Where to go, what to do. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many entertainment dollars at our disposal. I try to give you some ideas on where to go. You’ve got to come up with your own resources to support the arts. And they do deserve your support. Musicians have mastered the techniques of their instruments, collaborated with other artists on arrangements, often booked their own gigs, and then transported equipment and set up without the help of roadies. Just so we can listen and be inspired, or dance, which is pretty awesome when you think about it. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, May 20
Stu Blue and Friends @ Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, 4401 Upton Avenue South, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 8:30 ($10) This is part of a new program by the Spiritual Community, and will feature Stu Blue, vocals, sax, flute; Martin Stovall, Sr., Percussion; George E. Antrim, III, Keys; and Ade Adegun, bass.
Boomers vs Millenials @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) More of a Boomers AND Millenials, since this quartet is made up of Pete Whitman, sax and Jay Young, bass (the Boomers) and Javi Santiago, piano and Miguel Hurtado, drums (the Millenials).
Thursday, May 21
Damman, Seru, & Fultz @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Thursdays at Khyber Pass can be challenging for casual listeners, but for jazz fans, the night can be eye-opening and inspiring. Tonight features Joseph Damman, guitar; Scott Fultz, saxophones; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion. Damman and Seru have played together in Body Omara, a band that mines the Desert Blues of Northern Africa. Fultz contributes fine improvisations, no matter the musical circumstance.
Friday, May 22
Kristin Sponcia Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist/vocalist Sponcia is back in the Twin Cities, taking a break from her graduate studies at the University of Illinois. Tonight the former MacNally Smith instructor is leading a group of mighty fine musicians: Chris Olson, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Dave Stanoch, drums.
Travis Anderson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The lounge at this D’Amico restaurant is a perfect place for the stylish playing of Anderson, vocals and piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.
BZ3 Organ Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Things are bound to get soulful at this Black Dog debut of Brian Ziemniak, B3 Organ; Troy Norton, guitar; Pete Hennig, drums.
Chris Lomheim Trio @ Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Lomheim on piano is joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Reid Kennedy on drums. This is jazz, pure and simple. Here is Chris with a slightly different trio.
Concert for Nepal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($20 Suggested Donation) This concert is raising money for the village of Suspa, a village hard hit by the recent earthquakes in Northeast Nepal. Javi Santiago, piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and Pawan Benjamin, on sax and Bansuri (a bamboo flute) will be providing Nepalese music, as well as soul and jazz, while you provide the donations, all of which will go to rebuild the village of Suspa.
Saturday, May 23
Granias, Thomas, & Ewart @ Studio Z, Saint paul 7pm ($15) If you are looking for adventurous, improvisational music, go no further. Chris Granias, piano; Carei Thomas, piano; and Douglas Ewart, reeds & invented instruments; will be exploring new improvisations for two pianos and assorted instruments.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Central Standard Time opens with Steve Kenny, trumpet; Stgen Johnson, sax; David Roos, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Dennis Glaus, drums. They are followed at 8:30 by Firebell: Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.
Patty & the Buttons, featuring Connie Evingson @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Patty & the Buttons is a four-piece swing band that uses material from a variety of genres as well as creating their own originals. Tonight they’re joined by chanteuse Connie Evingson, who thoroughly knows her way around a song. Here are Patty & the Buttons during one of their Sunday Swing Dance Brunch shows.
Monday, May 25
David Martin @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Guitarist Martin, who often accompanies vocalists, will himself be accompanied tonight by Jim Cheoweth on bass and Joel Arpin on drums. You can expect some tunes from Martin’s recent duet album, Tough Commute.
Tuesday, May 26
Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. (donations welcome) This is an open rehearsal for this 18 piece big band. Donations are used to add more music to the project.
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, May 20
Don Scott & Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – tip Jar) Like two straws in a Coke, Guitarist/vocalist Scott and harmonica maestro Blake fit are a perfect musical duo. Scott’s voice has enough texture to give the blues some gravitas, while Blake provides fitting punctuation and commentary through his harp.
Sailing Away @ the Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm Downtown Saint Paul becomes more of a seaport than a river port for this evening of Sea Shanties, and sea songs. Heading the lineup is scholar/educator Bob Walser, who worked for a time as a shantyman at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut and has released 3 CDs. He’ll be helped along with music from Steven Levine, a regular at the Dubliner, and Saint Paul’s own Eddies, those mirthful purveyors of songs about work, death, and the sea.
Thursday, May 21
Mikkel Beckmen & Papa John Kolstad @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (tip jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen hosts a weekly gig at the Dubliner when he’s not recording or touring with the likes of Charlie Parr and other roots musicians. Tonight he brings in the venerable, wry Papa John Kolstad, who can swing and play the blues with equal aplomb.
Reina del Cid CD Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Reina del Cid is an excellent songwriter with a literary bent who manages to exceed the limitations of singer/songwriters by using a very good band, especially the very talented guitarist Toni Lindgren. Her new album, The Cooling, also makes use of a string quartet on the title track. Opening sets by Red Daughters and Pocket Watch.
Orgone @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The 21st Century revival/adaption of soul n’ funk continues with Orgone, an 8-piece funk n’ jam band from Los Angeles. Frogleg opens.
Friday, May 22
Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7 pm (435) The Lone Star troubadourhas had more of a rock influence than other Texas singer/songwriters. He sang with The Clash, was a member of the Flatlanders and Los Super Seven, and is one of those guys to whom the phrase “Outlaw Country” can easily be applied. Opening set by the Twin Cities own Dan Israel, who was named one of Austin Texas top songwriters when he lived there and who, in 2006 was named Songwriter of the Year here in Minnesota.
Scottie Miller Band @ The Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) The tiny dance floor at The Station (formerly Manitou Station) will be filled with folks gyrating to the pianistic New Orleans sounds of Mr. Miller, who, by the way, can rock out with authority as well.
Hipshaker @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out the dancing shoes and floor talc. With the University beginning to empty out for the summer, there will be more room to dance to the rare funk n’ soul 45s of the Hipshaker crew.
Saturday, May 23
4th Annual West Bank Reunion @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul ($10 advance, $15 Door) 8pm Former hippies, activists, and other aficionados of the West Bank scene will break out dancing shoes and gather once again to catch the rockin’ R&B of the Willie Murphy Band, with special guest Maurice Jacox. Mississippi Driftwood, with Larry Hayes, Tom Burns, and John Beach, will open.
Groove Merchants feat Jimi Prime Time Smith @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The 7-piece Merchants used to be the engine that helped power the late Big Walter Smith. Though they no longer have his powerful voice, they still chug along quite mightily, and feature the stinging guitar and vocals of Jimi “Prime Time” Smith.
Ray Barnard @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. (11:30pm ($5) Barnardused to lead the roots-rock group The Copperheads. He’s also played with Erik Koskinen, Molly Maher, and Bill Geazy of Stoney Lonesome, among others. His most recent CD Where Would I Be Without You is his second solo effort, is largely self-performed, though with some help from guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson and guitarist/arranger Koskinen.
Saturday, Sunday, May 23, 24
Memory Lanes Block Party @ Memory Lanes, Minneapolis. 4pm (Free) Saturday seems to be set up for devotees of younger bands such as Black Audience, Southside Deisre, and Fort Wilson Riot, while Sunday is set aside for veteran rootsy bands such as L’Assasins, Crankshaft, Davina & the Vagabonds, and the Cactus Blossoms. HIpshaker Deejays will also be on hand both days. Here are the Cactus Blossoms.
Monday, May 25
Otto, Roux, & Rue @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 6:30pm (Tip Jar) Doug Otto holds down the early spot on Mondays at the 331 Club and tonight is joined by Nikki Roux and Rich Rue of Nikki & the Ruemates for an early evening of blues and folk-rock. Stick around for the 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.