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
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
Jon 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.
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
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.
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.