Monday 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
Jane 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.
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
Illicit 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.
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: http://coolbreezememorial.com/
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
Don 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.