We’re back to real winter weather, and both the Super Bowl and Mardis Gras are upon us, but neither of those occurrences need distract you from hearing excellent live music this weekend. In fact, Mardis Gras serves as an inspiration for a number of events around town. So let the Bon Ton Roulet, and rmember live music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, February 3
The Reverse of Sam and Dave Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) What an intriguing group name! One Wednesday each month, bassist Anthony Cox brings an interesting group to Jazz Central, and often involves the audience in discussions around the music. Tonight he’ll also be playing cello, and will be joined by bassist and saxophonist Mike Lewis, of Happy Apple, Andrew Bird, and numerous other jazz, pop, and roots groups. I have no idea what the reverse of the 60s soul duo just might be, and like you, I’ll have to attend to find out, but I”m sure it will be interesting.
JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) JoAnn travels across town from her usual haunt at the Saint Paul Hotel, and adds drummer Nathan Norman to the mix for an evening of jazz standards and a few surprises, from the pens of Leonard Cohen, Dan Penn, and other composers not usually associated with jazz.
Thursday, February 4
Joey Babay & Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Babay is a vocalist who jumps and swings. Hobert is a pianist who can sensitively accompany all sorts of vocalists. This will be fun.
Hanson, Buckley, & Marich @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Every Thursday, the kind folks at the Kyber Pass serve up beer wine, and a few small plates to accompany some extraordinary improvisational jazz. Tonight they have three musicians who are very comfortable pushing boundaries: Nathan Hanson, sax; James Buckley, bass; and George Marich, drums.
Friday, February 5
Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis 8pm ($10) Here’s some jazz that will stand up to any touring act that comes through town. Gravatt is the explosive drummer who has toured and recorded with Weather Report back in the day, and has regularly toured with McCoy Tyner. The members of Source Code vary from time to time, but are always up to the challenge of Gravatt’s musical expressions. Here’s one version of the group.
Steve Hobert/Yohannes Tona Quartet @ Reverie (formerly Nicollet Cafe), Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Hobert, keys; Tona, bass; Kip Jones, violin; Arthur LA Buckner, drums.
Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a chance to warm up for Mardis Gras, as this group of veteran players explore the traditional side of New Orleans music. You can expect plenty of clarinet, trombone, and trumpet playing. Don’t be surprised if a little second line parade winds it way through the club.
Saturday, February 6
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It seems to be trombone night at the Black Dog, as both groups feature the slide trombone as the leader’s choice of instrument. Nick Syman Quartet @ 7pm: Syman, trombone; Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; Pete James Johnson, drums. Followed at 8:30pm by the Dean Sorenson Sextet: Sorenson, trombone; David Milne, saxes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Leis Bass; Phil Hey, drums. Though there are no videos of Sorenson’s group live, you can still listen to something from their recently released album, the Colors of Soul.
Monday. February 8
Irv Williams @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) The 90-something continues to have a wonderful tone on saxophone. Early on, he played behind folks like Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, and Mary Lou Williams. After serving in the Navy band, he settled in the Twin Cities and turned down offers from Count Basie and Duke Ellington. You can catch him in duo settings during Friday happy hour at the Dakota, but this is a special chance to hear him with Billy Peterson, bass; Steve Blons, guitar; and Dave Graf on trombone. It will be sublime, as you can tell from this video, taken a year ago or so.
Monday, Tuesday, February 8, 9
Joe Lovano & John Scofield Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($30) Here’s a duo that will bring out all sorts of music lovers. Guitarist John Scofield has played with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Billy Hancock, and Miles Davis, and more recently has gained fans among the jam band crowd by playing with Mediski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, and Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead. He’s an amazing improviser with a distinctive sound. Grammy winning saxophonist Joe Lovano has played with SF Jazz, The Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Paul Motian, in addition to leading a number of groups, including Us5, the two drummer band. Check them out.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($30 – $35) What better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They revolutionized the Brass Band concept some 35 years ago when they added bebop, pop, and even the Flinstones Theme to their repertoire. They’ve recorded with David Bowie, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, The Black Crowes, and more. Tickets are going fast, so be warned, and if you get in, you can party hearty.
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, February 3
Jeff Ray & The Stakes on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Jeff Ray is a talented songwriter who isn’t afraid to rework classic rock n’ roll tunes to fit his playing on resonator and acoustic guitars. He’s joined by harp master “Hurricane Harold” Tremblay, along with percussionist Mikkel Beckman on Djembe, Scruboard and foot stomps, and Nick Salisbury, of Sonny Knight & the Lakers, and Ashliegh Still, on bass. Here’s a track from their Valhalla, their recent album.
Thursday, February 4
Rockin Pinecones @ The Eagles Club, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get an early start on Mardis Gras celebrations and Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and friends serve up some Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop tunes for your dancing pleasure.
Gilded Palace Sinners @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($8) Throughout a career in the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, duets with Emmylou Harris, and solo excursions, Gram Parsons kickstarted country rock and created an extraordinary body of work. This 8-piece group was formed in 2015 to perform his music. Member come from the Urban Hillbilly Quartet, the Platte Valley Boys, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys, and more.
Friday, February 5
Butanes @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Though the dance floor at Crooners isn’t particularly large, it’s bigger than the one at Shaw’s, where the award-winning Butanes have a weekly gig. Additionally, music starts early, so those of us of a certain age can kick up our heels to the Buantes’ Blues and still get home in time to get sufficient rest.
Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Sometimes you just want some basic blues and rock n’ roll. Pianist/guitarist Murphy delivers, and though his originals are actually far from basic, they deliver a punch that isn’t subtle, even if the harmonies are. Here he is with a full band.
OboeBassFluteGuitar @ Lowertown Lofts, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This concert is” for fans of classical music in obscure spaces.” A collaboration of the four performers of OboeBass! and Duo Ancora as OboeBassFluteGuitar! For this concert they will perform several pieces as a quartet, and mix and match their instrumental combinations in a variety of genres from baroque to tango to jazz. Carrie Vecchione, oboe, and Rolf Erdahl, double bass created and perform in OboeBass!, the world’s only professional oboe/bass duo. Catherine Ramirez is flute professor at St. Olaf College and internationally known soloist and teacher of flute. A native of East Berlin, guitarist and Lowertown Classics founder Eva Benekeperforms, records, and teaches around the world in addition to serving on the guitar faculty at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.
Friday, Saturday, February 5, 6
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $50) Motown Soul from the singer of Heat Wave, Nowhere to Run, Come and Get These Memories, and Dancing in the Street. Martha & The Vandellas were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame back in 1995, and have two songs in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Nowadays the Vandellas are Martha’s sisters. Together, they’ll take you back to the pinnacle of 60s Motown, whether you were around then or not.
Saturday, February 6
Wine, Women & Song @ The Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Three outstanding musicians gather for an evening of pop, country, and rock. Rocker Tina Schlieske will explore songs she recorded with the B-sides from her latest work, Barricade. That band formed out of the edgy new wave rock scene that was Minneapolis in the late ’80’s. Katy Vernon will perform her pop/rock/country songs from her newest, critically acclaimed album, Present, named Album of the Year by E’Toile Magazine, and a #6 album of the year by the Pioneer Press. Sarah Morris has released two albums, and has been praised for her intimate songwriting and Norah Jones-like approach to singing alt-country. Here’s a video from each of them.
Buddy Holly Tribute @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm ($5) This is a benefit for Doctors Without Borders, but also celebrates the “Day the Music Died,” when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash near Clear Lake Iowa. Performers include: Nikki & the Ruemates, Larry Havluck, Roady Tate, Don & Leo, Steve West and the Northern Stars.
Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Grimm’s Sunday night gig at The Station in White Bear Lake are legendary for their fun factor. Expect the same at Crooners, with the addition of talented family and friends.
Sunday, February 7
Phil Heywood @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10am – 2pm (No Cover) You can catch Heywood, his acoustic guitar, and his pleasant baritone while having brunch and still have plenty of time to prepare for the Super Bowl later today. He’ll be debuting his 12 string for added interest. Well worth the time for aspiring guitarists who want to see a champion of finger picking at work.
Tuesday, February 9
Mardis Gras Party with Patty & The Buttons @ Dayblock Brewing, 1105 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Patty’s button accordion playing is just the thing for Cajun tunes, though this group can swing out with some jump blues and jazz as well. It’s a masquerade party, with featured cocktails, and Dayblock’s usual selection of food, not to forget their IPAs, Stouts, and Ales.