Well, it’s April 15, time for the annual wringing of hands as taxes are due. There’s no wringing of hands over the lack of music in the Twin Cities, as evidenced by the sample of offerings for the next week. However, since it is tax day, I thought I’d give you a bonus: A video of George Harrison and Eric Clapton doing Taxman.
Wednesday, April 15
Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Shorai is often described as honey-voiced with good reason, as her sunny personality comes sweetly through, but she can also create just the right catch in her voice to convey a sense of loss and despair. She’s also an excellent pianist and is fast becoming a good songwriter.
MacNally Smith X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman leads this big band, and with 17 players, it is a big band of very talented students. Great charts as well.
Century College Big Band @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like this Century College aggregation is getting out and playing a bit. This organization has been around for decades and has hosted some of the nation’s top talent as guest artists.
Thursday, April 16
Rage Of Achilles @ Orchestra Hall Atrium, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Part of the Jazz in the Target Atrium Series, tonight Jeremy Walker, piano; Anthony Cox, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums, are joined by three vocalists for an original vocal drama composed by Walker and Cox wherein ancient poetry meets classical voice and jazz instrumentation.
Charlie Hunter Trio @ JJ Hill Event Center (Library), Saint Paul. 8pm ($25) This monthly event is usually listed under blues and roots, but tonight they are featuring guitarist Hunter whose stunning ability on 7 and 8 string guitar let’s him take bass parts as well as rhythm and lead. His career over the last 17 years has resulted in almost 20 albums, recorded for Blue Note, Ropeadope, Concord, and others and he’s worked with folks like Norah Jones and Mos Def. Here’s Hunter in a duo setting, doing Royals.
Friday, April 17
Corey Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Healey a well -respected educator, surrounds himself with some of Twin Cities finest: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Erik Fratzke, bass.
Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Another one of Washington’s monthly appearances at the Black Dog, this time the sax/reedman is accompanied by son Kevin on drums, as well as Brian Roessler, bass; and Eric Jackobson, tuba. It’s often unstructured music, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t engaging.
Javi Santiago Quartet @ Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) So, the curators of Friday nights at Jazz Central and Friday nights at the Nicollet tweaked starting times, so after checking out Corey Healy at jazz Central, patrons can cross the river and take in this young quartet, led by pianist Santiago, for a full evening of jazz.
Saturday, April 18
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Curator Steve Kenny continues to draw upon young and/or new bands as opening acts for Saturday nights. Tonight he has the Lucia Sarmiento Ensemble opening at 7pm. Sarmiento is a sax player from Peru, who is studying at MacNally Smith. Her group was quite impressive at last years Jazz Festival. Then at 8:30 or so, Dean Granros guitar; Alden Akeda, drums; Ron Evaniuk bass; and Steve Kenny, trumpet take the headline spot for the evening.
Gypsy Mania @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) The Plymouth Church continues its music series with an evening of acoustic swing, or gypsy jazz, if you will. Returning for the third time is Gypsy Mania with Gary Schulte, violin; Reynold Philipsek, guitar; Matt Senjem, bass; and Glen Helgeson, guitar, play as if a well-oiled machine. Each has extensive experience with various groups, with each other, and with the genre. Here they are doing an original.
Jay Young’s Lyric Factory @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Bassist Jay Young has done tribute shows to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Tonight, however, he’s paying tribute to Herbie Hancock and Earth, Wind, & Fire. He’ll be helped by Thom West, piano; Ian Young, bass; Kevin Washington,m drums; Ernest Bisong, violin, and vocalists Sarah Greer, Libby Turner Opanga, and Michelle Denise Michaels. I do believe it’s gonna get funky.
Sunday, April 19
Emily Bear Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $35) This young pianist isn’t even 14, yet Bear was invited to perform at the White House when she was 6 and maser her orchestral debut at 7. She’s more than just a natural talent on the piano, however, as she can easily move from bebop to classical music, and is showing signs of becoming a heavy duty composer as well. Her first album was released in 2013. It was produced by her mentor, Quincy Jones, and peaked at #3 on Billboard’s traditional jazz charts.
Monday, April 20
Peter Shu & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Shu was a classically trained prodigy who once he got through college, studied jazz piano with Mary Louise Knutson, Bobby Peterson, and Nachito Herrera. Tonight he’s joined by Gary Arley Denbow II, sax; Kevin Mills, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.
Tuesday, April 21
John Raymond Quartet @ Eden Prairie High School, Eden Praire. 7pm – 9pm Minnesota native and current New York trumpeter Raymond comes home to conduct clinics during the day at Eden Prairie High School and perform with the school’s jazz ensembles as well as his own quartet.
For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Police, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, April 15
RJ Mischo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. f5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mischo is a former Minnesotan who is in town for his annual visit and a few performances. He’s a powerhouse on blues harp, having received glowing praises for his work throughout the country and in Europe. His latest CD, Everything I Need, features Jeremy Johnson on guitar, and Bruce McCabe on piano. He’ll also be appearing at Holihan’s Thursday, The Schooner Pub on Friday, and at Famous Dave’s brunch on Sunday. Check him out.
Willie Murphy & Dean Magraw @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis.7:30pm (Tip Jar) Murphy does a monthly gig at the Schooner where he brings in a guest and they play together. Tonight it’s Dean Magraw, one of the most versatile guitarists you’ll ever find. Though Magraw doesn’t sing, his guitar work will bring out the best in Murphy.
Exotik-A-Go-Go Record Release @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out the sarongs and the flower print shirts! Exotik-A-Go-Go has been bringing their faux island sounds to Psycho Suzie’s Tiki Bar every Friday for a couple of years now, vibes, jungle drums, theremin and birdcalls included. If you remember Quiet Village by Martin Denny, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, they’ve gone a released a record, that’s right a record, not a CD, and they’re celebrating tonight.
Thursday, April 16
Bettye Lavette @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) The 69 year old soul singer toiled in the trenches for many years, held back by bad management decisions, and let’s face it, an ability to stand up for herself that came across as prickly, at best. However, in the years since the turn of the 21st Century, she has been rejuvenated, releasing a spate of albums that establish her as one of the premier song interpreters of our time. This year’s CD, Worthy, contains songs by Dylan, Lennon & McCartney, Savoy Brown, and Mickey Newbury, among others. Though she celebrated its release at the Cafe Carlye in New York City, she’s come back to the Dakota every year since her first appearance at the club about 10 years ago. Here she is singing something from the album.
Three Band Night @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) 9pm New Shoes – PHC vets Richard Kriehn, mandolin/guitar; Joe Savage, pedal steel; Gary Raynor, bass; Peterson, drums. 10pm Randy Sabien with Triple Fiddles, 11pm the Subterraneans play down home blues, boogie and roots, Randy Sabien, fiddle, Jim Ouska, guitar; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and Andy Dee, slide.
Friday, April 17
Roots/Americana Benefit for KFAI @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm doors, 7:30pm music ($10 or more, suggested Donation) It’s a benefit for the little station that could, featuring New Riverside Ramblers, Steve Kaul, the Swamp Poppas, Patty & the buttons, Dave Babb, Tom Lieberman, Jon Rodine, square dancing and much more.
Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Big Sandy is the L.A. based rockabillly/roots singer and guitarist who includes a bit of Western Swing and Doowop in his repertoire. The dancers will be out for the veteran of 25 years, and always attracts dancers, as well he should. Always a satisfying evening. Opening is Fab Tab, featuring Katy Vernon.
Jimmy Thackery @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The rockin road warrior is back, bending strings and fingers flying down the frets. Thackery spent 15 years with the Nighthawks (and occasionally does reunion shows with them), but since the early 90s has mostly been touring with his trio, the Drivers. Though much of what he plays is blues-rock, he can still deliver the goods on classic blues.
Saturday, April 18
Rock Benefit for KFAI @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm Doors, 7:30pm Music ($10 or more, suggested donation) It’s an evening that ranges from 60s rock to punk to electronic and experimental, with The Silverteens, Scaphe, Kinda Kinky, Beebe Gallini and much much more.
Corey Stevens @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Corey Stevens brings his blues-based rock guitar to the Uptown BBQ. He scored a rock radio hit off his 19956 debut with Blue Drops of Rain, and followed that with another hit, One More Time, in 1997, and is a frequent performer in these parts.
Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) “Q” and the blues always go together, and like that duo, Hurricane Harold’s harp work and guitarist Otto’s mournful vocals are a natural fit.
Monday, April 20
A Dub/Dead Night @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) JT Bates has come up with a change of pace from the exploratory jazz groups that he often presents for the Jazz Implosion. The first set tonight is Entertainment Rhythm featuring Jacob Hansen, guitar; James Buckley, bass; and JT on drums. They’ll be playing live dub music, followed by Steal Your Face, a band that does covers of the Grateful Dead.
Monday, Tuesday, April 20, 21
Dakhabrakha @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32 – $42) This Ukrainian group is, in many ways, indescribable. Part circus, part street theater, with ethereal, four-part harmonies creating music that has it’s basis in Ukrainian folk music, but with a delivery that can seem to go from Smokey Robinson to Sun Ra in a heartbeat. Though you may not know the words (they’re in Ukrainian after all), the passion of Dakhabrakha comes through.
Wednesday, April 22
A Night at the Opera @ The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($30) If you have any inclinations toward classical compositions and opera, this will be a treat, as Russian baritone Vladislav Sulimsky will be joined by pianist Denis Evsthin to perform popular operatic arias and art songs by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. The museum itself is a lovely place with good acoustics, not to mention extraordinary art. Advance registration required, so I’m including it in this week’s notices.
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.