Spring is finally busting out with buds on the trees, and grass getting greener. With the weather getting nicer, it will be easier to get out in the evenings to continue Spring Rejuvenation with some music. this week I’m highlighting eight visiting artists in both jazz and roots/blues, as well as a talented bunch of resident artists, including a few with national reputations. Have a good week. Music lifts your spirits.
Wednesday, April 29
Ben Abrahamson Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With apologies to Paul Mayasich, Jazz Central seems to be having a Guitar-a-thon this evening as features two other guitarists in his trio: Nich Champeau and Jacob Park Evans. Abramason can be seen around town playing with Lulu’s Playground and the Thomas Nordlund Quintet.
Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Today is the anniversary of Duke Ellington’s Birthday and is also Andrew Walesch’s birthday, so to celebrate, vocalist/pianist Walesch is performing the songs of Ellington. He’ll be ably supported by Dave Graf, trombone, Bob Parsons, woodwinds; Mac Santiago, drums, and Gary Raynor, bass. Here’s Walesch doing a solo number
Wednesday, Thursday, April 29, May 30
Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Hard to believe that it’s almost 20 years since this boho-jazz chanteuse released her first album in 1996. Peyroux retreated from her original success by returning to busking in the streets of Paris, nor releasing her second album until 2004. Now she’s touring behind a greatest hits collection on Saint Paul’s Red House Records, which includes the title song “Keep Me in Your Heart” includes the previously unreleased title track from the movie Union Square. Her somewhat small, Billie Holiday-like voice, combined with unique interpretations from songs across genres, makes her an audience favorite.
Thursday, April 30
Debbie Duncan: International Jazz Day @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahh, it’s a celebration of jazz that takes place all around the world, and Ms Duncan and the folks at Jazz Central are doing their part.
Friday, May 1
Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra & the Anoka Ramsey College Jazz Ensemble @ the Performing Arts Center, Anoka Rmsey Comm College, Coon Rapids. 7pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear a hot big band that specializes in Latin Rhythms as well as a student ensemble. And it’s free!
Framework @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, are each worthy of leading their own groups, and they sometimes do, but tonight they collaborate, to create 21st Century jazz.
Saturday, May 2
Andrew Kolker w/Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kolker is a saxophonist/composer/arranger who has 7 CDs as a leader and has worked with Ray Barretto, Maria Schneider, Billy Hart and others. He’ll be playing with Chris Bates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes. Considering the close communication and interplay of the trio, this should be a killer of a show.
Jason Moran and Rober Glasper @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm (Sold Out), 10:30pm ($28) These two contemporary pianists are not only helping to define jazz piano for the 21st Century, but are friends from high school in Houston. They’ll be mixing classic boogie boogie, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and hip-hop tunes in duets such as those that were ecstatically received at the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Dave Brattain Group w/Mac Santigo on drums opening at 7pm. Featured artist is Anthony Cox’s DD7, featuring Cox on bass, JT Bates on drums, Brandon Wozniak on sax, and Steve Kenny on trumpet/flumpet.
James Buckley Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5-$20 suggested Donation) Buckley is the bassist who works with a variety of jazz, indie-rock, and folk-rock groups. Working with Bryan Nichols on keys and JT Bates on drums, Buckley and his bandmates create modern, original, sometimes ethereal, and always accessible jazz. Here they are with the title song from their last CD.
Sunday, May 3
University of MN Jazz Ensemble I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Free) The ensembles will be playing the music of Woody Herman and Count Basie.
Monday, May 4
Scott Agster @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The trombone player cooks, whether he’s in a salsa band, or co-leading the Explosion Big Band. Thought the lighting is bad, here’s a video of a previous Jazz Central performance.
Tuesday, May 5
Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Bennett’s Chops and Railhouse, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s the place to go when you’re looking for traditional New Orleans Jazz. Don’t be surprised if one of the older listeners starts a parade around the small chophouse.
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 29
Jake Manders on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip jar) Singer/songwriter/guitarist Manders just released his second acoustic/rootsy album, Acousitc Frequency. Whether performing under his own name (often with fiddler Greta Huntstiger) or with the alt-blugerass Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, Manders’ songs reveal an undercurrent of hope even in the most mournful times. Tune in at 5pm and head over to the 331 Club at 7.
Charanga Tropical @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free, Donations Accepted) The Charanga is an elegant dance from Cuba, always played with a small violin section. This group led by saxophonist Doug Little, also plays lively salsas. They are the first American group to be invited to the Danzon Festival in Cuba, which takes place at the end of June, and are now working to raise the money for the trip. They’ve got a Kickstarter program, and are performing a series of concerts to publicize the program and raise funds.
Thursday, April 30
American Pleasure Dome @ Grumpy’s NE, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This indie-rock quartet caught my attention in part because of the presence of guitarist Park Evans, who also plays with the New Primitives and a score of area jazz groups, and bassist/vocalist Brenda Shepard of the Rebel Queens. The group is led by songwriter Hans Schumacher, and also features Joel Arlpin on drums.
Friday, May 1
Charlie Parr Jumpstumper Release @ The Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($18) The unassuming, simple living Parr has amassed a great deal of fans over the course of 12 albums of old-sounding blues and roots music. Jumpstumper is his latest album, and his debut on Red House Records. It’s also the first solo album in which he has a backing band, and they serve him well, proving an effective foil to his declamatory songs and stories. Hear cuts from the new album here.
Joe Louis Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Bluesman Walker grew up in the Bay area and at a young age had already played with John Lee Hooker, Thelonious Monk, and Steve Miller. He was a roommate to Mike Bloomfield for a few years, whose death prompted Walker to change his lifestyle, enroll in college and perform with a gospel group. In 1985 he returned to the Blues, and has been hard at it ever since. The sharp guitar lines of this Blues Hall of Fame inductee (2013) can range from rockin’ to soulful.
Saturday, May 2
The Pines EP Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $30), 9pm ($20-$25) The Pines are another roots music act that has been steadily increasing their fan base through steady touring. Though David Huckfeldt and Benson Ramsey are both natives of Iowa, they met in a Mexican barrio in Arizona, relocated to Minneapolis, and released their first album in 2004. Since then they’ve managed to blend roots and blues with indie-rock proclivities to national acclaim while remaining true to an acoustic aesthetic. Here’s a performance from about 18 months ago.
Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover?) This is one of Davina’s dance gigs, and though the dance floor isn’t very big, it will undoubtedly be filled.
High & Mighty @ Narrows Blues Saloon, Navarre. 9pm ($?) This ten-piece horn band has three vocalists and a repertoire that ranges from Lady Gaga and Mayer Hawthorne to the Ohio Players, Aretha Franklin, and Kool & the Gang. In other words, they’ve got your dancing jones covered.
Sunday, May 3
Paul Thorn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($36) Thorn is an entertaining roots-rock storyteller and songwriter whose life has had enough twists and turns to provide provide endless fodder for his songwriting. While previous albums have featured stories drawn from his life, his latest CD, Too Blessed to be Stressed is an intentional effort to write songs that not only have universal truths, but make people feel good. Once you get through the introduction to this video, you’ll get a taste of his outlook and his new music.
Tuesday, May 5
Salsabrosa and Alma Andina @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) It’s Cinco de Mayo and some salsa dancing is in order. Alma Andina opens with some Andean-inspired folkloric music, followed by a couple of dance lessons and the sounds of Salsabrosa with special guest Esti Price singing some Mexican classics.
Tuesday, Wednesday, May 5, 6
The English Beat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis ($35-$40) The English Beat were one of the pillars of the British Two-Tone ska movement in the early eighties, with their message of love, unity, inclusion and dancing. After disbanding in ’83, members went on to form General Public, International Beat, and Fine Young Cannibals. A reunion in 2003 reinvigorated the group, and they’ve remastering their old albums and rereleasing them with bonus tracks and DVDs, the latex of which is Special Beat Service. I’d be might surprised if some Gen Xers don’t find room to dance.
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.