Seasonal Music and More… 12.13 – 12.19

December 13, 2017

Greetings of the Season;

Lifting spirits through music and dance

Well, we have more holiday shows to get you into the spirit, including a couple that give a bit of a twist to the usual holiday song suspects. We also have some impressive visiting artists, and fun shows from resident artists. We’ve had a chance to get used to cold weather, and it’s going to stay relatively comfortable for the next week, so you’ll be able to get out and about to see my ideas for music, or your own. Either way, music lifts the spirit, and though many of us will be celebrating Hannukah, Christmas or Kwanza, some of us will be missing loved ones or have other reasons to need some uplifting this season

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 13

Gregory Generet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) After winning three Emmys as a post-production editor in TV, Generet decided to develop his singing abilities. Since then he’s done sold out shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, The Highline Ballroom, The Kitano, Feinsteins at the Lowes Regency in New York City and Smoke Jazz Club, where he held a residency for 3 years. He’s also performed at the 2015 Umbria Jazz edition of Ricomincio Da Tre jazz club and in Abu Dhabi, where he met pianist Richard Johnson, who was booking shows at a hotel there. The New York Times, said of his singing, “A voice that’s so sultry you might get burned.” Here’s a video with Johnson and his group performing the first song, followed by Generet.

Thursday, Dec 14

Songsister: Holiday in Harmony @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid student ID) ) Songsister consists of three fine vocalists: Dorothy Doring, Vicky Mountain, and Connie Dussl. They’ll be doing holiday songs both as soloists and as group singers. No alcohol at this basement place, but if you’re discreet, you can bring some of your own.  H

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15)  Pianist Johnson entertained us with his imaginative, soulful playing when he lived in the Twin Cities a few years back. . Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been played and booking jazz acts. 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. See the video under Wednesday’s listing.

Larry McDonough Group: Twisted Holidays @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) You can expect McDonough to put his own mix of odd rhythms and meters to music from Bill Evans, Coltrane, Beethhovem Mr. McGoo, and more.

Friday, Dec 15

Steve Kimmel/Davina & the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Kimmel, No Cover),  9pm (Davina, $17 Advance/$20 Door) A veteran of the old West Bank Music Scene, multi-instrumentalist Steve Kimmel ran the Rainbow Gallery, booked the Loring Bar, played in the fabled fusion group Natural Life, and with the Lamont Cranston Blues Band. He’ll be followed at 9pm by the energetic and effervescent Davina and the Vagabonds with hot jazz, New Orleans R&B, and soulful originals.

Saturday, Dec 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar), 8:30pm ($10) Steve Kenny Trio in the bar at 7pm, followed at 8:30pm by the debut performance of the Inatnas Orchestra playing The Music of Asuka Kakitani and JC Sanford, playing in the dining room with a $10 admission, since it’s a 17-piece Big Band. Some of the musicians that will be playing include: JT Bates, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; JC Sanford, trombone, and a sax section of Pete Whitman, Dave Milne, and Aaron Hedenstrom. Plus trumpeter Russ Johnson will be a special guest. Here’s Sanford leading a previous orchestra.

Also: Larry McDonough Group @ The Warming House, 4001 Bryant Ave. South, Minneapolis. 7:30pm doors, 8pm performance. ($10) Just McDonough and saxophonist/poet Richard Terrill performing songs as noted above.

Saturday, Sunday, Dec 16, 17

Bobby Lyle Trio: Holiday Keys @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm Sat, 5pm, 7:30pm Sun, ($30) A Minneapolis native who was a member of Young-Holt Limited, Sly and the Family Stone, Al Jarreau’s touring band, and others, as well as serving as the musical director for Bette Midler. The man is talented, which he’ll show on piano and organ each night. Here he is at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Sunday, Dec 17

Kirk Whalum’s A Gospel According to Jazz @ Bethel University’s Benson Hall, 3900 Bethel Drive, Saint Paul. 6pm ($25, $35, $45, $60)  Grammy Award winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum brings his Sixth Annual Christmas concert tour to the Bethel University (off Snelling, north of Rosedale). The concert will feature South African singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler along with special guests John Stoddart, Sheléa, and Kevin Whalum.

Monday, Dec 18

Chris Speed Trio, feat Dave King & Christopher Tordini @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20), 9:30pm ($15) According to the NY Times, saxophonist Chris Speed is “one of the principal figures in a dynamic left-of-center jazz/improv scene in the city” He leads a number of bands and is currently working on projects with Craig Taborn’s Heroic Frenzies, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus, Dave King’s Trucking Company and others. He’ll be joined by NY-based Chris Tordini on bass, and our own über – drummer Dave King.

George Maurer Group Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) With an irreverent style and sly humor (The Drive My Car as Drive My Sleigh,, Santa Claus is coming to Town mashed up with Herbie Hancock’s Drifting and other rewordings of Christmas standards) the 8-piece George Maurer Group has been selling out Holiday Shows at the Dakota since 2000.

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, Dec 13

Ken Valdez Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Here’s what you’ll find if you go to the Valdez website: “From the Hill Country to Chicago, from the Delta down to Texas and every place between and far-flung, Valdez’s explosive fretwork coupled with his sweet, snarling vocals make for a treat for sounds of every corner of the blues world and beyond.” Check him out on the show and head over to the 331 Club afterwards.

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) As I wrote last week, Asher has been touring with various versions of his story for about 4 years now. Though some parts are the same, he keeps things interesting enough to go back a second time to hear about Paul McCartney as his roommate, his ownership of the gallery where John met Yoko, his discovery of James Taylor, work with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and more. Plus, you get him singing his Peter and Gordon hits (with Gordon on video – see below).

Thursday, Dec 14

Celtic Music Showcase @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Hear young musicians from the Center for Irish Music. They’ll be appearing in various ensembles under the direction of Norah Rendell. Listen to how this music is being passed on from one generation to another. You can also order sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, beer, and wine.

Friday, Dec 15

Mother Banjo & Ben Cook-Feltz Holiday Show @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) featuring songs from our holiday EP Christmas Came Early, highlighted on The Current and hailed as “a soul-healing collection of songs that put you in the spirit of the season” (Rift Magazine). Also: an all-star house band and special guest performances by Ben Kyle (Romantica), Jon RodineDan Gaarder (Roe Family Singers), and other surprise guests.

Darlene Love @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($47 – $111.50) The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer has been on dozens of hits, including He’s A Rebel, (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry, and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), the song she performed each Christmas season on the David Letterman show for almost 30 years, as well as other songs. Her last performance at the Ordway was strong, touching on all the hits and then some. It’s a rocking celebration of Christmas and then some.

Dosh & Friends @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12/$15) This is the 10th Annual Dosh & Friends show, which this year features: Mike Sopko, Al Church, and McKnight Composer Fellow DeVon Gray (dVRG) playing with Dosh; as well as Billy Martin (of Medeski Martin and Wood), playing with special guest Dave King; Jeremy Ylvisaker, teaming up with Mike Lewis and JT Bates; plus the mighty Guitarkestra of Minneapolis.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Dec 15, 16, 17

Magnum Chorum Christmas Concerts:

@ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm Friday ($25, $30)

@ Nativity Catholic Church, 1900 Wellesley Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm Saturday

@Church of the Annunciation, 509 West 54th Street, Minneapolis.  3pm Sunday

You will hear music from Russia, Sweden, and the Baltic Region, including Kopylov’s Heavenly Light, a soaring Hymn to the Virgin by Alexander Levine, Chesnokov’s Gabriel Appeared, music by Tchaikovsky and Gretchaninoff, and excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil. Additionally, there will be an electrifying Ave Maria by Polish composer Łukazewski, and the luminous music of Ešenvalds and Pärt.

Saturday, Dec 16 

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Oh’s burst on the scene back in 1980, led by frontman Robert Wilkinson, thrilling fans on early MTV, and hitting the Billboard charts with I Remember Romance. Whether or not you remember romance, their 2015 EP, Hear and Now, earned praise from the Star Tribune for their “Hard edged Stones-like rock’n’roll. East Coast street anthems coupled with Midwestern optimism and enthusiasm.”

Butanes Soul Revue 30th Anniversary @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Thirty years ago the Butanes Soul Revue began a weekly residency at the Cabooze that drew great crowds and lasted five years. Led by Curt Obeda on guitar; with Robb Stupka, drums; Dr. Virgil Nelson, organ, Jim Anton, bass; Sue Orfield, sax; Mike Nelson, trombone; and Adam Rossmiller on trumpet. Dab Brown and Aisha Baker on vocals, and featuring the fine, fine voice of Maurice Jacox as well. A dynamite show.

Sunday, Mon, Dec 17, 18

The Peterson Family’s Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($25) Minnesota’s First Family of Music takes to the stage to celebrate with the rest of us. Expect a jazz and R&B filled evening from Linda Peterson, piano and vocals; Billy Peterson, bass; Ricky Peterson, organ; Patty Peterson, vocals; Paul Peterson, bass, gutar, and keys; and Jason Peterson Delaire, pianist/saxophonist/vocals.

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.


It’s Snow! Music: 12.6 – 12.12

December 6, 2017

Photo of Tuesday’s traffic from the Star Tribune

Happy Snowfall everyone!

With the advent of this past Monday’s snowfall, we learned once again, that Minnesotans tend to forget how to drive in snow once it’s stopped in the Spring (see photo at right). Maybe it’s because many of us have come here from warmer climates. Or, to be as charitable as possible, maybe the slowest going among us have been in accidents before, or have recently experienced traumatic events and losses. My own theory is that weather forecasters and news directors are from out of town, and don’t have a history of dealing with snow, and consequently treat every snowstorm as a major event. To be sure, we have to be careful in bad road conditions, but we certainly don’t need to be discouraged from going out in the winter to enjoy music. After all, as Minnesotans we should scoff at snow. Enough ranting. Go out. Listen to music. Get your spirits lifted. Here are some ideas for the week.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 6

Joey DeFrancesco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($20, $30) Hard bopping B3 player DeFrancesco may be the preeminent organist of the jazz world. He grew up in Philadelphia, where Don Patterson and Jimmy Smith were influences, and put out his debut album at 17, which resulted in working with Miles Davis and, a few years later, John McLaughlin. He’s been recording and touring for almost 30 years, and is at the top of his game, now touring with a quartet (including a vocalist) in supper of this recent release, Project Freedom.

Laura Caviani Trio CD Release @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) While recording her recent CD Mysterious Thelonious, Caviani’s bandmates, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Dave Schmalenberger noted that she had a lot of original material, so they decided to record that material as well. The CD, Confluences, includes a suite of five songs inspired by the work of Shakespeare. I had Laura on my show this past Saturday, to talk about the CD and play a couple of tracks. You can hear the interview and the songs at http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves. The interview starts about one hour into the show, after the Leigh Kammen 45 of the week.

Thursday, Dec 7

Jennifer Lund & Lori Bloomberg @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Here’s a chance to hear some newcomers on the jazz vocal scene as Lund & Bloomberg perform an evening of standards. To add to the evening’s merriment, they’ll be joined by Vicky Mountain for a few songs.

Music Formally Known As Jazz @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) An evening of adventurous jazz, featuring some masters of the genre: Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds;  Douglas Ewart, wind instruments; & Steve Hirsh, drums. The event is subtitled A Continuing Coversation with J Otis Powell?! reflecting their past performances with the late poet, which leaves one to only guess what musical paths the group will travel.

Friday, Dec 8

Javier Santiago Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($10) Santiago is an imaginative pianist who has been on a bit of a roll, playing clubs in San Francisco lately. Tonight, he teams up with long-time friends and bandmates Ted Olsen on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums for Friday Night Jazz in Crooners’ listening room.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) We’re so lucky to have drummer extraordinaire Gravatt living in the Twin Cities. He’s a veteran of Weather Report and numerous tours with McCoy Tyner, and deserving of our support any time he plays. Plus, it sounds like he’ll soon be moving East, so here’s a chance to see him before he leaves. Tonight Gravatt will be joined by long-time musical partner Ron Evanuik on stand up bass; as well as Aaron Kippola & Dean Brewington on alto saxophones, and Solomon Parham on trumpet, which will make for an exhilarating sonic experience. Here he is with some masterful jazz cats – McCoy Tyner, Bill Frisell, and Gary Bartz.

Saturday, Dec 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This weekly series has begun to occasionally feature vocalists for the opening act at 7pm. Tonight it’s the Lila Ammons Quartet, featuring Ammons, who, in addition to being a fine jazz interpreter, is classically trained, and a singer of classic blues (think Bessie Smith and Alberta Hunter). Such an approach seems natural when you consider her family heritage, which includes saxophonist Gene Ammons as an uncle and boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons as a grandfather. At 8:30 The Ruckus Touring Group will play. Talented drummer Rodney Ruckus lived in the Twin Cities for a couple of years and is now based out of San Francisco, where he’s regularly playing and backing visiting musicians. This group includes Javier Santiago on piano, who has been traveling to SF on a regular basis to play with Ruckus, along with Jonathan Greenstein, tenor sax; and Jax Ravel on bass.

Nachito Herrera & the Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $45) Cuban born, Twin Cities based Herrera is a force of nature on piano, with outstanding technique and an improvisational mind-set that incorporates the music of Cuba, as well as jazz, classical music, and world music. The Universals reflect those influences, with the outstanding Karen Briggs on violin; Raul Pineda, drums; Mile Phillips, sax; and Cheikh Ndoye, bass. Their resumes include work with Stanley Clarke, Diana Ross, Chucho Valdes, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kazumi Watanabi, and Randy Brecker, among others.

Sunday, Monday, Dec 10, 11

Benny Green @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. Sunday: 5pm and 7:30pm ($30), Monday 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25)  This hard bopping pianist learned from the best, having played in the bands of Oscar Peterson, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Freddie Hubbard, and Ray Brown. If you want to be conversant in the jazz of today, you need to be familiar with Green.

Tuesday, Dec 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No Cover, but $15 for Guaranteed Seat) Walesch is a fine singer and piano stylist who has a particularly good way with the Great American Songbook. He’ll be celebrating the 102nd anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth tonight, backed by a dynamite 10 piece band. His shows with the band often sell out, so get there early, or go to Crooner’s website to reserve your seat. Here he is with a more contemporary standard.

Also: Chris Lomheim/Tony Balluff Big Three Play Fats Waller @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim – No Cover), 8pm (Balluff – $?)

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, Dec 6

Javier Matos on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Matos is a guitar ace who can swing the blues, play searing slide guitar, and generally make you feel good as he performs. As Hurricane Harold says on The House Party, “You know the drill.” Tune in to hear him play live, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 to see him play in person.

No Tent w/Reina Del Cid @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free, 21+) No Tent is a bluegrass band formed by Reina del Cid featuring guitarist extraordinaire Toni Lindgren, who plays in del Cid’s main band, as well as a rotating cast of characters from the Minneapolis-St. Paul folk scene. Together, they play a mix of old-time traditionals, bluegrassified covers, and a few roots inspired originals.

Also: Curtiss A & Dark Click @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Blues from the “Dean of Scream

Thursday, Dec 7

Louisiana Rhythms Christmas Party & Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11pm (Donation of cash, check, or food ) Eric, Mo and Karl may no longer be on the air, but tonight they’re presenting all the fun of their late, well missed show, only this time they have a dance floor. They’ll be hosting an evening of seasonal music done Louisiana style, with The Swamp Poppas provide the backup for guest stars Rich Lewis, Lucinda Plaisance, Max Ray and others. A feature of the night will be French and English recitations of “Christmas Eve on the Big Bayou.”

Friday, Dec 8

Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) An evening of R&B and Blues from two singers that share a musical mindset. It appears that both are appearing without their respective bands, though they are strong singers, so the lack of a full band shouldn’t inhibit them. Parker opens at 9pm, and Mack takes the stage at 10pm.  Here’s Mack with her band.

Otis Redding Tribute w/David James Carlson @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Carlson is an actor, musician, and songwriter with over 500 songs and five albums to his credit. He’s put together a tribute/play about Otis Redding, the great soul singer whose life ended in a plane crash in Madison 50 years ago. Tonight he’ll feature some actors performing excerpts from the play, along with a full band to perform some of Redding’s music.

Saturday, Dec 9

Tom Hunter’s Blue Christmas @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Pianist Hunter can often be found at Willie Murphy jam sessions. He’s played or recorded with folks like Bernard Allison, Big John Dickereson, and Little Sammy Davis, and has toured with Mary Cutrufello as the opening act for the Allman Brothers. He can bring a soulful outlook to songs by Billy Joel and Tom Waits, and has released three albums. No doubt it will be a soulful, blue Christmas. Here he is doing an old R&B/Rock n’ Roll classic.

Trailer Trash: A Trashy Little Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) It’s about 24 years since Trailer Trash, those purveyors of honky-tonk, traditional country, and swinging rock n’ roll began this annual tradition of bringing their trashy view of the holidays into our lives. If you haven’t attended for a while, this might just be the time to dance, frolic, and take part in Candy Cane hi-jinks.

Also: Jaedyn James & The Hunger @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Horn-driven funk n’ soul with an attitude

Sarah Morris & Her Sometimes Elves Holiday Show @ The Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) An authentic, powerful singer/songwriter takes on the holidays.

Sunday, Dec 10

Dan Rein CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 door) Dan Rein is the long time host of Century’s Song on KFAI, a world music show that truly lives up to the stations motto of Radio Without Boundaries. He’s releasing a CD, Just One Breath, singing the poetry of Omar Khyyam in Persian and English, accompanied by special guests Mikkel Beckmen, washboard; Liz Draper, upright bass; Adam Kiesling, banjo; and Andy McCormick, musical saw(?).

Stokely Williams Sonic Healer Tour @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($37 – $67) As the lead singer and studio drummer of the highly popular Mint Condition, the Saint Paul native has played to sold out crowds both here and throughout the nation. Now, he’s released a solo album, Introducing Stokely, and has mounted this tour in support of the release. Though he’s already played successful shows in Chicago, NYC, and Washington DC, this is a homecoming for Williams, who has resisted the music industry’s siren call to relocate to either of the coasts.

Tuesday, Dec 12

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Asher has been touring with various versions of his story for about 4 years now. Though some parts are the same, he keeps things interesting enough to go back a second time to hear about Paul McCartney as his roommate, his ownership of the gallery where John met Yoko, his discovery of James Taylor, work with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and more. Plus, you get him singing his Peter and Gordon hits (with Gordon on video).

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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