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
Patricia 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.
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
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.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, November 6
Moonlight 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.