Wow, can it really be January? Generally, the last weekend in January is bitterly cold, and here we are flirting with the thirties all week. We seem to be in the midst of a thaw, which everyone is happy about. Does that mean you don’t need a jacket? Of course not, at least if you’ll be out for a longer period than taking out the garbage. I guess I’m trying to say we need to stay comfortable, and a good way to do that is to hear music. It will inspire us, and lift us up, so, if you are in town, take advantage of the rich music tradition we have in these cities. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, January 28
Jake Baldwin Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here is a quintet of Twin Cities’ Young Lions playing often fierce, and occasionally beautiful jazz. Baldwin, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Nelson Devereux, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums.
Thursday, January 30
Tim Kaiser @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Kaiser sits in the midst of hand-crafted electro-acoustic instruments that would seem at home in a steampunk movie, and creates sheets of reverb and unique sounds that range from toy ray-guns to theraminic tones, manufacturing hums, and marimba-like bleats, all of which bring into question the definition of music. It’s more experimental than the electronic music of dancers, or even classicists, and is definitely improvised, so I’m listing it under jazz. Perhaps this interview with him will help you understand what he does.
Friday, January 30
What Would Monk Do @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The music of Thelonious Monk and Monk-inspired originals from some bad cats: Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Peterson, bass; Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny, flumpet. Based on past performances, I believe it will be cooking’
Mississippi Hot Club @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 10pm ($7) It’s more or less a light night acoustic swing party, with a good dose of Djano Rheinhardt, some Latin music, originals, and a touch of Americana from this Northern Minnesota quintet They just released a self-titled debut CD, which you can listen to on their website (previous link). Members include: Ian Stenlund and Luke Zupan, la pompe rhythm guitars; Joe Downing, upright bass; Josh Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin.
Saturday, January 31
Thompson, Balluf, & Pikal @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm – 9pm ($10, adults, $5 Students) Lovers of traditional jazz will be out in force to hear pianist Butch Thompson Clarinetist Tony Balluf, and bassist Steve Pikal. What they play is anything but stodgy, and far from being stuck in the early 20th Century. They bring a joy and liveliness to the music to make it swing beyond its years.
Dean Granros Quartet @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. I was surprised at a recent Anthony Cox show in which Granros played to learn that Granros is known among some listeners as a “noise” guitarist, which never occurred to me. From his work with groups such as How Birds Work and others, it’s obvious that he’s a stellar player with a rich imagination. Tonight he’s joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. They hit the stage at 8:30pm while the Dave Brattain Quartet opens at 7pm: Brattain, sax; Kevin Daley, Billy Peterson, bass; Mac Santiago, drums. Here’s Granros doing a solo number.
Katia Cardenas w/Ted Godbout @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) If you’re looking for an entertaining evening in a place that isn’t overly crowded, you may want to check out the Nicollet tonight. Katia Cardenas is a fine singer who is building an audience, while the Nicollet provides an intimate setting where she and pianist Ted Godbout can perform both R&B and jazz standards.
Monday, February 2
Zach Schmidt @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Zach has been drumming since he was four. When he got older he attended McNally Smith, where he studied with Dave Stanoch,Marv Dahlgren, Dave Schmalenberger and Gordy Knutson. He regularly plays with the Cory Wong Quartet, but has also performs with Zack Lozier, Chris Olson, Rachel Holder, Jana Nyberg, and more.
Matt Otto & the Fantastic Merlins @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Otto is a Kansas City based saxophonist who has played with the likes of Ben Monder, Wadada Leo Smith, Willi Jones III, Tootie Heath, Charlie Haden Leroy Vinegar, Jimmy Smith, Bobby Watson, and Larry Goldings, to name just a few – whew! Tonight he is joined by the Fantastic Merlins for two exciting sets: Nathan Hanson, sax, Doan Roessler, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.
Monday, Tuesday, February 2,3
Chris Potter Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($15) Saxophonist Potter entered the NYC jazz scene as an 18 yr old playing with bebop icon Red Rodney. Since then he’s been a sideman on over 100 albums and a leader on fifteen. He’s performed with folks like Herb i.e. Hancock, Davi Holland, The Mingus Big Band, Rayt Brown, and was featured on Steely Dan’t Grammy winning album Two Against Nature. He regularly receives high praise from critics, magazines, and fellow musicians. His quartet includes Adam Rogers, guitar; Fima Ephron, bass; and Nate Smith, drums. Listen to his take on Charlie Parker’s Anthropology.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Paul Mayasich w/ Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Moe’s, Moundsview. 7:30pm (Tip Jar?) Guitarist Mayasich appears here on a weekly basis with different guests each week. Tonight he’s got big-voiced harmonica player Big George Jackson and guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, two unsung (or under appreciated) heroes of the Twin Cities blues scene.
Thursday, January 29
Viva Brazil @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) This octet is consist of four Brazilians and four musicians who are currently from the Twin Cities, though a few of them were born and raised elsewhere. Geography doesn’t matter as much as talent, however when they start playing sambas, bossa novas, Brazilian jazz, and funky derivations of all. Their sensuous rhythms may have you pushing tables out of the way to dance.
Friday, January 30
Kelley Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Hunt is a barrelhouse piano pounder from Kansas City whose frequent forays into the Northland have earned her a devoted following for her blues/R&B/Americana. She’s steeped in Blues and Gospel and has earned praise from critics and fans alike for her originals. Her latest CD, Beautiful Bones, has been called inspirational and beautiful. Its up to you to figure out if you agree.
Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Cebar integrates the rhythms of New Orleans, the Caribbean, western Louisiana, and Africa with the classic rhythms of 60s soul and 70s funk, to create highly infectious dance music. Opening is Poverty Hash, from Connecticut, seen around here at the Deep Blues Festival of some years back and at the Bayport BBQ.
Big George Jackson @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) So maybe you didn’t want to go to Moundsview to hear George with Paul Mayasich on Wednesday. Check him out with his band at this modest, somewhat dicey bar. He’ll have you boogieing all through the night and onto home.
Friday, Saturday, January 30, 31
Monsieur Jeffrey Evans @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Evans is a singer/songwriter/producer who has recorded dozens of albums and singles with groups such as ’68 comeback, the Gibson Brothers, and the Memphis Roadmasters. The Memphis based musician cites RL Burnside, Charlie Feathers, Gene Vincent, and Doc Watson among his influences, while his music has been described as gutter blues, psychobilly, punk blues, and a half dozen other terms. He’s also the subject of a documentary entitled, the Man Who Loved Couch Dancing. (?!)
Saturday, January 31
Marshall Tucker Band & the Atlanta Rhythm Section @ The Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Highway 55, Medina. 7:30 Doors ($35 – $52) Fans of Southern rock will not want to miss this concert by two of the groups that founded the genre about 40 years ago. Each band contains at least one original member. The Marshall Tucker Band had 5 gold albums in the 70s, followed by Carolina Dreams, which went platinum, and still performs 150-200 shows a year. The Atlanta Rhythm Section didn’t quite hit those heights, but consistently charted and still has a strong following in the South.
Tim Sparks & James Buckley @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 9:00pm (No Cover) Here you have a certified champion flat picker (Sparks) who is comfortable with Yiddish music, jazz, and even the Nutcracker Suite, along with a bassist (Buckley) who has performed with as many as seven different bands in one month, ranging from new wavers, to new folkies, to new jazz. Sparks will fly (no pun intended).
Wild Colonial Bhoys & The Beavers @ Lees Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) The Wild Colonial Bhoys are a Celtic band that has been rockin’ out for over eleven years, and five albums. They’ve a guitar-driven sound that gets it’s Irish lilt from a fiddle. Opening are The Beavers, an all-female band that delves into folk pop, with a touch of old timey music for leavening.
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.