Lift Your Spirits: 4.27 – 5.3


One of the many purple lighted tributes to Prince last Thursday

One of the many purple lit-up tributes to Prince last Thursday

Well, it’s a sad week for music lovers, especially here in the Twin Cities, where there’s been wall-to-wall coverage and tributes to Prince. It’s not surprising, since almost everyone in town has a Prince story, or knows someone with a Prince story. I got to see him perform only a few times: at a “surprise” concert at First Avenue in the early 80s, his Civic Center Concert in 1990, and most recently, during his three-night run at the Dakota a couple of years ago. I only got to the first night, an all-instrumental show, which I nevertheless found exhilarating, and reviewed here. Like so many other Twin Citizens, I also had a couple of Prince sightings over the years, at First Avenue, and the Dakota, including last Tuesday night, when I saw him going to the Green Room to talk with Lizz Wright.

Jazz fans will be interested to know that Jimmy Scott recorded a Prince song, which you can listen to here, and that Miles Davis played onstage with him, which you can see here, and our own Adam Meckler Quintet performed Sometimes It Snows In April at their CD release party this past Saturday. There have also been performance tributes by Bruce Springsteen, The Dixie Chicks, and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and the casts of Hamilton and The Color Purple. I’m sure there will be many tribute events in the coming months, the first of which I’ve listed below for Sunday. In the meantime, we have a full week of great music to lift our spirits.


Wednesday, April 27

O’Brien, Gadbout, Hennig @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Casey O’Brien  bass; Ted Gadbout, piano; and Peter Hennig, drums, are fine musicians and good representatives of the “middle” generation of jazz players in town. O’Brien is a well-regarded bassist about town, having released some well-reviewed jazz albums, in addition to playing with such local luminaries as PaviElle and  Sonny Knight & the Lakers.   It’s O’Brien’s gig, and as per usual, they will probably be presenting some of his originals, though Gadbout and Hennig have their own songs as well. You can listen to songs from Ghost Dance, his album from 2014 with Nathan Hanson and Davu Seru here.

Aurora Club Jazz Quartet @ Tattersall Distillery Cocktail Room, 1620 Central Ave NE, #150, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($??) I don’t know this group, though it may contain some familiar names. At any rate, since distilleries seem to be popping up around town here’s a chance to check one out. They distill several types of gin and liqueurs, as well as vodka, bourbon, aqavit, and white whiskey. Plus you can listen to  some music and make use of a food truck at the same time.

Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The foremost crooner of our area will sing at what should be his natural habitat. Fogel will be joined by the Wolverines Trio: Jendeen for berg, drums; Keith Thomas Boyles, bass; and Rick Carlson, piano. They’ll be in the big room, and will undoubtedly generate the energy that room deserves.

Thursday, April 28

Improv on the Plaza @ Ecolab Plaza, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Drummer Pete Hennig and friends will perform. His friends include: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Cody McKinney, electric bass; and Brian Zeimnak, electric piano. Here’s Hennig playing with the Brian Gallagher Quartet.

Some sass from some brass

Some sass from some brass

BrassZilla @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This quartet features three brass and a drum. I’m sure they’ll be able to get your attention and keep it despite the general noise level of this hopping’ restaurant.


Songs from the Silo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Vocalist Sheridan Zuther grew up on a farm and spent hours singing in an empty one on her farm. Tonight she celebrates life on a family farm, singing songs from Dolly Parton, Cole Porter, Stevie Wonder, and more – songs that she sang as a child in the silo, and that inspired her to become a singer. She’ll be accompanied by pianist Steve Hobert, whose light, fanciful touch seems just right for such a project.

Friday, April 29

Guitar Night featuring Julian Lage Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $42)  While Grammy-nominated Lage and his modern jazz trio, which just released an excellent album, are the headliners, this evening also features Twin Cites guitar wizard Peter Lang, along with the Takoma guitar masters: Toulouse Engelhart and Rick Ruskin. Those of you of a certain age may remember Takoma Records as the recording home of Lang, as well as John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Engelhardt is known as the “Segovia of Surf” due to his stylings, lighting fast playing and colorful melodies, while Ruskin learned his craft from the Reverend Gary Davis.

Saturday, 30

Brian Lynch w/The Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ The A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 SE Main Street, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6pm ($25, $35, $50) This is a benefit for Jazz Central, the little jazz venue that could. Things start off at 1pm with the Doug Haining/Dave Graf Quintet, with guest vocalists Debbie Duncan, Andrew Walesch, and Sara Greer. At 2:15 it’s the Javier Santiago Trio with Dan Carpel, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. At 3:30, the Vinson Valega Group performs and agh 4:30 it’s Grammy winning trumpeter/bandleader Brian Lynch  who has been part of august bands led by Horace Silver, Art Blakey, and Phil Woods, as well as becoming an in demand musician for work with Latin bands, such as those of Eddie Palmieri and the legendary Hector LaVoe. Today he’ll be showing off his Latin chops with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Here’s Lynch with some students.

How Birds Work, with original bassist Billy Peterson

How Birds Work, with original bassist Billy Peterson

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features the Growlers at 7pm: Joel Shapira guitar; Dave Martin, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums. Headliner tonight is How Birds Work, a quartet that thrilled Artist Quarter customers for years: Peter Schimke, piano; Dean Granros, guitar; Ted Olson, bass; and the indefatigable Kenny Horst on drums.

Boom Room Jazz @ Boom Island Brewing Tap Room, 2014 N Washington Avenue, #300, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Free) This is the second installment of Jazz at the Boom Room. Valve trombonist Brad Bellows brings another group of fine musicians to play while you check out Boom Island’s Belgian-inspired brews. Tonight Brad is joined by Larry Hillman, tenor sax; Steve Kimmel, marimba; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Mike Croy, drums.

Sunday, May 1

Solomon’s Sessions @ The Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This is the last of a grant-sponsored series led by trumpeter Solomon Parham, who just received his Masters in Performance from MacNally Smith. It’s essentially a jam session with a high bar for performance, which results in some terrific music. Here’s a brief idea of what happens.

Monday, May 2

Tom Kliphuis and Sam Miltich @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) For those who appreciate the acoustic swing of Gypsy Jazz, this will be a must-see gig. Classicly trained violinist Tim Kliphuis trained at the Amsterdam Conservatoire and is regarded as Stephane Grappelli’s heir. Though Sam Miltich was born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota, he somehow gravitated towards Gypsy Jazz as well as Brazilian choros and French musettes, thrilling audiences with his solo performances as well as with his band the Clearwater Hot Club. Here’s a video of Kliphuis in performance.

Joel Shapira & The Growlers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) If you didn’t catch them in the opening slot at the Black Dog on Saturday night, you can catch them tonight, and stick around for a jam session afterwards. Here’s Shapira in a solo piece.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) This late night Monday night series always has the best in regional and visiting musicians who aren’t afraid to stretch boundaries. Tonight it’s The Regional Jazz Trio – Anthony Cox, bass; JT Bates, drums; and  Michael Lewis, sax.

Tuesday, May 3

Mississippi, featuring Andres Prado @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm If you haven’t seen Peruvian guitarist Prado yet, here’s your chance. He’s visiting for a few weeks after returning to Peru a few years ago. His work with Mississippi can range from acoustic Afro-Peruvian Landos to mostly jazz fusion. Other members of Mississippi are: Pete Whitman, saxes; Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 27

Jillian Rae Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rae is a talented violinist, vocalist, and songwriter who can throw down a Led Zeppelin song, follow it with a country hoedown, and then perform a hook-laden original. Tonight she’ll be appearing with her husband Eric. They’ll be followed at the 331 Club by an Americana/newgrass group with members of Pet Near Sandstone, the Sans Souci Quartet, The Farmhouse Band and Row of Ducks.

Judy Collins and Ari Hest @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60 – $75) An evening of compelling folk music from a couple of veterans. Collins may have created a new genre, art-folk, when she recorded the songs of Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sonheim, and Joni Mitchell, as well as the title song from Marat/Sade back in the 60s. She may be best known for her hits with Both Sides Now, Someday Soon, Who Knows Where The Time Goes, and Amazing Grace in the late 60s. Previous appearances at the Dakota have revealed a talent for storytelling as well. Heist has recorded eight albums, three EPS, and in 2008 recorded and released a new song every Monday for a full year.

Thursday, April 28

Courtney Yasmineh Goes Solo @ Reverie Cafe + Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm. (Tip Jar) Rocker/songerwriter Courtney Yasmineh will soon take off on an East Coast tour, where she’s been acquiring fans, and she’s warming up with this show.  Actually,m Ms Yasmineh will be one of four artists featured at the old Nicollet Cafe. Alicia Kay (of the Changeups) will start at 9pm; Andriana Lehr is on at 9:45, followed by Ms Yasmineh at 10:30. I’m afraid I don’t know the closing artist. This video with her band will give you an example of Yasmineh’s songwriting.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Cajun, Zydeco, and perhaps some swamp pop from accordionist Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and his compadres. Dancing shoes are de rigueur.

Friday, April 29

Philip Nusbaum and Sherry Minnick @ Duluono’s Pizza, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar?) Classic Country, banjo originals, and maybe a bit of classic bluegrass from Nusbaum  who hosts Bluegrass Saturday Morning on KBEM, and Ms Minnick  who has been in a number of old-time and bluegrass band, several musical plays at the History Theater, and has taught children’s choirs for 16 years. Here’s a long clip of the two of them.

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Oh my! This is definitely the gathering place for blues lovers tonight. Thackery  earned his craft performing with Muddy Waters, then went on to be a co-founder of The Nighthawks, with whom he performed for fifteen years. He left them in 1987 and has become the definition of a road warrior, playing nearly 300 shows a year. He loves the guitar stylings found in surf and spy music, but at his heart is a blues guy, through and through.

Saturday, April 30

One Night in Cuba @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Charanga Tropical is heading up this fiesta and dance party, since they are celebrating the release of the CD they recorded in Havana last year. The evening will feature an all-star lineup of musicians from Charanga Tropical, Malamanya, Salsa Del Soul, QBand, and Salsabrosa. Other guests will include Cuban pianist Viviana Pintado, Chicago Salsa singers Franklin Paz and Juan Castro, and more, including dance showcases. Whew! Bring your dancing shoes and take part in a salsa dance lesson.

Complicated Fun Opening Night @ The Minnesota History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $45) If you remember the exploding music scene from First Avenue in the 80s, you’ll want to see this show, which runs through May 29. It’s a story of a couple of misfits who discover themselves thanks to the sounds coming from the club that Prince made famous. Though there are no songs from “His Royal Badness,” as writer Martin Keller dubbed him, there many songs from the punk/funk scene at the time, including music from The Suicide Commandos, The Replacements, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the Suburbs, and more. If you can’t make it tonight, the show runs through May 29. Ticket information here. Watch the Suicide Commandos perform the title song.

High & Mighty @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) This party-hearty horn band will have the commodious dance floor at the MMC filled with revelers.

Get out the dancing shoes

Get out the dancing shoes

The Good, Bad, & the Funky @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. ($7) Meanwhile, this 10-piece horn band will be laying down R&B dance rhythms for Minneapolis funksters.

Sunday, May 1

Let the Festivities begin

Let the Festivities begin

Mayday Parade and Festival, South Minneapolis. Noon – dusk. The 42nd Annual Mayday Parade and Festival begins at noon, when the parade starts at 25th & Bloomington, going south and to Powderhorn Park The Tree of Life Ceremony takes place at the park at 3pm, while the Festival is open throughout the day. The Festival features music, dancing, poetry, food, canoe rides, and who knows what else. the entertainment runs from The Roe Family Singers to Savage Aural Hotbed, Firefly Forest, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and the Maroons (Now called Positive Vibrations). Entertainment schedule can be found here.

NE Love Prince Dance Party @ East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. 3pm – 6pm (Free) This family-friendly party is sure to be one of many that will occur in the coming weeks. There will be a couple of food trucks, a purple art project, and music from Deejay That Dude Trey, spinning Prince, Prince-sampled hip-hop, and Prince influenced artists. Be aware that though this is a family-friendly event, the songs will not be edited. It may be outside, but that is dependent on details like tents, permits, and of course, the weather.

David Lindley @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) If you think you’ve heard eclectic musicians before, be prepared to be knocked out by Lindley  whose electro-acoustic performances incorporate American folk and blues, as well as bluegrass, African, Arabic, Asian, and Malagasy traditions. He’s a highly talented multi-instrumentalist with a wide array of stringed instruments, with a sly sense of humor.

Sunday, Monday, May 1,2

The Combo at work

The Combo at work

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The band, also known as The Combo contains a number of artists who have been associated with Prince, including drummer Michael Bland, bassist Sonny Thompson, vocalist Margaret Cox, and guitarist Billy Franze. I’m not sure about the Prince association for other members, but he used to come by every once in a while and sit in the corner, often bringing new or potential band members to help them learn. JellyBean Johnson is a sure bet as a guest, and you can never tell when a visiting musician will sit in. Last Sunday they opened the third set with a rousing Prince medley that went on for 15 or 20 minutes. Since this band has been performing weekly for almost three decades, they are incredibly tight, and will have you dancing in no time.

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

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