Greetings and Salutations;
I’ve been heartened by the kind words and concern from everyone I’ve met while getting out the last few weeks. As an update, I can report that my health continues to improve. I’ve been spending much time with my own kind of “music therapy,” playing whole albums from start to finish and letting the music wash over me and improve my sense of well-being.
I realize I’m not being very consistent in releasing these occasional newsletters, but they’re coming as I have the time to put them together. So… here you are with some notable shows in the next few weeks, including links to find free shows (once you pay admission) at the State Fair. BTW, Thanks to Tim Nyberg for the photo. Get out and enjoy music, because I can certainly attest – Music Lifts the Spirit.
Sunday, Monday, August 20, 21
Lee Konitz & Dan Teper @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm & 7pm Sunday, 7pm & 9pm Monday ($30, $55w/Dinner) Alto saxophonist Konitz was part of Miles Davis’ ground-breaking Birth of the Cool Sessions in the late 40s, and has successfully performed in a wide variety of jazz styles since then, including bebop, cool jazz, and avant-garde jazz. He was an influence on both Paul Desmond & Art Pepper. Pianist-composer Dan Teper’s 2011 album Goldberg Variations/Variations received high praise from both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. As a composer, he received a Charles Ives Fellowship form the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He’s worked extensively with Konitz, so this evening should demonstrate the unique communication between the two.
Monday, August 21
Steven Hobert Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The imaginative pianist performs with a number of different configurations this one is a quartet with Pete Whitman, sax; Yohannes Tona, bass; and LA Buckner on drums. Special guest tonight is the tasteful guitarist John Penny. This clarity of this video isn’t great (duh!) but you can get an idea of what the quartet sounds like.
Sunday August 27
Aurora Nealand & Tom McDermott @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Here’s an evening of traditional New Orleans Jazz, helmed by saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Nealand, who served in the Panorama Jazz Band, VaVaVoom, and the New Orleans Moonshiners before forming her own Traditional Jazz Band – the Royal Roses. She also is the leader/frontwoman for the rackabillly band Rory Dander and the Danger Dangers, and was seen as herself in Treme. McDermott moved to New Orleans in 1984 after earning a Masters Degree in Muisc and writing music journalism for his home town morning newspaper in Saint Louis. He has since assimilated and made his own the unique styles of New Orleans.
Javier Santiago, featuring Proper-T @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8) Pianist Santiago has been playing quite a bit in San Francisco of late, but continues to play around town. He is a prolific composer, as well as a teacher, arranger, and producer, performing an eclectic blend of Jazz, R&B, Rock, Hip Hop and everything in between. Vocalist Proper-T has performed all over town, most recently as a member of ZuluZulu and supporting Minneapolis artists such as Tickle Torture and Caroline Smith.
Wednesday, August 30
Lonnie Smith @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) An authentic master of the B3 organ, Smith may be the last of the first generation of soul-jazz B3 artists, having been at it for 50 years. He’s been recorded on over 70 albums, and has covered everyone from the Beatles and Sylistics, to the Eurythmics, including tribute albums to Hendrix, Coltrane, and Beck! This year he received the NEA Jazz Masters Award.
Friday, September 1
Henry Butler’s Jambalaya Band @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm $30, $35), 9pm ($25, $30) Pianist Butler is considered one of the best exponents of New Orleans Jazz and Blues piano tradition, building not the work of Professor Longhair, James Booker, Fats Domino, and Allen Toussaint. His music is an amalgam of all the musics that can be found in New Orleans – jazz, classical, Caribbean, blues, pop, and R&B. For fans of New Orleans music, this is a must-see performance.
Selby Avenue Jazz Festival, Selby & Milton, Saint Paul. Noon – 8pm (Free) This comfy neighborhood festival always features Twin Cities artists with a national touring artist as the headliner. This year’s headliner is Motor Soul Collective, a nine-piece group (featuring three vocalists) whose members have worked with folks like Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, Brian McKnight, Toni Braxton, Aaron Copeland, Sheila E, and the Sounds of Blackness, among others. Also on hand is the New Sound Underground, Salsa del Sol, Walker West’s Legends of Jazz, and the Selby Avenue Brass Band. Of course there will be the usual collection of food and crafts to help you through the day.
Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/vocalist Lynch and her fellows – Chris Beatty, guitar; Steve Wagner, trumpet; Michael Nelson, trombone; and Ken Chastain, drums – are beginning a nine month residency at the Aster on the second Saturday of each month. Regular readers know I like this group quite a bit. The swing, and create fun versions of songs from the 30s through the 50s – a time when cocktails were new, and there was no question that dancing was part of the evening. Lynch also relates each song to what was happening at the time they were first released. The Aster has a small (almost non-existent) dance floor, which doesn’t seem to stop 4-6 couples from squeezing together to swing dance. BTW, I’ll have Lynch and her Fellows on my show on the 9th, so tune in at 10:30am to KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7 FM or at http://www.kfai.org, to hear what they sound like.
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. He’ll be featuring his own quintet on the 26th, the free jazz trio of George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, and Dave King on September 2nd, and Snowblind on September 8. Go to http://www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info/about-the-venue.html for a complete listing of what is coming up.
Roots, Blues, & Other
Sunday, August 20
Tito Puente Jr @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Salsa fans will be out in droves to hear the son of the great Tito Puente. Puente Jr has his fathers passion for music and has been receiving praise from both Tropical and Latin Jazz crocs for his latest release: Got Mambo? As an added treat for the evening, the opening slot is being filled by Charanga Tropical, led by Doug Little, and featuring stately Charangas as well as high energy salsas.
Tuesday, August 22
Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) Here’s another show in the Nine Nights Of Music Program at the History Center. Orkestar Bez Ime plays high energy Balkan party music. It’s fast, frantic, and fun.
Wednesday, August 23
Uplugged with Willie Murphy, featuring Dean Magraw @ Crooners Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) From the folk/blues classic album Running, Jumping, Standing Still, through his work with Willie & the Bees, the Angel-headed Hipsters, and his solo shows, multi-instrumentalist Murphy has shown how to keep blues, R&B, and Rock n’ Roll exciting and new. Tonight he’s playing “unplugged” and has recruited the “Heavy Meadow” guitarist Dean Magraw as his partner for the evening. Between Magraw’s thorough facility with a number of styles, and Murphy’s reinvention of classic tunes, this should provide a satisfying evening of music. Here’s Willie in a jam at the Richfield American Legion Club.
August 24 – September 4
Minnesota State Fair @ State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul. (Various times and venues) There is lots of free entertainment once you get into the Fairgrounds, featuring some nationally known acts such as George Clinton, the Pointer Sisters, and Tanya Tucker, and a cornucopia of resident musicians. Check out the calendar on the State Fair’s site, for stages and performers, and to find acts appearing at various venues around the Fairgrounds, go to the listing that the MN Blues Society has compiled: http://www.mnbs.org/statefairgigs2017.html
Friday, August 25
Wayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) High energy zydeco from a scion of one of the more influential zydeco families in Louisiana (and consequently the world). Dopsie and the Hellraisers have been consistently named as the best zydeco band by Offbeat Magazine, and was named Best Zydeco Band of 2016 by the Big Easy Entertainment Awards. Insistent, infectious music, and sure to bring out dancers.
Friday, Saturday, August 25, 26
Hipshaker 15th Anniversary Weekender @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Hard to believe, but Hipshaker turns fifteen this August, with two special nights at the Kitty Cat Klub!!! On Friday the 25th, Greg, Brian, and George will be be joined by San Antonio’s DJ Brian Poust for a night of rare Soul and Deep Funk bangers – all on 7 inch 45 RPM records! Then on Saturday the 26th, they’ll present the popular James Brown vs Motown showdown! I dare you to not dance. BTW, Brand new t-shirts and mix tapes will be available both nights, while they last.
Sunday, August 27
David Bromberg Quintet @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 General Admission/$40 Center Section) Young Americana fans may not be cognizant of Bromberg, though they absolutely need to have his music in their libraries. Older music fans know that multi-instrumentalist Bromberg has been a solid performer of blues and other roots music since the 70s. He’s collaborated with Dylan, George Harrison, Emmylou Harris, The Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and countless other artists. His latest release, on Saint Paul’s Red House Records – The Blues, The Whole Blues, and Nothing But the Blues – was awarded Blues Album of the Year by the Downbeat Critic’s Poll. It contains Bromberg’s unique takes on songs by Robert Johnson, Bobby Charles, Ray Charles, and Sonny Boy Williamson among others.
Sunday, Monday,August 27, 28
Brian McKnight 4 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60, $70, $80), 9pm ($50, $60, $70) Vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist McKnight has been a solid R&B performer since his debut album in 1992. Though he’s never had a number one hit, he’s consistently on the charts. A master of mellow music, McKnight’s ballads have helped him place 10 albums in the top ten, while selling 30 million records worldwide and receiving 16 Grammy nominations. As an aside, he was out of the music scene in the mid-aughts, as he played basketball for the ABA’s Ontario Warriors.
Wednesday, August 30
Saint Paul Ballet @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s what the ballet promo says about this event: “Featuring old favorites and enticing new work an evening of elegant and compelling entertainment awaits!”
Saturday, September 2
Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Revue @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Harold Tremblay, host of Harold’s House Party on KFAI, has managed to be the most connected blues guy in town, knowing every roots and blues player in the area, and a surprising number from around the nation. His All-Star Revue always has A-List blues players, and is always fun. Here’s an example of past all-stars.
Thursday, September 7
Joga Bola @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm (Usually between $5 – $10) Groovy, often sensuous music from Brazil during it’s “golden age” of the 60s and 70s, played by a diverse, rotating cast of musicians, including: Mina Moore, Karen Quiroz, Adam Levy, John Munson, Tim O’Keefe, Andrew Gillespie, Charlie Peterson, Lucia Sarmiento
Sunday, September 10
Blues Fest @ Tally’s Dockside (Polar Lake Park), White Bear Lake. 11am – 7pm ($20 Advance, $30 Door, $40VIP Advance, $50 VIP Door) Here’s a chance to hear five of the area’s fine blues bands. It appears that Sunday is the second day of a BBQ and Craft Beer Showdown as well. Bands start at 11am with the Soulmates, and continue with Paul Mayasich, The Scottie Miller Band, Joyann Parker, and Inside Straight closing things out at 5:30pm
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: https://rhythmandgrooves.net/twin-cities-music-venues/ 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): http://www.jazz88.fm/live-music-calendar/
JazzINK (as complete a live jazz calendar as you’ll find): http://www.jazzink.com
Minnesota Blues Society: http://www.mnbs.org/gigs.html