Dance, Dance, Dance. Music: 4.30 – 5.6

April 30, 2014
Back-flips are optional

Back-flips are optional

This seems to be an especially good week for folks who like to dance, whether they swing dance, do the two step, or hit the dance floor to cajun & zydeco, or Latin music. We’ve five events dedicated to dancers and a few others where dancing could erupt. We’ve also got a fine selection of listening events, including a Women in Jazz workshop aimed at young female musicians. All, in all, another good week of music in the Twin Cities. Music can lift your spirits.


Wednesday, April 30 – International Jazz Day

Friends of Foreman @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) That’s friends of bassist Andrew Foreman, including Dave Feily guitar; Zach Schmidt, drums; and Dan Musselman on piano. They improvise on modern Jazz, indie-rock, and alt-pop, as well as original compositions.

Kevin Gastonguay Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:00pm ($10 Donation)  Pianist Gastonguay has garnered acclaim at festivals in Detroit Lakes and Sioux Fall, as well as at the 2010 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Here in town, he’s played with Cory Wong, Kevin Washington, Jay Young, and mangy others. He’ll be joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums; and Andrew Bergmann, bass.

Evans Courage Hennig @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Late night music from a new trio, though each of them have been playing around town for years. Park Evans is a guitarist with taste, who can bring the fire any time he wishes. Brian Courage has become a go-to guy on bass since his arrival in town a few years ago. Hennig is the drummer for modern jazz group Atlantis Quartet, as well as the punk/blues band Crankshaft and the Grinders. Will make for an interesting evening at this uptown bistro.

Thursday, May 1

Moonlight Serenaders @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) Here’s your mid-week big band fix, complete with swing dancers of all ages, a venue with a haunted past, and Lee Engele, a “canary” (as female big band singers were once known) who can swing with ease. Here’s the band, with Lee singing a classic number, at the Caves.

Friday, May 2

Kenny in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Kenny in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Kenny Horst & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Donation) Though he may have closed the Artists’ Quarter, drummer Kenny Horst doesn’t appear ready to fully retire. He’s gathered Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Brian Courage, bass; to back him as he returns to performing. It will be a swingin’ evening of straight-ahead jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ TheBlack Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Six imaginative improvisers who only play their own, original music. Consider their membership:  Steve Kenny, trumpet and fluegelhorn; Paul Harper, sax; David Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Byron Jonson-Blanchard Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Donation) Drummer Johnson-Blanchard’s quartet comes to the late night show at JC. The young percussionist (a 2008 grad of McNally Smith) plays around town in various groups, most steadily with the R&B horn band High and Mighty. Tonight he’s joined by cohorts David Hirsch, sax; Thomas Nordlund guitar; and Andrew Foreman, bass.

Saturday, May 3

Women In Jazz Workshop & Concert @ Maplewood Community Center, Maplewood. 2-4:30 workshop (free) 7pm concert ($20/adult, $10/student, free w/workshop) Pippi Ardennia’s non-profit, PipJazz and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education are teaming up to present a workshop introducing young female musicians to the women who have contributed to the growth of jazz as performers, composers, and bandleaders. The workshop will feature a history of women in jazz and end with an open jam session. then at 7pm the women leading the workshop will perform an evening concert. Participants include vocalists Pippi Ardennia and Patty Peterson, Kathy Jensen, sax; Laura Caviani, piano; Joan Griffith, bass, and drummer Sheila Earley. A special guest will be saxophonist Ebony Rainwater, a student at Sibley High School. Register for the workshop at:

Paul Renz Quartet @ Rosemount Steeple Center, 14375 S. Robert Trail, Rosemount. 7pm ($5) Guitarist Paul Renz  uietly goes about teaching, regularly records, and tours the East Coast every now and then. This is a rare area performance by Renz, who is joined by Baltimore pianist Alan Blackman; Josh Granowski, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums.

Monday, May 5

Peter Vircks Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Vircks is a busy sax-man about town, recording and performing with groups ranging from Doug Little to Moveable Feast, Park Evans, and the percussive dance group Rhythmic Circus. His recent album What You Believe is True, has received praise from critics and musicians alike. He’ll be joined by Kevin Washington, drums; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Brian Ziemniak, piano. Here he is performing a classic in a guitar/sax duo.


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, Other…

Wednesday, April 30

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($5) Guitarist Joe Demko and his quartet play romantic music, as well as swing, boogie boogie, and jump blues. It’s perfect for the swing dancers and folks who, to quote a Sinatra song, know that “what is dancin’ but making love set to music, playing.” Here’s an example.


Lisa Wenger & Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaws, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) Vocalist Wenger has sung the blues at area festivals, on the national blues circuit, and at Sturgis. Her approach to blues singing is direct, and appeals to a wide variety of listeners. She surrounds herself with a talented band, too.

Thursday, May 1

UnknownKate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows Present a Dinner Dance @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Music only, $45 Music + 3 course Prix Fixe dinner).  Here’s an fun concept presented by a group that brings a fresh approach to jazz and pop from the 1920s to the 1950s. There’s a dinner set starting at 7pm, then at 8pm there’s be an abbreviated dance lesson for folks who need a refresher in basic dance steps, followed at 8:15 by a dance set from the band. Think of it as a “wedding dance without the wedding.”


Swamp Poppas @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm ($5) Karl Smelker leads this quartet in an evening of, what else, Swamp Pop, that mixture of Cajun music with Rock n’ Roll and the R&B of New Orleans. The resulting plaintive ballads and uptempo numbers will fill the dance floor with swing dancers, Cajun two-steppers, and couples who take delight in simply gliding around the dance floor.

Friday, May 2

Chico Chavez & Guayaba @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) Twin cities based Peruvian percussionist Chico Chavez has put together an 8-piece band to play Andean and Amazonian music known as “chicha.” It’s mostly a mix of mid-tempo Cumbia rhythms and slightly psychedelic guitars, with some songs that touch on other tropical rhythms. Get a taste of their music on their website

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) It’s another Freewheelin’ Friday from KFAI’s Jackson Buck, tonight featuring Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, with opener Dave Babb & Friends. Kaul plays fingerpicks a resonator guitar, and with the backing of the Brass Kings (Mikkel Beckman, washboard, found objects; Brad Ptacek, washtub bass; Jillian Rae, country/psychedelic fiddle) takes the music far beyond your typical acoustic realms. The evening starts of with Dave Babb, of the Liquor Pigs, and some of his friends. Of course, there’ll be a food truck available. Let’s hope the weather allows the warehouse doors to be open.

A new fashion trend?

M.O.R.T sporting a new fashion trend

Mystic Order of Reverb & Twang @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) M.O.R.T brings a batch of rockabilly and reverb-heavy surf music to the east metro. The middle-aged crowd at the Station is perhaps more used to the likes of Motown & bluesy rock, but the insistent bass and cheeky guitars of M.O.R.T. is sure to have them crowding the small dance floor.

Ray Bonneville CD Release @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 9pm ($12) Bonneville is known as a “roaming musician” who records for Saint Paul’s Red House Records. He’s Canadian by birth, is a Vietnam vet, drove a taxicab, and served as a bush pilot in Canada. He’s an acoustic bluesman who has won awards for his work and is heavily influenced by the music of New Orleans, where he spent time in the 1980s. The new CD is entitled “Easy Gone.” Here’s a video of Bonneville in action.


Saturday, May 3

For Pete’s Sake @ The Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($30) Pete Seeger would have been 95 on this date, and Minnesota singer/songwriter Larry Long, a long-time friend, has brought together a colorful cast of musicians, activists and narrators to celebrate all the phases of Pete’s life through song, stories, and spoken narratives. The cast ranges from former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayle-Belton and Poet Louis Alemayehu, to musicians such as Robert Robinson, Prudence Johnson, Tony Glover, Estaire Godinez, Chastity Brown, Peter Ostroushko, Long himself, and many, many more. Seeger is known as the “Father of American folk music” and influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Bruce Springsteen and thousands of budding musicians. Governor Dayton has proclaimed May 3 as “Pete Seeger Day” in Minnesota.

Unknown-3Sonny Knight & the Lakers Record Release @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm Door. ($10 Advance/$15 Door) Knight is another story of a “rediscovered” soul singer. He finally has a debut album after recording his first single over 50 years ago. The album, I’m Still Here, is a slice of funk and soul that will surely appeal to both boomers and today’s hipsters. This is going to be a big bash, what with the Honeydogs and Southside Desire opening.

Dad Horse Experience @ Bayport BBQ & Nashville Hot Chicken, Bayport. 8pm ($8) Owner Chris Johnson has added Nashville hot chicken to his BBQ, and continues to bring us outsider music that’s accessible in its own weird way. Example number one: Dad Horse Experience, a one-man band (banjo, kazoo, bass pedal) from Bremen, Germany, playing Gospel music that you’d never hear in a church. He sings and howls as if alone in a dark basement, desperately seeking redemption from a life of hard, hard sin. Definitely the under-the-radar gig of the week. Check out this video to see what I mean.



Sunday, May 4

Paul Thorn @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($23) Some guys are just able to sing the truth. Thorn is one of them – a former boxer who’s dad was a Pentacosal minister, and who had an uncle who was a pimp. Their advice and influence forms the basis for his bluesy Americana. He also does a terrific and often funny job of introducing his songs. Here’s an example.


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.


It’s Officially Spring! Music: 4.23 – 4.29

April 23, 2014
Painting by Ta-coumba Aiken. To be exhibited at Artist Mercantile.

Painting by Ta-coumba Aiken. To be exhibited at Artist Mercantile.

We have finally passed the vernal equinox, and it’s the weekend for the Saint Paul Art Crawl, so it’s now official: Spring is here, even if it’s a little chillier than we’d like.

Lots of great music from Twin Cities artists this week, as well as a few notable visiting artists. Special events include a blues competition that promises to be lively, a birthday celebration for an octogenarian musician, and a special live broadcast of a radio drama. Though the cover charge for area artists is often relatively low, don’t forget to order a drink or menu item, as the band generally gets the door, while the venue depends on your purchases to make having a band profitable. Music can lift your spirit.


Wednesday, April 23

Lila Ammons @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, East Lake Street, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Zeke’s is a funky little place on East Lake Street, more or less kitty-corner from Merlin’s Rest. They have about a dozen interesting beers on tap as well as some nice wines, and an imaginative menu. Lila is equally at home with jazz or classic blues, so if you want to hear some fine vocals whilst dining and drinking, this would be a good place to be.

Ghost Tour @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Graydon Peterson, bass; Adrian Suarez, drums; and Jacob Park Evans, guitar. Inventive musicians, all.

Thursday, April 24

Charmin Michelle @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the debut appearance at Jazz Central for Ms Michelle, whose swinging phrasing evokes a modern Billie Holiday.

Friday, April 25

Atlantis Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 suggested donation) This Minnesota Modern jazz quartet can get kind of funky, kind of ballad, and swinging. And no wonder. Its members include Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Saturday, April 26

Augsburg College Jazz Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) Augsburg has a worthy jazz program, and for this gig they have a guest artist: Julie Johnson on flute doing a performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango.

JazzMN Orchestra w/guest Miguel Zenon @ Hopkins High School, 400 Lindberg Drive, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($28, $30, $18 Student) Not only has alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon been nominated for a Grammy multiple times, he’s been awarded Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships. Last seen here with the SFJAZZ Collective (of which he is a founding member), the Puerto Rico native makes music that makes you dance. The JazzMN Orchestra is made up of some of the best musicians in town, so this promises to be an evening to remember.

Sunday, April 27

KBEM’s Jazz Noir @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4pm ($43), 7pm ($53) This is an original radio drama that will be broadcast live on KBEM 88.5FM at 7pm. It’s called the Black Hand Side That Feeds You, and centers around the jazz scene on Minneapolis’ Near North Side during the 1960s and juxtaposes it with the civil rights movement of the time. The 7pm show includes a three course dinner, while the 4pm rehearsal show includes a sweet and savory set menu.

One World Consort & Friends

One World Consort & Friends

One World Consort @ Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, 4401 Upton, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This a a concert in celebration of Earth Day and includes music from cultures and traditions from around the world, in addition to pieces by resident artists. The performers of One World Consort are: David Milne (saxes, flutes, etc); Mary Louise Knutson (piano); Eric Graham (acoustic and electric bass); and Craig Hara (drumset, percussion, wavedrum). They’ll be joined by the Four Voices String Quartet– Laurie Petruconis and Allison Ostrander (violin); Susan Janda (viola); and Rebecca Arons (cello).

Monday, April 28

images-1Joe Lovano’s Us5 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) Lovano is a searching, innovative saxophonist who started out playing with Tom Jones, Jack McDuff and Woody Herman. He’s led a variety of ensembles, from duets to a nonet, recording over 25 albums, including a tributes to Frank Sinatra and Enrico Caruso. Tonight he brings his two-drummer quintet, Us5, featuring James Weidman, piano; Peter Slavov, bass; and Otis Brown III and Fransciso Mela on drums.

No Coast Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($8) The No Coast Quintet is a new group featuring some up and coming musicians: Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brian Courage, bass: and Lars Larson on drums, in addition to veteran Zacc Harris on guitar.

Tuesday, April 29

Acme Jazz Company CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 – 11:00pm (Suggested Donation – $10) The Acme Jazz Company has been around since 2008, and has just released its debut album, which has climbed to number 16 on CDBaby’s big band jazz chart. The band features the multi-talented Arne Fogel on vocals.

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, Other…

Wednesday, April 23

Cornbread Harris’ 88th Birthday on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) 87? 88? Who really knows? The legendary octogenarian can still tear up a piano, whether he’s playing solo, trio, or in a quartet. He’s got several weekly gigs around town, but this is the only gig at which he’s celebrating his birthday.

Thursday, April 24

Walter Trout Benefit @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Guitarist Trout should be celebrating his 25th year as a solo artist. Instead he’s at the UCLA Medical Center awaiting a liver for a transplant. Blues communities around the country are helping to raise money for his care. Tonight you get to hear Lamont Cranston at 7pm, Davina & the Vagabonds at 8:15pm, and Alex Rossi & the Root City at 9:30, all in support of Trout.

Friday, April 25

The Brass Messengers @ Sweet 317, Northern Warehouse, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) It’s an Art Crawl After-Party of sorts, in suite 317 of the Northern Warehouse. The Messengers will deliver New Orleans Second Line, Balkan Brass Music, and other raucous sounds from around the globe. Since it’s an artist loft, there is limited space (about 50-60), and it’s a BYOB.

Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) This hole-in-the-wall is more-or less kitty corner from the old Grain Belt Brewery on Marshall in Nordeast. Nikki & Friends will be occupying the “booth stage” and playing psychedelic folk-rock and blues, led by Nikki’s clarion vocals and Rich Rue’s slide guitar.

Saturday, April 26

Sol Bock Revival @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 1pm – 10 pm (Free) Here’s an event made for Spring. Harriet Brewing celebrates the release of a number of seasonal brews with a festival featuring live art, food trucks, and four acoustic bands. It’s as close to the back porch of a home brewer as you’ll get. Music includes: No Man’s String Band – 2pm; The Dead Pigeons – 4pm; The Roe Family Singers – 6pm, and the Evergreen Grass Band – 8pm. Here’s a video of the Roe Family Singers.


Film Production Kickstarter Launch Party w/music @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 5pm ($15) Here’s your chance to hear a variety of quality music while supporting a crowdsourcing campaign for a Minnesota Film Production Company to be called Don’t Mind If I Do Films.  The festivities begin at 5pm with the Zacc Harris Trio (Jazz); 6:45pm Ham Dog (Folk/Americana) later on, pop/rock from Kadet,w/Adam Hurlburt of Solid Gold and Maggie Morrisonm of Lookbook; and The Commanders with Zach Coulter of Solid Gold and Cecil Otter of Doomtree.

Mark Hummel, Corky Siegel, & Billy Boy Arnold @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($30) You won’t see any harmonica playing in the audience for this event, though there will no doubt be plenty of fans of the “Mississippi saxophone.”  This is billed as the Blues Harmonica Blowout, and is it ever. Harmonica swing master Hummel organized this annual event in 1991 and has been hard at it ever since. Corky Siegel gained fans as part of the Seigel Schwall band back in the 70s. Arnold is a contemporary of James Cotton, and helped create the “Bo Diddley” sound with Bo himself. He’s one of the last survivors of the 50s Chicago blues scene.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Searing slide guitar. High energy,. foot-stompin’  performances. Unfiltered Chicago Blues. Nothin’ but fun. For more on Ed, read this, or you can just watch the video.

Sunday, April 27

Road to Memphis Group Competition @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 7pm. ($10) The Minnesota Blues Society holds the competition to send an area band to the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Groups vying for the honor include The Swamp Kings, the Mark Cameron Band, the Gopher Tones, the Rhythm Roosters, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Phil Kitze & the Resonators, and Bluedog. Support your local blues bands. (Full disclosure: I’ll be one of the judges)

The Hula Peppers @ The Happy Gnome (Upstairs), Saint Paul. 2-5 pm (Free?) If you are old enough to remember R.Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders, you’ll be familiar with the 78 RPM inspired zany combination of blues, swing, Hawaiian music, and novelty songs performed by Dan Newton, accordion; Gary Powell, Hawaiian guitar; Dave Furniss, resonator, and Corey Mohan on ukuleles and musical saw. Lighthearted and fun, with occasional Betty Boop-ish vocals from Lauren Asheim.

Pop Trans-Atlantic w/Dan Chouinard @ Alliance Francais, 113 First Street No., Minneapolis. 3pm ($20) There have been a number of songs that have crossed the Atlantic in either direction, and with new lyrics, have become hits in languages other than their original. Pianist/accordionist Dan Chouinard  often heard on that big-time public radio variety show, will lead sing-a-longs for some of these songs, combining a little learning with a lot of fun.

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.

Music for Variable Weather: 4.16 – 4.22

April 16, 2014

UnknownThe title says all I want to say about the weather. Easter is this weekend, which may account for the lack of events on Sunday, but here are some ideas for the rest of the week.


Wednesday, April 16

Pete Whitman @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. A cast with chops a-plenty, able to tackle the difficult with aplomb, and the sublime with beauty.

Thursday, April 17

Lucia Newell w/Phil Aaron @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Newell is an outstanding vocalist, one of the best, if not the best, in the area. Her singing owes a bit of a debt to Betty Carter, and she’s become a darn good songwriter as well. Here’s a video from a few years ago.



Hamilton, Thorson, & Tubbs @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 advance, $30 door) This is the inaugural concert of The Palace of Jazz Performance, a group headed by Robert “Pops” Montgomery, leader of the Senior Jazz Band of Minnesota. The performance will feature David Hamilton on piano; Brock Thorson on bass; and Kelli Rae Tubbs on drums.  More information can be found here.

Christopher McBride Quintet @ Eden Prairie HS, Eden Prairie. 7pm – 9:30pm ($15 adults/$10 Students) McBride is an alto sax player with an elegant sound. The parents at Eden Prairie HS are bringing he and his quartet in for a workshop with students and this fundraiser. In the evening, they’ll perform with the students and then conduct their own performance. All funds raised will go to the school’s band.

Friday, April 18

Maud Hixson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The chanteuse with the cool, yet smoldering voice will be accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano; and the ever-smiling Steve Pikal on bass. Listen to her.



Counterclockwise B3 Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10 Suggested Donation) Tanner Taylor, B3; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jay Epstein, drums. This is a rare chance to hear Tanner Taylor, a terrific pianist, on organ. Should be a swingin’ evening.

Saturday, April 19

Corey Healey 4tet @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free), 7pm performance ($10) Healey is an Iowa raised drummer who has spent time in Chicago and NY, playing with the likes of Fareed Haque, Kenny Wheeler, David Berkman, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Tonight he’ll be joined by Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc harris guitar; and Eric Fratske, bass; for an evening of Heley originals as well as songs from Charlie Parker, Tony Williams, Bob Dylan, and more.

Unknown-1Steve Kenny Quartet @ Sweet 317, Saint Paul. 9pm – 11:30pm ($10) Trumpeter Kenny has been ultra-busy of late, what with his upcoming release Straight To Vinyl, with Group 47, and his work with the Illicit Sextet, and other groups. Tonight, he brings Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Babatunde Lea, drums & percussion, to a house concert. It’s located in the Northern Warehouse at 308 Prince Street in, quite naturally, Suite 317. Tickets are available on-line at, and at the door.

Monday, April 21

Preston Hainig @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Preston comes from a musical family. Father Doug is a well-traveled saxophonist and arranger around town. Mom Maryann Sullivan is a fine vocalist, and older brother Trevor has established himself as an on-call drummer in the area. Preston is in his final year of study at the prestigious University of North Texas, and will be joined by brother Trevor on drums, Tanner Taylor on piano, and Graydon Peterson on bass.

Joey Van Phillips @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Drummer Van Phillips can be found in various aggregations around town, playing with Zacc Harris, Sophia Shorai, Dessa, and Leisure Valley, among others. He’ll be leading a group that’s either a trio or quartet.

Monday, Tuesday, April 21, 22

Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($30) After four decades on the production and songwriting side of the music industry, vocalist Tyrell was featured singing “The Way You Look Tonight” in the movie Father of the Bride. All of a sudden he became a popular singer of classic standards. He’s got the perfect voice for interpreting the Great American Songbook, slightly raspy, with a hint of sophisticated R&B.


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, Other…

Wednesday, Thursday, April 16, 17

Orquesta Aragon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Oh boy, this is a coup for the Dakota. Think of the importance of Duke Ellington’s band to American music. Well, that’s the same kind of impact that Orquesta Aragon has had on Cuban music. They were started in 1939, and in the 50s were signed to RCA. Many of it’s members are sons, nephews, and grandsons of original members. Since the late 90s, they’ve appeared at Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and the Zellerbach Theatre in Berkeley.

Friday, April 18

Oh What A Night @ The Parkway Theater, 48th & Chicago, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Vocalist and bandleader Ronn Easton has brought together four additional soulful singers to celebrate the music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. And oh what a group! It includes Maurice Jacox, Willie Walker, Sonny Knight, and Maurice Young – veterans all, with distinctive voices and resumes too long to list. They’ll be harmonizing on songs by The Dells, The Drifters, The Stylistics, and the Temptations. Sure, it’s nostalgic for those of us of a certain age, but hearing voices this good sing such harmony is a treat for all ages.

Harold’s House Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Harold Tremblay, of KFAI’s House Party brings three outstanding artists to the Tap Room. Guitarist Bob Bingham (7pm) played electric guitar with Lamont Cranston and Aces, Straights, and Shuffles, before turning to acoustic. Hilary Thavis (8pm) is Italian – born of Minnesota parents, and sings the blues with a clear, soulful voice. Jeff Ray & the Stakes (9pm) play the originals of Jeff as well as some unexpected covers. It’s a bluesy Americana style, which isn’t surprising, given the support of the Stakes: Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard; and Hurricane Harold, harp.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Guitarist/singer Primer plays traditional electric blues from Chicago. He’s talented enough to have had a number of nominations for Blues Artist of the Year in the traditional category. In fact he won the award in 2010. It’s the real deal, as they say.


Saturday, April 18

Mary Cutrufello & Greg Schutte @ Moe’s, 2400 Highway 10, Moundsview. 9:30pm (No cover?) It’s been a while since singer/songwriter/guitarist Cutrufello has played with some regularity in the area. She’s a rocker with a natural feel for classic country, and easily turns her original songs into relatable tales. Cutrufello is just finishing up and album with a full band, though for this appearance she’ll be accompanied by Greg Schutte, a drummer about town who has worked with Cuturfello for many years. Together they create some rockin’ country.


Saturday, Sunday, April 18, 19

Brian McKnight @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $65), 9pm ($50 – $60) Modern soul music from a multi-talented performer with 16 Grammy nominations and sales of over 20 million albums. For this show, he’ll be appearing with a bassist and guitarist, and playing both hits and B-sides. (Those of you of a certain age will recognize that term)


Monday, April 20

Joe Fingers @ Grand Avenue Dunn Brothers, Saint Paul 7:30pm (tip jar) Joe Fingers is a “nom de Dunn” for one of the many fingerpickin’ aces we have in town. Grab a cup o’ joe and a pastry and settle in for some

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.


Spring Days. Spring Nights. Music: 4.9 – 4.15

April 9, 2014
Coming soon to a corner near you.

Coming soon to a corner near you.

Ahh Spring! A time for rebirth and awakening, and a time for shedding seven layers of winter clothing. A sure sign of Spring is the reappearance of NiceRide stations in the area. Whether you bike, walk, use public transportation, or your car, there is much out there this week for you musical culture vultures. We’ve got a veritable cornucopia of visiting artists and outstanding projects by resident artists for your listening pleasure. The weather will be mild for the most part, if interrupted by a few showers this weekend, so enjoy life and enjoy the music. It will lift your spirits.


Wednesday, April 9

Slocum's latest: Black Elk's Dream

Slocum’s latest: Black Elk’s Dream

Matt Slocum Trio @ Weyerhauser Auditorium, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18) Slocum is a drummer who grew up in River Falls and studied with Phil Hey. Lately, he’s been making a name for himself in NY as a composer and band leader. He’ll be bringing Sam Yahel, keys; and Massimo Miolcati, bass; with hymn. The evening includes a drum dialogue with Phil Hey, as well as a performance by the Phil Hey Quartet.

Brad Mehldau Trio @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32, $25-standing room) Pianist Mehldau is known as one of the most inventive of today’s pianists. He’ll have Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass. This is a solo piece from him.

Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Bassist Chris Bates brings a new group into Jazz Central on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Tonight, the seven-piece Fall of the House of Usher will be improvising on some world music with some elements of spoken word. Besides Bates, the group includes Chris Cunninham, guitar; Nelson Devereaus, Adrian Larkin, Elliot Wachs, and John Davis, saxophones; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday, April 10

Wes Ruelle Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Wes is a pianist who studied with the late Mulgrew Miller in the prestigious jazz program at William Patterson University, where he earned a degree in Jazz Performance with a minor in Classical Performance. Tonight he’ll likely be joined by Matt Peterson, bass, and Eron Woods, drums

At the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

At the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Delfeayo Marsalis @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) The trombone-playing Marsalis thrilled the audience at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival two years ago. As might be expected, given his lineage, he’s an excellent player, with a burnished tone and wide ranging solos. Then again, he’s toured and played with folks like Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Slide Hamnpton. One can expect he’ll have a top-notch band behind him.

Matt Slocum Trio @ Weyerhauser Auditorium, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($18) This is the second of a two night stand for Slocum. Tonight, Bryan Nichols will open with a solo set, and in addition to the drum dialogue with Phil Hey, Slocum will have the Dave Karr Quartet as well.

Friday, April 11

Harper, Hanson, and Kerr @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30pm. Pianist Todd Harper holds forth at the Black Dog every Friday evening, sometimes solo, but often with a friend or two. Tonight he’s joined by Nathan Hanson, soprano sax; and Aaron Kerr, cello; for a program of music by Carei Thomas, including compositions from over 40 years worth of music. Some are mysterious, some are quizzical, while others are playful and some just beautiful.

Stockton Helbing Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Doc Severinsen often draws upon a number of Twin Cities musicians whenever he’s touring. Tonight marks the Jazz Centrtal debut of one of them, drummer/composer Stockton Helbing. He’ll be joined by some of his bandmates from Doc’s band: Zach Lozier, trumpet; Michael Nelson, trombone; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; and Kevin Thomas on bass. They’ll be playing HJelbing’s original compositions.

7 Psalms CD Release Concert @ Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 advance/$20 door). Pianist/composer Jeremy Walker has created a beautiful work for jazz ensemble and an 18-voice choir. Lead singer Jason Harms, with a commanding baritone, is catching the ear of many in the jazz community, and the ensemble consists of Walker, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums. The workshop performance of this work last year was performed before an audience of 600.

Saturday, April 12

Nick Haas Trio @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This dinnertime show might get noisy, so get a table near the bandstand to hear the clean, supple lines of guitarist Haas.

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Another dinnertime show at a place known for food and a party atmosphere. Watch out if any bachlorette parties come in! Anyway, I’ve been a fan of Sophia’s since her first CD came out 10 years ago. Her clear voice, subtle phrasing, and sunny disposition are always a delight.

Parisota Hot Club @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600  Old Rockford Road, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) Twelve years ago, the Parisota Hot Club was the first band  in the Twin Cities to focus on the songs of Django Rheinhardt and Stephan Grappelli. Since then, the band has branched out a bit to include standards from pop music and soundtracks in their repertoire. Tonight leader/guitarist Robb Henry will be joined by  Tom Schaefer, violin; Matt Senjem, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Sunday, April 13

Connie Evingson with Jon Weber @ the Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Connie and pianist Jon perform their Desert Island Picks from Fats Waller, Irving Berlin, Dave Frishberg, The Beatles, Sting, and more. As of Wednesday, there are only a few seats left for the afternoon showing, though the evening performance still has plenty of seats available. Here’s Connie singing a Beatles song, with images from a Peruvian fashion photographer.

Monday, April 14

Good Vibes Trio CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Hey, drums, have a new CD. Bates, who has played on over 30 albums, is actually the youngster in the group, though Hagedorn and Hey play with the energy of youngsters themselves. The CD includes tunes by Mingus, Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and others, and will be given out with admission.

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, Other…

Wednesday, April 9

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings w/Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound Opening @ State Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($32) Well, as many of you may know, the hardest working woman in show business has recovered from pancreatic cancer and is back on the road bringing her explosive funk and soul to folks around the world. Tonight she’s joined by Milwaukee’s Paul Cebar, a long time favorite in the Twin Cities. Check this out.

Thursday, April 10

Charanga Tropical @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm, 5pm – 7pm. (Free) The Schubert Club presents this exciting Latin Band as part of it’s Courtroom Concert Series at Noon. Then, at 5pm, they play for the Cocktails with Culture Series on the 2nd floor, where woodturners will be demonstrating their art, while attendees munch on appetizers, and drinks from a cash bar.

Friday, April 11

Lynwood Slim, The Butanes, Bruce McCabe, Jimi Primetime Smith @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7) Former Twin Citizen and vocalist/harp man extraordinaire Lynwood Slim has been battling health issues lately, but is back in town for this very special evening of blues. He’ll be backed by the Butanes, featuring guest pianist Bruce McCabe, and other special guests, including Jimi “Primetime” Smith. Expect some swinging’ blues, and expect blues fans out in force.

Worldwide Discoteque 2nd Anniversary Party @ Club Jaeger, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The little dance party that started a couple of years ago has grown so much they’re starting early to accommodate the crowds. Dance to vinyl sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and more. Deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engel fill the dance floor with folks who don’t know special dances – they just move to the music. You will too. This will give you an idea of what to expect from this mulit-culti paryu.

Saturday, April 12

Flute Fest @ Augsburg College Recital Hall, Minneapolis. 11:30am ($5) This is part of an all-day event featuring workshops, exhibitors, and performances, including a master class and concert by Jim Walker. I’m not sure, but you may be required to register. At 11:30am a number of Midwest Flutists will perform, including Adam Kuenzel, Greg Milliren, Immanuel Davis, Bethany Gonella, the Flutespiration Quartet, and Julie Johnson, who will perform a piece for amplified flute and live looping pedals with dancer Tamara Ober.

Evushin playing at The Museum of Russian Art

Evushin playing at The Museum of Russian Art

Seasons of the Year with Tchaikovsky @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($30) Featuring Denis Evsuhin, pianist, with Mindy Ratner, MPR Classical Music host. The Seasons is Tchaikovsky’s most beloved solo piano composition. Evstuhin is a Russian pianist who has been hailed as one of the finest in today’s generation. He will play each of the twelve musical pictures by Tchaikovsky, while Ratner will recite original poetic epigraphs by famous Russian poets.

Little Jr. Walker & the All-Stars @ Arnellia’s, Saint Paul. 7pm, 9pm ($20?) Okay, I know what you’re saying, “Didn’t Junior Walker die?” Well, yes, back in the mid-nineties, but this is his son and some of the original All-Stars, along with some back-up singers and lead singers, since “Little Jr. Walker” isn’t a musician. Bound to be entertaining, any way you look at it.

Foreign Motion @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11:00pm ($9) Funky jazz/fusion from some of the bright lights of the Twin Cities jazz scene: Cory Washington, guitar; Yohannes Tona, bass; Kevin Gastonguay, piano; and Peter Janjic, drums. Together, they have a wealth of experience with various national artists in various and sundry jazz, funk, gospel, and pop outfits.

Sunday, April 13

Allison Miller Benefit @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 7pm. ($10 Suggested Donation) The music community comes together once again, this time for the daughter of blues singer/bandleader Dee Miller. Allison was recently hospitalized for pneumonia, and then had many complications, including the amputation of part of her leg.  To entice you to the event to raise money for her hospitalization, there is Steve Clarke, Annie Mack Band, Who Nu, Jimi Primetime Smith, guest vocals, and of course, Dee Miller and her band, along with a silent auction.

Malamanya @ Nomad World Pub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Sunday night dancing to Cuban/Salsa sounds. The music is infectious. You’ll be moving even if you don’t know a lick or a kick of Latin dancing.

Tuesday, April 15

YeYe Pow w/Trompe Le Monde @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Ye Ye Pow is a band that plays 60s French Pop, while Trompe le Monde is a Pixies tribute band. Here’s an example of Ye Ye Pow at work.

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.



Transitions and Traditions. Music: 4.2 – 4.8

April 2, 2014

images-1The big news this week is the confirmation of rumors that The Dakota will be leasing the old Artists’ Quarter space in the basement of the hamm Building in downtown Saint Paul. Reports are thea there will be asmall kitchen installed and the programming will include more than jazz. I imagine that some touring jazz acts like Tom Harell, and other acts that wouldn’t fill the Dakota would be booked into the new space, which is as yet, unnamed. This week’s music also features some groups and artists in transition, as they collaborate with new partners, perform in new venues, and otherwise seek to advance their music.

On a personal note, KFAI is in pledge drive mode, and I will be asking folks to become members during my show this Saturday morning from 10:30am – Noon. I’ll be doing a phone interview with drummer Matt Slocum. It would be gratifying to get some support from those of you reading this.

On to the music for the week.


Wednesday, April 2

Foreman, Felly, Schmidt, & Mussselman @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of relatively young musicians with enough experience to create inventive and melodic music base on songs they like, whether modern jazz, alt-pop, or indie-rock: Andrew Foreman, bass; Dave Felly, guitar; Zach Schmidt, drums; and Dan Musselman, piano.

KCOB Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation – $10 suggested) Drummer/percussionist Davu Seru leads Casey O’Brien, bass; and Nathan Hanson, saxophones; in a concert that allows plenty of give and take for questions from the audience. Given the talents involved, the choice of music will undoubtedly be wide-ranging and somewhat free.

Emily Davis & Robert Bell @ Ingredients Cafe, White Bear Lake. 6:30 – 9:30pm (No cover) Emily sings and Robert plays guitar for your enjoyment as you have dinner or sit at the bar and have drinks.

Thursday, April 3

Jon Wood & Connie Olson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30 (Donation) It’s vocalist night at Jazz Central, and tonight, curator Maryann Sullivan brings us two vocalists. Jon Wood is a guitarist/vocalist who will be performing the first set and then accompanying Connie Olson for a second set of songs from the Great American Songbook. Olson is an accomplished singer who has been heard on many commercials and has worked with folks like the Brian Setzer Band, The Peter Duchin Big Band, and musicians from the bands of both Madonna and Prince. Here’s Connie singing from a few years ago.

Friday, April 4

Vicky Mountain & James Allen @ The Wine Market, Mendota Heights. 5pm – 7pm (Free) It’s a free wine tasting while superb vocalist Mountain and sympathetic accompanying guitarist Allen serenade you with standards and some jazzified rock n’ roll oldies.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 at the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar)  Trumpeter Kenny has assembled a group of young musicians (a couple are in high school), and like many band leaders back in the day, is both teaching and learning through his association.   Though they’ve been working on a album (vinyl only!), tonight’s show will focus on standards and tunes that aren’t on the album.

Sound Skirmish @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Donation) This is the Young Artists’ Showcase, presented by Jazz Police, which used to be held at the AQ. Tonight features a quartet: Patrtickl Adams, piano, from Edina; Levi Schwartzbert, vibes, from Southwest HS; Drew Stinson, bass, from Southwest HS; and Ben Ehrlich,m drums, from Wayzata.

Saturday, April 5

Pippi Ardennia’s PipJazz Live, feat. The Dakota Combo @ The Capri, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $10 Student) Extraordinary vocalist PIppi Ardennia opens her fourth season of family-friendly concerts with a new twist, taking them to alternating venues. Tonight she’ll be at the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis, and as usual, will have a special guest. This time it’s the Dakota Combo, a metro-wide ensemble of talented high school musicians selected through open auditions. (Full disclosure: I chair the Foundation that sponsors the Combo). Here’s Pippi at the TC Jazz Festival a couple of years ago.

Lila Ammons’ Voices of Influence @ Honey, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10) Ammons will be singing songs from a variety of her influences. As she puts it: Bessie Smith to Sarah Vaughn. She’ll be accompanied by Ted Godbout on piano, and special guest boogie boogie pianist Axel Zwingenberger for some numbers.

Saturday, Sunday, April 5, 6

Charmin & Shapira & Friends Present Bop to Bossa @ The Black Box Theater, Bloomington Center for the Arts. 7:30pm Sat, 2pm Sun ($19 Adults, $17 Seniors, $13 25 & under) The name says it all. It’s an exploration of the common ground between bebop of the late 40s and 50s and Brazilian bossa novas. Helping out will be Paul Harper on sax and flute; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira doing a classic bebop tune.

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, April 2

Mary Leinfelder & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90-.Fm & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – tip jar) It’s about time that songstress Leinfelder headlined her own group. She’s been sitting in with folks like Willie Murphy, John Beach, Dave Ray, and Papa John Kolstad for years and years. Tonight she’s joined by Jim Ouska, guitar; Jim Chenoweth, bass; Kory Badertscher, drums; and Tom Cravens, keys. Tune in to 90.3 or 106.7FM during the 5 o’clock hour to get a preview, and head to the 331 Club at 7pm for the real deal.

Steven Hobert & Lynn O’Brien @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) You may know Hobert from his accordion work with Lulu’s playground, or his piano work in any number of other local ensembles. For one so young, he has an impressive resume: Glenn Miller Orchestra, 5 by Design, and a number of symphony orchestras. His keyboard work is often impressionistic, and sometimes whimsical. He’ll be joined by clear-voiced singer/songwriter Lynn O’Brien, who studied with Bobby McFerrin and is a board-certified music therapist.

Thursday, April 3

Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($22) This is a group with a compelling story: one that speaks to the redeeming power of music. Forced to leave their homes in Sierra Leone during the 1990s because of a bloody, horrifying war, members of the group found themselves in a refugee camp, where they met and proceeded to make music to entertain other refugees. They moved from camp to camp, were the subject of an award-winning documentary, and exploded on the world music scene after the release of their debut album in 2006. Their music is a combination of old school reggae, Afrobeat, and Congolease soukouss, which means it’s highly infectious and danceable. Extra bonus: DJ Salif Keita, from KFAI’s African Rhythms, will be spinning tunes before and between sets. Here’s a sample of their infectious music.

Friday, April 4

Big George Jackson and Curtis Blake with the Dan Schwalbe Blues Band @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 after 7pm)  Big George has a big voice, well suited to John Lee Hooker-like boogies. He’s a star in Europe, and should be a star her in the US, so count your blessings that you can see him at the Tap Room. He’s on at 9pm, while ace harpman Curtis Blake joins guitarist Dan Scwalbe and his band for some more first rate blues 7pm. Big George at 9pm. Looks like the weather still won’t be warm enough to open the doors at the Tap Room, so be advised that seating is somewhat limited.

Adam Levy, Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ New Century Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 – $45) Here’s a chance to check out a new, intimate venue in town. Adam Levy is a guitarist who’s work with the Honeydogs has earned him a national reputation, and who has shown a propensity for inventive collaborations with other musicians. Bethany Larson sings county-ish songs of heartbreak. The Bees Knees will be taking a hiatus after this gig, so it’s your last chance to see them for a while.

Lamont Cranston Band w/Bruce McCabe @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Roadhouse blues gets an upgrade as this hometown crew brings some “Upper Mississippi Shakedown” to the tony environs of the Dakota.

Saturday, April 5

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) A nice evening gig at the Kitchen for rootsy, bluesy Rena and her trio. She’s a stellar writer, with a flair for the humorous and an ability to speak to everyday concerns. check her out.

The Eddies @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) These five singers always show up on my radar, partly because they’re approach to singing (and just a little playing) is so warm and refreshing, and partly because they always involve the audience. The songs are familiar and/or easy to sing along with, and range from Bob Marley and Billy Joe Shaver to sea chanties and songs of murder.

Sunday, April 6

Road to Memphis Competition @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10) This is the competition for solo and duo acts, and will include Wisconsin Bryan Johnson, Paul & Bambi, Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold, Brother Sun & Sister Moon, and “Duckshack Dave” Florine.  Winners will get to represent Minnesota at the International Blues challenge in Memphis in January, 2015.

Tinariwen with the Melodic @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis,  7:30pm ($35) Another African band comes to the Cedar this week, this time bringing the hypnotic sound of Desert Blues. Tinariwen hail from the Sahara region of Northern Mali and play guitar driven music based on traditional Tuaregsongs as well as regional influences such as Berber music, electrified Rai, and traditional Malian music.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, April 6,7,8

Lalah Hathaway & Ruben Studdard @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50), 9pm ($35, $40, $45) An evening of classic soul and elegant rhythm and blues. Hathaway, the daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, has been performing for over 20 years, and most recently won the 2014 Grammy for Best R&B Performance. Studdard is the 2003 American Idol winner who has turned that win into a successful career of gold and platinum records in both pop and R&B.

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.

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