Valentine’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.
Blues, Roots, and Other…
Wednesday, February 12
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.
The 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!
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.