Not 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
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.
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
Trio 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.