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 @ 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
Joe 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.
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.