Lots 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.
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.