Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

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!


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.


One Response to Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

  1. coreymohan says:

    Larry, if you can, stop by WA Frost this Sunday 11:30 to 3:00 for an R. Crumb style Cheap Suit Party. Downstairs. Corey “Keep your paddle in the water.” Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, 1832


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