The All Originals Jazz Series

July 31, 2014

Steve Kenny Interview, Part 2: D-I-Y Jazz

Photo by Andrea Canter

Steve Kenny. Photo by Andrea Canter

Since the closing of the Artists’ Quarter at the end of last year, a few of the area’s jazz musicians have taken a do-it-yourself attitude when it comes to performing. Zacc Harris is now in the third year of Jazz at Studio Z, having started the trend of producing a series a couple of years ago. Jazz Central, which is run by musicians, has expanded its offerings to five nights a week. And now Steve Kenny is producing The All Originals Jazz Series. I posted an interview with Steve a few days ago in which he talked about one of his groups – Group 47. This portion of the interview is about his work producing a jazz series at Studio Z every Thursday this summer. Each of the featured artists have played at the Artists’ Quarter with some regularity. Tonight’s perfomance features Dean Magraw’s Red Planet as the fourth of ten performances.

LE: You are involved with many projects these days.

SK: The All Originals Jazz Series, Group 47, Illicit Sextet, What Would Monk Do, and the Steve Kenny Quartet, which is starting to get more gigs. There are 4 bands that I’m actively involved in and have projects in planning. Of the four bands I’m the only common musician – four different units. This is feast or famine. I’m so happy to be in that situation. It took a suspension of disbelief and relentless pursuits to get these bookings. On top of that, the concert series is going on.

LE: How did the All Originals Jazz Series come about?

SK: There are a couple of things. On the one hand in the Twin Cities we have a number of organizations that provide small arts grants, MRAC (The Minnesota Regional Arts Council), for one. From a strict financial side this (series) wouldn’t happen without the legislature appropriating funds and without a wider commitment to the arts. Minnesotans are putting their money where their mouth is, and supporting small-scale arts. Small grants are available that non-professional fundraisers can apply for to fund raise. That’s one thing. Kudos to them.

The second answer goes back to when I first came on scene in mind to late 80s with my band mates (Editor’s Note: the Illicit Sextet). We’d all gotten music degrees or minors at River Falls in Wisconsin. It’s a local college with strong music program. Not as big as the U of M, but definitely in the running. I’ve got a little pride in my alma mater.

LE: So many of you went to school together?

SK: We came out of school and had learned about not just jazz, but composition. It’s a real focus of the school, bringing in internationally renowned composers and exposing people to experimentation. In that fertile ground we (my band mates & I) made the decision to be a composer’s collective, giving us a reason to keep composing music. In those days that was a strange thing for a jazz band locally. There had only been one other band in the Twin Cities that was similar – Natural Life – to me they’re in running for one of the all time greatest jazz bands. I have seen unbelievable videos of that group. They were really good, played originals, but were off the scene in the late 80s. It was in that vacuum that Illicit sextet was formed, the only band playing originals for years and years.

LE: Now there are many.

SK: This jazz series is a celebration of the fact that during the years I was off the scene due to chemical dependency – 15 years – the landscape had changed considerably. Every band was doing originals. The Illicit Sextet is host of the series – we claim our place. We’re so happy that nowadays that the average band almost can’t be a jazz band without a book of originals. To underline how things have changed, in the final week we have the Adam Meckler Orchestra. We have in our midst a big band entirely focused on originals.

LE: What will you do next?

SK: On the horizon, I’m starting a partnership with Black Dog to curate a Saturday night jazz series there.

I’ve already signed up Fat Kids, the Atlantis Quartet, some of the usual bands. We have such an amazing number of established excellent bands in the city that this type of thing is possible. Little by little each group gets more of a following. Which is important, since we don’t have the drawing power of a club – where the club itself has drawing power. So we have to increase the band image of individuals and ensembles to draw sufficient numbers on a Saturday night.

Every Saturday night, there will be some serious jazz happening at the Black Dog. It will be produced in cooperation with my production company and the Black Dog, to step up marketing and compensation.

The All Originals Jazz Series Schedule takes place at 8pm every Thursday evening at Studio Z, East Fourth Street, Suite 200, in Lowertown Saint Paul – 275 . ($10)


July 31: Red Planet

Aug 7: Mississippi

Aug14: Chris Lomheim Trio

Aug 21: Steve Kenny’s Group 47

Aug 28: Atlantis Quartet

Sep 4: Bryan Nichols, Chris Bates, JT Bates

Sep 10: Adam Meckler Orchestra



Indoors, Outdoors, Summer Celebrations. Music: 7.30 – 8.5

July 30, 2014

Unknown-4The outdoor (and often free) music events just keep on coming. That’s no reason to ignore events at the usual gaggle of indoor venues. It’s all good. Here in the Twin Cities we’re blessed to have such a wide variety of musical experiences available to us. Take advantage of them. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, July 30

Kinghorn/Baldwin, Inc. @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Cameron Kinghorn, vocals; Jake Baldwin, trumpet & trombone; Ted Godbout, piano; Matt Peterson, bass; Andres Crovetti, drums. A mix of jazz standards, originals, and soul tunes.

Thursday, July 31

Unknown-6Judi Donaghy Vinar & Rick Carlson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vocalist Vinar and Pianist Carlson are two treasures of the Twin Cities jazz scene. They rarely perform together, though Carlson’s Basie-fied approach to piano will match up quite will with Vinar’s strong voice.

Tierney Sutton & Mark Summer @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Six-time Grammy Nominee Sutton is one of the finest singers out there. Summer is a Grammy winning Cellist. They’ll be joined by Parisian guitarist Serge Merlaud to celebrate the music of Joni Mitchell, as well as songs from the Great American Songbook. Sutton’s latest album, After Blue, is a stunning performance of Mitchell songs. Here she is doing one of those songs.

Red Planet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, acoustic bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. For my money, Red Planet is what jazz fusion should sound like – electrified, but not bombastic. Bates’ acoustic bass and Epstein’s tasteful drumming provide just the right rhythmic bed for Magraw’s sonic explorations. Part of the All Originals Jazz Series. I’ll post an interview with Steve Kenny, curator of the series, later today.  Here’s an example.

Friday, August 1

No Coast Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A group of young players who are building a reputation for creativity with both originals and jazz standards. Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brian Courage, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums. It might even be a quintet,

Saturday, August 2

Dennis Gonzalez Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Dallas trumpeter Gonzalez has composed hymns based on American, South African, and Norwegian religious melodies, using the hymns as a structure for ensemble improvisation. Joining him tonight are four of the area’s finest improvisors: Brandon Wozniak and Nathan Hanson, saxes; Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Jake Baldwin Quartet @ Dakota Late Night, MInneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Baldwin is becoming a trumpet man about town, showing his versatility in a number of groups. I’m not sure who is in his quartet, but it will likely include Joe Strachan, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. It might even be a quintet, with the addition of Nelson Deveraux on sax. Here is Jake at the 2013 National Trumpet competition.

Monday, August 4

Tommy & The Liebermen @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Lighthearted pop and jazz from a guitarist/vocalist who was a member of the seminal jazz trio Rio Nido.

Geoff Senn & Brian Perez @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Senn and saxophonist Perez are the featured players for this Monday Night performance and jam.

Thomson, Bergmann, Bates & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) JT Bates has put together another interesting combination of area musicians for this late night hang. Chris Thomsom, sax: Bill Bergmann, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; & JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, August 5

Tim Patrick & his Blue Eyes Band @ the Minnetonka Amphitheater, Minnetonka. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) For some singing and swinging a la the Rat Pack, check out Tim Patrick in an outdoor setting. BTOPicnic.

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, July 30

Joey Ryan @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Ryan composes and sings sunny melodies, and isn’t averse to covering classic pop like the Everly Brothers.

Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) With Doug’s mournful voice and Harold’s biting harp play, you have a duo that can evoke the sound of Chicago’s Maxwell Street as well as the sounds of the Delta. As it is, Doug and Harold are celebrating the release of Blues at Barkin’ Jacks. Tune in to hear them at 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis.

Groove Worldwide @ Union Depot Plaza, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) A world music event featuring Amit Singh, Estifanos, Viviana Pintado, and Alma Andina. BYOP (Bring your Own Picnic) Portando is a Cuban pianist who often plays with Doug Little, but is mighty exciting on her own. Alma Andina plays the music of Chile. I’m unfamiliar with the other two artists, though a brief internet search makes it appear that Amit Singh is an East Asian singer, and Estifanos is Eritrean. This looks like a very interesting show, no matter who plays. Check out the sound of Alma Andina.

Thursday, July 31

Wenger, Franken, Schnitzer, Wiegand, & Sansby @ Hollihan’s, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) This is part of a weekly performance anchored by Bobby Schnitzer, guitar; Larry Wiegand, bass; and Scott Sansby, drums. Tonight they’re joined by John Franken, guitar, and Lisa Wenger on vocals.

Friday, August 1

Everett Smithson Band @ The Washington County Fair, Lake Elmo. 1pm (Free for seniors until 1pm, $7) Smithson will bring a bit of Louisiana party music to Washington County. The band is anchored by Bill Black, standup bass and Jeremy Johnson, drums. Add in Phil Schmid, guitar, Kathy Smithson plays the button accordion and rub board, while Everett handles vocals and harp. He’ll be giving harp lessons to kids after the performance.

Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($5?) It’s the first Friday of the month so Freewheelin’ Jackson Buck of KFAI has put together another great show to welcome the weekend. Cooker John opens at 7pm. The singer/guitarist learned fingerpicking from Artie Traum way back in the day. Javier & the Innocent Sons are on at 9pm with bluesy roots music by Javier, guitar, vocals, harmonica; and Grant Wibben, upright bass; Dan Schwalbe, guitar; Dave Larson, drums.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 – $15) Bluesman Allison is the guitar-slinging son of the late Luther Allison, and as they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Saturday, Sunday, Aug 2,3

Blues on the Chippewa @ Memorial Park, Durand, WI. (Free) If you’re willing to drive about 90 minutes SE of Minneapolis, you can catch this Free festival featuring bands like Armadillo Jump, Sue Orfield and Bernard Allison on Saturday (start time – Noon), and Annie Mack, Davina & the Vagabonds, and Kelley Hunt on Sunday (Start time – 1pm). Monetary donations or non-perishable food items are accepted for the local food pantry. Find out the full schedule here.

Sunday, August 3rd

Second Annual Phillips Music Festival @ Phillips Community Center, 23rd & 11th Ave South, Minneapolis. 11am – 10pm. Musical guests include Malamanya, Sol Flower Collective, Nelson Valdes, Manny Phesto, the Afro Brazilian Capoeira Association and much, much more.

Red Stag In Cahoots Party @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 2pm – 8pm (Free) Another outdoor summer celebration. This one features E.L.No, Shiro Dame, Frankie Lee, Alpha Consumer, Romantica, and Sonny Knight & the Lakers.

Who Nu @ McCarron’s Pub, 1986 Rice Street, Saint Paul. 3pm (No cover) It’s a funky afternoon at this place on the border of Saint   Paul and Maplewood. Today is extra special because Dee Miller, who regularly sings a few songs with the group, is celebrating her marriage to Mike DuBois. Dorothy Doring and Donald Thomas will also be sitting in for a few songs.

Tuesday, August 5

Unknown-5Vinyl Voices Kickoff @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm  (Free) So a group of vinyl fans at KFAI have formed a coalition to spin vinyl at KFAI events, including every Tuesday at the Tap Room from 6pm – 9pm. For this first event, six of them will take part, spinning music that will include Detroit Rock (Pattie Walsh);  Midwest Rock (Liberty Finch & Izzy), Detroit Soul (myself), funk n’ soul (Tarik Thornton),  funky worldbeats (Steely Dan), and Mod & Ska (Mr Gosh, aka Greg Carr).  As usual, a food truck will be on hand, along with fresh beer.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


Steve Kenny’s Group 47

July 28, 2014

Veteran trumpeter/composer Steve Kenny is one busy musician. He’s currently playing in The Illicit Sextet, The Steve Kenny Quartet, What Would Monk Do, and Steve Kenny’s Group 47, the last of which is celebrating the release of an album, Straight to Vinyl, at the Icehouse this evening. Besides Kenny, the group consists of four college aged musicians: Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. This group of young lions exhibits the creativity and cohesion usually found in groups with much more experience.

Steve Kenny. Photo by Andrea Canter

Steve Kenny. Photo by Andrea Canter

I had a chance to talk with Steve about Group 47 and the All Originals Jazz Series, a ten-week series he is curating at Studio Z every Thursday during the summer. This post will cover Group 47, while our discussion about the Jazz Series will be posted later this week.

LE: You’ve become quite the busy person these days.

SK: That’s true. Maybe it’s a perfect storm or maybe it’s the way I like to operate. I’m thinking ahead to the things that will be happening in Jan and Feb right now. That’s way, when the dates roll around it’s easier to book people, a studio is already booked if I need it. I had it figured out in the 90s and now back to that thinking that way.

LE: Why such an approach?

SK: I like to play some pretty serious music in public at least one a week, and that takes lots of planning. I play trumpet, and for that particular instrument, people don’t call you. It might be different for a rhythm section player. People don’t call trumpet players for modern jazz gigs, so I figured out you have to be very creative. And now, with the club scene getting more challenging, it takes more self-promotion and effort to make sure there’s a show every week or every couple of weeks.

LE: How did Group 47 come about?

Group 47 at the late, lamented Artists' Quarter

Group 47 at the late, lamented Artists’ Quarter

SK: It came out of the fact that for 5 or more years, I had the privilege of playing the early gig at the AQ. The group was known by a variety of names. The way things progressed; it started as a loose, jam session, and as years went by there was a tendency to push away from pure jam to incubating some kind of group. Then we found out the club was going to close.

At that point, it became: let’s see if we can bootstrap something that can exist outside of the club. Right around that time I met Will Kjeer on street. While I was warming up outside, and he walked up and introduced himself, claiming he was a pianist who could play jazz. I started asking what tunes do you know, to find out how successful it would be to bring him up. After talking, I said come on down. He came down, and played great. I asked him if he would come back, and every time he returned he was better. As he got his wherewithal, his true abilities came out – holy crap. After a year, he’s improved so much – it’s crazy. He plays as well as anybody in town and this is a piano town.

LE: How did you find the other players in the band?

SK: When playing free gigs, a lot of established players aren’t going to play. Many did come down, but I was looking to shift to a steady membership for the group. As I approached players who sat in every week for the next 6 months, the membership changed according to whoever was willing to play. It was happenstance. Good ones stayed, what we ended up with was the group. It’s a band that can play on the same bill with any band in town and I’m really proud of it. And they’re monster players, the likes of which people don’t even know yet.

LE: How did the concept of the album originate?

SK: With Will joining we started writing. Six months before club closed we changed the name of the group. Then we booked studio time, played the Dakota, a college concert and other venues. We got enough material in recording sessions for Straight to Vinyl.

Straight to Vinyl happened in bassist Adam Tucker’s studio, where they have a track record of doing vinyl. We decided to record in the round, originally to 2 inch analogue tape and then to vinyl. There is no actual editing, just selecting the order of songs. No editing of beginnings, ends, no pitch correction. Ignoring the CD format because it’s a dead format. Except for radio stations, many devices no longer have CD drives. We made sure that the release is available in every digital format, iTunes, Wav files, CD baby, MP3, etc. Scary digital precision is also available. And of course the vinyl version with nice artwork, real liner notes, all the touch feely things we like about vinyl.

Note: Steve Kenny’s Group 47 will be celebrating the release of Straight to Vinyl at the Icehouse in Minneapolis Monday evening, July 28 at 10pm. Copies of the album will be available for sale.

You can also hear the group as part of the All Originals Jazz Series at Studio Z on Thursday, August 21st at 8pm.

Picnics, Dancing, and Listening. Music: 7.23 – 7.29

July 23, 2014
Dining outdoors while listening to music is good for all ages.

Dining outdoors while listening to music is good for all ages.

Another week with plenty of opportunities to picnic while listening to bands. Take advantage of these opportunities while you can. Speaking of opportunities, though the closing of the Artist Quarter closed off performance opportunities for many area bands, artists are taking a do-it-yourself attitude and finding new venues or in some cases creating a whole series of jazz events. It’s another sign of the abundance of talent here in the Twin Cities. Get out, picnic to music or hang out in new, non-traditional venues. Wherever you listen, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, July 23

Tyler Anderson Trio @ Joey Nova’s Pizza, Excelsior. (No Cover) Here’s a chance for those of you who live in the Western ‘burbs to have some jazz with your pizza. Tyler Anderson, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; Adrian Suarez, drums; playing a mix of jazz standards.

Unknown-3Charmin, Shapira & Friends, @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Charmin Michell’s voice is a thing of understated beauty. She’s can put an intense, yet slow burn on a torch song and in the next song turn around a spit out some fast lyrics with clarity. Joel Shapira’s nylon-stringed guitar provides just the right accompaniment, as does the various friends who step onto the stage.

Framework @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Original music from a trio that’s been playing together for 18 years or so: Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and the ever-dapper Jay Epstein, drums.

Thursday, July 24

Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) The Ordway outdoor dance series ends with O’Hagan’s big band. Dance instructors from the Cinema Ballroom will be on hand to help you learn or brush up on your swing dance and foxtrot moves.

World Jazz Collegium @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) Dan Weston, bass/percussion; Pavel Jany, guitar; Josue Alfaro, percussion & vocals. I’ll admit I don’t know much about this particular group, but any group with Pavel Jany in it deserves our attention.

Sarah M. Greer & Blu-7 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sarah is a vocal improviser who sings with a number of groups, including Jay Young’s Lyric Factory. She will be paying tribute to Nina Simone in one set and singing standards in a second set. Blu-7 includes John Iden, bass; Jim Ouska, guitar; Doug Rohde, piano; and Dean White on drums.

Rebirth Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) Rebirth is celebrating 30 years of re-imagining R&B tunes for a funky brass band, though, of course, they’re completely familiar with the traditional oeuvre as well.  A couple of years ago they became the first brass band to win a Grammy. Not bad for a group that started out playing on the street corners of New Orleans.

Zacc Harris Group @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is the third of a ten-week long weekly series of original music by area groups. The fact that we have so many that can perform two sets of original music is a testament to our area’s talent. Tonight Zacc Harris, who has been gaining much praise for his guitar work, both locally and nationally,  brings his group to Studio Z. Besides harris, the group (at least on the album) includes the brothers Bates – Chris on bass, and JT on drums; as well as Brandon Wozniak on sax and Bryan Nichols on keyboards.

Friday, July 25

Laura Caviani Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Caviani is a high quality pianist/composer and educator who can also sing when the moment moves her. We don’t get to see her trio often enough, so treat this as a relatively rare opportunity, especially given the intimate setting of Jazz Central.

Kronick Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Bassist/vocalist Richard Kronick leads this group, which plays tightly arranged jazz, including bop, swing, soul-jazz, and Kronick’s own compositions.

Saturday, July 26

Unknown-3Irv Williams’ CD Release Party @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($25, members, $30, non-members) Williams is about to turn 95 and still sounds wonderful. He’s celebrating by coming out with a new CD, Then was Then, Now is Now, in which he’s joined by Steve Blons, guitar, and Billy Peterson on bass. I’ve heard the title track, and all I can say is, what a gorgeous sound!  The museum is delight as well, with exhibits that are consistently high quality, much like William’s music.

Monday, July 28

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 Vinyl Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) This band features four college-age musicians whose talent belies their youth, and their leader/facilitator, veteran trumpeter Kenny. Will Kjeer, piano; Alex Burgess, drums; Thomas Strommen, sax; and Adam Tucker, bass; bring passion, talent, and compositions to the group. The new release, Straight to Vinyl, was recorded to tape old school style, with the musicians all facing each other and no overdubbing or “creative editing” of the result. And, just like the jazz records of the 60s and 70s, the album even has a potential “hit single” in iFlower, a hard-boppish tune that can inspire dancing.

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, July 23

Cafe Melange @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm. (Free) The husband and wife duo of Brian and Sheralyn Barnes perform a mixture of music: French Musettes, Gypsy Waltzes, Latin Tangos, Jazz standards… Well you get the idea. Bring a lunch or buy one in the cafe, and sit in the light-filled cortile of the Landmark Center for a thoroughly relaxing lunchtime experience.

Southside Desire @ The Como Zoo & Conservatory Courtyard, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm. (Free) Girl Group Harmonies meet Garage Rock energy with this sextet. It’s a sound that will resonate with the young, and those of us who, umm, remember the groups that inspired this sound. KFAI deejay Miguel Vargas will be spinning sounds before and between sets.

Rich Lewis Band @ Minnehaha Falls Bandstand, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) Rich Lewis was a founding member of the legendary Explodo Boys, and has been playing music for 35 years. The band plays a mix of classic rock n’ roll, soul music, New Orleans R&B, country, and standards, with some originals thrown in for good measure. Bring a picnic, or get there very early and stand in line for some food from the Sea Salt Eatery.

Thursday, July 24

Beatles Show @ Marketfest 3rd Street Stage, White Bear Lake. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Well it’s 50 years since the Beatles first performed on American Soil and The Silver Hammer Quartet is going celebrate with an evening of Beatle songs. Mike Ryan, vocals, guitar, harmonica; Andy Richards, vocals, bass; Mike Nilles, vocals, guitar; Doug Salmela drums, percussion, bass guitar. With special guest Matthew Richards on drums.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10pm ($5?) Get ready to spin, twirl, and two-step on the dance floor as the Pinecones bring another night of infectious Cajun and Zydeco music to the Eagles Club.

Friday, July 25

Black Diet @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) If you missed them at the Roots, Rock Festival, or Como Zoo in the past week, you’ve got a chance to catch them at the Bandshell. Their sound strikes me as being based in Memphis soul of the late 60s and 70s, with a bit more rock to the backing. At any rate, they are a great accompaniment for a summer picnic in the park.

Hookers $ Blow @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm They claim to play your favorites from “a more permissive era.” They’re talking about the 70s and the great soul, funk, and dance music of that time.

Hipshaker 45 RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Still going strong, the Hipshaker DJs play rare soul and funk 45s for your dancing pleasure.

Saturday, July 26

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 3pm – 10pm (Free) The wonderful Mears Park provides a great setting for a festival, and this time it’s the blues. We have hard rockin’ Sena Ehrhardt at 3pm; veterans Lamont Cranston at 4:30pm; Hamilton Loomis at 6:30pm; newly crowned Queen of Chicago Blues Shemekia Copeland rounding out the day at 8:30pm.

Davina & the Vagabonds and More @ Christ the King Lutheran Church Music Festival, 8600 Fremont Ave So, Bloomington. 4pm – 9pm (Free) This family-friendly music festival features three outstanding performers from the area. Starting at 4pm is a group led by pianist Will Kjeer, just out of high school and already leading his own groups and playing with others such as Steve Kenny’s Group 47. At 5:30, it’s Salsa Del Soul, with their hot Latin sounds that are sure to bring out dancers. Davina & the Vagabonds take the stage at 7:30, showcasing Davina’s high energy modern interpretations of classic blues and jazz. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Food is available from Famous Dave’s, and Fat Lorenzo’s, with ice cream from Culver’s.

Saturday, Sunday, July 26, 27

Palmfest @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 1pm – 1am Sat, 2pm – 1am Sun (Free) Recently listed as one of the best bars in the United States by Esquire, Palmer’s annual weekend festival celebrates the music, drinks, and general downscale bonhomie of the West Bank institution. Saturday’s line-up includes: Corpse Reviver, Spider John Koerner, Poverty Hash, and others, with Cadillac Kolstad closing out the night. Sunday look for The Farmhouse Band, McNasty Brass Band, Southside Desire, and more.

Sunday, July 27

Hula Peppers @ Boyd Park, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Free) Boyd Park is just a couple of blocks east of the Saint Paul Cathedral, on Selby Avenue. The Peppers will delight with their mix of classic tunes from the 20s and 30s, and the occasional Hawaiian tune, just cause they can. Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion, Gary Powell, Hawaiian guitar; Dave Furniss, resonator guitar; and Corey Mohan, ukuleles and musical saw. Vocalist Lauren Asheim joins in on some tunes. Her operatic training belies her 20s-style delivery (think Betty Boop), which perfectly fits the songs.

Monday, July 28

Other Country Ensemble @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Here in the U.S.A., we have our own brand of country music. This ensemble, however, plays music from other countries, infusing various music from around the world with some improvisatory jazz. It’s quite the group, with Mark Black and Stephen Spaise on percussion; Steve Clarke, reeds; Greg Herriges and Scott Nieman, bouzoukis; Louis “Rundio” Sinclair, chapman stick; David Stenshoel, violin, sax; and Laurie Knutson, flutes, clarinet, and sax.

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Stuart toured with Lester Flatt as a teenager in the 70s, followed that with six years playing with Johnny Cash, and then became a Grammy winning solo artist in the 90s, garnering five to date. He is the kind of country artist that can appeal to young hipsters, since he  loves and plays the roots of the genre: bluegrass, gospel, and especially honky-tonkin’ rockin’ hillbilly music. When he and his fleet-fingered guitarist Kenny Vaughn get to twin-playing, other guitarists look on in complete delight. Check them out in this video.

Tuesday, July 29

Secret Sisters, with Jillian Rae @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) The Secret Sisters are really sisters, a fact which is not so secret. They were discovered in 2010 and released their second album, Put Your Needle Down, in April. They sing traditional country music, and originals. Resident fiddler Jillian Rae opens. The title song & video from her album Heartbeat perfectly express the rush of infatuation and the fantasies it inspires.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Out and About. Music: 7.16 – 7.22

July 16, 2014
Aquatennial Fireworks

Aquatennial Fireworks

Well, the All–Star Game is over, and though temps haven’t been especially high, we do have a semblance of summer. We also have a number of outdoor events taking place throughout the region. Though I’ve included a couple, there will be events at the Aquatennial, and music festivals at the Midtown Global Market, Prior Lake, Chippewa Valley WI, and Canterbury Park, as well as individual performances at area parks and pavilions.



Wednesday, July 16

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) With a voice that is somewhere between playful, seductive, and charming, Sophia can go from originals to the Great American Songbook, to pop songs with ease.

Thursday, July 17

Paula Lammers & Reeves Carey @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Paula and Reeves first sang together on the Minnesota Zephyr some years back, and have performed as a duo from time to time since then. They’ll be joined by Marly Louise Knutson, Chris Bates, and Jay Epstein to perform classic duets from the Great American Songbook.

Courageous Endeavors @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Another one of the fine young groups that we have here in the Twin Cities: Joe Strachan, piano; Nelson Deveraux, sax; Miguel Hurtado, drums. Brian Courage, bass. Here’s a video of theirs.

Milo Fine @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Part of the Khyber Pass’ weekly series of freely improvised music. Milo Fine: drum set, electronics; E flat clarinet; Philip Mann; Saxes, bass clarinet, drum set; Ryan Reber, soprano sax, cello; Rick Ness, drum set, alto sax, B flat clarinet, multi-toned tenor bugle; and Kevin Cosgrove, electric shelf and wave drum.

Friday, July 18

Zacc Harris’ Tribute to Wes Montgomery @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested donation) Though an imaginative guitarist in his own right, Zacc Harris is particularly effective at evoking the chordal playing of Wes Montgomery. Harris is also an entrepreneurial musician who is always finding a new way  to present himself and his colleagues, who tonight include Richard D. Johnson, keys; Chris Bates, bass; & Adrian Suarez on drums.

Saturday, July 19

Unknown-2Jay Young & the Lyric Factory’s Jazz Tribute to Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 10pm ($10- Suggested Donation) Jay gets out his piccolo bass and is joined by son Ian Young, bass; John Penny, guitars; Kevin Washington, drums, and Scott Fultz on sax. They’ll be joined by a trio of vocalists: Rachel Holder-Hennig, Judi Donaghy Vinar, and Sarah Greer to explore the jazz side of two of the biggest pop stars of the 20th Century.

Monday, July 21

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Though these Jazz Implosion gigs can start and end late, it’s worth it to hear Nichols’ original creations. The imaginative pianist will be joined by James Buckley, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Mike Lewis, sax; and JT Bates on drums.

Tuesday, July 22

Explosion Big Band @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (Free) Scott Agster on Trombone, and Doug Haining on sax lead this 17-piece big band in a swinging set of tunes just right for dancing. Lessons at 6:30.

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Anyone who saw them at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival last month knows what a powerhouse this band has become. Join them for an open rehearsal to hear great music and also get an insight into the creative process for a large band.

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, July 16

Unknown-3Michael Monroe @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon-1pm (Free) It’s another lunchtime concert at the Landmark Center. Monroe is a singer/songwriter from Grand Marais who has been performing for forty years. He’s a self-taught musician who plays guitar, ukelele and glass and bamboo flutes.

Malamanya @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Malamanya is an acoustic-driven group that celebrates the traditional rhythms and melodies of Cuban son, salsa, samba, as well as the local music of Central and Latin America. They have garnered a large and enthusiastic fan base. BTW, I’ll be spinning some classic salsa and Cuban tunes before and between their sets, beginning about 5:30pm. Here they are doing an original.

Kent Burnside on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) Burnside is the grandson of the late RL Burnside, who helped bring the trance-blues music of the Mississippi Hill Country to the attention of the rest of us. Kenthas been in town a number of times and always delivers a blistering set of originals and songs from his grandfather and uncle, Duwayne Burnside.

Thursday, July 17

Paul Metsa & Willie Walker @Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) Willie Walker may have the sweetest soul voice in the nation – certainly the sweetest soul voice in town. He and Metsa on guitar provide acoustic versions of many of your favorite classic soul songs. Plus, Shaw’s has rib and drink specials.

Salsa Del Soul @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (free) What a way to spend a pleasant summer evening: salsa dancing in Rice Park. If you don’t know how, you can come early and get a dance lesson, or you can just freestyle.

Friday, July 18


100 Years of Cameras & Photography @ MPLS Photo Center, 2400 North Second Street, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 9:30pm (Free) This is the opening reception for what promises to be a cool exhibit. I’ll be spinning almost 100 years of music, from early jazz to rock n’ roll, soul, disco, Daft Punk, and Pharrell Williams.

images-2Curtiss A & His Blues Band, w/Lone Wolf @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 or RRDB Ticket)  It’s a Pre-Party for tomorrow’s big festival. Lone Wolf, a one-man-band, opens at 7pm, playing slide banjo, bass drum, and harmonica in a punkish, bluefish, folkish vein. Curtiss A, of course, is the Dean of Scream, a devotee of Little Richard, John Lennon, Bo Diddley, and assorted early rockers, who sings at about 12 out of 10 on every amp he uses. He also displays a wicked, sometimes rambling, stream-of-concious patter between songs.

Funk on First @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, 18+) It’s a funk festival with four young bands, each of which has a different approach: New Sound Underground, Black Market Brass, Pho, and Grolar Bears, plus, just to add to the fun, HIpshaker & Worldwide Discotheque deejays. Here’s some music from New Sound Underground.

Saturday, July 19 

Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Festival @ Lake & Minnehaha, Minneapolis. No7 – 11pm (Fri), 11am – 10pm (Sat) ($20) This 4th Annual Festival gets bigger each year as Patrick’s Cabaret, Harriet Brewing, The HUB Bike Co-Op, and the Mosaic Cafe join forces to present over 30 bands on five stages, including bands from Iowa, Texas, and Mississippi. Some of the performers include Sonny Knight & the Lakers; Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders; Kent Burnside, Joe & Vicki Price, Spider John Koerner; Black Diet; Black Market Brass; Nikki & the RueMates; the Dead Pigeons; Molly Maher, and more. After-party at The Eagles Club from 10pm to closing. Whew!

Saturday, July 19

Maurice Jacox @ The Normandy Inn, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) An intimate singer and an intimate band in an intimate setting, though Jacox can sing chill-inducing high notes when he’s got a mind to. It’s a small bar, so call and make reservations if you want to be near the music.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ Mendoberri Cafe & Wine Bar, Mendota Heights. 7:30 – 10pm (No Cover) Steve’s swinging sax can boost at R&B song or something much jazzier. At any rate, this relatively small venue with a good wine selection is a fun place to hear him and his mates play.

Monday, Tuesday, July 21, 22

Hot Tuna @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady met as youngsters while growing up in Washington D.C. Years later they would join forces in Jefferson Airplane, for which they were both inducted into the rock n’ roll Hall of Fame. While in the Airplane, they would play the blues and other Americana on the side, and eventually recorded an album. It was so well received, they ended up recording a couple of dozen albums. Fifty years after their first meeting, they are still playing. Here’s a video from a few weeks ago.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


Outdoor Music and More. 7.9 – 7.15

July 9, 2014

Unknown-2 2We have a big week of music in the Twin Cities. With summer in full swing there are plenty of outdoor events and performances from which to choose, as well as a healthy measure of events at bars and clubs. Get out and enjoy. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, July 9

Latvian Cat Circus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Kameron Markworth and his band-mates Kevin Gastonguay on piano, and Lars-Erik Larson on drums have chosen a name which gives a hint of the spontaneity and unpredictable nature of their music.

Thursday, July 10

Glen David Andrews @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The trombonist/vocalist is a force of nature. At one Dakota appearance Andrews had the floors and the balcony shaking, as folks stomped their feet and danced. His music includes a healthy mixture of traditional New Orleans Jazz with funk and a touch of gospel thrown in for good measure. Andrews’ latest CD, Redemption, was released at the end of April and debuted at #8 on the Blues charts.

images-3All Originals Jazz Series: The Illicit Sextet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) All Originals is a new weekly jazz concert series at Studio Z featuring select outstanding local jazz ensembles playing their original jazz compositions. Tonight, the Illicit Sextet, which does nothing but its members original compositions, is the featured artist. Steve Kenny, trumpet; Paul Harper, tenor saxophone; David Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Kristen Sponcia @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sponcia is a pianist/vocalist who taught at MacNally Smith until last Fall, when she enrolled in a doctorate program in Jazz Vocal Performance at Champaign, IL. She’s back for the summer, and will be joined tonight by Chris Olson, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Dave Stanoch on drums.

Friday, July 11

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ten of the best players in the Twin Cities were brought together back in 2001. Since then, a 2002 CD was well received and the band played a monthly gig at the Artists’ Quarter until the club closed. It’s a delight to have a chance to see them again. They play mostly original tunes or original arrangements. Check out their music from this video.

Mill City Hot Club @ Dulano’s Pizza, 607 W. Lake St, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) Dean Harrington, one of the area’s unsung guitar masters, will be joined by Mark Kreitzer, guitar and mandolin; Tom Schaefer, violin; and Chuck Kreitzer, bass. They’ll be playing the music of Django Rheinhardt and Hank Williams, plus, plenty o’ pizza.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. (Tip Jar) Between the Illicit Sextet, Group 47, and this group, trumpeter Steve Kenny is staying quite busy these days. Tonight he’s joined by Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Babatunde Lea, drums & Percussion. I’m told there will be lotsa Monk, and at least one open improvisation in an homage to Free Jazz.

Friday, Saturday, July 11, 12

The Crosby-Clooney Story @ Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, Chanhassen. Friday, 8pm, Saturday 1pm ($40, $55) Hmm, Bing Crosby, so there’s no doubt Arne Fogel will be taking that part. His long time singing partner Maud Hixson, will take on Rosemary Clooney, and both will be ably supported by the Wolverines Trio. Expect music from the Great American Songbook, including tunes from the movie White Christmas, two duet albums, and radio and concert appearances of the subject singers. Here are some samples of Fogel and Hixson doing this show.

Saturday, July 12

The Atlantis Quartet at last years Wine & Jazzfest

The Atlantis Quartet at last years Wine & Jazzfest

Jazz Fest @ St. Croix Vineyard, 6428 Manning Ave N, Stillwater. 11am – 6pm (Free) Here’s a wonderful little jazz festival at a local vineyard, featuring a fine line-up of area musicians and a former Minnesotan who is now based in NYC. 11:10am –  Bryan Nichols Trio; 12:20pm – Nancy Harms; 1:30pm – Ticket to Brasil Septet; 2:40pm – Babatunde Lea Quintet; 3:50pm Patty Peterson Band; 5pm – Atlantis Quartet. There will be some food and drink available at this family-friendly event, but you’re welcome to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the music.

Sunday, July 13

Stan Bann’s Big Bone Band @ Como Park Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) Black Bear Crossing may be closing down at the end of the year, but it’s still open and especially handy for those attending the concerts at the Pavillion, such as this one. Stan Bann is a composer, trombonist, orchestrator, and conductor and brings out a bevy of ‘bone players for this band.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday July 13, 14, 15

Irv Williams Trio @ The Dakota Patio, 6:30pm – 9:30pm (No Cover) Irv Williams is in his 90s, but his sound on the tenor sax is quite youthful, with warm notes seeming to float out of his saxophone. He’s releasing a new CD with Steve Blons on guitar and Billy Peterson on bass, though it’s not quite ready yet. Anyway, this patio performance is a perfect way to spend an early evening, whether dining or drinking.  Here he is a couple of weeks ago, performing for the Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, July 15

Rockin’ Rondo Jazz Quartet @The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) The History Center’s Nine Nights of Music is back. Though I don’t know who is in the quartet, I do know that Debbie Duncan will be singing with them, which is a vote of confidence if I ever saw one. The Half Pintz Drill Team will kick off the evening.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10 Suggested Donation) This band is co-led by Scott Agster, trombone; and Doug Haining, sax. They were rained out at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and are more than rarin’ to go.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wednesday, July 9

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon- 1pm, (Free) Stop by with a lunch, or buy one at the Landmark, then gather round for French Musettes, and other infectious music from this Dan Newton-led group.

Black Diet @ Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6 – 8pm (Free) What do you get when you cross the soulfulness of Memphis R&B with the energy of early garage bands? Black Diet  an up-and-coming Twin Cities band. Bring a picnic and enjoy this outdoor concert on the lawn of the conservatory. Adult beverages, as well as hot dogs, are available for sale.

Tinsley Ellis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) If you like yer bluz rockin’ then head on down to the Dakota, where Ellis  who’s been on the blues scene since the late 80s, will be dazzling listeners with blistering guitar work in a trio setting.

Thursday, July 10

Boogie Wonderland @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Get out your bell bottoms and take your disco dancing outdoors to the music of the 70s. Dance lessons start and 6pm, and music at 7:15.

Hurricane Harold’s Blues Revue @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Harold Tremblay may be the most connected bluesman in town, which means he always has a passle of great players with him.

Budos Band @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 9pm ($17, $30) Fans of Daptone recording artists already know about this band, which describes itself as playing “Staten Island Instrumental Afro-Soul” music. They’ve toured the world with their serious, horn-heavy, and somewhat mysterious sounding grooves. Here’s an example of that sound.

Friday, July 11

Big George Jackson @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover)  With a voice that would make a foghorn vibrate, Big George can put down the boogie a la John Lee Hooker, and otherwise get your mojo working. Jeremy Johnson and Phil Schmid provide guitar backing worthy of someone who is a star in Europe.

Tim's latest CD

Tim’s latest CD

Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Two champions of the National Fingerpicking competition team up for an evening of country blues, world music, and jazz. For fans of the acoustic guitar, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Sol Flower Collective @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) New grooves, futuristic R&B, and post-classic soul from this talented septet of young performers. Check them out on YouTube:

Saturday, July 12

Charlie Lawson & Friends @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm 5pm – 7pm ($10) Lawson’s passionate guitar playing and spirited vocals on classic blues provide the right enhancement to the enjoyment of the food and drink at this BBQ roadhouse.

Big Daddy Cade: Tribute to BB King @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Cade has the only BB King tribute that’s endorsed by King himself, but that’s only one set in a show. He’s a more than capable guitarist who can venture into R&B, soul, and funk as well.

Sunday, July 13

The Brass Messengers at a previous Bastille Day celebration.

The Brass Messengers at a previous Bastille Day celebration.

Bastille Day Block Party @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 3pm – 10pmm (Free) This annual event always has something more than music – roller derby girls, circus acts, and more. The music is a great draw as well, with a combination of veteran and up-and coming bands: Black Diet, Cloak Ox, Heiruspecs, Brass Messengers, and GRRRL PRTY. As the poster says, “Cake Will Be Served.”

Dengue Fever @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) A California-based band that have taken ‘60s Cambodian pop as inspiration and blended it with psychedelic rock and indie sounds. They’ve gained considerable recognition among established rock musicians, including Peter Gabriel, who licensed their third release, Venus on Earth, for worldwide distribution in 2008. They’ve also appeared on Jools Holland’s TV show, toured Europe and have appeared at a number of festivals in the US.  Here’s a YouTube video:



Monday, July 14

Lamont Cranston @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) After decades of playing, Pay Hayes and the Cranstons will be rockin’ the Dakota with classic R&B and their own original blues.

Tuesday, July 15

Patty & the Buttons @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Swinging R&B-ish accordion playing from Patty and his band. Get a seat at the bar if you can, or ask to be seated near the band.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


A Holiday Weekend and More. Mujsic: 7.2 – 7.8

July 2, 2014
Taste has moved so there will be fireworks over the State Capitol on the 4th.

Taste has moved so there will be fireworks over the State Capitol on the 4th.

Well, after the excitement and fun of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, we have a pretty solid week of music ahead, especially for those of us who are not going to the Iowa City Jazz Festival, another free, outdoor event. It’s a holiday weekend, so there is little music on Friday, since many will be watching fireworks around the metro area. On a personal note, I’ll be busy deejaying as well as subbing on the Sugar Shop. Have a great weekend, and remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, July 2

Gypsy Mania Hot Club Quartet @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Free) Ahh, the Lake Harriet Bandshell on a summer night. People enjoying walks around the lakes, bicyclists, picnics, and planes flying overhead. One of the best things to do in the Twin Cities. Made even better by the playing of the Gypsy Mania Hot Club  featuring Glen Hegelson, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; Matt Senjem, upright bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Siamese Fighting Fish @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Bassist Anthony Cox brings Dean Granros, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Dave King on drums, to the basement “rumpus room” that is Jazz Central

Thursday, July 3

Merciless Ghost @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Group improvisation by a trio that excels at it. George Cartwright, saxophones; Josh Granowski, bass; and Davu Seru on drums.

Saturday, July 5

Pig’s Eye Jazz Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm ($6) Traditional New Orleans Jazz and Blues.  These dance floor favorites are back. Jim Torok, reeds & cornet; Nancy Hite, vocals, washboard; Jov Judge, trombone & tuba; Bill Johnson, piano; Jim Field, tuba; Garry Peterson, banjo; Dick Parker, guitar, banjo; Gordon Myers, drums; Kerry Ashmore, clarinet.

Patty Peterson & Friends @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8pm. $12 (Music Only), $45 (Music + 3 Course Meal) It’s An Evening With Patty Peterson  vocals; Jason Peterson DeLaire, sax, keys & vocal; Paul Peterson, Bass + vocals; Bobby Vandell, drums + vocals. I’ll be deejaying at about 11pm, after Ms Peterson performs.

Sunday, July 6

Andrew Walesch Big Band @ Como Park Pavillion, Saint Paul. 3pm (Free) Pianist/vocalist Walesch leads a big band in a somewhat sheltered outdoor venue with room for dancers. He has a pleasing voice and an understanding way with a lyric.

Monday, July 7

Ryan Christianson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:309pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Christianson is young trombone player who has worked with The Jack Brass Band and the New Standards, and has performed with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra. As guest artist for the evening, he’ll do a longish set with the JC rhythm section, and then, after a break, a jam session will occur.

Jason Squinobal Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Modern renditions of jazz standards and original compositions from tenor saxophonist, Jason Squinobal will be performing with vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn, along with the rhythm team of bassist Chris Bates and drummer JT Bates.

Monday, Tuesday, July 7, 8

Bill Frisell @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) There was quite a few popular instrumentals in the 50s and 60s, much of them featuring guitar. The ever-inventive Frisell was inspired by the music, and will soon release a CD entitled Guitar in the Space Age!. He’ll be mining the catalog of music by folks like the Ventures, Dick Dale, Duane Eddy, Link Wray, Chet Atkins, and Merle Travis. He’ll be joined by bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen from his working trio, and Greg Liesz, a master of lap and pedal steel.

Tuesday, July 8

Jason Squinobal Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10) For folks who didn’t want to stay up late for their Monday show. Modern renditions of jazz standards and original compositions from tenor saxophonist, Jason Squinobal will be performing with vibraphonist Dave Hagedorn, along with the rhythm team of bassist Chris Bates and drummer JT Bates.

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, and Other…

Wednesday, July 2

Trailer Trash @ Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) Trailer Trash plays honky-tonk country, with a dash of rockabilly/early rock n’ roll. Pack a picnic, or buy some hot dogs, beer, and wine on the lawn of the Conservatory, where it’s held.

Pedrito Martinez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Havana-born Martinez began his career at the age of 11 as a vocalist and percussionist. He was brought to Canada by Jane Bunnet in 1998 and settled in NYC in 2000. Since then he’s works and/or toured with folks like Paquito D’Rivera, Bebo Valdes, Steve Turre, Stefon Harris, Los Hombres Calientes, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovan, and Bruce Springsteen, among others. He’s performed on six Grammy nominated records, and the Grammy winning Simpatico, by Eddie Palmieri and Brian Lynch. He brings Afro-Cuban Rumbas, and Bata rhythms into the 21st century. Tonight he’s featuring vocalist Ariacne Trujillo.

Savoy Brown @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10-$15)  You have to hand it to Kim Simmonds, founding member of this British blues-rock trio  He’s led over 30 different configurations of this group, going through about 60 different members, and is still laying down the boogie. The Savoy Brown Blues Band started in 1965, though it wasn’t until 1974 that they broke the top forty in the US with their album Hellbound Train. Currently a trio, they released their last album a couple of years ago, and  they just keep on chooglin’.

Lonesome Dan Case and Corpse Reviver @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Some early blues and Americana to get you over the hump and rolling towards the weekend.

Thursday, July 3

Nik, Rik, & Mik @ the Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (tip jar) That’s Nikki Matteson & Rich Rue of Nikki & the Rue-Mates, and Mikkel Beckman, joining together for an early evening of rootsy blues and folksy rock.

James Hunter @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) I first heard Hunter when someone gave me a copy of his first album and said, I think you’ll like this guy. He was right. Hunter has a soulful voice, with a bit of scratch in it. He has assimilated and integrated the sounds of early rock n’ roll and R&B into his own soulful singing and playing, often displaying traces of Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson. His latest album, Minute by Minute, from last year, displays his own terrific writing as well. In a rare bit of scheduling, he’ll be coming back to the Dakota on Sunday night.

Friday, July 4

Freewheelin’ First Friday’s Fabulous Fourth @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Though you may not see fireworks by attending this event, you will certainly hear them as Willie Murphy takes the stage with what he’s calling the Wild Combo, which features old friends (and former Bees) John Beach on piano and Merlin Bronkow, aka Bronco on sax. Nikki & the Rue-Mates will provide folk-rock & rootsy blues to open. In addition to the Harriet’s taps, Tollefson’s Family Pork food truck will be on hand to help fuel you up for dancing on the Tap Room’s patio.

Saturday, July 5

Chasing Lovely @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This charming sister duo offers smart, witty, introspective songs, laced with mandolin, banjo, and acoustic guitars. Originally from Minneapolis, they now reside in Nashville, where they often appear as extras on the TV series of the same name. Reservations strongly recommended at 612-379-3138.

Sunday, July 6

James Hunter @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) See Thursdays’ entry, above.

Leroy Thomas & the Zydeco Roadrunners @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12/$10 – Krewe de Walleye members) Thomas is a Louisiana accordionist who grew up in a family of zydeco musicians. His pulsating repertoire mixes old school zydeco with Cajun, Blues, and R&B. Given the Eagles’ wooden dance floors, I expect a crowd of slinky, swaying, twirling dancers

Monday, July 7

Gillian Welch @ the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley, 7:30pm ($37) Welch’s spare, dark style has elements of Appalachian and Americana music. She was, after all Associate Producer and performed on two tracks for the Grammy winning soundtrack of O Brother, Where Art Thou?. She received Grammy nominations for her 1996 debut album, Revival, Her 2001 release Time (The Revelator) and her 2011 release The Harrow & the Harvest. Hers is the kind of music you listen to on a porch, while sipping whiskey. Though the Zoo doesn’t have a porch, it’s got an amphitheater which is one of the best outdoor venues you’ll find.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


%d bloggers like this: