I’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 ($15) Though area native and celebrated pianist Carrothers now lives in Michigan, he’s been making some regular forays to the AQ, and we’re the luckier for that. Critics describe his playing with terms like romantic, melancholic, warm, wistful, seductive, and sensuous. His carefully chosen notes shimmer and sparkle, and his partners in the trio – Billy Peterson on bass; and Kenny Horst on drums, are both inspired and inspiring. Here he is playing solo.
Tuesday, May 7
Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) This monthly gig is a case study in how well musicians can communicate with each other. Magraw on guitar and Seru on percussion create music that fills the room, your brain, and your heart.
Roots, Blues, Other..
Wednesday, May 1
Joe & Vicki Price, w/Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm. (tip jar) Here’s a double bill that will have the walls shakin’ at the 331 Club. Joe & Vicki are an Iowa couple whose originals often sound like they were penned by a Mississippi bluesman. Jeff Ray & the Stakes, w/Hurricane Harold on harp, take established songs from a variety of sources, and make them into stompin’ blues. BTW, Joe & Vicki will be on KFAI’s Harold’s House Party, 90.3FM and 106.7FM, during the 5pm hour.
Friday, May 3
Lady J. Griot & the Root Doctors @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Lady J is Jacquie Maddix, of KFAI’s Rollin’ & Tumblin’ on Tuesday afternoons. She and the Root Doctors lay out the story of the blues. Lady J uses the lyrics of classic blues to reveal the ancient form of spiritual worship practiced by African slaves on Southern plantations.
High and Mighty @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) 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.’