The 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.