Ed Note: Updated Saturday, October 29.
Well, we have a Halloween weekend coming up, with many more special events and appearances than I’ve listed. If you don’t feel the need to don a different identity and celebrate, there’s still plenty of fine, fine, superfine music to enjoy including some hot jazz, a winner from America’s Got Talent, stompin, rompin’ blues and some music from Lousiana. Remember, music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, October 26
The Niska’s @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) This vocal trio were the focus of Five by Design, which has toured the world for 26 years using close-knit harmonies to feature pop, jazz, and the occasional folk songs. There are still harmonies, only they are three part, fueled by two brothers, Terry and Kurt Niska. They’ll be backed by pianist Steven Hobert, a veteran of Five By Design tours, and guitarist Vinnie Rose.
Tri0 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Intiguing trio, with John Keston, electronics, Graham O’Brien, drums, and Cody McKinney on bass. I suspect that the electronics, whether synthesizers, sequencers, loopers, or whatnot, will determine the direction of this trio.
Thursday, October 27
Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, bass. A gathering of veteran players, who between them, have traveled the world performing jazz. Note especially Eric Kamau Gravatt, who has toured with both Weather Report and McCoy Tyner.
Hot Sardines @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) Hot is the appropriate adjective here, as this 8-piece band plays music from New Orleans, Paris, and New York during the period from the Great Depression to WW II. You’ll hear songs from Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Mamie Smith, Billie Holiday, and more. It’s foot stomping, heart pounding music that earned them 15 straight sold-out shows at Joe’s Pub in NYC and appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Boston Symphoy.
Niny Salem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) As far as I know, Salem is a relative newcomer to our jazz scene, and is described as follows: “With Southeast Asian roots and life experiences from four different continents, Salem brings her understanding and love of culture, music, and languages when she performs.” She’ll be joined by Jon de Vaal on piano and Steve Pikal on bass, for an evening entitled “My Life Story in Songs.”
Friday, October 28
MN Hard Bop Collective Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Jesse Simon, drums; Javi Santiago, piano; and Ted Olsen, bass perform the jazz of the 60s that successfully combined jazz, gospel, and blues to create foot-tapping, exciting music.
Jazzland Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) This quintet takes traditional New Orleans jazz, a bit of second line, and just a hint of contemporary R&B to create a danceable mix that’s sure to get you moving your body and bring a smile to your face. The group consists of Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet and vocals; Nelson Devereaux, reeds; Keith Hilson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; and Evan Clark, tuba.
Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Vocalist Murphy was washing cars for a living when he auditioned for America’s Got Talent, and made it all the way to the top, winning with the biggest vote total in the first six seasons of the show. As a result, he signed with Columbia and had his debut album produced by Grammy winner Steve Tyrell. The crooner has sold out over 100 concerts across three continents.
Saturday, October 29
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: JazzINK Youth Showcase, featuring the Roseville HS Combo. You can always count on an impressive performance from each year’s combo, as their instructor is saxophonist Pat Moriarty. Following at 8:30pm is Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease with Pat Moriary, saxes; Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Davu Seru, Drums. This is a group that produces accessible, yet freely improvised music, a testament to their communication skills, which can almost seem like the “mind-melding” of Star Trek’s Spock. They may also do a few of Moriarty’s through composed pieces. Here’s an example of Pat and Ellen with a slightly different lineup.
Jazz at Studio Z w/Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm (workshop), 7pm ($10advance, $15 door, 12 and under: free) This is the kick-off for this season’s Jazz at Studio Z series. Aaron Hedenstrom, recently returned to Minnesota, is a saxophonist/composer who will be joined by pianist Bryan Nichols; guitarist Zacc Harris; bassist Graydon Peterson; and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Hedenstrom has has performed across the United States as a performer, clinician, and composer, having written numerous big band works, string arrangements, small group pieces, and chamber works. He’s appeared at jazz venues and festivals throughout the country including Snug Harbor in New Orleans, the Scat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth, and the Dakota. His workshop at 6pm will cover Strategies for Improvising on Complex Chord Structures. Here is Hedenstrom in a duo context.
Christian Howes w/Jazz Ensembles I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Violinist Christian Howes is in town for a residency at the U, and is performing with two of the U’s jazz ensembles. He has toured the Ukraine and Montenegro for the State Department. His 2012 release, Southern Exposure received high praise from the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, and Jazz Times, and resulted in a six-night run at Lincoln Center, while his 2015 release, American Spirit, garnered a “Best of 2015” award from Huffington Post.
Sunday, October 30
Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Vocalist Ms Grimm is starting a new weekly series at Crooners, bringing her considerable talent, as well as talented family and friends, to the lounge stage. Note how well she does with a noisy State Fair crowd.
Monday, October 31
U of MN Combo, featuring Christian Howes @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Christian Howes, one of the best jazz violinists currently active, is in town for a residency at the U. Tonight he is playing with the U’s Combo, which is directed by Phil Hey. Howes has toured the Ukraine and Montenegro for the State Department. His 2012 release, Southern Exposure received high praise from the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, and Jazz Times, and resulted in a six-night run at Lincoln Center, while his 2015 release, American Spirit, garnered a “Best of 2015” award from Huffington Post. See the Tuesday listing below for additional performances. Here he is doing a song by a James Brown sideman, as popularized by Jaco Pastorius.
Tuesday, November 1
Patrick Harrison/Sophia Shorai @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harrison, No Cover), 8pm (Shorai, $5) For the dinner hour you get Harrison playing blues and swing on the button accordion, followed at 8 by vocalist/pianist Sophia Shorai and her trio.
Christian Howes w/Jazz Ensembles I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Violinist Howes (see Monday listing above) is performing with two of the U’s jazz ensembles.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, October 26
Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rootsy Guitarist/songwriter/singer King and the band perform originals that show influences of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Greg Brown. Together with the Guilty Pleasures – John Kurtis Lead Guitar, mandolin, and Vocals; Julie King- Washboard, and percussion; Bradley Smith- string Bass – he’s released two well-received albums and garnered many fans.
Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Start with a singer/songwriter who can compose romantic, swinging’ tunes in addition to being a fine guitarist. Add a vibraphone, bass and drums, and you’ve got the makings of a great little band with a lush sound reminiscent of quartets from the 40s, just right for playing jump tunes, boogie woogie, and vintage swing.
Thursday, October 27
Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($5) Dance music from Louisiana, including New Orleans rhythms, Cajun, and Zydeco sounds from Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and his band of fun-makers.
Friday, October 28
Sena Erhardt Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Erhardt is often touted as a rising star on the blues scene, a reputation that’s buoyed by her incendiary performances. She’s released three albums, all of which have earned accolades and nominations for blues awards. If you want to hear some rockin’ blues, you’ll want to be here.
Saturday, October 29
Tex Pistols @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Cool name, though they certainly aren’t from Texas. This quintet is from right here in the land of 10,000 Lakes. They play Boomer music – Neil Young, Eagles, John Hiatt, the Beatles – with verve and excitement.
New Orleans Suspects & Raw Oyster Cult @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($30) Wow! Here’s a combination of New Orleans bands that will definitely help you celebrate Halloween, or whatever you want to celebrate. The New Orleans Suspects are Mean Willie Green on drums, from the Neville Brothers; Jake Eckert, original guitarist for The Dirty Dozen; keyboard player CR Gruver who has been a sideman for Leo Nocentelli; and saxophonist Jeff Watkins, who spent twelve years leading the James Brown Band. Raw Oyster Cult includes Radiators alumni Dave Malone, Camile Baudoin, and Frank Bua Jr., along with John Gros from Papa Grows Funk and Dave Pomerleau from Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. Hey Pockey Way, indeed!
Boogie Wonderland Monster Mash @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (?) Okay, the band already dresses up as escapees from a 70s disco, so a Halloween bash is a no-brainer. Add the fact that they nail so many of the songs from the disco era, and you’re ready to Get Down Tonight!
Hipshaker Halloween @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 9:30 (Suggested donation, $5, to $???) Well the Bedlam is going to close on November 2, unless they can come up with some serious bucks, and what better way to send them off then with a Halloween Dance Party featuring the funky 45s of Brian Engel and friends. All proceeds go towards paying off the debts of the club/theater. Note that it would help if the club to get rid of all their beverages and food before closing, so you may want to depend on Uber, Lyft, sober friends, or the LRT to take you home.
Sunday, October 30
Reverend Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm ($?) Reverend Raven was born in Chicago, and what he does is play traditional Chicago-style blues with great passion. It works, as he and his band have been nominated for a number of awards, including a Grammy nomination, and has been voted the Best Blues Band in Milwaukee in 2012, 2014, and 2015. As an added attraction, Stevie V & the Knockouts will open.
Monday, October 31
Davina & The Vagabonds Halloween Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($15) Davina and her band may not be the first band you think of for Halloween, but in actuality, they can put together a show for any holiday, Davina’s impassioned vocals and honky tonk-ish piano playing, together with the raucous sounds of the Vagabonds, make any day a party day.
Tuesday, Wednesday, November 1,2
Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55) 9pm (Wednesday Only, $32, $42) Jones was only a teenager when he began hanging out at Stax Records and recorded Green Onions with the MGs, essentially serving as the house band during the subsequent explosion of soul music in the 60s. He’s a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, The American Musicians Hall of Fame, and has received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Whether you’re a baby boomer who grew up with his music, or a millennial who appreciates soul music, you will be thrilled by seeing him.