Greetings to one and all;
We’re approaching the Winter Solstice, that time when the day is shortest and the night is longest. It’s part of our Mid-Winter holidays, and though we may have some cold days ahead, we’ll have increasing daylight. Meantime, we’re deep into holiday shows this week, with offerings from Larry McDonough, Laura Caviani, the Peterson Family, and the folks from Louisiana Rhythms, in addition to having performances that showcase young talent and veterans. Though I manage to avoid most of the stressful parts of this season, I admit to getting a warm feeling from wishing people well at this time of year. At any rate, whether you celebrate or not, you can certainly lift your spirits by going out to hear live music. Have a good week.
Wednesday, December 16
Jake Baldwin Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, Students free w/valid ID) Baldwin is a relatively young trumpet player who has won a number of awards and plays around town in a variety of groups. It will be interesting to see who he taps to accompany him tonight, as he plays with both young lions and seasoned veterans.
McNally Smith Jazz Night @ The Amsterdam Bar + Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free) A showcase for the jazz talent of MacNally Smith. 8pm – The X-Tet Big Band, led by Pete Whitman; 8:45 – The Jazz III Combo, directed by Steve Jennings; 9:30 – The Jazz II Combo, directed by Chris Olson; 10:15 – Advanced Combo, directed by Peter Schimke; 11:00 – The Serbian Music ensemble, directed by Petar Janjic; and 11:45 – the Fusion Ensemble, directed by Adam Meckler.
Thursday, December 17
Larry McDonough Quartet: Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things” @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($5) See listing below for Tuesday, the 22nd.
Laura Caviani @ The Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm ($15 minimum) The folks at Crooners are taking their Lakeside Room and turning it into a listening room a couple of times a week. Instead of charging a cover charge, they’re asking for a $15 minimum purchase of food or drink, which would be covered by drink and appetizer. To enhance the audience’s listening experience, they’ve been lucky enough to obtain a 9-foot Bosendorfer piano for the room. Tonight Laura Caviani brings her holiday show to this pre-opening performance, undoubtedly playing selections from her lovely holiday album, Angels We Haven’t Heard. Reservations are recommended at: 763-571-9020.
Jennifer Grimm & Joe Cruz @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, Students free w/valid ID) Grimm is a vocalist who has performed at Carnegie Hall and shared the stage with Michael Buble and Martina McBride, among others. She has also appeared in a variety of musicals around town, and has proven adept at interpreting holiday favorites. She’ll be joined by guitarist Joe Cruz is a versatile, sought-after guitarist who also plays the mandolin, Puerto Rican cuatro, Cuban tres, and dobro.
Friday, December 18
Dakebreoda featuring Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, Students free w/valid ID) This quartet is led by saxophonist Brattain, a 20 year veteran of the Cedar Avenue Big Band, who has played with a number of groups around town and currently teaches at Wayzata High School. He will be joined by Kevin Dale, guitar; Bruce “Pooch” Heine, bass; and Dave Stanoch, drums; to play most originals and a few obscure jazz standards.
Peter Vircks Quartet @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist Vircks leads this group of top-notch players: Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; and Brian Zeimniak, piano.
Saturday, December 19
Deck the Halls @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm. (No Cover) Jo Ann Funk piano; and Jeff Brueske, bass, expand their repertoire and bring in Gary Schulte, master of the violin; and baritone vocalist Steve Marking for an evening of holiday music fringing from O Holy Night sung in French, to Santa Baby, and the David Bowie/Bing Crosby version of Little Drummer Boy. Here’s JoAnn doing one of her more secular songs with some help from a different violin player.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This evening starts with HEADSPACE, featuring: Rob Dewey, piano; Aaron Rupar, drums; Matt Senjem, bass; and Steve Kenny on Flumpet. At 8:30 it’s Tall Tales, the two-guitar quartet led by Dean Granros with Zacc Harris on 2nd guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Given how crowded it can get, reservations ($20) can be made by going here.
Sunday, December 20
Peterson Family Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 5pm, 7:30pm ($25) Globe-trotters, national players, and Twin Cities heroes, members of the Peterson clan have performed with Ben Sidran, Bob Dylan, David Sanborn, Bobby Lyle, Paula Abdul, Prince, Jonny Lang, and more. Linda, Billy, Ricky, Patty, and Paul, are joined by third generation musician Jason Peterson Delaire to share their music for the holidays. Here’s Patty, Ricky, and Jason, with some friends, a couple of whom are likely to be in the band.
Monday, December 21
Nachito Herrera and the Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35), 9pm ($20, $30) Dazzling pianist Nachito Herrera is joined by a quartet of equally fiery players. Karen Briggs on violin, played for years with Yanni, and can switch genres as easily as Herrera. Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Stevie Wonder. Grammy nominated bassist Riccardo Fierabracci has toured with Chick Corea’s Electrik Band, Billy Cobham’s Spectrum, King Crimson, and others, while drummer Raul Pineda’s latin rhythms earned him a Grammy working with Chucho Valdes. Their appearance at the Dakota this past summer earned rave reviews.
Cherry Spoon Collective @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) With a roster that includes over 15 musicians, the Collective is a multi-generational group of improvising musicians whose members come from some of the most interesting scenes our music community, including Zeitgest, JelloSlave, Orange Mighty Trio, George Cartwright’s PAL, and more. The performance will feature newly commissioned and improvised music.
Phil Cook w/Lewis and Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarist Cook along with saxophonist/bassist Mike Lewis and drummer JT Bates, were the rhythm section on an album by the Blind Boys of Alabama. This is the first time the three will play as a band. Opening is Joe Dunn, Demitri Rallis of Frogleg, a jam/reggae band that’s popular around town.
Tuesday, December 22
Larry McDonough Quartet @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($5) The East Metro appearance of pianist McDonough and his holiday show. McDonough, piano, vocals; Richard Terrill, saxes, poetry; Greg Stinson, bass; Dean White, drums. Will include music from Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things, as well as a McDonough arrangement of Le Marseillaise, a medley of two French tunes, and songs by Spinal Tap, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Dave Brubeck, and more. Of special note is a new arrangement of “It’s Love, It’s Christmas,” based on a copy of the original Bill Vans manuscript given to McDonough by Evan’s widow.
Dave King Trio @ The Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum) This is the official opening of the Dunsmore Room, and it’s hard to think of a better band for the occasion, especially given that Bill Carrothers will be playing the room’s Bosedorfer piano. Dave King, drums, Billy Peterson, bass; and Bill Carrothers, piano, have received many plaudits for their album, “I’ve Been Ringing You” and their week-long appearance at the Village Vanguard a couple of years ago. Though King is known for his work with unique groups like the Bad Plus, this trio sticks with standard fare, yet is anything but boring. Of note is that the national and NYC press characterized both Carrothers and Peterson as Upper Midwesterners with an underground reputation. One listen and you’ll likely be thinking that this group deserves wider recognition. Here’s a longish segment of one of their concerts.
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, December 16
The Fiddle Heirs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) The Fiddle Heirs are an all fiddle, all-star group, featuring members of Trampled by Turtles, Corpse Reviver, Pert Near Sandstone, Pocahontas County, and Boys ’N’ the Barrels. If you’re wondering what an all-fiddle band sounds like, tune in and check them out.
Willie Murphy & Dean Magraw @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Willie Murphy blues singer, rock n’ roller, songwriter, and R&B maven, will be joined by the multi-genre guitarist extraordinaire Dean Magraw Murphy says he’s hoping to keep up with Magraw.
Thursday, December 17
Louisiana Rhythms Annual Christmas Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Cash, check or food donation) This is an annual Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland. Tonight’s show features the Swamp Poppas, Dan Rowles, The Rockin’ Pinecones, Rich Lewis and more. Dance and do good at the same time. Here’s a video from the Swamp Poppas.
Thursday, Friday, December 17, 18
J2J @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Thursday, 8pm Friday ($15) Jacqueline Ultan cello and effects pedals; and Julie Johnson flute, bass flute, live looping pedals; present a program of all original music, with compositions by each of them, as well as the premier of a new piece by both of them. Both have extensive experience in genre-crossing performances.
Kid Dakota and Hot Date @ Public Kitchen + Bar, 229 E. 6th St, Saint Paul 8pm (No Cover) Darren Jackson had a group called Kid Dakota and the Tumbleweeds while he was living in Rhode Island in 1998. Though the group disbanded, he kept the name Kid Dakota recording four full-time albums as well as a Leonard Cohen tribute. Hot Date is the Lowertown duo of Eric Carranza and Nora O’Brien and specializes in songs “For Lovers” as their album is called. Hot Date comes on first, followed by Kid Dakota. Listen to this cut from one of his albums.
Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Mr Murphy makes a rare second appearance here on the same week. This time he has his full band with him, so you know the rhythms will be rockin’ the knees will be knockin’, hips will be shakin’ and the dance floor will be quaking’.
Friday, Saturday, December 18, 19
Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) After performing (and headlining) some international music festivals over the summer, R&B powerhouse Sonny Knight nd the soul-stirring Lakers return to the stage where they recorded a live album last year. Though Knight recorded locally back in the 60s, this is not simply a retro-loving group, but rather a collection of creative musicians who bring new life to classic soul and funk, while Knight performs with the energy of performers half his age. They’ve been working up some new, exciting tunes which you can get to hear tonight.
Saturday, December 19
Javier and the Innocent Sons and Drew Druckry’s Dharma Hounds @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) KFAI’s Jackson Buck has put together a potent double bill for the Holiday edition of Jackson’s Juke Joint. Getting things started at 7pm is Drew Druckry’s Dharma Hounds, playing a mix of blues, New Orleans Funk, and Southern Rock. Then at 9pm Javier and the Innocent Sons rip it up with jumping blues.
Captain Gravitone & The String Theory Orchestra @ Dulano’s Pizza, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Not your usual string band, Captain Gravitone is a Mankato folk-rock quintet that can easily segue from tangos to Irish drinking songs to driving jam-grass.
Sunday, December 20
Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Mikkel Beckmen, percussion; JIllian Rae, fiddle; and Adam Kiesling, guitar and banjo; will be joined by folk/Americana singer songwriter Amanda Standalone to explore music from the Anthology of American Folk Music.
The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($5) A string quartet that revisits classic swing tunes from Prohibition, bringing them into the 21st Century. The Aster can get crowded, so reservations are recommended.