The Twin Cities continues to jump with music, and just like the ol’ Moondog, the pioneering Alan Freed, we’ve got Blues, Rhythm, and Jazz. We also have a visiting honky tonk inventor, a charming singer/songwriter, a gig with a trio of funky sounds and even a noontime classical concert. Get out and enjoy yourself. Music has the power to lift your spirits.
Wednesday, March 19
Sue Oatts with the Woverines Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sue has a winning way with lyrics, and the ever-steady, and always ready Wolverines are masters of accompaniment, and pretty mean players by themselves.
Zacc Harris Trio @ Café Maude, Minneapollis. 7pm (No Cover) Guitarist Zacc & his mates (Matt Peterson on bass and Pete Hennig on drums) travel a bit westward to play at this popular restaurant. Ask for a table near the band or sit at the bar.
Byron Johnson-Blanchard Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (tip Jar) Byron is a young drummer who plays with High & Mighty and other groups and is beginning to regularly gig around town with his quartet featuring David Hirsch, sax; Thomas Nordlund, guitar, and Andrew Foreman, bass.
Jazz Finest Big Band w/Special Guest Lila Ammons @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($12) This is a project of tenor sax man James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace and his wife Pennie, and features Jim TenBensel directing the band. I’ve written about Ammons before, a singer of classic blues and boogie woogie as well as jazz. There’ll be dance lessons from 8-9pm.
Thursday, March 20
Jazz @ Christos w/Alicia Renee & Chris Lomheim, Union Depot, Saint Paul. 6:00pm – 8:00pm Stick around downtown after work to enjoy the vocals of the talented Ms Renee, and the piano artistry of Chris Lomheim.
Barbara Meyer & Liz Lupien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10 suggested donation) Vocalist Meyer and pianist Lupien shares songs about travel from the Great American Songbook in a cabaret show entitled, “Let’s Get Away!”
Friday, March 21
The Bridge Series @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10 – Suggested Donation) This series is designed to “bridge” the absence of the Artists’ Quarter. This week features the Adam Meckler Quintet, with Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums. I expect the musicianship will be high and the creativity overflowing.
Rhonda Laurie Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) Sophisticated vocals from Laurie in a sophisticated, yet comfortable setting, accompanied by the wonderful pianist Mary Louise Knutson, just off a tour with Doc Severinson, and Steve Pikal, the happiest bassist around, who is just off a tour with the Barbary Coast Show Band.
Courageous Endeavors @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30 ($5) New original music from a quartet of young musicians who are creating jazz for the 21st Century. Nelson Devereaux, sax; Brian Courage, bass; Joe Strachan, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here they are performing Herbie Hancock’s Maiden Voyage:
Sunday, March 23
Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) A couple of Minnesota Treasures. Thompson is a marvelous piano player as well as clarinet player, whose command of early styles is legendary. Grammy winning guitarist Donahue is a master finger-picker, which was proven when he won the National Championship some year back. Their recent album, Vicksburg Blues, is a delight.
Monday, March 2
Chris Olson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Guitarist Olson teaches at both McNally Smith and MacPhail, and his facile fretwork is well displayed in the trio Framework and the quartet Meantime. Tonight he’ll be joined by Tanner Taylor, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. Here is Chris with Framework:
Joel Shapira & Dean Magraw @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Cool guitar music for this late night happy hour spot. Shapira is a master of the nylon string, while Magraw is always full of musical ideas, whether he’s playing Celtic music, worldbeats, jazz fusion, or straight ahead swing.
Tuesday, March 25
Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler writes interesting arrangements as well as interesting compositions, and he’s managed to snag 18 talented musicians to play them. These guys are close to raising their Kickstarter goal to record an album. You can get a preview by attending tonight.
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 19
Junior Brown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Brown’s standing as one of the best guitarists in country music has been long established. The inventor of the guit-steel, a double-neck hybrid combining a steel and six-string guitar is more honky-tonk and rock n’ roll than countrypolitan, which may be why he’s been lauded by rock critics as well as older country fans.
PaviElle @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) PaviElle is a young soul singer who uses modern rhythms to support her old school singing. She’s got a crack band that provides fine support, whether she’s recasting a Fleetwood Mac song in soulful terms, singing an original, or jamming a la Funkadelic.
Thursday, March 20
The Schubert Club Courtroom Concert @ Room 317, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Two Duos. Baritone Steve Marking and pianist Donald Livingston perform songs by both Charles Ives and Lee Hoiby, while Kairos – Preston Duncan on saxophone and Ann DuHamel on piano – perform Sonata by William Albright and Klonos by Piet Swerts
Charlie Lawson & Mikkel Beckman @ the Dubliner, University & Vandalia, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (No Cover) Lawson is a bluesman with a ferocious attack as a vocalist and guitarist. Beckman, who hosts a weekly show here, plays the rub board, small percussion, and any other down-home utensil he can find, including a refrigerator door, which I’m told will be on hand tonight. Whether it’s a full-size refrigerator, or a dorm-sized one, we’ll have to wait and see.
Fathom Lane, Communist Daughter, and Taj Raj @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12) A concert sure to appeal to music lovers with wide tastes. Communist Daughter, the indie rock band that’s garnered national attention and just returned from South by Southwest is headlining. Fathom Lane, with their chamber-folk meets Gram Parsons music is second, while the rootsy Taj Raj uses elements of 70’s, from pop. to country, to folk-rock.
Friday, March 21
Beverly McClellan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35) Last time in town, McClellan charmed the audience with her forthright personality, raspy voice, and direct lyrics. She was one of the final four on tv’s The Voice, and is deserving of wider recognition. There is no doubt she’ll get it.
Nick Moss Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) Moss plays a blend of classic Chicago blues and jam-oriented blues rock, using his firery guitar playing to win over jam-band lovers to the blues, and blues fans to the jam-band esthetic. Wilebeski’s early shows allows those of us of a certain age to get some sleep, while younger listeners can catch more music.
Saturday, March 22
Banjo Songwriter Night with Mother Banjo & Anthony Ihrig @ the 318 Café, Excelsior. 8pm ($7) Who knew the banjo could be used to create original songs? Mother Banjo & Anthony Ihrig, for two. Anthony will be accompanied by Dan Christensen-Cowan on the upright acoustic bass, while Mother Banjo will be joined by Dan Gaarder on guitar as each duo demonstrates the use of this much maligned instrument as a songwriter’s tool. The 318 is an intimate space with limited seating, so reservations are recommended at 952-401-7902.
New Sound Underground, Black Market Brass, & Pho @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) New Sound Underground is an six piece instrumental funk band whose members have played in jazz, reggae, funk, and salsa bands. Black Market Brass is a 10 piece that performs Afrobeat, that irresistible combination of funk and African rhythms, while Pho is a nine piece that mines jazzy funk, neo-soul, and underground hip-hop. Here’s a video of New Sound Underground.
Barely Bros Records Grand Opening Party, 763 Raynmond Avenue, Saint Paul. 10am – 9pm. Vinyl aficionados are rejoicing over another store devoted to both new and old LPs and 45s. To celebrate, owners Mike Elias and Spencer Brooks are bringing in the following bands:
Matt Arthur & the Bratlanders at 12:00, Jon Rodine at 2:00, Brian Drake & the April Fools at 3:00, CP Lawson at 4:00, Nikki & the Ruemates at 5:00, M.O.R.T (The Mystic Order of Reverb and Twang) at 6:00, and Eleganza at 7:00
Monday, March 24
Millie & the Mill City Cajun Heavyweights @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Well it’s been a couple of weeks since the Mardis Gras celebrations, and some folks are itching to do some Cajun Two-steps, Waltzes, and twirls. Millie and the boys will help you do just that.
Tuesday, March 25
L.P. Music @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8 Advance/$10 door) It’s a Minnesota All-Star group playing improvised funk: Erik Leeds, sax, flute, vocals; Paul Peterson, bass, guitar; Peter Schimke, keys; and Stokely Williams, drums, percussion, & vocals.
Beijing Punk and Indie Rock on Film @ The Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8advance/$10door) Two Beijing groups will be performing in Mpls in a couple of days, so this is a chance to get some background on the punk and indie rock subculture of China. There will be a 2010 feature documentary entitled “Beijing Punk” as well as an award winning 2013 short, and short films, as well as a Q&A with Danny Sigelman, local DJ and writer who deejayed in Bejing.
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.