We’ve a cornucopia of performances this weekend, from Thanksgiving Eve through Sunday, with a nice balance of visiting and resident musicians, both young and mature, to help you celebrate, commiserate, and even dance off some of your Thanksgiving stuffing.
On a sad note, I want to acknowledge the passing of Ted Wilebski, founder of Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, and a driver in presenting the blues here in the Twin Cities. He was a lovable character, and if he wasn’t always the most astute businessman, his devotion to the blues was undeniable. He brought artists like Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, Etta James, Little Johnny Taylor, Clarence Carter, Pee Wee Crayton, Bobby Blue Bland, and many more to the Twin Cities, enriching our lives in the process. Many nights at his Frogtown club were filled with overwhelming joy, proving once again, that Music Lifts Your Spirit!
Wednesday, November 21
Cosmic Troubadours Reunion @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) A group of recently graduated college students and friends reunite in a band that they had at Southwest High in Mpls: Denny Carlson, alto; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ryan Rosik, tenor; Drew Stinson, bass; and Ben Ehrlich, drums.
Thursday, November 22
Regina Marie Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm($25, $30) The actress/vocalist is equally home with the jazzy R&B of Dinah Washington as she is with show tunes. Ms Williiams will have a number of special guests along to help celebrate the holiday: Rajane Katurah; Greta Oglesby; Thomasina Petrus, and others.
Friday, Nov 23
Jennifer Eckes@ Honey, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm. ($5) Ms Eckes is bringing a “Black Friday Cabaret” o the basement club in NE Mpls, with accompaniment by pianist Andrew Walker.
Andrew Walesch Big Band: Sinatra! @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25, $30) Pianist/vocalist Walesch continues to mine the vast repertoire of Frank Sinatra, with an all-star 12-piece band. Reservations recommended, as these shows often sell out.
Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Pianist/composer Jack Barrett has put together this group, using a rotating cast of musicians, to play Barrett’s original music: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Charlie Bruber, bass; Murphy Janssen, drums.
Atlantis Quartet Album Release @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10, $15) Since 2006, four of the area’s most exciting jazzers have united as the Atlantis Quartetto helped to define modern jazz. They continue to showcase their originality with the release of their fifth album, Hello Human. Previous albums have been acclaimed by Jazz Times, City Pages, and the Star Tribune. With: Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.
Saturday, November 24
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Take a few musicians who recently graduated from college: Peter Goggin, alto; Sam Worthington, bass; Luke Peterson, drums; and add Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; who’s been out of school for a number years and you have Friends & Neighbors, opening at 7pm. At 8:30pm, Master drummer Phil Hey brings his exciting quartet with Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Phil Aaron, piano; and Tom Lewis, bass; to the stage.
Sunday, November 25
Chris Speed Trio w/Chris Tordini & Dave King @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $25), 9pm ($15) Tenor saxist and clarinet player Chris Speed is a major player in the left-of-center jazz scene in NYC, so it’s no wonder he’s hooked up with drummer Dave King and bassist Chis Tordoni, who’s played with left-stream as well as mainstream artists, and even a few modern R&B artists. They’ve just finished a European tour and are now playing selected U.S. gigs. Here’s a chance to see this adventurous trio in an intimate room.
Monday, November 26
Peter Kogan CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Drummer Peter Kogan has really been exercising his jazz chops since leaving the Minnesota Orchestra a few years ago. Tonight he and his Monsterful Wonderband celebrate the release of The Green Album. Members of the band are: Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet; Chris Thompson, sax; Dave Graf, trombone; Zacc Harris, guitar; Abbi Stafford, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Kogan on drums.
Javier Santiago @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Pianist Santiago is leaving for California, and this may well be his last appearance in town. He’ll be accompanied by Omar AbdulKarim on trumpet; Chris Graham, guitar; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums. Here he is with a song from his album Phoenix.
Monday, Tuesday, November 26, 27
Manhattan Transfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65), 9pm ($35, $45, $55) The four-member close harmony group does what it’s alway done in its decades-long history: deliver an intriguing and entertaining mix of jazz standards, originals, and jazzy interpretations of pop songs.
Tuesday, Wednesday, November 27, 28
Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($30, $35) The clarinet seems to be gaining more gravitas in jazz these days, thanks in part to musicians like Anat Cohen, Ken Peplowski, and Evan Christopher, whose grounding in early Creole clarinetists provides the foundation for New Orleans music that honors tradition without being a slave to it.
For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, November 21
Nikki & The Ruemates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s the annual pre-Thanksgiving show with Nikki & the Rue-mates. They’ll supply a bunch of originals, as well as some folk-rock favorites, and perhaps a jazz tune or two.
Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($12, $15) Get a soulful start to your weekend with Walker and his band.
The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($??) Get out your dancing shoes – it’s Funksgiving, with all your favorites from the 70s, 80s, and today at the club on the edge of downtown Saint Paul with a big dance floor.
Thursday, November 22
Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) It’s the annual Thanksgiving show for guitarist Dean Mikkelson and his band of Dinosaurs: Dean Harrington, guitar; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dehl Gllagher, drums. You’ll hear some very tasty guitar while recovering from you turkey-induced napiness.
Socaholix @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Shake off the results a Thanksgiving dinner by dancing to this high-energy band that specializes in the music of the Caribbean, with an emphasis on reggae and ska.
Friday, November 23
Brass Messengers Live Recording @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free w/RSVP) This ten-piece raucous street band draws its inspiration from the music of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Balkans, bringing joy and spontaneity to its performances by leading sing-a-longs, playing unusual covers, or creating wild dance tunes. They’re recording tonight, with opening help from Siama Matuzungidi, the African soukous guitarist who creates joyous music of his own. RSVP here.
Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) The son of the late Luther Allison, bluesman Bernard Allison has formed his own path, though astute listeners will hear echoes of his father’s soulful voice and guitar skills. He honed those skills playing with Koko Taylor and further learned from friendships with Stevie Ray Vaughn and Johnny Winter before heading out on his own in the early 90s.
Saturday, November 23
Band of Friends Salute Rory Gallagher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) A power trio of blues-rockers celebrating the music of the late Irish blues rocker. It’s more than a tribute band, however, as all three played with Gallagher and helped define his sound.
Willie West @ Bistro LaRoux, Circle Pines. 7pm(Tip Jar) It may be a bit of a drive if you don’t live in the north metro, but where else are you gonna hear West, a New Orleans artist (displaced by Katrina) while dining on a variety of Cajun and Creole dishes?
Sunday, November 25
Coco Montoya @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($30, $35, $40) Montoya cut his teeth on the blues touring as a drummer with Albert Collins. In the early 80s, after Montoya picked up the guitar, John Mayall hired him for a new version of the Bluesbreakers. He released his solo album in 1995, and since then has fulfilled his promise as a soulful, emotional string-bender and singer.
African Diaspora Music Showcase @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Here’s a chance other some of the artists from our immigrant community, as The Cedar continues to embrace the East African community that surrounds it. Three resident artists will perform this free concert as part of the East African Diaspora Artists Initiative: Nigerian singer/songwriter Carolyne Naomi, R&B and Alternative artist and producer Temezgen; and poet/hip-hop artist Amjet Kemet.
Tuesday, November 27
Rena Haus Trio @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Farmer/musician Rena Haus plays guitar, writes witty and insightful blues-based songs, re-defines some classic rock, and generally creates a good time, with brother Bob on bass; and guitarist-you-should-know Ed Petsche providing fills and leads.