Let’s Go! Music: 7.27 – 8.2

July 27, 2016


Unknown-3Lots of great music this week, so let’s just get to it. Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, July 27

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20) After having a CD release at Vieux Carre for his five-piece Trucking Company last weekend, drummer Dave King brings bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to Crooners’ Dunsmore Room. King is well known for his stints with Happy Apple, Bad Plus, and the aforementioned Trucking Company, groups that traffic in avant/indie/experimental approaches to jazz. However, this trio, which has received rave reviews in the New York Times and on NPR, mines a treasure trove of standards from jazz and the Great American Songbook, bringing a fresh interpretation to songs each time they play.

Illicit Sextet 25th Anniversary of Chapter One Release @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) It’s 25 years or so since the Illicit Sextet  Minnesota’s first Jazz Composers Collective, released their debut album, Chapter One. Sooo, to celebrate, attendees will get a download card with admission, along with a printed package of original liner notes, design elements, and a number of reviews. Tonight’s shows will include selections from Chapte One, as well as from Chapter Eleven, the group’s second album, and music from the third, to be released in late Fall.

Graham O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/Student ID) O’Brien is a drummer and electronic music producer and composer from Saint Paul. For this interesting gig, he’ll be performing new music written for solo live performance in which he uses a custom electric-drum set.

Thursday, July 28

Jana Nyberg @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Nyberg’s easy facility with both jazz and pop have helped gain her numerous fans since she moved back to the Twin Cities in 2008. She’s recorded 3 CDs and appeared on season 10 of American Idol. She’s always backed by a stellar band, which includes her husband, trumpeter Adam Meckler.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The evening starts off at 7pm with VVG, which stands for Very Very Groovy, and considering the young lions in the group, should very well live up to the billing:  Josh Johnson, sax; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ben Beyene, drums; DeCarlo Jackson, bass. At 9pm Ruckus! appears, led by drummer Rodney Ruckus, who is celebrating his first year of living in the Twin Cities with three shows this week. He’ll be joined by international trumpeter Aaron Janik; young pianist Will Kjeer; veteran bassist Ron Evanuik; newcomer Jabari Powell on sax; and featuring Haylee Dee on Vocals.

Friday, July 29

Debbie Duncan with Ava McFarlane @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Brian Horst, owner of Details Salon and Boutique in downtown Saint Paul, is the person behind the successful Music in Mears events on Thursdays each summer. He’s now branched out with Rhythm in Rice, 10 weeks of globally inspired musicians, including tonight’s artist, Debbie Duncan  who will bring a jazz and R&B bent to the evening, with an emphasis on dancing. Ava McFarlane opens after dance lessons.

Pete James Johnson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5/Student ID) Young Lions, progressive young masters, whatever you call them, this is a talented group of young musicians, of which none, I’m fairly sure, are over 30. They have a lot to communicate, including originals and their own arrangements of jazz standards. The group includes: Aaron Hedenstrom, saxes; Joe Strachan, piano; Dan Carpel, bass; and leader Pete James Johnson on drums.

Will Kjeer Summer Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Pianist Will Kjeer will be in town for a few more weeks before returning to college. In the meantime, he’s playing around with a number of groups, including this one which he leads, with Graydon Peterson, bass; Rodney Ruckus, drums (he sure is busy this week); Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Stephanie Wielseler, recently returned to town, on sax. Here’s Will with a school group from a year ago.

Jeremy Walker Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8 cash only) Composer/pianist Walker and bassist Anthony Cox have put together a new group: The Port Arthur Quartet, along with Corey Healy on drums, and Brandon Wozniak on sax. Walker has collaborated with TU Dance and Zenon Dance, and written (and performed) 7 Psalms, for choir and jazz combo. Cox has been on over 100 recordings by internationally known musicians, including Geri Allen, Dewey Redman, John Scofield, and Joe Lovano, among others. Here’s Jeremy, in a typically contemplative mood, playing solo a couple of years ago.

Friday, Saturday, July 29, 30

Jazz Town Hall: Black Music in the Twin Cities @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. Noon – 4pm (Free??)  Registration, Noon – 4pm. First hour is devoted to registration, then from 1pm – 4pm various presentations about Black Music in the Twin Cities, especially the marginalization of Black Jazz Artists, from Solomon Parham and Rodney Ruckus, hosts, Eric Kamau Gravatt, and others.

Saturday, July 30

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kenny Trio opens at 7pm, followed by the second of Rodney Ruckus’ shows this week, with a slightly different line-up than Thursday night at the Reverie (above): Aaron Janik, trumpet; Will Kjeer, piano; Jax Ravel, bass; and Ruckus on drums.

PipJazz Women of Jazz Band @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm ($20) Vocalist Pippi Ardennia  athers up some outstanding musicians who happen to be female for this presentation. They include: Faye Washington, flute; Marilyn Parker, sax; Margo Brevik, bass; and three young musicians: Yonci Jameson, bass clarinet; Cymphony Jackson, piano; and Glory Yard, drums. Look for appearances from special guests Breanna Less, spoken word; and Heather McElrath, vocals. Here’s a news report about Pippi, with a little bit from Will Kjeer (see Friday).

Sunday, July 31

Jazz in the Vineyard with the Doug Little Quartet @ Alexis Bailey Vineyard, Hastings. 1:30pm (Free) I can really get behind the trend of wineries having jazz on Sunday afternoons. Saxophonist/flautist Doug Little brings a quartet to this, one of the first vineyards in Minnesota, to entertain while you taste wines and have some food, either from your own picnic, or from the vineyards store.

Monday, August 1

Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/Student ID) In case you didn’t see him on Thursday at the Reverie or Saturday at the Black Dog, here’s your last chance to see drummer Ruckus and his group with visiting international trumpeter Aaron Janik. Aside from having Jax Ravel on bass; the lineup is the same as Thursday’s at the Reverie (above).

Tuesday, August 2

Sean Turner Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s something that doesn’t happen very often, a no-cover show in the Dunsmore Room. With a trio of outstanding musicians: Sean Turner, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein, 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, July 27

Jillian Rae & Eric Martin @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. noon – 1pm (Free) Violinist/Vocalist/Songwriter Jillian Rae knows how to write a country-pop song with a hook that draws you in and keeps you there. See for instance, her song Heartbeat, which is also the title tune for her CD of a couple of years back. Rae is also proficient on guitar and piano, and teaches about 40 students at The Music Lab, her own music school, in addition to playing in a number of other bands besides her own. Today she’ll be performing with husband/guitarist Eric Martin in the sunny confines of the cortile of the Landmark Center.

Stephanie Niles on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Niles is a classically trained pianist (and cellist) who performed on NPR three times by the age of seventeen. After graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Music she landed in NYC, where she began writing and developing her barrelhouse/jazz punk style. She currently makes New Orleans her home, when she’ not out touring and gigging 150 shows a year.

Radio Joe & The Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Guitarist/crooner/songwriter Joe Demko and his swingin’ band of Jazzbos – Bruce Wintervold, vibes; Tony Guscetti, drums; Keith Boyles, bass – play music for dancing, whether it’s the “businessman’s bounce,” a simple foxtrot, or swing dancing.

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Pianist/vocalist/songwriter Ball has been nominated for a Grammy five times, and for Blues Music Awards 44 times, winning 10 of those, as well as 9 Living Blues Awards, in addition to being inducted intto the Gulf Coast Music Hall of Fame in 2010, and the Louisiana Music Hall of ‘Fame in 2012. She delivers a rollicking set of blues, R&B, and Gulf Coast inspired originals and covers. I’ve seen her more than a half dozen times, in crowded, sweaty clubs, on the Dakota’s tony stage, and at festivals, and even on a steam boat, and she delivers every time.

Thursday, July 28

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Blues harpist/vocalist Steve Vonderhar has plenty of heart. He and the Knockouts will shuffles that will have the crowd at Neumann’s trying to dance among the tables.

Friday, July 29

Soul Tight Committee @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) A ten-piece horn band that draws from 70s R&B, but will occasionally play songs from the 80s as well. Great for dancing.

Ronnie Baker Brooks @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($??) As the son of fiery blues guitarist Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks  a fine guitarist in his own right, grew up watching and absorbing the sounds of some of the finest blues and R&B artists of a previous era. He’s added a bit of rock and hip-hop to his influences and playing, proving that he can keep tradition while also looking towards the future. For his latest CD, “The Torch”, he worked with producer Jellybean Johnson, the Minneapolis guitarist who collaborated with Prince and Janet Jackson (and who, BTW, has a weekly Tuesday Night gig at MMC).

Aaron Kamm & the One Drops @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) Aaron Kamm and the One Drops,  from Saint Loui,) manage to merge Roots Reggaie, Delta Blues, and soulful vocals while sometimes veering into jam-band territory. Natty Nation  from Madison, is another original band playing reggae and dub. Trichrome opens.

Saturday, July 30

Hurricane Harold’s All Star Revue @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Harold Tremblay is one of the acknowledged harpmeisters of the blues in town, with a rolodex (or phone directory) filled with blues and roots players from the area and beyond. Once a month or so, he gathers up a bunch of them to play in the All Star Revue. No matter who is playing, the band, and the audience, has fun. Here’s one edition of the All Stars.

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapoils. 9pm ($10) Rockin’ Blues guitarist Thackery is a road warrior of the first order. He played with Muddy Waters and was the co-founder of the Nighthawks, recording and performing with them between 1972 and 1987, when he left to form his own group. He put together the three-piece Drivers in 1992, and started doing 300 shows a year. Though he tours less, his fiery guitar playing still thrills blues lovers everywhere.

PaviElle @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Vocalist PaviElle French grew up in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, and in the last couple of years has become an advocate of black soul music for the Millenial generation. She’s a fairly prolific songwriter, who has collaborated with bassist/producer/composer Casey O’Brien for this project, which was named one of First Avenue’s Best New Bands of 2015. You’ll hear her originals and a couple of surprising covers, all done with a contemporary outlook and echoes of 70’s R&B.

Sunday, July 31

Siama Matuzungidi @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a late afternoon dose of uplifting music from Congalese guitarist Siama  one of the architects of Soukous, a sensuous rhythm that fills dance floors. He’ll be joined by Dallas Johnson on vocals and percussion, and the ubiquitous washboard man, Mikkel Beckman.

Miss Myra & the Moonshiners @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Vintage, often sassy, jazz and barrelhouse blues, including originals by this group  featuring vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Miss Myra, who has studied with Papa John Kolstad and Dean Harrington, and the Moonshiners: Zane Fitzgerald Palmer, guitar; Dolly Dagger, drums; and Ike Heath, tuba.

Monday, Tuesday, August 1, 2

Marc & Ted Broussard Acoustic Duo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $45) Marc Broussard is a Louisiana born singer/songwriter who is at heart, a soul singer, doing original songs. Drawing on blues, funk, and R&B, his singing and songs reflect his Southern roots. He’ll be accompanied by his father Ted.

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.

Festivals, Worldbeats, and Jazz, Oh My! 7.20 – 7.26

July 20, 2016

Unknown-1What a week coming up! We’ve got the Black Dog’s remodel celebration, the opening of The World of Beer across from Mears Park, the Lowertown Blues Festival (right), Palmfest, a winery jazz festival, the JuJu rhythms of King Sunny Ade, the Afrobeat of Antibalas, and The Minnesota Orchestra embracing Latin rhythms. Additionally, we have performances from a couple of young guns in the Twin Cities jazz world, as well as some daring, and much beloved jazz veterans at work.


Wednesday, July 20

Connie Evingson and Jon Weber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 dinner) Evingson’s vocals are both lush and cool at the same time, while Weber’s encyclopedic knowledge of piano styles gives him the ability to be adept as both an accompanist and soloist. It’s Evingson’s show, but don’t be surprised if Weber’s knowledge of arcane music facts makes its way into the between songs commentary.

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/student ID) This is the debut for Lomheim’s new group. The pianist has always had a trio, played solo, though he’s no stranger to larger bands, and is a founding member of the Illicit Sextet. Tonight he’s debuting a lineup that’s reminiscent of hard bop’s heyday: Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums, to revisit some of his originals, and undoubtedly throw in some jazz standards.

Thursday, July 21

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The college-age musicians of Sound Skirmish open at 7pm. Members are Patrick Adkins, piano; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ben Ehrlich, drums, and Drew Stinson bass. At 9pm it’s The Zacc Harris GroupHarris  guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Friday, July 22

Jeremy Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 6pm (No Cover) Enjoy the Dinner Hour with pianist Walker and you’ll be treated to tasty, thoughtful music, including Walker’s engaging originals and his interpretation of jazz standards while you chow down on items from the club’s menu.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Traditional New Orleans jazz, as in a sousaphone rather than bass, clarinet, guitar, and horns. It’s jazz that makes you want to dance.

Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5 w/StudentID) Ruckus has been making waves and garnering attention during various performances since enrolling in McNally Smith’s graduate program last year. He’s an alumni of Berklee, where he had a full scholarship, and has already traveled the world playing with such stellar musicians as Tia Fuller, Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Charles Lloyd, and others. Though drums are his main instrument, he’s also quite adept at bass and piano. Here he is in an unexpected setting.

Saturday, July 23

Chateau Jazz Festival @ Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Fall, WI. Noon – 6pm (free) Take a reactively short road trip to this winery, which will have food trucks, local craft beers, and of course, wine, while listening to music by: Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, the Zacc Harris Quartet, Pete Whitman’s Mississippi, and Doug Little’s Charanga Tropical.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Ted Godbout Trio at 7pm. Artists Quarter Tuesday Night Band from 9pm – Midnight. It’s the second day of the Lowertown Blues Festival, and the Tuesday Night Band, with Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Franze, guitar; and Downtown Bill Brown on the Hammond B3 is a good fit for blues lovers, given the affinity of B3 organ groups for the blues. No doubt there will be some guests as well, which was the norm when the band played the old AQ. The Ted Godbout Trio opens at 7pm with Godbout, piano; Dan Carpel, bass; and Jared Mondlock drums. Godbout is a young player who’s been accompanying vocalists like Katia Cardenas, as well as playing in a number of other jazz groups around town.  Here’s the Tuesday Night band with guest Sue Orfield.

Nachito Herrera Plays Gershwin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Like many Cuban pianists, Herrera is dazzling with his technique. He also has the imagination and creativity to encompass traditional Cuban rhythms, the funk of folks like Earth, Wind, & Fire, and classical music. Tonight he takes on the music of George Gershwin, music as rich as anything you might find.

AcoustElectric @ The World of Beer, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover?) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet helps the World of Beer celebrate their opening, at the corner of 5th and Sibley in Lowertown. The first set consists of acoustic jazz of Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, and more, while the second, electric set will feature jazz rock fusion of songs by Sting, Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Prince.

Sunday, July 24

Sophia Shorai Quartet @ Alexis Bailey Vineyard, Hastings. 1:30pm (Free) Head downriver to Hastings for a delightful afternoon at the Bailey Vineyard. Aside from tasting their wines, you get to hear the talented vocalist Ms Shorai  who can express heartbreak , determination, and grace with a combination of sweetness and aplomb.

Monday, July 25

Omar AbdulKarim @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  ($10, $5 w/student ID) AbdulKarim is an ups and coming young trumpet player who impresses with his tone and thoughtful improvisations. He’ll be accompanied by Pierre Lewis, organ; and Batume, drums, for what promises to be a swinging set of music.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 26, 27

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20) After having a CD release at Vieux Carre for his five-piece Trucking Company last weekend, drummer Dave King brings bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to Crooners’ Dunsmore Room. King is well known for his stints with Happy Apple, Bad Plus, and the aforementioned Trucking Company, groups that traffic in avant/indie/experimental approaches to jazz. However, this trio, which has received rave reviews in the New York Times and on NPR, mines a treasure trove of standards from jazz and the Great American Songbook, bringing a fresh interpretation to songs each time they play. Here’s an extended video of one of their international performances.

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, July 20

King Sunny Ade @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($35 Advance, $40 Door) A winner of two Grammys, Nigerian Sunny Ade brings his sinuous juju rhythms back to the Twin Cities. Since his first hit single in 1968, Ade has been nominated for two Grammys and taken his music around the world, helping to define worldbeat and Afropop in the process.

Thursday, July 21

Big George Jackson @ The Lowertown Line Stage at TPT, 172 4th Street East, Saint Paul.  6pm (Free) The organizers of the Lowertown Blues Festival (see below) made a great choice when they picked Big George for the event’s kick-off party. You get to hear George’s booming voice and his otherworldly growl, as well as the guitar of Jeremy Johnson within the new reception/event space of TPT. A must for blues fans.

Paul Mayasich, Bobby Vandell & Billy Franze @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley,. 7pm (No Cover) It’s another Hot Seat evening at Crooners, with ace guitarist Mayasich joined by R&B/jazz veterans Bobby Vandell on drums, and Billy Franze on guitar.

Thursday, Friday, July 21, 22

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($33 – $37) 1979 was “The Year of the Cat” and the year of “Time Passages,” two songs that were FM Radio staples. Stewart’s light, appealing voice was backed by a full rock band at the time, but he has since returned to his folk/troubadour roots, playing in partnership with guitarist Dave Nachmonoff and basset Mike Lindauer, revisiting hits, and reinterpreting historical gems.

Friday, July 22

Krar Collective @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The final show of the Cedar’s African Summer features a trio with a contemporary spin on the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition. The krar lyre is a 5 or 6 stringed harp, which legends say descends from Kin David’s lyre. Tmesegen Zeleke plays it plugged in to create a sound reminiscent of an ancient rock guitar. Beisdes Zeleke, the group include singer Genet Asefa and Drummer Grumn Begashaw. Their minimalist sound has led some to call them the “White Stripes of Ethiopia.” Opening act TBD.

Big George Jackson and the Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 12 am (Tip Jar) Here we have what is essentially a two-fer event. The Black Dog is celebrating their expansion and redesign of what is now a music room and bar, and the Lowertown Blues Festival is happening. Get here early to see Big George Jackson, who opens. You’ll also get proper seats for Murphy’s  9:30 show featuring his stellar mix of rock n’ roll and R&B. If you come by after  the Blues Festival closes down for the night, you may end up standing, though regular Murphy fans already know that.

Antibalas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15 Advance/$20 door) Saint Paul is hopping tonight, what with the Blues Festival and this performance, featuring the Brooklyn Afrobeat wonders Antibalas  who were the band for Femi!, the award winning broadway and touring show. Our own Black Market Brass opens, while The Worldwide Discoteque DJs will keep things going between sets.

Minnesota Orchestra: A Night in the Tropics @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $70) Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus is joined by his own jazz quartet and the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, in a concert inspired by the sultry melodies and evocative rhythms of Brazil, Cuba, Hawaii and more. The program features originals by Lazarus, a tribute to Brazilian composer Antonio Carlo Jobim, Duke Ellington’s Caravan and other selections. This is part of the closing weekend for Sommerfest, and will include other music and activities as well.

Friday, Saturday, July 22, 23

Palmfest 2016 @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 4pm – Close Friday, 2pm – Close Saturday ($5 each day) With 10 bands on Friday and 12 on Saturday this is a good time to catch bands you may not have heard, such as Half Moon Devil, or the King of Tramps, as well as some old favorites, like the Liquor Pigs, Spider John Koerner, Poverty Hash, and Charlie Parr. Weather permitting it will be on the outdoor patio until 10pm, after which final bands will move indoors. For more information, go to their FaceBook page or their website.

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 9:30pm Friday, Noon – 10pm Saturday (Free) It’s a Funky Friday, with The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly; Otis Day & the Knights (from Animal House); and The Family Stone, sans Sly, but with original members Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, leading the group through the hits like Everyday People, and Dance to the Music. . Then on Saturday, it’s a celebration of the Blues, with The Brother John Band (winners of Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands), and continue with the high energy Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials; our own Butanes Soul Revue; Corey Stevens; Bernard Allison; and the festival headliner, Stax keyboard man Booker T Jones! There’s a side stage as well both days, and additional stages at The Bedlam, Golden’s Deli, and the Black Dog. Complete information at: http://lowertownbluesfestival.com

Divas Of Disco @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, 8pm ($40-$55)  Who remembers bell bottoms, platform shoes and lip gloss? Lori Dokken has put together a show that brings back the days of mirror balls, gold chains, and disco fever. Performing songs by Chaka Kahn, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and others will be some fabulous Twin City Vocalists: Debbie Duncan, Rachel Holder Hennig, Patty Peterson, and Judy Vinar. They’ll be backed by Peter Hennig, drums; Jay Young, bass; Cory Wong, guitar, Jimmy Steffen on keys; and Dokken on keys and vocals.

Saturday, July 23

Willie Walker & We R @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners know that when you have a band that does well, you bring them back on a somewhat regular basis. Such is the case with Soulman Willie Walker  a long time resident treasure who got his start recording for the Goldwax label out of Memphis back in the 60s, and also released a couple of singles on Chess/Checker. He can caress a ballad, and give uptempo songs appropriate grit, whether they’re originals, or classics by Al Green and Sam Cooke.

Sunday, July 24

Open Streets @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. Noon – 5pm (No Cover) It’s Open Streets Day for East Lake Street, and this neighborhood bar (without TVs) is hosting a number of excellent musical acts starting at Noon with Meg Ashling, and continuing with pianist/composer DeVon Grey at 1:20, Lucy Michell at 2:30/3PM, and finishing at 4pm with the old time/folky sounds of guitarist/singer/songwriter Jake Manders.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, July 24, 25, 26

Brian McKnight 4 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $75), 9pm ($45 – $65) Adult R&B, from McKnight, singer/songwriter/pianist/producer, who has sold over 30 million records and received 16 Grammy nominations over the past 20 years.

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.

Hot Fun in the Summertime! Music: 7.13 – 7.19

July 13, 2016
The Brass Messengers at a previous Bastille Day celebratio

The Brass Messengers at a previous Bastille Day celebration

As the headline states, we’ve got lots of fun music lined up for this week. We have 3 CD release parties, visiting artists from New Orleans, Chicago, San Francisco, Central America, and Africa, an outdoor dance in downtown Saint Paul, and two Bastille Day celebrations as well as new and up and coming bands from the area. Whew! Remember, music lifts our spirits.


Wednesday, July 13

Maud Hixson w/Rick Carlson CD Release @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) Vocalist Maud Hixson has recorded a CD entitled Listening for Your Song, which is a collection of songs popular at the turn of the last century (1890s – Pre-WW1). The songs are all referenced in the Betsy-Tracy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, written about life in Mankato during that time period. It was before the advent of radio, when songs were sung around the house. Hixson and pianist Rick Carlson do a wonderful job of presenting songs like In My Merry Oldsmobile, Moonlight Bay, and Come Josephine in My Flying Machine. Hixson’s voice envelopes the songs with warmth and charm, while Carlson’s spare piano provides just the right foundation to let the songs shine. Here she is with a song from a later era.

Charlie Lincoln Presents the Music of Paul Motian @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Young bassist Charlie Lincoln is making the most of his summer vacation from Berklee School of Music. Tonight, he’s assembled a band to play the music of Paul Motian, which Lincoln describes as beguiling and mysterious. He’s got an intergenerational band: Jay Epstein, drums; Chris Cunninghan, guitar; and Patrick Adkins, piano.

Thursday, July 14

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz, together with drummer Cory Healey, trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin and vibist Levi Schwartzberg will have a special guest to open for this evening of 21st Century jazz.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) A new trio called American Reverie is the headliner at 9pm, with Zacc Harris, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums; and Matt Peterson, bass. Things start off at 7pm with the JazzINK Youth Showcase, featuring Matt Cousins and Band.

Bonearama @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Fun and funk-filled music from this modern take on a New Orleans Brass Band. With three trombones, a guitar, drums, and sousaphone, Bonerama attacks jazz, rock, and funk with brio, and in the course of fifteen years and six albums, has changed the way many folks think about the trombone.

Friday, July 15

Charmin Michelle @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The swanky little lounge of this D’Amico restaurant provides a perfect setting for the warm buttery vocals of Ms Michelle.

Mississippi Hot Club CD Release @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($5) Get out your dancing shoes for this party featuring the acoustic swing and gypsy jazz sounds of the Mississippi Hot Club  Joshua Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass. Jazzland Wonderband, with its modern take on traditional New Orleans music, opens. Doors at 8, dance lesson at 8:30. Here they are from a could of years ago.

Friday, Saturday, July 15, 16

Dave King Trucking Company CD Release @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) With five members The Trucking Company is of King’s larger projects, and includes: Erik Fratzke, guitar; Brandon Wozniak tenor, with New Yorkers Chris Morrisey on bass and Chris Speed on tenor. The inventive drummer/composer brings a fertile imagination to his drumming and composing, and as an added bonus, you get his unfiltered pop culture commentary between songs on stage. Here’s a slightly different version of the band.

Saturday, July 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The Grayson Peterson Quartet + 1  headlines at 8:30pm: Peterson  bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, keys; and Adrian Suarez on drums, with Andrew Gillespie on Congas for songs inspired by Peterson’s trip to Cuba. Opening at 7pm is a group that I believe is new: The Midwest Coast Quintet, with Jesse Myers, drums; John Schreier, trumpet; Mike Barunek, sax; Gus Murphy, bass; and Cole Mahlem, guitar.

Judi Vinar & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover) The main lounge at Crooners may get loud with the date night crowd, but that generally makes for a fun background for the  swingability of Ms Vinar’s vocalizing, which is further enhanced with the support of the Wolverines Trio: Rick Carlson, piano; Jendeen Forberg, drums; and Steve Pikal, bass. Here she is before she changed her name a few years ago.

Kronick Quartet @ Public Kitchen and Lounge, 229 E 6th St, Saint Paul. 9:30? (Tip Jar) The Kronick Quartet is: Dennis Landeen, sax; Scott Ives, guitar; Tony Guscetti, drums; Richard Kronick  bass & vocals. The basement lounge at Public has a bit of a speakeasy vibe, but it’s stone walls contribute to crowd noise, so be sure to sit near the band as they play standards, bossas, and funky jazz.

Monday, July 18 

Medeski, Clouser, & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($15) John Medeski, of Medeski, Martin, and Wood, has been working his keyboard magic with that band for over twenty years, gaining young fans around the world by incorporating freewheeling jazz with jam band eclecticism. Guitarist Todd Clouser, a former Twin Citizen now living in Mexico City, has released a few genre-bending albums of his own, and has toured throughout Central America and the United States. They’ll be joined by versatile drummer JT Bates for an evening of exciting music.

Tuesday, July 19

Jazz Improvisation Clinic with John Medeski and Todd Clouser @ Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free and Open to the public) Here’s a chance to learn about improvisation, expression, and the importance of listening to playing jazz. All instruments and levels are welcome.

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, July 13

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin & Aki Kumar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rockin’ Johnny is a blues guitarist from Chicago, who was born in south Carolina and went to Chicago to go to school. He earned the nickname Rockin’ Johnny as a DJ at WHPK and began playing guitar with Taildragger, after which he began touring with drummer Sam Lay and Pinetop Perkins. He started his own band in 1995, recording two albums for Delmark and two others. Aki Kumar is a San Francisco Harp player whose muscular vocals have made him a favorite of Bay area blues fans for years. They’re touring together and we’re lucky enough to be able to hear them on-air before heading to the 331 Club.  Here they are with a band.

Curt Obeda and Camille Baudoin @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) Guitarist Camille Baudoin was a member of New Orleans’ Radiators, those purveyors of Fish Head Music for 33 years, while Obeda is the leader of our own Butanes, and a highly regarded guitarist in his own right. Since Baudoin has a cabin up north, he visits each summer and we get to hear the two friends have fun playing together.

FireFlyForest @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Pianist/accordionist Steven Hobert leads this aggregation, which has a somewhat ethereal approach to worldbeats, with influences that range from Bela Fleck to Ali Farka Toure and Paul Simon.

Thursday, July 14

Armadillo Jump @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) This five -piece band has been playing very regularly lately, a sign of their growing popularity with folks who like to dance to rockin’ rhythm and blues. Here’s a demo video.

Friday, July 15

New Primitives and the Loba Jazz Trio @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Outdoor dancing to a blend of ska, rock, Afro-Cuban, Caribbean, and Mexican music from the New Primitives, while the opener, the Loba Jazz Trio, will provide sinuous rhythms from Africa.

Villalobos Brothers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30, $35)  Last month we had the duo of Black Violin melding classical and R&B Sounds. Tonight we have three violinists combining traditional Mexican song with jazz, rock, and classical sounds. USA Today call them “A crazy ball of sound: Mexican coastal traditions meet Sam Cooke in the Bronx!”

Femi Kuti & Positive Force @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis.  8pm ($50 Advance, $55 Door)  The son of Afrobeat pioneer Fela, Femi was amazing at his Cedar show about three years ago. While he has the same commitment to social and political change as his father, he applies his own energy and style to Afrobeat. With Zuluzulu and Worldwide Discoteque DJs.

Salsabrosa @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This is the inaugural event in Dayblock’s upstairs ballroom, which has a wood floor and a capacity of 250, so there’s plenty of room to dance to the salsas, Bachatas, Cumbias, Merengues, Cha Chas and other Latin Rhythms of Salsabrosa  A DJ starts things off at 8pm, along with some dance lessons, and helps to close things down after midnight. In between you get invigorating live music from this eleven-piece band.

Saturday, July 16

Longefellow Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival @ Patrick’s Cabaret & Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 2pm – 9pm ($15 Advance) Kent Burnside & New Generation, Black-Eyed Snakes, Left Lane Cruiser, Joe & Vicki Price, Spider John Koerner, Charlie Parr, Food Trucks, and much, much more. For More Information, go to: http://rootsrockdeepblues.com

Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys @ The Eagles Club #34, Minnapolis. 7pm ($15) Things start off with Zydeco dance lessons at 7pm, and then Louisiana’s Broussard and his band take the stage so you can practice what you just learned.

Janiva Magness @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Her fans include Mavis Staples and Bettye LaVette, and she’s won the BB King Blues Entertainer of the Year Award, in addition to winning Contemporary Female Blues Artists of the Year four times. She had a hard life, and was even homeless as a teenager, but when she snuck into a Minneapolis club to see Otis Rush, Magness found her mission in life. If you like the blues but haven’t seen her, this is the show to see. Heck, even if you’ve seen her before, you’ll likely want to see her again. She’s a dynamic performer.

Sunday, July 17

Bastille Day Block Party @ Barbette, Irving & Lagoon, Minneapolis. 3pm – 10pm (Free) A Fire Circus! Roller Girls! The Brass Messengers! And Cake! And on stage: Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows, Bad, Bad Hats; Nadine DuBois & Les Folies Risque; and Babes in Toyland.

Bastille Day Celebration @ Roseville Central Park, Roseville. 5pm – 8pm (Free) Celebrate Bastille Day and joie de vivre on a smaller scale at the amphitheater of Roseville’s Central Park. The celebration starts with Mark Stillman on accordion and vocalist Francine Roche performing French songs. Continue at 6:30 with the Cafe Accordion Orchestra and their musettes and chansons.

La Conja in “Noche de Andalucia,” @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) World-renowned flamenco dancer and singer, La Conja will be joined by guitarists Ben Abrahamson and Trevor May, as well as Catherine Higgins-Whiteside and Christine Kozachok, dancers from the Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater here in town.

Sweet Honey in the Rock @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($45), 8pm ($35) This female African American a cappella quintet delivers uplifting messages through their music and American Sign Language. The group has been thrilling multi-generaltional and multi-ethnic audiences for over forty years.

Monday, July 18

Pape Diouf with Special Guest @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 Door) Pape Cheikh Diouf is from a guewel (griot) family originally of the Sine-Saloum Delta region in Southwestern Senegal. He sings in the Wolof language about love and life’s lessons, and especially about ”teranga,” mutual respect, acceptance, and hospitality as a way of life – social values that are central to Senegalese culture.

Gaby Moreno @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Guatemalan born Moreno is a rising star on the Latin Music scene. She won the Best New Artist Award at the 2013 Latin Grammys, and the grand prize at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her song “Escondidos.” She’s got a clear, strong, direct voice that lends itself well to a variety of genres and rhythms.

Wednesday, July 20 – Early Notice

Film – Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot @ Lake Harriet United Methodist Church, 4901 Chowen Avenue So, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free, but RSVP required). In this somber and upsetting time, with our long, long election season, some of you might want to see this Teaching Tolerance documentary of the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery march and the battle for voting rights. It features the perspective of teachers and students at the forefront of the movement. The 40 minute film will be introduced by Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center and followed by a panel discussion with attorney Pam Horowitz, Rep. Keith Ellison, and former MN Secty of State Mark Ritchie. It’s a free event but you must RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/selma-the-bridge-to-the-ballot-community-screening-tickets-26002182227


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.

Lotsa Choices. Music: 7.6 – 7.12

July 6, 2016
Where to go? What to hear?

Where to go? What to hear?

Another week and more visiting artists, more interesting combinations of resident artists, some new bands, a CD release, and a couple of outdoor events. All in all, another good week for music lovers. Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, July 6

Unknown-2Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Where else can you hear two such stellar musicians for a fin, to use an old term. Guitarist Magraw can play acoustically, bring a bit of Hendrix to Coltrane on electric guitar, and turn around and effortlessly play Irish music and the blues. Thompson, who is at home on piano and clarinet, has spent 45 years studying and playing early jazz around the world.

The Exceptional Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Bassist Anthony Cox continues to bring surprising combinations of musicians to his monthly Wednesday night gig at Jazz Central. Tonight he’s joined by tabla master Marcus Wise and violinist Laura Hirada.

Thursday, July 7

Surprise Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This quintet tackles the music of such rock n’ pop stars as The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and more, restructuring them into jazz, funk, Latin, and other types of music. Rachelle Smith, vocals; Evan Bendt, sax; Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Phil Hey Quartet is the main attraction tonight, back in town after a successful appearance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend: Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Hey on drums. The opening act is the Julian Manzara Quartet: Drew Stinson, bass; Geo Randall, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, drums, and Manzara, guitar.

Friday, July 8

Todd Harper’s CD Release Party @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper celebrates the release of 9th Stream Music, a delightful collection of Harper’s compositions, which seem somewhat familiar, yet always hold a surprise or two, such as the use of Aaron Kerr’s cello, and the playful sound of Nathan Hanson’s soprano saxophone. Others on the CD include drummer Eric Coursen, and Keith Yanes on bass viol.

Hoaxer @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Charlie Lincoln, bass; with Peter Goggin, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Each of the band members have contributed an original to tonight’s playlist.

Paul Harper Bardo Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Harper has been in the Illicit Sextet since its beginning two decades ago, and regularly appears with Charmin & Shapira, Spirit Jazz, Roos & Harper, and with his own ensembles: Show & Tell, and the Chordless Quartet. Tonight he assembles a band of first listers: Joel Shapira, guitar; Nathan Norman, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Drummer Kogan recently retired as principal tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and set to work putting together two well-recieved albums, both of which teem with energy and imagination, covering hard bop, bebop, and postbop sounds. He’s recruited a stellar quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s something from his second album.

Saturday, July 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm it’s the Pete Snell Trio, with Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Snell on drums. At 8:30, it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, July 10

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzy Math is Mark Vandermyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; Matt Peterson, bass. Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House.

Monday, July 11

Bruce Henry @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 with Dinner) Even though vocalist Henry moved to Chicago a few years ago, he regularly returns to the Twin Cities to perform. He’s an imaginative singer and arranger, and always has a band of fine musicians to accompany him.

Tuesday, July 12

Vanessa Trouble, w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Trumpeter Charlie Caranicas is originally from Minnesota, and studied at the UofMN before heading to the Big Apple after graduation. He’s performed with folks like Karryn Allison, the Chico  O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Orchestra. He and his quartet will perform at 7pm, and then at 9pm he and vocalist Vanessa Trouble will perform. Trouble has an affinity for traditional jazz. In addition to songs from her two CDs, you can expect songs that are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings with Louis Armstrong. Here’s the two of them.

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, July 6

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke on KFAI and @ The 331Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) KFAI is broadcasting live from Indeed Brewing in NE Minneapolis this afternoon, starting with Jackson Buck’s Freewheeling Show at 2pm. Harold’s House Party continues at 4pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke appearing during the 5pm hour. He then heads to the 331 Club for a 7pm show. Luedtke has been performing in the upper Midwest for over 40 years, gaining some international experience along the way. He’ll be playing acoustic and solo, showing off some of his fine flatpicking as he regales us with the blues.

Katy Vernon Band @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Vernon’s melancholy and very British acoustic pop (with overtones of Americana) has endeared her to Twin Citizens of all stripes. Her album, Present, was one of the year’s Top 10 for the Pioneer Press and Album of the Year in the Country/Folk category for L’Etoile Magazine. Bring a picnic, lay back, and enjoy her charming patter and learn how she’s become known as a singer of sad songs using a happy instrument – her ukelele.

XIXA @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) This Tucson band plays Chicha music, that Peruvian combination of Cumbias and rock n’ roll, using swirling, psychedelic guitars, a skittering farfisa, and infectious, dance-inducing Latin rhythms. Matt Jennings, who knows a thing or two about cross-cultural musical influences himself, opens.

Thursday, July 7

Blues U Social Hour @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition and Blues U, which is bringing talented teens from across the country to play together and learn from professionals, are sponsoring this free event, which features music from Colin Campbell & the Shackletones and Tres Leches.

Pines @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Benson Ramsey, and David Huckfelt are native Iowans who met in Arizona and proceeded to make music together, moving to the Twin Cities and releasing their first album in 2004. Since then, the Pines have crossed the country, bringing their blend of indie-folk/Americana roots to new fans wherever they appear. They add a rhythm section for some dates, but it appears that Benson’s brother Alex is performing with them for this tour. Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola opens.

Friday, July 8

Ipso Facto @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) It’s an evening of outdoor Reggae at Rice! Ipso Facto has been playing a blend of reggae, funk, and even a bit of jazz since the early 80s, and has been called “the best reggae band ever to emerge from Minnesota’s Tundra” by City Pages. Ryan Liestman’s Reggae Revival opens.

Debo Band @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This is the opening concert in a summer of African music at the Cedar, and features an 11-piece band, with instrumentation reminiscent of Easter European brass bands, playing Ethiopian pop. They are led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, and use traditional Ethiopian scales and vocal styles, integrating them with American soul and funk rhythms.

Drew Druckery & the Dharma Hounds @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Members of this quartet have played in various rock and roots bands around town for over a decade. Together, their sound encompasses blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock, making for a combustible combination. Drew Druckery, vocals, guitar; Paul Mikolich, keys/B3; Joshua Walton, bass; Brett Behrens, drums.

Saturday, July 9

Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a band that can vary in size from 5 to 16 pieces, depending on the occasion. The Pan Handlers may have a full rhythm section, or simply be a collection of differently tuned steel drums. No matter the size, their repertoire ranges from Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to Bob Marly, and calypso favorites Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get yourself some rockabilly and Western Swing from this trio, formed in 1984 by ace guitarist Rick Hollister. He’s joined by Jack Erickson on bass; and Patricia Halverson on drums.

Sunday, July 10

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover)  Spend Sunday afternoon and early evening grooving and dancing to the soulful sounds of Mr Walker  whose soulful singing goes back to the 60s when he recorded a few singles for Goldwax and Chess. His latest album, Nothing Ever Changes, was nominated for three Blues Music Awards.

Tuesday, July 12

Rockin’ Rondo with Bruce Henry and Friends @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 8:30pm. Though he might have sung jazz last night at the Dunsmore Room, Henry will undoubtedly take a turn towards danceable R&B tonight to celebrate the community that was Rondo. Saint Paul Welcome Hat will have a ceremony during the evening to introduce newcomers to the city to its businesses, music and culture. Weather permitting, this will be outdoors on the History Center’s plaza. Bring a picnic or buy food and drinks on-site.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12,13

Sarah Jarosz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $35) Jarosz is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has just released her fourth album, Undercurrent. though she’s a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, she has already received Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations with her first two records. Jarosz is from the Austin Texas area and has appeared on Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC, and have garnered highly positive reviews in publications ranging from Mojo and Paste, to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The Brother Brothers open.

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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