Eat. Drink. Music. 11.27 – 12.3

November 27, 2013

Well, I thought readers might enjoy a little levity about Thanksgiving.  I realize that not everyone overeats or even goes shopping on Thanksgiving, which is once more upon us. Gathering with friends and family is a great tradition, and we can even find a way to enjoy meals without meltdowns over politics, religion or lifestyles. Please take note of the Brass Bash at the Amsterdam on Sunday. There will be lots of good music, and the proceeds go to KFAI. Would love to see you there. In the meantime, have a good holiday, and if you get stressed out, take some time to let music lift your spirits. There is certainly plenty of it around.


Wednesday, November 27

Davu Seru Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Davu Seru, percussion, Josh Granowski, bass; and Park Evans, guitar. Seru is a drummer/percussionist who is equally at home playing straight ahead jazz, free jazz, and desert blues, among others. Park Evans and Josh Granowski are equally versatile.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A long-running quartet that doesn’t seem to appear outside of monthly AQ performances, Phil Hey, drums; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano. Expect a very high level of performance of tunes by Coletrane, Coleman, Mingus, and more. Here they are a few years ago, doing a standard.

Friday, November 29

Talking Strings @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Pavel Jany, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; and Andrew Foreman, bass; playing global jazz – French jazz, bossa novas, gypsy jazz, and more.

Atlantis Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) Some late night modern jazz. The Atlantis Quartet has built a strong following in the Twin Cities based on the stellar playing of Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, tenor sax; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Friday, Saturday, November 29,30

Pat Mallinger & the Bill Carrothers Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Mallinger (sax) and Carrothers (piano) are Saint Paul talents who have made good and now live in Chicago and Upper Michigan, respectively. When they’re in town, they head to the AQ, where their combined talent makes for a very special show. Here’s Pat hard at work.

Saturday, November 30

George Maurer Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Maurer may be the most talented Minnesota musician you haven’t heard about, since he resides in Saint Cloud and only sporadically performs in the Twin Cities. He’s a pianist/composer/producer who has collaborated with musicians ranging from Prudence Johnson to Eric Clapton. Tonight he brings a septet, including two horns, to the Dakota. Check out their take on a Beatles tune.

Maryann Sullivan & Dave Martin@ Mendoberri Cafe & Wine Bar, Mendota. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a low-key way to eat out at a casual restaurant and hear some fine jazz. Vocalist Sullivan and guitarist Martin will be swinging some standards and a holiday tune or two.

Sunday, December 1

KFAI’s Brass Bash @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is a benefit I’ve put together for KFAI, featuring three bands with brass instruments. First up at 6:30 is The Jana Nyberg Group. Jana swings and sings with taste, and with the help of husband/trumpeter Adam Meckler, brings new life to bossa novas, jazz chestnuts, and contemporary pop. At 7:30pm it’s Parham, Schimke, Anderson, Boettcher, and Washington. This quintet represents some of the best of Twin Cities Jazz. Solomon Parham, trumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Kevin Washington, drums; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and up and coming new guy in town, Tyler Anderson on tenor sax. Suffice to say, the place will be swinging. Then, to close things up at 8:30 or so, we have the Jack Brass Band, whose infectious music encompasses  traditional brass band tunes, jazz standards like  Night in Tunisia and songs by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Bobby Brown and more. They’ve been together for a dozen years or so and have enough street cred to be featured in New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine, march in a Mardis Gras Parade, and play for WWOZ.  Here’s the Jana Nyberg Group in the KFAI studios.

Monday, December 2

Joey DeFrancesco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30)  Today’s Hammond organ giant was playing with Miles Davis as a teenager, and also played with John McLaughlin. Last seen here at the MN Zoo with Dave Sanborn, DeFrancesco will put on a smokin’ show of soul-jazz. Check out his take on a song that’s heavily identified with Sinatra.

Tuesday, December 3

Dean Magraw and Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) This monthly gig is always impressive, as Magraw on electric guitar, and Seru on drums and percussion use their vast knowledge of jazz, rock, and world musics to create enlightening and inspiring music.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 27

UnknownNikki & the Rue-Mates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5-ish (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – tip jar)  I’ve been a fan of Nikki’s crystaline voice for years. She’s turned into a fine writer and guitar player as well, ably assisted by Rich Rue on resonator guitar and Jon Larsen on bass. With any luck, she’ll have a drummer along to add some kick to the proceedings.

photoSonny Knight & Lakers and The Rich Lewis Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($5) Knight started out in the 60s when he was a teenager, and eventually sang with the legendary Twin Cities band Haze in the 70s. His appearance on the Secret Stash compilation of Twin Cities Soul & Funk has re-energized him and he’s put together a seven-piece horn and organ band to provide some funky backing. They’ve been doing a residency at the Eagles Club for the last month, creating good vibes and building an audience. Tonight’s bash features the Rich Lewis Band, purveyors of funky good times in their own right, albeit with a New Orleans bent to the music. The bash is in the big room, with plenty of space for dancers.

Thursday, November 28

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Not a lot to do on Thanksgiving night, but if you want something that will appeal across generations, you can’t go wrong with the highly unique, energetic blues, R&B, and jazz of Ms Davina and the highly polished Vagabonds.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Ray J’s Northeast, 500 Central Ave, Minneapolis. 9:30pm Doug’s mournful voice is perfect for the old timey roots music that he prefers. The Getaways include Josh Granowski, Alberto Castro Perez, Jr., and Chris Gray.

Friday, November 29

TAKK @ Juxtaposition Arts’ Moja Gallery, 1108 Broadway, Minneapolis. 7pm, performances at 8pm & 9pm (Free) TAKK is a dance project with video installation that looks at relationships through the lens of sports. There promises to be much interactivity during the dance performances.

Dee Miller Band @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Duchess of the Blues, helping you to dance off the Thanksgiving meal pounds.

The Butanes and the Marbles Acoustic Band @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 after 8pm) The Marbles Acoustic Band, an octet, start things off with their jam-ish versions of 60s and 70s folk-rock. Then The Butanes come on at 9 to take you down blues alley.

Saturday, November 30

MetsaWalkerPosterPaul Metsa & Willie Walker CD Release Party @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm. (No Cover) The other great singer/songwriter to come out of the Iron Range has been playing with soulman Willie Walker for a few years now. The combination of Paul’s sterling guitar playing and Willie’s angelic, yet soulful voice makes for good chemistry and great music. The CD is called Live from Highway 55.

Trashy Little Christmas Show @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s a Christmas Tradition. Trailer Trash begins their annual weekly residency bringing musical mayhem

Black Market Brass, Brass Messengers, and Body Omara @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Looking for some Afrobeat, world brass, and desert blues? You will want to be at the Nomad tonight.

Big George Jackson @ The Schooner, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Big George has a seemingly bottomless voice that is equal parts scary and comforting. Just right for the Delta-inspired blues that he sings. He has a crack band behind him as well. Here he is.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Last Chances, New Opportunities. Music: 11.20 – 11.26

November 20, 2013
The lights will soon be on in Saint Paul's downtown parks.

The lights will soon be on in Saint Paul’s downtown parks.

The lights may be going up in Saint Paul’s Rice Park, but the days are dwindling down for the Artists’ Quarter. And so, jazz fans will have limited opportunities to see some of their favorites in the place, at least while it’s under the ownership of Kenny Horst, who should be feted for the time and effort he’s put into making the club such a special place. Things are moving nicely in Blues and Roots music, though there seems to be an emphasis on roots this week, at least from my perspective, with a couple of events that surely qualify as “Other.” All in all, this week there are many great opportunities for you to hear live music.


Wednesday, November 20

Miguel Hurtado & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Hurtado’s friends often include Brian Courage, bass; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Joe Strachan, on piano, who he’s been hangin’ with of late, but who really knows? Doesn’t matter, it will be an evening of invigorating jazz.

Maud Hixson and Robert Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm. (No cover) After singing with the Wolverines Trio earlier in the evening at Hell’s Kitchen, Ms Hixson will be making her way to Barbette to sing with guitarist Bell. The late night happy-hour vibe is just right for Hixson’s smoldering, yet cool takes on standards, old and new.

Thursday, November 21

Phil Mattson Singers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocal jazz from a sextet directed by Grammy nominatied pianist Phil Mattson, who has done arrangements for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and other notable singing groups.

Pete and some of the X-Tet.  Photo by Andrea Canter

Pete and some of the X-Tet. Photo by Andrea Canter

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) I believe this is the last appearance of the X-Tet before the closing of the AQ on December 31. To paraphrase the title of an old Count Basie album, it’s Ten Men Swinging, which flows better than the reality of eight men and two women swinging. The two women are Laura Caviani, piano; and Kathy Jensen, baritone sax.

Friday, November 22

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10pm. With Chris Lomheim, piano, Brian Courage, bass. Intimate songs in an intimate setting. Vicky is an experienced singer who knows her way around a scatted melody, and isn’t afraid to include some non-standards in her repertoire.

Friday, Saturday, November 22, 23

UnknownLulu’s Playground @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) As we head towards the end of the year, artists will have their last chance to play the AQ. Lulu’s Playground, the accordion – cello -guitar – trumpet group is going out with a CD Release Party for The Side Show Suite, a collection of 17 short pieces based on 17 Side Show Characters created by artist Tim Nyberg. Part of the show will include the kind of verbal come-ons you hear from a carnival barker. It’s Chamber Jazz with an healthy dose of humor.

Saturday, November 23

Linda Peterson @ School II Bistro, Chanhassen. 5:30 – 8pm ($?) Since the passing of her mom, the Matriarch of the musical Peterson clan, Linda has been living in the Twin Cities. This evening, West Metro residents have a chance to hear Linda sing and play piano. I’m sure she’ll sing her well known composition, “It’s Too Late to Leave Early,” as well as other originals and standards.

Tuesday, November 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Meckler keeps churning out new music for this aggregation. The AQ is a fine setting for this 17 piece band. Here they are playing in Rice Park last summer.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 20

Jon Rodine on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rodine sings Americana music, though his definition of Americana embraces a big tent with rock n’ roll, country soul, and a bit of funky grooves. His latest album with just original music is getting some nice print.

Thursday, November 21

imagesAmy Helm @ The Real-Phonic Hour, Central Library, 4th & Market, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) With Martha Scanlan, Erik Koskinen & the Real-Phonic Band, comedian Thom Middlebrook. Singer Helm was last seen here with her dad, the late Levon Helm. She impressed mightily at the time, and was a real asset to the show. Martha Scanlan will open, and the Real -Phonic band will entertain, as usual.

Papa John Kostad’s Acoustic Blues @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) Papa John will be joined Cal Hand on dobro, and by Judy Larson for a song or two. These Acoustic Blues Nights are a chance for Papa John to concentrate on the blues, and on his twelve-string. Be sure to bring an ID if you want adult beverages, which include a wide variety of British beer and some of Scotland’s finest distilled spirits.

Friday, November 22

Sangam @ Sundlin Hall, 1536 Hewitt Ave, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 9:30pm ($25/$20 Students) A musical journey, if you will through both Eastern and Western musical milieus. The evening will begin with performance of both the Indian Carnatic and Western Classical music and conclude with a collaboration among performers, who include Davu Seru, percussion; along with Nirmala Rajasekar, veena; Shri Thanjavur K. Murugabhoopathi, mridangam; and Michelle Kinney, on cello.

American Roots Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30) Four long time musicians combine their considerable talents to explore a wide variety of American music: Folk, Cajun, Gospel, R&B, Rock, Swing and Country. Robert Robinson’s voice can shake a room. Larry Long’s gifted storytelling will bring you into his songs. Tonia Hughes and JD Steele complete the quartet, which will be backed by a first class set of musicians: Cory Wong, guitar; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Johannes Tona, bass; and Michael Bland, drums.

Saturday, November 23

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) Hey la bas. The Dakota may be a bit classy for the insistent, soul shakin’ undulatin’ sounds of zydeco, but leave it to CJ to break down a Minnesotan’s reserve, just as his father did back in the day. Here’s an example of his live show.

Caprice Saxophone Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Now for something completely different. Well, different in that this quartet  will be playing new classical music, an inadequate term, from Minnesota composers Katherine Bergman, Justin E.A. Busch, Ian Cook, and Justin Rubin. The group is composed of sax players Sarah Minette, soprano; Ross Wolf, alto; Katherine Bergman, tenor; and Jessica Martin, baritone.

Tribute to Sue McLean @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Well, this is a gathering of friends of the much loved late concert promoter Sue McLean, as a way to raise funds for her daughter Lily. It’s an all-star gathering, including Patty & Ricky Peterson with Paul Metsa and band. Metsa will be performing his song Jack Ruby. Others appearing include Eric Hutchinson, Soul Asylum, The BoDeans, the X-Boys, Marc Perlman & Tim O’Reagan of the Jayhawks, The Witnesses, Rogue Valley, Molly Maher and Haley Bonar. Phew!

Armadillo Jump @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) The tiny dance floor at Manitou Station is sure to be filled as Armadillo Jump brings their unique combination of blues and jump tunes to the East Metro hot spot.

Daisy Dillman @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Childhood friends who combined four-part country harmonies with a rock drummer and electric fiddle back in 1978, the Dillmans won a couple of Minnesota Music Awards, garnered national airplay,  and then toured the country through the early 80s. They’ve played sporadically since reuniting in 2003. They’ll be a sextet tonight, with the addition of Kenny Wilson on pedal steel, banjo, and dobro.

Unknown-1Sunday, November 24

Benefit for Liz Cummings @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 suggested donation) Cummings is a singer/songwriter/pianist who was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of dementia in August of 2012, so members of the blues community are coming together to support her. Scheduled to appear: Willie Walker & Paul Metsa; High and Mighty, Prophets of Peace, Maurice Jacox & Friends, Who Nu, and the Dee Miller Band.


For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Music for 11.13 – 11.19

November 13, 2013

Well, we’ve another busy week here in the Twin Cities. While one can talk about the quality of the shows you’ve seen, a measure of the music here is the quality of the shows you don’t get to see, simply because you’re at another venue. For all the shows I list, there is usually an equal number that are worthwhile attending. We are lucky.

Solomon Parham teaching at a free workshop for young msuicians, put on by DFJE. Photo by Andrea Canter.

Solomon Parham teaching at a free workshop for young musicians, put on by DFJE. Photo by Andrea Canter.

Now, for a short commercial break. Many of you have already received e-mails about Give to the Max Day, which is tomorrow. I’d like to ask that you support two non-profits in particular. The first is the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education (DFJE), which is dedicated to inspiring young audiences about jazz, and helping aspiring young jazz musicians in their studies. We have a match for the first $2500, so you can essentially double your money if you donate early. To donate, got to DFJE’s GiveMN site. The second non-profit I’m particularly jazzed about is KFAI Fresh Air Radio, where I have had a weekly jazz radio show called Rhythm and Grooves for the past 11 years. Find their site here. Now, back to our regular program.


Wednesday, November 13

Valve Meets Slide @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Recall the days of JJ Johnson & Kai Winding, as two fine trombonists – Brad Bellows on valve, and Dave Graf on slide bring us some swingin’ tunes, ably backed by Peter Schimke, piano, Gordy Johnson, bass, and Mac Santiago, drums. Late night club goers get two-for-one admission after 11pm.  Here’s an example of their work.

Thursday, November 14

Gershwin in Paris: Bruce Henry, Irv Williams, & Others @ the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska. 7pm ($35) A celebration of a true American original – George Gershwin. First, you get his Rhapsody in Blue plus An American in Paris  done as Gershwin arranged them, with two pianos and four hands. Then, you get other Gershwin tunes, such as I’ve Got Rhythm, and Embraceable You, as done by vocalist Bruce Henry, saxophonist Irv Williams, accordionist Dan Newton, and others. Tickets were selling briskly, so you be advised to call for a reservation at (952) 443-1400, or reserve on-line here.

Five by Design

Five by Design

Five By Design @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis 8:30 – 9:30pm ($10?) This Minnesota vocal quintet is well known outside our borders, but rarely appears in town. There close harmonies and well-rehearsed stage presence make them favorites in halls around the country.

The Jesters @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The Jesters are another all-star combination of Twin Cities musicians. Pete Whitman, sax; Chris Olson, guitar; Laura Caviani, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Friday, November 15

Brad Bellows and Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This time out, Brad Bellows is playing his valve trombone in a “freer” environment, with sax master Donald Washington goosing the music along. Their music is sometimes challenging, but always surprising.

Friday, Saturday, November 15, 16

Lew Tabackin Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20)  A long-time friend of the AQ, Tabackin returns for one last time before the end of the year and the AQ’s closing. An outstanding artists on flute and tenor sax, Tabackin knows his musical history, yet has a sound that’s all his own. Here he is.

Saturday November 16

Charmin & Shapira @ Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis. 12:30 – 2:30pm. (Free) You’ve got the honeyed tones of Charmin Michelle backed by the subtle, elegant guitar of Joel Shapira. A calming break from shopping at the market.

Laura Caviani & Pete Whitman @ Jazz @ St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) This saintly jazz series at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church turns to duo who each have impressive resumes. More importantly, they are inventive, imaginative musicians. Pianist Caviani has received numerous accolades for her sparkling work at the keyboards, as a leader, as a member of groups such as JazzMN, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Karryn Allison’s band, and for her own CDs, of which there are four. Pete Whitman’s sax can be soothing or fiery. His X-Tet CD received four stars in Downbeat, and he has performed with folks like Jack McDuff, Curtis Fuller, and the Woody Herman Orchestra. They’ve worked together many times, developing a musical relationship that is akin to mental telepathy.

Musical Tribute to Oscar Peterson @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Tanner Taylor and Richard Johnson, two sublime piano players, will each bring a trio to Studio Z to pay hommage to the late Oscar Peterson. Each trio will do a set and then there will be a two-piano finale. Johnson will be backed by bassist Jeremy Boettcher, and drummer Adrian Suarez. Taylor will have Adam Linz on bass, and Trevor Hainig on drums.

Unknown-1Steve Cole CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm.   Saxophonist Cole has been recording as a leader for about 15 years now. Along the way he’s garnered a few radio hits, thanks to his R&B-meets-jazz approach. He’s also worked with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Freddie Cole, and Cyrus Chestnut among others.  He’ll be backed by a number of friends from the Peterson Family – Patty, Ricky, Paul and Jason Peterson DeLaire, along with Bobby Vandell and Billy Franze.

Tuesday, November 19

Dave Brattain & Friends @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Saxophonist Brattain takes over the Tuesday night slot for a change. The friends on Tuesday nights change from week to week.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 13

Jonathan Richman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($16) Conversational lyrics, often about mundane matters, but with a slightly skewed outlook, have endeared Richman to many. Though he first made a splash in the late 70s and early 80s, he’ll likely concentrate on newer material.

Women’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – Midnight. (No Cover) Wow, here is a chance to see a dozen singer-songwriters (who happen to be women) in action. Half-hour sets form the likes of Courtney Yasmineh, Katy Vernon, Liz Squires, and more. Jessie Rae Armstrong starts at 6:30 and the fun continues all night long. The Driftwood’s low key atmosphere is just right for this evening.

Thursday, November 14

imagesJimmy Webb @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45-$40) A master songwriter, Webb wrote some of the biggest hits of the 60s and 70s for folks like The Fifth Dimension, Glen Cambell, and Isaac Hayes, among others. He received several Grammys and his songs continue to be recorded. Opening is Robin Spielberg, a pianist/composer and storyteller who has sold a million CDs, and is touring in support of a new memoir.

Jacox, Della Selva, Craft, & DuBois @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8pm – 11pm (No Cover) The East Metro area gets to hear a bevy of highly skilled musicians do their thing. Maurice Jacox, vocals, flute, and sax; John Della Selva, guitar; Jason Craft, keys; and Mike DuBois, drums.

The Wesley Center

The Wesley Center

Flatt Foot Rollers @ A Benefit for Wesley Center, 1st & Grant, Minneapolis.  7pm (Donation)  The Rollers are a seven-piece band that serves up old school R&B and Funk in a dance-o-licious way.They’re playing this benefit for the Wesley Center, home to a Meals program which serves hundreds of hot meals to the poor and needy each Saturday. The 122 year-old pink granite church located next to the Minneapolis Convention Center has been designated a historic site.

Friday, November 15

Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Reed player Doug Little heads up this septet, brining us Cuban sons, guajiras, and other Latin sounds.

Garland Jeffreys @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35)  This passionate rock n’ roller shows influences of R&B, Reggae, blues and dance music in his performances. Brooklyn-born Jeffreys has been recording since the 70s, when his single of Wild in the Streets first brought him success. Along the way he’s earned the respect of peers like Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen, and David Johansen, and has an international following. Jake Clemmons, nephew of the E-Street saxman Clarence Clemmons, opens. Here’s Garland doing a song from his latest album.

Saturday, September 16

Freedy Johnston & Darden Smith @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15/$20) Two singer-songwriters performing round-robin style. Johnston has been recording for some 25 years, having been named Best Songwriter of 1994 by Rolling Stone. BTW, Kurt Cobain and Sam Philips came in 2nd and 3rd. In 2009 Johnston released the well-received Rain on the City, and in 2012 recorded and toured with the Hobar Brothers  Lil’ Sis. His current tour is a preview and warm-up for his upcoming CD, Neon Repairman.

Willie Murphy’s 70th Birthday Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis ($?)  Ahh, just like the rest of us, Willie Murphy is getting older. His actual birthday is Sunday the 17th, but this will serve as a fine blow-out to celebrate all those years on this mortal coil. Murphy’s dance-friendly R&B and Rock n’ Roll will fill the wooden floor at the Eagles, and while many celebrants are sure to share an affinity for grey hair, you can bet that some younger folk will be bustin’ some moves as well. Here he is in one of his mellower, though not necessarily romantic, moments.

Sunday November 17

Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Okay, we’ve got two national finger-picking guitarists at work tonight. Together, their styles encompass blues, jazz, classical, and world music. In writing of Tim Sparks, Guitar Player Magazine called his music “Fresh, exotic and totally cool.” Heywood, who also sings in a warm baritone, was hand-picked by Leo Kottke to tour with him. Expect an evening of sublime music when these two get on stage together. Here’s an example of how they work together.

Monday, November 16

Joe Fingers & His So-Called Friends @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30 pm (Donation) This is the first of two Monday night shows that will benefit Second Harvest Heartland. Joe Fingers is a national finger-picking champion. Don’t know Joe? He and his So-Called Friends have spent some time on Prairie Home Companion.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Musical Abundance: 11.6 – 11.12

November 6, 2013
Much to choose from

Much to choose from

You would think this is harvest week, what with the abundance of music from visiting and resident artists, including a couple of shows that pay homage to music pioneers (Ellington, Tito Puente, Basie’s vocalists), as well as a couple of pioneers themselves (Blind Boys of Alabama, Allen Toussaint). Various combinations of musicians are combining to bring us new arrangements and new music. All in all, we’re very lucky here in the Twin Cities. Just remember to get out, especially to the Artists’ Quarter, which we may lose around the first of the year.


Wednesday, November 6

Marcus Roberts Trio w/Rodney Jordan & Jason Marsalis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Roberts is a pianist whose style owes much to stride, with a bit of Monk thrown in, yet he’s got his own way with a tune. His trio with Jordan and Marsalis are known for reinvigorating the piano trio format with their effortless communication. Here’s an example:

Brandon Wozniak & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Wozniak wields his sax like a painter: soft strokes here; gauzy backgrounds there; and giant splashes of bold color when it suits the composition. He plays in the Atlantis Quartet and the Dave King Trucking Company, among other configurations, so it’s no telling who will show up as his friends for the evening.

Thursday, November 7

UnknownPatricia Barber @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30) Barber is an adventurous pianist with a smoky, yet cool voice with an understated elegance. She composes songs that are poems in the best sense of the word, and is the first songwriter to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. Except for a long-running weekly residency at the Green Mill in Chicago, she seems to play out only just enough to keep folks interested. We’re lucky to have her here, perhaps because she’s got a history with the Dakota that dates back to the nineties.

Foreman, Feily, Schmidt, and Musselman @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 9:30pm (tip jar) No, it’s not a law firm but rather four friends who improvise to a variety of genres. Andrew Foreman, bass; Dave Feily, guitar; Zach David, drums; and Dan Musselman, piano.

Dave Karr @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Old school bebop, along with lovely ballads from this 80-something master of both the tenor and the baritone sax.

Thursday, November 7 – Sunday, November 10
Zeitgeist’s New Music Cabaret @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6:30pm Thurs, Fri, 7:30pm Sat, 7pm Sun ($10/evening) Four nights of music including a jazz headliner each evening, along with selections from Zeitgeist and others. Thursday, it’s Red Planet, Friday, Zacc Harris, Saturday, it’s Davu Seru’s Mother of Masks, and Sunday it’s the Nathan Hanson Saxophone Choir. Always an invigorating, and wonderfully surprising series.

Friday, November 8

Bryan Nichols Quartet @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul.  ($12) This is part of a two-night stand for composer/pianist Nichols, with tonight dedicated to quartet performances and Saturday to a Quintet. Nichols’s abilities as a jazz composer have been recognized with a residency at the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program at Kennedy Center, a grant from the American Composers forum and a McKnight Fellowship. Tonight he’s joined by Brandon Wozniak, sax; James Buckley, bass; & Coy Heally on drums. Here’s the quartet with Mike Lewis on sax. He’ll be joining the group tomorrow night.

Saturday, November 9

JazzMN Orchestra Tribute to Tito Puente @ Hopkins High School, Hopkins. 7:30pm ($30, $34, w/$10student rush) The 18-piece orchestra featuring the Twin Cities’ best brings in a couple of extra percussionists as they pay homage to the timbales master who was so adept at integrating big band jazz and latin rhythms. Special guest Lucia Newell will be on hand to sing a couple of numbers as well. Percussionist Ray Rivera was my guest this past Saturday on Rhythm and Grooves. You can listen to the interview and a couple of Tito’s numbers here.

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Nichols uses a quintet for the second night of his gig at the AQ, with Michael Lewis joining Brandon Wozniak on saxophones; JT Bates sitting in the drum chair, and James Buckley holding down the bass.

Saturday, Sunday, November 9, 10

Knights in Harlem @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($25) A celebration of the unsung baritones that fronted the Basie band, with the Wolverines Trio (celebrating 40 years) backing Dennis Spears and Stephen Faison. Spears and Faison will be bringing us the songs of Joe Williams, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Hartman, and Arthur Prysock.

Sunday, November 10

A young Duke

A young Duke

Connie Evingson: Ellingtonia @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm & 7:30pm ($25) Connie continues to find interesting themes for her Jazz at the Jungle series. This time the cool singer is tackling the music of Duke Ellington, which should provide excellent material, whether well-known, or obscure. Check with the Jungle on seat availability, as some of these performances sell out. Joining Connie will be: Dave Karr (tenor sax), Doug Haining (alto sax), Preston Haining (trumpet), Tanner Taylor (piano), Gordy Johnson (bass) and Trevor Haining (drums).

Tuesday, Wednesday, November 12, 13

Roy Hargrove @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Trumpeter Hargrove is a two-time Grammy Winner who is constantly searching, whether playing with Cuban musicians, or strings, recording with jazz icons like Herbie Hancock, or delving into the worlds of hip-hop and neo-soul. In the course of an evening, you can expect him to explore rhythms, original and standard melodies, and moods, all to thrilling effect. Here he is from a few years ago.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar.  For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 6

Unknown-1Moonlight Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I’ll be hosting this edition of the House Party, with Moonlight duo – Mary Dushane and Nicholas Jordan as my guests. Mary Dushane is a master fiddler, adept at Cajun, Appalachian, Western Swing, and Irish reels, among other genres. Guitarist Nicholas Jordan supplies the knowing vocals. Tune in and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis to hear them in person.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers @ The Eagles Club#34, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) To celebrate the release of Sugar Man a Secret Stash 45, soul man/funkster Sonny Knight is taking up a month-long residency every Wednesday at the Eagles. Sugar Man is a slowish cover of the Rodriguez song, propelled along by congas and other percussion, wonderfully accentuated by mournful horns. The flip, Hey Girl, is a funk rave-up with all the touchstones you’d expect: Knight’s gritty voice and the Lakers supplying insistent guitar, sax, and trombone solos to create a rhythm that should have dancers shakin’ their bacon

Thursday, November 7

John Beach, Mary Leinfelder, & Friends @ Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (tip jar)  Well darn, if I weren’t spinning, I’d be sure to check out John and Mary, a piano player and singer who go together like Jameson & Ginger Ale. Whether you drink cocktails, Guiness, or Grain Belt, you’ll enjoy their music.

Blind Boys of Alabama @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapoils. 7:30pm ($30/$35) The Blind Boys continue to expand their audience by recording with a variety of musicians. Their latest CD, I’ll Find A Way, features collaborations with some of today’s brightest pop/rock stars. But it’s the Blind Boys emotional and musical power, grounded in gospel, that sets them apart. Here they are, along with Mavis Staples.

Miller, Neale, Schnitzer, Weigand and Sansby @ Holihans Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm – 11pm (tip jar) Here we have a more-or-less all star band of Twin Cities Musicians. Scottie Miller, piano (Scottie Miller Band, Ruthie Foster); Dan Neale, guitar (Bo Diddley, Martin Zellar, Prairie Home Companion); Bobby Schnitzer, guitar (Lipps, Inc., Taj Mahal, Al Jarreau); Larry Wiegand, bass (Crow, Pacific Gas & Electric, Bobby Vee); and percussionist/drummer Scott Sansby (Willie Murphy, Scottie Miller) gather together to make some big fun music.

Friday, November 8

Luke Warm & the Cool Hands, Jillian Rae Band @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5)  Luke Warm is a jug band, but apparently is looking for a juggist, which is either someone who can play a jug, or someone who does bad juggling. At any rate their repertoire ranges from bluegrass and folk to the occasional polka. Jillian Rae, on the other hand, is a complete musician unto herself, though she uses a band. She can sing, fiddle, and write with well-deserved self-assuredness.

John Mark Nelson, Simonet & Young, and The Ericksons @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) It’s an acoustic-y night at the Cedar as up and coming singer-songwriter Nelson (of Minnetonka) is joined by Simonett and Young of Trampled by Turtles, and the talented sister duo, The Ericksons.

Worldwide Discoteque @ Club Jaeger, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Multi-cultural music encompassing Afrobeat, Sambas, Highlife, Latin, Cumbia, Reggae, Funk, Tropical Boogie, and who knows what else. What is certain is that you won’t be able to stand still as DeeJays Steely Dan, Brian Engel, and friends spin vinyl. Here’s an example of some of the music, along with some images of the dancers.

Saturday, November 9

Allen Toussaint @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $40), 9pm ($40-$35) The gentlemanly architect of New Orleans R&B returns to the Dakota, touring behind his latest CD, Songbook, recorded live in 2009 during his residency at Joe’s Pub in New York, and featuring many of his songs – tunes he does in concert.

Eddies @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm ($7) This Saint Paul almost-acapella quintet has become somewhat of an institution at the Trick, filling the music room with fans and harmonies that stretch from sea shanties to the Rolling Stones and Bob Marley.

The Gated Community @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) A six-piece band where country meets bluegrass, electric meets acoustic, and Love and Art meet Politics and Science.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

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