Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

December 31, 2014

images-2Greetings to one and all;

I trust and hope that you have had a good holiday season thus far.  We’re coming to its end and beginning a new year, where we can hope for more progress in creating a world of justice, harmony, and prosperity for all. In the meantime here are some ideas for music in the coming week. Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Jazz

Wednesday, December 31

Early New Year’s @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm  (Tip Jar) This is a family-friendly event designed to let you celebrate the arrival a New Year and still get home in time to put the kids to bed and avoid tipsy revelers on the road. w/Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; & Davu Seru; drums.

A Very Pippi New Year @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($25) Pippi, that purveyor of feel good jazz and blues, brings Patty Lacy, of Sounds of Blackness, and Judi Gronseth, of musicals, to the stage at the Weyerhauser Auditorium to sing tunes from the Great American Songbook, Motown, and more.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($102), 10:30pm ($82) Yes, it is spendy, but Davina and her band put on a rousing show, to say the least, and at the 6pm show you get a five-course dinner (vegetarian option available), and at the 10:30 show you get a complimentary champagne toast and $20 voucher good for food or drinks.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Charmin Michelle w/ The Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra @ Shakopee Ballroom, 2400 4th Ave East, Shakopee. 6pm – 12:30am ($50 – dinner & Dance, $35 – Dance only) Dinner from 6pm – 8pm. Dancing starts at 8:30pm. Big Band sounds from Jerry O’Hagen with the added bonus of the marvelous Ms. Michelle on vocals.

Southside Aces @ A Room with A Vieux (Old Artists’ Quarter), Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The Dakota is presenting a pop-up New Year’s Eve party in the space they’re developing at the old Artists’ Quarter. It’s billed as a Hot New orleans party with beads, brass, and a midnight countdown parade as a preview of what’s to come in the space. The Aces fill the bill on all counts.

Thursday, January 1

Zack Lozier Three @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Zack is one of the many talented trumpet players in town. He’s also good at traditional jazz vocals, i.e., the kind of things you hear at Preservation Hall. He always surrounds himself with good players, and it’s no wonder. He’s good enough to get solos in Doc Severinson’s band.

Seru, Hanson, & Roessler @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) So after an early New Year’s at the Black Dog, Davu Seru, drums; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Brian Roessler, bass; head to Grand Avenue to perform in the intimate space at the Khyber Pass Cafe. Though Emil, the owner of the Khyber Pass, loves music that’s “outside,” this trio manages to play such music without alienating more casual listeners.

Friday, January 2

Jeremy Walker’s Small City Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jeremy has grown into a piano player and composer of note, as shown 7 Psalms, the excellent album he released this year. Though that piece was composed for a jazz ensemble, voice and choir, he is equally adept and composing for small groups and arranging the songs of other composers. Tonight he’ll be joined by Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne on drums. This electronic press kit from a few years ago will give you a good idea of the group’s talent.

Saturday, January 3

Pigs Eye Jass Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm ($?) Traditional jazz band that seems to draw swing dancers. It’s a casual, fun-filled good thing.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) With pianist Will Kjeer home for the holidays, Group 47 is complete, and can continue its winning ways with original tunes and such. Opening set by Ramtrak (Lars-Erik Larson, Jake Baldwin, Tom Nordlund) at 7pm. Here’s a link to Andrea Canter’s article about Group 47.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Henry is as fine a male vocalist as you will find in these parts. Though he now lives in Chicago, he makes it back here often enough to whet our appetites for more, whether he’s singing originals, the Great American Songbook, or the Great American Soul Book.

Sunday, January 4

Mill City Hot Club @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Get your brunch and a hit of gypsy jazz and acoustic swing at the same time as Mill City Hot Club  featuring the underrated Dean Harrington on guitar; along with Gary Shulte on violin; and Tom Lewis on bass provide the music.

Monday, January 5

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The old Shorewood is now Crooners. The new owners have added an extension to their stage for a piano, leaving more room for the members of this big band  Given the name of the club, and artists that are usually appearing here, Arne Fogel is the go-to guy to sing here. No one knows the music of Der Bingle and Frank better than Arne. Of course, he’s no slouch when it comes to interpreting the songs of others as well.

Brian Ziemniak Organ Trio @ The Narrows Saloon, 3380 Shoreline Drive, Navarre. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance for those of you who live in the West Metro area to hear some soul jazz, you know, the kind of stuff that Jimmy Smith did back in the day. Brian Ziemniak is at the keys and pedals, while Troy Norton is on guitar and funky drummer Kevin Washington lays down the beat. That’s not to say they won’t be exploring modern tunes as well as some classics. Plus, the Narrows will be offering a special on their craft beers.

O’Brien, Hanson, & Seru: CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)  A double header for the late night crowd, starting with a CD release party by bassist Casey O’Brien  ably assisted by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Davu Seru, drums. Christopher Thomson follows, on solo sax (at least that’s what’s implied in the announcement).

Tuesday, January 6

Douglas Ewart & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s a busy week for Davu Seru, drums; as he returns to the Black Dog, this time with multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart, which should make for some very interesting music. Here’s a video where Ewart performs and talks about his craft.

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The honey-toned vocalist returns to the Dakota for a Foodie Night. Sophia is always a treat, whether channeling her sunshine personality or digging into deeper emotions.

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, December 31

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become a tradition, as Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to bring sea chanties, work songs, and death ballads to the young and the restless (as well as the old & sedentary) that often inhabit the 331 on early Wednesday evenings. Start your NYE partying by tuning in the the House Party on KFAI and then heading over to the 331.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Another way to start off your New Year’s celebration is with Nikki & the Ruemates, bringing Nikki’s wonderful vocals, and Rich Rue’s imaginative guitar to the unique downtown restaurant. As I often warn, try to get a table near the stage, since the boisterous activity throughout the restaurant can make listening a bit difficult.

Tim Sparks, Phil Heywood, & Tim O’Keefe Dinner Set @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm  (No Cover) Another dining while listening option is the Icehouse, where guitar wizards Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood will hold forth. They’ve been playing together quite a bit lately, but tonight they’re joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe, whose presence will undoubtedly create some aural surprises.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So you’re looking for a celebration that’s festive yet inexpensive. Look no further, as the Hipshaker Deejays bring rare funk n’ soul into your life from those little 7 inch records. It’s a relatively young crowd, but dancers of a certain age will certainly find plenty of musical reasons to have fun.

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Some people still call them Mambo’s Combo, but everyone calls them fun. If you’re looking for old school R&B, you’d be hard pressed to find a better band in town. Of course, they throw in a rock n’ roll number or two, and almost always have a guest or two sit in. No reason why tonight should deviate from the norm.

Bedlam & Brass @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door, $5 Lowertown Residents) Dance your Brass off with the zany, free-spirited Brass Messengers & special Deejays. there will be a midnight ball drop, free champagne at midnight, and more. They’re even encouraging masquerade outfits, so do you best.

Thursday, January 1

Church of Cash @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) It’s a Johnny Cash tribute show. Hipsters of every age seem to agree on him music, so you’ve got that. Opening by Mississippi Driftwood, those Anoka purveyors of psychedelic Blues & Swamp Rock. There’s bound to be dancing.

Friday, January 2

Jack Klatt w/Mike Gunter @ Harriet Brewiing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5?) During the many years he’s been on the air at KFAI, Jackson Buck has gotten to know many of the area’s rootsier acts, which fit his Freewheelin’ Fridays just fine. Continue your celebration of the new year with two of the area’s finest roots acts: Mike Gunter at 7pm, and Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers at 9pm.

Mick Sterling & the Irresistables @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Sterling is a multiple winner of the Minnesota Music Awards. He’s a powerhouse singer who with this group has surrounded himself with a bunch of talented musicians, including singers Katie Gearty and Cate Fierro, as well as bassist and musical director Nick Salisbury; drummer Aaron Johnson; Luke Fredrickson, guitar; Jason Craft, keys; Scott Snyder, trumpet; and Gus Sandberg, sax.

Graveyard Club @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Opening acts: Warehouse Eyes, Wooden Antler. Graveyard Club is a four-piece indie band that takes at least some of their inspiration from synthesizer-fueled British bands of the 80s: think New Order and The Cure. Their first EP was recorded in the basement of a possibly haunted Summit Avenue mansion, which accounts for it dark tone, while “Nightingale” was recorded at Flowers studio. Though it’s lighter in tone than the EP, it still has moments of darkness, and has been receiving internet play in Brazil, England, and Germany. The pop-ish Warehouse Eyes and Wooden Antler, with lush harmonies and fuzzed out amps, open. Listen to them here.

Saturday, January 3

Szaszka @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($?) This three-piece string band plays Transylvanian village dance music  including  Hungarian, Romanian, and Roma tunes. Its members are: Colleen Bertsch, violin; Sara Bruins, bass and violin; and Doug Code, kontra, viola, and koboz.

Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) They’re described as Swamp country blues and truck driving music. Given that their vocalist is Ray Bernard (formerly of the Copperheads), and other members have served in the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, A Certain General, and Curtiss A’s band, that description sounds just about right.

Sunday, January 4

Dirty Shorts Brass Band CD Release Party @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm (No Cover) This is a classic brass band of mostly older players, though their energy belies the age of its members. Mea Culpa: In my weekly e-mail of this information I mixed up these guys with the McNasty Brass Band, recent grads of McNally Smith.

Monday, January 5

Roe Family Singers @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Start off your Mondays in 2015 with a visit to the weekly gig, which has become something of an institution. The Roe Family Singers are led by Kim and Quillan Roe, whose young children are often on stage, or at least in the audience. As a “jug band” with a sometimes revolving group of members, the Singers approach old time music with a modern (dare I say rock/punk) attitude, though they can be pretty straight ahead as well.  Here they are doing the same song as the Dirty Shorts Band, above.

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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It’s a White Christmas Somewhere. Music: 12.24 – 12.31

December 24, 2014
A visitor to the town of Muddy Waters. Photo by Kelle Green

A visitor to the town of Muddy Waters. Photo by Kelle Green

Well, the big day is upon us. Hopefully, you’ve survived shopping, cooking, office parties, and the like to remember this as the only time of year when we unabashedly wish people well. There are, as may be expected few choices for music on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If you don’t celebrate the day, you’ll likely end up at a movie and eating Asian food. However, the rest of the week holds plenty of promise, not to forget New Year’s Eve. I’ve included a few options for next Wednesday, just to give everyone a chance to plan.

So, though it’s likely to be a brown Christmas here in the Twin Cities, it’s a White Christmas somewhere, even if it’s a holiday train display, as shown. So, to wish you a Happy Holiday, here’s a song written 1940 by a Russian Jewish composer living in Los Angeles, performed in 1954 by a group of African Americans, and animated in 2007 by someone who loved this version of White Christmas.

Have a great day. Remember Music can lift the Spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, December 24

Bob Bowman Christmas Spectacular @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bowman is a Kansas City bassist who is perhaps best known in these parts for his recording and touring work with Karrin Allyson. In the 70s he was a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Leis Orchestra and the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band. He’s toured with Carmen McCrae and performed with Freddie Hubbard, Bud Shank, and others. After playing at the Dakota with Allyson on Sunday and Monday, Bowman will be joined tonight by Brian Roessler, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Peter Hennig, drums; to play originals and some promised surprises. Here he is with a trio.

Thursday – Sunday, December 25 – 28

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus are Dave King, drums; Ethan Iverson, piano; and Reid Anderson, bass. They have been playing the Dakota at Christmastime for about 15 years now. They were unknowns when they started this tradition and now command headline status at festivals and clubs around the world. Their music is hard to describe to casual music listeners: It’s jazz, but more than that. They turn pop songs upside down and inside out; they tackle classic compositions with an indie-rock attitude; and they create often humorous, intelligent originals.

Friday, December 26

Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Hey, drums released a wonderful CD early this year, featuring originals as well as tunes from Mingus, Coltrane, David Berkman, and Freddie Hubbard. Here’s a chance to hear them in the intimate confines of Jazz Central, where the shimmering sounds of Hagedorn’s vibes, the snap of Hey’s cymbals, and the warmth of Bates’ bass can be readily enjoyed.

Saturday, December 27

Aaron Hedenstrom CD Release @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 5:30pm workshop, 7pm concert ($10) Saxophonist and composer Aaron Hedenstrom has been composing, arranging, and performing music professionally for over a decade. He has recently recorded his first album as a saxophonist, “A Moment of Clarity,” on Shifting Paradigm Records, the new Twin Cities label. The album features Aaron’s elaborate but heartfelt compositions and includes some of the most talented young musicians in the country. Come early for a free master class with Aaron Hedenstrom, and stay for the concert with Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Brian Claxton, drums. I will have Aaron on my show Saturday morning (90.3 & 106.7FM – 10:30am – Noon)

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Saturday Jazz at the Black Dog continues with this post-Christmas gig by FKW, whose members are so busy with other projects that they no longer play regularly. Enjoy their inside/outside approach to familiar and original tunes. Mike Lewis, sax; Adam Linz, bass; JT Bates, drums. The evenings bonus: an opening set by the Steve Kenny Trio.

James Wallace @ Ngon Vietnames Bistro, University & Avon, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm. (No Cover) Saxophonist James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace has been playing around the Twin Cites for decades. Lately he’s been showing up at the Ngon and other unlikely venues to play standards and more with a small group of mostly veteran players.

Laura Caviani & Bob Bowman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Caviani is a delightfully inventive pianist who has often played and occasionally toured with Karrin Allyson, where she met bassist Bob Bowman. This promises to be a very different, if equally enjoyable show, the Bowman’s show at Jazz Central on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 28

Connie Evingson @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Some more holiday music for you. This time it’s a Holiday on Golden Pond, as Ms Evingson performs a jazz concert of holiday songs with the cabin set of On Golden Pond as a backdrop.  Selections will include some lesser known holiday gems like the “Best Things Happen When You’re Dancing,” from the film White Christmas, as well as one of my favorites, her own “Nutcracker Petite Suite.” She’ll be accompanied by Tanner Taylor, piano (visiting from Iowa); Dave Karr, sax; and Gordon Johnson, bass.

Monday, December 29

Wozniak, Nichols, & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) That’s Brandon Wozniak, sax; Bryan Nichols, piano, and JT Bates, drums. They’ve worked together in many different configurations, so tonight should feature some pretty seamless, and outstanding, music.

Rhonda Laurie & Robert Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Laurie’s sophisticated vocals go well with Bell’s understated guitar work. When you add in an outstanding happy hour, you end up with a relaxed, enjoyable evening.

Tuesday, December 30

KC Gospel Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The KC Gospel Orchestra (KCGO) has been swinging in the Twin Cities since the summer of 1995, under the direction of leader/writer/arranger Kevin Mills. Expect some  Christmas Big Band arrangements by Kevin Mills and KCGO bassist Pete Karstad, plus selections from the great Los Angeles arranger Tom Kubis of LA.

Wednesday, December 31

Early New Year’s @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm  (Tip Jar) This is a family-friendly event designed to let you celebrate the arrival a New Year and still get home in time to put the kids to bed and avoid tipsy revelers on the road. w/Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; & Davu Seru; drums.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($102), 10:30pm ($82) Yes, it is spendy, but Davina and her band put on a rousing show, to say the least, and at the 6pm show you get a five-course dinner (vegetarian option available), and at the 10:30 show you get a complimentary champagne toast and $20 voucher good for food or drinks.

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…

Thursday, December 25

The Butanes @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar). Okay, so I found out about this late, so you do have a place to escape if you’re looking for something other than a movie. Heck, this weekly gig is fun no matter what the time of year. So go hear some blues, dance a bit, and meet old and new friends.

Friday, December 26

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Let someone else serve you brunch today, while you listen to Ms Haus, her brother Bob, and guitarist Ed Petsche, as she sings blues from the heart as all as the head. Here she is doing an atypical tune for her.

Boogie Wonderland @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Get your 70s disco on, with this six piece band that channels Earth, Wind, and Fire, Donna Summer, KC and the Sunshine Band, et al. A good way to dance off the calories from your holiday meals.

Friday, Saturday, December 26, 27

Paul Metsa’s Blue Guitar Highway – The Musical @ The Phoenix Theater, 2605 Hennepin Ave, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 – $25, $10 Students) Since publishing Blue Guitar Highway in 2011, Paul has worked with  Jim Stowell to turn some of the stories in the book into musical theater. He’ll be joined by musicians Willie Walker, Sonny Earl, Mari Harris, Randi Starr Hudson, and Dave Maslow at the old Brave New Workshop on Hennepin.

Saturday, December 27

Papa John Kolstad & Clint Hoover @ The Gingko Coffee House, Saint Paul. 8pm ($14) Harpmaster Clint Hoover  is fluent in a number of styles using both the Diatonic (Blues Harp) and the Chromatic Harmonica. He’s back in town for the holidays and his hooking up with his long-time playing partner, Papa John  The two recorded “Alive and Well at the Gingko” here, showcasing their musicality in jazz, blues, and folk music. Then too, you have Papa John’s way with a story to entertain you as well. Seating is limited, so you may want to consider buying tickets in advance. Here’s Papa John by himself.

Armadillo Jump @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) So how much have you overeaten during the last few weeks? You can burn off lots of calories with the rockin’ sax and guitar driven blues of Armadillo Jump  even if the dance floor at Shaw’s is tiny. Just move a few of the tables.

Sunday, December 28

Who Nu @ Jimmy’s Food & Drink, 1132 County Rd E, East, Vadnais Heights. 2:30pm. Some highly danceable R&B for a Sunday afternoon.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s Bar & Grill, North Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Papa John Kolstad leads this motley crew of excellent players. The number and the members may change from time to time, but Hurricane Harold and Doug Otto are two of the regulars that Papa John calls on to perform various and sundry mostly acoustic blues.

Monday, December 29

Willie Murphy Blues Jam @ The Richfield American Legion, Richfield. 7pm  (Tip Jar) You never know just who will show up to jam with Willie  It might be someone with a washtub bass, or a trumpet, or guitar. Doesn’t matter. Willie certainly knows how to make the best of an ever changing situation, and his listeners benefit. Check out this video from one of his jam sessions.

Jumbo Ya Ya @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5?) There’s nothing quite like Cajun and Zydeco dancing to get the heart racing, what with their twirls, spins, and dips, and Jumbo Ya Ya is just the group to provide the music.

Wednesday, December 31

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become a tradition, as Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to bring sea chanties, work songs, and death ballads to the young and the restless (as well as the old & sedentary) that often inhabit the 331 on early Wednesday evenings. Start your NYE partying by tuning in the the House Party on KFAI and then heading over to the 331.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Another way to start off your New Year’s celebration is with Nikki & the Ruemates, bringing Nikki’s wonderful vocals, and Rich Rue’s imaginative guitar to the unique downtown restaurant. As I often warn, try to get a table near the stage, since the boisterous activity throughout the restaurant can make listening a bit difficult.

Tim Sparks, Phil Heywood, & Tim O’Keefe Dinner Set @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm  (No Cover) Another dining while listening option is the Icehouse, where guitar wizards Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood will hold forth. They’ve been playing together quite a bit lately, but tonight they’re joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe, whose presence will undoubtedly create some aural surprises.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So you’re looking for a celebration that’s festive yet inexpensive. Look no further, as the Hipshaker Deejays bring rare funk n’ soul into your life from those little 7 inch records. It’s a relatively young crowd, but dancers of a certain age will certainly find plenty of musical reasons to have fun.

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.


Seasonal Music and Much, Much, More: 12.17 – 12.23

December 17, 2014

Unknown-2Greetings to one and all;

Though the music calendar for the coming week may contain many shows for the holiday season, there is enough music for those who don’t celebrate to have a great time as well. After all, one way or another, music lifts the spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, December 17

George Maurer Christmas Show @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Maurer is a pianist/composer who is well known outside of Minnesota as well as in the state. He’s composed movie scores, has collaborated with a number of artists, including Eric Clapton, leads his own groups, and is a desired accompanist for many vocalists. He’ll be leading a sextet with a vocalist for this holiday show.

Thursday, December 18

Fuzzy Math @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No cover) This fine four piece has been cooking up some new tunes to add to its mix of original jazz and creative arrangements of other tunes. With Mark Vanderhyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums.

Lee Engele & Reynold Philipsek @ Cupcake/Mason Jar, 1565 Cliff Road, Eagan. 7pm – 9pm (No cover) Engele (vocals) and Philipsek (guitar) go together like two straws in a coke, performing standards and occasionally dipping into gypsy jazz arrangements.

Mike Lewis Solo @ the Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Lewis is a first rate sax player, who can play inside or outside, depending on the situation. He’s best known perhaps, for his work with Happy Apple and Fat Kid Wednesdays, though his work with Bon Iver and his bass playing with pop/folk star Andrew Bird has also earned him kudos. Tonight he takes a solo turn, as shown in this video.

Friday, December 19

Dean Granros Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Granros is one of the elders of jazz guitar in this town, having inspired many other players in the past few decades. Bandmate and fellow guitarist Zacc Harris has proven to be a jazz entrepreneur and top-notch player since arriving in town some years ago. They’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Jingle Bell Doc @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $75) It’s become a tradition for Doc Severinson  of the Tonight Show Band, and former Pops Conductor at Orchestra Hall, to come to down with a holiday show. The ageless, colorfully dressed  trumpeter can still blow a mean horn. He’ll have a band that includes a number of Twin Cities musicians, and will also have the Minnesota Chorale and Twin Cities Bronze, a handbell ensemble, as part of the celebration. The band will likely sound like the one in this video.

The Power’s Project @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) If you’re looking for something that’s under the radar, this is it. Frankly, I don’t know too much about this group other than the fact that they feature a female singer and the price is right.

Saturday, December 20

JoAnn Funk: Deck The Halls @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 11pm, (No Cover) Pianist Funk & bassist Jeff Brueske celebrate the holidays with seasonal songs, abetted by special guests Gary Schulte, violin; and Steven Marking, baritone vocals.

Twin Cities Jazz Sampler CD Release Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Steve Kenny has put together a compilation CD that proves how much talent we have in the Twin Cities jazz community. There are tracks from the Zacc Harris Quartet, Chris Bates’ Red5, Jana Nyberg. Chris Lomheim, The Illicit Sextet, Bryan Nichols, Adam Meckler Orchestra and more. The evening’s celebration includes live performances by the Atlantis Quartet, Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio, and Steve Kenny’s Group 47. Steve will be a guest on my radio show, Rhythm and Grooves, Saturday morning about 10:45am. Here’s a video of the Good Vibes Trio.

Sunday, December 21

Jingle Bell Doc @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 2pm ($30 – $70) See Friday for a description.

Sunday, Monday, December 21, 22

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($40), 8pm ($25) Allyson, a one-time Twin Cities resident returns with her sublime voice and impeccable taste. She is a four-time Grammy nominee who will be singing selections from Yuletide Hideaway, her gorgeous CD from last year, featuring holiday favorites and originals. Listen to her do a favorite of Twin Cities audiences.

Monday, December 22

Javier Santiago @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Javi, as he is known, was a member of the Dakota Combo back in 2007. Since then he’s been part of an award-winning Brubeck Institute jazz Quintet and received his bachelor degree in performance (2011) from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC. He has been making his way in New York since, and returns home for the holiday. He is a virtuoso pianist, as well as a producer, educator, composer, and arranger.  I’m not sure if he’ll have a group with him or not, but if so, it will certainly contain his old running partner, Miguel Hurtado on drums. Here he is with fellow schoolmates, performing one of his tunes at his Senior Recital at the New School.

Regional Jazz Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Anthony Cox  bass; leads this trio, which includes Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates, drums. JT and Lewis are long-time mates from Fat Kid Wednesdays. Occasionally, they play with other bassists, and the result always takes an unexpected turn from their FKW work. Tonight, they join Cox, who made a national name for himself while living in NYC for years before returning to the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, December 23

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s the ticket if you’re looking for something other than holiday offerings, mainstream, or free jazz. The TCLJO, as the name suggests, is a big band with big rhythm. This event tends to be an open rehearsal, with the band sometimes repeating sections. It’s a fascinating peek into the arranging process, as well as an exciting listening experience.

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, December 17

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90,3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s the 10th Anniversary of Harold Tremblay’s House Party on KFAI, and to celebrate, he’s bringing in the first artist to have appeared on his show, Duluth’s Charlie Parr a practitioner of Piedmont style blues who has garnered a national reputation. check him out.

Thursday, December 18

You don't have to go to the Bayous to celebrate a Louisiana Christmas

You don’t have to go to the Bayous to celebrate a Louisiana Christmas

A Louisiana Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) It’s a Christmas Party and Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland. Helping you celebrate will be the Rockin’ Pinecones, The Southside Aces, the Swamp Poppas, Rich Lewis, Lucinda Plaisance, and many more. Bring some food and/or money for the food shelf and don’t forget those dancing shoes!

Thursday, Friday, December 18, 19

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm (Thurs), 7pm, 9:30pm (Friday) ($20) It’s been a heckuva year for the comeback soulman of Minneapolis. After a weekly residency at the Eagle Club early in the year, Knight and his young band have coalesced into a tight funk/soul outfit, touring touring the world, from South by Southwest to Europe. They’ve been writing some new material and will be recording these sessions for a new record. Friday’s late show is at 9:30 to give the Dakota staff time to clear out tables so people can dance. Here they are putting their own stamp on a Beatles tune.

Friday, December 19

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue Holiday Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10?) Blues Harpist Hurricane Harold knows all the players in town, and when he puts together a revue, it’s always outstanding. You can hear Harold’s playing at: http://www.reverbnation.com/hurricaneharold

Jackson’s Juke Joint Holiday Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Crankshaft at 7pm. Javier & the Innocent Sons at 9pm. I’m not sure if holiday songs will be included in this party, but you will have the chance to shake your money-maker as Crankshaft plays his high-energy, often funny blues and Javier & The Innocent Sons swing out.

Claudia Schmidt @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Schmidt has been an area favorite for about 40 years now, using her four octave range to present folk, blues and the occasional jazz number with her charming humor. She’s released 16 albums, the latest of which New Whirled Order, is on Red House Records.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbo’s @ Crooners, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is the old Shorewood on Central Avenue. I’m told the new owners have expanded the stage a bit, and judging by their calendar, will be featuring singers that fit the new name. Radio Joe Demko is perfect for this place, with songs that range from Tangos to swing, to belly grinders, all delivered with stylish élan.

Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, December 19, 20, 23

Trashy Little Christmas @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s time once again for Trailer Trash  purveyors of honky-tonk, traditional country, and swinging rock n’ roll to bring their trashy view of the holidays to Lee’s. It’s the 21st year for these Candy Cane hi-jinks, and if you haven’t attended for a while, this might just be the time. Saturday’s show is sold out, so you’ll have go on Friday, or stay up late on Christmas Eve’s Eve.

Saturday, December 20

Ukelele Alley Cartoon ExtravaGONZO @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. Noon – Doors at 11am ($8, $5 for kids 12 and under) Luke the Uke (aka Tom Lieberman) and Deejay Mr Gosh (of spinning 78s) have mined some cartoon archives to present classic animation with music, laughter, and more. Child-safe and family friendly.

Singer/Songwriter Showcase @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Four singer/songwriters gather to share their songs and stories, including Mother Banjo (aka Ellen Stanley), George Scot (Hookers $ Blos, Ipso Facto), Doug Otto (The Getaways, Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars, The No-Accounts), and Nikki Roux (Nikki & the Rue-Mates).

Maurice Jacox Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7 pm – 10pm (No Cover) Versatile vocalist Jacox will be joined by guitarists Bobby E and Dean Mikkelson for what promises to be a delightful evening of stripped down R&B, Motown, and songs from the Great American Songbook. The Normandy Kitchen is somewhat small, so reservations are always a good idea.

Sunday, December 21

The principals of BAIN

Jayanthi, Davis, & Erick

BAIN @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) BAIN is Davis Bain, vocals & production; Erick “Afrokeys”Anderson, keys; and Jayanthi Kyle, vocals. Tonight they celebrate the release of Love In Blue, an album (CD & LP) filled with groovy, hypnotic, often down-tempo music featuring both male and female vocals. The live band includes Matt Stevens, bass; Anslem Pierre, guitar; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Walter Chancellor Jr., sax; and Greg Schutte, drums. I’ve been playing tracks from Love in Blue on some of my DJ gigs and getting good response. Ashley Gold will open, and DJ Fourfeet will spin between sets.

Obviously a long tradition

The combination has been around for a long, long time

The Accordion/Banjo Xmas @ Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7pm – 9pm. Oh boy, this is an event that’s ripe for jokes about the two most maligned instruments in modern music. However, there is no joking about the skills of Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton on accordion or Mark Kreitzer on banjo, who will be duetting on some of your favorite holiday songs and more.

Tuesday, December 23

L.P. Music @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($10) L.P. Music plays funky, groove oriented music with a proclivity for improvisation, featuring Grammy winning saxophonist Eric Leeds; bassist (and multi-instrumentalist) Paul Peterson, pianist Peter Schimke, and drummer Stokely Williams. Given the resumes of these musicians (from Prince to Mark Murphy to Mint Condition), this should be a stellar performance.

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.


Good Weather. Great Music: 12.10 – 12.16

December 10, 2014
Last year, we had this for weather during this week. This year we'll have no snow.

Thank goodness we don’t have this to look forward to, which was what we had last year at this time.

It seems we’re in for a warming trend this weekend, with temps in the 40s and 50s, so the weather should be no barrier to attending holiday parties and shows. Once again we’ve a few visiting artists worth your time and money, as well as our usual plethora of resident musicians who will help lift your spirits. Have a good week.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 10

Lila Ammons @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) A classically trained vocalist, Ms Ammons tackles jazz and blues with authority and verve to spare at this warehouse district nitespot on North 1st Avenue.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is bassist Chris Bates’ once-a-month series at JC. Tonight, it’s all basses on deck for a Bass Summit, featuring, besides Chris, Casey O’Brian, Brian Roessler, Charles Fletcher, Chris Hunnicut, and more.

Thursday, December 11

Give Get Sistet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sara M. Greer gathers up some like-minded female vocalists to improvise holiday classics and wintry favorites a-capella style. With Aimee K. Bryant, Mankwe Ndosi, Libby Turner Opanga, & Alicia Steele.

Jack Brass Band @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Whether they’re playing traditional New Orleans jazz, The Temptation, or the more modern R&B of Keith Sweat & Bobby Brown, the JBB’s infectious rhythms and joie de vivre will have you bouncing in your seats or taking to the dance floor.

Friday, December 12

Connie Evingson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm The dulcet, swinging tones of Ms Evingson will waft through the lounge at this Italian restaurant. Whether singing gypsy jazz, The Beatles, or Peggy Lee, Evingson always bring a lush sound to her singing. Tonight, she’s joined by Rick Carlson, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and that bebopper with a way with ballads, Dave Karr on sax.

Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Versatile pianist Tanner Taylor is back in town for a bit, and will be joined by pals Graydon Peterson, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums, for an evening of holiday favorites, and, I’m sure, other tunes.

College Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm – 11:30pm (Donation) Here’s a chance to listen to the next generation of jazz players, as members of  North Central University’s Jazz Workshop show off their chops. The evening ends with a jam session.

Saturday, December 13

Chris Bates’ Red 5 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Saturday Night Jazz continues to draw the jazz faithful to the Black Dog, this time for Chris Bates’ quintet playing his original music. Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak & Chris Thomson, saxes. With an opening set by Dark Blue. Here’s the Red5 doing a tune from their CD.

PipJazz Live Holiday Program @ Maplewood Community Center Theater, 2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood. 7pm ($25, $5 for Students) Featured Youth Artist: Charlie Lincoln, bass. Pippi Ardennia presents her holiday show of jazz & R&B, with featured youth artist Charlie Lincoln, who is studying with Eric Kamau Gravatt, and already shows great talent and promise.

Sunday, December 14

Maud Hixson & the Wolverines Trio w/Dave Karr @ the Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm – 4pm. ($25, $15/Student, child, $20 Senior) It’s a musical excursion of holiday tunes through the years, featuring the delightful Ms Hixson, with firm support from the Wolverines Trio and the extraordinary Dave Karr on sax. Nationally recognized film collector Bob DeFlores will be showing rare films of holiday songs as performed by Big Crosby, Judy, Garland, Spike Jones, Gene Autry, and others.

Charles Lazarus All Brass Big Band: Merry & Bright @ St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Ave S. Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($?) Trumpeter Lazarus takes a break from his MN Orchestra duties to present a different take on holiday tunes, from Latin to loungem, groove to gospel. With Tommy Barbarella, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums, and the Lazarus Brass, as well as special guest vocalists Bruce Henry & Tonia Hughes.  This video isn’t holiday music, but it gives you a good idea of Lazarus at work.

Monday, December 15

Kevin Gastonguay B3 w/Clay Pufahl @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahh, the funky sounds of a B3 organ, responsible for bringing soulful jazz to the people in small clubs across the nation. Tonight Kevin Gastonguay will be at the keys and foot pedals, with accompaniment by saxophonist Clay Pufahl, and drummer Mac Santiago.

George Cartwright’s PAL @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s the always adventurous Jazz Implosion, tonight featuring Saxophonist Cartwright, together with multi-instrumentalist Andrew Broder, bassist Josh Granowski, and JT Bates.

Monday, Tuesday, December 15, 16

Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ms Gambarini is a highly talented singer who brings her great sense of swing and ability to scat to the Great American Songbook. Mentored by James Moody, Benny Carter, and Hank Jones, she’s received two Grammy nominations. Ms Gambarini is appearing with a seasoned band of all-stars, including Jimmy Cobb, drums (the only living member of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue recording; Ray Drummond, bass; Sullivan Fortner, piano; and Justin Robinson, sax. I did an interview with Ms Gambarini back in 2011, which you can read here. She explains her approach before singing in this video.

Tuesday, December 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Their recently released album is a winner, with original tunes and arrangements by Meckler. Read a review of the album here. As many of you may know, Jazz Central isn’t very big, so you’ll be able to see and hear this 16 piece band up close and personal.

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, December 10

Cooker John on the House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI-90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Cooker John learned fingerpicking from Artie Traum in Manhattan back in the early 60s. Afterwards he played in various bands around NYC, opening for folks like Chuck Berry, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Crazy Horse. Since 1990 or so, he’s been gigging around the Midwest, mostly working solo to bring his blues and folk music to the masses. Tonight he’ll be joined by Nick Salisbury on bass and Ben Kaplan on drums. Tune in, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 10,11

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60), 9pm ($40, $50) The last time she was in town, both shows sold out. This time Fischer is here for six shows (two occurred last night), and it may still be hard to get a good seat. Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. She’s been on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them.

Thursday, December 11

McNally Smith Emerging Artists @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear some young musicians strut their stuff. The McNally Smith staff has been doing a great job of teaching and mentoring the students at the school. Tonight you can hear Improv, Composition, Funky Blues, and two Modern Rock bands. And did I mention it’s free?

The Icicles @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Jake Hanson, guitar, Jeremy Hanson, drums, and Jim Anton, bass, play reverb instrumental music: surf music, dub, and pop instrumentals.

Friday, December 12

Basalt @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Okay, here’s a combination that you don’t see much. James W. Anton provides funky bass for The Droppers, and can be heard as a sideman in a number of jazz bands. Jeremy Ylvisaker plays his guitar as a member of Cloak Ox, Alpha Consumer, and Andrew Bird’s band, among others; while JT Bates is a drummer about town, playing with The Pines, Molly Maher & Erick Koskinen, and jazz projects like Fat Kid Wednesdays, and Chris Bates’ Red5, not to forget the fact that he curates the Jazz Implosion every Monday at the Icehouse. It appears this may be a jazz trio, but with such varied backgrounds, there’s no telling what they’ll play.

Africans in the Snow @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10) Members of the Cottman Jazz Family present storytelling, dance, and music to present stories connecting culture and art. Dancer Kenna Cottman serves as curator. Auntie Beverly is a griot who will share stories, and Roboday Drums will present music from Haitian Culture. Warm drinks and spicy food will also be available.

Curtiss A. and Dark Click @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Fresh off his 35th Annual John Lennon tribute, Curtiss A explores the blues with this particular group.

People Brothers Band @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm doors, 10pm show ($10) The People Brothers are an octet from Madison who lay down some might invigorating “rhythm and soul,” as they call it, with originals and covers from bands ranging from the Talking Heads to The Allmans. Twin Cities artists I Like You open, along with A Round of Horseshoes.

6th Annual Holiday Shindig Benefit for Kill Kancer @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($10)  Resident singer/songwriters (and newlyweds) Ben Cook-Feltz and Mother Banjo are teaming up to present this annual benefit featuring Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, who’s getting around a lot these days; Molly Dean, Jon Rodine, and Natalie Lovejoy. They’ll be taking turns singing seasonal originals and holiday favorites, with all proceeds going to Kill Kancer, started by Marty Beth Mueller after losing her husband Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum to esophageal cancer.

Saturday, December 13

Tribute to Doug Sahm @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 4-6pm (No Cover) Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton teams up with Jon Rodine, Rusty Jones, Tim Mauseth and other guests for a tribute to the music of Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender,and other great Texas stars!

The Eddies’ Seventh Annual Yulefest @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave N., Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15) Celtic Music, songs of love and death, food, wine, a silent auction and more from the Eddies, along with Barra, the Hi Bs, and Patsy O’Brien, raise money for th Food Group (formerly the Emergency Foodshelf Network).

Sunday, December 14

Medeski, Scofield, Martin, & Wood @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. ($30) This groove-steady combination of musicians features guitarist John Scofield, and the younger trio of MM&W. They’ve been joining up for gigs and recordings for about 17 years, and have just released their third studio recording together, a celebration of rhythms from Brazil, the Carribean, and Latin America, including that soul/Latin hybrid, the boogaloo.

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) Hm, Hm, Hm. Steady as the Mississippi, as fun as a Mardis Gras party, the rollicking, rocking Ms Ball always delivers her Texas/Louisiana brand of blues, R&B, Boogie Woogie, and Zydeco with verve and good humor. Her latest album, the danceable Tatooed Lady & the Alligator Man, has been receiving great reviews.

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.

 

 


Lifting Your Spirit. Music: 12.3 – 12.9

December 3, 2014
Dress warm when going out to hear music

Dress warm!

This week’s jazz scene is dominated by resident musicians, including a few with well-deserved national reputations. The blues and roots calendar features some legendary visiting musicians as well as outstanding resident musicians. All in all, it’s another week of tough decisions about who to see. The one decision that isn’t tough is to get out and enjoy some music. It lifts your spirit, which can certainly help when fighting crowds while looking for those perfect gifts.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 3

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Anderson is a talented, swingin’ pianist, ably abetted by Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Parisota Hot Club @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) Robb Henry, guitar; Matt Senjem, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, are the perfect trio for this faux-fancy club witharge booths, leather couches, and flocked wallpaper.

Riotus N @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Anthony Cox  bass; John Penne, guitar; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion. A great combination of veteran players who continue to explore musical boundaries with taste and imagination. During these first Wednesday performances Cox likes to interact with the audience and talk about the music.

Thursday, December 4

Phil Mattson Singers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Mattson is an award-winning vocal arranger who has worked with the Manhattan Transfer, among others. He’s gathered six talented singers to perform his arrangements for sextets and various combinations of soloists and small groups.

Davu Seru @ The Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A rare opportunity to see drummer/percussionist Davu Seru performing solo in this small space with wine, beer, and a few small bites. Here is Davu with a couple of adventurous French musicians.

Friday, December 5

Dave Karr & Chris Lomheim @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 9:30pm (No cover) Karr on Sax and Lomheim on piano may be one of the nicest pairings you’ll ever hear when it comes to jazz. Octogenarian Karr can bop things up quite handily while stll retaining a mellow sound. Lomheim is a sensitive pianist whose ethereal sounds often have more heft than is immediately apparent.

Kenny Horst & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Kenny Horst, erstwhile owner of the late, lamented Artists’ Quarter, brings a quartet to Jazz Central: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Chris Bates, bass. The combination of a seasoned Horst with a younger generation  of players (veterans in their own right) should make for compelling jazz. Here’s a video of Horst with a few different groups.

Saturday, December 6

Babatunde Lea Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Drummer/congeuro Lea is a nationally recognized performer who happens to live here in the Twin Cities. He draws much of his inspiration and rhythmic inventiveness from African culture. Past groups have included Richard Johnson on piano; Anthony Cox, on bass; and Solomon Parham on trumpet, but no matter who is in the group, be assured that it will be a stellar performance. He will be conducting a free workshop at 6pm.

Atlantis Quartet @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Fresh off a live recording date at the Icehouse, the AQ is sure to perform new compositions, as well as a favorite or two. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; Peter Hennig, drums. With opening set by Central Standard Time

Mama Digdowns Brass Band & Soutside Aces @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) It’s a brass bash at the Parkway, headlined by Madison Wisconisn’s Mama Digdown, an 8-pice brass band. They’ve toured the world (even recording in Switzerland), and will likely preview some tunes from their soon to be released album of Michael Jackson tunes. Opening is our own Southside Aces, a sextet that gooses up traditional New Orleans jazz tunes.

Monday, December 8

Jana Nyberg Group @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) What with her teaching gig and hubby Adam Meckler touring Europe, vocalist Nyberg hasn’t performed a lot lately, so here is your chance to hear her and her excellent group during one of the Dakota’s Foodie Nights. Expect to hear some of the seasonal songs from last year’s very fine CD, Winter Song.

Thomas Strommen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tenor sax player Strommen has become familiar to the area’s jazz community as part of Steve Kenny’s Group 47, where the young Strommen (a student at UW River Falls) displays his composing skills as well as an ability to blow with skill and imagination.

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, December 3

The Beavers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pmn (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Okay, this is going to be an estrogen-filled evening as the Beavers are (ahem) an all-female band. They are a light-hearted group of musicians straight out of NordEast Minneapolis, playing folk, country, and Americana music with style and verve. You can expect originals and interpretations of such artists as John Prine. Tune in to KFAI and then, when you realize how much fun they can be, head over to the 331 Club. The Beavers are: Kendra G. Baillie, Bass & Vocals; Jen Bluth, Guitar & Vocals; Sarah Esther, Banjo & Vocals; Julie King, Washboard; Nikki Nefstead, Mandolin & Vocals; Missi Sommers, Percussion.

Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) With Ian McLaglan (Small Faces) Last year, Lowe released Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, one of the best holiday offerings in years. It’s blend of originals and forgotten gems provide a knowing, adult view of the holiday season, acclaimed by almost everyone who has listened to it.

Thursday, December 4

Sonny Landreth & Cindy Cashdollar @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30-$38) It’s a rare booking and guitar nirvana, featuring a couple of artists who are well known for their chops. Landreth is a slide guitar wizard from Louisiana. He’s released eleven albums, and produces a sound that’s informed by the Delta and the swamp. Cashdollar  from Austin, Texas, plays a vintage dobro, resonator guitar, or a triple-neck 8-string steel guitar, and is equally at home with the blues, bluegrass, swampy R&B, and Western Swing. Here’s a taste of Landreth.

Jack Klatt & Javior Matos @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 10pm ($??) If you didn’t get enough with Landreth and Cashdollar, or simply didn’t make the show, you can still get a heaping dose of fine Americana guitar from Klatt and Matos, appearing down the block from the Cedar.

Friday, December 5

Pat Donahue & Daddy Squeeze, w/Lonsesome Dan Case opening @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) It’s another Freewheelin’ First Friday, this time featuring Grammy nominatred ace fingerpicker Pat Donahue, of Prairie Home Companion and some very fine CDs. He’s got that wizard of the accordion, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton with him to help things swing right along, and will have some very special guests. Opening is Lonesome Dan Case, whose plaintive blues seem straight out of the 30s and 40s. The Tap Room only holds about 80 people during the winter, so you may want to get there early to get your seat.

Omar Souleyman @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 advance, $30 Door) Imagine the minor key melodies of the Mid-East, combine them with electronic music, synthesizers, and trance-inducing frenetic rhythms, and you may get an idea of the music of Souleyman, a Syrian who first made an international name for himself by remixing Bjork’s Biophillia tracks. Opening is Vacation Dad, a DIY artist who has graduated from basement drone music to bars, playing a mix of psychedelic funk, Afrobeat, and exotica. DJ Don Cuco will be spinning from 7-8pm and between sets.

Hamilton Loomis @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Texas guitarist Loomis was a protégé of Bo Diddley, whom Loomis met at the age of 16. While you may hear the occasional Bo Diddley beat, Loomis has his own, crowd pleasing style that makes use of fat chords, butt-shakin rhythms, and well written songs. It’s earned him fans across the nation and throughout Europe.

Saturday, December 6

Vinyl Voices @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 1:30pm – 4:30pm (Free) Featuring David Cummings and Danny Siegelman. A couple of KFAI Deejays take over the turntables for the afternoon, spinning cool tunes while you get to taste the various brews from the Tap Room. A food truck will be parked outside to help you fill your stomach.

David Grisman & Del McCoury @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Acoustic music fans are salivating over this show. McCoury is a bluegrass legend. He joined Bill Monroe’s band as a singer and guitarist in 1963. Since then he’s established himself with his own band and has won numerous awards, including multiple Grammys, has jammed with Allison Kraus, recorded with Steve Earle and brought bluegrass to a new generation by touring with Phish and playing at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Mandolinist Grisman  started out during the Greenwich Village folk revival of the 60s. He’s got a musical range that encompasses a number of styles and traditions, and has created his own genre – a mix of jazz, bluegrass, and world music that’s known as “Dawg” music, as Jerry Garcia called it. Along the way he’s recorded with a plethora of notable artists and has won five Grammys.

The Skruffians @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This octet will have Jazz Central jumping as they celebrate the playful sounds of ska, that Jamaican predecessor of Reggae. They’re particularly enamored of the Skatalites, the legendary band that used jazzy horns, a B-3 organ, and hard-to-resist rhythms to back early recordings by Bob Marley, the Maytals and other early Jamaican artists.

Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10 music, $15 with buffet from 5pm – 8pm) Jeff is a regular guitar master, while Harold blows a mean harp. Together they perform lively originals and unique covers. Here they are at the BBQ.

Bobby E. @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Bobby Eckstrand is one of these town’s underrated guitarists, with a penchant for single note lines, and a wide variety of music. It’s always a treat to have him perform, whether leading his own groups or as a sideman.  I’ve no doubt he’ll be joined by a few friends at this NE hole in the wall with a booth for a performing area.

Monday, December 8

35th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Curtiss A gets by with a little help from his friends, for this 35th Annual performance of the most heartfelt, emotional tribute you can imagine (no pun intended). First Avenue is always packed to the rafters for this event. The questions are: what songs will be played, from what albums, and with what era costumes (if any) will be worn. this video will give you an idea of what to expect.

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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