State Fair Music and More, Pt II: 8.27 – 9.2

August 27, 2014

STATE_FAIR_MUSIC

First, my thanks to Tim Nyberg of Octane Creative for his witty redesign of the image I used last week. The Labor Day Weekend is upon us, with it’s “end of summer” designation, as school begins in earnest, and the long weekend finds folks visiting cabins and otherwise going Up North. For those of who stay in town, the State Fair is still offering many music attractions, a few of which I’ve included. On a personal note, if you’re in town Sunday, you can join me at the Nightingale, where I’ll be spinning soul and funk for Sunday Brunch. In the meantime, have a good week. Music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 27

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Quartet @ Minnehaha Falls Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Here’s a fine way spend a lovely evening – checking out some jazz while enjoying a picnic, or, if you’re willing to get there early and get in line, a meal from Sea Salt.  Either way, drummer Johnson-Blanchard, who plays with High & Mighty, as well as this group, will satisfy your craving for jazz.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Davu Seru Photo by Andrea Canter

Davu Seru Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Percussionist Seru is highly versatile, able to freely improvise, play Desert Blues, and jazz standards. He’ll be joined by Scott Fultz, sax; Tom Reichert, guitar; and Josh Granowski on bass.

Thursday, August 27

The Atlantis Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The All Originals Jazz Series continues with a group that’s been named Best Jazz Band in the Twin Cities by City Pages, as well as a number of fans, and no wonder – their originals are full of spark and fire, and their members are among the best in town. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Arne Fogel @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Fogel is one of the best male vocalists in town. He’s a master at interpreting Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. He’s also good at putting together performances that showcase particular composers and themes such as movie songs. Always a pro, always enjoyable.

Dean Granros @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) We have a surfeit of excellent jazz guitarists in town. Case in point: Mr. Granros, who will be playing solo tonight at the cafe with authentic Afghan cuisine, some of which will be available, along with beer and wine.

Friday, August 28

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm, ($10 Suggested Donation) I’ve mentioned Gravatt about every time he plays, since he deserves to be heard here in his home town. After all, he’s good enough to have recorded and toured with Weather Report, and has toured with McCoy Tyner, among other jazz giants. He’ll be joined by other Twin Cities musicians that are worthy of his skill and leadership: Dean Magraw, guitar; Dave Graf, trombone; Solomon Parhan, trumpet; and Ron Evaniuk, bass. Here’s a video that features Gravatt’s drum solo on a McCoy Tyner performance.

Reynold Philipsek, Matt Senjem, & Michael Bissonnet @ the 318 Cafe, Excelsior; 8pm ($10) The 318 is a fairly intimate room – about 40 seats, including the bar, so it’s a good idea to call and get reservations. Philipsek, on guitar, Senjem on bass, Bissonet on percussion. This performance is being filmed for a video project, so you can say you were there.

Saturday, August 30

Mike Doolin Guitar Making/Repair Workshop & Concert, and Tough Commute CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 3pm (Workshop/Concert), 8pm (CD Release) ($10 for workshop is also good for CD Release). Mike Doolin is a guitar maker from Portland, Oregon who has released a CD with David Martin. At the workshop, Doolin will discuss the construction and repair of various guitars he has made and then perform on some of them along David Martin, with whom he’s made the CD Tough Commute. I interviewed David Martin on my show this past Saturday (the 23rd), which you can listen to here. Their performance at the Icehouse Monday night was very, very good. Attend the workshop and CD release for one price.

Foreign Motion featuring Patty Peterson @ The Icehouse,Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($10Advance/$15Door) Guitarist Cory Wong leads Foreign Motion through some original jazz for the 21st Century. I suspect, however, that there will be some standards and contemporary songs for Patty Peterson to sing as well. (Wong regularly plays in her group). Other members of Foreign Motion include Yohannes Tona, bass; Kevin Gastonguay, keys; and Peter Janjic, drums. Here’s an example of Foreign Motion’s work.

Sunday, August 31

Connie Evingson & Jon Weber: More from Ella Fitzgerald’s Songbooks@ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Here’s a noteworthy duo. Evingson is at ease singing anything from standards to Peggy Lee, the Beatles, and Gypsy Jazz. Weber  s a virtuoso pianist with an encyclopedic knowledge of music and the ability to play almost anything. You may know him from his annual appearances at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. They did the first round round of Ella Fitzgerald classics in June and are returning with more.

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, August 27

Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Klatt & the Cat Swingers perform acoustic swing and blues, as well as a bit of ragtime. In other words they’re lots of fun. Check them out on the radio, and if you like em’ head over to the 331 Club.

Lake Street Dive w/Southside Desire @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm (7:30 doors), ($20) Lake Street Dive came together in Boston where they were attending the New England Conservatory and were named by their trumpet/guitar player Mike Olson, who is from Minneapolis. Their acoustic, slowed down version of I Want You Back went viral and garnered over a million views, catapulting them to some fame and into a recording studio for a full-length album full of garage pop-soul. Southside Desire, with their girl group meets garage band/Stax sound is the perfect opening act.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Radio Joe Demko plays guitar, sings, and leads this excellent small swing outfit: Bruce Wintervold, vibes; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Guscetti, drums. Expect some Swing, Tango, Calypso, Rhumba,. jump blues, boogie boogie & more. In other words, get your dancing shoes out. Here’s proof of their effect on dancers.

Thursday, August 28

Siama Matuzungidi @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (tip jar) Matuzungidi is an African guitarist who has played on over 100 popular singles from the golden era of soukous. He’s lived in Minneapolis since 1995, and regularly performs with Socaholix, Marimba Africa, and Cyril Paul, and has recently received a McKnight Fellowship. Lately, he’s been performing acoustically. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Scott Fultz on flute, sax, and guitar, as well as a percussionist. Here he is at the Harriet Bandshell.

Liv Warfield & NPG Hornz @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($75, $60) 10pm ($45) This is Paisley Park production featuring Warfield, who is a Prince protoge. The NPG Horns add a blast of pure energy, as evidenced in this video from the Jimmy Fallon show.

Tony Allen & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm, ($15) Allen was the drummer for most of Fela’s incendiary music – a true architect of Afrobeat. He’s appearing with the Chicago Afrobeat Project, a band that has thoroughly infused the sound into their bloodstreams.

Friday, August 29

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The International Bazaar Stage, MN State Fair. 7:30pm, 8:45pm (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Funkin’ up the International Bazaar, Knight and his crew continue to work as hard as possible to spread the gospel of not-so-retro funk.

Buckwheat Zydeco @ the Leinie Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm  (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Propulsive, high-powered Zydeco music from one of the few zydeco artists to achieve mainstream success. The New York Times say he leads “one of the best bands in America.” ‘Nuff said.

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Blues with a broad sense of humor. However, don’t laugh so hard that you miss out on Estrin’s harp playing.  Plus, as the kids used to say, It’s got a good beat. You can dance to it.

Sunday, Monday, August 31, September 1

RAMM Band with Horns @ The International Bazaar Stage, MN State Fair. 3pm – 7pm (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Paul Mayasich and his friends will be tearing up the stage at the Fair. Good thing there’s room for dancing.

Marcia Ball @ The Leinie Stage, MN State Fair. 3:30pm, 4:45pm  (Free w/$13 Fair Admission) Ahhh, Long Tall Marcia Ball  The honky-tonkin’ boogie boogie piano player never disappoints, whether she’s singing about backyard barbecues, the Mississippi flood, newlyweds, or playing with your “poodle.”

Monday, September 1

Salif Keita @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($50) The Golden Voice of Africa is a direct descendant of the founder of the Mali Empire. Keita’s rhythmic, sensuous music and supple voice has helped him become pretty big around the rest of the world as well, earning him the respect of many big stars. Guest artists like Carlos Santana, Wayne Shorter, and Joe Zawinul have appeared on his albums.

Tuesday, September 2

Vinyl Voices @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) This is a weekly gig in which KFAI-certified deejays spin vinyl while you enjoy the Tap Room’s beer and food truck edibles. Tonight I’ll be spinning funky jazz, New Orleans R&B, and a bit of R&B from elsewhere. I’ll be trading off with Emily Krumberger, who will be spinning R&B, Soul, and hip-hop. Stop on by.

Fat Chance Jug Band & Jug Band Jam @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (Tip Jar)  Fat Chance has this good-time, homemade music  thing pretty well in hand, since they’ve been at it so long. Stick around for a bit of a jam. Maybe you can even learn how to make a washboard bass.

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. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


State Fair Fair Music and More: 8.20 – 8.26

August 20, 2014

DSC01997This week brings many opportunities for hearing music, including the Minnesota State Fair, where, in addition to food-on-a-stick, you’ll have a number of opportunities to see, and dance to, visiting and resident musicians.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 20

Mountain King @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the last appearance of this bass trio, since Brian Courage is moving to New York. Catch em’ While you can. Jeremy Boettcher, Graydon Peterson, Brian Courage. Who says people don’t listen during a bass solo?

Thursday, August 21

Unknown-3Maryann Sullivan @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sullivan is usually curating this vocal series, but tonight she’s stepping out front. She’s a singer who knows how to swing Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, and more. With Doug Haining, on reeds, and David Martin on guitar.

Group 47 @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) I’ve written a bit about this band in the past few months, given their new album, Straight To Vinyl. Like the other bands in this Thursday night series, Group 47 play original compositions, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw in a jazz standard or two. Led by trumpeter Steve Kenny, the group includes some young lions: Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.

Topher Dunlap Jazz Trio @ Mattie’s on Main, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Mattie’s is a new venue located in St. Anthony Main. It seems a bit strange as a venue for jazz – a self-styled “modern day saloon” with 16 beers on tap, an eclectic bar menu, TVs with sports, and a fine stage. They also feature karaoke, as well as other types of bands. I know little about this group, except that Topher helps out at Jazz Central, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

Friday, August 22

Phil Hey Quartet and Stefan Kac’s Band of No Return @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Phil Hey Quartet is a known entity here in the Twin Cities: marvelous, well-played jazz. They’ll be starting at 7:30pm. Along about 9:30 or 10pm, Stefan Kac’ Band of No Return will take the stage. Kac is a tuba player and composer who is originally from the area and currently based in Los Angeles. The award-winning composer will be joined by Geoff Senn, trumpet; Shilad Sen, tenor; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Saturday, August 23

They actually face the audience when they play

They actually face the audience when they play

Lulu’s Playground @ FunArt Studio, Stillwater. 2pm – 4pm (Free – entrance at 9030 Fairy Falls Road, Stillwater) Chamber jazz performed on the patio of Tim Nyberg’s studio overlooking the Saint Croix River. Lulu’s Playground has not played much this past year since guitarist Evan Montgomery has been studying in Los Angeles. He’s back for a short while and taking advantage of the opportunity to play with his mates: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; and Cory Grossman, cello. Bring a beverage and a lawn chair and watch as Nyberg draws inspiration from the music as he paints. In case of rain, the concert (and painting) will move indoors

Sunday, August 24

Pavel Jany & the Talking Strings @ Alexis Bailly Vineyard, 18200 Kirby Ave S, Hastings. 1pm – 4pm (Free) Take in a wine tasting, have a little picnic on the Vineyard’s patio, and listen to East European Gypsy music, French jazz, and Brazilian bossa novas, as well as other world music and originals from this group. Pavel Jany, guitar; Gary Shulte, violin, and Dan Weston, bass.

Monday, August 25

Jazz Central All-Stars @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tanner Taylor, piano; Dave Graf, trombone; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zach Lozier, trumpet; Doug Haining, reeds; and Mac Santiago on drums. Tanner returns for an evening with this group that’s been bringing it’s music to parks and auditoriums around the state.

Mike, left, and Dave

Mike, left, and Dave

Dave Martin/Mike Doolin Group and Courageous Endeavors @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) It’s a two-fer night as Twin Cities guitarist Dave Martin and Portland, Oregon guitarist Mike Doolin celebrate the release of their CD Tough Commute. They’ll be joined by Chris Bates on bass and Pete Hennig on drums. Then Courageous Endeavors will perform what I believe is their last gig before Brian Courage leaves for New York. Joe Strachan, piano; Nelson Deveraux, sax; Miguel Hurtado, drums. Brian Courage, bass;

Tuesday, August 26

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) They wowed at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, with a big, big, rhythmic sound. It’s more or less an open rehearsal, so you may get some insight into how a song is arranged.

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, August 20

Stephanie Nilles @ KFAI and The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 1206.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Nilles is a classically trained barrelhouse piano player from New Orleans, who has sung with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and has performed at official showcases at SXSW and the International Folk Alliance. As Hurricane Harold would say, “You know the drill,” tune in and get to the 331.

Thursday, August 21

Rich Lewis Band @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) What a great way to spend a summer evening. Lewis and the band play New Orleans R&B,vintage rock n’ roll, soul music, and even standards, not to forget their own originals. Always a good time, especially if you like to dance.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Raucous Balkan party music, for movers and shakers, whether you’re in your chair or on a dance floor.

Thursday, Friday, August 21, 22

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Schell’s Stage, MN State Fair. 2pm, 3pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Lots of good music at the Fair this year, including the sweat-inducing Cajun and Zydeco of the Pinecones.

Blood, Sweat, & Tears @ the Leine Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Guilty pleasure of the week. Even though none of the current members of the band were in the original configuration of the 70s, all play in a myriad of other rock, soul, and jazz bands when not on the road with BS&T. They’re professional through and through and though David Clayton-Thomas may not be singing lead, Bo Bice, runner-up in the fourth season of American Idol, is sure to handle the chore with aplomb.

Friday, August 22

Aretha Franklin & The Four Tops @ the Grandstand, MN State Fair. 7:30pm ($45 + $13 Fair admission) The Queen of Soul returns to Minnesota after an absence that’s lasted far too long. Though the hit-making Four Tops had its original line-up for 44 years, death has reduced the band to original member Duke Fakir, along with three other singers.

Don Scott & Curtis Blake @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($6) Guitar/harp blues duo with interesting arrangements of songs you know and even more interesting originals.

The Original Wailers @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 advance/$25Door) It doesn’t get much heavier in reggae than the sound of the group that backed Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all those years ago.

Friday, Saturday, August 22, 23

Hipshaker 12th Anniversary Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Rare soul and funk 45s from Brian, George, and Greg, along with special guests, shaking the dance floor at the Kitty Kat.

Saturday, August 23

Alejandro Escovedo & Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) If you’re looking for literate songwriting, this is the place tonight. Escovedo and Ely are a couple of Texas music legends getting together for an evening of music. Both have long careers spanning genres from country to punk. Ely appeared at the Dakota in May, putting on an engaging performance.

Cedar’s 25th Anniversary Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm (Free)  It’s a Latin night at the Cedar, with Making Movies (Kansas City);  De La Buena (Milwaukee);  and deejays from Worldwide Discotheque (Minneapolis).

Prophets of Peace @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Funk & Soul from this tight ensemble that reformed after the success of the Twin Cities Funk & Soul record compilation.

Saturday, Sunday, August 23, 24

Paul Cebar and Tomorrow Sound @ The Leine Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Cebar is moving up to the larger stage and two night, bringing along his talented band and highly literate originals as calypsos, R&B, and soul music just right for dancing.

Monday, August 25

Happy Together Tour 2014 @ The Grandstand, MN State Fair ($21 + $13 Fair Admission) It’s a nostalgic night for boomers, with the under-rated Turtles (w/Flo & Eddie), as well as Chuck Netron of # Dog Night, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, and the explosive Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

Tuesday, August 26

Vinyl Voices @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) A group of vinyl junkies from KFAI have started this weekly gig, which generally features two KFAI volunteers spinning LPs and 45s. This week it’s DJ Steely from Kinda Cloudy and Miguel Vargas from Radio Pocho spinning a mix of international records, including Latin, soul, and other genres. The O’Cheeze food truck will be on hand.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 26, 27

DakhaBrahka @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $32) This Ukrainian quartet dubs their music “ethnic chaos.” It’s a highly theatrical troupe using costumes, a variety of instrumentation and uncompromising vocals to create a mesmerizing music and a circus-like atmosphere. LOTT opens.

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. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.

 


Jazz, Rockabilly, Crawfish, and More. Music: 8.13 – 8.19

August 13, 2014
Crawfish, Crayfish - no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Crawfish, Crayfish – no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Summer in the City. It’s hard to beat, what with lakes and trees to help us keep cool, and hot music all about town. And hey, we’ve even got a crawfish (crayfish?) festival with finger-lickin’ music to lift our spirits and help us dance.

 

Jazz…

Wednesday, August 13
Vicky Mountain @ The Piazza on the Mall, Minneapolis. 5pm – 6:15pm (Free) Here’s an after-work treat for downtowners. The Piazza is set up in front of Westminster Church on 12th & Nicollet. There you’ll get to hear the wonderfully assured and melodic voice of Vicky Mountain, accompanied by James Allen on guitar and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Larry McDonough Quartet Anniversary of Simple Gifts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($5) It’s been ten years since pianist McDonogh released his album Simple Gifts. He’s celebrating with a full length performance of the album tonight.

Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) For those of you who didn’t stay up late to catch them at the Icehouse. See last week’s entry for Monday.

Thursday, August 14
Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Each Thursday you can find a vocalist performing at Jazz Central. Sometimes it’s someone who is established on the scene. Other times you can be delightfully surprised at a newcomer to the Twin Cities jazz scene. Zuther is one such singer.  She has sung a range of music from opera to country to jazz, appearing with variety bands in the Midwest and in musical theater here in town. She’s an alumna of the Cabaret Conference at Yale and is a founder of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The Bill Evans-inspired pianist and his fine trio (which includes Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) take their place in the series that features groups playing original compositions. Here’s a cut from this CD.

Friday, August 15
Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover)  Glen Helgeson, guitrar; Dave Stanoch, drums; Gary Schulte, violin, and Chris Bates, bass. Worldbeats combined with elements of modern and traditional jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The first jazz composer’s collective, or perhaps the one that we remember. Dave Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, tenor; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Keith Karns Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A 17 piece band led by trumpeter-arranger-composer Karns, whose arrangements are called dense but also rhythmic by the noted jazz critic Scott Yanow. The band includes Aaron Hedenstrom on sax and Brian Claxton on drums, both of whom performed earlier in the week with their own quintet. Here’s an example of them at work.

Saturday, August 16
Sublime Curve @ the Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This tiny bar feels a bit like a NYC bar in the 60s. It’s got good cocktails, a decent wine list and an award winning kitchen. There’s about 15 places at the bar, and 6-8 high top tables, so reservations are recommended. Anyway, Sublime Curve has been appearing hear every other month or so. The band includes: Jim ‘Tice, keys; Stevie D, percussion; Jeff Moe, bass; Marc Partridge, guitar; and Tom Church on sax. It’s not quite chamber jazz, but it’s far from raucous. Simply good music in a fine setting.

Monday, August 18
Fantastic Merlins @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) Brain Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums explore the sonic possibilities of original compositions, free improvisation, and reworking the occasional jazz standard.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Evan Montgomery Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Guitarist Montgomery has been off studying in California since last Fall. It’s good to have him back, even if for a little while, to see what he’s added to his clean technique.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Jazz doesn’t get much more sophisticated, or well played, than what is offered by this long-working group: Phil Hey, drums, Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Aaron on piano. You can expect tunes from Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Miles Davis, and others of that standing.

Tuesday, August 19
River City Jazz Orchestra @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like Tuesday has become Big Band Night in the Twin Cities. The kind folks at MMC are showcasing big bands for those who like an early show. Tonight, the River City Jazz Orchestra will play from a book that includes tunes by Basie, Dorsy, Ellington, Miller, and more.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested donation) Meanwhile, over in Mill City, The Explosion Big Bandm, led by Doug Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, will fill the intimate space at Jazz Central. When they recently played outdoors at the MN History Center, the Center reported they had the largest crowd, and largest number of dancers of any band that’s ever played there during their summertime series.

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, August 13
Tim Sparks on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) He’s a fingerpicking ace, with the awards and credentials to back up that sobriquet. Sparks‘ latest album, Chasin’ The Boogie, re-imagines songs from the Beatles, Roy Orbison, and Joni Mitchell, as well as gold standards and some gritty blues. Here he is doing I’ll Fly Away.”

The Holmes Brothers @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) By the time they were “discovered” in the late 80s, the Holmes Brothers already had years and years of experience, often backing singers ranging from Jerry Butler and John Lee Hooker to Jimmy Jones, originator of Handyman, not to mention playing blues in bars on Saturday nights and Gospel in churches on Sunday morning. All of which gives some insight into the winning way they can incorporate country, blue, doo-wop, gospel, and more into their act. It’s good to have them back after a long absence from our stages.

Rosie rocks out

Rosie rocks out

Thursday, August 14
Rosie Flores @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) If you didn’t catch Flores at the Guitar Festival last weekend, you still have a chance to get your “Rockabilly Jones” met. I don’t count you’ll be moving, so you may as well wear dancing shoes. Sweet Mama J opens at 9pm, Rosie Flores at 10:15pm

Friday, August 15
Candye Kane @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($8) Kane’s story is unbelievable. She has been called a survivor, a superhero, and the toughest girl alive. The jump blues singer is a mother of two and has been a pin up cover girl, and had sung punk rock, hillbilly music and blues by the time she was 21. Known for shows that are often a celebration of sexuality, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about seven years ago, and has undergone two surgeries since then. In spite of the fact that such cancer has poor survival rates, she’s still on the road, and still a dynamic performer. Ross Kleiner & the Thrill open. Candye Kane at 10:45pm. Here’s an example of what she’s been up to in the past year.

Jack Klatt & Charlie Parr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) In 2012 guitarist/singer Klatt recorded Mississippi Roll with Charlie Parr. This is their first chance to play together onstage. This is roots music that is authentic as can be.

Saturday, August 16
Crayfish Festival @ the Smack Shack, 6th & Washington, Minneapolis. Noon until…  ($40Advance/$50Door) Okay, so it’s not a free street festival, but it is a Louisiana-styled Crayfish Boil featuring a 1/2 dozen bands, all-yoou-can-eat Minnesota mudbugs, and all the Hurricanes and Beer you can drink. Work off that gluttony dancing to The Droppers, Butanes, Wayne McFarlane & Zydeco Blue and the headliners – Davina & the Vagabonds. As they say in the Big Easy: We Be Partyannnnn!Global Rhythm Festival @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St.Croix Trail. Noon – 5pm ($5 Parking) Pack a picnic, some blankets or chairs, and take a pleasant drive to the Franconia Sculpture Park, just SE of Taylors Falls, right off Highway 8. There you’ll find acres of sculptures of all types and sizes in a sunny setting. On-site vendors will have some food and beverages. You can take part in a guided tour during band breaks, and even meet some of the artists-in-residence. Pan Dimensions Steel Drums open at 12:30, followed at 2:15 by guitarist Greg Herriges with percussionist Michael Bissonnette playing a mix of international music. Finally, at 4pm, the Duniya Drum and Dance troupe will take the stage, dancing and moving to traditional West African rhythms.

Unknown-5Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Bluesman Guitar Shorty has quite the resume. At 16, he toured with Ray Charles. At 17 he recorded a single supervised by Willie Dixon.  He led the house band at New Orleans’ legendary Dew Drop Inn for a couple of years and then took a job with Sam Cooke. By the way, Jimi Hendrix was his brother-in-law. He’s been living in L.A. since 1971, playing the blues, recording, jamming, and rocking out around the world. His latest, Watch Your Back, for Alligator Records, was nominated for two Blues Music Awards.

Sunday, Monday, August 17, 18
The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) They play every Sunday and Monday night, bringing out dancers and fellow musicians (some of whom sit in). After 20-some years, they’re as tight as can be, performing some classic soul and funk, and newer tunes as well.

Monday, Tuesday, August 18, 19
Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Pianist Crawford is known as the “Crown Prince of New Orleans,’ a well deserved title, since he incorporates all elements of New Orleans’ music into his own compositions. He is also comes from one of the “royal” lines of N’Awlins’ musical families: his grandfather was James Sugar Boy Crawford, who penned the iconic “Jock-A-Mo” way back in the 50s. He’s been a favorite of the New Orleans Jazz Festival for a number of years now.

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. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Brass, Guitars, and More… Music: 8.6 – 8.12

August 6, 2014

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Lots of horns in the jazz community this week, from both visiting and resident artists. On the Blues and Roots side, there’s a guitar festival, and Irish festival, a rockin’ piano player, and some sizzling zydeco and Cuban music. A good week for music lovers. Get out and hear some live music – it lifts the spirit. Note that I try to be accurate about these listings, but, being human, mistakes occur, and it doesn’t hurt to check with the venue beforehand.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 6

Sue Oatts @ Hells Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Oatts is an underrated vocalist who has a swinging way with a melody. She’ll be joining the well-rated Wolverines Trio on this gig.

Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Martin is the drummer with Medeski, Martin, and Wood, a band that has been vital in exposing younger listeners to improvisational jazz. He calls Wicked Knee a juke-joint brass band that plays ragtime funk. To understand why, not that other members are Brian Drye, trombone; Marcus Rojaz, tuba; and Steven Bernstein, trumpet. Sounds like a raucous night to me.  Here’s an example.

The Reverse of Sam & Dave @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) We’re not talking about the soul men, but rather Sam Rivers and Dave Holland, who made some duo recordings in the late 1970’s. Anthony Cox, bass; and Michael Lewis, sax, will explore the sonic possibilities of such a duo with originals, a reworking of standards, and free improvisation. Q&A are part of the performance.

Thursday, August 7

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Whether singing the blues or the music of Billy Strayhorn, Doring brings passion and taste to her performance. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by the imaginative piano stylings of Steven Hobert to interpret the Great American Songbook.

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance to see this trio of veteran musicians without going to Bloomington’s Parma 8200, where they hold forth every Saturday. Weinbeck, piano; Gordon Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums produce elegant jazz. Here they are.

Mississippi @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is another in the All Originals Jazz Series. Tonight, the all-star quartet of Pete Whitman, sax; Peter Schimke, piano, Jeff Bailey, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; will be stoking the intimate Studio Z.

Friday, August 8

Valve Meets Slide @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s always fun and uplifting to see and hear Brad Bellows, valve trombone, and Dave Graf, slide trombone, lock horns, so to speak. These versatile musicians take the somewhat maligned ‘bone and turn it into an instrument of bop and beauty.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Flumpeter Kenny is on a tear these days, as noted in the two interviews I posted on my blog last week (July 28, July 31). Tonight he’s joined by Christopher Thomson, sax; Babatunde Lea, drums; Brian Courage, bass. It’s a chordless quartet, playing an evening-length repertoire of standards.

Saturday, August 9

What Would Monk Do @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The coffee shop on Franklin & Nicollet is once again presenting music. Tonight we have a relatively rare appearance by WWMD, featuring Kenny Horst on drums; along with Brian Courage, bass;, Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny on flumpet, that combination of fluegelhorn and trumpet. Monk and Monk-Inspired tunes.

Monday, August 11

The Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Aaron Hedenstrom is a young, award-winning saxophonist & composer who grew up in the area and is now pursuing a doctorate in composition at the renowned University of North Texas. Drummer Brian Claxton is also from the area, having gone to school at UW-Eau Claire with Hedenstrom. Claxton is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to interview Hedenstrom on my show. You can hear it here. The interview begins at about 19 minutes into the show. For tonight and Wednesday night at Jazz Central, they are partnering with Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Zacc Harris, guitar. Here are Hedenstrom and Claxton with a couple of other players taking on a standard.

Tuesday, August 12

Framework @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7 pm ($5-$10 Suggested for Tip jar) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; create shimmering, imaginative music.

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, August 6

Izzy & Chris on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This Southern guitar/harp duo met at an open stage and got a standing ovation from the crowd. A few weeks later, they were on the main stage at the 2006 West Virginia Blues Festival.

Trombone Shorty @ The Minnesota Zoo, Eagan. 8pm ($43) The amphitheater at the Apple Valley Zoo will be shakin’ as Trombone Shorty (who also plays trumpet) brings his jazzy funk, along with some traditional New Orleans jazz & R&B to town. He’s a master showman, who knows how to milk the audience’s attention with long, long notes, and a sense of drama.

Erik Koskinen @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Some folks call him country, but the music he plays is far from the slick bro-country product that inhabits the country charts these days. Koskinen’s songs show him to be an authentic chronicler of life. And, he’s a heck of a guitarist, busy with many projects besides his own.

Thursday, August 7

The Butanes @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) It’s Curt Obeda’s Birthday – He’s hit the double nickel, and the usual fun at Shaw’s is sure to be doubled as well. Expect a number of guests to pop in and wish Curt a happy, happy. Plus they serve ribs all night long.

Alexander Abreu Y Havana D’Primera @ the Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30 doors ($30 advance/$40 door) The dance floor at the Varsity will be filled as Cuban trumpet player Abreu brings this band, which he organized in 2008, to the Twin Towns. They are currently on a world-wide tour, and we’re lucky to have them visit. Check them out.

Friday, August 8

Ginger Commodore & Debbie Duncan Sing Aretha @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Oh boy, can it get any better, at least until Aretha Franklin herself plays the State Fair. Two powerhouse singers who can caress a melody as well, interpreting the songs of Aretha.

Saturday, August 9

The Eddies @ The Irish Fair, Harriet Island, Saint Paul. 11:30am – 12:30pm. (Free) Sunday morning workshop from 11am – Noon Sunday. There are many things to do at the Irish Fair, which actually runs from Friday through Sunday, including hurling competitions, dancing, and watching dogs herd sheep. Stick around after the Eddies and you can hear Altan and Gaelic Storm as well.

Lowertown Guitar Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 2:30pm – 10pm (Free) A day-long free event put on by McNally Smith College of Music, showcasing guitarists that range from ace finger-picker Phil Heywood  to rockabilly queen Rosie Flores  to blues rock titan Robben Ford. Plus, there are a number of great soloists on the acoustic stage. Two stages. Main Stage:2:30 Phil Heywood (45-min. set); 4:00 Rosie Flores; 5:30 Jim Campilongo Trio; 7:00 Greg Koch Trio; 8:30 Robben Ford. Acoustic Stage: 3:30 Jeremy Ylvisaker; 5:00 Chris Beaty; 6:30 Trevor Wiest; 8:00 Molly Maher & Gabriela Sweet

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) High energy 21st Century zydeco by the son of Rockin’ Dopsie. As one review put it, Dwayne infuses “blues, soul, and fun with a driving rub-board rhythm.” Now, if the Dakota will set aside a dance floor…

Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Woods is a powerhouse piano player who can play boogie boogie and jump blues with the best of them. If Shaw’s had any real dance floor, it would fill with swing dancers. As it is, the small club will provide an up-close, sweat inducing immersion in Woods’ piano-pounding. Curtis Marlatt & the Kicks are featured, so I’m not sure if they are opening, or accompanying, or maybe both. Listen to this.

Sunday, August 10

Scarlet Rivera @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Violinist Rivera first came to the public’s attention when Bob Dylan tapped her for his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1979. Since then, she’s recorded with Tracy Chapman, Keb Mo, and others. Kevin Bowe opens.

Tuesday, August 9

Bruce Cockburn Band w/Jenny Scheinman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) Artist/Activist Cockburn has been traveling the world, often to trouble spots that have inspired his songs about humanitarian concerns. He’s recorded over 31 albums, blending folk, blues, jazz and rock, singing about those concerns. Scheinman is a violinist, singer, and composer who is familiar to fans of Brill Frisell, and has contributed arrangements to Lucinda Williams, Bono, and Lou Reed, among others. She’s recorded seven CDs of original music, the latest of which, The Littlest Prisoner, has been well-recieved in the jazz press. She opens & then plays with Cockburn, with whom she recorded on his latest CD. Here’s something with the two of them.

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. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar. .


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