Summer Music: 6.28 – 7.4

June 28, 2017

Photo from Mill City Times

Well, one thing that last weekend’s Jazz Fest proved is that we have a wealth of jazz here in the Twin Cities. We also have a wealth of roots, blues, R&B, bluegrass, Cajun, classical music, and worldbeats, so there’s no reason that you cannot see music that you like. The 4th of July is just about upon us, and though I don’t have any music listings for that day, I’m sure that some celebrations will feature live music. Whether you are joining others in outdoor celebrations, staying home and grilling, or go out, remember: Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 28

Southside Aces Celebrate F. Scott Fitzgerald @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) The 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference is taking place in Saint Paul, and the Southside Aces are going to be playing a lot of Fitzgerald-era  tunes to help the celebrants.

Richard Johnson & Debbie Duncan @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45w/Dinner) As I mentioned in last weeks newsletter, Pianist Johnson has been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. Vocalist Debbie Duncan is our own “best-kept secret,” equally conversant in straight ahead and soulful jazz. Here’s Debbie.

Thursday, June 29

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Steven Hobert is a pianist who’s playing is often ethereal and impressionistic is joined by Yohannes Tona, bass; Pete Whitman, sax; and LA Buckner, drums.

Niny Salem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) With SouthEast Asian roots and life experiences from four different continents, Ms Salem will be singing the songs of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, and other female artists in a number of different languages.

Friday, June 30

Silverback Trio CD Release Party @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) David Hirsch, keyboards, electronics, & sax; Brent Wallace,m bass; and Byron Johnson-Blancahrd, drums comprise this trio, which fuses atmospheric electronics with high energy melodies. They’re celebrating their debut CD. Here they introduce themselves before a clip of them playing.

Saturday, July 1

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) After curating and hosting an incredible array of talent during the Jazz Festival, Steve Kenny returns to his normal programming of Saturday night jazz at the Black Dog. Tonight’s headliner is drummer/percussionist Babatunde Lea, with a new quartet: Mathew Trice, alto; Will Kjeer, keys; and Jax Ravel, bass. Opening is the Drew Stinson Trio w/Stinson bass; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Dan May, drums. Here’s Lea with a different quartet.

Andrew Walesch Trio @ Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The talented pianist/vocalist steps out from some of his normal haunts to entertain at the newly remodeled Normandy Kitchen. Get a reservation if you want a hi-top table. Otherwise, the bar has been extended, so there are more seats there.

Minnesota Hard Bop Collective Organ Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, 2014 Washington Ave, N, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon has been putting together groups of various sizes to play classic hard bop of the 50s and 60s, together with a few originals in that format. He’ll be accompanied by Javi Santiago on keys and Mike Wolter on guitar.

Mauilotus: The Marilyn Allysum Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) This group of award-winning musicians takes a global approach to music, transcending jazz and worldbeats to make their statement. Marilyn Allysum, composer, flute, piano, gu zheng, and vocals; Charles Fletcher, bass; Mike Hurley, drums & percussion; David Wolfe, Persian Harp & Tibetan Singing Bowls. Their last concert at Jazz Central sold out.

Sunday, July 2

Oudyano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist/Accordionist Steven Hobert has found a kindred spirit in Issam Rafea, a Syrian who plays Oud. Their music is uplifting.

Monday, June 3

Geoffrey Keezer @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $45 w/Dinner) Pianist Keezer was a member of Art Blakey’s group at 18, and toured with folks like Joshua Redman, Benny Golson, and Ray Brown while in his 20s. More recently he’s recorded with Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves, and has toured with Christian McBride and collabored with Sting and Wayne Shorter. He’s been nominated for three Grammys.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 28

Mary Sue Englund @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Mary Sue Englund (no relation to me, btw) is a Minnesota-born, Nashville-based country songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author and graphic designer who tours with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan as a musician and backup singer. Bring a lunch or get one at Anita’s Cafe at Landmark.

The Hambone Wilson Band w/Billy Stoops on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/Songwriter Billy Stoops has been living in the Pacific Northwest for over two decades, performing all the music that comes under Americana. He’ll be performing with the Hambone Wilson Band from Virginia. This quartet plays roots, Americana, Old Time Rock n’ Roll, and more. Tune in to get a sense of what they sound like and head to the 331 Club if you want to hear more. Here’s the Hambone Wilson Band.

Wailing Souls @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This legendary reggae roots group dates back to the 60s, when they worked with reggae icon Joe Higgs. They fused the sound of Motown and close harmonies with roots reggae and dancehall, with a number of heir songs appearing in the 90s film Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team. Dred I Dred opens.

Thursday, June 29

Steeling Dan @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (7) The music of Steely Dan can’t be done by a four-piece, or even a five-piece band. If you’re going to cover all of their music you’ll need a 13-piece band, at least that’s what Steeling Dan has been working with since 2002. Here’s a promo video that shows what they can do.

Tinsley Ellis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) When talking about Southern blues-rocker Ellis critics and fans often use the words, fiery, searing, and incendiary when describing the guitarists’ playing. But then, he was born in Atlanta, grew up in Southern Florida, and was inspired by a BB King performance as a teenager.

Friday, June 30

Katy Vernon Band @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Anyone who follows Katy on FaceBook knows that she’s been on an incredible journey, touring Great Britain for about six weeks, and playing her ukelele at festivals, hospices, hospitals, pubs, and other places. There is no doubt that the journey has been inspirational for her, and we get to see the results tonight.

Albert Cummings @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $38) Cummings is a blues-rock virtuoso on guitar who has played with BB King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rhythm section liked his playing so much they played on and produced his solo debut, 2003’s From the Heart. He’s been recording wand touring on stop since then.

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble @ Cedar Cutlural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$20 Door) This Barcelona, Spain band actually got started in Chicago, but it wasn’t until founder Aaron Feder moved to Spain 101years ago and met some Nigerian musicians that it began to gel and take off, and have since released three albums. I believe this is the second appearance at The Cedar this year. Opening by Somali percussionist Harbi, who will debut his work “Heartbeat of Durbaanka,” a new work funded by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership program.

Saturday, July 1

Saddle Sores @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($? – Cheap?) Classic country music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as done by the the is five-piece  who are obviously fans of the genre: Jenny Russ, vocals; Jimmy Kennedy, guitar & vocals; Randy Venaas, bass; Mo Engel, drums; and Clay Williams, pedal steel and guitar. Songs include: You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, and Who’s Going to Take Your Garbage Out.

Karl B & the Soul Surgeons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This funk-fusion band recently released their debut full-length album, Electrosurgery. Members: Karl Brueggemann, drums; Andrew McManimon, guitar; Elliot Keyes, bass; and Fran Merchiewitz, keys.

Nooky Jones Album Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door)  Nooky Jones has been around the Cities for a couple of years now, spreading smooth neo-soul with hearty elements of jazz and R&B, and undertones of hip-hop. Now they are ready to release their self-titled debut album. Nooky Jones is: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals/trumpet; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, keys: Reid Kennedy, drums; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Ryan Christianson, trombone. With Pho and DJ Sarah White.

Sunday, July 2

Bevery McClellan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) McClellan is the soulful singer with the huge sound who was a finalist in The Voice, a few years back, in which she did a rousing version of The Thrill is Gone. She’s a talented lady capable of playing a number of instruments and singing in a variety of styles. Here she is from a 2011 performance at the Dakota.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

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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TC Jazz Fest and More: 6.21 – 6.27

June 21, 2017

Greetings everyone;

It’s the big weekend for jazz fans as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday through Saturday. Great headliners and about 300 resident artists will be appearing on stages all over town. Besides Mears Park, Rice Park, and the Union Depot, downtown venues include the Black Dog Cafe, Golden’s Deli, the Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), the Hat Trick Lounge, The Amsterdam, and others. Don’t forget the piano-centric acts at Vieux Carré, with its late night jam, and the stage in the tpt building featuring vocalists all weekend. There are also performances at venues outside of downtown at venues like the Como Dockside and the Episcopal homes. I’ve got the link to the schedule below. Fans of blues and roots also have reasons to be happy, as I’ve listed. Remember, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 21

Lee Engele @ The Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7pm (Free) A preview gig for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Vocalist Engele has a particularly good way with acoustic swing aka gypsy jazz, though she handles standards and the occasional bossa nova with elegance and ease, especially with such stellar accompaniment as Reynold Philipsek on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass. .

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to the Great American Songbook, though she’s adept at pop as well. She’ll be accompanied by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Christian Sands @ The Dakota, Minneapolls. 7pm ($20) Sands is an up and coming pianist who has already arrived in some sense. He’s been a key member of Christian McBride’s Trio for a number of years, was nominated for five Grammys, and was mentored by pianist Billy Taylor. He recently released his debut recording, Reach.

JT Bates Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul 8:00pm ($6) Get your B3 organ fix as drummer Bates brings Kevin Gasonguey, B3, and Zacc Harris, guitar, to the basement club. Things will be cookin!

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23, 24

Twin Cities Jazz Festival  @ Saint Paul locations. (Free) It’s about the most anticipated event of the year for area jazz fans, though fans of R&B, funk, and world music also get to hear some of their favorite bands for free. You can find the schedule here. Needless to say, headliners Anat Cohen, Terrance Blanchard, McCoy, and others are well worth your while, but get to Mears Park early to also hear folks like Emmet Cohen, Bobby Lyle, and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code in opening slots. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase at Union Depot has been expanded to both Friday and Saturday, with the McNally Smith Vocal Ensemble headlining on Friday, and the Dakota Combo headlining on Saturday.

Friday, Saturday, June 23, 24

Django Festival All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Honoring the “hot jazz” (aka gypsy jazz) of Django Rheinhardt, this sextet brings their own creativity to the swinging style. Author and critic Will Friedwald, said of them, “the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe.”

Sunday, June 25

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ The Church of Saint Albert, East 29th Street & 32 Ave, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3pm ($20) Part of a monthly music series examining the music of the 20, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Today it’s the music of the 1930s. Both vocalist Hixson and pianist Carlson excel at this sort of thing.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you aren’t quite ready to give up the spirit of the jazz fest, you can continue your jazz jones with the ever-inventive guitarist Zacc Harris and his trio.

Monday, June 26

Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Cellist Greg Byers leads this quartet: Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums.

Tuesday, June 27

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45/wDinner) Pianist Johnson lived in the Twin Cities for a few years, entertaining us with his lovely playing. Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been playing a booking jazz. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. He has a unique program for 7-17 year olds called Reach afar, to educate them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 27, 28

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. Until the last year or so she was on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them. She’s performed here about twice a year in the last three years and her shows often sell out, or come close to it. Be forewarned.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 21

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Northurp Auditorium Plaza, U of MN, Minneapolis. Noon (Free) Grab a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and if you keep it hidden, perhaps a bottle of wine, and have a picnic while enjoying the music of this “bongos and berets” group, playing French musettes, a cumbia or two, and some old standards.

Cooker John Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cooker John learned to fingerpick from Artie Traum in NYC during the folk boom of the 60s. Since then he’s traveled the country, has played in numerous bands, and for the past few decades has played solo, or with one or two others. I recall hearing about him playing the Midwest back in the 80s. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Randall Webb, Ben Kaplan, and John Vizard. Listen in and head over to the 331 Club if you want to hear more.

Paul Bergen & the Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ The Hook & Ladder, Minnapolis. 7pm (No cover) Honky-tonkin’ swamp country blues from members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Curtss A’ band and others. This is part of a June residency that takes place in H&L’s lounge.

Jillian Rae & Hannah von der Hoff @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 8pm ($6) Fiddler/singer/songwriter Jillian Rae has a Wednesday night June residency at the Aster, bringing her band along to help while she sings her own originals as well as some tasty covers. Tonight she has guitarist/singer/songwriter Hannah von der Hoff along for the ride. Here’s Hannah!

Thursday, June 22

Mikkel Beckmen w/Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen has slide guitar master Jeff Ray as his guest at this after work gig.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) Soul, R&B, and ballads from a master vocalist.

Jonatha Brooke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooke has released nine albums of literate adult pop and two live discs, all of which were well received by critics if not exactly big sellers, and has used crowd funding on her last two albums. Though born in Boston, and having lived in Los Angeles and New York, Brooke relocated to Minneapolis last year, home to her husband/manager. She’s happy with the move, and has been having fun calling on resident talent to fill her bands here. Tonight, she’ll be accompanied by Kevin Gastonguay on keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Joey van Phillips, drums; Aby Wolf, vocals; Rebecca Arons, cello; and Sean Driscoll, guitar.

Friday, June 23

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) He was known as Wee Willie Walker during the 60s and 70s Soul Explosion, and still goes by that name on his website, but the name doesn’t account for his sonorous voice, with a bit a whiskey gravel to it, and an interpretive ability that defines soul.

Charlie Parr @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) It’s nine months since this blues vagabond opened the H&L, so apparently it’s time to have him back. Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders open.

Saturday, June 24

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free) The ribs at Big Daddy’s will get an extra helping of funky soulfulness as the big-voiced blues belter Big George Jackson performs as part of the the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Papa John Kolstand & the Perfect Phitts @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Singer, raconteur, and guitarist Papa John Kolstad brings his wit, wisdom, and sense of fun to Merlins, the best neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. The Phitts are Bill Smith, harmonica and vocals; Gary Powell, National Steel and vocals; and Bill Grenke, bass. There is a reason they’re called the Perfect Phitts as they play seamlessly and perform some three part harmonies.

Sunday, June 25

The Funky United @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) I may be mistaken, but this appears to be a new group, though it’s members have been around for a while: Scott Glaser, bass; Dev Jana, guitar; Chris Kellick, keys; Tim Moran, drums; and Mick Sterling, vocals.. They play original funky soul.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) It’s the last Sunday of the month, so the Gang once again holds court at the oldest continually operating bar in MN. Today, Papa John Kolstad will be in the hot seat, playing with Bill Greinke, bass; Rena Haus and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica.

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.


Back in the Saddle: 6.14 – 6.20

June 14, 2017

Taken on a different vacation by Andrea Hjelm. The first time on horseback in 30 years.

Well, I’m back in the saddle again, so to speak, after a brief interruption in posting when my vacation was involuntarily extended. All is good, and I’m looking forward to a week of great music from both visiting and resident artists. This Sunday is Father’s Day and that means that the Stone Arch Festival will be taking place all weekend. Besides booths of art, crafts, and food, there are plenty of artists performing, in genres ranging from classic rock and punk, to Americana and C&W, to even a bit of jazz, but I have to admit I know only a few. A schedule of performers can be found here. Have a great week. Remember music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 14

Candy Dulfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35, $40) This Dutch saxophonist has played with Maceo Parker, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, mavis Staples, Beyonce, Van Morrison and more, and has been name-checked by Prince. She’s had several number 1 hits in the US, and is a big draw at festivals around the world.

Gary LaRue & the Rat Pack Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) If ever there was a great spot to hear the music of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, and other swinging cats from the 50s, it’s the lounge at Mancini’s.

Thursday, June 15

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight it’s the Wayne Horvitz Group: Horvitz, keys; Josh Granowski, bass; Davu Seru, drums, a combination of musicians who celebrate adventurous music making.

Lucia Newell & The Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Newell is a wonderful singer who is conversant in all manner of jazz and Brazilian music (she spent two years singing there). She only plays selected dates each year, so this is a perfect opportunity to hear her, especially since she’ll be backed by the swinging Wolverines Trio. Here she is in her Brazilian mode.

Friday, June 16

Adam Booker @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Booker put out a fine recording, Unraveled Rival, on Shifting Paradigm records in 2015.  He has an extensive history with Duluth groups such as The New Orleans Hot Club, the Jazz Pharaohs, the Asylum Street Spankers, and others. This is his last Twin Cities appearance. After teaching at UMN- Duluth for many years, he heading to Appalachian State University where he’ll be Assistant Professor of Double Bass at the Hayes School of Music. Joining him are Levi Schwarzberg, vibes; and Ben Baldwin, drums.

Kevin Washington Quintet @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Drummer Washington is a master of rhythms, whether playing with Nachito Herrera, Viva Brazil or any of a number of jazz luminaries, such as Anthony Cox, Roscoe Mitchell, James Carter, Fred Wesley or the David Murray Big Band. He’ll undoubtedly have some Twin Cities luminaries in his quintet. Pippi Ardennia and the PipJazz All Stars open this summertime outdoor event.

Saturday, June 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) As is often the case, the evening starts with a young group. Drummer Simon Petrick, who is a member of this year’s Dakota Combo will be leading a group at 7pm. Then at 8:30pm it’s How Birds Work, a quartet started during the heyday of the Artists’ Quarter and featuring Dean Granros, guitar; Peter Schimke, keyboards, Chris Bates, bass, and Kenny Horst, drums. They play high-quality, demanding jazz from the likes of Coltrane, Shorter, Hancock, and more.

Joel Shapira CD Release @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No Cover) Guitarist Shapira has had an every other week solo early gig at the Vieux for almost two years now, and has developed a bit of a following there, members of whom have asked for a solo CD. Well, he’s delivered. The CD, In Essence, contains some gems from the Great American Songbook as well as modern jazz classics by Coltrane, Miles, and Monk, including his third recording of Bemsha Swing. In a recent interview with Tom Surowicz for the Highland Villager, Shapira said, “It’s a challenge, reducing piano music to the guitar.” Shapira is more than up to it.

Sunday, June 18

Nancy Harms @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, 425; $40, $50 Dinner Show) Though not exposed to jazz until she attended college, Ms Harms, a Clara City, MN native performs as if born to the role of jazz singer. She has an innate sense of time and phrasing and an ability to imbue songs with just the right amount of humanity to fully tell each song’s story. She is a uniquely gifted performer who has established herself in NYC and Europe. Her shows here in town are always well-attended, if not sold out, so be forewarned that the Dunsmore Room only seats 80.

Regina Marie Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm )$17 – $22) You may have seen Williams in any number of roles at the Guthrie, Penumbra, Park Square, and Mixed Blood theaters. She’s a fine actress – she’s won an Ivey Award, was named City Pages Best Actress of 2016, and received the McKnight Theater Artist Award. She is also a great songstress, who can whisper as well as soar, as attested by roles where she’s played Dinah Washington and Nina Simone.

Monday, June 19

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett has been nominated twice for a Grammy and received a number of Canada’s music awards. She went to Cuba back in 1982 and fell in love with the sensual, yet intricate rhythms of the island. She’d often use them with her contemporary jazz performances, and recently assembled an all-star cast of female Cuban musicians to form Maqueque. Their second album, Odara, was released last fall.

Adam Astrup @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (!0, $5 w/Student ID)Though newly graduated from high school, guitarist Astrup as been impressing audiences in various groups for a couple of years now, including the Dakota Combo and two or three groups of his own. Tonight he and members of his quintet will be playing originals. Members include: Nick Benish, bass; Andrew Tomten, Sax; Patrick Adkins, keys; and Simon Petrick, drums. Here he is in a trio setting.

JT’s Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. ($8) This long running weekly event, curated by drummer JT Bates, always features forward thinking artists, whether from the Twin Cities or beyond. Tonight features The Jon Davis Quartet for set one: Davis, bass & woodwinds; Chuck Love trumpet, flute, melodica, & percussion, Bryan Nichols, keys; and Greg Schutte, drums. Performing set two is The George Marich Trio; Marich, drums, George Cartwright, saxes; and Josh Granowski, bass.

Tuesday, June 20

Jordan Anderson Group @ Walker West, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (free) This dazzling young pianist was a member of the Dakota Combo prior to attending the University of Michigan, where he was recruited by, and studies with, none other than Benny Green. I believe he’ll have talented contemporaries with him: Peter Goggin, saxophone; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Here he is while still a HS student, with a different group

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 14

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Pack up a picnic and head out the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory to  boogie down to the amped up blues, country, and roots music from the guitarist/songwriter who’s the pride of Anoka  Plus there’s a climbing wall, bouncy tent and other distractions for the wee ones.

The Dollys on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Dollys are Joanna Jahn, Kari Shaw, and Megan Shaw, or are all enamored of the three-part harmonies of EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt. They also perform songs by other female country artists as well as their own versions of folk and Americana hits. Tune in to Harold’s House Party at 5pm, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 Club to see them in person.

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15; $40 for Dinner Show) A creative pairing of legendary, excellent musicians. Pianist Thompson and Fingerstyle Guitarist Donahue mine classic blues and jazz, that is from the 20s and 30s, with an occasional original that fits the style. The Dunsmore Room provides a quiet, intimate space to fully appreciate their musicianship, craftsmanship, and easy-going banter. Here’s a track from the album the duo made, featuring Thompson on clarinet.

Robert Earl Keen @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($40 Advance, $45 Door) Regular listeners of Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ show know that every Christmas he plays Keen’s Merry Christmas from the Family, a description of a blended family at Christmas time. No matter what your background, this tale of a family gathering will include something that’s funny and familiar. It’s a perfect example of his wit and powers of observation, as his his take on modern life called Wireless in Heaven. He’s been writing songs for over three decades and continues to sharpen his wit and entertain folk, and was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, while a couple of years ago he became the first recipient of BMI’s Troubadour Award. Keen takes a few minutes to introduce the band before singing on this video.

Thursday, June 15

Doug Little’s Seven Steps to Havana @ Arlington Hills Library, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) This septet led by flutist/saxophonist Doug Little features musicians from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Ethiopia, and the US. Their hip-swaying music uses the fiery rhythms of salsa and the rich harmonies of jazz.

Mikkel Beckmen w/Martin Devaney @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist Mikkel Beckmen’s weekly residency is always a great place to stop after work and down a pint in a friendly setting while Beckmen invites guests to share the stage. This week he has Martin Devaney, hard working guitarist and prolific songwriter working on his seventh full length album. Here’s Devaney.

Steve Clarke Quartet w/Patty Peterson @ Seven Steak House, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover?) It seems that Seven Steak House at 7th & Hennepin has new management, and has decided to bring in music on Thursdays. Tonight Steve Clarke brings his swinging saxophone to the venue, along with guest vocalist Patty Peterson, who is equally at home in jazz and R&B. Not sure if you have to order a meal or can hang at the bar, so you may want to call to get particulars.

Friday, June 16

Garland Jeffreys @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooklyn native Jeffreys has been creating urban rock since the 60s, first hitting with Wild in the Streets back in the 70s. His songs have been covered by punkers and neo-folkies, and he’s worked with folks ranging from John Cale, Lou Reed, U2,  and Dr. John to Stan Getz and Sonmny Rollins. Jeffrey’s latest two albums, The King of In Between from 2011, and Truth Serum in 2013 received great reviews and his latest, the newly-released 14 Steps to Harlem, is sure to bring him new fans, at least based on the three songs I’ve heard.

Celtic Rock Night @ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) These days Celtic music is more than fiddles and whistles, and tonight in an event sponsored by the MN Music Coalition, will certainly prove that out. Performing are The Sweet Colleens, a quintet of multi-instrumentalists playing high-energy fiddle and accordion-driven Celtic Americana who just released their 5th album; Belfast-born Leslie Rich a guitarist singer who has played with The Hounds of Finn and Leslie Rich & the Rocket Soul Choir since emigrating to the US, and The Tim Malloys, who fuse traditional Irish music with pub rock and the sensibility (and sound) of Minneapolis punk rock.

Lowland Lakers @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a seated show of Americana as this trio, with roots in Duluth, play their last gig with Dr. Matt Donoghue on bass – he’s taking a position as Emergency Medicine Resident. Opening is the talented Rachel Hanson, who’s a north country artist herself. Then the Last Jackson will close out the evening.

Paul Cebar @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee native Paul Cebar has been at this songwriting/singing/playing thing for decades, always finding ways to incorporate irresistible rhythms into his songs that provide a modern touch to old R&B ideas. For instance, you’ll be dancing along to something funky, when all of a sudden there’s a calypso break. No wonder legions of dancers come out for every performance.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 advance, $15 Door) Late night salsa dancing to this Twin Cities band that with the bona fides to perform classic Cuban music.

Saturday, June 17

Class Action @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) For three years in the late 70s and early 80s, Class Action was just about the most popular dance band in the Twin Cities. No wonder – look at their talented members: Rockie Robbins, who later had seven charting singles as a solo artist; Patty Peterson, who continues to sparkle as a jazz/R&B singer here in town; Ricky Perterson, the wizard keyboard player who played with David Sanborn for 20 years and countless other artiits; Candy Anderson Cretoekos, who started singing in church, and worked with Wayne Cochran & the CC Riders throughout the nation. She moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis and returned to her church roots, performing throughout California; Stephen Faison, performer for hundreds of jingles and soundtracks and staff writer for recording studios, who worked withThe Coasters, Drifters, Walter Trout and Aretha Franklin and teaches here in town; Rick Cornish, who performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and who had one of his compositions premiered by the LA Philharmonic, and winner of numerous national and international awards; Rick Houle, who played in Passage and the Doug Maynard Band before moving to Seattle in 1984. Since then he’s worked with Ernestine Anderson, and is currently a member of a 12 piece group that plays the music of Steely Dan; finally there Glenn Swanson, who was a staff drummer at Creation Audio, who after Class Action went on to work with Sheila Raye Charles (daughter of Ray), including serving as emcee for a Japanese tour, and more recently produced vocalist Pippi Ardennia. Wow!

International Reggae All Stars @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($??) Here’s a chance for east-siders to hear the reggae sound of the All Stars outside of their weekly gig at Bunkers.

Rena Haus Trio @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Dusty’s is tiny, though a more upscale description would say intimate. Nevertheless it provides a great setting as guitarist/songwriter Rena Haus, her bassist brother Bob, and under-appreciated guitarist Ed Petsche will regale you with Rena’s original song stories and great covers of blues songs. Here she is solo.

Monday, June 19

Frankie Lee & Friends @ The Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Lee has the June residency for Monday nights at the rec room inspired Clown Lounge. He’s a country/folk singer whose debut album American Dreamer, was released in 2015 on London’s Loose Records. It promptly became well played on Europe’s radio stations, making many “best of” lists from the continent. It was released in America in the summer of 2016, earning him more praise from NPR, among others. Don’t know which friends will show up, but they include Michael Lewis bass, sax; Jeremy Ylvisaker, guitar; and JT Bates, drums, who appeared on his first EP.

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.


A Blip in Plans

June 7, 2017

Due to some unexpected developments while traveling, I am unable to blog this week. Check the links I post in every entry for JazzInk, KBEM, and the Ninnesota Blues Society. I also have websites for many venues on my Venues Page, above.


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