Mardis Gras Music & More: 2.26 – 3.4

February 26, 2014

imagesWith Lent approaching next Wednesday, we’re ready to celebrate Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday if you will, by listening and dancing to music from less frigid areas of the world. If you aren’t up for celebrating on Tuesday, there are a few warm-up events this week. Additionally, we have some excellent jazz artists visiting during the next week, and some good opportunities to dance.  Have a safe and warm week. Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 26

Bobby Watson & Horizon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) For the second time in a week of graduate of the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers will be appearing at the Dakota. The saxophone player was, in fact, the music director for the Messengers. Once on his own, he formed Horizon, which is reuniting for this 30th Anniversary tour. The group includes Victor Lewis, drums; Terrel Stafford, trumpet; Edward Simon, piano; and Essiet Essiet, bass. All have become band leaders and stars in their own right. Here’s an early version of Horizon with Roy Hargrove on trumpet.

Graydon Peterson’s Ghost Tour @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Bassist Peterson has provided the rhythmic backbone of many a group and jazz vocalist here in the Twin Cities. Recently, he’s begun to create tunes that have been featured in his own quartet, and now, in a trio setting, with Park Evans on guitar, and Adrian Suarez on drums.

Thursday, February 27

Stanley Clarke Presents School Days @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 & $50) Four time Grammy winning fusion/R&B bassist Clarke will be presenting all of of his 1976 album School Days, as well as other selected material.

Talking Strings @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (tip Jar) The trio of Pavelle Jany, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; and Dan Weston, bass & percussion, blend jazz, classical, and folk into a variety of international music. Here they are doing a Django Rheinhart number.

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Pianist JoAnn Funk, along with bassist Jeff Brueske, and drummer Nathan Norman cross the river from their normal haunt at the St. Paul Hotel to bring the music of Blossom Dearie, Nat King Cole, Dan Penn, Leonard Cohen, and more to the Dakota stage.

Friday, February 28

Jack Brass Band Mardis Gras in Bloomington @ the Bloomington Center for the Arts, 18900 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington. 7pm – 10pm The guys give us a bit of oral and musical history of Mardi Gras music and Brass Band music in this special performance.

The Bridge Series @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 suggested donation) The idea behind this series is to feature artists who used to appear at the now closed Artists’ Quarter. Tonight, guitarist Zacc Harris is joined by Dave Hagedorn on vibes, as well as Brian Courage, bass; and Twin Cities newcomer Corey Healey, drums. A nice cross-section of generations with the promise of some pretty great music recalling the outings of Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery.

Saturday, March 1

Pigs Eye Jass Band @ The Eagles, #34, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm ($6) This traditional jazz band will be playing for happy feet in the North Hall of the Eagles Club. Consider this a warm-up for Fat Tuesday.

Bach and Jazz Concert @ The History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm   This is the third collaboration between the the Bach Society of Minnesota and Framework: Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. The last one was about a month or so ago, when they explored baroque music. This time they’re adding saxman Pete Whitman to the mix as they explore the music of Bach.

Davu Seru & Andrew Lafkas @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8:pm ($10) Studio Z continues to come up with intriguing, genre-crossing events that makes us listen to music with new ears. This one is the inaugural event in the Crow With No Mouth Series. Percussionist Davu Seru and bassist Andrew Lafkas will be presenting a duo piece. Chicago based electronicist (is that a real word?) Mykel Boyd will present a solo set of electronics and location recordings.

Sunday, March 2

The 2013-2014 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

The 2013-2014 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

Dave King Trucking Company w/ the Dakota Combo @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 5pm ($10) Dave King is an internationally known drummer with a penchant for playing in many bands, including The Bad Plus and Happy Apple. The Trucking Company includes Adam Linz, bass; Eric Fratzke, guitar; and Brandon Wozniak, sax. Opening will the The Dakota Combo, a group of highly, highly talented high school students who will have received a clinic from King. He’ll also sit in with them for a number or two. This is a chance  (Full Disclosure: I chair the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, which sponsors the Dakota Combo. Though I may be biased about the talent of the combo, other, more neutral folks are also enthusiastic about them.)

Monday, March 3

Jazz Implosion featuring Dave Karr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. the first Monday of the month features veteran saxophonist Dave Karr at the Implosion, usually playing with JT Bates on drums and Adam Linz on bass. While Karr’s bebop leanings may seem out of place with the sometimes outside playing of Linz and Bates, the three work well together, and have done so for a number of years. Sometimes there’s a second group, though I’m not sure of who it might be. Here’s a video of Dave with Adam and JT.

Monday, Tuesday, March 3,4

Manhattan Transfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60, $55, $50), 9pm ($50, $45, $40) This quartet was quite eye-opening when, back in the 70s, they first introduced their four part harmonious blend of bebop, doo woo, Latin, and pop. It was a refreshing change from the hard rock and disco of the time. The Ten-time Grammy winning group still provides an aural respite from the pop music of today, singing with panache and élan.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police, Bebopified, and JazzInk.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 26

Rockin’ Pincecones on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.  5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) Cajun & Zydeco music to get you in the mood for Fat Tuesday. The 331 Club can get pretty crowded, but I’m sure a few folks will try to dance. Followed by jamrooots band Enchanted Ape at 9:30 and Pocketful ‘A’ Change and their Americana/roots music at 10:30.

Thursday, February 27

Scottie Miller Band @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No Cover) “Bones” Miller is an excellent piano player, well versed in Professor Longhair and Allen Topussaint, but with his own distinctive style. Just ask Ruthie Foster, which whom he frequently tours. He and his band, the Re-Uptake Inhibitors, take on Southern Soul, blues, New Orleans, and the occasional Caribbean rhythms. This is a small room, but it has an ever changing selection of 20 beers on tap.

Friday, February 28

Prophets of Peace @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities funk band was reunited for last year’s Twin Cities Funk n’ Soul compilation, and has found a new audience in young folk who weren’t born when they were playing back in the early 70s. The Schooner is set up quite for music, with high-top tables in front of the small stage and small dance floor. Plus you get good value on drinks.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ Hells’ Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Hell’s Kitchen is a favorite stop for bachelorette parties, and when it is, party music is the order of the day. Well, this band’s Balkan dance music will surely fill the bill, resulting in a highly entertaining start to your evening, whether or not the bachelorettes are in attendance. Check them out in this video.

The Eddies Unplugged @ Jerabek’s,  Winifred & Stryker, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm  What’s that you say, aren’t the Eddies always unplugged? Well, almost, but this time there’s no sound system, and no electrified guitar. Plus, this gig is in the beer-less and wine-less Jerabek’s New Bohemian Coffeehouse on the West side, which means that the quality of their performance won’t be affected by the amount to alcohol you consume. Nevertheless, you’ve got the additional lure of a wonderful selection of baked goods and a chicken pot pie that’s so good, it’s sold in fancy food boutiques.

Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Sax and Flute player Doug Little’s excursions into the music of Cuba are always enjoyable, as this ensemble plays with the heart of soul of musicians who love the music. Here they are.

Saturday, March 1

Hookers & Blow @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) Adam Levy has put together a rotating cast of some of the best Twin Cities’ rockers from various groups to perform R&B from the 60s and 70s. It’s fun. It’s fabulous. It’s a dance party.

Freewheelin’ Mardis Gras @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm – 11pm ($6 after 5pm) KFAI’s Jackson Buck has put together a splendid line-up to celebrate Mardis Gras in beer-drinking style. Starting at 3pm it’s the Southside Aces, followed by the Rockin’ Pinecones at 4:30, the New Riverside Ramblers at 7pm, and Scottie “Bones” Miller Band at 9:30pm. Appropriate food from the Cajun 2 Geaux food truck.

UnknownTuesday, March 4 – Fat Tuesday

Swamp Kings @ Dixie’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) If you’re looking to celebrate Fat Tuesday with Louisiana dishes, some Abita beers, and music, then Dixie’s on Grand may fill your bill, as the three-piece Swamp Kings play that New Orleans and Swamp Pop sound.

Mardis Gras @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Mardis Gras at the Eagles is a festive event, with many participants in beads and costume. There will be free food, Cajun and Zhydeco dancin’ a’plenty, and some New Orlean’s R&B thrown in for good measure. Tonight’s bands include Ana & the Bel-Tones, Mr. Rowles, The Southside Aces, and the Rockin’ Pinecones.

Naughty Gras @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm  ($12) The Jack Brass Band has a regular gig at the ‘Dam, but tonight, for those who appreciate the uh, “bawdier” elements of Mardis Gras, they’re joined by a Burlesque show, magic, and more, including a a Crawfish Boil and Abita Beer.

Socaholix @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($7) If your Fat Tuesday celebrations run more towards Carnaval than Mardis Gras, this is the place to be as Socaholix present Island rhythms for your dancing pleasure.

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

2.19 – 2.24

February 19, 2014
Most musicians are playing indoors these days

Most musicians play indoors these days

After the sub-zero temperatures of the last few weeks, it’s good to be heading into a spell of above freezing. All the easier for you to shuck off cabin fever and get out. We’ve got jazz at a Best Steak House, a Grammy winning trumpeter, some New Music, and worldbeats, not to forget some rocking’ R&B and old timey music. Get out and enjoy yourself. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 19

Todd Harper honors this family

Todd Harper honors this family

Medium Rare: Music for the Best Steak House @ Best Steak House, 860 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 5-7:30pm (Free) Somehow I had this listed for this past Saturday. Never fear, however, as you still have time to hear Pianist/composer Todd Harper, joined by bassist Andrew Foreman, and presenting an evening of dinner music, including the premiere of a Harper composition dedicated to the owners of the Steak House – the Hatzistamoulos Family.

Pete Whitman’s Mississippi @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11pm (Donation). Pete teaches at MacNally Smith, heads up the Pete Whitman X-Tet, and can be found playing sax in a number of different aggregations. He’s an always interesting soloist, whether on ballads or barn-burners. Tonight he brings his group Mississippi to Jazz Central: Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Friday, February 21

The Bridge @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:30pm Tonight, the Bridge Series features Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brian Courage, bass; and Lars Larson, drums.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Baritone saxophonist Washington is a regular performer at the Black Dog. Tonight he’ll bring in Eric Jacobsen, sousaphone; Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion. It’s an adventurous group of musicians, all of whom are well versed in free improvisation.

Friday, Saturday, February 21, 22

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30 (Friday – $10, Saturday – $20) Zeitgeist, the contemporary music ensemble, will be presenting winning songs from their annual Eric Stokes Songwriting contest, as well as compositions and performances by vocalist Viv Cunningham and saxophonist Nathan Hanson. Cunningham is a British vocalist, composer, and sound artist who has worked internationally and recently called Minnesota home for some years. Hanson has worked with folks like Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Tayor, and Chris Potter. He’s known in the Twin Cities as part of the Fantastic Merlins, and has been praised in the music press of France. Saturday’s performance is a fund-raiser, with post-performance wine, hors d’ oeuvres and conversation with Hanson and Cunningham.

Saturday, February 22

JonPemberton-1576thJon Pemberton Trio @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jon is a triple threat: trumpet, piano, and composition, with a number of talented friends in the jazz community. Don’t know who he’ll have along tonight, though he often plays with Jimmy Wallace. The LPB can be noisy, since people seem to be their for dinner and visiting with each other, so try to get a table close to the band if going for supper.

Arne Fogel & Maude Hixson Sing Movie Songs: The Winners & Losers @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($25) Arne and Maude have an easy way on stage. Heck they’ve been doing shows together for a number of years. Tonight they celebrate Hollywood’s favorite songs – both the winners and losers of songs associated with the golden age of cinema.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) Ace trumpeter Kenny had a 5 year residency at the Artists’ Quarter, and is a co-founder of the Illicit Sextet, which released their second album last year. His Group 47 is composed of young turks from the area, but this Quartet features some mighty players with pedigrees. He’ll be joined by Billy Peterson, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, on drums.

Celebrating Seven Healthy  Years

Celebrating Seven Healthy Years

Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Patty is making her debut at the Icehouse tonight, and it’s a very special occasion – her 7th Annual Celebrate Life Concert, to commemorate seven years since her open heart surgery. She’ll have Donnie La Marca, Paul Peterson, Bobby Vandell, and Billy Franze along for the celebration. The $12 is for Music Only. A three course meal is available for $35, with a supplemental wine pairing for $15. As noted on my page for Spinning Vinyl Around Town, I’ll be deejaying for the “afterparty” at 11pm (no cover).

Saturday, Sunday, February 22, 23

Girl Talk @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($25) Charmin Michelle, Pippi Ardennia, and a band of resident All-Stars: Laura Caviani (piano), Joan Griffith (bass), Jendeen Forberg (drums) and Kathy Jensen (saxophone).

Monday, Tuesday, February 24, 25

Terence Blanchard @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Blanchard is originally from New Orleans, and was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (he replaced, and was recommended by, Wynton Marsalis). He’s written film scores, including the Grammy winning A Tale of God’s Will, an especially moving soundtrack for Spike Lee’s documentary about the affects of Hurricane Katrina. He’s won four other Grammys and has recently written an opera. All of which is a way of saying he’s extremely talented trumpeter and composer. Expect music of the highest order. Here he is with his quintet at Blues Alley in D.C.

Tuesday, February 25

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Here’s the first time that the AMO will be at the Amsterdam. Given that the crowds were growing at their monthly shows before the AQ closed, the larger venue may prove to be apt for the group. Meckler is a talented composer and arranger, and he’s managed to gather many exciting young players for this group. Plus there’s no cover! Here’s one of their songs.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police, Bebopified, and JazzInk

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 19

Maria de Barros @ The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23)  The Ordway has been imaginative in bringing world music to downtown Saint Paul, as shown in their choice of Cape Verdean singer Maria de Barros. De Barros can’t help but be influenced by Cesaria Evora, but she also integrates sounds from other parts of the world into her performance. You’ll hear influences from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean, France and Spain in her music. Opening is resident musicians Havana Hi-Fi, with the dance-centric sounds of old Cuba. Here she is.

Sue Orfield Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7 pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Orfield is a Wisconsin saxophonist who leads her own quartet in clubs in around the cheese state. She often plays with the Butanes Soul Revue, and was occasionally featured at the Artists’ Quarter. Orfield is an exciting and inventive player, with a gutsy tone. She’ll be on Harold’s House Party (90.3 or 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis to play from 7pm – 9pm.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nyes’ Polonais Room, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No cover) A couple of years ago a national men’s magazine named Nye’s as the best bar in America. And those folks hadn’t even heard Doug and the Getaways. They play music that will transport you to the bad ol’ days of the 1930s.

Wednesday, Thursday, February 19, 20

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan, & Romero Lubambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $55, $45) Isbin is a three-time Grammy winning classical guitarist, Jordan is a guitar virtuoso who introduced a new way of playing back in the 80s, and Lubambo is a Brazilian guitarist. This promises to be a unique and exciting show.

Thursday, February 20

Real-Phonic Radio Hour Presents Erik Koskinen and the Chastity Brown Duo @ James J. Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Koskinen is the music director for the Real-Phonic Radio Hour and perhaps the best country songwriter in the area. Not only that he’s a crack guitarist, attested to by his work for Trampled by Turtles, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers and a number of other acts. Chastity Brown crosses and mixes genres with ease – folk, blues, gospel, jazz, country – they’re all in her music, which is being increasingly recognized. NOTE: Because of the weather, this has been postponed until Saturday, February 22.

Friday, February 21

The New Album

The New Album

Willie Walker & Paul Metsa CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($10) Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for Goldwax back in the day, but has been living in the Twin Cities for at least 30 years. His version of You Send Me still sends thrills up my spine. Though Walker has recorded a couple of CDs under his own name as well as a couple with the Butanes, he still remains one of the best kept secrets in town, which is a shame. Metsa is an Iron Ranger who’s been performing in the Twin Cities and around the country for 30 years, winning seven Minnesota Music awards in the process. The two have been performing together for the last couple of years, creating soulful sounds in small bars, cafes, and on the Dakota stage. They’re celebrating the release of Live on Highway 55, an intimate, moving recording where Paul’s guitar provides the right support for Willie’s slightly raspy, always soulful voice.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) A fun cover band, reprising the hits of the late 60s and early 70s in an unpretentious bar where both the drinkin’ and the dancin’ are easy.

Saturday, February 22

Fifth Annual Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Swamp Pop is that genre of music that’s popular in the Cajun areas of the south. It combines the classic R&B of New Orleans with C&W, early rock n’ roll, and French influences. Think of the music of Cookie & the Cupcakes, Jimmy Clanton, and Rod Bernard. Tonight’s performers incljude Becky Thompson, Dan Newton, Mister Dan Rowles, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine, Lucinda Plaisance, and the Rockin’ Pinecones. Backed by the Swamp Poppas – Scott Yoho, Paul Gagner, Max Ray, Joe Luoma, Steve Sandberg, Eric Mohring, Gary Powell, Ted Klotz, and Karl Smelker. This is a benefit for Second Harvest Heartland.

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Corpse Reviver @ the Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Mikkel Beckman, Jillian Rae, and Adam Kiesling bring their homage to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music to the cozy, confines of the Bayport BBQ, which features a mouth-watering buffet before each show. The Bayport is a cash-only Deep Blues Juke Joint with excellent ‘Que.

Sunday, February 23

The Hula Peppers @ The Happy Gnome, Saint Paul. 2pm – 5pm  (No Cover) Dan Newton brings another of his many groups to the Gnome to play 20s and 30s dance music and Hawaiian tunes in the upstairs room at the Gnome. Flowered shirts are optional. Here’s what they sound like.

The Ericksons @ The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Close-knit sisterly harmonies from the Ericksons, in the best place in town to escape winter – the sunken garden of the conservatory at Como Park & Zoo. Wine and beer is available for purchase.

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

Dancing, Romancing, and Singing. Music: 2.12 – 2.18

February 12, 2014

imagesValentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, making for many an opportunity to hear great music while spending time with your sweetie. We also have some terrific jazz singers coming to town, as well as outstanding blues singers, and a retro/modern soul singer. Then we have some visiting jazz artists, the celebration of a new jazz record label, and a couple of vinyl nights, not to forget my own Valentine’s Day Funky Friday. Remember music can lift your spirit.


Wednesday, February 12

Chris Bates 1 year anniversary of Magica Improvisado @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11pm (Donation). 2nd Wed of each month. To celebrate, Chris has gathered a number of young musicians, including: Chris Bates – bass; Cory Healy – drums; Joe Strachan – piano; and Jake Baldwin – trumpet. They’ll be performing mostly original music.

Note: This gig has been postponed, since both artists are stranded in Atlanta as a result of the snowstorm there.  Dionne Farris and Russell Gunn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm ($32) Farris is known as a pop and soul singer, with a couple of Grammy nominations to her credit, as well as contributing vocals for Tennesse, the hit single from hip-hops Arrested Development. Gunn is a trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist who first gained attention playing on the Wynton marsalis album Blood on the Fields.  He’s also received a Grammy nomination for  the first album in his Ethnomusicology series. After Gunn and Farris worked together for a performance in Atlanta, the two recorded an album together, Dionne, Get Your Gunn, recasting the pop/soul songs of Farris as jazz numbers. The results have been well reviewed. Here’s a preview of what they will sound like.

Thursday, February 13

Kurt Elling @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) There wouldn’t be much of an argument among jazz fans that Elling may be the best male jazz singer out there at the moment. He’s got a rich baritone and is about as hip a singer as can be. Chek him out.

Valentine Eve’s Revue w/Retro Swing Sister @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 donation) Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie bring their sophisticated swing from the 30s through the 50s to the basement room for a pre-Valentine’s evening. They’ll have Doug gaining, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Kent Saunders, drums; to provide the music for their vocals.

Saturday, February 15

Shifting Paradigm Records Launch Party @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 5p-10p. ($10) It’s a mini-jazz-fest of sorts, featuring five powerhouse acts on this new label label, with sets by Fat Kid Wednesdays, Atlantis Quartet, Bryan Nichols Quartet, Graydon Peterson Quartet, & the Zacc Harris Group. That’s five top notch jazz groups in one evening, all for just $10. In addition, there will be special promotions on CDs at the show. It’s being hyped as the biggest night of Twin Cities Jazz this Winter, and that is very likely true.

Sunday, February 16

Gregory Porter @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42)  Porter is an up and coming jazz singer with a talent for writing groove laden, direct songs that go straight to the heart and the head. He’s been profiled in Jazz Times and the Wall Street Journal, nominated for a couple of Grammys, and will be at a number of jazz festivals this summer. Catch him on the way up.

Monday, February 17

Adam Meckler @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Trumpeter Meckler takes time out from his various projects for a turn as a soloist with the JC rhythm section. There’ll be some standards and originals, and a friendly jam at about 10pm.

Illicit Sextet @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8?) The always exciting Sextet brings their original music to the Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse. They’ll play one set, followed by a new ensemble from Adam Linz, which is another reason to attend.

Tuesday, February 18

Benje Daneman Quartet & the Jana Nyberg Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) In case you missed Adam Meckler last night, he’ll be performing with his wife Jana Nyberg tonight. He’ll also guest on a couple of tunes by his middle school buddy, trumpeter Benje Daneman, who is currently on a midwest tour with his quartet: Chicago-based pianist Rob Clearfield; drummer Christian Euman; and NYC bassist Sam Weber. Of course there are the sultry vocals of Ms Nyberg also calling to listeners.  Here’s a video for one of Daneman’s ethereal compositions.

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 Police, Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 12

Definitely Old School

Definitely Old School

Foghorn String Band & the Cactus Blossoms @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. ($15) Portland’s Foghorn String band plays the kind of music you would hear on Southern radio in the 1930s, playing in front of a single microphone. Of course, this being 2014, they play with lots of energy. The Twin Towns own Cactus Blossoms bring their traditional sounding original country music to the stage as openers. 

Thursday, February 13

Mayer Hawthorne @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) The Ann Arbor musician knows his way around Motown, Philly, and other Northern Soul genres, which are, at the very least, implied in his original compositions, making for highly danceable albums. Here’s an example.

The Valentine’s Day Heart and Soul Happening @ Clubhouse Jaeger, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am. ($?) Here’s a chance to slow dance the night away, and it isn’t a wedding. Deejays Rambo Salinas, Dale Burback, and Freddy Fresh will be spinning sweet soul 45s, along with some Chicano rolls. Special guest Bob Abrahamian will be coming up from Chicago where he hosts “Sitting in the Park” on WHPK.

Friday, February 14

Lucy Michelle’s Valentine Mixtape: C&W Edition @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($14 advance, $16 day of show) So the age of digital music on our phones and other tiny devices seems to have left the old idea of mix tapes behind, though the truly romantic music nerds among us will still come up with one from time to time. tonight songstress Lucy Michelle curates an evening of country & western music for Valentines day, featuring Frankie Lee and the Decade and Lucy singing with the Blackberry Brandy Boys. John Mark Nelson and the Cactus Blossoms will also make appearances. Whether you are with someone special or not, you are encouraged to bring your ideal Valentine’s Day Mixtape to swap with other attendees, or, who knows, you may find someone special who deserves your gift.

Worldwide Discoteque Afro Latin Valentine’s Dance @ Clubhouse Jaeger, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) Deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engel will be spinning vinyl artifacts from around the world to get you heart pumping, your feet jumping, and body moving. Bring a date, find a date, or simply groove the night away to sounds form Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa, and Central and South America.

The Ericksons @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) This late night showcase may be just the thing to round out a Valentine’s evening. The sisterly harmonies of the Ericksons can make the darkest subjects seem light. Rachel Reis opens.

Saturday, February 15

Dean Magraw & Peter Ostroushko @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm – doors @ 7:30  ($15) A Dynamic Duo if there ever was one. Magraw on guitar and Ostroushko on mandolin and fiddle will raise the roof on the small wine bar.

Unknown-1The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank @ the Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8 advance/$10 door) Teague and Ian Thomas Alexy have created a roots music project that features their distinctively MN outlook, even though their first CD was recorded in Brooklyn. They’ve been on the road and it’s good to have them back, now with a new album, Number lone Contender, recorded in the North Woods. This is part of a new Tap Room Concert Series, which tonight features Collen Myhre as an opening act,.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Nemeth is a singer and harp player who has been gaining lots of attention. His fans include RJ Mischo, Charlie Musselwhite and Junior Watson. He’s been nominated for a bunch of blues awards this year, including best Male Blues Artist, Best Soul blues Album (Soul Live), and Most Outstanding Blues Singer. Esquire magazine will be featuring a cut from his upcoming album Memphis Grease for their readers. If you missed Stevie Ray Vaughn when he played the old Union Bar, get out to hear Nemeth – he’s got the same potential for blowing you away.

Sunday, February 16
Cafe Accordion Orchestra at McNeely Conservatory, Como Park, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30 (Free) Soak in the humidity of the Conservatory and dance to the music of CAO, including French Musettes, Columbian Cumbias, and music from other exotic climes.

Eclectic Tuba @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm doors ($10) Here’s a new kind of tuba-based instrumental group, one that is psychedelic, funky, whose performance is described as “trippy lights, ripping synthesizers, funky tuba loops, latin percussion grooves, and soaring saxophone solos.” You can see a video with samples here. Opening acts are Surgery at the Hands of Machines, described as electronic instrumental Arabian Desert Pop, and Good Diction, a rhythm and blues-grass sextet!

Unknown-2Monday, February 17

Eric Bibb & Ruthie Foster @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37 – $42), 9pm ($30 – $40) What a great pairing. Two highly personable performers of folk-blues, both of whom are also great storytellers. From blues to soul to gospel, expect a spirited, joyful evening.

For a more comprehensive listing 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.

To Dance is to Live! Music: 2.5 – 2.11

February 5, 2014
To live is to dance!

To live is to dance!

Quite the mix of music this week, with bagpipes, slack key guitar, and South African acapella artists coming to town, as well as some outstanding jazz from resident artists, and at least three occasions to polish up your dancing shoes. Stay warm and let the music lift your spirit.


Wednesday, February 5
Joel Shapira Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (tip Jar) A quartet of Twin Cities Talent with a capital T. Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Gypsy Mania @ Barbette, Minnbeapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Some late night gypsy jazz from Glen Helgesen and Reynold Philipsek on guitars; Matt Senjem, bass; and Gary Shulte, violin. Just the right music for the French-inspired victuals at Barbette.

Young and old swing out at the Caves

Young and old swing out at the Caves

Thursday, February 6
Moonlight Serenaders @ The Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) Join the young folk in swing dancing to the sounds of a big band, featuring the vocals of Lee Engele.

 The Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Trumpeter Geoff Senn and percussionist Mac Santiago have gathered 18 of the area’s top musicians to form this new band. This is an open rehearsal and any donations will be used to get more music for the band. It will be a unique experience.

Friday, February 7

Winter Jazz Break @ the Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is presenting a special night of music. In addition to JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the hotel’s lobby bar, pianist John Weber will be playing in the promenade ballroom. It’s $5 to see John, and, if you wish, you can also donate to the Festival. As usual, the cost of seeing JoAnn and Jeff is dependent on what you order from the bar.

The Bridge @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm ($10 suggested donation) With the closing of the AQ folks are trying to fill the gap with a Friday night series (The Bridge) featuring many of the musicians that played the AQ. Each week will feature a different cast of musicians. Tonight it’s Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Cory Healey on drums. They’ll be followed at 8pm by the Southside Combo ($5 suggested) being presented as part of the Jazz Police Young Artist Series.
Photo by Andrfea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Courageous Endeavors @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Bassist Brian Courage and his group bring some young jazz to the late night scene at the Dakota. Besides Brian, the group includes Miguel Hurtado, drums; Joe Strachan, piano; and Nelson Devereaux on sax.

Friday, Saturday, February 7, 8
Bryan Nichols & James Buckley @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 9:30pm (No Cover) There’s no cover, but you be warned that you may need dinner reservations if you want to be close enough to appreciate the artistry of Nichols on piano and Buckley on bass.

Sunday, February 9
Fuzzy Math @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 4-6pm (Tip Jar) Spend a Sunday afternoon listening to original jazz from this quartet of Mark Venderhyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harold Bondaris, drums.

Monday, February 10
Regional Jazz Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Anthony Cox, bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates on drums  – three internationally known artists playing modern jazz. Here’s Cox playing with a couple of other outstanding resident musicians.

Paul Renz Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Paul is an exquisite guitarist who has recorded a half dozen or so well-recieved CDs. He regularly tours the East Coast, teaches as MacPhail, and is head of jazz studies at the West Bank School of 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, and Other…

Wednesday, February 5
George Kahumoku Jr. & Leward Kaapana @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Ahhh, just what is needed for the dead of winter – a concert of Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukelel music, straight from the Islands. Get out those flowered shirts and dream.

Thursday, February 6
Paul Cebar @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Paul is celebrating the release of Fine Rude Thing, his new release that showcases his ability to mix R&$B, Caribbean, and New Orleans rhythms into an intoxicating blend of danceable music. His fans include folks like Nick Lowe, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Ely, and Los Lobos, not to mention the crowds that come out every time he’s in town. Here he is performing a song from the new CD.

Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 9pm – 11pm (No Cover) Javier and the Sons play the blues, featuring the haunting vocals and guitar of Javier Matos. There’s a bit of jump and swing to their music, though Washington Square lacks a dance floor. Still, there’s a nice selection of beers and some decent food. Helping things out will be Hurricane Harold on harp.

Friday, February 7
Jim Ruiz Set w/Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($7) Ruiz is a singer/songwriter with a voice that recalls a mellow Ray Davies of the Kinks. His songs tend to be mellow as well, in a jazzy loungy, folk-rock kind of way, with interesting lyrics. Bethany Larson has been called one of the Twin Cities Best Kept Secrets. Her country-ish songs of longing and heartbreak have garnered rave reviews and many fans. You may want to get a reservation, since the Aster is somewhat tiny.

Saturday, February 8

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:45pm ($10) Another opportunity to wear out the leather on your dancing shoes. Davina is a powerful singer and pianist, and together with her crack band, plays rompin’ stompin’ music. She and the boys are just back from Finland. If you’ve never heard this band, check out this video.

Sunday, February 9

Who Nu w/Dorothy Doring, Dee Miller, & Donald Thomas @ McCarron’s Pub & Grill, 1986 Rice Street, Saint Paul. 3pm – 7pm. I have to admit I’m not familiar with Who Nu, but judging by the caliber of the guest vocalists, I’ll bet it’s a funky R&B band. Dorothy Doring is equally at home in blues and jazz. Donald Thomas is a jazz singer/drummer with an R&B bent, and Dee Miller can belt the blues with the best of them, though I suspect she can also handle more sophisticated fare.  Sounds like a good way to while away a winter afternoon.

Carlos Núñez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) And now for something completely different – Gallician bagpipes. Núńez hails from Gallicia, in the Northern area of Spain, where they’ve been playing pipes for over a thousand years. He’s recorded and toured with the Chieftans and is very popular throughout Europe and Latin America.

LadySmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23) The deep sonorous voices of this all-male a cappella group from South Africa resonates with audiences throughout the world. Joseph Shambala started the group after having a dream one night, and worked to get just the right combination of voices. Hard to believe they’ll be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Watch them perform their magic.

Monday, February 10
Pete Hennig and his Blue Grass Bandits @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8-10pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Pete Hennig is versatile: he’s in the Atlantis Quartet, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, and numerous other bands. He is also a banjo player and has put together a group to release his inner hillbilly: Shane Akers – dobro; Blair Krivanek, guitar & mandolin; and Neil Powell, upright bass.

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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