Well, the days are going short and the weather is delightful. It’s no longer unthinkable to go inside while the sun is still shining at 7 or 8 o’clock. We’ve got a couple of CD release parties, the return of a Saturday residency, some end-of-season festivals, and a couple of surprising acts on hand this week. Have a good one.
Wednesday, September 4
Nancy Harms CD Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Nancy Harms grew up in rural Minnesota, moved to Minneapolis to begin her singing career, and moved to NYC a couple of years ago. She’s done well there, getting engagements at a number of clubs, including Birdland, singing on a Wycliffe Gordon CD, making connections that have allowed her to sing at festivals in Europe. Now, she has a new CD, Dreams in Apartments. She’s written a few of the tunes with Arne Fogel, and does a terrific job of interpreting some standards. Nancy has a unique sound, in that she can sound languid, yet still swing. There is no doubt that tonight’s release party will be fun.
Davu Seru & Friends @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (tip jar) Drummer Davu Seru will be joined by Pat O’Keefe, clarinets; Marc Anderson on percussion; and Brian Roessler, bass. All of these musicians can play both inside and outside, so expect an intriguing evening of music.
Miguel Hurtado & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This is actually, Courageous Endeavors, a quartet led by Brian Courage on bass, quickly becoming a bassist-about-town, and features recent University grad Joe Strachan on piano; with Nelson Deveraux on sax; and Miguel Hurtado on drums.
Thursday, September 5
Dave King Trio featuring Bill Carruthers and Billy Peterson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17) Drummer King, who seems to collect bands like some people collect records, threw a curve to the critics when he came up with the trio that plays beautiful ballads. Carruthers plays spare, spacious music on the piano, while Peterson’s sensitive bass playing holds things down, to which King responds with imagination and taste. The album they put out last year, I’ve Been Ringing You is an homage, or perhaps a love song, to the Great American songbook and jazz standards, including Ornette Coleman’s Lonely Woman.
Friday, September 6
Irv Williams & Peter Schimke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4″30pm – 6:00pm (Free) Irv Williams recently celebrated his 94th birthday by throwing a little party for his fellow inhabitants of a senior living complex. His tone is a sweet and gentle as can be, though he throws in a honk here at there, mostly at the end of a song, to break the mood. Schimke is a piano player about town who has developed great rapport with Williams, and serves as a perfect foil, as can be heard on the CD, Duets.
Dorothy Doring, Joan Griffith, & Phil Mattson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Free) A personable, engaging vocalist, a talented guitarist, and a piano player who has built a reputation for arranging for vocalists. All in the Parma’s lounge.
Friday, Saturday, September 6,7
Graydon Peterson CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Peterson has been well established as a bassist-about-town for a number of years now, and he’s been slowly composing the compositions that appear on the Quartet’s CD. He makes effective use of the harmonies and contrasts of Vinnie Rose on guitar and Adam Meckler, trumpet. Adrian Suarez on drums, together with Peterson, lays down an effective foundation for the group.
Saturday, September 7
JoAnn Funk @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 11:00 (Free) JoAnn on piano and vocals, and Jeff Brueske on bass return to their school year residency every Saturday. It’s a great place for people watching, and the cocktails are good (if a tad high), but the real reason to go is to hear JoAnn singing the songs of Nat King Cole, Blossom Dearie, Dan Penn, and many more. Here she is doing a Ry Cooder tune.
Tuesday, September 10
A Chris Olson Project @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Chris is one of the area’s top guitar players, teaching at MacNally Smith and playing in the JazzMN Big Band, Maintime, and others. For this gig, which occurs with some regularity, Chris invites some friends to join him to play songs they don’t play with other people.
Blues, Roots, Other
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, September 5,6,7
Concrete and Grass Festival @ Mears Park & Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm Thursday, 5pm Friday, 4pm Saturday (Free) Here’s a chance to welcome back The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, playing Thursday night at 7pm, followed by Moore by Four. Other artists featured in this festival include the Minnesota Opera and Halloween Alaska on Saturday, Lucy Michelle w/Chan Poling and John Munson, and Marimba Africa on Friday, and the East Side Quartet, featuring Clint Hoover, at the Black Dog on Friday. More information can be found at http://www.concreteandgrass.com
Friday, September 6
Les Nubians @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($35) These French sisters have been nominated for Grammys in R&B, and with their AfroEuropean sound, embody pan global rhythms – exotic music with a danceable beat. Check out this video.
Javier & the Innocent Sons, w/Cooker John @ Harriet Brewing Taproom, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Some blues for you, with an excellent band and an enjoyable soloist.
Tommy Malone with Paul Metsa & Willie Walker @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) Tommy Malone is the lead singer, guitarist, and one of the primary writers for New Orleans’ Subdudes, so rootsy rock music may be the order of the day, encompassing New Orleans R&B, folk, gospel, and perhaps some Cajun rhythms. He’s touring in support of his solo effort, Natural Born Days, which is riding high on Louisiana’s roots music charts. Metsa and Walker are billed as special guests, so I’m guessing they’ll have their own set to open.
Saturday, September 7
Secret Stash Soul Revue & More @ Summit Brewing Backyard Bash, Saint Paul. Noon – 8pm. ($18 advance/$20 gate) This is an annual celebration of Summit Beer, but more than that, it’s also a way to support Minnesota Music, as 50% of the gate goes to the Minnesota Music Coalition. Besides the Soul Revue, the Bash will feature a fitting cross-section of Minnesota Musicians: Haley Bonar and a full band; the New Standards; Night Moves; Lizzo; and Charlie Parr and Friends, with Hot Pants Deejays spinning between acts. Good music. Good Beer. Good Cause.
Washington County Bluegrass Festival, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, Lake Elmo. 3pm – 7pm ($5) Facepainting, foodtrucks, and music from The Cactus Blossoms at 3pm; Boys ‘N the Barrels at 4pm; the Roe Family Singers at 5pm; and Kind Country at 6pm. The Lake Elmo Park reserve is a 2200 acre parkland, about 30 minutes or less east of the metro area.
Sunday, September 8
4th Annual Adieu Summer Concert @ Black Bear Crossings in the Lake Como Pavillion, Saint Paul. 4pm – 7pm ($10 – Children under 12 Free) A collection of world music groups, with an emphasis on the laid-back rhythms of Brazil and Hawaii, featuring the Talking Strings, Lau Hawaiian Collective, Ticket to Brasil, and Blusion.
Tuesday, September 10
ETHEL String Quartet @ Macalester College Mairs Concert Hall, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) This New York based group includes violinist Kip Jones, who is originally from Duluth, and settled in the Twin Cities for a while after traveling the globe. While here Jones played in a number of different venues with a variety of improvising players. I did an interview with him in 2011, which you can read here. The string quartet will be playing works by Mary Ellen Childs, Vijay Iyer, Jeff Buckly, Enniko Morricone, and more, including a Jones original.
Naturally 7 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) This is a New York City group that sings a capella (the city’s streetcorners and subways are great places to hone this sound). They call their style VocalPlay, since they also use their voices to imitate instruments, something that hasn’t been done by groups since the Mills Brothers and others did it back in the 30s and 40s. Of course, the use of looping technology helps. They recorded three songs with Michael Buble, and have also done a track with Ludacris for the latest Quincy Jones record. Here’s an illustration of their work.