Strength and Independence: a 1986 Interview with Lesley Gore

February 28, 2015
A young pop star

A young pop star

Pop singer Lesley Gore passed away on February 16, 2015. She was sixteen when she reached number one in the charts with It’s My Party, which was followed by a number of other top 40 hits, including You Don’t Own Me, which reached number two on the charts, just behind the Beatles’ I Want To Hold Your Hand. Later in life she received an Academy Award nomination for co-writing Out Here On My Own for the film Fame. She last performed in the Twin Cities at the Dakota in 2010.

About twenty-eight or twenty-nine years ago she made a memorable appearance in the Twin Cities at a somewhat unusual venue. Donaldson’s, a long-gone department store, was opening up a beachwear department in their location at Southdale Mall. To celebrate and publicize the event they brought in Gore to perform in one of the mall’s inside courtyards.

Though at the time it had been about twenty years since Gore had broken the Top 40, Donaldson’s had made a good move in bringing her in, as the place was packed. A large portion of the audience were women who had come of age with Gore’s hits, many of whom had daughters with them as well. She was wildly received.

The grown-up Ms Gore

The grown-up Ms Gore

Afterwards, fans lined up to get her autographs on 45s, LP covers, and pictures. For about 45 minutes, she graciously welcomed them and signed her name. Finally, she was able to take a few minutes to talk with me. What follows is a lightly edited version of the interview.

How did you get your start?

I made some demo tapes which Quincy Jones heard, and Irving Green, president of Mercury at the time, asked Quincy to record some sides with me and one of those sides was It’s My Party.

How did you like working with Quincy?

Very much. Basically we had our first hits together and he really taught me a lot. He’s a fabulous producer and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to work with him.

How did you go about choosing songs?

The Hits

The Hits

We listened to songs. I had first pick as to what I wanted to record, and occasionally Quincy had something that he felt strongly about. It would be more of a negotiating thing. When we heard It’s My Party we both knew we wanted to play that.

Did you get any sense that 20 yrs after recording it, little girls would be singing it?

No, as I said before, if we’d known it was going to last 23 years, we would have taken care of the trumpet clinkers at the end. You know, there are some bad mistakes on that record, but the spirit was there. No, I didn’t know it would last for 20 years

What is it about that song that appeals? I noticed lots of little girls singing and dancing to that one. I asked a couple of them and they said, “That’s my favorite song.”

I think at that time, and it may apply to young girls today, most of the songs were about girls and guys and a girl wanting a particular guy. There was no room for a girl to be independent and say what was really on her mind. The strength and independence of It’s My Party is something that I know I enjoyed singing for that reason. At sixteen I related to that song very strongly for that reason, because a lot of things did go wrong and it gave me an opportunity to sing about those things.

Strength and Independence comes out in You Don’t Own Me. I saw older women singing along to that.

Vehemently singing along.

As a song, it was stronger in its declaration of independence. How did you come to record it?

An anthem of independence

An anthem of independence

That was written for me by two guys from Philadelphia who literally kidnapped me at a resort in the Catskills and threw me into a cabana near the pool and played me the song. I said “This song is great!” I told them “You’ve gotta be in New York on Monday and play this for Quincy” and that was that.

I know it’s been a long day for you. Thanks for taking the time to talk.

You’re welcome, it’s been my pleasure.


Note: Rocker Joan Jett recorded You Don’t Own Me for her debut album as a solo artist in 1981. In 2012, the song was used in a PSA with commentary from Gore, to encourage women to vote. On a lighter note, Bette Midler, Diane Keaton, and Goldie Hawn sing it in the closing sequence of the 1996 movie, The First Wives Club, as seen below.



A Wealth of Music: 2.25 – 3.3

February 25, 2015

images-2We are faced with another week in which the richness of artistic offerings here in the Twin Cities can create difficult choices when going out. Much like the teens at right choosing from a jukebox, it’s a good problem to have. Get out and support our resident artists and check out visiting artists as well. We’ll all benefit, since music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 25

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover)  Pianist Walesch is an emerging artist on the vocal jazz scene in the Twin Cities. Though he concentrates on the Great American Songbook and jazz standards, including Frank Sinatra, he also writes his own material and has been known to perform a pop song or two.

Leisure Valley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This is a relatively new group featuring Bruce Thornton, reeds; Patrick Harrison, button accordion; Joey Van Philips, drums; and Chris Bates, bass. I have to admit I haven’t heard them, but judging by the inclusion of Bates, Harrison and Van Philips, I’m betting they’ll swing.

UnknownMcNally Smith Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman has gathered together a talented big band of 17 students at McNally Smith College of Music. Their repertoire ranges from Hard Bop to Afro-Peruvian Festejo music. They are an exciting ensemble to watch and hear, and have recently toured in Peru, and took first place at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival.


Thursday, February 26

Fireside Five and Guests @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave North, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) The UMC is a cozy spot featuring coffee, wine, and beer, as well as chairs for about 40 folks. Lately, they’ve been featuring jazz on a regular basis. Tonight it’s the talented musicians of the Fireside Five: Tom Ashworth, trombone & euphonium; Brian Grivna, reeds; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Special guests include Pat Mallinger, sax; Zack Lozier, trumpet; and Dean Sorenson, trombone. A rather star-studded evening for such an intimate room.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and tonight’s artist, Erin Livingston, is not only a vocalist, but a classically trained flautist. She has been singing around town with the Parisota Hot Club, performing blues, some Beatles, and the gypsy jazz of Django Rheinhardt. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Parisota guitarist Robb Henry. Here’s a surprising choice of music.

Friday, February 27

Photo of Javi by Andrea Canter

Photo of Javi by Andrea Canter

Javi Santiago Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Santiago is in town for a few months, and we’re lucky to have some opportunities to hear his fine playing. Tonight he’s joined by Chris Bates, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Debbie Duncan @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Crooners has become the place to hear many of the Twin Cities best singers, including Ms Duncan, who is somewhat of a legend in the Twin Cities for her superb ability to sing jazz and blues with equal verve.

Saturday, February 28

Bacharach & David with Oscars for "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"

Bacharach & David with Oscars for “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”

Arne Fogel and Jennifer Eckes: the Songs of Bacharach & David @Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($26) From Alfie and Wishin’ and Hopin’, to What’s New Pussycat and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David created a soundtrack for the 60s. Fogel & Eckes put their own interoperation on these songs and many more, with the help of Rick Carlson, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Jendeen Forberg, drums.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s an evening of modern, original jazz. Tonight’s opening band is Central Standard Time, a band of young upstarts and a couple of veterans, with Charlie Lincoln, bass; Sten Johnson, sax; Dave Roos, guitar; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Alex Burgess, drums. Then at 8:30pm the Zacc Harris Group will take the stage with Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; JT Bates, drums; and Chris Bates, bass.

Monday, March 2

BZ3 Organ Trio @ The Narrows Saloon, Wayzata. 7pm (No cover) Get down with some Soul Jazz from Brian Zienmiak, B3; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Bob Parsons @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Parson is a Minnesota saxophonist who lived in NYC for much of the 90s and 00s, where he was an arranger for folks like Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, and the Brecker Brothers, among others, and was co-leader of the Blue Note Late Night Band for several years. He also recorded four albums with guitarist Dave Styker. Since returning to the Twin Cities in 2008 he has been a member of the Acme Jazz Company Big Band. tonight he’ll be playing his own compositions and arrangements.

Tuesday, March 3

Rene Marie @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Vocalist Rene Marie is one of the most distinctive voices in the nation these days, a daring artist with the ability to crawl inside a lyric and make it her own. Tonight she’s performing her homage to the sensual singer and actress Eartha Kitt, the subject of Marie’s most recent (10th) album. Here’s a song from the album.

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm. ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Both Magraw on guitar and Seru on drums & percussion are extremely versatile, and both are capable of finishing the other’s musical thoughts. It’s always a treat to hear them.

For a comprehensive listings of Jazz, go to Jazz Police and  the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on jazz, check out Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 25

Big George Jackson on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) The big man with the deep deep voice sings the blues like no other in town. It’s authentic, and comes from his heart, whether singing originals or songs that you recognize. One thing is certain, Jackson’s music will make you move.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Treat yourself to some romantic ballads and jumping’ swing tunes from Radio Joe and the guys. It’s high quality stuff.

Thursday, February 26

Beckmen, Roux, & Rue @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard/percussionist Mikkel Beckmen brings in guests each week to join him on the Dubliner’s small stage. Tonight he’s joined by Nikki Roux and Rich Rue of Nikki & the Rue-Mates. A good way to spend some post work time.

Black Audience & Voice of Culture @ The Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($10) Vocalist Jayanthi Kyle is the not-so-secret weapon in the arsenal of Black Audience as they play music that draws upon Folk music, Black Heritage, Work songs, and Chain Gang songs. Opening act Voice of Culture is a West African drum and dance group that spans generations.

Friday, February 27

Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, and good ol’ Rock n’ roll from Mr Murphy and his rockin’ cohorts. There’ll be lotsa dancing on one of the best dance floors in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, February 28

Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ The Bayport BBQ. 8pm ($5) Here’s a change of pace for Chris Johnson’s smoking’ BBQ joint; some traditional jazz. The Syncopaters include Jeffrey Dunitz, guitar; Tom Zosel, reeds; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; and Tom Lyseng, drums. Heck, this kind of music goes with BBQ just as much as the blues.

Funktion Junction @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Not sure how this 7-piece funk band will fit on the Station’s small stage area, but I’m betting the mostly middle-aged crowd that frequents the Station will be shaking their booties all night long.

Saturday, Sunday, February 28, March 1

Black Violin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) This classically-trained duo use violin and viola to play a blend of classical music, hip-hop, rock, and R&B, with some bluegrass thrown in for good measure. They’ve played for one of Obama’s Inaugural Balls, on Broadway, and for troops in Iraq, and have collaborated with folks ranging from Kanye West to Aretha Franklin and The Eagles. Opening is Twin Cities artist LOTT.

Sunday, March 1

Grateful Sundays @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) Deadheads Unite! You have nothing to lose but a fun time listening to acoustic and electric sets of Grateful Dead music presented by the Shotgun Ragtime Band. Acoustic sets start at 6pm and are family friendly. Electric sets start at 8pm and go until about 11.


Cadillac at Pioneer & Soldiers Cemetery

Cadillac Kolstad @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) With the wildness of a young Jerry Lee Lewis, Kolstad attacks the piano with vigor, backed by a rockabilly rhythm section that matches his ferocity note for note.

Monday, March 2

Jon Rodine @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 6:30pm (Tip Jar) Besides working for Red House Records, Rodine is one of the Twin Cities finest singer/songwriters of blues and roots music, though truth be told, he is relatively unknown, though he’s played and recorded with a heavy duty roster of Midwest musicians. Check him out and then stay for the fun-filled Roe Family Singers at 9pm.

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.

More Than Just The Drummer in the Band: An Interview with Chip White

February 23, 2015

Chip-White-300x246On one hand drummer Alan “Chip” White is the epitome of a sideman, performing and recording with dozens of artists, yet he is a composer whose songs are more than vehicles for his drumming, he writes lyrics, and he has published a book of poems about jazz musicians whom he admires. White has performed and/or recorded with a wide variety of artists, from Chet Baker, Claudio Roditi, and Jimmy McGriff, to Savion Glover, Irene Reid, Tom Waits, Etta Jones and Houston Person, who he’s been with since the early 90s. He’s also released five albums as a leader since 1994, with artists such as Robin Eubanks, Geri Allen, Randy Brecker, Wycliffe Gordon, and Renee Rosnes playing his original tunes.

His latest CD, Family Dedications and More, is another album of strong, melodic compositions coupled with a CD of poetry. White has written each song in honor of a musician or family member, and then uses the song as a background for the short poem he’s written for that person.

I first met Chip when he appeared with Houston Person at the Dakota in Minneapolis a few years ago. Since then he’s sent me copies of the albums in his Dedication series, featuring songs and poetry. Recently, I met him on The Jazz Cruise, where he appears each year with tenor sax player Houston Person. We sat down for a few minutes in one of the ship’s bars as he talked about his background, meeting Houston Person, his poetry, and his music.

How long have you been drumming?

Well I got started when I was a kid. I was born in Manhattan (1946), uptown in Harlem, and my parents moved to Peekskill when I was small. My father was a marching band drummer. He worked in a hospital but was very much into rudiments. His brother, my uncle, was one of the best snare drum champions in New York. As a kid I started following them, and when I was nine years old, my dad asked “Do you wanna play with us? If you do you have to practice an hour every day. I’ll be your teacher and when I’m your teacher I’m not your father.” I said okay, and it took me about two, two and a half years, where I got to the point I was playing well enough to start playing parades with them. I made $15 a parade, and we were doing three or four a weekend, and the next thing I had a bank account, and I was eleven years old. I said this is a good start.

How did you get into jazz?

I wasn’t into jazz yet. I’d heard some Miles, and I heard a little Coltrane and thought wow. I didn’t not like it, or like it, it was just different. I was into R&B. I came up with Little Richard, James Brown and Motown. I loved that, but the more I listened to jazz, the more I got deeper and deeper into it. The other music was nice but just seemed to stay there. This kind of grew.

An early discovery in Chip White's jazz education

An early discovery in Chip White’s jazz education

I had a great music teacher in high school. We had a big band and he turned me on to Clifford Brown. I said “How come I never heard of Clifford Brown?” and he told me he died in a car accident. Then he gave me a copy of Monk’s Dream, so I started getting into Monk, I was a senior in high school and he took us to hear the Basie Band at the World’s Fair in 1964. That was the band with Frank Wess, Frank Foster and Thad Jones. Later I played with Benny Powell, and Frank Wess, and I studied composition with Frank Foster, which was one of the things that helped me.

Then we had a band in high school under the direction of our music teacher, and we had to join the union, which was funny cause we were 15. We started playing all these union places and the union man came around. He said, “You guys sound good but you have to be in the union,” so we joined, which was even better for us. I was playing with my music teacher and his father, and then started getting calls from the union guy.

Did you study jazz drumming in particular?

It’s a completely different style of drumming than parade drumming. I was good at parade drumming, and almost didn’t want to give it up but realized if I wanted to play jazz I needed to study. After my father taught me all he could, there was a local guy who was a real good jazz drummer. He was an excellent teacher and I studied with him for a number of years.

Then I went to Ithaca College for a year and realized I didn’t want to be a classical musician. It was good, though because I had to study piano. Then somebody told me about the Berklee School of Music, where I studied with Alan Dawson. In the meantime I had heard Coltrane with Elvin and McCoy for the first time when I was a senior in high school. At that time I was really getting into it. I was fortunate to hear Miles and Monk, and Bill Evans. The good thing about living in New York is you don’t have an excuse if you don’t know what’s happening.

When did you start playing with Houston? How did that come about?

Kim & Marion. Working with them proved provident.

Kim & Marion. Working with them proved provident.

I met Houston somewhere in the early 90s. I had a rehearsal studio at the time. The lady I was with was a choreographer and we did a musical together. I wrote all the music and the libretto. We put in on in the East Village for about a week, but didn’t have the 250 grand to go off, off, off (Broadway). After working for a year on this show, directing the band and everything I thought, “Man, I’d like to be a sideman.” A friend of mine, Cecile Brooks, said, “Houston’s looking for a drummer.” It just so happens the next day some friends of mine, singers Kim Kalesti and Marian Cowings were working with Bill Charlap who wasn’t well known at that time. We did some school concerts together and Houston was on those concerts. So I said, I got your address yesterday and here we are on this gig, and he said, “Okay, well I’ll call you sometime.”

Really, about a week later he called me. His drummer got sick at the last minute. I had just gone up to visit my mom. They always say if you want a gig, leave town (laughs). I had gone to visit my mom and we spent the evening having dinner. The next morning I got the call, so it was only an hour (to NYC) so I got in the car and that’s how I met Houston and Etta Jones. Houston was playing brunches at the Blue Note, so that was the first thing I did. That was about 92 or 93. I started playing with them, and Etta Liked my playing and Houston too, so I joined the band.

Here’s a video of Chip with Houston Person back in 1993


Tell us about this series of albums you’ve released – the Dedication Series.

Chip's book, available as ann e-book or from Chip's website

Chip’s book, available as ann e-book or from Chip’s website

The way I got the idea was initially, I started writing lyrics to my own original music. One night I heard some words to my music. I went to the piano and put some words to it. They seemed to fit, so I knew a few good singers and they came over and liked it.  So I started writing the lyrics to my own music. Then I went to Japan for a gig at a private club for two months and started working on a book. I wrote a poem for Duke Ellington, and then Miles, and Bird and Trane. It took me about four or five years, but I’ve put this book together with poems for all these musicians. (Takes out book – I’m Just The Drummer in the Band)

Once I got the book, I was getting ready to do some recordings. I had an album in ’94 called Harlem Sunset, which was critic’s choice in Billboard when it came out. I was trying labels but nothing worked, so I saved up a little money to record. I thought, I have a composition for Duke, and I have a composition for Trane, why don’t I do series of compositions for them on one disc, and the poetry under the music on another. No one is doing that, I far as I know. So that’s when I came up with the first one, Double Dedication. I used an all-star band, Kenny Barron, Ray Drummond, Randy Brecker, Steve Wilson. I found out that if you have good music and have great musicians, you’re gonna have a good result.

Then I did More Dedications with Mulgrew (Miller). Unfortunately he passed away after that. I had Steve Nelson, who was on my first, Duane Eubanks. We did compositions for Eric Dolphy, Booker Little, Bobby Hutcherson, Clifford Brown, also Milt Jackson. Milt Jackson was on one of the jazz Cruises, and I gave him his poem. About a month later he shows up at our gig – just a little club in New Jersey. I thought there’s a guy that looks like Milt Jackson, and it was him! He said, “I really like that poem,” and I told him it’s part of a book, so he said, “I’d like to buy that book.” So he got one of the first copies of the book and he asked me to sign it for him. I said to myself, “Well, I think I’m headed in the right direction.”

And the latest one, that you just released.

Yeah, I’m really fortunate, that came in at number 5 and now it’s number 4 this week. I hired a very good radio publicity guy. He does the same thing that a record company guy would do. You need that kind of guy.

Who are the tunes dedicated to on this release?

Chip's latest release, Family Dedications and More.

Chip’s latest release, Family Dedications and More.

It starts off with a tune for Houston, Blue Person. Then there’s a tune for myself – CW’s High Hat, and a tune called The Dance Spot. That was one of the pieces in the musical that I did, going way back. Some of the pieces are brand new, and some I’ve had forever waiting for the right circumstance to record them. There’s a tune Jobim and a tune for Elvin, who I heard with Coltrane. The rest are for my brother, Raymond’s Happy Waltz, and my father, and my mother, so it’s kind of historic. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to do this stuff, and I just spend as much time as I’m able at the piano and at the vibraphone.

Do you have more to write?

Well, the book is finished. My wife is an editor, and she edited it for me.

Have you done compositions for every poem in the book?

No, because there’s a hundred pieces. I do have more than 50 compositions that I’ve recorded on my CDs. I figure if I don’t play my own music, who else will. When people hear the tunes, they’re really hearing me.

You mentioned that you’re putting together your own group to perform.

I’ve been working around New York. I was fortunate to work at Dizzy’s a couple of years ago. I had five nights opposite Bobby Hutcherson, so I wrote a piece for Bobby. I might do something for Benny, I’m just kind of open, and trying to survive. I’m a New Yorker who is from New York. There are a lot people who come to New York, but there are a lot of musicians who came from New York – Max Roach, Stan Getz, Monk was from NY too. Benny Carter.

Well, this has been great. Thank you for taking the time to talk.

Thank you, Larry. I appreciate it.

For more information: www.chipwhite

Cold Weather Music: 2.18 – 2.24

February 18, 2015

UnknownThough the weather report for the next week seems to call for alternating between bone-chilling and I’m-Freezing-My-Face-Off, there are plenty of opportunities to warm up from music and dancing.  Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 18

David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70) I mentioned this last week, but it bears repeating.  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.

Unknown-4Noah Ophoven-Baldwin Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpet player Ophoven-Baldwin has been playing around town in both pop groups and adventurous jazz groups since getting his degree from the UofM, receiving good reviews in the process. Tonight he’s joined by Joe Strachan, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Thursday, February 19

Maud Hixson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Vocalist Hixson has received high praise from the likes of Rex Reed and Michael Feinstein, among others, for her warm voice and ability to get to the heart of classic pop and jazz songs of the twentieth century. This seems to be an ideal spot to hear her.

Cameron Kinghorn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kinghorn is a trumpeter/vocalist who has been playing (and singing) with the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Here’s a chance to see him solo.

Dean Granros @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Guitar master Granros is often heard playing in various combos around town. Tonight he performs two sets of solo guitar improvisations in the intimate space of the Cafe. For example:

Friday, February 20

Eastside CD Release @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Guitarist Reynold Philipsek and harmonica master Clint Hoover formed Eastside about six years ago with Michael Bisonnet on percussion and Matt Senjem on bass. The idea was to  take the “soul jazz” of the Blue Note era and combine it with their interpretation of Nuevo Tango. Though Hoover now lives in Pittsburg, they have managed to record their second album, Astoria, and will be having a release party at Hell’s Kitchen.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Lomheim’s strong yet sometimes dreamy melodies are buoyed by the impressive rhythm section of Gordy Johnson on bass and Jay Epstein on drums.

Maryann Sullivan & Corner Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) The engaging and delightful singer is joined by Reynold Phillipsek, guitar; Doug Haining, sax; Trevor Haining, drums; Jim Chenoweth, bass, for some swinging music.

Saturday, February 21

Winter Jazz Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 3pm – 9pm ($15) Presented by Jazz at Studio Z and Shifting Paradigm Records, which is celebrating the anniversary of their website  the Winter Jazz Fest will feature six of the area’s most exciting modern jazz groups: The Atlantis Quartet; Nichols, Bates & Bates; The Adam Meckler Orchestra; The Graydon Peterson Quartet, Endeavors; and Lars Larson’s Mancrush. Here’s the Adam Meckler Orchestra, in warmer times (watch for the gorilla).

Glen David Andrews @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) Andrews is a trombonist and vocalist is an electrifying performer who brings the history of New Orleans R&B, jazz, gospel, and blues to life with a jolt of energy that could light up the Superdome. He typically has the audience on its feet within seconds of hitting the stage, and they stay there throughout the performance.

Maurice Jacox Tribute to Nat King Cole @ Jazz at St. Barneys, 15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm ($10/$5 Students) From Willie & the Bees to Nachito Herrera and the Cuban National Symphony, Jacox is a vocalist who can deliver. Though he is well known in the Twin Cities, he should be wider known, but at least we get to claim him as our own. His Nat King Cole tribute is rarely done in this area, so it’s your chance to hear him use his smooth voice to sing such chestnuts as Mona Lisa, Too Young, and Paper Moon.

Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Bates on bass; Dave Hagedorn on vibes, and Phil Hey on drums perform music that is disciplined, yet flows freely from idea to idea. They have so much fun on stage that you will find yourself smiling with them.

Sunday, February 22

Lulu’s Playgound & The Paul Dietrich Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 3-5pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chamber jazz, often played with a bit of whimsy, from Lulu’s Playground  Adam Meckler, trumpet; Cory Grossman, cello; Ben Abrahamson, guitar; and Steve Hobert, accordion. They all attended Lawrence University in Wisconsin, as did trumpeter Paul Dietrich  whose Chicago-based quintet is on a short Midwest Tour. They recently released We Always Get There on the Blujazz label.

Monday, February 23

Chris Bates Red 5 & Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) It’s a double dose of quintets for late night listening. Chris Bates’ Red5: Bates  bass; Zach Lozier, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Thomson, sax; and JT Bates on drums. Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band: Healey  drums; Erick Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Brandon Wozniak, sax.

Tuesday, February 24

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Take the hot rhythms of salsa, mambos, and Afro-Cuban music and put them behind the sonic power of a big band and you’ve got music to move you out of your seats. These performances are essentially rehearsals, so you will get to hear the development of the band’s repertoire.

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, February 18

Randy Sabien on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Sabien’s website describes him as a jazz violinist, which would make him a somewhat unlikely choice for the bluesy/rootsy music heard on Harold’s House Party and at the 331. However, Sabien is a fan of the kind of music made by Bob Wills as well as the Grateful Dead, so his playing goes way beyond that expected of a jazz player. He’ll have Jim Ouska and Andy Dee on guitars and Jim Chenoweth on bass. Tune in and hear for yourself, then head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear. Here he is doing Stella Blue.

Willie Murphy & Rena Haus @ Schooners, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Murphy has been doing a soloist + guest night at the Schooner for a few months now, with he and a guest taking solo turns and then playing together. Tonight the gruff yet romantic bluesman is joined by ace songwriter and guitar picker Rena Haus, which should make for great music.

Friday, February 20

Hurricane Harold’s All Stars @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??)  It’s an early show for the ubiquitous harpist, who gathers another group of players from his vast rolodex for an evening of satisfying, danceable blues.

Firefly Forest @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (tip Jar) Jazz keyboardist Steven Hobert  as a mischievous streak, which comes out with this acoustic group that explores a variety of quiet world rhythms. You can hear the groups songs on this site.

Scottie Miller Trio @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10:30pm ($10) The Western burbs get a chance to hear Miller’s trio explore his rockin’ originals, as well as Miller’s New Orleans-inspired R&B piano playing. It’s a small, intimate room with about 40 seats, and a nice selection of beer, wine, and food. Here he is with a quartet.

Saturday, February 21

John Lee Hooker, from Black & White Blues, the photos of Marc Norberg

The cover of Black & White Blues,

Cold Snap Blues @ Icebox Gallery, 1500 Jackson St, #443, NE Minneapolis 6-9pm. If you’ve ever gone to the Dakota, you’ve undoubtedly seen the stunning photos of some the artists that have performed there. Those pictures were taken by Marc Norberg. This is the opening reception for an exhibit of thirty-three photos of blues musicians by Marc, taken during the 80s and 90s. This exhibit also marks the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of Marc’s book Black & White Blues, which contains a total of 78 images of blues artists. There will be music by bluesman/guitarist Javier Matos, while Miss Sara Oxton of KFAI’s Rockhouse, and Lolly Obeda, from KFAI’s Sugar Shop, will be spinning music by artists whose photos are on display.

Left Lane Cruiser @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This rockin’ blues duo have been regular visitors to this area since their appearance at the Deep Blues Festival some years back. Their sound is obviously inspired by the blues of the Mississippi Hill Country (think RL Burnside), though their hard-charging performances have the energy of punk rockers. Check this out.

Carnaval Brasilero 2015 Masquerade Ball @ International Market Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($30) The celebration of Mardis Gras, or Carnaval if you will, continues, this time with a Brazilian theme. This annual event has grown to encompass 3 performance stages, Brazilian guest artists, including Dandara and Samba Dancers Edilson Lima and Vanessa Luiz. Additionally, over 80 area musicians will perform including: Beira Mar Brasil; Batucada Do Norte, and Drumheart. There’s a family matinee from 3pm – 6pm for $15 at the door.

Batucada du Norte

Batucada du Norte

Sunday, February 22

Blues & BBQ @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul (Donation) This is a benefit for Johnson Como Peewee Youth Hockey, which has been invited to play in Australia. Naturally, they have to raise a bunch of $$$, so Ted Wilebski, with the help of the Blues Society, is bringing in Hurricane Harold, Dee Miller, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Brother Sun Sister Moon, and some young folk. Here’s JImmi & the Band of Souls.

Not Done Yet: A Musical Celebration @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 4pm – 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Jackson has performed around the Twin Cities with Ipso Facto, Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Doug Maynard, Crossover, The New Primitives, and Willie Murphy, as well as his most recent gigs with the Moondogs88 band. He was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma in 2008 and has struggled since then but has not worked since last August. This is a benefit to celebrate his life and music and many of his long time musical friends will be performing, with Bruce sitting in. Among the performers will be Ipso Facto, The New Primitives, The Dreadlock Cowboys, and an all-star Finale.

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. (Free) Waltzes, French musettes, ballads, tangos, and other assorted rhythms, delivered with French flare by Dan Newton, master of the stomach Steinway, and his compatriots.

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.

Valentines Day. Mardis Gras. Celebratory Music: 2.11 – 2.17

February 11, 2015

UnknownOkay, 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

UnknownJennifer 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 & 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!

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.

Unknown-2Enormous 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 PoliceBebopified, 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

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

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.


Twin Cities Jazz, Roots, and Blues: 2.4 – 2.10

February 4, 2015
The Conservatory at Como Zoo, where you can treat your skin to humidity during the winter, and see some music on Sunday (see Blues & Roots, below).

The Conservatory at Como Zoo, where you can treat your skin to humidity during the winter, and see some music on Sunday (see Blues & Roots, below).

Greetings and salutations to one and all;

Happy to report that I’m back from a fun-filled week of jazz while sailing in the Caribbean, and though the weather is cold the music here is hot. We’re lucky to have some very talented jazz musicians of our own to see this week, as well as some great blues and roots music, including two powerhouse performers from the 70s who are still delivery vital music. Note too, how the music community is coming together for a couple of benefits. Music can certainly lift your spirit.


Wednesday, February 4

Anthony Cox and Riotous N @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation)  Featuring Jonathan Penny, guitar; Davu Seru, drums, Cox on Bass, and special guest Sarag Greer on vocals. Cox always brings an interesting crew to first Wednesdays at Jazz Central. What’s more, he opens up the stage (so to speak) to questions, making this an interactive event.

Thursday, February 5

Ready to cure your ills

Ready to cure your ills

The Sound Doctors @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) An a cappella quintet with Dorian Chalmers, Dennis Curley, Greg Eiden, Geoff Thompson, and Sheridan Zuther. Jazz and Pop Vocals from Singers Vocalists and musical theater professionals who have sung with Phil Mattson Singers, Shoop!, Five by Design, the Church Basement Ladies and others.

Frog Stew, a Low Country Boil

Frog Stew, a Low Country Boil

Stew Frog @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) No, Khyber Pass Cafe isn’t serving a Low Country Boil  but rather Scott Fultz, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; and Steve Goldstein on laptop will be performing. This certainly sounds like a night of exploratory jazz, what with the ability of Fultz and Granros to freely improvise combined with the sonic possibilities that Goldstein’s laptop most certainly contains.

Friday,February 6

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Phil Hey, drums; Tom Lewis bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Aaron, piano. A long-standing quartet that plays tunes from Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, and other advanced composers. Followed at 9:30 by a group of players who studied with Phil. Here they are at their old stomping grounds.

Friday, Saturday, February 6,7

Weekend at Keys Please @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Carei Thomas,  Todd Harper,  and Paul Cantrell  with special guest Nathan Hanson. Started in 2002, this mid-winter tradition has become a staple of the Twin Cities new music calendar. The annual concert takes on musics of diverse genres, including free improvisation,  popemmetry and “weather permitting,” whatever they are, and both new and old compositions. Special guest, saxophonist Nathan Hanson is known for composing as well as improvising.

Saturday, February 7

Kenny Horst & Friends @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s great to see Kenny playing drums without the pressures of running a club. Tonight his friends include Tom Lewis, bass; Pete Whitman, sax; and Steve Kenny, trumpet. Opening act is the Jon Pemberton Trio at 7pm. Jon plays piano and trumpet, and is well worth arriving early.

7 Cats Swing Band @ Crooners Lounge, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This group plays charts from Gershwin, Ellington, Glen Miller, and other jazz and swing standards. Crooners Lounge has a dance floor and good sight lines from both the bar and tables.

Saturday, Sunday, Feb 7, 8

Bruce Henry: Afro Blue: The Drum, The Journey, the Song @ The Capri Theater, 2027 W. Broadway, Mpls. 7pm Sat, 3pm Sun. Though he’s now living in Chicago, Henry often returns to the Twin Cities for special projects. Tonight and tomorrow the singer with a three-octave range presents a musical journey exploring African drums and their connection to spirituals, jazz, and the Great American Songbook.

Monday, February 9

Firebell @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Last year, this trio released a CD that was at the top of a number of best-ofs in the area. Here the original compositions from Impossible Vacation, as well as whatever else Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, decide to play. Check them out.

Solomon Parham @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With a clear, bell-like tone, and considerable imagination, Parham is a trumpeter to watch. The Detroit native has played with Delfeayo Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, Eric Kamau Gravatt, and Christian McBride, to name a few.

Javier Santiago EP Release @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The NYC based pianist has come back to town for a while, and we’re treated to his playing. Tonight he celebrates the release of an EP entitled Year of the Horse, featuring Proper T and Miguel Hurtado. For the second set he’ll be joined by Cory Wong, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Yohannes Tona, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums, and T. Anthony, vocals.

Tuesday, February 10

A Chris Olson Project @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Olson is a guitarist with a fluid style and always interesting improvising skills. BTW, he’s also an composer, and teaches at McNally Smith and a few jazz camps around town.

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, February 4

IMG_1320Doug Otto & The Getaways CD Release Party on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Doug and the guys have a new CD, entitled Nine Trick Pony, and they’re celebrating its release. Expect a mix of blues and country-ish songs. Tune in at 5pm and head to the 331 Club afterwards.

ToP's front line at work

ToP’s front line at work

Wednesday – Saturday, February 4-7

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70), 9pm ($35 – $60) Old School R&B of the highest order, with a horn section that just won’t quit. Tower of Power has been funkifying lives since 1968, and five of the ten members of this powerhouse band are original members. Their last few appearances at the Dakota have been full of energy and immensely satisfying. They now have a new lead singer, Ray Greene, who seems to be kicking the band to a higher level, if that’s possible.

Thursday, February 5

Hurricane Harold Trio @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 8pm (Free) Take the whirlwind harmonica blowing of Hurricane Harold, and join it to the blues-full vocals of Doug Otto and edgy guitar of Albert Perez and you’ve got some fun goin’ on. Here’s two of the three.

Friday, February 6

Moses Oakland and Paul Holland w/Rena Haus Trio @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) It’s a bluesy Freewheelin’ First Friday, as KFAI’s Jackson Buck presents singer/songwriter Rena Haus and her trio opening at 7pm. Then at 9pm, venerable bluesman/jam host Moses Oakland takes the stage, accompanied by Paul Holland.

Armadillo Jump @ Manitou Station Pub, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Though the dance floor is small, it still allows East metro folk  to dance to the ever swingin’ rockin’ blues of the Jumpsters.

Friday, Saturday, February 6,7

Bob Marley 70th Birthday Celebration @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($18) Marley was part Natural Mystic, part Rebel, Rastafarian, and the most popular world music artist of the late 70s and until he passed in ’81. This annual celebration has turned into a two day affair for the 70th anniversary of his birth. The International Reggae All Stars came together as a Marley tribute band in the early 90s. They and Innocent will lead the celebration, joined by many friends. Here’s what to expect.

Saturday, February 7

Harriet Brewing’s 4th Anniversary @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Featuring country inflected rock n’ roll from the American Sacarecrows; more country writing and guitar playing from Erik Koskinen and his Band; and lively Nouveau Hillbilly music from The Last Revel. Harriet brewing will fill the beer taps with a number of their brews as well.

KFAI Benefit w/Mighty Mofos, X-boys, Flamin’ Ohs, Michael Yonkers, DJ Danny Sigelman @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12) Lots of Gen Xers will relive their youth, while Millennials will discover the power of 70s and early 80s punk/pop. Tickets are going fast, so you may want to buy/reserve early. Here’s something from the vaults featuring the Ohs.

Sunday, February 8

33rd Annual Battle of the Jug Bands @ The Cabooze, 12:00 Noon, ($5 Suggested Donation) Will dozens of jug bands, some of whom were formed just for the contest, get up and perform? Will long time friends greet each other with warmth? Will a large potluck ensue? And will the waffle iron prize once again be stolen? Whadda you think?

Urban Hillbilly Quartet @ the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Como Zoo, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30 pm (Free) Though often cited for their eclecticism, the UHB mines some of the same country/rock genre as bands such as the Flying Burrito Brothers, The Jayhawks, Uncle Tupelo, and even David Grisman. Can’t think of a nicer, warmer, or more skin-welcoming humid place to hear them than the Conservatory (see photo above), though limited space means you might want to listen to them in a part of the conservatory that doesn’t have direct sight lines to the band.

Barbara Le Shoure Benefit @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm ($10 Donation) Blueswoman Barbara LeShoure  a member of both the Chicago and Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame, had a third stroke a few months back, and though she’s been improving with physical therapy, she needs help with daily expenses and medical bills. The music community is rallying around, so you’ll be able to hear the Maxx Band, Annie Mack, Jimmy Prime Time Sith, Kendra Glenn, Wain MacFarlane, Pippi Ardennia, more.

Monday, February 9

Tommy & The Liebermen @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Lieberman is a singer/songwriter with a fine way with words and an entertaining way with a crowd. His songs can be insightful as well as funny. It’s a foodie night, so there’s no cover, $10 bottles of wine and a special menu.

Tuesday, February 10

Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. (No Cover) If you’re looking for ace fingerpicking and a more than pleasant baritone to go with your dinner, this is the place to be tonight. Be sure to ask for a table near the singer, since Cafe Maude can get crowded and noisy.

Tuesday, Wednesday, February 10,11

Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60) Hmm, how much needs to be said about Mason  at least for anyone over 50. Okay, he’s in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. He’s recorded with Hendrix, the Stones, and George Harrison, and his band Traffic featured Steve Winwood. He had hits with Only You Know and I Know, and Feelin’ Alright, which was later made a bigger hit by Joe Cocker. Mason even recorded with Mama Cass! These shows will feature songs from Traffic’s1967 and 1968 albums. Is that enough?

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.


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