It’s promising to be another great week of music here in the Twin Cites. In fact, a number of both resident and visiting artists are likely to give you goosebumps, and if they don’t to that, they’ll get you on the dance floor. You may have a hard time deciding who to see, and that, my friends, is a good problem to have. Music lifts your spirits, just ask the baby at right.
Wednesday, March 2
The McNally Smith X-Tet and The Pete Whitman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Here we have two groups for the price of one, both of which are worth seeing. Saxman Pete Whitman directs the McNally Smith X-Tet, a group of students, including a couple of grad students and advanced seniors who are already playing professionally around town. The Pete Whitman Quarte includes Chris Olson, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger on drums.
Wednesday, Thursday, March 2,3
Brian Blade Fellowship @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($22) Drummer/composer Blade is a multi-talented performer who has drummed for folks like Wayne Shorter, Seal, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Bill Frisell. He and bandmate John Cowherd on piano studied and played with many New Orleans greats, including Ellis Marsalis, John Vidacovich, Germaine Bazzle, Alvin “Red” Tyler, and Tony Dagradi, among others. They, along with bassist Chris Thomson have played together for over 20 years, while fellow bandmates Myron Walden and Melvin Butler have played with the Fellowship since 2000. This is a tight band, playing as a bunch of friends, and we’re lucky to be able to enjoy a small part of their world for an evening.
Thursday, March 3
Love Is Here to Stay: Songwriting Teams of the Great American Songbook @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Vocalists Paula Lammers and Reeves Cary perform songs by composers and lyricists such as Rogers & Hart, the Gershwin Brothers, Arlen and Mercer, Cahn & Van Heusen and more.
Thursday, Friday, March 3,4
Katia Cardenas and Javi Santiago @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club Happy Hour, Fridley. 4:30pm – 6:30pm. (No Cover) Their dads met in Junior High School in Los Angeles and later ended up on the road together. Pianist Javi grew up in town, left for school and NYC, and returned to become a respected performer. Vocalist Cardenas grew up on the West Coast, and came to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend college. This is their first time playing together and it should be great fun, what with Cardenas’ ability to deliver jazz and R&B, and Santiago’s ability to play many styles.
Friday, March 4
Todd Harper & Nathan Hanson @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30 (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper plays lots of original music,m most oa good portion of which are in 3/4 time. He notes that “listening to music in 3/4 time actually extends your life and brings a high joy factor.” Whether or not you agree, you should still catch his Friday night gigs at the ‘Dog, especially tonight, since he’ll be joined by the outside/inside saxophonist Nathan Hanson. to listen to an interview Harper did with KBEM’s Phil Nussbaum, go to https://beta.prx.org/stories/162000.
Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Drummer Gravatt is an alum of Weather Report, and stints with McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and others, including the Twin Cities own Natural Life. Gravatt and bassist Ron Evaniuk form the foundation of Source Code which recently has also featured trumpeter Solomon Parham and guitarist Dean Magraw. Tonight they also had young sax player Lucia Sarmiento. Her he is with a different configuration.
Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s show is Chet – The Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker, with the Larry McDonough Quintet: Larry McDonough, piano, vocals and arrangements; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Richard Terill, saxes; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums. Watch McDonough playing a piano at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Saturday, March 5
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s a Birthday Celebration for Davis Wilson, the genial hipster.jazz emcee, with a show that starts at 7pm and lasts until closing, generally around 11pm, featuring Dean magraw, guitar; Dave Brattain, saxes; Kenny Horst, drums; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.
Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, featuring Laura Caviani @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. 8pm ($26) Swagger, Swing, And Swoon, as ten swinging veterans play originals and jazz standards with original arrangements. David Milne, Pete Whitman,Dave Karr-saxophones; Adam Meckler, Adam Rossmiller-trumpets; Jeff Rinear-trombone; Dave Hagedorn-vibes; Laura Caviani-piano; Chris Bates-bass; Phil Hey-drums.
Carver & Clarke @ Mendoberri Cafe and Wine Bar, Mendota Heights. 7pm (No Cover) Jeff Carver, trumpet; and Steve Clarke, sax; play the music of Baker & Mulligan as well as selections from the Great American Songbook. Mendoberri has a nice selection of wines and eats, and reservations are recommended if you would like dinner.
Sunday, March 6
Jazz Brunch with the James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 10AM. (No Cover) Bassist James Buckley, who plays roots music as well as jazz brings jazz to the Turf Club, with pianist Bryan Nichols and drummer Cory Healey as his cohorts in the subversion of the Turf’s rock n’ roll reputation. Here is Buckley & Nichols playing with Jt Bates.
Monday, March 7
Vector Families @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Dean Granros, guitar; Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; and Brandon Wozniak, sax, deliver cutting edge modern jazz for late night jazz fans.
Tuesday, March 8
Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dunsmore Room in Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($20 Minimum) The last time pianist/clarinetist Thompson and guitarist Donahue played Crooners together they were in the lounge. This time they’re in the club’s acoustically sensitive listening room. Thompson will take full advantage of the sonority of the room’s 9 foot Bosendorffer piano, and Donahue’s finger picking will be more easily appreciated. Reservations recommended. Listen to a cut featuring Thompson on clarinet, from their excellent album, Vicksburg Blues.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, March 2
Jack Klatt on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) An award-winning singer, guitarist, and troubadour, Klatt has traveled enough highways here, in Canada and in Europe, to create and collect songs and stories that inform and entertain. Listen during the 5pm hour and head over to the 331 when you hear what you like.
Thursday, March 3
Jeff Ray w/ Mikell Beckman @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist Beckman hosts a Thursday night event every week. Tonight he’s got guitarist/singer Jeff Ray as his guest. The two work together in Jeff Ray and the Stakes, so I imagine they will be tight, to say the least. Here’s the two of them, along with Hurricane Harold Tremblay
Friday, March 4
Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Roadhouse blues, delivered in a slighty tonier place. Miller packs em’ in, and since the dance floor is relatively small, there will be many folks vying for a spot as Dee and the band pump out some powerful blues. Listen to them here.
Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$10Door) They packed the Parkway Theater last time this Madison WI Band was in town. Here you’ll be able to show off your freestyle dance moves as the members of this band take on traditional brass band music, fortified with unique arrangements of contemporary tunes.
Purple Funk Metropolis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm – 11:30pm ($10) The Friday Late Night set at Jazz Central is always a student affair. This time it features an 9-piece funky jam band (including a vocalist) of students and recent grads that fuses hip hop and jazz into a danceable, modern sound.
Friday, Saturday, March 4,5
Aaron Neville @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75 – $100) If you’ve an appreciation for the R&B of New Orleans, and you’ve never heard the angelic voice of Aaron Neville, it would be worthwhile to shell out the money for this intimate show. He has been successful within the context of his family group, The Neville Brothers, as well as at a solo artist. In fact, his first hit, 1967’s Tell It Like It Is, was a solo number that stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks. He’s recorded duets with Linda Ronstadt, for which he won Grammys, had four platinum selling hits, and reached the country charts in ’93. A sweeter voice you’ve never heard, whether he’s singing pop, R&B, or doo-wop.
Saturday, March 5
SEOP Dance Company @ The Ordway, 345 Washington Street, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23 – $45) SEOP is a South Korean dance company that fuses Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theatre, with contemporary and traditional Korean dance techniques. Their celebrated piece, A Man’s Requiem, tells the story of a sinner’s judgement day. See for yourself.
Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. ($10 advance/$12 Door) The Saint Paul Hipster Club welcomes the Angel-Headed Hipsters, led by Murphy, a guy who has eschewed the hipster label for all of his 40 plus years of performing rock n’ roll, blues, and rhythm and blues. There’s a nice sized dance floor at the Turf, which will undoubtedly be filled by folks responding to Murphy’s arrangements of covers and originals.
Sunday, March 6
Nightingale Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Three women inspired by traditional music from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It’s earthy, sensual, and in the hands of these ladies, transformed.
Devil Music @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($6Advance/$8Door) A CD Release party for “Devil Music” produced by the House of Mercy folks, and featuring a host of performers, including John Hermanson, the House of Mercy Band, the Blood Washed Band, Mother Banjo, Daddy Squeeze, the Roe Family Singers, and more. Don’t worry, it’s not music that extols the Devil, but rather warns of his influence.
Beausoleil Avec Michael Doucet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Back in the mid 70s, Beausoleil was one of the defining forces that brought Cajun music to the masses of America. Since then, their insistent, irresistible rhythms and French lyrics have inspired thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, to take up Cajun dancing, while they’ve won Grammys along the way. The gentleman at Prairie Home Companion has dubbed them the “Best Cajun Band int he World,” though you’ll have to see them yourself to decide if that’s hyperbole.
Monday, March 7
Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Last time Fischer was at the Dakota was when the Rolling Stones were in town, and Charlie Watts sat in on drums. Of course, Fischer has been singing backup and duetting with Jagger on Gimme Shelter for 26 years. She’s also sung backup for folks like Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin, Grover Washington, Bobby McFerrin, and Patti Labelle. This isn’t necessarily a rock or soul show, however, though a couple of songs will undoubtedly be familiar. Fisher blends a number of genres to create unique takes on all kinds of songs, and, with an incredible range, has the ability to send chills up your spine.
Tuesday, Wednesday, March 8,9
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. ($40 – $60) Coming out of the Jersey Shore along with friend and contemporary Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny played R&B with the horns of the 11-piece Jukes backing him up. It didn’t hurt that his first three albums were produced by Steve Van Zandt (of the E Street Band), and included songs by both Springsteen and Van Zandt, as well as guest appearances by the Drifters and Ronnie Spector as well. It’s rowdy, passionate R&B, designed for dancing and sweating.