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
Anthony 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.
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.
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.