Lent is now upon us, and to quote George Harrison, “I feel the ice is slowly melting.” This brings us a few opportunities to celebrate, what with a Brazilian Carnaval experience, a blues revue, and a visiting Cajun/Creole musician. We also have a much-talked-about young jazz singer coming to town, and a bevy of performances from residential artists. Thanks to Teresa Boardman for the use of her photo of sunrise over Saint Paul. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, March 5
Debbie Duncan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Ballads, bebop, blues and more. Duncan is a master at each, bringing a bit of sass, but more importantly, an deep understanding of each song she sings.
Anthony Cox Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) The first Wednesday of each month, Cox brings together a number of talents from different genres to collaborate. Dialogue with the audience is encouraged.
Thursday, March 6
Lila Ammons & Thom West @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:00pm (Donation) Ammons started out singing classical music, before turning to classic blues, for which she’s become popular in Europe after touring with pianist Axel Zwingenberger and drummer Charlie Watts. Though she’s kept a low profile here in the Twin Cities, Ammons is a first rate jazz singer, with a CD that features Houston Person. She’ll be joined by pianist Thom West for this vocal night at Jazz Central. Learn more about her from an interview I did a couple of years ago.
Carlo Gesualdo Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm – 11:30pm (donation) And now for something completely different. As described on the Jazz Central website, the Carlo Gesualdo Band plays the music of the 16th/17th century Italian composer/murderer/visionary Carlo Gesualdo. Andrew Bergmann is a bassist, composer, and Massachusetts native who has arranged this strange and harmonically adventurous vocal music for a free-wheeling instrumental jazz-rock quintet that includes Scott Fultz, sax; Sean Roderick, piano; Park Evans, guitar; and Adam Patterson, drums.
Friday, March 7
Harrelson Trumpets Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Donation) The trumpet manufacturer presents a night of trumpet duets, featuring Harrelson friends and family — Jason Harrelson, Christine Palmer, Mark Bobnick, Todd Tanji, Leighton Tuenge and Greg Zent.
Saturday, March 8
Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.7 pm – 10pm. Pianist Hobert is a talented young musician who also plays accordion in Lulu’s Playground and leads a playful group called Firefly. He can support a big band (The Adam Meckler Orchestra), a combo, or play solo, where his sometimes ethereal, and often impressionistic playing is best heard. He recently returned from a tour of Japan. Though he’ll mostly be playing solo, some friends will be joining him tonight. Here’s an example of his playing.
Erick Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Studio Z, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Free workshop at 6pm. This edition of Source Code includes Solomon Parham on trumpet, Dave Graf on Trombone, and Ron Evaniuk on bass. Gravatt is a ferocious drummer, which doesn’t mean he can’t show some restraint when the music warrants it. He made a name for himself playing with Weather Report on I Sing the Body Electric, and has played with a who’s who of jazz artists.
Sunday, March 9
Cecile McLorin Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm Salvant is an up and coming Grammy-nominated jazz singer who is receiving raves from the NY Times and others for extending the heritage of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She writes her own songs but also put her own, very original stamp on standards, communicating modern sensibilities through the Great American Songbook. See her now, before she outgrows clubs. Here’s an example.
Monday, March 10
Enormous Quartet and Beast @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. ($8) The Enormous Quartet is Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; and Joey Van Phillips, drums. Beast is a Brian Courage trio, with a second bassist and a drummer.
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, March 5
Nikki & the RueMates and Peace Life @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($4) An evening of folk, folk rock, and blues. Life is a folk duo consisting of Jack on acoustic Guitar and Tess’ailene on vocals. I’ve written of Nikki & the Ruemates before, though tonight it’s really just Nikki & Rich. The two duos will also be performing together on a song or two, causing Nikki to dub the four as the PeaceMates.
Midweek Mambo w/Charanguita @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Despite the name, this is a salsa dance party. The action starts with a deejay and dance lessons at 9, and then six-piece core of Charanga Tropical (hence Charanguita) takes the stage shortly before 10 to play for salsa dancers until midnight.
Thursday, March 6
Ben Abrahamson Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Abrahamson is a stellar guitarist and composer who specializes in flamenco, having studied in Barcelona. Tonight he crosses and blends music genres as he gathers Max Corcoran, sax; Cory Grossman, cello; and Thomas Nordlund, guitar; for an evening of new compositions influenced by flamenco, jazz, and avant-garde music.
Friday, March 7
“We Beat Winter” Party w/Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. The forecast calls for temps above freezing this weekend, so it may be that we have really Beat Winter. Celebrate with Scottie Miller, piano, vocals; Doug Otto, guitar, vocals; Jeremy Johnson, guitar; Good Time Willy, guitar & vocals; Bill Black, bass; and Hurricane Harold on harp.
Joe Louis Walker @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Walker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame last year, an honor that is well deserved, though he’s probably more well known in Europe than in the US. Born in 1949, he’s part of the second generation of bluesmen. By the time he was 19 he had been onstage with John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, The Soul Stirrers and Thelonious Monk. He also became a friend a roommate to Michail Bloomfield, whose death was the impetus for earning degrees in English and music, and performing with a gospel group. Walker returned to the blues in a big way in 1985, and has recorded eleven albums since then. Here he is showing a bit of influence from T-Bone Walker.
Black Oak Arkansas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($25adv/$27Door) They may not be the Dead, but these Southern party rockers have had a long strange trip of their own – formed in ’63 while in high school, they were eventually signed to Atlantic by Ahmet Ertegun, had 3 gold albums, and a gold single recorded (Jim Dandy to the Rescue, a ’57 hit for LaVern Baker) on the advice of Elvis Presley. Fans have included Bill Graham and Betty Ford, as well as Bill Clinton, and a slew of folk who came of age in the 70s.
Saturday, March 8
Carnaval Brasiilero @ Muse Event Center, 107 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis. 2pm – 5pm (Family Matinee – $10 advance/$15 door) 9pm – 2am(18+, $17 Advance, $25 door). This is the 12th Annual Brazilian Carnaval. It’s hosted by Robert Everest and Beira Mar Brasil, a ten-piece band. They’ll be joined by singer/dancer Dandara Odara from Bahia, and will have food, drink, Carnaval masks, and more.
Maurice Jacox @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) I’ve been posting Maurice’s gigs quite a bit lately, but only because he’s so versatile and has performed in a variety of settings, from R&B horn bands to intimate duos, to singing with Nachito Herrera and the Cuban National Symphony. Tonight he’s appearing in a new configuration, with the under-rated and very fine guitarist, Bobby E, along with Tom Wells on Tuba,which will certainly add interest to the proceedings.
Viva Brazil @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Here’s another Brazilian group that is worth seeing. Viva Brazil plays Brazilian Popular Music, aka BPM, which includes sambas, funk, & jazz in both Portuguese and English. The group includes Will Lopes, vocals; Altamir Coelho, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Josue Alfaro, percussion; Cory Wong, guitar; and Dan Musselman, keyboards.
Sunday, March 9
Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 advance/$18 door) A talented, relatively young musician, Watson is a fiddler, vocalist, and accordionist, who brings his own lively and imaginative perspective to traditional Cajun and Creole songs.
Tuesday, March 11
Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The fingerpicking ace provides interesting, intricate music for diners. Get a reservation and tell them you want to sit near the music.
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.