The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is upon us, with more opportunities to hear free music than I could possibly list. You can always find a complete schedule for the Jazz Festival here.
Of course, there is much more music to be found in town, including some visiting blues and roots artists of note, as well as The Pride Festival, the Midwest Harmonica Workshop, the Twin Cities Bass Camp concerts from Saturday through Tuesday, and some post-festival music at the Dakota. Here is just a brief sampling. Music lifts the spirit
Wednesday, June 24
Lila Ammons @ Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) The Tangiers is a great spot to hear vocalist Ammons what with its glitzy decor, and generally low key style on Wednesday evenings.
Ted Olson Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Olson, who graduated from high school in 2010, is studying music and composition at Luther College, and the University Of Northern Colorado, where he recently graduated. He’s been gigging around town as a sideman, and leads his own group, as he will this evening. You can hear some tracks by him here.
Thursday, June 25
Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) What with Marci Ball tomorrow night, and Dr. John at the Jazz Festival on Saturday, we have a bit of a New Orleans weekend going on. The Dirty Dozen are responsible for blowing new life into the brass band tradition about 30 years ago or so, by incorporating both pop and jazz standards into their repertoire, and spawning groups like Rebirth Brass Band and more. They are still a band to be reckoned with. Here they are at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.
Nicole Carey & Hanna Cesario @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Two up and coming vocalists, each with a distinct voice. Carey gets her inspiration from Judy Garland, Fleetwood Mac, Strayhorn, and Gershwin, among others. Cesario creates her own arrangements of jazz standards on ukulele. They will be joined by Doug Rhode on piano.
Friday, June 26
Maurice Jacox Trio @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) If you aren’t taking in the Jazz Festival, but still want to hear some jazz, head up Central Avenue to a mile or two north of 694, to catch the veteran vocalist who is at home with jazz standards and Nat King Cole as he with stripped down Blues and R&B.
Saturday, June 27
Esperanza Spalding’s Emily’s D+Evolution @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. 9pm ($29) Bassist/Singer/Songwriter Spalding appeared at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years back, when Prince famously listened in his limo and then invited her to jam at Paisley Park until the wee hours. She went on to appear at the Dakota a couple of times and win a Grammy as Best New Artist, a first for a jazz artist. Since then she’s been growing as an artist and trying out different approaches to her music. Her latest project revolves around her childhood interest in theater, poetry and movement. Like Chamber Music Society, this performance is part theater, part music.
Sunday, June 28
John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) Pizzarelli is a charming raconteur and formidable guitarist who can breathe new life into songs that have been done hundreds of times. His singing and scatting adds to the pleasure of a performance, as you can see and hear in this video.
Monday, June 29
TC Bass Camp Party @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Tonight’s edition of JT’s Jazz Implosion is part of a series of concerts from the Twin Cities Bass Camp. The evening starts with a duo set by bassists Jeff Harshberger and Doan Roessler. For the second set they’ll be joined by Pete Hennig and Martin Dosh, drums; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Erik Fratzke, guitar
Tuesday, June 30
Charles Lloyd @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50), 9pm ($30, $40) If you are a jazz fan, you have to here this master saxophonist at least once in your life. Lloyd’s career goes back to the 60s, when he won many young fans by playing the Fillmore in San Francisco. He is a musical force, a titan of jazz. Here, for example, is his ethereal take on a Brian Wilson song.
Francois Rabbath @ Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20/$15 for seniors & students) Rabbath is a French master bassist whose work with the double bass is considered as important as Paganini’s on violin. He has blown folks away in previous appearances in town, notably at the Minnesota Sur Seine festivals some years back. He will be accompanied by his son Sylvain on piano. Expect a night of exquisite, uplifting music
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, June 24
Rockin’ Pinecones @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) Get some hot Cajun music to go with the warm weather we’ve been having, as another season of Groovin’ in the Garden kicks off with the Rockin’ Pinecones There’ll be activities for kids and (I believe) wine and beer for adults.
Wayne “The Train” Hancock @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($15) Whether you call him alt-country, the keeper of the classic country sound, or a honky-tonker, guitarist/singer Hancock puts such energy into old songs that they sound new again, and creates new songs that fit right alongside the classics. Hank Williams III has recorded a couple of his songs, and the two recorded a duet together. He’s now on Bloodshot Records the alt-country label that can get him more exposure among young rockabilly and alt-country fans. Opening by Ross Kleiner & the Thrill.
Thursday, June 25
Hurricane Harold & Friends @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) I believe this may be the first time Harold has headlined at the downtown watering hole & kitchen. His raucous harp playing will surely catch the attention of the after-work crowd, and he always has an interesting mix of friends with whom he plays.
Icicles @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No cover) Jake Hanson, guitars; Jim Anton, bass; and Jeremy Hanson, drums explore the sonic possibilities of a reverb-loving trio.
Friday, June 26
Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35), 10pm ($30) I’ve seen Ms Ball at least 8-10 times, and she always creates a rollicking good time. As a pianist she channels Professor Longhair, Clifton Chenier, and Fats Domino into her own musical stew of music that celebrates life. Here she is on A Prairie Home Companion.
Buddy Guy @ The Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater, Apple Valley. 7:30pm ($65) It’s been about 30 years since you could catch Guy at the old Blues Saloon for about $10, but times change, artists, and their reputations grow, and the amphitheater at the Zoo is decidedly larger, and offers more comfort than the old saloon (if it doesn’t rain). Guy is one of the few surviving blues musicians from the 50s/60s flowering of Chicago Blues, and is a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors. He can play like any rock guitar god, if he feels the audience is looking for that, but he’ll surely provide explosive blues guitar that is both moving and satisfying.
Rockin’ Johnny @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) San Francisco harpslinger Aki Kumar is in town for the Midwest Harmonica Workshop and tonight he’s joining with Jeremy Johnson, guitar; Bill Black, bass; and Richard Medek, drums to perform. Come see why he’s one of the featured teachers at the workshop.
Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) The dance floor at Dave’s will be filled with zydeco dancers, twirling, spinning, and generally having a good ol’ time. Dopsie is a member of a storied zydeco family (his father was Rockin’ Dopsie), and he certainly knows the tradition, but he infuses his zydeco with touches of soul, blues, and more, creating a higher than usual energy quotient. For zydeco, that’s saying’ something.
Erik Koskinen Band @ the Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Alt-country singer/guitarist Koskinen writes well-crafted songs about the vagaries of life. He’s releasing a new album, Live at the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, recorded at the JJ Hill Library during the monthly series. Opening by Leo Rondeau, a Texas by way of North Dakota singer/songwriter.
Saturday, June 27
Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) The honky-tonkin’ Watson has a New Album, Call Me Insane, on Saint Paul’s Red House Records. Known as Austin’s King of Country, Watson writes songs that are populated with characters he’s met while performing around the country. Opening by Doug Otto & the Getaways.
Black-Eyed Snakes @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This electric blues band from Duluth is led by Frontman Alan Sparks of LOW and the Retribution Gospel Choir. They’ve toured the US with Charlie Parr, using jagged guitars for an occasional foray into psychedelia, all in the name of bringing raw emotions to the fore.
NextNotes Concert 2015 @ Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, Saint Paul. 8pm – 9pm (Free) Six up and coming composers from around the country will present their original compositions. Each is a winner of NextNotes, an American Composer Forum competition for High School composers. Music will range from string and brass ensembles to pop/rock and electronic compositions.
Sunday, June 28
Javier & the Innocent Sons: Blues and Brews @ Nicollet Island Pavillion, Minneapolis. ($50) Sure it’s a bit more than you’d expect to pay for these resident bluesmen but it’s a fundraiser, with the money raised going to a good cause. It will go to Canvas Health, an organization that provides mental health services and suicide prevention phone lines and text lines. There will be craft beer poured by local breweries along with food pairings. Plus, for those of you who enthusiastically partake of all the offered brews, Dry Drivers will get you and your car home safely with a free ride.
Monday, June 29
Becca Stevens @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Stevens is a vocalist/guitarist who has been getting great reviews around the country and has collaborated on a wide variety of projects across musical genres. The NY Times calls her “New York’s best kept secret,” and Kurt Elling, who knows a thing or two about singing, heralds her talent.
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.