This week we have a good variety of jazz styles, some blues, world music, and a couple of small classical music events that warrant your attention. If you love music, no matter what the style, the Twin Cities is a good place to live. Some will say there are many other good reasons to live here, but I’ll leave that to local chambers of commerce and visitor centers. In the meantime, it’s always a good idea confirm these dates before going out, as once in a while there will be changes, and admittedly I sometimes get dyslexic about dates. Remember, music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, September 14
Phil Aaron Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Tasteful, fun, and energetic piano jazz from the Emmy-winning Phil Aaron, piano; and Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. As Aaron says on his website, “Nothing ever sounds the same twice.”
Chris Bates & Davu Seru @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Chris Bates bass; and Davu Seru drums & percussion; are both able to play both inside and outside: that is, a duo setting such as this one can be filled with musical surprises as they explore time and texture with their respective instruments. Here’s Davu Seru with the French bassist/cellist Didier Petit.
Thursday, September 15
Chrisette Bany @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Bany has been performing in the Twin Cities and beyond for over 17 years, with positive comparisons to folks like Ella Fitzgerald, Karen Carpenter, and Norah Jones.
Thursday Night Jazz with the Omar AbdulKarim Quartet@ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Trumpter AbdulKarim is a relatively young musician with a clean, clear tone and confident attack. He’s joined by two other young musicians – Jabari Powell, sax; Rodney Ruckus, drums – and one veteran: Anthony Cox on drums.
Thursday, Friday, September 15, 16
Atlantis Quartet 10th Anniversary Show @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Can it really be ten years since this quartet of modern musicians burst on the scene with energy and imagination to spare? They’re releasing X, and anthology that includes each of their four albums as well as six previously unreleased tracks from alive performance in 2013. Come help them celebrate!
Silverback Trio @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) David Hirsch, keys and sax; Brent Wallace, bass; Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. This youngish band will bring high energy improvisation and original compositions to a venue with a lovely view behind the bandstand.
Friday, September 16
High School Jazz Jam @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The first hour will feature a trio: Simon Petrick, drums; Ivan Cunningham, sax; and Nicholas Christenson, bass, followed by a jam session designed to increase contacts and collaboration among young musicians.
Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Ruckus’ main instrument is the drums, though he is also proficient on bass and piano. He’s an alumnus of the Berklee School of Music, where he received a full scholarship and was selected to play with many visiting musicians. He has since traveled the world with some of the biggest names in jazz. He’s been playing around town in a number of bands, with folks like Steve Kenny and Anthony Cox, and occasionally performs with his own band, which you can see tonight.
Red House Live: Magraw, Johnson, & Thompson @ The Weyerhauser Auditorium in the Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Saint Paul’s Red House Records once again collaborates with the folks at the Landmark Center to present a monthly Fall series. Tonight kicks off the series with the warm and engaging talents of Dean Magraw guitar; Butch Thompson, piano & clarinet; and Prudence Johnson vocals. All have long and storied careers that have intersected at various times since their beginnings in the West Bank scene of the 70s. Each has performed on Prairie Home Companion and toured internationally. Magraw applies taste and imagination to about any style of music. Thompson is welcomed in New Orleans as a practitioner of classic jazz of the early 20th Century, and has recorded with Doc Cheatham and Nicolas Payton on their eponymous album, among others. Johnson has recorded a dozen albums of her own, ranging from a tribute to Hoagy Carmichael to international lullabies, and guested on a number of others. For the last half dozen years or so she’s been collaborating on multi-media shows and concerts covering topics from the poetry of Edna St. Vincent Millay (with music by four MN composers), to the delights of Paris and The Golden Age of Radio. Here’s Dean and Butch at the Vieux Carré.
Saturday, September 17
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight we have a group from the JazzINK Youth Showcase to start things off: Simon Petrick, drums; Ivan Cunningham, alto; Adam Astrup, guitar; Nicolas Christenson, bass. Then at 8:30pm, its Central Standard Time: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Kameron Markworth, bass; Cory Healey, drums, and special guests.
Judi Vinar & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Vocalist Vinar will be swinging a combination of jazz standards, pop, and R&B, with the help of Rick Carlson, piano; Jendeen Forberg, drums; and special guest Gary Raynor on bass.
Sunday, September 18
Davu Seru Group @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) I’m not sure who is leading this group of sonic improvisers, but drummer Seru has this listed on his website. Pianist Wayne Horvitz is from Seattle, while George Cartwright, sax; Chris Cunningham, guitar; and Josh Granowski, bass; round out the group.
Monday, Tuesday, September 19, 20
Joey DeFrancesco @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25 – $40, $65 Dinner Show), 9pm ($15 – $30) The piano at the Dunsmore Room is being replaced, and so for two days, a B3 organ will be installed for use by DeFrancesco whom Jazz Times called the “Best B3 player on the planet.” And no wonder, DeFrancesco has been at it since he was 4 years old, when he could play many Jimmy Smith solos. Further, he was touring with Miles Davis while still a teenager. He’ll be joined by Troy Roberts, tenor sax; and Jason Brown, drums.
Tuesday, September 20
Mary Louise Knutson/Hot Jazz w/Connie Evingson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Knutson – No Cover), 8pm (Evingson, $8) It’s another evening of terrific jazz at Vieux Carre, as two regulars perform throughout the evening. Pianist Mary Louise Knutson starts things off at 6pm, followed by vocalist Connie Evingson and a “Hot Club” band of acoustic swingers.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, September 14
Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This will be a solo show, wherein the guitarist will perform as a one man band. Crankshaft plays the blues and roots rock with the energy of a punk rocker. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour and then join the party at the 331 Club. And it will be a party as guitarist Dan Scwalbe’s wife Kathy will be celebrating a birthday. Whether you know Kathy or not, you’ll be treated to a powerful show.
Thursday, September 15
Heritage Blues Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($25, $25, $40) The Heritage Blues Orchestra – vocalists/guitarists Bill Sims, Jr and Junior Mack – uses historical research and their own mastery of music to present the connection between African music and American Blues, aided by Deva Mahal, the daughter of Taj Mahal. In fact, she was heartily received when she appeared with him at the Dakota in April.
Lori Folland, Catherine Ramirez, Scott Horey @ Lowertown Classics, Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Blvd East, 3rd Floor Atrium, Saint Paul. ($10 Suggested Donation at the door) You’ll have to enter through the alley between Kellogg and 4th Street, but once you do, you’ll be treated to the music of three fine musicians. Lori Folland is a staff pianist at St. Olaf College who has appeared at the Schubert Club, the Bridge Chamber Music Festival and has soloed with the St. Olaf Philharmonic. Flautist Catherine Ramirez has been a soloist and collaborative artist in Europe, Asia, and throughout the states. Scott Horey is a drummer who has been featured in a number of South American festivals, as well as with the Schubert Club and more. He’s the principal percussionists of the Mankato Symphony Orchestra.
Friday, September 16
Charanga Tropical Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) When reedman Doug Little and Charanga Tropical were in Cuba for a Danzon Festival last year, they recorded at the historic Areito Studios. The result is a delightful, sprightly album that is being celebrated tonight. Expect songs like Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered, and Rhapsody in Blue to be done using Danzon and Charanga rhythms, in addition to some originals and classics from Cuba.
Skatalites @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 avance/$20 Door) with the Twin Cities group the Prizefighters It’s a Ska-licious evening as one of the pioneering groups of the hip-shaking, insistent genre take the stage at the Cedar. The SkataLites formed in May of 1964, composed of some of top musicians in Jamaica. In fact, their first rehearsal had so many people standing outside the venue, that they charged admission and let people in. They ended up backing folks like The “Wailing Wailers,” Toots & the Maytals, and the recently deceased Prince Buster. After 50 years, this version of the group features original also sax man Lester “Ska” Sterlings and vocalist Doreen Shaffer, but there’s no doubt the group’s enduring musicianship will have folks skanking all night long.
Mary Cutrufello Band @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) Cutrufello is a talented singer/songwriter, guitarist and Texas honky-tonk heroine who recorded for Mercury Records and performed classic heartland rock on The Tonight Show and Austin City Limits before she was sidelined by vocal chord damage in the mid 2000s. Now her voice often sounds like that of a grizzled old man who’s spent too much time with cigarettes and whiskey. She uses it to great effect on her mix of original songs and classics of American music (think Willie Nelson and Steve Earle).
Saturday, September 17
Rediscovered Treasures: Music for Violin and Piano @ The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Avenue South, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 7:30pm ($25 TMORA members, $30 Non-members) The first of two very different concerts at TMORA this evening. Classical music fans can feast on the music of Piotr Tchaikovsky, Sergei Rachmaninov, Anton Rubinstein and Theodore Akimenko performed by violinist Tatiana Chulochnikova, and pianist Anastasia Dedik. This performance is the North-American premiere of select works for violin and piano by Theodore Akimenko. The album “Théodore Akimenko: Works for Violin and Piano” was recorded and produced in New York City in the fall 2015, making the first existing recorded collection of works by the composer.
Romario @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 TMORA members, $30 Non-members) Once the classical music fans leave (see above), the museum will present an indie rock band from the Ural Mountains in their only Minnesota performance. Romario is a quartet that uses two acoustic guitars, a bass and cajon while performing Beatle-esque harmonies and catchy lyrics that have them taking the Russian music scene by storm. Those of you who read Russian can learn more about them here.
Firefall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $40) Rising out of the Byrds, The Flying burrito Brothers, and others, these country rock pioneers have been at it for about four decades now, chalking up three Gold albums, two Platinum albums and eleven singles that reached the upper end of the charts. Original members Jock Bartley, David Muse and Mark Andes continue to tour, along with longtime drummer Sandy Ficca, and newcomer Gary Jones.
Rockin’ Daddy & the Rough Cuts One-Time Reunion @ The Viking Bar, Minneapoilis. 9pm ($5) Back in the 80s, bluesman Mojo Buford had a backing band called Blues Deluxe, which eventually morphed into Rockin’ Daddy & the Rough Cuts, featuring ace guitarist Dan Schwalbe and Dave Sanny, bass; Steve Grosshans, harmonica and vocals; and Marty Bryduck, drums. They play traditional, urban blues, as it was performed in Chicago in the 50s and 60s. Though they stopped performing and recording a few years ago, they’re reuniting for a one time gig.
Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With the coming of Fall the Minnesota Blues Society is ramping up their efforts to fund travel for the bands they’re sending the 2017 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. This year they’re sending the Mark Cameron Band (band category), Mike Munson & Mikkel Beckmen (duo category )and Colin Campbell & the Shackletones (youth category) to the prestigious competition. Cameron and Munson & Beckmen will be appearing, as well as Squishy Mud, The Gopher Tones, and Joyann Parker & Sweet Tea. A bake sale, 50/50 raffle, and silent auction are also part of the event.
Monday, September 19
Global Roots 2016: Fémina and Maya Kamaty @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free, but reservations recommended) Fémina is a trio of Argentinian females from Patagonia who incorporate a variety of Latin genres, such as cumbers, boleros, and rumbas, with international rhythms. Maya Kamaty is a native of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. She blends French Chanson, Indian, and African influences with Maloya, the music of her home, even though Reunion Island Maloya is traditionally sung by males.
Tuesday, September 20
Sara Watkins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) Singer/Songwriter/fiddler Watkins was a founding member of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek when they debuted in 1989. She’s recently finished a tour with them for their first record in seven years. In the meantime she’s recorded three solo albums, and is touring behind the latest, Young in All the Wrong Ways. She calls it “a breakup album with myself” as it chronicles the changes she’s been making in her life. Opening is another singer/songwriter, Mikaela Davis who plays the harp. Not the mouth organ, but an actual harp, and though she’s well versed in classical music, she uses the harp it in ways that are similar to a guitar. Here’s Watkins with one of her projects.