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.
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.
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. .