Though Halloween isn’t until next Wednesday, most celebrations will occur this weekend, ranging from bar crawls to haunted houses and mazes. I’ve noted a few, but you may have your own favorites. Speaking of favorites, we have a number of visiting artists, as well as resident artists, whose fans will surely turn out to see them, as well as some talented newcomers and rising stars performing who are worth your investigation. Whoever you see, remember that Music Lifts Your Spirits!
Wednesday, October 24
Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Vocalist Allyson is a fan favorite here in the Twin Cities, in part, I suspect, because she spent a few years here back in the 90s, before she gained national recognition. Whether singing Coltrane ballads, blues, bebop, bossas, or French chansons, her warm, expressive voice and occasional scatting, she delivers each song with panache. The five-time Grammy nominee will undoubtedly be singing some new songs with this show – originals that can be found on her latest album, Some of that Sunshine.
Ben Allison & Think Free @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20, $25), 9pm ($15, $20) This is a bit of an under-the radar gig, since Allison, in spite of a career of almost 30 years, doesn’t exactly have name recognition among casual jazz fans. The bassist/composer draws upon the jazz tradition, as expected, but also uses a range of influences, including rock, folk, and new classical music, to create a seamless, often cinematic sound. He’ll be accompanied by Shane Endlsy, trumpet; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Rudy Royston drums.
Thursday, October 25
Lila Ammons @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Lila Ammons is a classically trained vocalist with a family background in jazz (her uncle was saxophonist Gene Ammons) and blues (her grandfather was boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons). Listen to her take on jazz standards, bossa novas, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists: Tom West, piano; Matt Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums
Katia Cardenas Mexican Tour Kick-off @ El Burrito Mercado, Minneapolis.8:30pm (Free) Vocalist Cardenas is headed to Mexico’s central Bajio region for a tour with the Latin Jazz trio Jazzoneando, and invited guests. She sang with Jazzoneando when they were in town about two years ago. To kick-off this tour, The Katia Cardenas Quartet will play a free show at the Minneapolis location of El Burrito Mercado, at 4820 Chicago Ave, South, in the old Pepito’s location. If you haven’t seen her yet, here’s a video.
Roseanna Vitro @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Roseanna Vitrowas living in Houston during the 60s, where she was mentored by Arnett Cobb, jammed with Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans before moving to NYC in 1978, where she soon found collaborators in Fred Hersch and Kenny Werner. After 13 albums, she recently released Tell Me The Truth, featuring songs by Allen Toussaint, Patsy Cline, Jon Hendricks, Mose Allison, and Fats Waller, among others. She’ll be accompanied by her long-time collaborator, pianist Mark Soskin, along with resident A-lister, bassist Gordy Johnson.
Friday, October 26
Open Story @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Dean Magraw, guitar; and Jay Epstein drums; are a couple of established artists who play together in Red Planet and other configurations. It’s a testament to the talent of young pianist Patrick Adkins that they’ve formed this trio with him.
Thomasina Petrus @ Calvary Baptist Church, 26th & Blaisdell, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This is part of a presentation called Jazz & Jamaican Jerk, and will feature some Jamaican food as well as the music of vocalist Petrus. She’ll undoubtedly sing a few of her Billie Holiday songs, as well as the songs of some of her other favorite female singers, i.e., Aretha, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, and others.
Saturday, October 27
Saturday Night Jazzz @ The Blackdog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm, it’s the interesting JC Sanford’s Imminent Trio: Sanford, trombone; Chris Bates, bass; and Chris Lomheim, piano. Then at 8:30pm, it’s Central Standard Time: Steve Kenny, trumpet; Dave Brattain, Saxes; JC Sanford, trombone; Chris Lomheim, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Corey Healy, drums.
Elaine Dame Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 6pm ($15) This Chicago vocalist has headlined at the 2016 and 2017 Chicago Jazz Fest, and has performed at both The Rainbow Room and Michael Feinstein’s 54 Below in NYC. Dame has been called a jazz dynamo whose singing has musicality, intonation, and rhythm control that’s the envy of many singers.
Mama Digdown’s 25th Anniversary @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15, $20) The pride of Madison Wisconsin has been spreading the gospel of New Orleans Brass Band Music for 25 years now, mixing traditional tunes with originals and street-wise covers. Mama’s Digdown is good enough to play the Big Easy with regularity, as well as festivals and clubs around the nation.
Sunday, October 28
Clara Osowski & Jeremy Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($20) While this might be better listed as a classical concert featuring mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, a 2018 McKnight Fellowship winner, the presence of pianist Jeremy Walker, who also composed the evening’s songs, as well as bassist Anthony Cox, has me listing it here. They’ll be playing music for the release of Haunted Blue, Osowski’s debut album. Walker’s compositions are inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Twin Cities writer Greg Foley. There will be a few duets with tenor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, who collaborated with Walker on the debut of 7 Psalms at Orchestra Hall.
For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, October 24
Del Ray on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis.5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Del Ray has been called a virtuoso of finger picking prowess on guitar and ukulele. She plays blues, rags, and tunes of the early 20th century (think Memphis Minnie, Mississippi Sheiks, and the like) even as she writes new music to add to the tradition. Del Rey also has fashion sense that would make Minnie Pearl smile. Listen in to get an idea of her talent, then head to the 331 to hear more.
Johnny Rawls @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s another in the fine weekly music series at the West 7th throwback lounge. Journeyman Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd. He’s often appealing to “the ladies in the audience” and will easily fill Mancini’s dance floor as he delivers a satisfying, sweat inducing show.
Thursday, October 25
New Orleans Suspects @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) The Suspects seem to be gathering a big following here, as they’ve been appearing in town about twice a year. You can expect second line beats, New Orleans funk, or any other danceable tunes you can imagine. After all, its members have played with The Neville Bros, James Brown, The Dirty Dozen, Bonerama, and Leo Nocentelli, among others.
Thursday – Sunday, October 25 – 28
Zeitgeists’s Halloween Festival 2018 @ Studio Z, Saint Paul.7pm Thurs-Sat, 6pm Sun ($15, $10 Seniors & Students, $40 Festival Pass) Titled “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” this is not a gore-fest, or a sudden-fright event, but rather one where the chills come from story-telling, haunting sounds, and spine-tingling music, some of which is newly commissioned. Of special note is The Crocus Hill Ghost Story, a macabre tale of a possessed house, as created by composer/flutist Julie Johnson, writer Cheri Johnson, and filmmaker/actor D.J. Mendel. It will be performed at 8pm on Saturday and 7pm Sunday. FMI on performers and times, go here.
Friday, October 26
Hailu Mergia @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20, $25) Accordionist and keyboard player Hailiu Mergia was everywhere in the 1970s Ethiopian nightclub scene, in spite of the fact that the country was in the middle a civil war and revolution. He and his group, The Walias Band, would play 12-hour, all-night concerts at the Addis Ababa Hilton, as audiences sought refuge during the government curfew. The music ranged from Frank Sinatra to funkified Ethiopian jazz, and adaptations of American funk and soul. After a U.S.tour in the early 80s, he stayed settled in Washington DC where he drove a taxi while composing songs. He stopped performing in 1991, and only recently released his first album, Lala Belu, in over two decades. Opening is Yonathan’s Cultural Show.
Skalloween 2018 @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10, $12) Get you ska fix filled to the brmax tonight, as Space Monkey Mafia, The Prizefighters, and The Wicked Bees take the stage. You’ll also get a bit of rock and reggae, when RuDeGIRL, a female Clash tribute band, performs.
Vanessa Collier @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Collier is a vocalist, saxophonist, and songwriter who graduated from Berklee in 2013, and has already released three critically acclaimed albums and received a host of accolades and award nominations. She’s played with Annie Lennox and Willie Nelson, and toured with Joe Louis Walker for a year and a half after graduation until Walker encouraged her to go solo. Her music is bluesy, funky, and raucous, with occasional echos of early Bonnie Raitt.
Friday, Saturday, October 26, 27
Krewe of Dad’s Masquerade Ball XXXIII @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28, $33 Friday, $33, $38 Sat, $55 for both nights) The Krewe of Dad’s continues it’s tradition of bringing t Raw Oyster Cult, featuring members of the Radiators to play their New Orleans swamp-boogie sounds to the Twin Cities. Friday is a concert only, while Saturday is the Masquerade Ball. Local jammers Frogleg open.
Saturday, October 27
Joyann Parker @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) If positive reviews, blues award nominations, national exposure, and the number and variety of her bookings are any sign, Ms Parker is on her way up. Tonight you can catch her and her band in this North Loop speakeasy/playpen under NOLO.
Tuesday, October 30
Mary Leinfelder @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Leinfelder has often sat in with blues, soul, and brass bands around town. Tonight she’s stepping out with a solo gig, ably abetted by Dan Gaarder, guitar; Jon Rodine, keys and vocals; and Keith Boyle, bass.
Maria Muldaur @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($35, $40) It’s been 45 years since vocalist Muldaur came out with Midnight at the Oasis, that playfully saucy song that resulted in a multitude of pregnancies during the mid-70s. Since then she’s released 41 albums showing an affinity for a number of genres, including blues, jazz, and gospel. Despite the popularity of Midnight, another song from that album gets the most requests: Don’t You Feel My Leg, by Blue Lu Barker, which happens to be the title of her recently released tribute to Ms Barker’s Naughty, Bawdy Blues. I expect you’ll hear even more teasing and sass than usual tonight.