Live Music and Spring Pledge Drive: 3.11 – 3.17

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.



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