Along with some wonderful Fall weather, we have another week of outstanding music, including some iconic, as well as up and coming visiting musicians, three nights of instantly improvised jazz in Lowertown, and a number of fun shows from resident musicians. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, October 19
Mississipppi @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) After their album release last week at the Dakota, Mississippi makes another appearance, taking advantage of the brief visit of Peruvian guitarist Andres Prado who graced the Twin Cities for a few years and became a highly respected member of our music scene. The group includes Kevin Washington, drums; Jeff Bailey, bass; Peter Schimkie, piano; and Pete Whitman, sax. They’ll have a number of special guests as well.
Sophia Shorai/Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai – No Cover) 8pm ($5) The evening starts off with the sweet sounds of vocalist/pianist Shorai for the dinner hour. Then at 8pm vocalist Rhonda Laurie brings her sophisticated sound to the club, focusing tonight on gypsy jazz tunes as Reynold Philipsek, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Senjem, bass, accompany her.
Thursday, Friday, October 20, 21
McCoy Tyner w/Gary Bartz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) The legendary pianist returns to the club where he first appeared in 1988, when it was in Saint Paul. Those familiar with jazz history know that Tyner came to prominence in at the age of 17 when he was in the John Coltrane Quartet, touring and recording with Coltrane between 1961 and 1965, and playing on such landmark albums as Live at the Village Vanguard, ballads and the exquisite A Love Supreme. His bands have won three Grammys, and in 2002 he was named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. Tyner will be joined by saxophonist Gary Bartz, who played with Miles Davis, Jackie McClean, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach, in addition to Tyner and leading his own groups. A couple of other outstanding musicians round out the group: Gerald Cannon on bass; and Francisco Mela (artistic director of the Twin Cities Jazz Festival) on drums.
Thursday, October 20
Rhonda Laurie @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) If you didn’t catch Rhonda Laurie last night at the Vieux, here’s another chance to see her, this time in a more intimate setting, solely accompanied by guitarist Dean Magraw.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, October 21, 22, 23
Free Jazz in Saint Paul’s Lowertown. That’s free jazz as in freely improvised, not cost-free, and what better neighborhood to listen than the art center of Saint Paul. The stars have aligned to have three nights with four different groups, as follows:
Thursday: Spring Roll @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15) This French free-jazz quartet is led by composer/flautist Sylvaine Helary They use flutes, sax, clarinet, piano, and a perfusion of percussion, mostly bells, or keyboards, as well as an anagogic synthesizer, a loop modulator, and the manipulation of magnetic bands. Their music shows influences of Ornette Coleman and Harry Partch, and Captain Beefheart.
Friday: Donald Washington @ The Black Dog. 8pm (Tip Jar) Donald Washington: sax, flutes, clarinet, and bells; is joined by son Kevin Washington on drums; and Richard Studer on bass to create music on the spot.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog. 7pm (Tip Jar) John Devine and Bill Lang & Co. open at 7pm, Douglas Ewart & Quasar: Jaqueline Ultan, cello; Stephen Goldstein, computer and sound engineer; Carei Thomas, piano; Donald Washington, reeds & percussion, Douglas Ewart, didjeridu, various horns, voice, percussion; and a spoken word artist and dancer.
Friday, October 21
Heather Masse @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Singer-Songwriter Masse came to prominence as a member of the popular folk group Wailin’ Jennys, though her early interest was jazz. She was a frequent guest on Prairie Home Companion, where she met trombone master Roswell Rudd. When they realized they lived a few miles from each other in upstate NY, they decided to collaborate. The resulting album, August Love Song, was released on Red House Records, which is producing this concert. It received a rave review on AllMusic where the reviewer said it “feels simultaneously modern and classic.”
CC Septet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Original music from Larry Neumann, Sax, Flute: Paul Peterson, Sax, Clarinet; Scott Snyder, Trumpet; Ralph Brindle, Trombone; Tim Lackas, Keyboards; Greg Stinson, Bass; and Brett Smith, Percussion.
Jon Pemberton/Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Pemberton – No Cover), 9pm (Nyberg – $10) Pianist, trumpeter, and composer Jon Pemberton provides music for the dinner hour, then vocalist Nyberg and her group, which always includes hubby and master trumpeter Adam Meckler, take the stage for an evening of jazz/pop, including some of Nyberg’s fine originals and interesting covers.
Friday, Saturday, October 21, 22
Matt Slocum Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm, 10pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Born in Saint Paul and raised in western Wisconsin, drummer Matt Slocum brings his NYC based trio to town, including Dayna Stephens on saxophones and Steve Cardenass on guitar. Their latest album Trio Pacific, Vol. 1, is filled with surprises. Modern Drummer Magazine said of Slocum, “The young drummer constantly surprises, embracing the kit as a reactive and explorative multi-percussion whole. A fresh voice.” Here’s Slocum with a different trio, from his appearance at the AQ four years ago.
Saturday, October 22
Pippi’s 3rd Annual Birthday Bash @ The Bedlam, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 9:30pm ($20, $25, including Dinner) For the 3rd year in a row, vocalist Pippi Ardennia is celebrating her birthday at the Bedlam, and as usual, she’s being joined by many musicians, including the PipJazz SX band, which includes Margo Brevik bass; Faye Washington, flute; Maureen Siebert, clarinet; Cymphony Jaxon, piano; and Glory Yard, drums. She’ll also call on current and past members of the PipJazz All Stars including Lee Tran, sax; DeVante Jackson, sax; Yonci Jamison, bass clarinet; DeCarlo Jackson, bass & trumpet; Bobby Rosson, drums; John Henry, bass; and Walter Hampton, piano & sax. Ardennia always puts young artists through their paces, calling out tunes and rhythms on the fly, and consequently bringing out the best in new musical voices.
Sunday, October 23
Rudresh Mahanthappa – Bird Calls @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. ($35) The Vieux is changing it up this week, opening on a Sunday in order to feature an outstanding visiting artist. Saxophonist Mahanthappa incorporates the sonic possibilites of music from his culture (India) with the influence of Charlie Parker’s music to create what many critics call a new path in jazz. His last recording was Bird Calls in 2015, which was called album of the year by both Downbeat magazine and NPR’s Music Critics Poll. The New York Times described him has having “a roving intellect and a bladelike articulation.”
Monday, October 24
Bobby Lyle & Billy Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $25, $60Dinner) Pianist Lyle started his career over three decades ago, as a sixteen-year old playing in Minneapolis clubs. After moving to Los Angeles, he met Jazz Crusader Wayne Henderson, who got him signed to Capitol Records and produced his first record. He’s played all over the world and has served as music director for Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler. 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. Their appearance at the Dunsmore Room last May was a delight.
Tuesday, October 25
Brian Claxton Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) The Wisconsin-born, Colorado based Claxton is a drummer who got his start when his folks bought him a toy drum at the age of one, twenty-nine years ago. He eventually taught himself to play by ear and was able to earn a spot at UW Eau Claire, where one of the ensembles he worked with got a Downbeat award. While attending school, he’d take part in the Twin Cities music scene, where he played with John Raymond, Aaron Hedenstrom, and Nachito Herrera.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, October 19
Ilka/Ward Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Jake Ilka and Joel Ward have been playing all kinds of music together for over 10 years – blues, soul, Americana, folk and more, using a mix of keys, guitars, and pedal steel to play both originals and covers. Tune in at 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club to hear more.
Charles Lazarus & Mary Jo Gothman @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Trumpeter Lazarus is a member of the Minnesota Orchestra and has played with his own jazz group on a number of occasions. Lazarus made his Carnegie Hall solo debut with the New York String Orchestra at the age of 19 while still a student at The Juilliard School. Since then, he has appeared as a soloist with numerous orchestras throughout North America, performed with the Empire Brass, New York Philharmonic Principal Brass, London Brass, Barry White, and opened for Tony Bennett. Pianist Mary Jo Gothman currently, works with talented young singers at The Minnesota Opera and plays chamber music with friends from the St Paul Chamber Orchestra. She’s worked with a number of opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera and the Santa Fe Opera.
Morgan James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35), 9pm ($25, $30) The vocalist/songwriter is a Idaho native who studied at Julliard, and has appeared in Motown, the Musical (as Teena Marie), and in star-making roles in Wonderland and Godspell. Berry Gordy introduced James to a couple of hit-makers in Los Angeles, and her debut recording was released in 2014. Much of her music falls into the Slow Jam category of R&B, as songs such as Call My Name start out slow and sensuous and build until James unleashes her powerful voice.
Thursday, October 20
Pat Donahue @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) If championship finger-picking and witty songs are your pleasure, check out acoustic guitarist Pat Donahue known for being a regular on Prairie Home Companion for years. His songs have been recorded by the likes of Suzy Boguss, Chet Atkins, Kenny Rogers, and more.
Courtney Yasmineh Tour Kickoff, w/Joyann Parker @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($7) Courtney Yasmineh left Chicago as a teenager and held up in Northern Minnesota, where she studied the music of Bob Dylan while developing her own songwriting skills. Moving to the Twin Cities she further developed her craft and in the last decade has begun to record and release both albums and EPs. Along the way she has toured the States, and Europe, doing all the booking and arrangements herself. She writes rock and roll songs for adults, with an honesty that draws from life’s victories and vicissitudes: bittersweet, blistering, fanciful, and hopeful. Opening is Joyann Parker, who, with her band Sweet Tea, won the right to represent Minnesota at the 2015 International Blues Challenge.
Deano & the Dinosaurs @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s Dress Like Deano Day at Dusty’s as guitarist Dean Mikkelson leads Dean Harrington, guitar; Keith Boyles, bass; and Diehl Gallagher, drums through an evening of gypsy jazz, swing, and some blues. If you want to Dress Like Deano (Mikkelson), wear a plaid flannel shirt and colorful high-tops to get the essence of his style.
Friday, October 21
Willie Walker, w/Greazy Gravy @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10?) It’s good to be able to see the original soul man in town again, since has been touring overseas a lot lately, due in part to the enthusiastic response to his album If Nothing Ever Changes, for which he won two Living Blues Music Awards. Opening is Greazy Gravy, featuring the harmonica of Curtis Blake. Here’s Willie in Norway.
Davina & The Vagabonds @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Though Davina and her intrepid Vagabonds continue to tour the US and overseas on a regular basis, it’s good to have her stop and perform at a bar with a dance floor here at home.
Saturday, October 22
Jeff Ray & The Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Ray is an extraordinary slide guitarist and songwriter, who can take a blues or rock song and create his own version of the blues. He’ll be appearing with Harold Tremblay on harmonica, with whom he has great musical rapport, and other guests.
Sarah Morris & Vicky Emerson Tour Send Off @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Morris and Emerson are both moms as well as Americana singer songwriters. They are hitting the road in a Highways and Heartstrings Tour of the Midwest, kicking off the tour this evening. They’ll share the stage swapping stories and songs from their respective albums.
Sunday, October 23
Ladies Night @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 4pm ($15, $10 for Ladies) Well it’s not exactly night when this starts, and it’s not a Ladies drink free night, but you get the idea. This is a Fundraiser for Discover Music, a program that encourages songwriting among teenagers. The Show will feature women performers such as Joyann Parker, Jennifer Grimm, Annie Mack, Katia Cardenas, and Rose Duffy.
Javier Matos @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Guitarist Matos plays the blues – swingin, shuffles, 12 bar, bottleneck, and more. He was in the Blue Shadows with two members of the Blasters, had songs in Breaking Bad and Friday Night Lights, and even made the cover of Billboard magazine. And you get to see him for free! (If you haven’t been there, the Dockside stage is actually an outdoor pavilion next to Como Lake, so dress appropriately)
Monday, October 24
Metro Cajun Ensemble @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10;20pm ($8) If it’s Monday, there must be Cajun and/or Zydeco music at the Eagles Club. Be prepared to dance.
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, October 24, 25, 26
O’Conner Family Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Mark O’Conner is a Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist, equally at home on fiddle, guitar, and mandolin. His unique career has seen him collaborating with such country & bluegrass superstars as Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Bill Monroe, and Earl Scruggs, as well as with jazz greats Bobby McFerrin and Wynton Marsalis, along with cellist Yo-Yo Ma. He’s also written a number of violin concertos, which he’s performed hundreds of times with major symphonies around the world, and has appeared on over 500 albums. The O’Conner Family Band features a three-violin front line of O’Conner, his wife Maggie, and Kate Lee, fiancé of Mark’s son Forrest, who plays mandolin. They’re joined by Joe Smart, a championship flat picker on guitar, and Geoff Saunders, on bass, who hold down a tight groove, no matter what the pace.