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.
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.
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.