Out Like A Lamb? Music: 3.25 – 3.31

March 25, 2015
Snow? Really?

Snow? Really?

Thanks to all who pledged to KFAI. The calendar tells us we’re moving into April, and though we had snow last night, it’s already melted on the streets, so getting out for music should be easy and as always, fun. This week we have a number of notable visiting artists in jazz, roots, and world music, as well as a couple of very young jazz bands, a couple of big bands and more. Hooray for us! Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, March 25

Levi at work

Levi at work

Levi Schwartzberg Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Talk about a band of young lions! Schwartzberg is the vibraphone player who was in the Dakota Combo for the last two years. He’s now a freshman at the UofMN, and plays in a number of bands in addition to leading this quintet, which includes Peter Goggin, alto; Aiden Sponheim, trumpet, Charlie Lincoln, double bass, and Ben Oni, on drums and cymbals. They’ll be playing some of Scwartzberg’s originals as well as improvised compositions.

Ellis Marsalis & Delfeayo Marsalis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($30 – $40) This is a must-see event for jazz lovers. The whole Marsalis family has been named Jazz Masters, but it’s patriarch Ellis, the pianist, who deserves the credit for instilling his sons with a love for jazz, and the desire to play it well. Ellis and Delfeayo, the trombonist, have recently released The Last of the Southern Gentlemen, a first time collaborative effort that’s an acknowledgement of love and respect for all people. Here’s Delfeayo, featured in a number with other members of the clan, including Ellis.

Enormous Quartet @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance for denizens of SW Minneapolis to hear some great talent without straying into either downtown. The quartet consists of Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; and Joey Van Philips, drums. Though there is no cover, Cafe Maude features a three course meal for $20 as well as a fine selection of potables from the bar. Request a seat where you can hear the band.

Thursday, March 26

Delfeayo at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a couple of years back.

Delfeayo at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a couple of years back.

Delfeayo Marsalis & Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9pm ($30 – $40) Ellis Marsalis is unable to make the second night of this two night gig, so Delfeayo is bringing in Crawford, The Prince of New Orleans. In a town that’s filled with wonderful piano players, Crawford has distinguished himself as both a player and vocalist. Of course, Crawford also has his lineage as an inspiration: James Sugar Boy Crawford was in grandfather, and his godmother is Roberta Flack.

Fireside Five & Friends @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This is an under-the-radar gig that is worthwhile checking out, featuring five veteran jazz cats who swing like crazy: Tom Ashworth, trombone; Brian Grivna, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. After the first set they invite equally talented friends to join them and jam. Be warned. It’s a small venue and seats fill up early.

Maryann Sullivan & Sarah Greer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s a double dose of vocalists tonight at the basement club, featuring music that ranges from swinging classics from Peggy Lee and Billie Holiday, to more contemporary fare from the Beatles, Cyndi Lauper, and originals. Accompanying Ms Sullivan: Larry McDonough on vocals. With Sarah Greer: John Iden, bass; Jim Oujska, guitar; Doug Rohde, piano; and Dean White, drums.

Friday, March 27

Phil Aaron Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) For the second night in a row, Aaron is playing at an “underground” venue, though this time he’s the leader, with Zacc Harris, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. High quality music. Phil is really swingin’ on this video.

How Birds Work @ Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Another night, another band of excellent musicians. How Birds Work used to play the Artists’ Quarter with some welcome regularity, given that drummer Kenny Horst owned the club. The group, which also includes Peter Schimke, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Dean Granros, guitar; swings, whether they’re playing the music of Coltrane and Wayne Shorter, or their own originals.

Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $70) It’s been about five years since this 8-piece purveyor of original New Orleans Jazz came to town. It’s been a New Orleans institution for over 50 years, performing at its namesake hall and touring the world. Though its original members played with the likes of Buddy Bolden and Bunk Johnson, the current membership does a remarkable job of keeping the joyous sounds of traditional jazz alive.

Saturday, March 28

The 2014 - 20-15 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

The 2014 – 20-15 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

Dakota Combo & the Daley/Brattain Report @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Combo), 8:30pm (Daley/Brattain) ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Tonight’s Saturday Jazz at the Black Dog features both youngsters and veterans. The Dakota Combo is an open audition group that studies with Adam Linz. This year’s group includes: Peter Goggin, alto; Aiden Sponheim, trumpet; Jordan Anderson, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Adam Astrup, guitar; Jack Courtright, trombone, and Sam Roberto, tenor; and Luke Peterson, drums. They’ll be followed at 8:30 by the Daley/Brattain Report: Dave Brattain, sax; Kevin Dal;ey, Bruce Heine, bass; David Stanoch, drums.

Sidewalk Cafe @ the 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10:30pm ($10) Guitarist Reynold Philipsek has been playing for over fifty years, and is strongly influenced by Django Rheinhardt, as well as Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino. He regularly accompanies some of the area’s fine singers, and plays throughout the area, including this gypsy jazz gig, which includes the other members of Sidewalk Cafe  master violinist Gary Schulte, and the excellent Jeff Brueske on bass.

Sunday, March 29

Tierney Sutton: the Joni Mitchell Project @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35), 8pm ($25) Tierney Sutton is an often subtle,  ethereal, and always thrilling singer, who immerses herself in a lyric. She’s received six Grammy nominations including one for her 2013 release, After Blue, which casts the music of Joni Mitchell in a new light. She’ll be accompanied by cellist Mark Summer of the Turtle Island String Quartet and French guitarist Serge Merlaud in an intimate evening of Mitchell’s music.

Century Jazz Orchestra @ Jethro’s Char-House and Pub, 3140 Century Avenue North, Mahtomedi. (3pm? 7pm,? Free?) I was unable to confirm times in time for this newsletter, so if you want to hear a much much better than average college big band, you’ll have to call the venue to confirm times and cover. The number at the Char House is 651-770-2443.

Monday, March 30

Bob Bowman – Doan Roessler Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kansas City Bassist Bowman has visited town a number of times as a member of Karryn Allison’s band, where he provided an inventive, steady foundation for her singing. Before settling in Kansas City he was a member of the Thad Jones-Mel lewis Orchestra, the ToshikoAkiyoshi-Lew Tabackin Big Band, and accompanied Carmen McCrae. Tonight he’s joining up with fellow bassist Doan Brian Roessler, pianist Peter Schimke, and percussionist Marc Anderson for what promises to be an evening of imaginative, exciting music. Here’s bowman

International Novelty Gamelan Record Release w/The Drone Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Monday nights at the Icehouse are given over to JTs Jazz Implosion, which always presents exciting jazz. Tonight’s a bit different, as International Novelty Gamelan celebrates the release of a CD. In their own words, ING explores new music using the instruments of a Javanese Gamelan Orchestra. The Drone Band explores sonic possibilities in minute changes in tone and timbre, and includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Evan Clark, tuba; Cory Healey drums; Noah Ophoven Baldwin, trumpet; Jim Pfeffer, bass; Cole Pulice, sax.

Tuesday, March 31

Eliane Elias Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40), 9pm ($25 – $35) Brazilian born Elias is a pianist of great technique and passion and a vocalist who knows how to raise temperature with a cool, tempting voice. She’s lived in the U.S. for over thirty years, recording over 20 albums and recieveing five Grammy nomninations. Her latest album, Made in Brazil is, as might be expected from the title, a return to her Brazilian roots. Here’s a taste of her music.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Regular readers may note that I often list this band quite regularly. I do so because: 1) Adam Meckler creates modern, yet highly accessible charts; 2) He’s gathered some of the finest young musicians in town to play; 3) They only play about once a month; and 4) Jazz Central is an intimate space where you can get blown away by the power of this 17 piece band

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, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 25

Stringer Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Vocalist Yasmina Moore-Foster and pianist Ted Godbout perform Top 40 hits, jazz standards, maybe a bit of R&B.

Thursday, March 26

Benjamin Booker @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Booker is only 25 years old, yet the New Orleans native a rock has quickly become a hot ticket since the release of his debut album last summer. It didn’t hurt that he toured with Jack White. He’s got a raspy voice that’s well suited to his band’s dense sound, which hearkens back to the attitude of early rock n’ roll, when the guitars of Chuck Berry, James Burton, and Bo Diddley produced “dangerous” dance music. Olivia Jean opens.

Dumpy Jug Bumpers @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.  10pm  (Tip Jar) With all the interest in roots and old timey music, it seems only natural that a band would draw upon the kazoo, which was featured in a number of songs in the 20s, as well as Jesse Fuller’s 1962 recording of San Francisco Bay Blues, and Eric Clapton’s version of that song. It’s a regular feature of jug bands of course, hence it’s use by the Jug Bumpers: Drew Temperante, resonator guitar, mandolin-banjo, kazoo, vocals; Tom Phelan, harmonica, vocals; Muskrat, parlor guitar, jug, kazoo, vocals; Liz Draper, upright bass.

The Icicles @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) David Lynch meets Surf Pop in the instrumental music of Jake Hanson, guitars; Jim Anton, bass; and Jeremy Hanson, drums.

Friday, March 27

The Ericksons @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Sisterly harmonies from the Ericksons  who released a well-recieved album last year. Their folky, rootsy music was incubated in a time of darkness and loss, but the new album reveals a brighter outlook and love of family. Opening is Barbara Jean, a country-ish singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who also released a well-reviewed album last year.

Harold’s House Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, 7pm ($5) Just as he does on his weekly radio show, Harold Tremblay presents a mix of blues, both old & new, along with some roots/Americana music. Nathan Miller, 7pm; Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold, 8:15pm; Hula Peppers, 9pm.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Ahh, the Hipshaker Crew once again combs  their record collections for rare funk n’ soul 45s that will have folks dancing with joy. Here’s an example of the kind of music they play.

Saturday, March 28

Otis Clay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Otis Clay  s an original soul man, and you can bet the faithful will be out tonight. Though born in Mississippi, where he started singing in gospel groups, he moved to Chicago in the 50s, and in the 60s became a soul singer to be reckoned with. His first recordings on One-derful were recently released as part of a compilation on Secret Stash, and show that, if anything, his passionate singing is as strong as ever. After One-derful he went to Cotillion, and then scored hits on Memphis’ Hi Records with Tryhing to Live My Life Without You and If I Could Reach Out. He’s been coming to the Twin Cities off and on for the last thirty years or so and we’re lucky to know him.

Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Whether they’re performing originals or covers of songs by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, or even Bob Dylan and the Beatles, Jimmi and the band deliver a lively set of blues, which earned them the right to represent Minnesota at the International Blues challenge in Memphis this year.

Scottie Miller Band @ Washington Square Bar & Grill, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Miller is a piano player/songwriter whose music can evoke  both Professor Longhair and Bruce Springsteen, among others, though he is, no doubt, his own man when it comes to performing.

Monday, March 30

Ibeyi w/Flo Morrissey @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Ibeyi are French Cuban twins who perform in both English and Yoruban, from the Cuban culture of Yoruba. Naomi Dian plays percussive instruments, while Lisa plays piano. Their music reflects both the Cuban culture of their father, percussionist Ana Diaz, as well as the R&B of modern music. English singer Flo Morrissey opens.

Tuesday, March 31

Castro, Sabien, & Dunn @ Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) That’s Gaby Castro, Randy Sabien, and Joe Dunn, three multi-instrumentalists, each with their own take on roots and Americana. After getting her start in San Francisco, Castro moved to the Twin cities to attend McNally Smith College of Music, where Dunn is also a student. Sabien started the string department there (and at Berklee) and continues to teach there. They’ll be playing original music on acoustic instruments in various combinations.

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

Live Music and a Pledge Drive, Week 2. Music: 3.18 – 3.24

March 18, 2015

imagesWell, it’s week two of KFAI’s Spring Pledge Drive and we’re about to celebrate the Vernal Equinox and the arrival of spring this Friday at 5:45pm here in the Twin Cities. As James Brown once put it, “Please, Please, Please” pledge to KFAI during my show on Saturday morning (10:30 – Noon) or online at www.kfai.org.

That message isn’t meant to distract from the myriad of music offerings we have here, from Saturday night jazz in Lowertown, to old folkies, young Afrobeat adherents, and resident musicians performing the music of Hawaii and Scandanavia. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, March 18

Pete Whitman Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tenor saxophonist Whitman is a teacher, the leader of the X-Tet and the McNally Smith Big Band, and an in-demand sideman around town. Tonight he brings his leadership and playing skills to bear on a quintet of stellar musicians, with Chris Lomheim, piano; Chris Olsen, guitar; Jay Young, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, March 19

Harmonic Convergence @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s not a line-up in the sky, but rather a six-piece vocal ensemble from Iowa, directed by Lucas Mattson, son of arranger Phil Mattson.

Friday, March 20

Ms Mountain

Ms Mountain

Vicky Mountain Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) It’s well worth a trip to Bloomington to hear the singing’ and swingin’ Ms Mountain, accompanied by the ever tasteful duo of Phil Aaron, piano; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Donald Washington Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Multi-instrumentalist Washington is always a revelation when he plays, whether the compositions are standards or composed on the spot. With Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums.

Jake Baldwin Group @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar?) Baldwin is the fine trumpet player who has been gigging around town as a sideman and with his own groups. Tonight, he’s leading a pack of young lions, including Nelson Deveraux, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson on drums.

Clarke & Louis

Clarke & Louis

Louis & Clarke @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Steve Clarke and Louis Sinclair celebrate the release of their first CD: “three of one.” With Clarke, an eleven time winner of the Minnesota Music Award, on soprano sax, Sinclair on Chapman Stick (a tall, guitar-like instrument with ten strings) and Michael Bisonette on drums and percussion, they are using 19th and 20th century instruments to create 21st century jazz.

Actually, they are visible

Actually, they are visible

Invisible Guy + Metzger, Lewis, Cox, & Bates @ Icehouse, MInneapolis. 10pm ($8) Hamir Atwal, drums; Ben Goldberg, clarinet; and Michael Coleman, piano, are currently from the Bay area, and now driving around the Midwest to various gigs. Each comes from a varied background that ranges from Klezmer and Classical to mainstream and exploratory jazz. As a trio, they are in strict pursuit of a beautiful melody. Also on the bill is the exploratory music of Paul Metzger, guitar and built instruments; Michael Lewis, sax; Anthony Cox, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, March 21

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Opening is King Fletcher Woods, with Jeff King, Charles, Fletcher, Eron Woods, drums. Illicit Sextet at 8:30pm with Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, sax; David Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; Nathan Norman, drums; and Steve Kenny, flumpet.

Dave Hagedorn Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Dave Hagedorn is an extraordinary vibes player, who recorded two albums with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra, and who gigs regularly with the Phil Hey Quartet. Tonight he’s teaming up with guitarist Zacc Harris to pay homage to the Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery album Bags Meets Wes. The band is rounded out with Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Corey Healey, drums. Sure to be a treat. Here’s a clip of Hagedorn in action with the Phil Hey Quartet.

Scott Horey @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) Horey is a solo percussionist who specializes in drums and marimba. Aside from performing a couple of actual solo pieces, he will be joined in a program of originals and new classical music by Bethany Gonella flute; Trent Baarspul, guitar; Ted Godbout, keyboards; Karen Kozak, electric fiddle; Douglas Brown, bass; and Charlie Engen, drums. I recently did an interview with him, which you can hear on my show Saturday morning, or read the post just prior to this one.

Monday, March 23

The Adam Meckler Quintet + Zacc Harris Group @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. ($8) Expect an evening with lots of original music. As Meckler himself describes his group – Adam Meckler: Trumpet/Fleugal/Pen/Paper; Nelson Devereaux: Tenor/Alto/Soprano/Hair; Zacc Harris: Guitar/Birthday; Graydon Peterson: Bass/Kung Fu; Greg Schutte: Drums/George Clooney. First up is the Zacc Harris Group playing Harris originals: Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums. Here’s Adam doing his thing.

Monday, Tuesday, March 23, 24

Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42), 9pm ($30) Tyrell always delivers an evening of swinging romantic music, calling upon standards and pop songs from the last half century. He started out as a producer at Scepter Records in the 60s, working with Bacharach & David, and producing a number of hits over the years. Eventually Tyrell was producing music for a number of hit films, and in the 90s sang “The Way You Look Tonight” for the movie Father of the Bride. It launched his singing career, in which he evokes the era of Sinatra, Dean Martin and the like, though with more charm, a rasp in his voice, and less braggadocio.

Tuesday, March 24

Dave Stanoch @ McNally Smith Auditorium, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Stanoch is a versatile drummer who has played with the likes of Sheryl Crow, George Clinton, Jack McDuff and Ben Sidran, among others. He currently teaches at McNally Smith, plays in a half-dozen groups around town, is a contributor to Modern Drummer magazine, and has written a drumset method book, Mastering the Tables of Time, Vol. 1. McNally Smith students will perform in the lobby at 5pm, followed by Stanoch (& friends?) in the auditorium at 6pm.

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, March 18

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3, 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) As part of KFAI’s Spring Pledge Drive, Harold Tremblay has brought in an Iowa duo with a big fan base in the Twin Cities. Joe and Vicki visit our towns with some regularity, playing blues that sound more at home in the southern reaches of the Mississippi River than in Northern Iowa. Listen, and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Haley Bonar @ Rock the Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $25 ) The folks at the Ordway are doing a great job of celebrating the new concert hall by bringing in a wide variety of acts. Haley Bonar is a case in point. In the last decade, the Twin Cities by way of Rapid City and Duluth singer has released eight albums and increasingly earned acclaim for her alt roots/alt folk/alt rock music. Bonar has gained the respect and collaboration of many area musicians, such as Dave King and Andrew Bird, and always has a top-notch band, which might include musicians such as Jake Hanson, Jeremy Ylvisaker, and Mike Lewis.

Wednesday, Thursday, March 18, 19

Tom Paxton & Janis Ian @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) The Greenwich Village Folk Scene may be a thing of the past, but two of its participants are at the Dakota to give us a taste of that time and the intervening years. Back in the day Paxton was known for his protest songs, but he also wrote songs about love and humor, including a few that became folk standards, including “Ramblin’ Boy” and the “Last Thing on My Mind.” Ian was only 15, when “Society’s Child,” her hit song of interracial romance, came out about 1967. It was provocative for the time, to say the least. She then received a Grammy in the mid-70s for “At Seventeen,” a song with great insight into teen musings. They’ll appear on stage together, swapping stories and songs, for most of the show.

Thursday, March 19

Joe & Viki Price @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) In case you missed them at the 331 Club last night, Joe & Vicki will be the featured guests of washboard/percussionist Mikkel Beckman. Given the relaxed atmosphere at the Dubliner, this happy hour gig is about as good as it gets.

Friday, March 20

Tinsley Ellis @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Like many other guitarists who grew up in the late 60s and early 70s, Ellis’ blues have always veered towards the rockin’ side, though he is capable of emotional fire as well. Though often called a better guitarist than vocalist, his last album In From the Cold has him in good voice. The Rhythm Roosters open.

Black Market Brass @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The folks at Secret Stash Records are presenting another evening of their artists. The headliners, Black Market Brass, play original Afrobeat as well as their interpetations of Afrobeat classics. Secret Stash’s house band is The Lakers, who honed their chops touring and recording as the backing band for Sonny Knight. Gospel Machine is a garage-gospel group from NE Minneapolis, featuring Jayanthe Kyle, of Black Audience, on vocals.

Saturday, March 21

Drew Druckry & the Dharma Hounds @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Drew Druckry (North Country Bandits, Julie Johson & the No-Accounts) has a new band, whose members have toiled in a number of groups ranging from the Kung Fu Hippies to Jason Dixon Line, White Iron Band,  and Root City. The Dharma Hounds concentrate on blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock. Opening are a highly compatible group, the Swamp Kings, who’ve been purveyors of New Orleans Funk, and Cajun boogie for almost ten years now.

Hula Peppers @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Celebrate the Equinox with the Mid-Winter Luau. Hawaiian themed garb is encouraged, and will be welcome as you dance, dance, dance to the old-time and Hawaiian sounds of the Hula Peppers. Also on hand will be Patty & the Buttons, so it will be an accordion-centric Luau.

Scandinavian Music Showcase @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) This caught my eye despite the fact that I know little about most of the performers, who include, Kari Tauring, Bob & Lynne Dixon, The Twin Cities Hardanger Fiddle Group, The Nordic Bees and more. When it comes to music, there’s always more to learn.

The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?)  One of the regular appearances for this 10-piece band at MMC. There’s always a dancing crowd, which isn’t surprising given the band’s funkiness and the bar’s commodious dance floor.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) The Digdown guys are an 8-piece band based in Madison, though a couple of their members hail from the Twin Cities. Lots of fun, whether playing a Jackson Five song or traditional New Orleans number.

Sunday, March 22

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm – 8pm (No Cover) It’s a take-no-prisoners battle for bragging rights and a chance to play the Lowertown Blues Festival this summer. Attend, listen, and vote for one of the following: Dee Miller Band; Prior Avenue, Bluedog, and Squishy Mud.

Tuesday, March 23

Paul Mayasich & Big George Jackson @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8:30pm (tip Jar?) Ooh, the guitar playing skills of Mayasich and the deep vocals of Big George, together at the WBL watering hole.

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.

Rhythm is Rhythm: An Interview with Percussionist Scott Horey

March 17, 2015

UnknownDr. Scotty Horey (B.A., M.M.A., D.M.A.) is a Twin Cities  percussionist, drummer, who has performed nationally and in Central and South America as a solo percussion artist. He currently teaches and lectures at the UofM, Morris, is Principal Percussionist of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra, and the drummer for RisingSide, a Minneapolis progressive rock band. Horey will be performing at Studio Z on Saturday March 21, accompanied by Bethany Gonella flute; Trent Baarspul, guitar; Ted Godbout, keyboards; Karen Kozak, electric fiddle; Douglas Brown, bass; and Charlie Engen, drums. What follows is a slightly edited version of a brief interview we conducted over lunch one afternoon.

You are a solo percussionist. Most people would think in terms of a drum kit, but you do more. Please explain.

I think of myself as a solo percussion artist, so I play a lot of drum kit and marimba. A marimba is a pitched percussion instrument, like a xylophone, but its bigger. It’s pianistic and I find that with those two instruments I can express myself.

You have a show coming up.

The show is called Signs of New Vitality. I have some original compositions and some other pieces featuring some of my colleagues collaborating with me. It’s Saturday March 21st at Studio Z (Ed Note: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, Lowertown Saint Paul). You can see Jazz at Studio Z (Ed Note: The Dave Hagedorn Quintet) at 7pm and then my show at 10pm. You can get discounted tickets to go to both shows.

What kind of music will you be presenting?

Well, it’s my music, original pieces or pieces I choose by other composers. I describe it as a mix between, contemporary classic, progressive rock, and jazz fusion music.

What do those types of music have in common?

A lot of people ask me that. Hopefully it gets cleared up after attending one of my concerts. As a percussionist you always play a variety of styles of music. Over the yrs you learn how to combine. For me those styles completely express myself. My compositions take components of each style. I love the dynamic and rhythmic approach of jazz, and the forms of the tunes. Progressive Rock has a little more aggressive edge to it, with a drier and more aggressive drum sound, and maybe some simpler harmonies. Classical music has more elaborate pre-written parts as well as some counterpoint. I have a classical flautist playing on the project. I’ll also perform some solo marimba pieces that fit in the musical.

One style of marimba

One style of marimba

Do you compose on marimba?

I try to sit down at the piano. I play at a very basic level, which forces me to play simple harmonies, but most of it comes from rhythms, which I get from the drums – rhythmic ideas and odd time signatures. Then I like to find harmonies on the piano. And then the flute of course is one of my favorite instruments. I can usually hear flute playing in my head.

How does it work to express yourself in solo performances?

I do consider myself somewhat of an individualist. I feel like a very reflective person, and enjoy solitude. I enjoy spending time with myself, whether on my yoga and meditation practice, which is part of my music practice, or just the simple act of enjoying the sound of my instrument late at night by myself. That informs my inspiration. It’s kind of my personality type that transmits when I’m on stage. I love being on stage by myself. I can tell people my story. I think that sends a lot of emotional power. It makes it even more exciting when I collaborate with other musicians, which is part of this show.

You’ve done some shows in South America. What is it about those shows that, though you may not be able to speak to an audience vocally, you can communicate with your music?

That’s one of the reasons I play instrumental music. I love instrumental music and I want to say, with Latin America in particular that I love the culture and I feel at home in Latin Amrican culture. They really value emotional expression and are warm and love music. Love watching a new performer and have a high degree of appreciation for it. I think because my music is really sentimental, very open hearted, and there’s a lot of grooves and rhythms to it, it works very nicely and the LA audiences enjoy my performance.

Even though you aren’t necessarily playing Latin American rhythms.

Right. I have a lot to learn about that. Rhythm is rhythm is rhythm, whether you’re in India, the United States, or South America.

Horey on Marimba

You can find out more about Scotty Horey at: http://www.scottyhorey.com

For more information about the show, go to: http://www.studiozstpaul.com/horey-032115.html

Live Music and Spring Pledge Drive: 3.11 – 3.17

March 11, 2015

mpls_sunriseYes, we can see the sun at the end of the winter tunnel. Besides the warmth of the sun (thank you Brian Wilson), Springtime brings the KFAI Spring Pledge Drive, one of the few times I ask readers to show their appreciation for this newsletter. KFAI is a community run that derives a great deal of its support from listeners. It’s a station that supports Twin Cities musicians, as I do on my show. You can support the station by becoming a member during my show on Saturday morning or by attending the Brass Bash II, on Sunday, which I list below. Actually, you can do both. Music lifts your spirit.


Wednesday, March 11

Wood in Bronze @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation)  Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein  drums; have been playing together for close to 20 years in combinations that have ranged all over the place, from Klezmer, Avant Rock, and Swing bands to a musical about Ira Gershwin. Tonight it’s just the two of them exploring the sonic possibilities of their instruments.

Thursday, March 12

Shoop! @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This area quintet sings close harmony jazz and pop ala the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices. Individually, the five singers have performed in any number of venues and groups around town. They’ve been performing as Shoop! for about five years now. As to their name, it comes from the Betty Everett number It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song), which they will undoubtedly sing.

Jack DeJohnette’s Made in Chicago @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35) It was fifty years ago that Muhal Richard Abrams began to gather like minded musicians to explore original non-composed music, often called Avant Garde at the time, in a collective called the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. During the 60s, Abrams led The Experimental Band, which included Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. They reunited and performed at the 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival, recording the event and releasing the results last week. Tonight, with the help of Larry Gray on bass, they’ll be performing at the McGuire Auditorium.

Friday, March 13

Foreign Motion @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar?) Here’s a quartet of extremely good, relatively young musicians, led by versatile guitarist Cory Wong, performing original jazz for the 21st Century. You’ll hear some funk, the influence of world rhythms, and music that covers the scale from sensitive to anthemic. Besides, Wong, members include Kevin Gasonguey, electric keys; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Peter Janjic, drums.

Peter Vircks Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, piano; Ron Evanuik, bass; Kevin Washington, drums. Vircks is an in-demand saxman about town whose primary project is playing for the nationally renowned Rhythmic Circus dance troupe, though he’s likely to turn up with Root City, or Moveable Feast, as well as his own quartet, featured tonight, and any number of other projects. HIs CD, What You Believe is True, received high praise and was in MPRs Top Ten for 2014. This will be an early evening of quality jazz. Then stick around for College Night starting about 9:30pm.

Saturday, March 14

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Opening at 7pm tonight is the Noah Ophoven-Baldwin Trio, a young group featuring Ophoven Baldwin on trumpet; Joe Strachan, keys; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Then at 8:30, the stage will be filled with the likes of What Would Monk Do?, a quartet of veterans who’ve been interpreting Monk as a group for a number of years: Steve Kenny, flumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums.

Sunday, March 15

JazzMN Orchestra w/guest Pete Christlieb @ Hopkins High School, Hopkins. 3pm ($32 – $34, + student discounts)  Pete Christlieb is a bebopper who had a great job gigging with the Tonight Show Band. Before that he played in the bands of Louis Bellson, Woody Herman, and Count Basie, and performed the solo on Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues. He’s the featured guest this afternoon with the 16 piece JazzMN Orchestra, made up of the area’s A-list musicians.

KFAI Presents Brass Bash II @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 4pm – 9pm ($10) A celebration of horns with all money raised going to support KFAI. Performers are the Maurice Jacox Trio, with Tom Wells on tuba, Bobby E on guitar, and Jacox on vocals; The Zack Lozier THREE, with Lozier on trumpet and vocals; Steve Pikal, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano; and the New Sound Underground, a 7-piece jazz funk outfit that’s been thrilling packed houses at First Avenue and elsewhere. KFAI deejays from Vinyl Voices will be spinning before and after sets, and some light food will be available.

Monday, March 16

Sofia Rei @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Rei is a native of Buenos Aires who connects musical traditions of South America with jazz, world music, and electronic sounds. Though she is a relatively new voice here in the United States, she has already managed to record and/or perform with an impressive list of musicians, including John Zorn, Bobby McFerrin, Lionel Loueke, Geoffrey Keezer, and Steve Lacy. Music director for her band is the impressive multi-instrumentalist JC Maillard, who recently wowed audiences here when he was with Lisa Fisher.

Joe Mayo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Mayo is a free-lance sax player who has recently moved to town. He has studied with Ralph Lalama and Eric Alexander and has developed a sweet sound.

Tuesday, March 17

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This 19 piece big band will fill the stage at Crooners and undoubtedly have a number of couples out on the dance floor, especially when Fogel, a fine singer, supplies the vocals.

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.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 11

Maurice Jacox on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pmn (331 Club – Tip Jar) Here’s a preview of what you can hear at the KFAI Benefit at Vieux Carre on Sunday (see jazz listings, above). Jacox is a formidable vocalist who can raise the roof with a blues, sing stripped down soul, or croon like Nat King Cole. His trio this evening includes Tom Wells on tuba and Bobby E. on guitar. It’s an unusual combination but one that will give you a new appreciation for the songs Jacox sings.

Hot Date @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Hot Date is Eric Carranza and Nora O’Brien, who not only curate intimate concerts in their Lowertown loft, but also write warm, intimate, and playful songs, which seems to reflect their relationship. They recently released For Lovers, recorded in their home studio.

Thursday, March 12

CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) CJ is the son of Clifton Chenier, who is often credited with originating zydeco, or at the least, bringing it to the attention of folks outside of Louisiana. Certainly, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, as CJ is a virtuoso accordionist and dynamic singer. He has taken his legacy, and incorporated blues, swamp pop and R&B into his music. The results will have folks stomping’ and hollering, if not dancing in the aisles at the Dakota.

La Santa Cecilia @ Rock The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $47) Kudos to the booking folks at the Ordway for finding and presenting this bi-cultural group whose members are the children of immigrant parents. La Santa Cecilia is a California/Mexican folk rock band who won the 2014 Grammy for the Best Latin Rock album playing a blend of Mexican traditional music, such a conjuntos, and Norteno music, with soul, R&B, and Americana Rock.

Friday, March 13

Robby Krieger of the Doors @ Medina Entertainment Center,  Medina. 8:30pm ($34 – $54) For those of us of a certain age, Krieger will be forever known as the guitarist and co-writer for the Doors, back in the psychedelic haze of the late 60s. With the death of Jim Morrison in 1971 and eventual disbanding of the band, Krieger has played and recorded with a number of different bands and occasionally reunited with keyboardist Ray Manzarek. His latest album, Singularity, from 2010, is a jazzy affair, though tonight will undoubtedly be a rockin’ evening.

Poverty Hash @ Harriet BrewingTap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Poverty Hash made a big impression on the audience at the 2010 Deep Blues Festival with their howling (rock-ish but not rock) approach to traditional style blues. They moved here from Connecticut the next year and have been raising the roof at various venues since then, with leader Joe Roberto on vocals and a number of instruments, including lap steel.

Worldwide Discotheque @ Clubhouse Jager, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) The second Friday of every month finds a couple a hundred folks crowded into the Clubhouse to joyously get down to funky Afro/Caribbean/Latin rhythms as spun by vinyl masters Brian Engel and Dan McAllister. It’s one of the most inspiring multi-cultural events in town.

Friday, Saturday, March 13, 14

Charanga Tropical – 2 Nights 2 Cuba @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul 8pm (Fri, $20) and The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm (Sat, $20) Charanga Tropical  the Twin Cities foremost exponents of Latin Dance Music, have been invited to Cuba to play at the Festival Danzon in June, and they are holding these shows to raise money for the trip. While there, they will record a live CD, the first American group to do so. Both nights will feature dance lessons early on, and special guests from Malamanya, Salsabrosa, Salsa del Soul, and others. Saturday night will feature pianists Vivianda Pintando and Nachito Herrera.

Saturday, March 14

Nikki Hill @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Yes, this is roots music, but its rock n’ roll roots music. With a tight three-piece band, a sandpaper voice, and a ferocity that’s recalls the big-voiced women of early R&B, North Carolinan Nikki Hill tears up a stage with rockabilly and early rock n’ roll ala Chuck Berry.

Charlie Parr @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($15) It’s worth the drive to Bayport to catch Parr  who sold out his Friday night appearance at the ‘Q. It’s a small venue, so you get to experience the intimacy of Parr’s blues. You may want to get on the inter web and call ahead for tickets.

Tuesday, March 17

Boiled in Lead @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Boiled in Lead is the antidote for the excesses of Saint Patrick’s Day: too much alcohol; too many Irish wannabes who think that a Kiss Me I’m Irish button will help them get lucky; and too much of a color that makes fashionable statements difficult. At Bil’s 32nd annual celebration you can dance yourself silly with traditional and rocked up reels, jigs, and Appalachian tunes.

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 Elevator Fare. Music: 3.4 – 3.10

March 4, 2015

Unknown-3Ahh, if March is here can Spring be far behind? I know, you can never tell here in the North, where we’ve been known to have April blizzards. Things are looking up for the weekend, with forecasts in the 40s, so you can take advantage of the fertile musical offerings to be found this week: a couple of shows that might be called nostalgic; some visiting jazzers that will awe and inspire you; African and Jamaican superstars; and resident artists who are rich in talent. Music lifts the spirit, although Gary Larson’s cartoon might indicate at least one instance where that doesn’t happen.


Wednesday, March 4

Pedrito Martinez Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($27), 9pm ($17) If you didn’t catch conguero/percussionist Pedrito Martinez June you missed a virtuoso display of Afro-Cuban music. Since arriving in North America in 1998, Martinez has established himself as both a bandleader and an important sideman, playing complex rhythms for such artists as Eddie Palmieri, Bebo Valdes, Bruce Springsteen, Cassandra Wilson, Joe Lovano, and Sting, among others. He was recently featured as one of the “80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today” in Downbeat’s 80th anniversary issue.

Chomsky & Thomas Nordlund Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s New Music Night at Jazz Central, and they’ve a double bill for jazz fans. Andrew Foreman’s group Chomsky will start things off. Besides Foreman on bass, the group includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; and Zach Schmidt, drums. Then Nordlund switches instruments, to a Baritone guitar; and is joined by Ben Abrahamson, guitars; Kevin Gastonguay, keys; Foreman on bass; and Lars-Erik Larson on drums. Together they’ll play new music from Nordlund’s upcoming EP of baritone guitar. Here is one of his originals.

Thursday, March 5

UnknownDouglas Ewart @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 6pm  (Free) Ewart is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, and maker of both masks and instruments. He plays a variety of reed and percussion instruments, as well as the digideroo, and has collaborated with The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Yusef Lateef, Cecil Taylor, and many Chicago heavyweights. HIs appearance is part of the Walker’s Sound Horizon series, exploring the spaces between sound and visual art.

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) It’s Foodie Night at the Dakota, with some swingin’ music to boot, brought to you by Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Cardenas is a talented jazz & R&B singer, who has been showing up a various venues around town of late, including the Dakota, the Nicollet Cafe, Honey, and Bedlam Lowertown. She has an expressive voice, and is wise enough to reveal her power in small portions. Tonight she’ll be singing the songs of Ella Fitzgerald.

Merciless Ghost @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5) George Cartwright is an adventurous explorer of saxophonic sounds, and tonight he is joined by Josh Granowski, bass; and drummer/percussionist Davu Seru.

Friday, March 6

Musical comrades

Musical comrades

Magraw/Gravatt @ the Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20/reserved seats, No Cover, General Admission) Guitarist Magraw and drummer Eric Kamau Gravatt have a natural ability to communicate on a deeply personal musical level. Their recent CD on Red House Records, has been well received nationally as well as regionally. Reserved seating, available here  guarantees a table near the stage, and is recommended.

Raisin’ Cane: A Harlem Renaissance Odyssey @ The O’Shaughnessy, Saint Paul. 7:30pm. ($25 – $55) This is a multi-media show about the literary and artistic blossoming of Harlem in the years after WWI, featuring actor/songstress Jasmine Guy & the Avery Sharpe Trio. Sharpe was the bassist for the McCoy Tyner Trio for 18 years, recording 10 albums with Tyner, and has released seven albums as a leader. There’s an interview with Guy in Tuesdays Star Tribune. Here’s a bit of a preview.

JT Bates B3 Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kevin Gastonguey, B3 Organ; Zacc Harris, guitar; JT Bates, drums. Oooh, things in the basement will get down and greasy with some B3 jazz from excellent musicians.

Saturday, March 8

DD7 & Charlie Lincoln Group @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s an evening of young whippersnappers at 7pm, and seasoned veterans at 98:3-0pm. Bassist Charlie Lincoln is still in high school. He’s a member of the Dakota Combo and has been musically growing by leaps and bounds in the last year or so. His group includes Aiden Sponheim, trumpet; and Peter Goggin, alto; (both also in this year’s Dakota Combo) and Levi Schwartzberg, piano (of last year’s Dakota Combo). At 8:30 the “oldsters” of DD7 will perform. They are Anthony Cox, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Mike Lewis, sax; Steve Kenny Flumpet; JT Bates, drums.

Monday, March 9

David Sanchez Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) The Grammy-winning and five-time nominee is a tenor saxophonist from Puerto Rico with a rich sound. He worked with Dizzy Gillespie for a number of years, as well as Charlie Haden, Eddie Palmieri, and others. Sanchez’s latest project, Baboula, follows the evolution of various West African and Caribbean rhythms to their use in the music of New Orleans and modern jazz.

Joan Griffith @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Griffith is a bassist/guitarist who is particularly adept at Brazilian rhythms. Griffith has recorded with Prudence Johnson, Laura Caviani, and Lucia Newell, and is director of the Macalester College Big Band.

Tuesday, March 10

Cassandra Wilson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60) It can easily be argued that Cassandra Wilson’s wholly fresh take on vocal jazz has changed the music. She has taken standards, folk songs, pop songs, and Delta Blues to new places by changing tempos, the way words are emphasized, and, from time to time, the utilization of unexpected instruments. She’s now touring behind a new album that’s an homage to Billie Holiday, another singer who changed the public’s perception of jazz singing.

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.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 4

Jaybone Bell and Restless Light on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) High energy, melodic roots rock & bluegrass from Winona. Jason Ziebell (Jaybone) is the chief writer. He’s joined by jazz masters Kelly Blau on electric guitar & mandolin and Jase Ginkel on bass & harmonica, along with Steve Jones, drums; and Isaac Sammis, banjo.

The Wailers @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) What more can be said about these reggae veterans who backed Bob Marley? They’ve sold over 250 million records worldwide, and though their charismatic leader died years ago, they carry on, led by bassist Aston, “Family Man” Barrett, who played with Lee Perry’s Upsetters before joining Marley in 1969.

Thursday, March 5

Records and beer  for an early Thursday evening.

Records and beer for an early Thursday evening.

The Return of Vinyl Tap @ Tin Whiskers Brewing Tap Room, 125 East 9th St., Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Free) I usually leave my own spinning gigs to the sidebar, but this one deserves a bit more attention. Vinyl Tap is the gig where I ask the audience to play name that tune about every 20 minutes or so. Winners get a prize (hint, it’s a tap room). I had been doing this at the Amsterdam until about a year ago, and so I’m happy to be able to do this at downtown Saint Paul’s brewery.

Benfest @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) A surfeit of Bens, songwriting Bens. All of them well versed in verses. Ben Kyle (Romantica); Ben Lubeck (Farewell Milwaukee); Ben Cook-Feltz; Ben Miller (the Federales) and Ben Tucker. All will share songs and stories together on one stage. And did I mention they’re all named Ben

Friday, March 6

Jake Manders CD Release @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Manders has a voice that sounds both weary and hopeful, which is just right for his easygoing, rootsy music. He’s celebrating a new CD, Acoustic Frequency, on which Greta Hunstiger provides substantial violin, nicely goosing along the faster numbers, and Daryn Chrystensen plays piano and percussion. The first fifty to pay at the door will get a copy. Barron, of Farewell Milwaukee, will open, with DJs David & Laura from Hymie’s providing additional music. Here’s a song on the CD.

Janie Miller and the Square Roots @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Janie Miller is well known for her Patsy Cline shows. She sometimes shows up at Bobby Eckstrand gigs, to share her voice which is just about perfect for singing other country songs. Square Roots with special guest harmonica ace Curtis Blake, open at 7pm.

Saturday, March 7

Unknown-3Caprice Saxophone Quartet: Undercurrents @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10) Four saxophone players performing miminalist music by Reich, Torke, Labodie, and Rosenhaus, with drummer Steve Horey joining them for an arrangement of Paranoid Android, by Radiohead.

Hugh Masekela & Vusi Mahlasela @ the Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($20 – $47) Oh boy! the Ordway is having a host of cool events during March. This one celebrates the music of South Africa. Masekela is the trumpeter who hit the top 40 back in the 60s  with Grazin’ in the Grass. His live shows are joyful affairs, with hip-swinging rhythms and songs that mine both traditional and urban African themes. Vusi Mahlasela has a gentle, gorgeous voice, at times reminiscent of Sam Cooke both in its timbre, and in the way he uses it to inspire hope. This show celebrates the 20th anniversary of the end of Apartheid. Here’s a video of Mahlasela.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm. (No Cover) When you want to dance to the music of the 60s, this is the band to call upon. This isn’t a band that slavishly plays note-for-note recreations of the hits: these are obviously and utterly devoted to the songs, but more importantly, they have fun.

Sunday, March 8

Ricky Nelson Remembered @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35), 8pm ($30) Rick Nelson became a Teen Idol and rock n’ roller in large part because he was featured on his parent’s show, Ozzie and Harriet every week. But give him his props, he had a good ear, recognized good tunes, and was able to hire James Burton as his guitarist. He sold over 130 million records, an as he aged he was able to keep his cred, creating country rock (with Bernie Leadon, who would later join the Eagles) before anyone else, and releasing a very good late album of rockers by John Fogerty, Graham Parker, and John Hiatt, among others. His sons Andrew and Gunnar had their own number one hit in 1990 as NELSON giving the family three generations with number one records (Ozzie led a big band before the TV show). Here’s a preview of the program.

George Kahumoku Jr, with Da “Ukulele Boyz @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Some music from Hawaii to help you forget winter. Kahumoku is a slack key guitarist who is has won multiple Grammys and hosts a weekly show of slack key guitar in Maui. Da Ukulele Boyz are a duo whose relaxed approach on stage belies their talent on ukelele.

Unknown-4British Invasion 50th Anniversary Tour @ Pantages Theatre, Minneapoli. 7pm ($48.50 – $58.50) For folks of a certain age, and fans of pure pop, this is a cornucopia of talent. Peter Asher, of Peter and Gordon, will serve as host/emcee. He should do a dandy job of it, based on his storytelling/singing at the Dakota during his last two visits. Denny Laine  served as a member of both the Moody Blues and Paul McCartney’s Wings, Chad & Jeremy, with their folk-rock harmonies, had 6 or 7 Top 40 songs here in the US, while Billy J. Kramer had about 5 entries, Mike Pender of The Searchers was their lead singer for a number of hits. Terry Sylvester replaced Graham Nash in the Hollies and was with them during their heyday, and also sang in the Swinging Blue Jeans.

Tuesday, March 10

Courtney Yasminah @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) The former Wayzata housewife who eschewed that life for one of a rockin’ singer/songwriter has now moved to NYC and is contemplating her tenth tour of Europe. Yasminah’s latest album, Red Letter Day,” is receiving high praise for its exuberance, songwriting, and general rockitude.

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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