Let the Festival season begin in earnest. This Sunday will feature Grand Old Day, with a variety of artists performing on a number of different stages, as well as a smaller big band festival in Eden Prairie. If not, there is still plenty of great music to enjoy, including visiting artists from England, and some appearances by resident artists who don’t perform too often. Lots of reasons to enjoy music: It lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, June 3
Southside Big Band @ Como Dockside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) It may shower this evening, but that needn’t stop you from enjoying some big band music under the pavilion at Como Park. Plus, you can always step inside to the new dockside and order food and drinks.
Greer & Penny @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The fine vocalist Sarah Greer teams up with equally fine guitarist John Penny for some great tunes. Here’s Sarah doing a gospel number.
Friday, June 5
Manzara & Reeve @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Julian Manzara on electric guitar and Robert Reeve on trumpet and flugelhorn, make for an unusual duet. They have been performing jazz standards around town for a couple of years now.
Katie Gearty @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Katie takes a break from her R&B vocalizing with Mick Sterling’s Irresistables, Adam Levy’s Hooker’s $ Blow, and Vital Organ to sing jazz and more at the Bloomington lounge/restaurant.
Paul Harper’s Show & Tell @ the Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) You may know Harper from his performances with the Illicit Sextet, Charmin & Shapira, or Ginger Commodore. Tonight the saxophonist is joined by Mike Cramer, guitar; Charlie Riddle, bass; Nathan Norman, drums.
Dean Sorenson Sextet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sorenson trombone; Steve Kenny, trumpet; David Milne, tenor; Chris Lomheim, piano; Phil Hey, drums. Sorenson teaches at the U and has played with the Minnesota Orchestra, JazzMN, and the Latin Sounds Orchestra. His supporting band consists of first call players on the Twin Cities jazz scene.
Saturday, June 6
Dave King’s PBR Street Gang @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Hoo boy, this group only plays a few times a year, so this is a great occasion to catch some of the Twin Cities’ finest players. Dean Granros, guitar; Dave King drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Anthony Cox, bass and cello.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s another double bill of powerhouse jazz at Lowertown’s community meeting place. Opening at 7pm is bassist Ted Olsen and his Group. Then at 8:30pm it’s the Five: Dave Karr, sax; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Mikkel Romstad, piano; Ryan Hays, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. The members of this inter-generational group range in age from 20s to 80s, making for some exciting music.
Sunday, June 7
25th Annual Festival of Jazz on the Praire @ Staring Lake Amphitheater, Eden Prairie. 2pm – 9pm (Free) A cornucopia of big bands, just the thing for a Sunday afternoon. 2pm: Just Friends Big Band; 3pm: Acme Jazz Company; 4pm: Ben in the River Big Band; 5pm: Good News Big Band; 6pm: River City Jazz Orchestra; 7pm: Jazz on the Prairie Big Band
Monday, June 8
Paul Mazzacano & the Mazz Jazz Juggernaut @ Town Green Amphitheater, Maple Grove. 8 – 10pm (Free) Mazzacano is a percussionist/drummer arranger composer, and educator, whose credits range from the Dorseys and Charlie Barnett to Roy Eldridge, Liberace, Elvis Presley, Broadway productions and staff work for both CBS and NBC networks. Not sure of the Juggernaut, but judging by the name, and the fact that Mazzacano has composed of number of pieces for orchestra, it could be a large, and exciting, group.
Eric Wangensteen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This trumpeter has toured with Bette Midler, released four CDs played in over 20 countries. Though a graduate of the UofM at Duluth, you may not know of hims, since he spends his winters playing in Uruguay, recently playing with paquito D’Rivera for three years at the Uruguay International Jazz Festival.
Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Here is a group that always has a good time on stage. Their level of communication with each other is just about telepathic. Bates, bass; Dave hagedorn, vibes; Phil Hey, drums.
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 3
Andy Cohen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Cohen is a virtuoso guitar player and folklorist from Memphis who mines a number of different blues traditions, and has gained fans throughout the country, including many of this area’s fingerpickers. He’s also a great storyteller, having written about many of his musical heroes, and toured with old masters such as Martin, Bogan, & Armstrong, Rev. Gary Davis, and Honeyboy Edwards. It’s a treat to have him stop in town.
Thursday, June 4
World Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) Well crafted pop from a band which has been around since their 1986 hit Ship of Fools. Frontman Karl Wallinger experienced an aneurysm in 2001, but after some rehabilitation and hard work is back. Critics all seem to agree that Wallinger manages to be a lyrical as some of our best songwriters, such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, and Dylan.
Claudia Schmidt & Dean Magraw @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 + tax) It’s a birthday celebration for the celebrated folk/jazz singer Ms Schmidt and once again, she has the supple guitar of Dean Magraw for support. It’s always fun when these two long-time compadres get together. For example:
Friday, June 5
Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ Mendota Square, The Village of Mendota Heights. 6pm (Free) Clarke is one of those saxophonists that most R&B bands welcome to sit in and add some punch to proceedings. He and the Working Stiffs play dance music from the 30s to the 50s, including things from Count Basie, Billie Holliday, Bill Haley, and Elvis.
Graham Parker & The Rumour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $65) In the late 70s, Parker broke out of the pub rock scene in England, combining the energy and spark of punk rock with his love for American R&B. Two of his albums with the Rumour are in Rolling Stones’ Top 100 Albums of all time from 1987. Parker favorite Lowell Thompson opens.
Lonseome Dan Case and The Dieselfitters @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Lonesome Dan, the picture of a 30s itinerant guitar player, opens. The Dieselfitters are purveyors of rockabilly, roots rock, and honky tonk music: Clay Williams, guitar/vocals; Dan Peterson, bass/vocals; and Mike Sandell, drums.
Pop Wagner & the Dumpy Jug Bumpers @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s an old-timer evening at the West Bank dive bar. The Bumpers will perform Jug band music. Pop Wagner will perform old cowboy music, as well as some country and pop tunes, and then they’ll perform together.
Saturday, June 6
Charlie Lawson & the Natural Born Lovers @ Barely Brothers Records, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free) Mike and Spencer, the “barely brothers” are once again enticing record buyers into their store with some free music, this time by long time Twin Cities guitarist/vocalist Lawson and his band.
Grateful Red @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm. (Free) This horn-driven funk/rock/pop band will provide the backdrop for your picnic in the area just north of the bandshell, or you can get closer and sit on benches and simply enjoy the music (dancing may occur).
Hurricane Harold’s All Star Blues Revue @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpist Harold gathers up a few of his very talented friends for an evening of rompin’ stompin’ blues.
Jarrod Lawson @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($25/$20 Advance) “The Hottest New Talent to hit soul music in at least ten years.” That’s what some English magazines have said about blue-eyed soulster Lawson whose debut at Ronnie Scott’s was sold out and then broadcast on a live web stream. He’ll be playing with some of the Petersons – St. Paul on bass, Ricky on keys, and JP DeLaire on sax, as well as other special guests
Sunday, June 7
Music @ Grand Old Day, Saint Paul. 12:30 – 4:30pm (Free) You can kick off summer and experience a variety of bands at the Midwest’s biggest one day festival. Highlights include Charlie Parr (12PM) and Erik Koskinen (2:15pm) at Dixie’s on Grand; The Cactus Blossoms (12:30pm) and Crankshaft (2pm) at Walgreens; and country party guy Tim Sigler at the Wild Onion at 3pm. There are other bands as well, and if you want to listen while enjoying adult beverages in the Festival Gardens adjoining each stage you’ll need a wristband ($8).
Cooker John @ Como Dockside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 3pm (Free) Guitarist and folk/blues musician Cooker John learned to pick from Artie Traum back in 60s New York. Since then he’s been in a variety of bands around the country, but has performed solo (sometimes with an accompanist) since 1990.
Monday, June 8
Hunker’d Down Blues Band @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) It’s Blue Monday at Rice Park, but that doesn’t mean you have to be blue. Take a break and enjoy this five-piece while chowing down on lunch.
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.