Well, this Saturday is shaping up to be one of the best of the summer, with an abundance of music offerings. We’ve a Roots Festival in Saint Paul, the Dakota Street Fest in Minneapolis, and dozens of other performances in jazz, blues, and roots, only a few of which I’ve listed. It’s what we wait for throughout the winter, and then we end up with making difficult choices, or mapping out a day of travel between events. We are lucky to have such a cornucopia of talent in our midst.
Wednesday, July 24
Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Now into his ninth decade of performing, Karr plays the saxophone with beauty and grace, even when playing a bracing bebop number.
Thursday, July 25
Jeremy Walker Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Ted Nash, David Berkman, Anthony Cox, & guests from the MN Opera come together to help raise funds for pianist/composer Jeremy Walker (Nownet!, Boot Camp, Small City Trio), who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease after years of suffering. Nash and Berkman will be playing with Boot Camp, and Cox will be playing with his own band, Happy Spirits.
Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra w/Charmin Michelle @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 7:15pm – 10pm. (Free) The Ordway Summer Dance series continues, with lessons on ballroom dancing followed by big band sounds, and thrush Charmin Michelle.
Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) If you’re looking for more great music after the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, or maybe want a cool dark spot to listen, mosey over to the AQ, where Pete Whitman gathers nine terrific musicians to play energetic jazz.
Friday, Saturday, July 26, 27
Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Quite the lineup, one that could easily headline a high-profile NY club. Besides Lea (traps and conga), who in his forty years of experience has worked with folks ranging from Pharoah Sanders to Van Morrison, he’ll have Anthony Cox, bass; Richard Johnson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.
Saturday, July 27
Dorothy Doring @ Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Doring is a personable, versatile, and charming vocalist who knows her way around jazz and blues. Her recent recording of tunes by Ellington & Strayhorn received much critical praise. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Lincoln Berry on organ, and Donald Thomas on drums. Live music on the deck overlooking the lake. Sounds like an ideal summer evening.
Eric Kamau Gravatt Drum Clinic and The Cockeyed Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30 clinic ($15) 7;30 concert ($15, $20 for clinic & concert) Famed drummer Gravatt will give a clinic on drum patterns, and some of the history of drumming. Afterwards, he’ll join Gregg Inhofer and the Cock-eyed band for a performance. There will also be music from The Electric String Quartet, an ambient pop group, and poetry from Neil Hilborn, plus free food and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer and wine will be available for sale as well.
Sunday, Monday, July 28, 29
Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ruffins is a terrific trumpet player who perfectly encapsulates much of what is loved about New Orleans music. Aside from his technical bona fides, he projects soulfulness, joyfulness, and playfulness in his performances, mixing the traditional with new, and keeping the spirit of Louis Armstrong alive. Plus, he actually cooks Barbeque when performing in N’Awlins. With the end of the series Treme, he’s returned to touring.
Tuesday, July 30
Dick & Jane’s Brass Band @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Lake & 35th Ave. This new neighborhood bar and restaurant is starting to feature music a few nights a week and is looking to make Tuesdays a New Orleans night, starting with Dick & Jane’s Brass Band. With the bar’s selection of craft beer, and its homemade, unique takes on burgers and other bar food, this could be a very fun evening.
Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler has been on a tear lately, writing and arranging modern compositions for his 18 piece band. After spending almost a year doing shows at Jazz Central, they are moving to the bigger space of the AQ where they are starting a last Tuesday residency. I’ll have Adam on my show (90.3 & 106.78FM) this Saturday, the 27th, to talk about the orchestra and preview a couple of their tunes.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Thursday, July 25
Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) The Pinecones have been dispensing New Orleans R&B, along with Cajun and Zydeco tunes for quite a while now, and have no trouble getting both veteran and neophyte dancers up and dancing on one of the best dance floors in the cities.
Rick Estrin & the Nitecats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Estrin and the Nightcats play fun-filled blues. Estrin has developed a slightly cheesy, always humorous persona as a skirt chasin, blues lovin’ smart ass. It’s hard to find blues that’s this humorous. Check out this video to see what I mean.
Friday, July 26
Chicago Afrobeat Project feat. Tony Allen, and Blackmarket Brass @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Tony Allen was the drummer for Fela for fifteen years. Tonight he’ll be joining the Chicago Afrobeat Project for another evening of pulsing, mesmerizing music. The Twin Cities own Blackmarket Brass open. Here they are.
Dreamland Faces @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Dreamland Faces create new old music, utilizing a bassoon, accordion, piano, and saw. They’ll be joined by the Skeleton Crew of Scott Fultz, sax; Sean O’Hea, marimba; and Julie Sweet, piano. Julie is also the pianist for Dreamland Faces.
Saturday, July 27
Lowertown Roots Festival @ Mears Park, The Black Dog, and the Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 2pm – 10pm. (Free) Lowertown is taken over by various kinds of roots music, from folk to Nordic, to Zydeco. Music starts at 2:30 at Mears Park, and will feature Paul Dahlin, Nordic Angst, the bluegrass of the High 48s, the Violin Roots Ensemble of Randy Sabien, and zydeco master CJ Chenier. Over at the Hat Trick there’s a different artist every hour, starting at 2pm, and the Black Dog will feature music starting at 8pm.
Dakota Street Fest @ 10th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm. After a hiatus last year, the Dakota Street Fest returns with twenty bands on four stages, showcasing musicians across a number of genres. Artists range from Sophia Shorai and Debbie Duncan to Sonny Knight & the Lakers, Kelley Hunt, The Tex Pistols, Irv Williams, Paul Metsa with Willie Walker and Willie West, Patty Peterson, and the Dakota Combo.
Great Food Truck Rally @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (Free) Twelve food trucks, including AZ Canteen, A La Plancha, and Bloomy’s Roast Beef, will gather at the Tap Room, where five different groups will be playing during the day. Bands include Vinyl Lounge at Noon; Big Blue Station Wagon (Zack Lozier’s electric trio) at 2pm; Concentual at 4pm; Maurice Jacox Group at 6pm; and The Butanes at 8pm.
The Flamin’ Ohs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) In the late 70s, they were called Flamingo, and though they were a rock band, and not a punk band, they caused quite a stir in the Twin Cities music scene. After changing their name to the Flamin’ Oh’s, they recorded a couple of well-recieved albums and toured nationally. Attrition, families, and life eventually wore them down and by the late 80s, they had gone their separate ways. Now, since a 1997 reunion, they are playing once again, if sporadically, bringing their heart felt rock n’ roll to grown up Gen Xers, and a new audience of millenials. Here’s a video that got played on MTV back when it actually played music videos.
Monday, July 29
Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15) Lee’s is the Honky-Tonk/Rockabilly epicenter of the Twin Cities. What better place to see Dale Watson, a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and his traditional/maverick style of country music. His most recent album, El Rancho Azul, for Red House Records, charted on Billboard, and earned him a June appearance on David Letterman. Here’s a video from that appearance.