Okay, so winter is here, said Mr. Obvious. After a few days we’ll adapt our driving and have all of our warm clothes out of storage. Then we’ll be ready to enjoy the rich nightlife of the Twin Cities, no matter what the weather. This week we have the debut (or near debut) of a couple of jazz groups, a couple of CD release parties, a “birthday in blue” from Willie Murphy, and a number of well known visiting artists gracing area stages. Have a good week. Music will lift your spirits, even in winter. Even when there’s lots of snow.
Wednesday, November 12
Corey Healy’s Beautiful Happy Sunshine Deathsquad Experience @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Healy heads up this aggregation, which will be playing his originals, as well as new arrangements of jazz standards. Members include: Zacc Harris, guitar; Erick Fratzke, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Jake Baldwin, trumpet.
Thursday, November 13
Joyce Meets Carmen: Joyce Lyons @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ms Lyons brings along Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; as she visits the music of Carmen McCrae in an “intimate conversation.” Listen to her doing Love Me or Leave Me.
Le Percheron @ the Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz has a new group, and this is their debut performance. It includes: Cory Healey, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; and Brandon Wozniak, sax. They already have some dates in France for next year.
Friday, November 14
The Gentle Assassins of Sound @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is a piano/cello duet between Friday happy hour regular, pianist Todd Harper, and his guest, cellist Aaron Kerr. What makes this a unique cello/piano duet is that one or both of the artists will be playing electric.
Dutz/Wabich Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Brad Dutz and Chris Wabich are percussionists with long and varied resumes. Their work can be heard on several TV shows, including King of the Hill and American Idol. Individually, Dutz’s work can be heard on the soundtracks of the Bourne Legacy, and Anchorman, as well as on CDs with Alanis Morrisette, Willie Nelson, and KISS. Wabich has recorded with artistes such as Ludacris, Alex Acuna, and Jeff Hamilton. “Together they use a plethora of percussion instruments to blend improvisation, high art, and comedy. Here’s an example of their inventiveness.
Barbara Meyer/Phil Mattson CD Release @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocalist Meyer & pianist Mattson have created a winning combination by recording the music of Harold Arlen. They are celebrating the release of Down and Up With Love: The Music of Harold Arlen, at this dance-friendly coffeehouse that also serves wine and beer.
Saturday, November 15
Mary Louise Knutson & Gary Raynor @ Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 5701 Eden Prairie Rd, Minnetonka. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) The graceful pianist and Prairie Home Companion bassist collaborate for an art opening.
Travis Anderson Trio @ Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover). Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; Nathan Norman, drums. Fresh interpretations of standards and more – from Chopin to the Mario Brothers. Reservations are recommended, as the Kitchen has a relatively small bar.
Dean Granros Group @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free), 7pm performance. ($10) Another in the Jazz at Studio Z series. Guitarist Granros is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Since the mid-60s, Granros has been mixing up genres such as blues, rock n’ roll, classical music, western swing and a host of world musics into his own cauldron of bubbling jazz. He’ll conduct a free master class on blues concepts in contemporary improvisation at 6pm.
Dean Magraw Solo @ Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Well, I’m listing this under jazz, but Magraw is a guitarist who draws from a number of genres and plays them all equally well, whether Irish, World music, R&B, jazz fusion, or who knows what else. This is a rare opportunity to hear him solo. Plus, you have the opportunity to try some of the Riverview’s many wine flights.
Monday, November 17
Charlie Lincoln Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested Donation) Lincoln is the young bassist who has been studying (and occasionally playing) with Eric Kamau Gravatt. Joining him will be a number of other young jazzmen: Ben Beyene, drums; Gavin Brehm, trumpet; Peter Goggin, sax; Levi Schwartzberg, piano; and Sam Stroup, electronics.
Firebell CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Jacob Park Evans, he of the clean guitar lines, joins forces with Graydon Peterson, bass master; and Jay Epstein, drummer extraordinaire, in Firebell. They’re releasing their first CD and are celebrating tonight.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, November 12
Dead Pigeons on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Pigeons have been around for a few years now, with frontman/songwriter Drew Peterson providing them with sardonic, mordant, and often witty lyrics. Though their instrumentation is old-timey, their approach to music is anything but, as they create rough-hewn music that might, at times, be mistaken for acoustic punk. Drew Peterson, lead singer, songwriter, guitar, banjo; Ryan Douglas Canyon, mandolin and backing vocals; Gretta Hunstiger, fiddle and backing vocals; Andy Carroll and John Reinhart, bass; Daryn Christensen – drums and percussion.
Thursday, November 13
Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows: Foxtrot @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (Given the venue and the time, I guess you can call this a dinner dance. Ms Lynch on bass, and her cohoes play music that swings easily. It’s often in a rhythm called the Businessman’s Bounce, which means just about anybody can get up and dance with a partner. Dressed down jazz and pop hits from the 20s – 70s. The Most Excellent Fellows include: Chris Beaty, guitar; Ken Chastain, drums; Michael Nelson, trombone, Greg Lewis, trumpet.
Friday, November 14
Little River Band @ The Medina Ballroom, Hamel. 7:30pm ($29-$49) Well the Little River Band as sold more than 25 million records, had one gold and two platinum selling albums, and then had six top ten singles between 1978 and 1981, the biggest of which was Reminiscing (#3). Originally from Australia, be warned that the current lineup has no original members, though bassist/vocalist Wayne Nelson has been with the band for all but four years since 1980. Kurt Jorgenson opens.
Love TKO: Tribute to Teddy Pendergrass @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20, $25 reserved) How many articles of underwear have been discarded while couples have listened to Teddy Pendergrass. The mind boggles. Johnnie Brown will be recreating some of those signature sounds tonight, with Kathleen Johnson singing the music of Etta James for good measure.
Friday, Saturday, November 14, 15
Shawn Colvin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45-$50) This singer/songwriter won Grammys for Record of the Year and song of the year (Sunny Came Home) in 1998, after winning Best Contemporary Folk Album for her debut album in 1991. Colvin continues to produce folk with a pop influence, and since the turn of this century has been doing a lot of collaborating with folks like Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, James Taylor, and Allison Krauss. Her latest album, All Fall Down, was produced by Buddy Miller and includes contributions from Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, and Jakob Dylan, among others.
Saturday, November 15
Willie Murphy w/the Liquor Pigs @ The Eagles Club #34, MInneapoils. 8pm ($?) It’s Willie’s Birthday, so you know he’ll be knocking’ the music out of the park, so to speak. the Liquor Pigs, with their ragged yet rockin’ approach to acoustic rock/blues open. Willie’s friends and fans will be out in force, with bells on and dancing shoes.
Joe & Vicki Price @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?) The Iowa natives with the deep South blues style are once again visiting our fair cities. Tonight they’re bringing their music to the tap room, where you can drown your sorrows in a variety of beers.
Sunday, November 16
MN Blues Society Road to Memphis Benefit @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 4:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With Lisa Wenger & Bruce McCabe, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Del Vincents, & More. Every year the Minnesota Blues Society sends a group and a duo to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. This year they are sending Jimmi & the Band of Souls and Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and today are having a fundraiser to help compensate for the bands’ travel expenses.
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12, $15) Adrenaline-fueled Southern Gothic Swamp boogies from a band that doesn’t do murder ballads, “they do murder boogies” as the publicity for Bloodshot Records states.
Todd Rundgren @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. ($40, $42) Rundgren first came to the public’s attention in 1967 or so as a member of Nazz. Then he went solo with his album Runt in 1970 and earned a gold record for the double LP Something/Anything in 1972 and recorded A Wizard: A True Star in 1973, which led to the creation of Utopia, a biggish prig-rock band. He’s continued to record, rather prolifically, but has also been a producer for numerous groups, including the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to the New York Dolls, XTC, Cheap Trick, and Hall & Oates, among others.
John McEuen & John Carter Cash @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50) Back in the 70s John McCuen and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band pretty much started the interest blue/newgrass/Americana roots genre when they put out Will The Circle Be Unbroken, an homage to the music of Mother Maybelle Carter and family. Cash as you might guess, is the only progeny of June Carter and Johnny. They’ll be celebrating the music of the Carter Family and Johnny Cash. So, here’s a chance for young (and old) fans of roots music have to see artists with true connections to the genre.
Tuesday, November 18
Malamanya @ Honey, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) 18+ This popular Cuban/Salsa six-piece just began a weekly residency at the basement club under Jitters. Bring your dancing shoes.
Tuesday, Wednesday, November 18, 19
Suzanne Vega @ The Dakota, Minneapoils. 7pm ($35, $45) Whether you call it New folk, Neo-Folk, or Contemporary Folk, Vega is often credited with creating the style in the 80s. Her 1987 album Solitude Standing, reached the top ten in many international markets and produced two hit singles: Luka, and Tom’s Diner, which was originally a cappella, but remade as a 1990 dance track in Britain. After eight album (the latest released this year) Vega remains an impressive storyteller who uses music to get her stories across.
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.