. The band may be a traditionally sized big band, but Meckler’s orchestrations are influenced by modern composers such as Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmyer. Bring your brown bag lunch or get something from a nearby food truck and enjoy the big sounds of this band.

Will Kjeer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Will is still in high school, yet he’s a giant talent on the piano, as he has shown when performing with the Dakota Combo. At their annual concert, Will took a Chick Corea tune and created an imaginative arrangement for the 8 piece band. He’ll be joined by the Jazz Central stalwarts tonight.  Even if you aren’t planning on attending tonight, check out this video of the Dakota Combo playing Will’s arrangement. Will has a fine solo starting at about 4:30 minutes.

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, May 19

Andra Suchy & Spare Change on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm hour (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Red House recording artist Andra Suchy is an Americana/Twang/folk singer/songwriter. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion and on recordings with artists ranging from mandolinist Peter Ostroushko to blues rocker Jonny Lang.

Thursday, May 30

Unknown-1Trio Bossa Nova & Friends @ The Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (tip jar) An evening of Bossa Novas and Sambas with Brazilian artists Joyce Perez, Natania Kamin, and Josue Alfaro. They’ll be joined by guitarist Pavel Jany and bassist Dan Weston.

Scottie Miller Band @ Washington Square Bar & Grill, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No cover) Pianist Miller was touring as a member of Bo Diddley’s band when he met popular singer/songwriter Ruthie Foster, with whom he now regularly tours. He’s got his own band and his own recordings, on which he exhibits his Professor Longhair-meets-Bruce Springsteen style of playing. Here’s a chance to see him in an intimate setting.

Saturday, June 1

Rum Cullies Brunch @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11AM – 1PM (No Cover) Here’s a trio of Twin Cities musicians playing old time string band music for your brunch. Matt Neil, fiddle, Liz Draper, bass, and Adam Kiesling, guitar play slow waltzes, fast fiddle tunes, and everything in between.

Lonesome Dan Case; Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Lonesome Dan); 4:30pm (Nikki) Lonesome Dan plays Guitar Rags, Hollers, and Blues, including originals that sound like they were written in the 1930s as well as knowing interpretations of songs from that time. Nikki & the Rue-Mates use the psychedelic sounds of the late 60s as inspiration for the folk-a-delic gems given life by Nikki’s crystaline voice.

Sunday, June 2

Mother Banjo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Bluegrass at the tony Dakota? Well, Yeah! Throw in a little gospel, a bunch of originals, and some folky tunes, and you’ve got Mother Banjo a group led by Ellen Stanley, who knows her way around a banjo.

Monday, June 3

Cactus Blossoms @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 6pm door, 7pm music ($5) The Blossoms play country music that’s as natural as it comes, that is, the kind of traditional C&W that you heard before Nashville started “countrypolitan” music and then moved to being mostly rock n’ roll with a steel guitar. Bring dancing shoes and a partner, or find a partner at the club.

Tuesday, June 4

Chris Mann @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($45 – $35) Mann was a finalist on the second season of The Voice, and his subsequent album, Roads, went to the top of both the pop and classical charts. He’s been on the Today Show, Jay Leno, Conan, and has had his own PBS Special. Here’s your chance to see him up close and personal.

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.

Music for Memorial Weekend and more: 5.22 – 5.28

May 22, 2013

Unknown-2Well I hope that any of you with friends and family in Oklahoma have good news from them. We’ve had our own share of tornadoes here in the Twin Cities, and can understand the chaos and destruction that ensues. That said, music has the ability to help bring us together and raise our spirits. We have Memorial Day weekend coming up, and if you aren’t having a backyard BBQ, you have some great opportunities to listen to some talented musicians.


Wednesday, May 22

Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A quintet in the classic Blue Note style, this young group plays originals and mines the works of Monk and Ellington. Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Shilad Sen, tenor; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums. Snap your fingers and dig em’.

Lulu’s Playground on Live @ Studio Five, KFAI (90.3 & 106.7FM) 10pm – Midnight. Listen to the “chamber jazz” of Lulu’s Playground: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Cory Grossman, cello; Steve Hobart, accordion; and Evan Montgomery, guitar. Sit back in your own easy chair, have a late night beverage of choice and listen to the engaging music from this seemingly odd combination of instruments.

Thursday, May 23

Photo: Andrea Canter

Vicky: Photo by Andrea Canter

Vicky Mountain @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Vicki has sung in all kind of bands, from pop 40 to big bands, and is mighty fine at scatting. She’s so fine at her craft that she teaches jazz and pop vocals at MacPhail. Tonight, Vicki is being backed by the Chris Lomheim Trio. Expect music that ranges from sublime to exciting.

Enormous Quartet @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Joey Van Phillips, drums. Another project featuring bassist about town Bates. His colleagues in this musical outing are equally talented and adventurous. You can get some idea of what they sound like here.

Friday, May 24

Todd Harper’s Birthday Bash @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5-ish to 7-ish. (tip jar) Pianist Harper has been a regular feature on Friday nights, to the delight of regulars. He is often joined by friends on bass and/or drums, as he is tonight, when he’s joined by Andrew Foreman on bass and Peter Leggett on drums to help him celebrate. Wish him a happy.

The Rite of Spring: Charlie Christenson Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) I missed vocalist/pianist Christenson when he played at the Minnesota Music Cafe during last year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He is one of a handful of vocal graduate students from Manhattan School of Music and has performed in many clubs in NYC, including Birdland and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Nowadays he heads up the vocal department at McNally Smith and occasionally performs. Past trios have included Adam Meckler on trumpet, though I don’t know who will be in this group. Deadbeat opens.

Friday, Saturday, May 24, 25

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) JT Bates, drums; Mike Lewis & Brandon Wozniak, saxes; James Buckley, bass. Pianist/composer Nichols played with Chicago heavyweights like Hamid Drake and Ernest Dawkins, and received a McKnight Fellowship in 2010. For this weekend, he’s gathered a cohort of talented players to perform his original music and arrangements. Here’s a video released when Bryan released his debut CD a couple of years ago. It features some music as well as comments from Bryan and his band-mates.

Saturday, May 25

Unknown-1Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($12) Once again, Patty brings her top notch band to the Dakota, this time adding Steve Cole, tenor (Dave Koz, Sax Pack); and Ricky Peterson, B3 (David Sanborn, Stevie Nicks, John Mayer). R&B flavored jazz just right for Saturday Night.

Tuesday, May 28

Tuesday Night Band (Slight Return) @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. ($5) Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B3; and Kenny Horst, drums. They provide the party. You just have to show up.

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, May 22

Paul Metsa & Willie Walker on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. Singer, guitarist, songwriter, author, ranconteur. Paul Metsa is all of these, not to mention a perpetual seeker of musical experiences. During the last couple of years he’s been teaming up with soul man Willie Walker to provide intimate soul and blues. Here them on the House Party (90.3 & 106.7FM, which I’ll be hosting, BTW) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head to the 331 Club where they’ll be playing from 7pm – 9pm. Here they are.


Hot Club of Cowtown @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Hopped-up Bob Wills and cooking hot jazz from a trio of performers who’ve appeared on Praire Home Companion, at the Grand Ol’ Oprey, and opening for Bob Dylan. Music that will have you bouncing in your seats.

Thursday, May 23

Rory Block @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Blues guitarist Block has been making forays to the Twin Cities every few years since the old days at Wilebski’s in the 80s. She is stunning on slide guitar, and gets under the skin of classic country blues and her own originals. As an added treat, Spider John Koerner opens.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5-$10) Get out those dancin’ shoes, cuz the two step and Cajun Swing will be the order of the evening at the Eagles Club.

Martin Devaney @ the 318 Club, Excelsior. 8pm ($6) The “mayor of st. paul” is an accomplished singer-songwriter who is working on his sixth album. Tonight he brings his singular voice to the west suburban cafe with an excellent choice of beers and wines.

Friday, May 24

Walter, Russell, and Joe

Walter, Russell, and Joe

Joe Krown Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) B3 Music from New Orleans. Guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington was featured on the cover of OffBeat Magazine for New Orlean’s Jazz Fest. He used to back Johnny Adams, but has been laying down soulful licks and vocals for many, many years. Russell Batiste Jr brings that distinctive New Orleans drumming to the mix, while “leader” Joe Krown served as the piano player for Clarence Gatemouth Brown for many years. They’ve got a weekly gig at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans, and have been called “A killer collaboration” by Jan Ramsey, editor of the aforementioned OffBeat.

Saturday, May 25

Big Sandy & His Fly-rite Boys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This crack California band plays American Roots Music, including Western Swing, rockabilly, and traditional country music. All of it only a back beat or two removed from rock n’ roll. Elmer & the Thunderjets open. Miss Shannon’s Dance Class at 8:45pm, so get there early and bring dancing shoes if you really want to get in the swing of things. Check out this video.

Sunday, May 26

Curtiss A: A Tribute to Hank Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The “Dean of Scream” got a five star review in rolling Stone for his debut album in the early 80s. He’s since cemented his place in the Twin Cities pantheon of rock n’ rollers with an annual John Lennon tribute and various bands. Tonight he’s tackling the music of country legend Hank Williams, who will either spin in his grave, or more likely, be applauding and laughing from the great beyond.

Monday, Tuesday, May 27, 28

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, 55, 45), 9pm ($60, $50, $35) Cap off Memorial Day weekend with the defining funk of bassist Larry Graham. He added “the bottom, so that dancers just won’t hide” to Sly & the Family Stone’s Dance to the Music, then several years later had a mega-hit on his own with One in a Million You. He has also served as a mentor and friend to Prince, and was in Prince’s band from 1997 – 2000. Prince will probably be in the audience, though no one knows if he’ll join Graham on stage, as he did in this video;

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.

Out and About. Music: 5.15 – 5.21

May 15, 2013

Unknown-2Monday we went from the mid-sixties at 11am to 98 degrees by 5pm. The temps will be moderating, but we finally have some pleasant weather. It’s just right for a memorial celebration tonight, as well as a birthday celebration, and Art-A-Whirl this weekend, which are a few of  the many opportunities to get out and about.


Wednesday, May 15

Michael O’Brien & Triage @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s about ten years since O’Brien went off to the Big Apple, where he’s been working steadily, even touring Europe. O’Brien recently recorded Tunes I Like To Play, which includes standards as well as three originals. On it, O’Brien shows his talent at bowing, improvisation, and laying a great foundation for the tunes.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 15, 16

imagesJane Monheit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) Monheit’s voice is an incredible instrument. Touted as the next big thing in jazz vocals when she started about 13years ago. In the years since, she has matured, married, had a child and generally gone past the hype to establish her own way. She just released her ninth album, a collection of standards and pop songs entitled “The Heart of the Matter” to warm reviews.

Thursday, May 16

Robert Bell & Emily Jane Davis @ Honey & Barbette, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Honey – $5), 10pm – 12:30am (Barbette – Free) You’ve two chances to hear guitarist Bell and vocalist Davis perform swing, bossa novas, & jazz standards. Pay a bit at the intimate and cozy Honey, if you want an early show, or go to Barbette to partake of an excellent happy hour as well as excellent music.

2012-1013 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

2012-1013 Dakota Combo.   Photo by Andrea Canter

The Dakota Combo @ Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 8pm. The Seventh edition of the Dakota Combo, an open-audition group of the area’s best high school musicians, will perform its last concert of the school year season. The octet, which includes vibes and violin, has been rehearsing and performing since last Fall under the direction of bassist Adam Linz, jazz coordinator at MacPhail. They’ve also participated in clinics with pianist Lynne Arriale, trumpeter Phil Grenadier, and percussionist Francisco Mela. Alumni of previous editions of the combo have gone on to schools like the Brubeck Institute, The Berklee School of Music, Julliard and other renowned music programs. Many are now completing studies and becoming professional musicians. This is the future of jazz.

Friday, Saturday, May 17,18

Phil Hey 60th Birthday Weekend @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The master of the trapset is the drummer of choice for many visiting musicians. He studied with the great Ed Blackwell, toured with Dewey Redman, is the drummer of choice for Stacy Kent, recorded with Von Freeman, as well as numerous Twin Cities artists, and leads a serious quartet that isn’t afraid to have fun. This is bound to be a high-energy performance. Here’s a video of the Phil Hey Quartet in a swinging, relaxed mode.

Saturday, May 18

Jana Nyberg Group @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jana and the gang have been doing some recording of late. Not sure if they’ll be playing any of those tunes, but it’s a bet you’ll hear her singing some well crafted versions of jazz standards, a pop song or two, and some originals.

Lila Ammons Jazz Quintet @ Honey, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9:30pm ($7) After a tour of Germany, Austria, Chicago and Texas with her trad jazz project, Ammons returns to the Twin Cities for some straight ahead jazz, with a band that includes Dean Brewington, sax; Tom West, keys; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums. I did an interview with Lila last year. Read it here.

Sunday, May 19

UnknownIllicit Sextet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($12/$10 UCJS members) This is part of the Twin Cities Jazz Society’s Jazz from A to Z series. The Illicit Sextet is a composing collective that was one of the area’s most popular ensembles in the late 80s and early 90s. After a 15 year sabbatical, they reunited in 2009 and started performing again. Tonight they’ll be performing music (as they always do) from their long-anticipated second album, Chapter Eleven. Members of the group include Steve Kenny, trumpet; Paul Harper, sax; Tom Pieper, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; David Roos, guitar; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Monday, May 20

Nate Shaw, Chris Bates, & JT @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7?) The Bates brothers reunite with the keyboard player from their old band Motion Poets.

Tuesday, May 21

Charles Lazarus Quartet w/ Connie Evingson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) It’s a night of Summer Samba from trumpeter Lazarus and Ms Evingson. Lazarus has a background in classical and jazz idioms, and has performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival and has performed with the New York Big Brass, the London Brass, and the Montreal Symphony and has been a soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra, The oregon Symphony, the Bach Society and others. Ms Evingson is a superb singer, and a long time favorite in the Twin Cities.

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, May 15

Celebration of Dave “Cool Breeze” Brown @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 suggested donation) Includes Bruce McCabe, Lynwood Slim, Mick Sterling,Everett Smitson, Jimi “Prime Time” Smith, and Tommy Burnevik and the Bees Knees Big Band. What a line-up. A blues fan could hardly ask for more. It’s a testament to the high regard in which the late guitarist for the Senders and other groups, Dave “Cool Breeze” Brown, was held. More information can be found at:

Thursday, May 16

Willie Murphy @ The Belmore Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Willie has taken up a residence at this relatively new place on 4th Street in downtown, near where Nate’s Clothing used to be. Expect the usual gaggle of folks sitting in. It’s always enjoyable to hang with Mr. Murphy.

Friday, Saturday, May 17, 18

Art-A-Whirl, NE Minneapolis.  It’s the annual studio crawl (or bus) in NE Minneapolis, and there will be music all around. Some examples: The 331 Club has music Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (schedule here).while Grumpy’s NE has music all day Saturday (schedule here). Flutist Julie Johnson, in the Thorp Building, will be hosting the art of Cheri Johnson and a reading by Marge Barrett, as well playing solo on Friday, starting about 6:30 (info).

Friday, May 17

Unknown-1Don Scott & Curtis Blake @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) If you didn’t catch them at the 331 Club Wednesday (7pm) you have another chance tonight. A lifetime or so ago, guitarist Don Scott headed up the DustBowl Blues Band. If he didn’t spend winters in Mexico (where I met him a few years ago) and New Orleans, we might know him better. Harpmaster Curtis Blake heads up Greezy Wheels, and has played with a number of area performers. Together, they recorded and released Sure Thing, a great sounding round-up of traditional blues and a new song or two. Hear an example of the duo’s prowess here.

Tom Robinson: Music from Brasil, Minnesota, & Elswhere @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm. ($?) Tom is a guitarist and aficianado of Brazilian music. He’ll give new (and truer) translations to some well-known songs, and with his band, can get folks dancing to jazz as well as sambas and bossa novas.

Saturday, May 18

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ Harriet Brewing Taproom, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) with Sarah Morris (7pm) Finally, the weather is just right for opening the warehouse doors at the Taproom and hanging out while listening to some great music. Larson’s songwriting is about heartbreak, but won’t cause you to want to drown in your beer, of which there is plenty at the Taproom. Midnord Empanadas will have a food truck available. Read more about the show here.

Sunday, May 19

Big George Jackson @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (No cover) Get your brunch, blues, n’ boogie on as Big George delivers his ferocious, low down vocals. Check out this video.

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.

May 8, 2013

imagesWe’ve got Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, and two celebrations of women in music – the rockin’ Girls Got Rhythm Fest, and Women in Jazz. Whether your Mom is a rocker, a balladeer, an improviser, or  all of those things at once, honor her. Lots of other good music as well. Have a good week!


Wednesday, May 8

Todd Clouser & Park Evans @ Cafe Maude, Minnepolis. 7pm (no cover) Two exciting guitarists get together. Expect some single note runs and imaginative solos with Hendrix-ian asides.

Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 pm (donation) Wednesday night at Jazz Central often features searching, experimental groups. Bassist Chris Bates, drummer Phil Hey, and vibist Dave Hagedorn are the Good Vibes Trio. They’ve been preparing a recording for release. You can expect original tunes as well as re-imagined standards.  Here they are doing Jump Monk.

Thursday, May 9

Raynor, Aaron, & Epstein @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Veterans all, Gary Raynor, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Jay Epstein, drums; each have a predilection for getting inside a melody, as well as taste and chops.

Friday May 10

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover)  Vicky will be joined by Chris Lomheim, piano and Brian Courage, bass. Classic jazz singing in a relaxed atmosphere.

Friday Saturday, May 10,11

Robyn's singing is even more wonderful than her hats.

Robyn’s singing is even more wonderful than her hats.

Robb Henry Trio w/Robyn Pluer @ Shanghai Bistro, Stillwater (Friday) and Loring Pasta Bar (6-9pm Saturday)  Guitarist Robb Henry no longer plays rock n’ roll, but hasn’t forgotten the Beatles and other melodic rockers of the 60s and 70s. These days he plays jazz standards, Django Rheinhardt songs, Mancini, and more. He’ll be joined by vocalist Robyn Pluer, the thrush who sang with the R&B Cadets and Paul Cebar’s Milwaukeeans so many years ago.

Jerry Weldon Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) Saxophinist Weldon toured the world with the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, then toured and recorded with Jack McDuff and his Heatin’ System, before joining Harry Connick Jr.’s big band. He swings and then some.  Here’s a video of him with an organ trio.


Saturday, May 11

Zacc Harris Group Tribute to Wes Montgomery @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Guitarist Harris will present a free workshop on Wes Montgomery at 5pm, followed by a performance at 7pm with Bryan Nichols, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jeremy Boettcher, bazz; and JT Bates, drums. Those who attend the workshop get a discount for the performance.

Nathan Hanson’s Birthday Jam @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30.  It’s a big one for the saxophonist, and he’s throwing a party with all the delights of the ‘Dog has to offer. He’s got some awesome friends coming by to help celebrate, including Brian Roessler, bass; Pete Hennig, drums, banjo; Erik Fratzke, guitar, bass; Peter Leggett, drums; Marc Anderson and Davu Seru; percussion; and George Cartwright, sax. As an added attraction there will be an art performance by Ta-Coumba Aiken and Lara Hanson.

DownloadedFile-1Laura Caviani: From Bach to Bop @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 8pm ($24)  Before she became a stellar jazz pianist Laura Caviani was classically trained. She has taken a number of classical pieces and arranged them for a jazz ensemble that includes Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Adam Meckler, trumpet & fluegelhorn; Dave Milne, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Included are works by Schumann, Chopin, Bach, Stravinsky and a couple of others. Should be a rewarding evening, full of surprises.

Sunday, May 12

WIJ-pipjazz-sundaysPipJazz Celebrates Women in Jazz @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm.  ($20, $5/Students) This kind of celebration is a natural for Pippi Ardennia, the warm, inviting singer who produces a monthly show at the Landmark. Today, she is bringing some of the finest female artists in the Twin Cities to the stage, including Patty Peterson, Debbie Duncan, and 13-year old Emily Albert-Stauning on vocals, Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass; Sheila Earley, drums; Kari Musi, sax; and Zosha Warpeha, the high school senior who has been a regular part of the PipJazz band for the last year, on violin. Sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate Mother’s Day.

Sunday, Monday, May 12, 13

Fourplay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) Billed as a supergroup when they first got together in 1990, Bob James, keys; Nathan East, bass; vocals; Harvey Mason, drums; and Lee Ritenour guitar, went platinum with their first album and gold with the next two. They continue to churn out head bobbin’ pop jazz albums with regularity, and with Chuck Loeb now in the guitarists’ seat, show no signs of letting up.

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, May 8

Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. (Tip jar) Tune in to KFAI (90.3 & 106.7) at 5pm to hear Jimmi & the guys live, then head over to the 331 Club to hear their blues, soul, and R&B.

Thursday, May 9

Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Americana, that is rootsy country, blues, and rock n’ roll from a band that includes Bernie King, guitar & vocals; John Kurtis, lead guitar, mandolin, & vocals; Julie King, washboard & percussion and Matt Smith, bass.

Friday, May 10

Paul Cebar @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) Paul’s been at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, no doubt getting more inspiration for songs. In actuality, he’s been able to write memorable, danceable songs for years now, with the result that he often brings out hundreds of followers. The commodious dance floor at Wilebski’s is just right for an early evening of shakin’ it to Paul and his cohorts.

Funk Night @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (No cover) A couple of newer bands that delve into funky stuff. Nature of Waves is a quartet of Twin Citizen veteran musicians from backgrounds as diverse as Johnny Holm and Cloud Cult. The Premiums continue at 9:30. The quartet moved to the Twin Cities from Wisconsin in 2011 and have been delivering deep funk, with spacey, dub-inflected echoes.

Cherie Currie. Chainsaw-wielding women can surely rock.

Cherie Currie. Women with chainsaws rock!

Friday, Saturday, May 10, 11

Girls Got Rhythm Fest @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm doors Friday, 7pm doors Saturday. ($20/day or $35 weekend pass) Downtown Saint Paul will be rockin’ with the sounds of female-driven raucous rock n’ roll, be it power pop, punk, or beyond a label. Headliners are The Avengers on Friday, and Cherrie Currie, an original member of the famed Runaways, on Saturday.

Saturday, May 11

Al Haug Memorial @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 2pm. (Free) Haug was a well-loved West Bank community activist, former KFAI Radio Host, musician, and jug band aficionado who also booked the Coffeehouse Extempore and the New Riverside Cafe for over 20 years. His dry sense of humor, and lifetime of building community on the West Band will be celebrated by a plethora of musicians and friends, including Pop Wagner, Cooker John, Phil Heywood, Willie Murphy, Dakota Dave Hull, the Awkward Sorrows, Spider John Koerner, and Al’s band – the Fat Chance Jug Band. Bring some tissues as stories are told and songs are sung.

Taylor Robert CD Release Party @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm. (No Cover) Taylor Robert has changed his stage name from Tayor Baggott. He’s also changed his approach a bit, returning to the highly soulful, positive, and somewhat funky music that brought him attention. He’s got a new EP with memorable melodies and a danceable, yet soulful “single” called The Sound of Your Voice.  Speaking of which, listen to it.

The Pines @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) With highly positive reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone, AllMusic, CBS, and Vintage Guitar magazine, the Pines are rising stars in the folk/country/blues/roots firmament.

483605_156421571191117_527281961_nMonday, May 13

Ana & The Beltones @ Sea Salt Eatery, Minneapolis. 5pm – 8pm (Free) Here’s a way to ease the shock of starting a work week. After work, weather permitting, head over to Minnehaha Falls Park, order some food & drink, and take an outside table to hear the sprightly Cajun music of Ana on accordion and the rest of her group.

Tuesday, May 14

Still mischievous after all these years.

Still mischievous after all these years.

David Lindley @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:20pm ($20 advance/$25 at door) Even in an industry that often celebrates eccentrics, the word zany keeps popping up in discussions of Lindley, along with string wizardry and various ways of saying global music explorer. He’s been making music for decades, and first came to the public’s attention as a sideman on Jackson Browne’s For Everyman album, and since has recorded with scores of artists, including Warren Zevon, Ry Cooder, and Bob Dylan. Tom Feldmann will play country blues and gospel to open. The Cedar has videos here.

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.

Music: 5.1 – 5.7

May 1, 2013

images-3I’ve been to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival more than a dozen times since 1980, and as it has gotten larger over the years, and as I’ve gotten older, I cannot help but appreciate the many opportunities we have to see musicians (including many who perform at that festival) in small venues. This week we have some world, Americana, blues and jazz from area musicians, as well as visits from a singular jazz guitarist, a piano player who creates beautiful improvisations, and an up-and-coming soul singer (who btw, was in New Orleans this past weekend). Have a good week.


Wednesday, May 1

Body Omara @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Take Desert Blues from Africa. Add a proclivity for improvisation and a knowledge of jazz, and you’ve got a trio that moves the body, mind, and heart. Add in the excellent food and cocktails at Cafe Maude, and you’ll end up with a fun evening.

Boot Camp @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9m ($5) After the successful premier of 7 Psalms, pianist Jeremy Walker’s work for jazz quartet, choir and solo voice, he returns to Saint Paul’s jazz club with his quartet, including Brandon Wozniak, alto; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 1,2

Bill Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers @ The Dakota, Minneapoils. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($35) Frisell is an exemplary jazz guitarist with a unique sound. His often meditative, but never sleepy, approach easily crosses genres, and you might hear him playing country melodies as well haunting takes on soul numbers. He’s played with a wide range of artists, from Ginger Baker to Suzanne Vega to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, seamlessly weaving his singular style into the proceedings. These two nights promise to be evenings of superb sonic explorations, as he is joined by Eyvind Kang on viola and Rudy Royston on drums. Here they are doing an old blues tune.

Thursday, May 2

John Devine & Friends @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover)  Hard to know just who will show up to play with John. Doesn’t matter. His saxophone playing and creativity will bring it all together.

Joe Strachan Senior Recital @ Ferguson Hall, Rm 225, UofM, Minneapolis. 7pm. Joe is a piano player who was with the Dakota Combo a few years ago and has been studying at the U. During the last year especially, he’s been playing out and about and is showing that he’s learned his lessons well. He’ll be accompanied by a quartet and be performing music by Henry Threadgill, Billy Strayhorn, Tim Berne, and his own compositions.

Connie Evingson & Phil Mattson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Connie is simply an outstanding jazz singer, known throughout the nation. Phil has created arrangements for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and others, and has accompanied artists ranging from Mark Murphy and Bobby McFerrin to Barbara Morrison and Richie Cole. They’ll be joined by bassist Joan Griffith, a talent in her own right, to perform songs from Connie’s latest CD, Sweet Happy Life.

Friday, Saturday, May 3, 4

Bill Carrothers After Hours Trio @ The Artist’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Though area native and celebrated pianist Carrothers now lives in Michigan, he’s been making some regular forays to the AQ, and we’re the luckier for that. Critics describe his playing with terms like romantic, melancholic, warm, wistful, seductive, and sensuous. His carefully chosen notes shimmer and sparkle, and his partners in the trio – Billy Peterson on bass; and Kenny Horst on drums, are both inspired and inspiring. Here he is playing solo.

Tuesday, May 7

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) This monthly gig is a case study in how well musicians can communicate with each other. Magraw on guitar and Seru on percussion create music that fills the room, your brain, and your heart.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other..

Wednesday, May 1

Joe & Vicki Price, w/Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm. (tip jar) Here’s a double bill that will have the walls shakin’ at the 331 Club. Joe & Vicki are an Iowa couple whose originals often sound like they were penned by a Mississippi bluesman. Jeff Ray & the Stakes, w/Hurricane Harold on harp, take established songs from a variety of sources, and make them into stompin’ blues.  BTW, Joe & Vicki will be on KFAI’s Harold’s House Party, 90.3FM and 106.7FM, during the 5pm hour.

Friday, May 3

Lady J. Griot & the Root Doctors @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Lady J is Jacquie Maddix, of KFAI’s Rollin’ & Tumblin’ on Tuesday afternoons. She and the Root Doctors lay out the story of the blues. Lady J uses the lyrics of classic blues to reveal the ancient form of spiritual worship practiced by African slaves on Southern plantations.

High and Mighty @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) A nine piece rhythm and blues band, playing music that ranges from Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, through Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang, to Mayer Hawthorne and Justin Timberlake. In other words, get out your dancing shoes and take advantage of the large dance floor at MMC.

The Ericksons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Haunting, spare melodies, insightful lyrics, and sisterly harmonies abound in this Americana/roots group.

Friday, Saturday, May 3,4

Secret Stash Soul Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) If you haven’t seen this act yet, and love R&B music, you owe it to yourself. Secret Stash is a local label that specializes in new releases of old vinyl, especially from other countries. Last year, however, they released the Twin Cities Funk N’ Soul, a compilation mining the sounds of the 60s and 70s. The album, and resulting revue featuring some of its artists, were highly acclaimed. Tonight, they’re bringing Sonny Knight, Maurice Jacox, and the Valdons to the stage, along with Chastity Brown, who will add her soulful voice to the mix.

Saturday, May 4

ANCIA Saxophone Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10/$5-advance) A concert of contemporary music from Philip Glass (Concerto for Saxophone Quartet – 1995), Fred Sturm (Picasso Cubed, from 2003 — his abstract recasting of Coleman Hawkin’s improvisations) and others. For more info, click here.

Malamanya @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. ($8) It’s Cuatro de Mayo, or another reason to dance to the invigorating, infectious, Cuban sounds of Malamanya. The Deejays of Radio Pocho from KFAI will be on hand to help keep your dancing shoes slipping and sliding during breaks. Speaking of KFAI, here’s Malamanya live in the studio at KFAI.

Tuesday, May 7

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) The “Screamin’ Eagle,” as he is known, was working as a James Brown impersonator in Brooklyn clubs when he was discovered by the folks at Daptone Records. His initial album, No Time For Dreaming, ended up on a lot of best-of lists, and when he played at the Fine Line last year, he tore the place up. Though many of his songs are of medium or slow tempos, his pure emotion will have the Cedar shakin.’

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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