Okay, we’ve got two special occasions this week. For the romantics out there we have Valentine’s Day. For those who just want to party we have Mardis Gras. Take your pick, or take both, each of which is a good reason to get out and listen to music. There are other reasons as well, just check out the possibilities below. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, February 11
Trio PKD @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) George Cartwright, sax; Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums. Chris Bates always brings interesting musicians to Jazz Central on the second Wednesday of the month. Tonight he’s teaming up with brother JT on drums and, for the first time, the exploratory sax of George Cartwright.
Thursday, February 12
Jennifer Grimm @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Grimm’s musical theater background, her sense of sing and her weekly shows at Manitou Station, along with appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Ordway, and Prairie Home Companion attest to her versatility. With Joe Cruz accompanying on guitar, this promises to be an intimate evening. I suspect there will be quite a few love songs in the repertoire.
Friday, February 13
Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (No Cover) Mr Smooth, aka Irv Williams, has had a number of different partners for his Friday afternoon happy hour gigs, but this may be the first time he’s accompanied by the accomplished pianist, Mary Louise Knutson Her bonafides are well established: she’s Doc Severinson’s pianist for his mid-nation tours, her most recent CD In the Bubble, hit the top ten in Jazz Week, and was in the top 50 for 19 weeks, and she’s performed with musicians ranging from Diane Reeves to Nicholas Payton, and Randy Brecker. This should be a delightful pairing.
Eric Kamau Gravatt & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Gravatt’s powerhouse drumming has propelled Weather Report and McCoy Tyner’s groups. Tonight he brings Brandon Wozniak, sax; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Zacc Harris, guitar; to the basement club in near Northeast. Here’s a video of Gravatt with Wozniak and bass player Adam Linz.
College Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm featuring North Central University’s Jazz Workshop. There will be sets from two different ensembles, followed by a jam session.
Friday, Saturday, February 13, 14
Isn’t It Romantic: Jazz in the Lobby Bar @ the Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sure, the lobby can be a bit noisy and distracting, but Joann on piano and Jeff on bass are very good at keeping your attention. They are bringing in a special guest, Saxman Pete Whitman, for these evenings of romantic songs.
Saturday, February 14
Kate & the Fellows
Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Patissiere 46, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm. (No Cover) Bassist/vocalist Lynch is calling this Sweet Tunes for the Sweet Toothed. She and the Fellows will be playing tunes from the 30s through the 50s, and maybe even a tune or two from the 60s, all in that toe-tapping rhythm. There may be no cover, but you will definitely end up buying one of the beautiful French pastries at what is arguably the best pastry shop in the state. Their creations are colorful, sculptural, delicious, and sweet – a perfect complement to the tunes of Kate and the band. Here she does a li
Connie Evingson @ The Cabaret at Camp Bar, 490 Robert, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm ($20, $25) Ms Evingson takes a lighthearted look at romance in a show called “This Funny Thing Called Love?” Helping her answer that question are: Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Dave Karr, sax; and Mac Santiago drums.
Ready to Sing!
The Girls: This Thing Called Love @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm – 10pm ($24, Discounts for seniors, students, and members) It’s an evening celebrating all things romantic, with the cream of Twin Cities vocalists: Patty Peterson, Lori Dokken, Debbie Duncan, Judy Donaghy-Vinar, Rachel Holder-Henning, and Erin Schwab.
Paul Harper Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s not a Valentine’s Day Event, but if your sweetie likes jazz, tonight’s groups will help you get nice and cozy. Opening at 7pm: Central Standard Time: Charlie Lincoln, bass; Dave Roos, guitar; Alex Burgess, drums; Steve Kenny, flumpet. Followed by Harper, sax; Mike Cramer, guitar; Charlie Riddle, bass; Nathan Norman, drums at 8:30pm.
Monday, February 16
Iron Chops, feat: Jon Wood and Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Wood is an area guitarist who is a member of both the Cedar Avenue Big Band and the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band. He also plays around town in in various venues and and genres and is currently recording a CD. He’s joined tonight by Dave Brattain on sax, who also plays in the Cedar Avenue Big Band, as well as the JazzMN Big Band. They’ll be playing compositions from Wood’s upcoming CD.
Enormous Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Chris Bates is one busy bassist. Tonight he’s joined by Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; and Joey Van Philips, drums.
Tuesday, Wednesday, February 17, 18
David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70) Sanborn is a rare saxophonist, one who can appeal to a dance-oriented R&B crowd, and a listening audience of jazz aficionados. He has won six Grammys, had eight gold albums, and one platinum, has hosted his own excellent TV show, and recorded with a host of artists, from Eric Clapton to Christian McBride and Bill Frisell. His appearance at the Zoo a couple of years back had the crowd roaring with delight. Don’t be surprised if Ricky Peterson shows up on keys, as in this video.
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 Police, Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, February 11
MATRA @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Sometimes we have to be reminded that the vibraphone and the marimba are both percussion instruments. Tonight’s your chance, as Andres Crovetti, vibes; Jenny Klukken, marimba; Krissy Bergmark, tablas; and Mathew Solace, drums play accessible arrangements of world and jazz influenced music.
Thursday, February 12
It’s more like MeMeMeMeMe
MeMeMe with Little Star @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) If you liked the voice of Jon Anderson from Yes, you might appreciate the vocals of MeMeMe’s lead vocalist Casidy Anderson. The rest of the band evokes folks from Weezer to Neil Young. Opening for the evening is Little Star who delivers something completely different – a guitar duo featuring Jayme Clifton Halbritter and Olivia Marie Quintanilla. The results are, as might be expected, quietly pretty, little dreamlike wisps of imagination.
The Eddies @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1575 Hamline Ave, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm ($5 Suggested Donation) The always fun Eddies are featured for this month’s Celtic Music Showcase, and though there is a definite Celtic bent to what this almost acapella group sings, there are 19th and 20th Century songs of love, death, and work as well.
Friday, February 13
The Assad Brothers and Romero Lubambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35) Guitar players and lovers of guitar music will converge on the Dakota tonight to hear the Brazilian-born Assad Brothers whose virtuosity in classical and other genres have led to them being called the best two-guitar team in existence by the Washington Post. Romero Lubambo another Brazilian guitarist, melds Brazilian styles and rhythms with the American jazz tradition, leading to his performing and recording with such artists as Diane Reeves, Michael Brecker, Diane Krall and others.
On Love @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) With Lynn O’Brien and Steven Hobert, PaviElle, and Sankophoenix. Three female singers take to the Cedar’s stage to explore the manifestations of love, often using a groove to move their messages forward. PaviElle has been getting lots of good press recently for her neo-soul work. Lynn O’Brien is a singer/songwriter with a soulful voice who has found a kindred spirit in imaginative pianist Steven Hobert. Sankophoenix calls her approach to singing neo-jazz, integrating jazz and neo-soul in her singing. Here’s PaviElle doing a Tom Petty song.
Saturday, February 14
Freewheelin’ Mardis Gras @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) I’ll be spinning Mardis Gras music and more from 4:30 – 6pm, prior to the start of this event featuring The Rockin’ Pinecones, Scottie Miller, and The New Riverside Ramblers.
Maurice Jacox @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No cover) Though vocalist Jacox is well known for his work with Willie & the Bees, The Butanes Soul Revue, and the Soul Tight Committee, he is also an excellent interpreter of standards, and stripped down Motown. Things get intimate tonight in the tiny bar at Normandy Kitchen, as Jacox performs with Thomas West on keys, and Grammy winner Robb Stupka on drums. Reservations recommended.
North America Super Stars @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Here’s a unique Valentine’s day concert, performed by a collective of Somali artists who appear in various configurations around the Twin Cities and beyond. It’s Somali pop, with perhaps, a bit of hip hop as well.
Sunday, February 15
Finn Hall @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm (Donation) Talk about old-time music! With mandolin, violin, nyckelharpa, and two accordions, this quartet will take set the Wayback machine to the turn of the last century as they play waltzes, schottisches, polkas, mazurka, humppa and other traditional music as played in Finnish-American dance halls. Here they are with some guests.
S.O.S. Band @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. ($25) The S.O.S. band hit big in 1980 with the single Take Your time (Do It Right), which sold over two million copies. Other hits followed after they hooked up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as producers. It will be a night of funk with opening acts The Maxx Band and the West Side Band
Bridge City Hustle @ the Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) This modern soul quintet from Brooklyn caught my ear when I heard one of their tracks on KFAI. They handle slow grooves and uptempo numbers with equal aplomb. w/Sonic Intension, a neo-soul group that uses a touch of rock, and DJ Tarik Thornton, who always spins interesting and danceable grooves. Here’s a video of Bridge City Hustle.
Monday, February 16
Blues at the Crossroads @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($50 – $75), 9pm ($40 – $65) Wow, this is a good old fashioned Soul Revue. Featuring the wonderful Irma Thomas Soul Queen of New Orleans; journeyman soul singer Lee Fields, who should be as well known as Sharon Jones or Charles Bradley; Eric Krasno, of Soulive and Lettuce; and new singer Alecia Chakour, who’s been getting dynamite press. Speaking of which, The Dynamites, who provided butt-shaking backing on the excellent Charles Walker album, provide the backing for everyone. Here’s Lee Fields.
Tuesday, February 17
Swamp Kings @ Dixie’s on Grand, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) You just know that Dixie’s has to have some appropriate music for Mardis Gras, and they’ve found it with the Swamp Kings This quartet of bass, drums, accordion, and electric guitar does a more than credible job of laying down the Cajun, New Orleans, funk and blues sounds of Louisiana.
The New Riverside Ramblers
8th Annual Louisiana Rhythms Mardis Gras Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($12) Whether you do Cajun Dancing, Zydeco, Swing, or freestyle, The Swamp Poppas, Southside Aces, New Riverside Ramblers, and the Rockin’ Pinecones will be providing music from New Orleans and South Louisiana for your dancing pleasure. Plus, there will be Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans and Rice!
Jack Brass Band: Naughty Gras @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm($15, $50 for 2-top tables, $100 for 4-top tables) They’re pulling out the stops for this one, folks. Besides the always fun JBB they’ve got side show acts presented by Musette the Mistress of Mischief and burlesque from Sassy Von Straddler, as well as a crawfish boil, Abita beer and circus aerialists. My. My. My.
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 calendar for U Wanna Dance.