Transition – Music: 9.9 – 9.24

Greetings to one and all

As we transition from Summer to Fall, I’m still trying to get a handle on how often I can put newsletters together and send them out. For the moment, it appears that twice a month will work. To get to the meat of the matter, here are some suggestions for the next couple of weeks. To be sure, there are lots more artists out there worthy of your attention, so check out some of the links below as well as websites for venues. I can definitely say that Music lifts the Spirit


Satuday, September 9

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/vocalist Lynch and her Fellows are beginning a nine-month residency at the Aster on the second Saturday of each month.  They swing, and create fun versions of songs from the 30s through the 50s. I’ll have Lynch and her Fellows on my show on the morning of the 9th, so tune in at 10:30am to KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7 FM or at, to hear what they sound like.

Selby Jazz Fest @ Milton & Selby, Saint Paul. Noon – 8pm (Free) Headliner is the nine-piece Motor Soul Collective. Other acts during the day: The New Sound Underground, Salsa del Sol, Walker West’s Legends of Jazz, and the Selby Avenue Brass Band.

Tuesday, September 12

Red Planet with Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who has drawn raves from New York City to Europe for his highly inventive ways with a melody. The Saint Paul native now lives in the UP of Michigan, close enough that he comes to town every few months to perform, lately at the Dunsmore Room. Red Planet is a jazz-rock trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre, thanks to members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. They recently released an album in collaboration with Carrothers that brings out the best in all of them, and that’s saying a lot. Downbeat just gave it four stars

Thursday, September 14

John Raymond’s Real Feels Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12 – $15) Trumpeter Raymond grew up in the Twin Cities and made his way to NYC, where he’s established himself as an up and coming musician. His latest album, Real Feels, received 4 1/2 stars from Downbeat, which said, “…with his mix and modern sounds and old-fashioned feeling, Raymond is steering jazz in the right direction.”

Tuesday, September 19

A Tribute to Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 7pm ($15) Hmm, Bing Crosby, so there’s no doubt Arne Fogel will be taking that part. His long time singing partner, the Cool Chanteuse Maud Hixson, will take on Rosemary Clooney. They’ve done this show in various guises over the years, so I expect you’ll hear music from the Great American Songbook, including tunes from the movie White Christmas, two duet albums, and a few from radio and concert appearances of Crosby & Clooney.

Wednesday, September 20

Ted Olsen CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Bassist Ted Olsen is celebrating the release of his first CD as leader. Joining him will be Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophone; Javier Santiago, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drumset.

Thursday, September 21

Juli Wood Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12) After a long absence from the Twin Cities, Chicago saxophonist and vocalist Juli Wood played at the Black Dog in August and proved that she should be up here more often. Jazz Times calls her “a gusty tenor and baritone saxophonist who also sings with the earthy gusto of an R&B diva filtered through a hard bop sensibility.” Those of a certain age may remember her from Paul Cebar’s Milwaukeeans, where she delivered her earthy, jazzy, R&B with delight.

Friday, Saturday, September 22, 23

Mary Louise Knutson @ Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11:30pm (No Cover) This warm lounge at the Lex has been a meeting place for businessmen, politicians, and Saint Paul Socialites since 1935. They are now featuring jazz on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Knutson’s warm and inventive piano playing will be accompanied by Phil Hey on drums with Matt Peterson on bass on Friday, and Steve Pikal on bass (along with Hey) on Saturday.

Saturday, Sunday, September 23, 24

Second Annual Cabaret Fest @ Bryant-Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 2:30 – 8pm ($15 single event, $25 Day pass) The Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN) is presenting workshops and performances. An educational workshop will take place each day from 2:30 – 5:00pm and is open to the public (event pricing or day pass). Afterwards there will be performances from 5:30 – 8pm by different artists from the group each evening. More info:

Saturday, September 23

MN Hard Bop Collective @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon brings a group of like-minded musicians together to play the music of Kenny Dorham.

Sunday, September 24

Evan Christopher “Live from NOLA” @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Clarinetist Christopher calls his music “contemporary early jazz,” which is an accurate description of his repertoire. While it includes many songs from the early 20th Century, Christopher’s playing is anything but stodgy. He swings with ease and is very imaginative when it comes to soloing.


Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 recommended donation) Steve Kenny curates this weekly event featuring two bands, the first at 7pm and the second at 8:30pm.  Go to for a complete listing.

Roots, Blues, & Other

Friday, September 15

Dakota Dave Hull @ “Live at The Landmark”, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) I’ve been a fan of guitar master Dakota Dave Hull since his early days with Sean Blackburn. None other than folk legend Dave Van Ronk called Dave “one of the best guitarists in the world.” This is the first of three concerts in this new series at the Landmark Center, created to take the place of the Red House Live series, which ran its course. Opening will be the country-oriented septet, The Gated Community.

Firefall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) Since they first hit the music scene some forty years ago, this pioneering country-rock group has earned three gold  albums, two platinum albums and eleven chart-topping singles. They currently have three of the original members, along with a longtime drummer and relatively new rhythm guitarist. Expect great harmonies on top of toe-tapping country-rock, including the band’s biggest hit, “You Are the Woman.”

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Haus, together with her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar virtuoso Ed Petche, creates highly entertaining performances, whether singing tunes by the Allman Brothers, or humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate.

Saturday, September 16

Katy Vernon Band @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Ukelelest and singer/songwriter Katy Vernon has been on an upward trajectory for the past few months, touring the UK, playing in festivals, hospitals and some unlikely places. Upon returning, she’s played at Lake Harriet Bandshell, on the Current, as well as at the State Fair, and other venues. Catch her tonight with her full band, which includes, among others, the crackerjack guitarist Clay Williams, and Vernon’s fellow Brit Simon Husbands on keys.

Wednesday, September 20 

Sahba Motallebi w/Naghmeh Farahman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis.  7:30pm (Free, but reservations encouraged) This is part of the Global Roots Festival, which starts on Monday, Sept 18. Fretted instrument master Sahba Motallebi (Iran/US), accompanied by Naghmeh Farahmand (Iran/Toronto), on percussions. Sahba and Naghmeh are two Persian musical masters, Baha’i & Muslim women respectively, playing powerfully together in unity. Motallebi is a modern virtuoso on tar and setar, lute-like stringed instruments. The New York Music Daily said of her, “there is no rock guitarist, no oud player, possibly no musician anywhere in the work with such subtle yet fearsome chops on a fretted instrument.” Opening is Bitori, an accordionist from Cape Verde, and a torchbearer for the island’s funana genre

Thursday, September 21

Gram Parsons Tribute @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Hosted by the Gilded Palace Sinners. As a member of the Byrds, circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo, The International Submarine Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and with his own albums, Graham Parsons and his “Cosmic American Music” was one of the architects of what’s become known as County-Rock. The eleven-piece Gilded Palace Sinners, features talented musicians from popular Americana bands such as Urban Hillbilly Quartet, Platte Valley Boys, Beguine Brothers, Switched at Birth, Dead Pigeons, Wilkinson James, and Middle Spunk Creek Boys

Friday, September 22

An Evening With Vasen @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) This well-loved Swedish acoustic trio returns to the Cedar once again, where they have become fan favorites. Their playful and joyous music is deeply rooted tin the forests of the Swedish countryside, particularly in the centuries-old folk music of Uppland, though they incorporate rock, jazz, and classical influences into the improvisations of the moment

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved seat) Journeyman Soul/Blues singer Rawls knows how to work a crowd, getting dancers on the floor as he delivers a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

Sunday, September 24

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm – 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s a chance to support Live Music, Twin Cities artists, and hear some great blues, and the MN Blues Society holds another event to help MN bands compete in the International Blues Challenge this winter in Memphis. Featured are Javier Matos as solo entry and the Ken Valdez Band as the group entry int he competition. Also playing: Harrison Street, The Craig Clark Band, and Slim Willie & the Ride. There will be other chances to donate, though a bake sale and a 50/50 raffle.

Womenfolk Radio Anniversary Show @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Featuring food, door prizes and live performances by Reina del Cid, Mary Bue, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, Vicky Emerson, and more.

Friday, September 29

Mitch Kashmar & Junior Watson @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) “Left Coast” Blues from Harpist Mitch Kashmar, who’s been around for a few decades, but didn’t make a splash until his 2005 debut, Nickels and Dimes, on Delta Groove Records. Since then he’s delivered a few more solid albums featuring his sometimes overdriven harp, courtesy of Little Walter’s influence, along with the fleet fingering and flexibility that he learned from William Clarke.  Junior Watson is a fine guitarist whom Twin Citizens may be more familiar with, as he’s visited us numerous times and in the past has played with the late Lynwood Slim. It’s ten years since the two have played in MN, so expect a hearty party.  Opening is the Paul Barry Blues Band with Lila Ammons.


In the meantime you can find a fairly comprehensive list of links to venues that present Jazz, Blues, & Roots at this page on my website: Be aware that venues change their music policies often enough that it’s hard to stay current. For a quick look at what’s happening around town check out:

KBEM Calendar (covers jazz & roots):

JazzINK (as complete a live jazz calendar as you’ll find):

Minnesota Blues Society:

City Pages Concert Calendar:

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