Well, the unofficial start of summer is upon us. As the touring season for musicians kicks into high gear, we have more choices for music events from both visiting and resident artists, only a few of which I list each week. Like an overflowing picnic basket, we have more than enough to satisfy us. Have a great week. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, May 25
Larry McDonough: Born To Be Kind of Blue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Pianist McDonough has been doing shows about trumpeters Chet Baker and Miles Davis of late. Hollywood recently released films about both trumpeters, so it seems the next step for McDonough is to combine both shows. McDonough’s voice has the same “cool” quality as Baker, so he’s got that covered, and he’s brought in the talented Steve Kenny on trumpet. Other members of the group include Paul Peterson, tenor; Doug Haining, alto; Jim Bierna, bass; and Dean White, drums. Here’s McDonough doing a standard.
Bobby Lyle w/Billy Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 Dinner), 9pm ($20) The Minneapolis native started playing piano in clubs at the age of 15, and hit the road as a full time musician after two years at Macalester. In the more than three decades since then he’s acquired an impressive resume, recording for Capitol, Atlantic, Three Keys, and Heads Up, and serving as musical director for Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler. His 2005 album Straight and Smooth appeared on both the Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts for Billboard. He’ll be joined by bassist Billy Peterson, whose own musical career also knows few boundaries, having worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Les Paul, Ben Sidran, and Steve Miller, among others.
Thursday, May 26
Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Lucia Sarmiento Group is tonight’s attraction, and attraction is certainly the right word. Sarmiento is a young sax player from Peru who has been studying at MacNally Smith and increasingly gigging around town. She’s a strong player and a creative improviser. Joining her are a number of other young and youngish players: Will Kjeer, piano; Ethan Elseth, guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. Here she is from a few years ago.
Paula Lammers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Vocalist Lammers and guitarist David Martin have been exploring the music of singer/songwriters of the 70s, when the form exploded on the radio and pop charts. Ex[pect to hear music from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Rickie Lee Jones, Carole King, and more. Here she is doing an Ellington tune.
Friday, May 27
Jeremy Walker & Ted Nash @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Wow! Walker is a fine pianist and composer, well worth a visit to the Vieux. He’s a long time friend of saxophonist Ted Nash, who is coming through town and will be sitting in with Walker. Nash is a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and co-founded the NYC based Jazz Composers Collective. He will soon be releasing Presidential Suite, based on great political speeches of the 20th Century.
Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a band that’s just made for the room, allowing you to enjoy gumbo, a po’ boy, or oysters while The Aces play traditional New Orleans jazz from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bix Beiderbecke, among others. The group includes: Tony Baluff, clarinet; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Robert Bell, guitar; and Dave Michael, drums. And what’s more New Orleans than Little Liza Jane?
Maud Hixson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30 (No Cover) Ms Hixson brings her elegant vocals to the lounge at the Italian eatery in the office warrens in the southeast corner of the 100/494 interchange. She’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Rick Carlson on piano, two musicians whose restraint and taste are a good fit for Ms Hixson. Her latest project is a CD with songs mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books, a series from the early 20th Century about life in Mankato. Here’s a sample.
Saturday, May 28
Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Hot jazz from early in the 20th Century, played by Tom Zosel, clarinet/tenor sax; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; Tom Lyseng, drums; and Jeffrey Dunitz, banjo/guitar. Here’s what they sound like.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The new kitchen is open at the Black Dog, so while you’re enjoying music in the expanded space, you can have a burger or banh mi sandwich, among other offerings. At 7pm it’s the Evan Benidt Trio: Benidt, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums. The Peter Vircks Quartet starts sometime between 8:30 and 9:: Vircks, sax; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Brian Ziemniak, piano
Sunday, May 29
Joel Shapira @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) So, you’re hanging around town for the weekend, and if the forecast of rain on Friday and Saturday is correct, by Sunday afternoon, you’ll be looking for some diversion. Guitarist Joel Shapira might do the trick. The garage doors to the tap room will be open, so you can enjoy being on the patio.
Sergio Mendes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm ($60 – $80) While Stan Getz may have had the first “bossa nova” hit with Desafinado, it was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 that really brought Brazilian music to the world 50 years ago. He adapted songs like The Look of Love, Fool on the Hill, and Scarborough Fair to the sensuous rhythms of Brazil, and took Mas Que Nada, sung entirely in Portugese, to the pop charts. He’s released 55 albums, and continues to meld pop instrumentation with Brazilian rhythms, maintaining his cool factor all these years. Here’s an example of just how cool he is – playing with the Black Eyed Peas
Tuesday, May 31
Dave Karr Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Saxophonist Karr moved to the Twin Cities in the 50s and began gigging around. In the intervening years created an award winning jingle agency, continued to gig, and has become an elder statesman in jazz, with an ever-inventive ability to caress a sweet melody or improvise a bebop line. He’ll be playing with Chris Lomheim, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.
Southern Minnesota REAL Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Waseca-based group is made up of the region’s top jazz musicians. About half are band directors, while the others come from a variety of occupations. They’ve got standard, 18-piece instrumentation, and play music from Ellington, Basie, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gordon Goodwin and others.
Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This may be the first appearance at the Vieux for this group, though they originally started when the place was the Artists’ Quarter. Initially, all members would play as part of Kenny’s early evening Tuesday night jam, until they coalesced as a group, with Kenny as the veteran playing with young lions. Besides Kenny on Flumpet_, the group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Listen.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, May 25
Moonlight Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Moonlight Duo are Mary DuShane and Nick Jordan. DuShane is a fiddler with a long history in the Twin Cities folk and roots scene. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion as a member of the Powdermilk Biscuit Band, currently plays with the DL Cajun Band, and has been in a number of country, folk, and roots bands over the decades. Nick Jordan plays finger-picked guitar (he flat picks as well), mandolin, and flute/whistle, in addition to singing. It will be an evening of old time, Appalachian, and Irish songs.
The April Fools @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of rock n’ roll loving guys who know how to put the country in country rock. Each has played in a plethora of bands before this collaboration, which was supposed to be a one-off project. They enjoyed working together so much that they became a band. Brian Drake, vocals, guitars; Clay Williams, guitars, lap steel, and pedal steel; Ben Kaplan, drums & percussion; and Scott Hreha, bass.
Thursday, May 26
Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Swing dancers and Cajun dancers unite! You have nothing to lose but calories from spinning, twirling, two-stepping, and generally dancing the night away to this seasoned group and their repertoire of New Orleans R&B, Cajun, & Zydeco music.
Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($20) There will be plenty of both young and old fans of funk n’ soul at the former bus depot tonight. Bradley spent years doing James Brown covers before he was discovered by the soul-loving folks at Daptone Records. He’s been given the sobriquet “Screamin’ Eagle of Soul” thanks to the intensity of his singing, which leans toward slow and medium tempos, though he explodes with passion on the occasional fast number.
Jaunito Pascual New Flamenco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Born in Minneapolis, Jaunito Pascual as been recognized in both Spain and throughout the US for his creativity and virtuosity on the guitar. He’s been hailed by NPR and the Boston Globe, performed on a Prairie Home Companion Cruise, and appeared in Steve Martin’s Pink Panther 2.
Friday, May 27
JD Souther @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $52) Billed as an “Intimate Evening,” it will be just Souther on stage. The singer/songwriter was a critical source for songs during the flowering of California country/rock in the early 70s, having hits with Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and others. He had his own massive hit in 1979, with You’re Only Lonely, which hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Souther has admitted that his songs are often depressing, which may explain why they are popular with country stars like George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks and Dunn, and others. His latest album, Tenderness, finds him, like many other his age, exploring the Great American Songbook. Those of you of a certain age will remember this song, a hit for the Eagles.
Minneapolis Guitar Quartet @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm ($20, $18 members) Doors at 6:30 and limited seating, in one of the nicest unexpected venues in town. Sit amongst stunning examples of 20th Century Realism, and listen to this extraordinary quartet, one of the few guitar ensembles in the country that performs its pieces from memory. You’ll hear music from J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Hiromi Uehara, Maria Kalaniemi, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Don’t think this is on the program, but it’s a fine version.
North Country Bandits @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The band was on hiatus for a while, so it’s good to have them back, performing a heap of stompin’ blues, a bit of country, good ol’ rock n’ roll, and killer harmonies. The front line is Matt Pudas, Drew Druckery, and Doug Otto on guitars and vocals, along with Rich Casey bass; Chris Gray, drums, Joanna John, keys; and Nick “The Feelin’” Mrozinski on vocals and keys.
Riverside Swing Band EP Release @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though the lounge has a small dance floor, it will undoubtedly be jumping as this quartet celebrates the release of “Songs from the 30s,” a collection of six vintage swing tunes.
Saturday, May 28
Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpman and vocalist Steve Vondehaar, aka Boom Boom Steve, plays the Mississippi Saxophone with considerable skill. He’s been at it ever since buying a Tony Glover instruction book as a teenager. He and the Knockouts will have Neumann’s jumping.
Urban Flavor @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Funk n’ soul from a band of seasoned musicians, a few of whom were instrumental in the MPLS Sound of the 70s and 80s. Ben Locke was Alexander O’Neal’s drummer, while Charles and Donald Berry were cofounders of Quiet Storm, featured in the book/CD Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Members of other bands from the era will be present, though it’s hard to say who may join the band for the evening.
Pat Hayes Band @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist/harpist/vocalist Pat Hayes isn’t exactly shedding his Lamont Cranston skin, just putting it aside for this gig, which will undoubtedly still feature an LC tune or two in a new configuration. I’m unsure of who he’ll have with him, except for Tim Wick, who will be playing organ.
Saturday, Sunday, May 28, 29
Memory Lanes Block Party @ Memory Lanes, 25th & 26th Ave So, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 2am Saturday, 3pm – 10 pm Sunday ($5/day) Deejays and bands galore, with Saturday featuring mostly (insert hyphenated genre here) rock bands, while on Sunday there are a few roots and blues bands of note, including: Jaedyn James & The Hunger at 4:30, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders at 8:20, the Legendary Shack Shakers at 9:30, and Davina & The Vagabonds indoors at 10:45.
Sunday, May 29
Ecuador Manta @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Based in Saint Paul since they began in 1992, Ecuador Manta is originally from the tiny village of Atahulapa, Ecuador. They combine traditional rhythms from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia with contemporary Latin and Caribbean rhythms to create a unique form of Andean music.
Tuesday, May 31
Siama: Rivers – From the Congo to the Mississippi CD Release @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) If the swaying rhythms of Congolese guitarist Siama Matuzungidi doesn’t make you want to move, you better check your pulse. Siama was a prolific studio musician during the golden era of soukous music (70s-’80s) and his distinctive guitar style is featured on over 100 hit songs, several of which he composed. He’s been a resident of the Twin Cities for a number of years now, slowly but steadily building a fan base and connections with other musicians in cross-genre projects. From the Congo to the Mississippi is one such project, featuring musicians such as Joe Savage, pedal steel; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; Tim O’Keefe, percussion; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, JD Steele, vocals, and others, all of whom will be on hand. You’re invited to contribute an instrument in the lobby for distribution by Vega Productions to aspiring young musicians.
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