A Full Calendar of Music: 9.24 – 9.30

September 24, 2014

UnknownWe’ve quite the week coming up as we transition into Fall. The jazz calendar is chock full of outstanding artists – both visiting and resident bands. In the meantime, the blues, roots, and other calendar has a free festival, a movie, an exciting benefit, and more. A great week for music lovers.


Wednesday, September 24

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation)  Johnson-Blanchard brings his hard-hitting drums to the Black Dog, along with his pals David Hirsch on sax; Thomas Nordlund on guitar; and Andrew Foreman on bass; for an evening of jazz standards and originals.

Chick Corea & The Vigil @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($70 – $95), 9pm ($55 – $80) Holy cow! And I’m not talking about the prices. Corea is a 20-time Grammy Winner and NEA Jazz Master. The Vigil is his latest project, featuring a band from the 2013 album of the same name: Charles Altura, guitar; Carlitos Del Puerto, bass; Tim Garland, reeds, Marcus Gilmore, drums, and Luisito Quintero, percussion. Expect rewordings of a number of Corea classics as well as new music.

Thursday, September 25

The Cookers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $42) This is an all-star septet featuring both long established veterans, and a couple of second generation hard boppers: Billy Hart, drums (Herbie Hancock); George Cables, piano (Dexter Gordon, Art Pepper); Cecil McBee, bass; Eddie Henderson, trumpet (Herbie Hancock); Billy Harper on Tenor Sax (Lee Morgan, Max Roach, Art Blakey); and David Weiss, trumpet; Donald Harrison on alto sax. All but Harrison and Weiss started in the 50s and 60s, and all have led their own groups. Their recent album, Time and Time Again is a burner.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Washington’s appearances at the Black Dog are always filled with surprise and wonder as he tackles standards in ways you’ve never heard, along with a large bit of free improvisation. He’ll be joined by Brian Roessler, bass; Tery Cherner, trumpet; and son Kevin Washington on drums and piano.

Friday, September 26

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Adam Meckler Orchestra CD Release Party @ Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10) It’s a little over a year since the 17-piece AMO made its debut. Now after many a monthly gig, Meckler and the band is set to officially celebrate the release of When the Clouds Look Like This, an album of great depth, strength, and beauty.

Kronick Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Bassist/vocalist Richard Kronick leads this group, which plays tightly arranged jazz, including bop, swing, soul-jazz, and Kronick’s own compositions.

Saturday, September 27

How Birds Work @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Another season, another jazz series. This time it’s curated by Steve Kenny and held at the Black Dog. To kick off the series, he’s bringing in How Birds Work, the quartet of imaginative veterans formerly based at the Artists Quarter. It should be a heck of an evening. Dean Granros, guitar; Peter Schimke, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums.

Sunday, September 28

Maud Hixson & French 75 @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 2pm ($16 – $26)  Cafe Society: From Piaf to Coward, featuring clarinetist Tony Balluff; saxophonist Gus Sandberrg; guitarist Robert Bell; bassist Steve Pikal; and drummer Nathan Norman. Of course, there’s the cool yet vibrant vocals of Ms Hixson.

Monday, September 29

Jon Weber and Mela Fransisco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Regular attendees at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival know Weber as the highly talented piano player with an encyclopedic knowledge of songs and the stories around them. He is the host of Piano Jazz on NPR had has been called a virtuosic pianist with outstanding technique. Francisco Mela is a Cuban drummer/percussionist who has played with McCoy tuner, Joe Lovano, and John Scofield, among others, and has appeared at the TC Jazz Festival for the last two years. In fact, he’s in town on Festival business since he’s been named it’s artistic director. There will be some special announcements about the festival during the evening’s intermission. Here’s Mela, playing with Kenny Barron.

Framework w/Pete Whitman @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) The shimmering music of Chris Olson, guitar; Chirs Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums is enhanced, if that’s possible, with the addition of Pete Whitman on saxophone. Nice.

Tuesday, September 30

Coryell, Bailey, & White @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) Jazz rock fans rejoice! Three of the genres pioneers are gathering to prove that blistering improvisation and rock rhythms are not mutually exclusive. Larry Coryell on guitar has been called the inventor of the  genre, though he can play delicate soothing lines, as well as fiery electric work. Victor Bailey took over the bass spot in Weather Report when Jaco Pasorius left the group. Drummer Lenny White played in Return to Forever and on the Miles Davis Bitches Brew recordings.

Acme Jazz Company @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) this 19-piece band was formed in 2008 to perform original music as well as arrangement by band members. They released a CD in April that gotten some good reviews. At the cozy, intimate Jazz Central they’ll be a force to be reckoned with.

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, September 24

Scottie Miller on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) When Pianoman Miller plays you can hear traces of Professor Longhair’s mambos, barrelhouse piano, and good ol’ rock n’ roll. He’s a heckuva player who writes great songs and regularly tours with Ruthie Foster. Listen in and then head over to the 331 Club. BTW, it’s still Fall Pledge Drive at KFAI, so you may want to bring extra cash or a credit card to the 331, cuz Hurricane Harold will have some forms ready for you to fill out.

Thursday, September 25

Courtney Yasmineh @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($10) After spending the summer recording in New York, Courtney and her band will soon be taking off on a small club tour of Europe and the (still) United Kingdom in support of her new album being released in Europe next week. She’s called an alt-rock/indie pop singer, but labels aside, she simply rocks, throwing in the odd folk or gospel tune for flavoring.

Friday, September 26

Opening of Take Me To the River @ Landmark Theaters. Various times and places. Anyone who saw Otis Clay at the Dakota this past year will remember that he brought out a young rapper to do a song with him. He first did so for this film, which celebrates the inter-generaltional influence of Memphis music. It features artists like Clay, Bobby Blue Bland, Mavis Staples, Bobby Rush, and Charlie Musselwhite interacting and recording with artists like Snoop Dog, Lil P-Nut, and Yo Gotti. Runs for a week. Here’s the trailer.

Pablo Ziegler’s New Tango Ensemble @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Pianist Ziegler is one of Astor Piazzola’s foremost portages, playing with him in the Piazzolla’s New Tango Quartet.  He’s also played with Gary Burton and collaborated with Emmanuel Ax and the Paul Taylor Dance Company, as seen below.


Lovesick Blues: A Tribute to Hank Williams & Benefit for Slim Dunlap @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) This benefit features Curtiss A and the Cold Cold Hearts. The “Dean of Scream” does a surprisingly good homage to Williams as he’s demonstrated at the Dakota a couple of times in the last year or so. Also on the bill is Nate Dungan of Trailer Trash, Molly Maher, Janie Miller and more. Plus, it’s a benefit for guitarist Slim Dunlap, everyone’s favorite rocker.

Saturday, September 27

Rauchfest @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (Free) 2 Stages, 3 Food Trucks, 10 beers, 10 bands, and more, featuring all kinds of music from the likes of The Fattenin’ Frogs, Frogleg, The Jones Gang, Dan Israel, Mikel Wright & the Wrongs and Steez, among others. Here’s a video of the Fattenin’ Frogs.

A Progressive SoundScape Evening @ Old Arizona, 2821 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) A Trio of rock acts, including percussionist (marimaba, drums) Scotty Horey: RisingSide, a hard driving progressive rock act, and Harakiri, who recently released a CD. It’s set up so you can listen or dance.

Tom Robinson Band @ Mattie’s on Main, 43 Main Street SE, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Robinson and his band have been on a hiatus for the last year or so, so for fans of Brazilian music it’s a treat to have him back. He uses a his tasty guitar as well as a vast knowledge of different Brazilian styles to present an evening of sensuous and swaying music. Make sure to sit in the stage area as Mattie’s can be a bit noisy if crowded.

Unknown-2Chicago Cajun Aces @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Suggested Donation) The Krewe de Walleye is bringing the Aces up from Chicago to provide dance music for their John Hugelen Cajun Music Scholarship Dance and Fundraiser. The event actually starts at 5:30pm with a Cajun dance, silent auction, and performances by scholarship winners. Rug cutting’ goes from 8pm – 11pm.

Sweethearts of the Rodeo @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($10) Frankie Lee hosts this evening of performances by three ladies – Molly Maher, Lydia Liza (of Boba de Luz), and Lael Neale, singing songs of heartbreak, love, and declarations of independence.

Monday, September 29

Div Son @ The Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Here’s a change of pace well suited for those of you who travel to Mexico. Div Son is a three piece band featuring Cadence Nelson and and Israel Vega on Jarochas – guitar-like instruments from Vera Cruz. They are accompanied by Nickolai Kolarov on cello as they play the regional folk music of Vera Cruz.

Tuesday, September 30

Paul Mayasich with Bingham & Thorne @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Mayasich is a bit of a guitar god around these parts, equally at home with a dobro or electric slide, while Bingham & Thorne are a couple of fingerpicking aces. Sounds like a heck of an evening.

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.




A Harvest of Music: 9.17 – 9.23

September 17, 2014

It’s a busy week ahead, with jazz, blues, and roots for most every taste. Thanks to the Arts Midwest conference that’s in town, there’s an unusual number of visiting artists for us to choose among. And for those of you who love world music, not to mention R&B, jazz, Cajun,  folk, and more, please note that KFAI is having its Fall Pledge Drive. Unknown-2You may have read how they are facing a financial squeeze and that this is an especially important pledge drive. I ask you to help us raise $70,000 (or more) from 1000 donors. I’d really appreciate it if you would make a pledge (ph: 612-375-9030, web: kfai.org) for my show Rhythm and Grooves on Saturday, September 20, from 10:30am – Noon. Thank you.

Remember, music is good for your body and soul.


Wednesday, September 17

Kevin Gastonguay, Jana Nyberg Group, & Mississippi @ Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Three bands whose members collectively cross a number of generations. All are talented, and well worth the time of any jazz-loving music fan.

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Peterson leads this group through originals: Adam Meckler, trumpet; VincentRose, guitar; Adrian Suarez, drums. Here’s a video that starts out charming and quickly becomes exciting.

Thursday, September 18

Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Cardenas was raised in a musical family. Both her mom and dad perfumed with many of the major funk and soul bands of the 70s and 80s, so she’s been surrounded by music all her life. Though she’s been a vocalist in theater, cabaret, and more, Cardenas is now returning to jazz. Check her out.

Pippi's Facebook Photo

Pippi’s Facebook Photo

Pippi Ardennia @ The Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm ($5) Pippi is stepping out from her concert series, and here’s a great place to hear her with a crack band: Brian Neilsen, keys; Billy Peterson, bass; and Glen Swanson, drums.

The Drexel Project @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm.  A collaboration between Chicago and Twin Cities musicians, which had its genesis when Bryan Nichols was studying and playing in Chi-town. Kurt Schweitz, bass; Bryan Nichols, keys;  Brandon Wozniak, sax;  Andre Beasley, drums; Andre Trim, guitar; Candace Washburn, vocals.

Friday, September 19

Monk in Motion @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) After last week’s two-guitar Friday night, Zacc Harris is back with another guitarist: Park Evans. They’ll be joined by Brandon Wozniak and Scott Fultz on saxophones; as well as Matt Peterson on bass and Cory Healy on drums, for a piano-less evening of music by Thelonious Monk.

Connie Evingson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Connie needs no introduction to Twin Cities audiences. She was/is a member of Moore by Four, and has shown an immense talent for interpreting songs, whether they’re from The Great American Songbook, the Beatles, or Django Rheinhardt. Here she is singing a song that’s long been one of my favorites, albeit with a large combo.

Saturday, September 20

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) Long before she started regularly touring with Doc Severinson, Knutson was known hereabouts as a pianist with taste and imagination. She’ll be appearing with Geoff Brennan, bass; Greg Schutte, drums. Knutson

JoAnn Funk @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Pianist Joann Funk and bassist Jeff Brueske are back at the lobby bar on Saturdays until November, when they’ll add Fridays to their schedule. Funk plays and sings jazz standards, the Great American Songbook, as well as music from such diverse artists as Dan Penn, Blossom Dearie, and Nat King Cole. Sophisticated fare, well suited to entertaining the hotel’s guests and a number of regulars. Their usual time is 7:30 – 11pm, but tonight’s show is earlier due to a private party taking place in the lobby.

Judi Donaghy Vinar and the Wolverines Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Donaghy Vinar has been singing professionally for a few decades, now, working with folks like Janis Siegel, Rhiannon, Garrison Keillor, YoYo MA, and on more than 30 CDs, including two of her own. She’s also sung with the Wolverines Orchestra, so this gig with the trio should be quite delightful. Just remember to sit in front of the stage, since the Kitchen can get quite noisy. Here she is swingin’ with the big band.

Steve Hobert CD Release @ The Friends Meeting House, 1725 Grand Ave, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm Hobert is the highly expressionistic young pianist who has played with Lulu’s Playground (accordion), the Adam Meckler Orchestra, Zack Lozier, and in numerous other groups around town, including his own. Tonight he’s celebrating the release of Ocean Eyes, a solo piano outing in which he let’s inspiration take him down a number of pleasant avenues.  To give you an idea, here’s a bit of improvisation from him.

Monday, September 22

Larry McDonough Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) McDonough is a pianist whose impressionistic compositions are often soothing and inspiring. Monday nights at Jazz Central are given over to letting musicians experiment, so this should be fun.

Horst, Peterson, Schimke, & Whitman @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Kenny Horst on drums and Billy Peterson on bass are long time rhythm mates; Peter Schimke on piano; and Pete Whitman on sax more than fill out this band of veterans.

Tuesday, September 23

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Exciting, rhythmic big band music. This is usually a bit of a rehearsal, so it’s a good way to understand how bands put their music together.

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, September 17

At a previous House Party gig

At a previous House Party gig

Rena Haus Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Ms Haus comes down to the cities from her farm every once in a while to regale us with songs about farming, mechanics, chickens, big business, and more.

Nellie McKay & The Turtle Island String Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($40, $45), 8:30pm ($30, $35)  McKay is the delightfully quirky jazz/cabaret singer/songwriter  who always surprises with her witty, often insightful songs and highly individual interpretations of other’s songs. The Grammy winning Turtle Island String Quartet was the first chamber music ensemble to go beyond the music of dead white Europeans. Taken together, this promises to be a fun-filled, entertaining evening. Note the early start times. Here’s a video of the collaboration along with some commentary.

Thursday, September 18

Red Baraat  @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30) A Brooklyn octet that combines Bollywood and North Indian rhythms with jazz, go-go, and funk rhythms to deliver the drive and energy of a New Orleans brass band. Sounds raucous, to say the least. Again, there is an early start time. Here’s an example of their joyous noise.

Lee Fields & the Expressions @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) While he was part of the original soul explosion of the late 60s (he first record in ’69) Fields isn’t content with simply rehashing the sound. He and the Expressions take it forward, while retaining its authenticity. Check out the way he brings out the inherent soulfulness of JJ Cale’s Magnolia, below.  Black Diet opens. They are best described as a soul garage band. Think Memphis meets Soma Records.

Augie Meyers at the Real-Phonic Radio Hour @ James J Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25)  You first heard Meyers as part of the Sir Douglas Quintet. The somewhat cheesy sound of his Vox Continental keyboard helped propel She’s About a Mover and Mendocino up the charts, was was then echoed in the music of a number of British Invasion groups. He continued to tour and record with Doug Sahm, and  recorded with Bob Dylan and the Grammy Award winning Texas Tornados as well. The Broke-Down Dollys open. Here’s Augie on the squeezebox.

Global Get Down Soiree@ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Two more groups with an international outlook fill out the evening at the Dakota. Emel Mathlouthi is a singer/composer/guitarist from Tunisia who now lives in France. One of her songs was sung in the streets of Tunis during the Arab Spring. The second group appearing at this late show is the Tsuumi sound System, an eight-piece modern folk band from Finland.

Friday, September 19

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) Another early evening blues show for people of a certain age, or anyone who likes the blues. In addition to featuring guitarist Jimi Primetime Smith as a regular member of the band, Miller will have special guest singer Shawne Baccari.

Sena Ehrhardt CD Release @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Ehrhardt is gaining lots of praise from the blues press as a dynamic, incendiary performer, opening concerts for the likes of Rober Cray, Dickey Betts, BB King, and Greg Allman. Her new release is entitled Live My Life, and is produced by David Z, who has worked with a plethora of artists from Prince to Jonny Lang. She’ll be featuring guests Bruce McCabe & Jimi Prime Time Smith

Matuto @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($15) If you can imagine North American folk songs set to the rhythms of Northern Brazil, then you have a good idea of what Matuto sounds like. As part of this presentation, DJ don Cuco of New York will be spinning a variety of Latin and African rhythms. Here’s a video that previews some of their music.

Saturday, September 20

Art & Artists Celebration feat. Cafe Accordion & Pee Wee Dread @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Franconia. 10am – 9pm ($5 parking) This all day event is an opening reception of sorts for two new sculptures. There’s music, theater, pedal-powered spin art (and other family art), guided tours, and a chance for people to create their own sand molds for an iron pour ($25 for a 6” mold, $40 for an 8” mold).  The day ends with a performance iron pour of the North Star and eight other stars. Besides CAO and Pee Wee, the days music will include the electric hillbilly of Scalded Hounds, and rock from Platypus. For more information, go to: http://www.franconia.org/artandartists.html

The Freewheelin’ House Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 2pm – 10pm It’s a Pledge Drive Party for the little station that could, which actually needs your help. Performers include Steve maul & Mikkel Beckmen, Crankshaft, Javier & the Innocent Sons, The Liquor Pigs, Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, The Farmhouse Band, and Adam Kiesling of pert Near Snadstone.

Willie Murphie & Band @ The Schooner Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) Murphy describes the Schooner as REAL, “not a ferny bar full of TVs and loud sonic wallpaper.” This unassuming place filled with regulars and music lovers has just the right atmosphere for Murphy’s music, which often reflect everyday problems and concerns. Rock n’ Roll, R&B, and Blues for everyman, served up with way more skill and soul than might be expected in the Schooner’s modest confines.

Sunday, September 21

Adieu Summer Concert @ Como Lake Pavillion, Saint Paul. 3pm – 6:30pm  ($10) This annual multicultural family event celebrates the end of our short summers by bringing together a number of bands performing music from around the world. Today features sambas, flamenco, Bossa Novas, African drumming and dance, and World Jazz:   A Touch of Spain, The World Jazz Collegium, The Voice of Culture West African Drum and Dance troupe, and host band, Ticket to Brasil. Here is Ticket to Brasil at last year’s concert.

Living Colour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60) During the 90s, Living Colour was among the first bands to blend genres, fusing rock, punk, funk, and jazz on their way to winning several Grammys, including one for Hard Rock Performance. Y(ou may want to make use of the free ear plugs available at the club’s entrance.) The opening act is Ill Chemistry, area duo of Desdamona and Carnage the Executioner. Between Desdamona’s soulful vocals both rapping and singing, and Carnage’s extraordinary beat box abilities, you can expect a Old School Hip-Hop sound addressing today’s world. Here’s a video with almost 10 millions views.

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.




Lotsa Music: 9.10 – 9.16

September 10, 2014
The Selby Jazz Festival attracts dancers.

The Selby Jazz Festival attracts dancers.

Well as the temps drop a bit, and we’re reminded that Fall is on the way, there are plenty of opportunities to hear music. You will note that we are blessed with multiple ideas on some nights, whether you’re into jazz, blues, roots, or a combination thereof. With the variety of music at hand, there is surely something for you to get out and see. Music lifts the spirit. Have a great week.


Wednesday, September 10 

Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road: Tribute to Sydney Bechet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Clarinetist Evan Christopher calls his music “contemporary early jazz,” which, I guess is a fairly accurate description. While his repertoire includes many songs from the early 20th Century, Christopher’s playing is anything but stodgy. He swings with ease and is very imaginative when it comes to soloing. Tonight he’ll be paying homage to Sydney Bechet, one of the first important soloists in jazz, even beating Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by a few months. Here’s a video of him doing a Bechet tune.

Kevin Washington Group, Pippi Ardennia All-Stars, & Cory Wong Group @ Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Another presentation of three fine groups by the Mobile Jazz Project. It takes place in the parking lot at Calhoun Square.

Enormous Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thompson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Joey Van Phillips, drums. Bright stars all, this quartet of talented players have long been friends and have long played together, as a quartet and in various combinations. Expect some terrific soloing as they push each other to discover new ways of communicating via music.

Lila Ammons @ the Tangiers, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) With it’s red color scheme and lighting The Tangiers’ posh booths, leather couches, and lavish chandeliers make it a lux nightclub, though the prices are reasonable. They serve flatbreads, salads, and small plates, and on Wednesday nights feature jazz.  Tonight it’s vocalist Lila Ammons, whose signature combination of jazz and blues cannot be beat.

Thursday, September 11

Colleen Raye @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The versatile vocalist performs jazz and cabaret  tunes with ease. Raye will be accompanied by Gary Raynor, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; as they record live in the relaxed setting of this basement club.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The last show in the All Originals Jazz Series features the largest band – the 17 piece Adam Meckler Orchestra. They are preparing for the official release of their very fine CD, and will be premiering a new piece this evening. Here’s a video of a tune from the new album.

Fuzzy Math @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10pm ($6) Mark Vandermyde, piano; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums, play some jazz for West Metro fans. As I’ve mentioned before, the 318 only holds about 40 people, so reservations are a good idea.

Corey Healy, Adam Linz, and Jake Baldwin @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Thursday night musical adventures continue at the Khyber pass. The first set is Corey Healy on solo percussion. The second set features Healy, along with Adam Linz, bass; and Noah Baldwin, trumpet.

Friday, September 12

Guitarmageddon @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Well, guitarmageddon might be an over-reach, but we do have two excellent guitarists, Dean Granros and Zacc Harris, joining with Chris Bates on bass and Jay Epstein on drums, for an evening of fine music.

Saturday, September 13

Selby Jazz Festival @ Selby & Milton, Saint Paul. 11am – 8pm. (Free) This annual event is featuring superstar drummer Harvey Mason, and resident saxophonist Dave Kusz, who has a new album out with a bit of an edge for someone identified with “smooth jazz.” Dick & Jane’s Brass Band will open the proceedings with a second line stroll through the neighborhood, then add a few more instruments and vocalist Maurice Jacox for the Jazz Heritage Showcase. Other acts include The Walker West Legends of Jazz, Jason Weisman & Q, and the 50-piece strong Brio Brass.

John Raymond’s Roots Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) Here’s a chance to see a NYC-based group in the intimate confines of Studio Z. Raymond is a Minnesota native has received praise in the NY Times for his trumpet playing and performed as a leader at clubs like Smalls, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. He’ll be in town to record with his Roots Trio, which includes Gilad Hekselman on guitar, and Colin Stranahan on drums. Here is Raymond with a quartet.

Monday, September 15

Steve Kenny @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The trumpeter continues to find new groups with which to express himself. Tonight he’s joined by Ted Goudbout, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. As always on a Monday night, a jam session occurs about 10pm.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Another evening with two groups. First up is Jacob Hanson, guitar; James Buckley, bass; and JT Bates, drums. Second set is double drum group Real Bulls, consisting of JT Bates and Dave King on drums.

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, September 10

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm hour (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Dig In Magazine states that Crankshaft’s amalgam of blues, country, swing, rock n’ roll, and surf “could not have been imagined prior to the early punk scene.” He’s got enough energy to run a Tesla, and a sense of humor to boot. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour, and if you like what you hear, see him in person starting at 7pm. BTW, it’s also a birthday party for Kathy Schwalbe (the wife of guitarist Dan Schwalbe), so the room will have an extra punch of energy. Here’s an example of Crankshaft at work.

Vieux Farka Toure @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Malian guitar giant Toure has been hailed as “The Hendrix of the Sahara.” He’s the son of the late Ali Farka Toure, who discouraged his son from becoming a musician due to the pressures Ali had experienced. Eventually, Vieux received his blessing before Ali passed. Known for his speed and dexterity on the guitar, Toure is also able to connect the blues to his native music (much like his father did), as evidenced in his 2011 album, The Secret, recorded with Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, and John Scofield. Guitarist Kenn Wanaku, of West Africa, but now living in Minneapolis opens, and DJ Brian Engel spins before and between sets.

Thursday, September 11

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, ($40 – $50) 9pm ($35 – $45) I’m afraid both shows are sold out. Read about her in this past Sunday’s Star Tribune.

The Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Soulful, funky, instrumental rock, evoking Booker T & the MsGs, The Meters, The Raybeats, and others.

Friday, September 12

The Butanes @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) While the site of the original Blues Saloon may be under the wrecking ball, the new (ish) location still features the blues early on Friday evenings. Just made for folks of a certain age to be able to get out and dance and still get home well before midnight. Tonight the oft-elected Twin Cities best blues band plays for your dancing pleasure.

Black Market Brass & Malamanya @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Oh Boy! Here’s a great evening for folks who love world music. You get the Afrobeat funk of Black Market Brass and the sensuous Latin rhythms of Malamanya. I’m thinking the place will be crowded. Here’s Black Market Brass at a recent festival.

The Silvertones @ The Schooner Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Sometimes you just want to hear a band play some good old tunes from way back in the day, like maybe the 60s. Maybe you’ll be inspired to get up a dance a bit between sips on your favorite beverage. This is the band. It’s hard not to have fun when they’re playing.

Saturday, September 13

Luke the Uke’s Cartoon ExtravaGonzo @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 11:30am – 1pm. ($8m $5 for 12 and under) Luke the Uke (aka Tom Lieberman) mines the cartoon archives, and along with his friends DJ Mr. Gosh on the Ancient MixMaster and Lady Miss Ian on vintage laptop, provides a morning’s worth of fun and silliness. Special musical guests The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. Grownups bring kids! Kids bring grownups!

Sunday, September 14

Daddy Squeeze, Pat Donohue, and Richard Kriehn @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) Well, here’s an afternoon delight for fans of acoustic roots music. Daddy Squeeze will deliver all you expect and a whole lot more out of his accordion. Pat Donohue will delight finger-picking fans, and Richard Kriehn will add the sound of a mandolin to the proceedings.

Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) As the old chewing gum commercial went, Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun. At least if you’re a fan of fingerpicking guitar, since Tim and Phil are two of the best. Period. Of course, if you were at the Amsterdam earlier today, you would have seen another great finger-picker in Pat Donohue.

Tuesday, September 16

New Ruckus Composer Night @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm. (Free) If you ever wondered what new music (contemporary classical music) is, then tonight’s the night for you, as new music will be presented and the composers will be present to chat with the audience. Zeitgeist and the Caprice Saxophone Quartet will be performing music from Zeitgeist’s call for scores. Zeitgeist will perform Three Portraits for Clarinet and Piano by Linda Tuts Haugen and Karel Suchy’s Inner Voices. The Caprice Saxophone Quartet will perform Marc Phillip Aune’s Wedding Recessional No. 2, and Sitting on Freud’s Lap by David Evan Thomas.

Meshell Ndgeocello @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Ndegeocello is an original who stays true to herself while collaborating with writers and musicians, and drawing from a variety of genres. The groove-laden songs on her latest album Comet Come to Me, includes a cover of Leonard Cohen and another from the seminal hip-hop group Whodini.

Doug Otto & the Getaways, Fattenin’ Frogs, and Business Man @ The Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s a night of rootsy rock n’ roll at the Amsterdam. The six-pice Fattenin’ Frogs will open at 9pm with their bluesy, rock n’ roll approach to traditional music, followed by Doug and the boys at 10 with music that evokes Robert Johnson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, and Buddy Guy, among others. Business Man closes at 11. They’re a quartet with drums, bass, guitar and violin.

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.



Outdoors, Indoors. Music and More: 9.3 – 9.9

September 3, 2014

The Forecast calls for mostly pleasant weather for the next week, which is great, as there are still a few outdoor events to occur, including the Concrete and Grass Festival, and a play set amongst sculpture, both of which I’ve listed. Of course there is other music that’s worth your while. Don’t be afraid to check some out. After all, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, September 3

images-2Anthony Cox Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Cox provides an interactive experience for the audience, drawing listeners in by asking questions of the audience re: their listening experience and answering questions as well. He’s joined by Peter Shimke, piano; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Mississippi, Cory Wong Group, & Les Exodus @ Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 7:00pm (Free) This is a production of the Mobile Jazz Project, though instead of performing at a park, they’re at Calhoun Square. Mississippi is the Pete Whitman-led quartet that includes Kevin Washington on drums, Peter Schimke on piano, and Jeff Bailey on bass.  Guitarist Cory Wong,  who also is a producer and composer, will have a couple of talented musicians that he often works with: Yohannes Tona on bass and Petar Janjic on drums. Les Exodus has been helping Minnesotans groove to reggae group for over 26 years now.

Thursday, September 4

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vicky is one of the area’s finest singers. In fact, many singers go to her for lessons. Tonight she’ll be singing new songs, a few she hasn’t sung for a while, and some old favorites. She’ll be joined by James Allen on guitar and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Nichols, Bates, & Bates @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Not a law firm, but rather a trio of versatile musicians performing original music. Bryan Nichols  piano, Chris Bates  bass, and JT Bates  drums, are prime examples of the creativity found in the Twin Cities jazz community. Another evening of great original music that’s part of the All Originals Jazz Series.

Merciless Ghost @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Grand Ave, just west of Snelling, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) George Cartwright, sax; Josh Granowski, bass; and Davu Seru, percussion make up this group, which is dedicated to group improvisation. Wine, beer, and small plates are available.

Friday, September 5

Anthony Cox & Peter Schimke @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Cox on bass and Schimke on piano are two of the area’s very talented musicians. Tonight they join forces for an evening of intimate, imaginative jazz.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Free) This big band of young lions has just released a very fine CD of Meckler’s original music. They were rained out of the Jazz Festival in June, so now is your chance to hear them outdoors. This is part of the Concrete and Grass Festival (see below). In the meantime, here’s a sample of their work.

Fall of the House of Usher @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5, $10, $20 Suggested for Tip Jar) Chris Cunningham, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Elliott Wachs, bari sax; Nathan Hanson, tenor sax; Adam Svec, vocals; Ivan Cunningham, sax.

Sunday, September 7

Maud Hixson @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover – $?) The cool-yet-warm vocals of Ms Hixson will help you greet a Sunday morning, all the while giving you a view of downtown Minneapolis across the river. Plus, she’s accompanied by a great band: Rick Carlson, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Monday, September 8

Reuben Ristrom @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ristrom is a guitarist with an unerring sense of swing. He’ll be joined by Jazz Central stalwarts for an evening of jazz standards and more.

Jazz Implosion @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Two sets of music for this weekly gig of adventurous music. First set will feature saxophonist Josh Smith of San Francisco, joined by Michael Lewis and JT Bates. Second set is DD7, with Anthony Cox, JT Bates, Brandon Wozniak, Michael Lewis, and Steve Kenny.

Tuesday, September 9

Cedar Avenue Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Still going strong after 25 years, the CABB is populated by a combination of veterans and emerging musicians. Always exciting.

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, September 3

A Special Evening With Habaneros @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This clarinet/string quintet is composed of members of the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba. This event is an open dress rehearsal for their upcoming North American tour. In addition to playing, they will share stories, photos, and film about Cuba and their music, which will include classical and Latin pieces. Reservations recommended.

Thursday, September 4

Mikkel Beckman and Bill Patten @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm. Here’s a laid-back after work gig, especially for those of you who live or work in the Capital City. Mikkel is the acoustic/roots percussionist of choice in town, and host of this weekly series. Today, his guest is singer/guitarist Bill Patten.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, September 4, 5, 6

Concrete & Grass Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 7pm Thurs; 5pm Fri; 4pm Sat (Free) Three days of a wide variety of music  including a Chamber Ensemble of the SPCO performing Beethoven’s Septet in E-Flat, followed by the “Music Mayor of Saint Paul,” Martin Devaney. On Friday, there’ll be performances by Prairie Fire Lady Choir, Salsa del Soul, and the Adam Meckler Orchestra (see Jazz, above). Saturday begins with the Ancia Saxophone Quartet, presented by The Schubert Club, followed by the Minnesota Opera, Breaking Brass, and Joey Molland’s Badfinger.

Cast members on one of the Franconia's sculptures.

Cast members on one of the Franconia’s sculptures.

The Tempest on Franconia Island @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Franconia. 6pm each night. ($10 Adults, $5 10 & under) Here’s an adventurous bit of play-making as Shakespeare’s Tempest is performed in and amongst a sculpture park. The classic tale is made larger-than-life by the monumental-scale sculptures at Franconia, several of which will serve as sets for the play. Attendees will be escorted to each set by Franconia staff, and beverages will be available for purchase before everyone sets out across the park for the performance. More information is available at: http://www.franconia.org/tempest.html

Friday, September 5

Flamin’ Ohs Kinda Unplugged @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Ohs had well-recieved (at least locally) albums in the early 1980s, and reunited in 1997, more than a decade after their breakup. Since then these classic rockers have performed every once in a while. Tonight they’ll be playing their more reflective tunes during the first set, and then amp it up in the second set with rockers and favorites. Here they are doing a Stones’ tune.

Swamp Poppas @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis.  7pm.($5) KFAI’s Jackson Buck once again presents some cool music for the First Friday of the month. Tonight the Swamp Poppas will entertain with a mix of music from Southwest Louisiana and its environs, including swamp pop, Zydeco, Cajun, blues, and Louisiana rock n’ roll. I’ll bet some dancing will break out. Gabe Barnett opens.

Friday, Saturday, September 5, 6

So Blue @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10/$5 Seniors) With a band led by Wain McFarlane, and some powerful singing from Pippi Ardennia as Victoria Spivey and Patricia Lacy as Big Mama Thornton, among others, this musical production by the Urban Spectrum Theater presents classic blues from the 20s to the 40s, as remembered by a couple of bar owners in the 50s. It’s a charming production, complete with some fine dancers.

Saturday, September 6

Brass Messengers Family Dance Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 11am. ($10 Adults, $5 ages 3-12, free for 2 and under) What a fun concept. The 10-piece Messengers have as much fun playing as any band. Their infectious rhythms and raucous sound are just the thing to engage adults and kids. There will be plenty of space for young and old alike to dance their hearts out. Here’s a taste of their sound.

Armadillo Jump @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) The Station has a small dance floor, but that doesn’t stop the mostly middle-aged crowd from filling it and then some, especially when a band like Armadillo Jump is playing their rockin’ rhythm and blues.

The Last Revel & The May North @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) If you are looking for an evening of high energy roots/Americana this is the place to be. The Last Revel are a trio with traditional instruments (guitar, banjo, bass) and a bit of a rowdy, rock attitude. The May North is a quartet (electric bass, fiddle, guitar  banjo) that also likes to ramp up the energy, though at times, they take more laid-back, acoustic Grateful Dead approach to their songs.

Sunday, September 7

John Paul Keith & Molly Maher @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Keith is a Memphis-based roots rocker and witty songwriter whose sound occasionally evokes Buddy Holly, Creedence Clearwater, and other classic rockers, though there is no doubt that his sound is all his own. Maher is our own Twin Cities Treasure, equally adept at guitar playing, songwriting, and singing. Admission includes the Bayport’s terrific BBQ Buffet, so there’s no need for supper beforehand. Cash only, drinks extra.

MNSka Shakedown @ the Nomad, Minneapolis. 8pm ($?) Get ready for some skankin’ as five bands take the stage to deliver high-energy ska and more, featuring Chris Murray, from Los Angeles, The Prizefighters  the Hennepin County Millionaires Club, the Skruffians, and Pee Wee Dread.

Tuesday, September 9

Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (No Cover) Ace fingerpicking from one of the best  while you enjoy a cocktail or Cafe Maude’s 3 course, $20 meal.

Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Folk-rock blues, with touches of psychedelia, from a woman with a beautiful, clarion voice, an ace guitarist, and rock solid rhythm section. Here’s a performance sans drummer.

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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