Greetings Fellow Music Fans;
Well the Holiday season is upon us, often bringing families together in a variety of traditions, some of which are long standing, some of which are from the various cultures that make up our country, and some of which are new. Here in the Twin Cities there are a number of music traditions taking place, such as annual Thanksgiving Eve shows, and the return of musicians who grew up here but are now residing elsewhere. Like Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Band, music brings us together, and though there may be few shows on Thanksgiving, we’re blessed with an active music scene with musicians who support one another and through their music, Lift Our Spirits. Whatever traditions you follow, have a good Thanksgiving
Wednesday, Nov 22
Acme Jazz Company, Feat: Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Solid big band music with the Twin Cities preeminent male jazz vocalist.
Stu Katz Quartet @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Katz is one of the last original proponents of bebop piano, having been a working musician on both piano and vibes for more than 55 years. He’s performed with folks like Gene Ammons, Kenny Burell, Dextor Gordon, and numerous other bright lights in the jazz world. He has been a long time collaborator with Ira Sullivan, with whom he released a live recording in 2011. Besides Katz on vibes/piano, he’ll be accompanied by some of our own bright lights in jazz; Chris Bates, bass; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Jay Epstein, drums, aka Red Planet. Here is Katz back in 1985, playing with Doc Cheatham.
Thursday, Nov 23
No jazz tonight, as far as I can tell, though there are a couple of jazzy blues events (see listing in Blues & Roots, below)
Friday, Nov 24
Hoaxer @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($12) One tradition of the holiday season is that young musicians return to town from college and perform for a few days. Tonight we’ll hear from the collective quartet known as Hoaxer. Their influences include jazz of course, as well as avant-garde, rock, and electronic music. They released their well-received debut album last summer. The group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Peter Goggin, sax; and Edmund Caitlin on drums.
Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/valid Student ID) Founder/guitarist Chris Cunningham has gathered a bunch of like-minded musicians for this project, including: Ivan Cunningham, Saxophones; Michelle Kinney, Cello; Greg Schutte, Drums; Chris Bates, Bass; Adam Svec, Vocals; Noah Ophoven Baldwin, Trumpet; Jared Jarvis, Saxophones; and Riley Swain, Baritone Saxophone. Cunningham has played with John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, the Contortions, The Golden Palaminos, Rich Havens, Marshall Crenshaw, and a host of NYC’s adventurous musicians.He and his fellow musicians mine the world’s deepest grooves from East, West, and North African, 80’s No Wave skronk, early 70’s Miles, Sun Ra, and New Orleans Funk.
Also: Swingbeat Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8) Swing Night is moved to Friday this week
Saturday, Nov 25
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7:00 Opening Set: Luke Peterson Trio Plays Ornette Coleman – Peter Goggin,sax; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Luke Peterson, drums.- three college students (and former members of the Dakota Combo) who only get better as they progress in their studies. At 8:30, it’s Central Standard Time: Steve Kenny, FLUMPET; Dave Brattain, Saxophones; Will Kjeer, Piano; Ron Evaniuk, Bass; Eric Kamau Grávátt, Drums.
Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Another tradition of late is that the Saint Paul born and raised saxophonist returns for the holidays, and we’re the luckier for it. He’s the co-leader of Sabertooth, the mainstay band at Chicago’s Green Mill since 1992! He’s also an educator and mentor for Ramsey Lewis’ Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program, and the Louis Armstrong Legacy Project.
Valve Meets Slide @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Brad Bellows, valve trombone; and Dave Graf, slide trombone, and their band-mates play originals as well as the music of Bob Brookmyer. You’ll also get to hear an interview that Leigh Kamman did with Brookmeyer back in 1981.
Also: Omar Abdulkarim Trio @ The Lexington’s Williamburg Room, Saint Paul. 7 – 11:30pm (No Cover)
Sunday, Nov 26
25 Years of Jazz Originals @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 3pm – 6pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door) After 25 Years, pianist/clarinetist/music historian Butch Thompson is stepping down from producing his KBEM radio show, Jazz Originals, though he will still perform here and around the world. Jazz Originals delightfully celebrated vintage jazz and the musicians that made it, with thoughtful, though not overly scholarly, analysis and comments from Thompson. The Southside Aces will be performing original jazz, and will have some special surprise guests.
Monday, Nov 27
Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($16) This is a rare appearance by Adam Linz, bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates, drums; who have been playing together since they were teenagers about 25 years ago. They started the Jazz Implosion at The Turf’s old Clown Lounge and managed to create an “underground” jazz scene here. Then they toured internationally, appeared on the cover of France’s jazz magazine, and generally blew people away ever since. Richard Brody, of The New Yorker, wrote, “their exhilarating performance revealed both the depth of their individual artistry and the symbiotic wonder of their interplay.”
Tuesday, Nov 28
Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) This is a benefit for The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project, which preserves and shares the vast archive of audio, visual, and written resources, including hundreds of recorded interviews of legendary broadcaster Leigh Kamman. Allyson, who lived here for a while early in her career, will be accompanied by a great rhythm section: pianist Laura Caviani; bassist Gordy Johnson, and drummer Phil Hey.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, Nov 22
Nikki & the Ruemates Annual Thanksgiving Eve Show on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Nikki & the Ruemates will give you plenty to be thankful for, as they play their original folk/rock & blues, along with their versions of songs by other artists. If you’ve never heard Nikki & the Ruemates, tune in the KFAI at 5pm when they’ll play live in the studio before heading to the 331Club. Here’s Nikki playin with band-mate Rich Rue.
Thursday, Nov 23
Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) So, maybe you’ve stuffed yourself, or maybe you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in a traditional manner, or you’ve watched all the football you want, but have a hankering for something more. Well, guitarist Dean Mikkelson is leading a group of musicians that can help. He and his merry band of musicians – Dean Harrington, guitar, Tom Lewis, bass; and Del Gallagher on percussion — will deliver jazzy, bluesy tunes for your pleasure. You’ll need an ID for adult beverages.
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Nov 23, 24, 25
Davina & The Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, Thurs, $25 Fri, Sat) If Davina’s combination of jazz, blues, and New Orleans R&B doesn’t wake you from the mythical triyptophan slumber, nothing will. Whether you attend Thanksgiving night, or one of the weekend gigs, you’ll walk away smiling.
Friday, Nov 24
Erik Koskinen EP Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 reserved seats, $15 Standing Room) Koskinen has rightfully been called the best country singer in Minnesota, thanks to his keen eye for observing rural life and a plain-spoken approach to writing. His fine guitar playing adds another layer of texture to his old-school approach to country music. This is a release party for Cruising Paradise, a six-song EP. Opening is Dana Thompson a “Girl from the North Country.”
Also: Johnny Rawls @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Real deal Chicago blues from a journeyman professional.
Saturday, Nov 25
Ace-Box Blues Band @ The Dubliner Pub & Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) A new band, consisting of veteran blues players led by multiple Blues Award winners Curtis Blake, harp, vocals; and Greg Schuck on drums.
Hurricane Harold’s All Star Blues Revue @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) There’s a new music venue in town. The Basement Bar is located under the newly launched NOLO Restaurant in the North Loop. Live blues and roots music is presented a couple of nights each week. It has a food-truck style offerings, a silent arcade area, and a stage, where well-connected harpmeister Hurricane Harold will bring along some talented friends to entertain you. Here he is with one version of the All Stars.
Also: High & Mighty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) Horn driven, R&B dance band.
Sunday, Monday, Nov 26, 27
Melissa Manchester @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm (Sunday), 7pm (Monday) ($35, $40, $45) Pop vocalist Manchester worked as a backup singer for Bette Midler and Barry Manilow before finding success in a solo career, hitting the charts in the mid-70s with hits like Midnight Blue, Don’t Cry Out Loud, and You Should Hear How She Talks About You. She has continued to achieve success in songwriting, composing for films, and theater work. After forty years in the business, she still draws well, as demonstrated by the fact she’s doing three shows. Here’s a song she did for Ice Castles, the 1978 film shot here in the Twin Cities, with scenes shot at Mariucci Arena. (I recall being in the audience for this shooting.
Also: Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, 5pm – 7pm ($5) A matinee performance for those who like Latin dancing but have to go to work Monday morning.
Big George Jackson & Jeremy Johnson @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) It sounds like down home Delta Blues, but these two are Twin Citizens.
Monday, Nov 27
JJ’s Zydeco Paydirt @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) They’ve been filling dance floors by playing Zydeco music since the turn of this century.