Well 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
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
Patty 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.
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
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;