A Semi-Thaw. Music: 1.28 – 2.3

January 28, 2015

Unknown-3Wow, 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.

Jazz

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.

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

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.


More Winter, More Music: 1.21 – 1.27

January 21, 2015
Are we getting hazardous pay for this gig?

Are we getting hazardous pay for this gig?

The weather is warming and Saint Paul is about to celebrate Winter Carnival, with all the hoopla and shenanigans that entails, including a downhill ice-skating event (don’t ask). Whether you attend the Carnival festivities or not, there is still plenty of music for your enjoyment and participation this week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 21

McNally Smith College of Music Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman directs this collection of about 16 musicians who are studying at McNally Smith. It’s an explosive group with outstanding musicians, including an African violinist, Brazilian bass player and some graduate level students. A very exciting group.

Thursday, January 22

David Berkman @ Jazz in the Target Atrium, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($25)  The Jazz in The Target Atrium is a new series by Orchestra Hall, pairing visiting musicians with an ensemble of resident musicians: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Anthony Cox, bass; and JT Bats, drums. Pianist/composer/bandleader Berkman is an award-winning musician whose recordings often end up on the best-of critics lists in Downbeat, The Village Voice and the NY Times.

Pavel Jany & Gary Schulte @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested donation) A special appearance by two members of the Talking Strings Trio  Jany is an exceptional guitarist with a bent for Brazilian rhythms (he leads Ticket to Brasil) and international jazz. Schulte is a violinist who brilliantly plays in a number of genres, from Gypsy Jazz, to classical improvisation to poetry-jazz and Black Gospel music.

Friday, January 23

null-1 Unknown-2Maryann Sullivan & Andrea Canter Photo Reception @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Reception), 8pm – 11pm (Music – Tip Jar). The Black Dog is featuring the wonderful photography of Andrea Canter this week. Andrea is a constant presence on the jazz scene and has had a number of her jazz photos featured in Downbeat. This exhibit features photos of both resident and visiting musicians as well as some of Andrea’s landscapes and urban images. After the reception, vocalist Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz take the stage to deliver some swinging music. Don’t be surprised if some of the tables are moved to accommodate dancers.

Atlantis Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) 21st Century Jazz from a group that is slowly expanding its fan base beyond the Twin Cities, having recently performed in Chicago and points around the Midwest. They’ll be appearing at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in July.

Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) If you haven’t had a chance to travel south this winter, here’s an opportunity to experience the warmth of Latin America music with this band led by multi-reedman Doug Little, and including artists from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean and North America. Expect salsas, rumbas, and bolero rhythms to get your heart pumping.

Saturday, January 24

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. Opening at 7 by the Dark Blue Quartet: Thomas Strommen, Dylan Nelson, Jason McLean, Alex Burges. Illicit Sextet: Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, sax; Nathan Norman, drums; David Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; Steve Kenny, trumpet.

Coloring Time with guest Steve Davis @ the Dakota Late Night, Minnepolis. 11:30pm ($5) Coloring Time is a group of Twin Cities musicians that come from Jazz and hip-hop backgrounds: Casey O’Brien, bass; Graham O’Brien drums; John Keston, keys; Robert Mulrennen, guitar; Jon Davis, reeds; and Zach Bagaason, sampler & keys, with Joe Horton, Kristoff Krane, and Adam Svec as vocalists/MCs. Special guest trombonist Steve Davis is playing couple of other gigs this weekend (see below), Here’s a Coloring Time video with a slightly different makeup.

Saturday, Sunday, January 24, 25

Century Jazz Ensemble w/Steve Davis @ Century College, White Bear Lake. 8pm Sat, 3pm Sun. ($?) The Century College Jazz Ensemble invites a guest every year. This year trombonist Steve Davis is on tap. He’s world in the bands of Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, as well as in two of Chick Corea’s sextets. He leads a quartet featuring pianist Larry Willis, and is a member of the collective One For All, with Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, John Webber, and Joe Farnsworth. In other words, Davis is a heavy hitter in the jazz world. Jana Nyberg plays the Pre-Concert Reception at 7pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday.

Sunday, January 24

Leigh Kammen Tribute @ The Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($20 Suggested Donation) Many area musicians, including Dean Magraw, Patty Peterson, Kenny Horst, Irv Williams, Conning Evingson and Butch Thompson, among others, will be performing at this tribute to a man who enriched the lives of many of us with his descriptions of places and events from so long ago. He was a jazz broadcaster for 60 years, starting in the Twin Cities, and moving to Duluth, Denver, and New York City before returning here in 1956. The jazz world is an emptier space without the voice of Leigh Kammen.

Monday, January 26

Fireside Five Jazz Quintet @ U of M Ultan Recital Hall, Minneapolis. 3:30pm – 5:00pm. ($?) If you can get the afternoon off, you can treat yourself to the sounds of a new quintet featuring Tom Ashworth, trombone & euphonious; Brian Grivna, flute & reeds; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. A top-notch group of musicians.

Fireside Five Quintet @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10pm. Well, if you couldn’t get the afternoon off, you still have a chance to see this group.

Steve Davis @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Trombonist Davis is in town as a guest of the Century Jazz Ensemble (see above) and has picked up a completely different kind of gig at the Icehouse. The first set will feature Davis with Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, drums. For the second set, Steve and his cousin John Davis have a group called Bonkers Electrorchestra, which which sets up a groove while other players drop in and out.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 27, 28

Diane Reeves @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $65), 9pm ($35 – $50) A headliner at last June’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival, vocalist Reeves was rained out of the main stage and played the Hall at the Amsterdam, where her exciting performance brought the packed house down.  She’s a skilled interpreter of lyrics and a scat singer as well, with an attractive voice and personable on-stage presence. Her latest album, Beautiful Life, has been nominated for a 2015 Grammy.

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, January 21

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nye’s Polonaise Room, Minneapolis. The side bar at Nye’s has been hosting Wednesday night roots music for quite a while. Doug and his compatriots have been there a few years now, and often welcome guests onto the tiny, tiny stage. Doug has a voice that sounds lived in beyond his years. It’s perfect for 20s & 30s style blues, classic country, and their original tunes as well as some early rock n’ roll.

Steve Sullivan & The Factory @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Sullivan plays guitar and sings rhythm & blues, dirty swing, and other roots music, while the Factory, which includes a 3-piece horn section, provides the muscle and rhythm to get dancers on the floor.

Thursday, January 22

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. ($5) Let les Bons Temps Rouler! If you’re familiar with Clarence Garlow, Dave Bartholemew, Professor Longhair, and Boozoo Chavis, then you’ll want to be hear as Dan Newton and his quintet play Southern Louisiana music designed to fill dance floors.

Friday, January 23

UnknownDee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. ($5) The folks at U Wanna Dance are putting on another dance-focused event, and they have the right band to help them out. Miller  as leader of the band, is a powerhouse vocalist, which is what you need when you’re performing barrelhouse blues. Paul Mejia on harp, also takes lead on a tune or two. Jimi Primetime Smith provides scorching guitar, and everybody in the audience dances. 

Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs & the Dead Pigeons @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar)  Here’s a couple of long time denizen’s of the somewhat infamous bar. The Liquor Pigs have been holding down the 7pm Friday spot ever since the Viking closed down in 2006. You never know quite who will show up, but it will be fun as they mine a rootsy repertoire that ranges from Roger Miller to Elvis to originals. The Dead Pigeons come on at 10pm. They came together during a five year residency at Palmers, and feature Drew Peterson, on guitar, banjo, & vocals; Ryan Douglas Canyon on mandolin and backing vocals; Gretta Hunstiger, fiddle and backing vocals; Andy Caroll or John Reinhart, bass; and Daryn Christensen, drums.  They can whip up a fast-paced banjo tune (see below) or sing a sweet ballad, and are just about ready to release a new album this spring.

The Dollys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) This group features Joanna Joahn, Kari Shaw, and Megan Shaw doing the music of The Trio: EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt, as well as other female country artists of the 70s through the 90s. They’er backed by a quartet of quality musicians whose collective resume runs from the Rocket Club, Honeydogs and Ashleigh Still to Mick Sterling, Percy Strother, and Chuck Suchy.

Mighty Diamonds @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Sweet, sweet harmonies from a vocal trio that was formed in Trenchtown Jamaica back in 1969, and inspired by Motown vocal groups. The Mighty Diamonds had a number of hits in Jamaica in the early 70s, but when Virgin Records signed them and released Right Time in 1975, they achieved international fame. Pass the Kouchie was a big hit for them in 1982, and once the drug references were expunged, became a hit for Musical Youth as Pass the Dutchie. Expect a crowd.

Saturday, January 24

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Half Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm (No Cover) Wow! A new venue for Davina and the guys  with a commodious dance floor. And, they’ve got a new kitchen, so you can fortify yourself for the energy you’ll need to dance to Davina. The Paddy Shack, features Fish & Chips, sandwiches, a variety of hot dogs, and the Butcher and The Boar’s Bangers and Mash.

Gospel Machine & Voice of Culture @ A Room With a Vieux, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) The pop-up events at what will become the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray) are being billed as A Room With A Vieux. Tonight features Gospel Machine, a quintet that does some “garage gospel” as well as original material in the vein of Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, and Otis Redding. Judging by the below video from their debut album, Gospel Machine will gain fans across generations. Vocals are handled by Jayanthi Kyle, of Black Audience, while group founder Wes Burdine is on guitars; Jimmy Osterholt, bass; Scott Munson, keys; and David Osborn, drums. Voice of Culture, a drumming and dance group led by Kenna Cottman., opens at 9pm.

Singer Songwriter XTRAV 10 @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) This is the finale of 10 events during the past year featuring Twin Cities artists, giving attendees a chance to hear a wide variety of genres and artists. There are 10 acts tonight, including fiddler Jillian Rae, Jenny Dalton, battery boy, Phanton Tails, Courtney Yasmineh w/JJ Benson, and more.

Monday, January 26

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) So, here you have five midwestern musicians who have developed a love for Cajun music, specifically the kind that was played before electricity came to the Bayous, when Saturday night dances were the main form of entertainment each week. Doug Lohman, guitar; John Terr, accordion; Mary DuShane, fiddle; Dawn Doering, triangle and snare; and Eric Paulson, bass. Each is a veteran of various bands, and can play in numerous acoustic genres, though the infectious rhythms of Cajun music have proven to be a uniting force.

Tuesday, January 27

Nikki & the RueMates @ Day Block Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Day Block Brewing is celebrating their one year anniversary with a week of events, and tonight they have Nikki & the RueMates  You have Nikki’s marvelous voice, Rich Rue’s inventive guitar work, discounts on their brews, raffles, and food. What’s not to like?

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.

 


Decisions, Decisions. Music: 1.14 – 1.20

January 14, 2015

Decisions-thanks-to-SubhanWell, with the weather breaking a bit, we’ve got a fine week of music ahead of us, with a couple of Billie Holiday tributes (one which also includes a tribute to Sinatra), a Carmen McRae tribute, some funky, funky, blues and a couple of African inspired projects. Lots of other good music as well. We are lucky to have such a rich musical community in our towns. Have a good week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 14

Triosé  @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Trirosé  is Vinnie Rose, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. They perform jazz standards, contemporary pop, and original compositions in a straightforward, yet dashing manner.

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Once a month Chris Bates brings in a group to play this basement space. Tonight the group includes Bates on bass, of course, with the wonderful Peter Schimke on keys and Cory Healy on drums.

Thursday, January 15

Beasley’s Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($8) Here’s a refreshing change of pace, as BBB plays for swing dancers young and old – especially young. The exhilaration of the young dancers – some still in high school – is certainly catching, and if you check out the side rooms, you may see them practicing their more acrobatic moves.

Chet-the Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker: Larry McDonough Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chet Baker was a 50s trumpeter with movie-star good looks, and a “cool” almost detached way of playing and singing. Drug addiction ruined his looks, but even after losing his teeth in a bad drug deal, he was able to perform in the 70s and 80s, producing a number of great CDs before he was found dead on the street below his Amsterdam hotel room. McDonough s singing is also quiet and cool, and has been favorably compared to Baker’s. He’s bringing in Steve Kenny for the trumpet parts, along with Richard Terrill on saxes; Greg Stinson bass; and Dean White on drums. The first set will be “all Chet,” while the second will feature some of McDonough’s songs sung in Chet’s style. It’s rare that anyone tackles Baker’s catalog, especially his singing, so if you’re a fan of jazz singing, you will want to make your way to Jazz Central. Here’s a video of Larry playing piano at Charles DeGaulle airport.

Donald Washington Solo @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Though Washington is mainly known as the “musical father” of the great James Carter, his musicality is a joy to behold. The founder (with wife Faye) of the The New Day Blues Band (with son Kevin Washington and the late pianist Sam Favors) will be flying solo tonight, exhibiting his imagination and deep love for music through completely free improvisation.

Friday, January 16

Joyce Lyons @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7:30pm ($20 – includes sandwiches or pizza) Lyons is an accomplished singer with fans all over the country. Tonight she’ll be spotlighting the songs of Carmen McRae in a show titled “An Intimate Conversation,” accompanied by Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zack Lozier,trumpet; & Jay Epstein, drums, all of whom will only elevate her already impressive singing. I haven’t been to this place lately, so the idea of a cover that includes some food is intriguing, to say the least. Here she is singing at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Thomas Bruce @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) You can count on quality vocalists every Friday night in the lounge of this Italian place, and Bruce is no exception, with a voice that ranges from baritone to tenor, and good taste in sidemen.

Far Cry @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Far Cry is Paul Metzger, guitar; JT Bates, drums; Josh Granowski, bass; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet. Given the presence of Metzger and Bates, this may be one of the more adventurous groups to play at the basement club.

Friday, Saturday, January 16, 17

Debbie Duncan in a Room With a Vieux – Part Deux @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) After a successful New Year’s Eve, the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray – the name of New Orleans French Quarter) will open again this weekend, this time featuring Debbie Duncan, vocalist supreme, with Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Joe Pulice, drums; Kenny Holmen, sax. The menu offering is hose made Muffaletta sandwiches.

Friday,Saturday, Sunday, January 16, 17, 18

Holiday for Frank: Arne Fogel & Maud Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  Fri, Sat; 2:00pm Sunday ($20/$18 Seniors/$15 25 & Under) 2015 marks the Centennial year of the birth of both Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson will be doing the songs of both for this show, with musical direction from Rick Carlson  Musical integrity and fine musicianship are just about guaranteed with this group.

Saturday, January 17

bottomless_pit__640x480_The Bottomless Pit @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is the debut performance of this group of veterans, which includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Tom Lewis, bass. Opening at 7pm is Jazz Front: Jeffrey Dunitz, drums; Eric Graham, bass; Ted Godbout, piano. BP this the stage at 8:30pm.

Monday, January 19

Real Bulls & the PBR Street Gang @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s a Mini-Minne-Monster night as some of the best jazz musicians in town take to the stage. The first set is a double drum extravaganza with JT Bates and Dave King performing as the Real Bulls. Second set in the PBR Street Gang: Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Dean Granros, guitar.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 20, 21

José James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) James is the Minneapolis native who made a name for himself singing jazz with his 2008 debut, The Dreamer. Since then he’s grown as an artist, integrating all forms of Black Music into his singing, and even using elements of indie rock and folk in a seamless manner. His latest project, due out later this Spring is While You Were Sleeping, the Music of Billie Holiday, which he’s previewing with this appearance.

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, January 14

Annie Mack on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) Mack is a blues singer who represented Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge last year, even though she was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It’s typical of her spirit and her ferocity. You know the drill by now. Listen in during the 5pm hour, and if you’re impressed, which I think you may be if you like the blues, gospel, and old school R&B, head over to the 331 to catch her act live.

Morgan James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) James is a classically trained singer who found her voice singing soul music on stage with Motown, the Musical, where she sang Teena Marie songs. Berry Gordy steered her to Epic Records, where her first release was from a live show at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, singing the songs of Nina Simone. Her first studio album came out last summer, and features her as a co-writer on 8 of 11 songs. The New York Times has praised her feel for classic soul music.

Thursday, January 15

Non-Prophets do Toots & the Maytals @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) I’ve to to give props to anyone who will attempt the soulful reggae of Toots and the Maytals. Opening is the ska band, Pretty Ugly.

Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s instrumental nirvana (no not the group) when this quartet takes the stage emulating the Southern sounds of Booker T & the MGs and the New Orleans funk of the Meters.

Friday, January 16

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5)  This event is sponsored by U Wanna Dance (see link to their calendar, below), so you can be assured that the large dance floor at Wilebski’s will be packed. You can also be assured that Armadillo Jump will be up to the task of keeping people on the dance floor.

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get your share of swampy, bluesy goodness from guitarist Tom Harkness and his mates in the Swamp Kings  CJ Vanderpool, percussion; Steve :Dancin” Hansen, bass & vocals; and Harry Pulver, accordion.

Hot Pants Dance Party & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?)  While the Hot Pants DJs have often been guests at concerts, this is the first time a band is guesting at a Hot Pants gig. Besides the rare funk n’ soul 45s that the Hot Pants crew will be spinning, you be treated to the Afro-funk sounds of the Chicago Afrobeat Project  a 10-piece group that pushes the boundaries of that genre. Should be a hot night, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Saturday, January 17

Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($13) Old timey sensibilities collide with rock n’ punk energy as Kaul, guitar; Mikkel Beckman, washboard; and Brad Ptek, on washboard bass play old blues, and Kaul’s originals, which are quite good. It’s a small space, with limited seating, so you may want to call and buy tickets in advance. Need I remind you that the Riverview has a great wine list?

People Brothers Band @ the Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) This 8 piece band from Madison is a rhythm n’ soul group with a debut CD that’s a solid slab of original songs set to mid-tempo rhythms and danceable beats that range from second line funk to reggae and more.

Sunday, January 18

Patty & The Buttons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Patty & the Buttons just released a fine album, Mercury Blues, which has received glowing reviews, including a mention as one of the best of 2014. This is a regular Sunday morning gig for them, which often finds them playing for some dancers. Members include Patrick Harrison – Button Accordion; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Bailuff, clarinet, and Mark Kreitzer, guitar.

Paul Mayasich & the RAMM Band@ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover) They call it the RAMM Band because they play Real American Made Music, which perfectly encapsulates the Motown, R&B, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues that they play. Paul is a soulful, emotional guitar player, ably complemented by John Iden on bass; and Hye Pockets Robertson on drums.

Tuesday, January 20

H’SAO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($25) H’SAO is a Montreal-based quintet is originally from Chad. They started out as an acapella group delivering rich, beautiful harmonies. They draw from gospel, R&B, reggae, and of course, Chadian music and other African influences. Since their beginning about 13 years ago, they’ve taken up a few instruments to add to their sound, but the harmonies remain at the center of their appeal. You can see and hear what I’m talking about in this video.

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.


Cold Weather. Hot Music; 1.7 – 1.13

January 7, 2015
These people know how to party - the Ice Music Festival of Norway

The Ice Music Festival of Norway

A cold, wintry greetings and salutations;

The wind chill may be cold enough to close schools, but hey, we’re Minnesotans, so we’ll go out to hear music and dance, even when it’s cold. Of course some of us are lucky enough to go somewhere warm for at least a few days each winter, but wherever it is, I’ll bet they don’t have as good a music scene as we do here in the Twin Cities.

If I may, I’d like to draw your attention to a special event occurring Tuesday evening, January 13th. It’s a benefit, with no cover charge, for the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, an organization that brings working musicians into schools to encourage and support jazz as part of a young persons education. More information is found below. Now, put on your layers of clothing, just like the folks in the above picture, and enjoy the talent found in our cities. Music is good for the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 7

Chomsky and Thomas Nordlund @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s a double-bill, double bass night at Jazz Central. Bassist Andrew Foreman will start out the evening with his new group Chomsky, which includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; and Zach Schmidt on drums. Then, with a bit of reconfiguration, Thomas Nordland and group will play new music from his forthcoming EP of baritone guitar music: Nordlund, baritone guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; Lars-Erik Larson, drums; and Kevin Gastonguay, keyboards.

Wednesday, Thursday, January 7, 8

Ramsey Lewis Electic Band w/Philip Bailey @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70), 9pm ($35 – $60) Back in 1974 Ramsey Lewis was a bit tired of his acoustic approach to jazz and wanted to liven things up a bit. He reunited with Maurice White, who had been in his band and was now leading Earth, Wind, and Fire, and created an up to date sound featuring members of that group. the resulting album and its singles shot up the charts, hitting number 1 on both the Black charts and Jazz charts of the time. Philip Bailey  also of EWF, contributed vocals, and he’s back with Lewis for this tour, which I suspect will feature soaring vocals, and some funky funky jazz.

Thursday, January 8

Radio Joe Demko @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Radio Joe brings his swing-centric band, together with their tangos, ballads, and other groovy music, to the basement club.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz has put together this band, which has only played a handful of gigs to date, but what a band! Brandon Wozniak on sax; Cory Healey on drums; and the young, but very talented Levi Schwartzberg on vibes. The first set will consist of duets, and the second set will feature the full band. Wine, beer, and small plates are available.

Friday, January 9

Joel Shapira/Dean Granros CD Release @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Last June guitarists Shapira and Granros performed at the Black Dog as part of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and recorded the results, now being released as Jazz Guitar Duets. It’s a delightful compendium of songs plucked on steel and nylon strings, with tunes ranging form Ornette Coleman compositions to standards.

JT Bates Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) I’ll admit I’m a sucker for B3 groups. If the soulful, greasy sound of guitar, organ and drums gets your fingers snapping, your toes tapping, and your head bobbing, head over to Jazz Central to catch JT Bates, drums; Kevin Gastonguay, organ, and Zacc Harris on guitar.

Jerod Kaszynski

Jerod Kaszynski

Jerod Kaszynski Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s a double header at JC tonight with saxophonist Kaszynski, a native of the Twin Cities currently living and teaching in Eau Claire taking the second spotlight. Tonight’s show has a literary bent. Author Miri Francis haas written (and will read) a love story, with accompaniment by Kaszynski and his band, including: Josh Huot-Gallus, trombone; Josh Gallagherm, piano; Sam Olson, bass, and Adam Nussbaum, drums.

Saturday, January 10

Bill Carrothers Trio @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) I know of many Twin Cities jazz fans who are salivating over this date. In a rare appearance with his own trio, pianist Carrothers returns to his home town of Saint Paul. He’s recorded 17 albums as a leader, and has worked with artists ranging from Buddy DeFranco and Curtis Fuller to Lee Konitz, Dewey Redman, and Gary Peacock. He’s bringing a couple of Irish musicians with him: drummer Kevin Brady, and bassist David Redmond. There will be a short master class at 6pm, included in the admission price.

Mancrush @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Mancrush is Lars-Erik Larson, drums; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Bryan Nichols, piano. Opening set by Tommy Bentz Quartet at 7pm.

Connie Evingson w/The Parisota Hot Club @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) Vocalist Evingson recently received a positive  review in Downbeat for her album “All the Cats Join In.” Tonight, she’s performing songs from the album, with the Parisota Hot Club and special guest, the ever-youthful octogenarian saxophonist Dave Karr. Here’s a selection from the album.

Monday, January 12

Adam Meckler @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Meckler leads his own 17 piece band, is a key member of the Jana Nyberg Group, leads a quintet, and is a member of a few other groups as well. Tonight he gets to step out on his own, playing originals and original arrangements of other songs.

Ryan Franesconi and JT Bates & Michael Lewis @ the Icehouse, Minnepolis. 9;30pm )$10) Guitarist Franesconi, 1st set. Bates (drums) & Lewis (sax), 2nd set. Franesconi is a Portland based guitarist and composer whose way with stringed instruments from Eastern Europe qualifies him as a multi-instrumentalist obsessed with Balkan Folk Music. Bates and Lewis are 2/3 of Fat Kid Wednesdays, with enough imagination between the two of them to grab your attention and hold it tight.

Tuesday, January 13

This year's Dakota Combo

This year’s Dakota Combo

Dakota Combo & Kevin Washington Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Though there is no cover, this is a fundraising benefit for the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, which brings working jazz musicians into area schools to work with student musicians, provides free-metro wide workshops for young musicians, and gives out scholarships to summer jazz camps and members of the Dakota Combo. This year’s edition of the Dakota Combo will perform, as well as a group comprising Kevin Washington  drums; Jeff Bailey, bass; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.

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, January 7

Reina Del Cid on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) Reina Del Cid is coming into her own as a folk-rock singer/songwriter with a great back up band. She recently performed well-recieved sets at CMJ – New York, Summerfest in Milwaukee and The Underground Music Showcase in Denver. Part of the band’s appeal is flat-picking guitarist Toni Lindgren, who always surprises with her choice of licks.

Lisa Wenger & Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Wenger’s direct approach to singing the blues appeals to hard-core blues fans as well as more casual fans, say those who may be just going out with their spouse or date. She’s got an excellent band as well.

Friday, January 9

Malamanya @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) It’s Latin night at the Cedar, as Malamanya brings their hip-swaying, toe-tapping, salsa dancing melodies and traditional Cuban rhythms to the concert/dance hall. Opening act Alma Andina goes further South for their inspiration, performing music of the Andes and Latin America.

Ronnie Baker Brooks @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) The son of the late Lonnie Brooks, guitarist  Ronnie  is proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, yet he is moving beyond what his father did by occasionally incorporating funk rhythms and a bit of hip hop into his musical mix. As he put it, “It’s a hip hop world right now, but I want to bring a little blues to the party.”  His latest CD, The Torch, was produced by Minneapolis producer/guitarist Jellybean Johnson.

Saturday, January 10

Daisy Dillman CD Release @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($24) Thirty-four years after their last album, these Minnesota country rockers from the 70s and 80s are back with a new CD, Radio. the current lineup features four of the original five members, who charted in the Billboard Hot 100 and toured with bands like Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker, Bonnie Raitt, the Allman Brothers and many others. They

The Groove Merchants w/Jimi “Prime time” Smith @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No Cover) The Groove Merchants are aptly named, as the late Big Walter Smith built them into a funky blues group that easily inspires dancers. Since his death, they’ve recruited talented guitarist Jimi Prime Time Smith as a front man, a good decision on their part.

Sunday, January 11

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 2pm – 6pm ($10?) Okay, this is the last fundraiser to help this year’s Minnesota representatives to the International Blues Challenge pay their way to Memphis. Today’s performers include  Jimmi & the Band of Souls, and Brother Sun, Sister Moon, both of which are this year’s representatives, as well as  the Annie Mack Band, Tampa Spatz, The Black Water Band, and the IBC All-Stars, made of of past participants.

Mikkel Beckmen & Charlie Parr @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5:30 pm. Mikkel is celebrating a birthday, and he’s got Charlie Parr to help him out. An irish Bar. Minnesota’s nationally recognized bluesman. Mikkel’s always fun percussion. Sounds like a heck of a party.

Dobet Gnahoré @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $45) Gnahoré is one of Africa’s premier contemporary vocalists and talents. She stunned at her appearance at the Dakota in November of 2011, for which I wrote a brief review which you can find here. Prior to the show, at 6:30, there will be a discussion on Afro-pop with Janis Lane-Ewart, drummer Sowah Mensah, and Doug Cain, of KFAI’s Global Beat.

Monday, January 12

Marshall Crenshaw Solo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Back in the 80s, Crenshaw was all over the place, performing in the off Broadway production of Beatlemania, playing Buddy Holly in the Richie Valens biopic, and hitting the charts with songs long Something’s Gonna Happen, and Someday, Someway, which became a hit for Robert Gordon. With 13 albums and hundreds of songs recorded over three decades, Crenshaw has proven to be a master of melody and songwriting. His songs have been recorded by folks like Bette Midler, Rlonnie Sp;ector, Kelly Willis, and the Gin Blossoms. Tonight it’s just Crenshaw and his guitar. Opening is Kevin Bowe, the Twin Cities own prolific songwriter.

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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