Lila Ammons: Fulfilling a Musical Heritage

April 22, 2012

Twin Cities vocalist Lila Ammons has a rich musical heritage. Her grandfather was Albert Ammons, the famous boogie woogie piano player, and her uncle was Gene Ammons, whose big, soulful sound on the sax was a mainstay of 50s jazz. Lila studied classical music and performed in operas, recitals and oratorios throughout the United Staes and Europe before turning to jazz and blues. Though she’s lived in the Twin Cities for about fourteen years, she spends much time touring Europe. She and vocalists Vicky Mountain and Dorothy Doring have performed together as Sisters in Song. Recently, Ammons has begun to sing around town with a quintet, and is now getting ready to release a CD. This lightly edited interview took place during my radio show, Rhythm and Grooves, on April 7, 2012.

LE:  You grew up in Chicago and actually started out in classical music.

Lila Ammons: It was very much a big part of my family. My dad was really into oratorio singing and opera and when I was a child. He used to listen to Ezio Pinza and all these Italian tenors.  I used to plug my ears and think how could he stand this, you couldn’t even understand the words. Actually, it was all early training. I think they were trying to steer us into a different direction, because they recognized our musical abilities. The last thing they wanted was for us to follow our uncle and grandfather’s footsteps into the sinful world of jazz and blues.

LE: How long did you take classical training?

LA: Let me see, I got my undergraduate degree at the University of Michigan, Masters at Manhattan School of Music, and then I spent 12 years pursuing big track opera.

LE: How does the classical training help you in singing jazz and blues?

LA: I would say from a technical standpoint, it’s given me longevity, because I know how to take care of my instrument, and that’s very key.

LE: How did you make the decision to go from classical music into other genres?

LA: (Chuckles) It was something that was secretly in the back of my mind. I had started singing R&B in Junior High School, much to my mother’s dismay. She was very unhappy about that. I was a classical pianist and violinist. Did that for 12 years. Studied in Northwestern’s Prepatory School for piano and was in the orchestra for 8 years as a violinist. I then went to college and totally got out of music for the first two years and then I was beckoned back to music. The conservatory there was stressing classical, so I got caught in the stream with the other trout. (hearty laugh)

Of course, my parents were very, very happy about that, but I still wanted to go to California and still wanted to be a studio musician, but they were like, no, no, no, got to New York, we know more people there. So I ended up at a conservatory and got caught up in it, but in the back of my mind I was very curious about this heritage that I had recently discovered. I had started in the background doing some research about my grandfather, and really discovered who he was and then located people like Barney Josephson (Ed note: Owner of Café Society in NYC) and John Hammond – just on a fluke, because I had found a book in an old used bookstore on West Broadway in NY, and I recognized the name from an album my dad had of my grandfather’s.

And from there I started making phone calls and in the back of my mind I was thinking, by age something, this, this, this. If this doesn’t go there, that’s okay because I want to look back into my heritage. And so in a way I had a master plan. I fulfilled the classical thing for my parents. My mother passed away and I felt I could do my own thing at that point.

LE:Tell us about your heritage, in case folks don’t recognize the name Ammons.

Lila's Grandfather, the boogie woogie master.

LA: My grandfather, my dad’s father, was Albert Ammons, who was a pianist, born in 1907. At the early age of 17 he began to became a noted boogie woogie player. He, along with a couple of others, Pete Johnson and Meade Lux Lewis became the Boogie Woogie Trio. They were picked up by John Hammond, the famous impresario. He discovered Billie Holiday and all kinds of people. He brought them to New York City and presented them at Carnegie Hall at the Spirituals to Swing Concert in 1938. The concert had all kinds of luminaries, including these three, and they became wildly successful, and went on to perform at Café Society. That was another very interesting place in musical, and political, and social history. That place was a hotbed of a lot of things. (Ed note: It was the first integrated nightclub in the United States.) My grandfather also had his own group, the Rhythm Kings, and then he went on to do lots of great things.

LE: He was very well known. And then one of his sons was Gene Ammons, one of my favorites. A big toned saxophone player.

Uncle Gene "Jug" Ammons.

LA: One of a kind, one of a kind. In fact, from Chicago, at 17 he was one of the lead tenors for Billy Eckstine, along with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie. That band was a hotbed of early bebop. It was the early incubator for bebop.

LE: How did you come to be touring Europe so much?

LA: I’m now involved in an international tour with a German pianist who is a specialist in boogie woogie and classic blues. Through a whole bunch of circumstances in 2007, the two of us came together. I put together a concert in celebration of my grandfather in 07, and brought together a lot of incredible early heritage players including Butch Thompson, as a matter of fact. I had this concert in Chicago commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Albert’s birthday, and after hearing me sing a tune, Axel Zwingenberger, the German expert, invited me to join his tours in Europe, so I’ve been doing that for four years now.

LE: The lead-off cut on your upcoming CD is an old Helen Humes hit, one of those songs that was blending the boundaries of jazz and blues at that time.

LA: Absolutely. Bee Baba Lee Ba. Jive Talk (chuckles)

LE: As you went about producing the CD, how did you choose who would be on it?

LA: The producer is Michael Wimberly, he’s a fantastic percussionist, travels around the world, produces documentaries on different instruments. I went to school with him years ago, and we’d wanted to do a project together. He’s worked with a lot of people. I called him up one day and said, Hey I want to do this project, and told him what kind of stuff I wanted. We talked about this for a year and he hand picked people that he knew that he thought would be perfect.

Houston Person

LE:Who’s on the CD?

LA: Well, on tenor sax was Houston Person. I’m just so honored that he was there. He comes from that Gene Ammons/Ben Webster kind of school.

LE: Smooth and big-toned.

LA: Yeah, so that worked out so perfectly. We have James Wideman on piano. He’s worked with Joe Lovano, and Kevin Mahogany and lots of folks. A gentleman named Onaje Allen Gumbs, (also on piano) whose name is maybe not as familiar to people, but he’s played with Buster Williams, Betty Carter, Nat Adderley, Kenny Burrell, Woody Shaw – lots of folks. A Sweet sweet sound. Leon Dorsey has played bass with Dizzy, and Jon Hendricks and lots of folks. Steve Williams was Shirley Horns drummer for 25 years. Another nice sweet sound. Then we have Nioka Workman on cello, that’s Reggie Workman’s daughter. She’s doing all kinds of things with India.Arie and Kanye West. We have Marvin Sewell on guitar. He plays with Cassandra Wilson, David Sanborn, and he’s got his own thing going. And Michael Wimberly does percussion.

LE: You said you had some ideas on the kind of music you wanted to record. What did that involve?

LA: I thought about tunes that I really loved. I have such a broad number of influences, from Joni Mitchell, to Pete Seeger, the Isley Brothers. I was influenced by so many different sounds. So I chose some contemporary tunes – I was really into the Jazz Fusion era – I’ve got Chick Corea’s “Spain,” and a George Duke tune, “Love Reborn,” that Flora Purim did with him, but I’m doing it in a totally different way. Then I’ve got some swing, one of which is my uncle’s tune, “Close Your Eyes.” I did some ballads, “If You Could See Me Now,” and “The Nearness of You,” one of my signature tunes, and “Nature Boy.” And then I’ve got some Brazilian, which I love. It’s in final production, packaging, and all that right now.

LE: It will be released sometime this summer?

LA: Hopefully, hopefully. Fingers crossed. (laughs) Lot of factors are involved.

LE: Who is in your working quintet when you play in the Twin Cities?

LA: Dean Brewington is on sax. He knew my uncle. Dean was my very first friend here. I moved here 14 years ago from NYC. We actually ran into each other in a parking lot. We hit our cars – ran into each other (laughs) At Groth’s music store. (more laughter) So thank you Groth. Then I’ve got Tim Zorne on drums, and a young pianist, Ted Goddbout, a fine young pianist. We have Ben Kelly on bass, who will not be with us tonight, so we’ll have Jim Chenoweth – a lot of people know him.

LE: You mentioned playing in Europe a lot. How do the audiences there react?

LA: As I said, there I’m specializing in early classic blues – Bessie Smith, Georgia White, and Helen Humes…  Europeans still have a love and appreciation for that music that goes beyond belief. They remember that and come up to me, often in tears and recount stories about the first time they heard Albert and during the war when they heard this and that, and where they were when they first heard it and how much they appreciate my being there. I’m so grateful that I’m there to receive this for him! Somehow it’s out there and transmitted to him what he’s done to touch so many people.


Favorites and More: 10.24 – 10.30

October 24, 2018

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!

Jazz

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.

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.

 


A Guide to the 2018 Twin Cities Jazz Festival; 6.21-6.23

June 19, 2018

Fellow music fans,

Part of the crowd enjoying the 2017 Jazz Festival

I, like many of you, am faced with the daunting task of figuring out what acts to see this weekend at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, so I’ve created this guide. I’ve tried to organize acts in a way that will let you pick and choose with some confidence in the type of music you’ll hear.

If a band isn’t listed here, it’s not because they aren’t worth seeing. With so many acts to choose among I don’t want to reconfigure the whole schedule, which you can find here., along with bios on the headliners and descriptions of other acts.Many of the bands that identify as mainstream may play originals instead of standards, though the music they play often has the hallmarks of both jazz standards and the Great American Songbook. Don’t be afraid to check out bands that you don’t know, that’s how you make musical discoveries.

Blues, R&B, & Funky Jazz

Thursday, June 21

Lowertown/Downtown

6:15 pm – Liquid Vinyl and Hornucopia @ Mears Park Main Stage

8pm – La Dolce Vita @ The Green Lantern

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

8pm – No Limits B-Side Band @ The Hat Trick Lounge

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

4pm – Apple Valley HS R&B Band @ Union Depot Youth Stage

New Orleans Jazz & R&B

Thursday, June 21

Outside of Downtown

7pm – McNasty Brass Band @ Langford & Karls Chiropractic in Highland Park

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

8:30pm – Camille Baudoin and Curt Obeda @ Big River Pizza

Outside of Downtown

St. Peter Street Stompers @ The Episcopal Homes Stage

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

Aura Nealand, reeds and vocals

6pm Nayo Jones @ The Mears Park Main Stage

8:30pm – Aurora Nealand & Tom McDermott @ The TPT Street Space

9:30pm – Southside Aces @ The Hat Trick Lounge

World Music, Americana, & Roots

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

4pm – Adam Granger (Guitar) & Bob Douglas (Mandolin) @ Big River Pizza

6:20pm – Tune Jerks (Fiddle & string band) @ Big River Pizza

7pm – Hurst Family Experience (Contemporary Gospel) @ Java Express in Union Depot

9pm & 10:30pm – Expression Tropical Band @ Barrio

10pm – Tim Cheesbrow (Singer/Songwriter) @ Big River Pizza

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

7pm – Hurst Family Experience (Contemporary Gospel) @ Java Express in Union Depot

Outside of Downtown

2pm Orkestar Bez Ime @ Como Lakeside Pavillion

4pm Café Accordion Orchestra @ Como Lakeside Pavillion

Youth Jazz 

Thursday, June 21

Lowertown/Downtown

4pm Bruce Acosta Quartet @ The Black Dog

6:15pm – Liquid Vinyl @ The Mears Park Main Stage

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

4pm – Elevator Jazz @ The Black Dog

4pm – 8:30pm – The Youth Stage @ Union Depot

4pm – Jerome Treadwell Group; 5pm – Leila Z; 6pm – Vimbo; 7pm – HS for Recording Arts

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

2:30pm – Walker West Music academy @ Mears Park Main Stage

1pm – 8:30pm – The Youth Stage @ Union Depot

1pm – Joe’s Jazz Camp; 2pm – Lasse Corson Quartet; 3pm – Jazz Around Minneapolis; 4pm – Apple Valley R&B Band; 5pm -Experience Jazz; 6pm – Dakota Combo

Young Lions 

Thursday, June 21

Lowertown/Downtown

Nelson Déveraux

7:30pm – Nelson Deveraux Quartet @ Hygga Lowertown

8:30pm – Le Percheron @ The Black dog (A group of young artists led by veteran Adam Linz)

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

4pm – Javier Santiago @ Mears Park Main Stage

5:30pm – Julian Manzara Quartet @ the Black Dog

9pm – Jazz Musketeers @ World of Beer

9pm & 10:30pm – Silverback Trio @ Biergarten Germania

10pm & 11pm – Hoaxer @ The Black Dog

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

5:30pm – Jake Baldwin Quintet @ The Black Dog

10pm & 11:30pm – Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Black Dog (another group of young Lions led by a veteran)

Vocalists

Thursday, June 21

Lowertown/Downtown

7pm – Erin Livingston @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

Maud Hixson and Arne Fogel

Outside of Downtown

8:30pm – Arne Fogel & Maud Hixson w/The Wolverines @ Mancini’s Char House

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

7pm – Erin Livingston @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

Jazz Vocal Showcase @ TPT Street Space

6pm – Jana Nyberg 5; 7:30pm – Sarah M. Greer; 9pm – Nancy Harms; 10:30pm – Scat Off, with Maryann Sullivan, Jana Nyberg, Sarah Greer, and Mankwe Ndosi

Outside of Downtown

7pm –Lila Ammons @ Como Lakeside Pavillion

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

4pm – Patty Peterson Presents The Jazz Women All-Stars

4pm & 5:30pm – Connie Evingson: Beatles, Bossas, and Blues @ The Loft at Farmers Market Stage on Wall Street

6pm Nayo Jones @ The Mears Park Main Stage

7pm – Erin Livingston @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

8:30pm – Dee Dee Bridgewater & The Memphis Soulphony @ The Mears Park Main Stage

9pm – Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Biergarten Germania

9pm – Lindsay Pedalty Quartet @ The Green Lantern

9pm – Lowertown Trio, feat. Emily Jane Davis @ The World of Beer

Jazz Vocal Showcase @ TPT Street Space

5:30pm – Debbie Duncan; 8:30pm – Aurora Nealand & Tom McDermott; 10pm – Pippi Ardennia

Mainstream Jazz

Thursday, June 21

Lowertown/Downtown

5:30pm – No Room for Squares @ The Black Dog

7pm – Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Black Dog

7:30pm – Jon Weber @Vieux Carré

Outside of Downtown

6pm – Phil Zino’s Jazz Standards @ The Naughty Greek

Friday, June 22

Lowertown/Downtown

5pm – Joe Mayo Quartet @ Jazz on 5thStreet

6pm – Kronick Quintet @ The Green Lantern

6pm – Tia Fuller Quartet @ The Mears Park Main Stage

7:15pm –Dave Brattain @ Jazz on 5thStreet

7:30pm – Peter Schmike Trio @ Vieux Carré

8pm – Dean Sorenson @ Citizen

8:30pm – Houston Person w/ The Emmett Cohen Trio @ The Mears Park Main Stage

9pm Graydon Peterson @ Vieux Carré

Saturday, June 23

Lowertown/Downtown

2:45pm – The Capri All-Stars @ Lofts at Farmers Market Stage

Mary Louise Knutson

4pm – Ahmed & the Creators @ The Black Dog

6pm – Mary Louise Knutson @ Vieux Carré

7:15pm – Mac Santiago Quintet @ Jazz on 5thStreet

8pm – Jon Pemberton Trio @ Citizen

8pm – Jon Weber @ Vieus Carré


Around the World, Around the Block: 6.6 – 6.12

June 6, 2018

We’ve plenty of great music coming at us during the coming week, so much so that I had a hard time winnowing the list to a manageable level. You can hear great jazz from visiting and resident artists, as well as music from around the world and around the block. As a bonus, there’s a classic rock n’ roll film at the Heights Theater. Music lifts the Spirit!

Larry


Jazz

Wednesday, June 6

Teri Roiger @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) This is the kind of music that the Dunsmore Room was made for. Roiger is a Hudson Valley-based vocalist who epitomizes jazz singing. Her phrasing is laid-back, and often just a tad behind the beat, sometimes evoking Abbey Lincoln, while maintaining Roiger’s own identity. But then, her 2012 tribute to Lincoln, Dear Abbey, was well received throughout jazz fandom, as was her 2017 tribute to Billie Holiday. She’ll be accompanied by husband John Menegon, bass; and area stalwarts with whom she’s played before: Phil Aaron, piano; and Phil Hey, drums.

Moriarty/Lease/Seru @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid student ID) Saxophonist Pat Moriarty and pianist Ellen Lease have long been musical and marital partners, resulting in seamless musical communication during their improvising. They are able to incorporate other musicians, such as the highly talented drummer Davu Seru, easily into their spontaneous compositions.

Thursday, June 7

Sarah M Greer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Vocalist Greer can be heard in a number of configurations, including teaching, community sings, and with other singers. Tonight she’s accompanied by uber guitarist Dean Magraw, which will make for some mesmerizing moments.

Friday, June 8

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) She may be the mom of an infant and a tot, but this singer has been keeping her chops up and will charm you with her vibrant and charming interpretations of jazz and pop tunes. The icing on this cake is her crackerjack band, led by hubby/trumpeter Adam Meckler.

Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5w/Valid student ID) Ruckus is a group led by the exciting young drummer Rodney Ruckus, who lived here in town a couple of years before heading out to Frisco, where he’s become well-established. Now he’s on a tour that will take him to NYC, Paris, and London. Tonight he’ll have Javi Santiago (who’s played quite a few gigs with Ruckus) on piano; Graydon Peterson on bass; and Jonathan Greenstein, from NY & Wisconsin, on sax. Opening at 7pm is the Carter Pearson Quartet.

Friday, Saturday, June 8, 9

Peterson Family @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20 -$30) They’re called Minnesota’s First family of Music for good reason. Among them they have over 100 Gold and Platinum records, and have played with Prince, Dylan, Stevie Nicks, Steve Miller, and countless other musical luminaries. You’ll hear Patty Peterson, vocals, St. Paul Peterson, bass, keys, guitar, and vocals; Billy Peterson, bass; Linda Peterson, keys and vocals; and Jason Peterson Delaire,. sax and keys. ,

Saturday, June 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm The Lila Ammons Quartet opens, w/Ted Godbout, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. 8:30pm – It’s The Ruckus. See Friday’s entry for Jazz Central, and add Aaron Janik, trumpet, to the line-up.

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Jazz at St. Barney’s,15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm – 8:15 ($10 adults, $5 students One of April’s big snowstorm’s shut down their original concert, so Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums; are appearing tonight. seating at tables, and free snacks, lemonade, and coffee.

 

Sunday, June 10

Capri Big Band @Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30 (Free) Enjoy this intergenerational band while sipping on beverages or eating victuals from the Spring Cafe.

Monday, June 11

Stevie Kenny’s Group 47 @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($12)  Steve Kenny, trumpet; Thomas Strommen, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Now that some of the group’s members are home from school, mentor & bandleader Steve Kenny has them booked for a four-city tour through Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, including two national jazz festivals. Give them a send-off tonight.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Police and Bebopified.

 

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, June 6

Ray Barnard  & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Barnard led the well-received Copperheads, recording three albums with the group. He’s been a sideman for folks like Bill Geezy, Molly Maher, and Erik Koskinen. His friends for this gig include Mikkel Beckman on percussion, and Nick Salisbury on bass.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) In the early days of his career, slide guitar master would work the crowd into a frenzy and then jump into the crowd. Don’t know ifs he still does that, but there’s no doubt he’ll still work the crowd into a frenzy with his endless boogie. Ken Valdez opens at this fundraiser for the Lowertown Blues Festival later this summer.

Makoomba @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis.7:30pm ($18) Afro-fusion and traditional Tonga rhythms from Zimbabwe that will have the standing room audience dancing in wild abandon. Marimba Bullies open.

Thursday, June 7

Hard Day’s Night @ The Heights Theater, Columbia Heights. 7:30pm ($10) The ground-breaking film that was supposed to be a quickie thing turned out to be lots of fun and a big hit. All kinds of performances from the Fab Four, as well as many jokes about Paul’s grandpa, who is a “clean old man.”

Forro With Samba Meu @ Brazil Art Twin Cities, 110716th Avenue SE, Minneapolis. 7pm-8:30pm (Free, Though Donations Warmly Welcomed) Samba Meu is a trio that explores acoustic Brazilian roots and pop. They’re embarking on a Forro project. Forro is a genre that comes from NE Brazil and incorporates a number of rhythms, some of which are akin to the blues, as Harpist extraordinaire Charlie Musselwhite has pointed out. Tonight’s concert will include accordion, rabeca (fiddle), and lots of percussion.

Friday, June 8

The Changeups & Gambler’s Daughter @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($7) Gambler’s Daughter is a band as well as the musical persona of leader Jesse Roquet, whose parents were musicians during the exploding folk scene of the 60s. A background traipsing along with her parents from gig to gig has resulted in poetic songwriting that embraces soul, blues, folk, and rock n’ roll. They’ll open at 9pm, followed at 10pm by The Changeups, an Americana band formed in 2009 by singer/songwriter/guitarist Alicia Kay, soon joined by guitarist Jimmy Baker. Expect country and rock with some indie, pop, blues, and folk to make things interesting. Here’s a short clip of Gambler’s Daughter.

Saturday, June 9

The Committee @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($??) Old school R&B from Maurice Jacox, Aisha Baker, and Deb Brown, backed by a 7-piece horn band.

Sunday, June 10

Russian Fireworks: A Musical Celebration @ The Russian Museum of Art, Minneapolis. 6:15 Doors, 7pm Music. ($30, $25 TMORA Members) Shostkovich, Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and more, from Olga Orlosvkaya, soprano; Ben Odhner, violin; Silver Ainomae, cello; and Denis Evstuhin, piano. Cash bar prior to and during intermission.

Ivan Lins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) Pianist Lins is a Latin Grammy winner and one of Brazil’s most celebrated artists. His songs have been recorded hundreds of times, by such stellar artists as Quincy Jones, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, Barbra Streisand, George Benson, and others.

Monday, June 11

Huntertones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $25) This horn-driven six-piece band creates smart, muti-genre music, pulling from sources as diverse as Stephen Foster, Brian Wilson, and George Benson. Individual members have collaborated with bands such as Jon Batiste & Stay Human, Ed Sheehan, Snarky Puppy, Ricky Martin, Red Barat, and more.

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) A national champion finger-picker with a pleasant voice at a neighborhood coffeehouse. Really? Really!

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.


Enjoy Live Music! 2.21-2.27

February 21, 2018

My jazz picks for this week all feature resident artists, which is a testament to the breadth and depth of our jazz scene. We have a few visiting artists in blues, roots, and other, as well as a surfeit of resident artists bringing original arrangements and songs for our pleasure. The weather is beginning to let up a bit, so get out and let the music lift your spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 21

Lila Ammons & Tom West @ Sociable Cider Works, 1500 Fillmore St, NE, Minneapolis. 6:30-7:30pm (No Cover) Enjoy some craft beers and listen to some bluesy jazz (or jazzy blues) from Ms Ammons and pianist Tom West.

Peter Schimke & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Pianist Schimke brings together some veterans and an up and coming trumpeter: Pete Whitman, sax; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Debbie Duncan Celebrates Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Twin Cities “First Lady of Song” celebrates the birthday of Nina Simone, the singer-pianist-songwriter who tackled folk, blues, jazz, Ellington, and Broadway tunes, in addition to writing a number of fiery songs of freedom.

Thursday, Feb 22

Beth and Adi Yeshaya @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This week vocalist Beth Yeshaya will be joined with her husband Adi for Thursday Vocal Night. Adi Yeshaya is a composer, arranger & pianist,whose credentials include creative collaborations with some of the world’s top artists, including three years as string arranger for Prince. Here’s an example of Beth’s singing. Adi on piano.

Friday, Feb 23

Cody Steinmann Sightless Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Guitarist Cody Steinmann recently moved here from Milwaukee, and he’s wasted no time putting a group together, with: Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Magraw, guitar; and Gravatt, drums; are two of the finest musicians around. They have a natural communication, which only adds to the musical magic. Her’s an example of their playing, from their album, Fire on the Nile.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 23, 24

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm 10, $15) With winning songs from the Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composer/percussionist Davu Seru, Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert celebrates the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. The program includes the world premiere of Seru’s new work Dead King Mother, which tells the story of a near-forgotten event in North Minneapolis and United States civil rights history that has been with Seru since early childhood. You may recall that I noted a read-through of the work a few weeks back.

Saturday, Feb 24

MN Hard Bop Collective’s Hope Sextet @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer/leader Jesse Simon once again brings a group of like-minded players together, this time to perform the music of pianist Elmo Hope. Featuring: Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Clay Puhfal, sax; Jeff Rinear, trombone; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. Her’s a slightly different version of the group.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set is by Ahmed & the Creators: Ahmed AbdulKarim, Trumpet; Doug Little, Saxophones;  Batume, Drums; Matt McIntyre, Bass. Headlining tonight at 8:30 is Twilight Sentinel: Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophones; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Sunday, Feb 25

Andrew Walesch Big Band; Sinatra! @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch has a good thing going with this big band and their Sinatra show. Be forewarned. They perform only a few times a year, guaranteeing lines out the door to see them.

Tuesday, Feb 27

Bryan Nichols’ Two Trios @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a unique evening, as tonight’s show will feature an acoustic piano, all the better to highlight pianist Nichols’ modern approach to playing. Nichols will be part of two trios: The James Buckley Trio with Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums, and The Bryan Nichols Trio with Chris and JT Bates on bass and drums.

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, Feb 21

Big Trees on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Big Trees is: Frank Boyle, Bill Smith, Doug Lohman, & Pat Lesney. They’ll be playing original songs and some of their favorites, including blues, jazz, country, western. They say their music is “whatever you want to call it.”

Thursday, Feb 22

Cate Fierro’s Tribute  To Sade @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Fierro has long been known as a powerful singer, thanks to her membership in a number of Mick Sterling’s horn-driven bands, leading her own band, and in others. Tonight she’ll be working with the sensual music of Sade.

SPCO @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Brooklyn-based composer Ljova goes back to his Klezmer roots as the opener to this chamber music performance at Icehouse. The program includes works by Zhurbin, Kodaly (Kodaly’s Serenade captures the folk music of Ljova’s native Hungary), and Beethoven.

Friday, Feb 23

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) This early evening gig is a bit different than usual, in that there is an opening act – Slim Willie & the Ride. Additionally, Harpmeister Barry and the Ace Tones will have a Special Guest: our very own Soul Man, Willie Walker.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($32 – $58) This nine person group from South Africa has been wowing audiences all over the world ever since Paul Simon used them on his Graceland album. Though some of the older members have retired since then, new, young members bring fresh energy to the group. The deep sonorities of their harmonies are simply thrilling.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minnepolis. 9pm ($15) Guitarist Allison has certainly grown into his own man since the passing of his dad 20 years ago. Let It Go, his latest album, was released on Feb 2, and has already reached #2 on Billboard’s Blues chart. Reviews credit his songwriting as well as his playing, which looks to the future while acknowledging the past. His very tight band certainly helps.

Saturday, Feb 24

Joyann Parker: The Music of Patsy Cline @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12, $20) Parker is a multi-talented performer, playing guitar, piano, and writing and singing her own songs, though she’s also capable of great interpretations of other’s songs. Tonight in the intimate Dunsmore Room, she leaves the blues and R&B that she’s noted for and heads in a slightly different, but often emotionally similar music – the classic country of Patsy Cline.

Roux & Rue/Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Roux & Rue – No Cover), 9pm (Walker – $12) Catch Nikki Roux & Rich Rue (of Nikki & the Rue-Mates) at 6:30, and stick around for an original soul singer, Willie Walker, whose most recent album, After A While, with The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, was nominated for 5 Blues Awards, and received a four-star review in Downbeat, which was followed a month later in the same magazine with a laudatory story.

Sunday, February 25

Harrison’s Jukebox @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm Doors (Free) Music written and inspired by George Harrison and his jukebox featuring The Basement Band, Kyx, and Curtiss A, with special guests.

Anders Osbourne Acoustic @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35, $40), 8pm ($25, $30,$35) Attention guitar lovers. You’ll want to see New Orleans guitarist Osborne, who has been honored numerous times by various and sundry periodicals and organizations in that music-savvy town. Tonight the electric bluesman is going acoustic. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said, “Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes.”

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) This all-cello quartet was begun last year, to play original arrangements of popular tunes. Members are: Rachelle Smith, Amanda Burgdorf, Catherine Canon, andJulia Floberg.

Also: Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free)

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm

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.


Blues, roots, and all that jazz: 9.27 – 10.3

September 27, 2017

Well, I have found that I’m missing something in my life by not writing about who is appearing in town. I receive so much energy from music, that even writing about it is helpful, as is the good thoughts and vibes of friends and readers of this blog. So… I’m going to try to go back to a weekly blog. As James Brown declared in Get Up Offa That Thing, I’m Back! I hope to keep my descriptions short, and perhaps list fewer events. I’m not including videos at this time. We’ll see how it all goes. In the meantime, here’s some ideas for the next week

Jazz

Thursday, Sept 28

Mary Louise Knutson & Gordy Johnson @ Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11:30pm (No Cover) Businessmen, politicians, and Saint Paul Socialites have been meeting at the Lex for years. It now features jazz duos and trios on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Knutson’s warm and inventive piano playing will be accompanied by Gordy Johnson on bass.

Mari Harris & Bruce A. Henry @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Mari Harris is an award-winning singer/songrwriter, actress, and Speaker who has been often been seen performing with Pippi Ardennia. Bruce Henry is the former Twin Citizen who now lives in Chicago and has performed on five continents.

Friday, Sept 29

Jazz Alley Ella-Bration @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Jazz Alley is the group name for three fine vocalists – Maryann Sullivan, Sarah Greer, and Katia Cardenas – who will join forces with pianist Lori Dokken to celebrate the music of Ella Fitzgerald, whose centennial anniversary is this year.

Saturday, Sept 30

No Room For Squares @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) This is the Boom Island debut of this quintet, which was a hit at this years Twin Cities Jazz Festival. It includes veterans of the Twin Cities jazz scene including Jimmie (Jimmyapolis) Wallace, sax; Jon Pemberton, trumpet; Mikkel Romstad, piano; and Adam Tucker, bass

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) The New Orleans-themed Vieux is the perfect place for this heavyweight Brass Band from Madison who have managed to gain acceptance in New Orleans while incorporating both traditional brass band music and contemporary tunes into their playlist.

Leigh Kammen Classic Originals @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project and Pianist/vocalist Larry McDonough have teamed up for this special presentation on Tony Bennett, Bill Evans, and Leigh Kamman. McDonough and his trio will perform a set of the music of Bennett & Evans, followed by audio interviews of Kamman with Bennett and Evans. Afterwards there will be a second set of originals by the trio. Joining McDonough are Richard Terrill, saxes and poetry; and bassist Greg Stinson

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tonights performances are by Trio 280: Joel Shapira, guitar; Erin Woods, drums; and Wes Roulle, organ, followed at 8:30 by the JC Sanford Quartet: Sanford, trombone; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, Sunday, Sept 30, Oct 1

Bacharach: All Saxed Up @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3PM Sunday ($25) Vocalist Patty Peterson and Cookie Coleman are joined by saxophonist Kathy Jensen, bassist Tony Axtell, and pianist Mary Louise Knutson to perform the music of Burt Bacarach.

Sunday, Oct 1

Zacc Harris Trio @ Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. Sundays, 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Zacc Harris, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums, have now been appearing at the Riverview on a weekly basis for 10 years. It’s  the longest running weekly jazz gig in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t mean you should put off going to hear the trio. During the month of October, the band is celebrating by giving away copies of a limited release CD recorded live at the Riverview in earlier this year to customers during the month. This is always a fun, enjoyable gig.

Tuesday, October 3

Pat Mallinger & Bill Carrothers @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15) Two musicians who grew up and starting playing in the Twin Cities many years ago return for this inspired outing. Mallinger on sax, and Carrothers on piano seem to be returning to the cities a bit more than they have in the past, inspired, I’m sure by the warm, enthusiastic reception they get at the Dunsmore Listening Room.

Larry McDonough Quartet CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The CD is entitled “Alice in Stonehenge and other AcoustElectric Adventures” and features the quartet: Larry McDonough, piano, compositions, and vocals; Richard Terrill, saxes and original poetry; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums, with special guest, Steve Kenny, flumpet. The title tracks of the 2 volume CD (one is acoustic, the other is electric) are mash-ups of McDonough’s take on Bill Evans’ “Alice in Wonderland” and his re-arrangement of Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge.”

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, as comprehensive calendar of jazz events as you’ll find

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Sept 27

Junior Watson and Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  “Left Coast” Blues from Harpist Mitch Kaschmar, who’s been around for a few decades, but didn’t make a splash until his 2005 debut, Nickels and Dimes, on Delta Groove Records. Since then he’s delivered a few more solid albums featuring his sometimes overdriven harp, courtesy of Little Walter’s influence, along with the fleet fingering and flexibility that he learned from William Clarke.  Junior Watson is a fine guitarist with whom Twin Citizens may be more familiar, as he’s visited us numerous times and in the past has played with the late Lynwood Slim. However, it’s ten years since the two have played in MN, so expect a hearty party. Tune in and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear. If you can’t make it tonight, you’ve got another chance on Friday (see below).

Salsa del Soul @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) This nine-piece band plays music from through the Latin regions of the Caribbean. With songs that range from Cha-Chas, to Timba, and of course, Salsa, they bring out lots and lots of dancers

Thursday, Sept 28

Black Uhuru @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 8pm ($25 Advance/$30 Door) Derrick “Duckie” Simpson the “Gong Gong Gullie” is the founder and leader for reggae’s Black Uhuru, and though other members of the trio have come and gone, he has managed to keep the group, and it’s distinctive sound, going for almost 50 years now. Aside from Bob Marley, Black Uhuru has the highest record sales in reggae, with14 full length albums, 7 instrumental dub albums, and 4 live albums

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) With Louisiana Rhythms no longer broadcasting on KFAI, local fans of Southwest Louisiana music have to depend on liver performances by resident and visiting artists. Tonight such fans can spin, twirl, and two-step to Twin Cities favorites, the DL Cajun Band, purveyors of traditional Cajun music: Dough Lohman, guitar; Shawn Glidden, accordion; Marie Stier, fiddle; and Dawn Doering, triangle & snare.

Friday, September 29

Mitch Kashmar & Junior Watson @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) As long as they’re here, Kashmar & Watson are playing a few other gigs in the area, including this one at Wilebski’s.  Opening is the Paul Barry Blues Band with Lila Ammons.

Saturday, Sept 30

Annie Mack @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Annie Mack has been tearing up the blues scene in town for a number of years, singing with other bands as well as her own. She is, however, more than a blues singer, as Living Blues Magazine put it, “In a blues world overrun with bad-mama posturing on one hand and hoochie-mama silliness on the other, it’s refreshing to hear a lyricist with deeper ideas on her mind.” Opening is the genre-bending duo The Salt Vine, featuring Jen Bluhm on vocals and ukelele; and Charles Jolly on guitar.

Mungion & Soap @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Chicago-based jam band Mungion plays highly danceable rock. Minneapolis’ own Soap melds psychedelic funk (is there such a thing?) with danceable rock. Think in terms of a combination of Led Zeppelin and P.Funk.

Silvertones @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) When I just want to dance to songs of the 60s, I go out to hear the Silvertones, who are equally at home playing the music of The Ronettes as they are the music of Steppenwolf.

Sunday, Oct 1

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) With the advent of Autumn, the members of Corpse Reviver once again take the afternoon stage at the 331 Club to play music from the classic Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. Members include: Mikkel Beckman, percussion; Jillian Rae, fiddle, and oftentimes, special guests.

Sunday, Monday, Oct 1,2

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Be prepared to dance as the Combo (aka Mambo’s Combo) brings the groove to the North Loop. They’ve been playing this weekly gig for 30 years, covering rhythmic rock and R&B tunes with panache and grit. Visiting and resident musicians will often sit in for a tune or two.

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: The Minnesota Blues Society: http://www.mnbs.org/gigs.html and the City Pages Concert Calendar: http://www.citypages.com/concerts


Transition – Music: 9.9 – 9.24

August 8, 2017

Greetings to one and all

As we transition from Summer to Fall, I’m still trying to get a handle on how often I can put newsletters together and send them out. For the moment, it appears that twice a month will work. To get to the meat of the matter, here are some suggestions for the next couple of weeks. To be sure, there are lots more artists out there worthy of your attention, so check out some of the links below as well as websites for venues. I can definitely say that Music lifts the Spirit

Jazz

Satuday, September 9

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/vocalist Lynch and her Fellows are beginning a nine-month residency at the Aster on the second Saturday of each month.  They swing, and create fun versions of songs from the 30s through the 50s. I’ll have Lynch and her Fellows on my show on the morning of the 9th, so tune in at 10:30am to KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7 FM or at www.kfai.org, to hear what they sound like.

Selby Jazz Fest @ Milton & Selby, Saint Paul. Noon – 8pm (Free) Headliner is the nine-piece Motor Soul Collective. Other acts during the day: The New Sound Underground, Salsa del Sol, Walker West’s Legends of Jazz, and the Selby Avenue Brass Band.

Tuesday, September 12

Red Planet with Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who has drawn raves from New York City to Europe for his highly inventive ways with a melody. The Saint Paul native now lives in the UP of Michigan, close enough that he comes to town every few months to perform, lately at the Dunsmore Room. Red Planet is a jazz-rock trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre, thanks to members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. They recently released an album in collaboration with Carrothers that brings out the best in all of them, and that’s saying a lot. Downbeat just gave it four stars

Thursday, September 14

John Raymond’s Real Feels Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12 – $15) Trumpeter Raymond grew up in the Twin Cities and made his way to NYC, where he’s established himself as an up and coming musician. His latest album, Real Feels, received 4 1/2 stars from Downbeat, which said, “…with his mix and modern sounds and old-fashioned feeling, Raymond is steering jazz in the right direction.”

Tuesday, September 19

A Tribute to Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 7pm ($15) Hmm, Bing Crosby, so there’s no doubt Arne Fogel will be taking that part. His long time singing partner, the Cool Chanteuse Maud Hixson, will take on Rosemary Clooney. They’ve done this show in various guises over the years, so I expect you’ll hear music from the Great American Songbook, including tunes from the movie White Christmas, two duet albums, and a few from radio and concert appearances of Crosby & Clooney.

Wednesday, September 20

Ted Olsen CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Bassist Ted Olsen is celebrating the release of his first CD as leader. Joining him will be Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophone; Javier Santiago, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drumset.

Thursday, September 21

Juli Wood Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12) After a long absence from the Twin Cities, Chicago saxophonist and vocalist Juli Wood played at the Black Dog in August and proved that she should be up here more often. Jazz Times calls her “a gusty tenor and baritone saxophonist who also sings with the earthy gusto of an R&B diva filtered through a hard bop sensibility.” Those of a certain age may remember her from Paul Cebar’s Milwaukeeans, where she delivered her earthy, jazzy, R&B with delight.

Friday, Saturday, September 22, 23

Mary Louise Knutson @ Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11:30pm (No Cover) This warm lounge at the Lex has been a meeting place for businessmen, politicians, and Saint Paul Socialites since 1935. They are now featuring jazz on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Knutson’s warm and inventive piano playing will be accompanied by Phil Hey on drums with Matt Peterson on bass on Friday, and Steve Pikal on bass (along with Hey) on Saturday.

Saturday, Sunday, September 23, 24

Second Annual Cabaret Fest @ Bryant-Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 2:30 – 8pm ($15 single event, $25 Day pass) The Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network (TCCAN) is presenting workshops and performances. An educational workshop will take place each day from 2:30 – 5:00pm and is open to the public (event pricing or day pass). Afterwards there will be performances from 5:30 – 8pm by different artists from the group each evening. More info: http://www.twincitiescabaretartistsnetwork.com/cabaret-fest.html

Saturday, September 23

MN Hard Bop Collective @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon brings a group of like-minded musicians together to play the music of Kenny Dorham.

Sunday, September 24

Evan Christopher “Live from NOLA” @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Clarinetist Christopher calls his music “contemporary early jazz,” which is an accurate description of his repertoire. While it includes many songs from the early 20th Century, Christopher’s playing is anything but stodgy. He swings with ease and is very imaginative when it comes to soloing.

Weekly

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.  Go to  http://www.saturdaynightjazzattheblackdog.info/about-the-venue.html for a complete listing.

Roots, Blues, & Other

Friday, September 15

Dakota Dave Hull @ “Live at The Landmark”, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) I’ve been a fan of guitar master Dakota Dave Hull since his early days with Sean Blackburn. None other than folk legend Dave Van Ronk called Dave “one of the best guitarists in the world.” This is the first of three concerts in this new series at the Landmark Center, created to take the place of the Red House Live series, which ran its course. Opening will be the country-oriented septet, The Gated Community.

Firefall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) Since they first hit the music scene some forty years ago, this pioneering country-rock group has earned three gold  albums, two platinum albums and eleven chart-topping singles. They currently have three of the original members, along with a longtime drummer and relatively new rhythm guitarist. Expect great harmonies on top of toe-tapping country-rock, including the band’s biggest hit, “You Are the Woman.”

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Haus, together with her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar virtuoso Ed Petche, creates highly entertaining performances, whether singing tunes by the Allman Brothers, or humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate.

Saturday, September 16

Katy Vernon Band @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Ukelelest and singer/songwriter Katy Vernon has been on an upward trajectory for the past few months, touring the UK, playing in festivals, hospitals and some unlikely places. Upon returning, she’s played at Lake Harriet Bandshell, on the Current, as well as at the State Fair, and other venues. Catch her tonight with her full band, which includes, among others, the crackerjack guitarist Clay Williams, and Vernon’s fellow Brit Simon Husbands on keys.

Wednesday, September 20 

Sahba Motallebi w/Naghmeh Farahman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis.  7:30pm (Free, but reservations encouraged) This is part of the Global Roots Festival, which starts on Monday, Sept 18. Fretted instrument master Sahba Motallebi (Iran/US), accompanied by Naghmeh Farahmand (Iran/Toronto), on percussions. Sahba and Naghmeh are two Persian musical masters, Baha’i & Muslim women respectively, playing powerfully together in unity. Motallebi is a modern virtuoso on tar and setar, lute-like stringed instruments. The New York Music Daily said of her, “there is no rock guitarist, no oud player, possibly no musician anywhere in the work with such subtle yet fearsome chops on a fretted instrument.” Opening is Bitori, an accordionist from Cape Verde, and a torchbearer for the island’s funana genre

Thursday, September 21

Gram Parsons Tribute @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Hosted by the Gilded Palace Sinners. As a member of the Byrds, circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo, The International Submarine Band, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and with his own albums, Graham Parsons and his “Cosmic American Music” was one of the architects of what’s become known as County-Rock. The eleven-piece Gilded Palace Sinners, features talented musicians from popular Americana bands such as Urban Hillbilly Quartet, Platte Valley Boys, Beguine Brothers, Switched at Birth, Dead Pigeons, Wilkinson James, and Middle Spunk Creek Boys

Friday, September 22

An Evening With Vasen @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) This well-loved Swedish acoustic trio returns to the Cedar once again, where they have become fan favorites. Their playful and joyous music is deeply rooted tin the forests of the Swedish countryside, particularly in the centuries-old folk music of Uppland, though they incorporate rock, jazz, and classical influences into the improvisations of the moment

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved seat) Journeyman Soul/Blues singer Rawls knows how to work a crowd, getting dancers on the floor as he delivers a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

Sunday, September 24

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm – 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s a chance to support Live Music, Twin Cities artists, and hear some great blues, and the MN Blues Society holds another event to help MN bands compete in the International Blues Challenge this winter in Memphis. Featured are Javier Matos as solo entry and the Ken Valdez Band as the group entry int he competition. Also playing: Harrison Street, The Craig Clark Band, and Slim Willie & the Ride. There will be other chances to donate, though a bake sale and a 50/50 raffle.

Womenfolk Radio Anniversary Show @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Featuring food, door prizes and live performances by Reina del Cid, Mary Bue, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, Vicky Emerson, and more.

Friday, September 29

Mitch Kashmar & Junior Watson @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) “Left Coast” Blues from Harpist Mitch Kashmar, who’s been around for a few decades, but didn’t make a splash until his 2005 debut, Nickels and Dimes, on Delta Groove Records. Since then he’s delivered a few more solid albums featuring his sometimes overdriven harp, courtesy of Little Walter’s influence, along with the fleet fingering and flexibility that he learned from William Clarke.  Junior Watson is a fine guitarist whom Twin Citizens may be more familiar with, as he’s visited us numerous times and in the past has played with the late Lynwood Slim. It’s ten years since the two have played in MN, so expect a hearty party.  Opening is the Paul Barry Blues Band with Lila Ammons.

Links

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

City Pages Concert Calendar: http://www.citypages.com/concerts


Celebrations Galore: 4.5 – 4.11

April 5, 2017

We’ve now got April showers working to bring out the buds on trees and in gardens. We also have some fine visiting artists such as Stacy Kent, John Pizzarelli, Larry Fuller, and Elvin Bishop, as well as some unique events, such as the John Prine Celebration, Zeitgeist’s Early Music Festival, and a “Retirement Celebration” for Spider John Koerner. So…  once again we have many opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 5

Mississippi Hot Club on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harold’s guests are usually be listed under Roots & Blues, but this is different. The Mississippi Hot Club plays gypsy jazz, also known as Jazz Manouche, the style of music pioneered by Django Rheinhardt during the late 1930s and WWII. Though their configuration is classic, they leave room for a bit of a modern take on the genre, with songs that might come from the folk idiom, romantic ballads, or jazz standards. Members are: Joshua Parlanti, guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass.

Paul Harper’s Show & Tell Band @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 6:30pm -9:30pm (No Cover) The Hennepin Steam Room used to be Tangiers. They’ve redesigned the place and have committed to live music at least three nights a week. Tonight, saxophonist Paul Harper, who plays in the Illicit Sextet and other groups, leads his own band.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 5, 6

Stacy Kent, featuring Jim Tomlinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35) Vocalist Stacy Kent  ses her intimate, light voice very effectively, taking an elegant, minimalist approach to successfully convey the emotion behind songs from the Great American Songbook, France, and Brazil. Her latest album, 2015’sTenderly, is a collaboration with Roberto Menescal, the great Brazilian guitarist and composer, who wrote O Pato and other Bossa Nova hits. Her husband, Jim Tomlinson is a saxophonist whose playing evokes Stan Getz.

Thursday, April 6

Art & Jazz @ Casket Arts Building, 681 !7th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities own nationally published jazz photographer Andrea Canter will be showing a collection of (mostly) black and white jazz portraits as well as a special collection of jazz-focused note cards in Studio 116. Meanwhile, The Dakota Combo w/bassist Adam Linz will perform at the 4th Floor Atrium at 5:30 & 7:30; while Larry McDonough & Carol Berquist will perform on the first floor at 6:30pm. BTW, 10% of Canter’s sales will go to The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vicky Mountain has taught of number of Twin Cities vocalists, as well she should, given how good she is at interpreting jazz standards, baseball songs, hip pop and some originals. She’ll be accompanied by David Martin on guitar, and special guests.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header, featuring The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass; Blake Hubel, drums; and Javi Santiago, keys, followed at 10:30pm by the Alden Ikeda Group: Scott Newell, saxes; Alden Ikeda Drums; Steve Gnitka, guitar.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6, 8, 9, 10

earWorm Improvisation Ensemble mini-tour @ Khyber Pass & Other Area Venues. (Various Times) earWorm is a collective of composer-performers who present what they describe as “an immersive experience of electroacoustic improvisation, transporting listeners across a panoply of sonic landscapes.” They draw from many styles and experiences, including free-form jazz, blues, minimalism, electronica, dub-step, edm, hip-hop, funk, rock, classical, folk, and many musical traditions of the world. It’s experimental music, that’s for sure. Members are all multi-instrumentalists: James Holdman; Elliot McKinley; Peter Farmer; and Michael Ethan.  Thursday @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul (9pm, $5); Saturday @ The Underground Music Cafe, Falcon Heights (7-pm no cover); Sunday @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul (4-6pm, no cover); and Monday @ Honey, Minneapolis (7:30 – 9:30pm no cover) Listen to their music here.

Friday, April 7

Lila Ammons @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) 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, bosses, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists.

Saturday, April 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) For the first time in over 130 weekly shows at the Black Dog, a vocalist will be performing. Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz begin the evening at 7pm, with Maryann Sullivan  vocals; Doug Haining, sax; Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the Steve Kenny Quartet, with Rodney Ruckus, drums (his last performance before moving out of the Cities); Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

JazzMN Big Band w/Guest Maria Schneider @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($35, $37, Students: $10, $20) For jazz fans, this will be a show not to miss. New York based composer Maria Schneider is the pride of Windom, MN, known around the world for her majestic compositions for large groups, including orchestras and symphonies. She’s won five Grammys, including two at the most recent awards for 2016. One was for Sue, her collaboration with David Bowie, and the other was for Thompson Fields, by her own orchestra. She’s been working with the JazzMN band all week, creating arrangements based on the band’s instrumentation.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Kate Lynch and the Fellows (bass, guitar, trombone, trumpet, drums) perform music from the 20s to the 50s, with an occasional 60s hit showing up once or twice an evening. Ms Lynch continues to provide historical perspective on songs, giving not only the year and composers, but other facts, such as what movies were playing downtown when the song was a hit, or where people would go shopping. Add to that the visuals of young swing dancers digging the music, and you have a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Sunday, April 9

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($25, $35) Vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli is warm and witty onstage, whether telling a story or performing. In many respects he’s an old school entertainer – There’s no artifice, no attempts to play “hip chords” or the like, just honest music that’s exceptionally well played by an artist who engages the audience and swings like mad. Note the slightly earlier times for this Sunday night performance.

Monday, April 10

Reichfest @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The April Reichfest celebrating the music of the late minimalist Steve Reich, continues. Tonight a host of musicians will play Reich’s composition 2X5, from 2008. The group includes: Chris Cunningham; Zacc Harris; Pete Hennig; Cody McKinney; Thomas Nordlund; Chris Olson; Doan Brian Roessler; Javier Santiago; Zach Schmidt; and Brian Ziemniak. (Whew!). Second set is by JT Bates and others.

Tuesday, April 11

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover); 8pm (Trio, $6) Start your evening out with the piano stylings of Chris Lomheim, and then get your fill of soulful grease from JT Bates’ organ trio, featuring Bates on drums, of course, with Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ.

Larry Fuller Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Fuller is a pianist who epitomizes the concept of swing, as well he should given his background. He got his start playing for classic vocalist Ernestine Anderson for five years, then went on to join the Jeff Hamilton Trio for six years, before joining the last edition of the Ray Brown Trio for a few years, and finally the John Pizzarelli Quartet for eight years. Along the way he’s also played with a pantheon of jazz illuminaries.

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, April 5

Radio Joe & The JazzBos @ Mancini’s Char House, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No cover) Given the old school Las Vegas vibe of the lounge at Mancini’s, Radio Joe and the JazzBos, with their vintage swing, jump blues, and romantic ballads, were made to fill the dance floor at the venerable Saint Paul institution.

Thursday, April 6

Verretta @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Original music performed with a big nod towards classic rock with a touch of punk. They say they’re an Outlaw Country Rock n’ Roll Revival Band, and listening to their songs, that seems about right, though perhaps more rock n’ roll than outlaw country.

9th Annual Big Fat Love @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Mother Banjo and Art Vandelay are at it for the 9th year in a row, celebrating the half birthday of John Prine. Each year they gather friends to sing the songs of Prine. This year’s participants include: Terry Walsh, of the Belfast Cowboys, The High 48s, The Gated Community, Kari Arnett, The Eddies, and many more.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6 – 10

Zeitgeists’s 7th Annual Early Music Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2pm Sunday ($15, $10 Students & Seniors, $40 festival pass) This year new music group zeitgeist is celebrating the music of composer Lou Harrison, described as ” true American maverick, Harrison’s integrations of non-Western musical traditions and his innovative use of just intonation embraced new artistic possibilities and made a lasting impact that continues to shape new music today.”  Find out more about the program for each performance and the guest artists here

Friday, April 7

Teague Alexy Band CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Friday series features a trio of Americana groups tonight. It’s  CD Release Party for Teague Alexy (of Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank). The Thirsty River String Band, Trevor James Americana Rebel (of Tin Can Gin), and Ian Alexy will also be appearing. Teague Alexy’s songwriting is clearly influenced by his home in Minnesota as well as his childhood in New Jersey, and life as a traveling hobo musician. His new album is Circuit Sessions, on which he uses a strong rhythm section: Eric Pollard, bass; Steve Garrington, drums; as well as Jake Hanson, guitar. Special guests include Trevor James, the Thirsty River String Band and Ian Alexy.

McNasty Brass Band Vinyl Release Dance Party @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The McNasty Brass Band has all the verve and outsized excitement that you might expect from a ten-piece band, including the use of contemporary and original songs. They released King Sized Life in January, and are now having another release party for the Vinyl Edition. You don’t have to know special steps to dance to this group, you only have to let your body react to their beats and the rhythm of the sousaphone.

Saturday, April 8

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Bishop is master blues guitarist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and went on to a successful solo career. While playing solo he also played onstage with The Gratefull Dead, Al Kooper, and The Allman Brothers, recorded with John Lee Hooker, Clifton Chenier, Bo Diddley, and others, and toured with BB King. The Big Fun Trio is an apt name for his group (Bob Welsh, piano/guitar; Willy Jordan, vocalist/percussion), as Bishop’s songs have often been delivered with a sly sense of humor.

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for a reserved table) Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd and deliver a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

The Magnolias @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) With twin guitars creating a buzz-saw attack, the Magnolias  urst on the Twin Cities music scene over 30 years ago, becoming known as “Minneapolis’ scruffy also-rans” compared to groups like the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Their fans knew better as the band recorded 3 albums by the end of the 80s, and two more in the 90s. After some fallow years, in the early 2000s, they issued some unrealesed tracks and demos in 2007, and toured Europe in 2008 and 2009. Opening act Johnny Rey has been a fixture of the vibrant Twin Cities music scene for four decades. The guitar player was an original member of Flamingo, playing the old Longhorn Bar in downtown Minneapolis. He led his own band for a few years, but stopped in 1985, not performing again until about four years ago.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Get your salsa dancing shoes out as this septet plays vintage and traditional Cuban rhumbas and mambos, along with salsas, the updated version of mambo.

Sunday, April 9

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($??) Here’s a chance for an afternoon delight, so to speak. Walker is an original soul man who recorded for Goldwax Records out of Memphis back in the 60s, but he’s been our own treasure for decades now, delivering heartfelt soul music in his slightly raspy voice. He’s just been on another international tour, and was recently named winner of Two Blues Music Awards for 2016 – Comeback Artist of the Year, and New Recordings/Southern Soul, for his album If Nothing Ever Changes.

Spider John Koerner “Retirement” Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Folk legend Spider John Koerner is being honored with a “retirement” party by a bunch of mostly younger artists “who appreciate my work and wanted me to have a show with them,” according to Koerner. Those younger artists include The Cactus Blossoms, Lonesome Dan Case, Jack Klatt, Dave Babb, and Grant Johnson. Long time compatriots Willy Murphy and Tony Glover will also take part, as well as Chip Taylor Smith and Paul Strother. For 50 years, Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, both as a solo artists and with a variety of partners, including Koerner, Ray, & Glover, and Willie Murphy. Along with his work with KRG, Koerner’s albums Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Been, from ’86, and Raised by Humans, from ’92 are classics of American folk music.

Monday, April 10

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Bros on Grand, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Fingers is a world-class finger-picking guitarist performing not-so-secretly under an alias. Get your fill of coffee and cool music.

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.


The Heart of Winter: 2.1 – 2.7

February 1, 2017
It's Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

It’s Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

Happy February! Well, we seem to have gotten through what is normally the coldest week of the year without any adverse weather events. We now have a week featuring a winter carnival, the crazy (stupid?) Crashed Ice, and some great music. With temperatures above normal for this time of year, its easy to get out and find strength and inspiration in music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 1

Nellie McKay: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton @ The Dakota, Minnepolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $50) McKay is a vocalist/pianist whose charm, whimsy, and  satirical wit have earned her many fans among jazz, pop, and cabaret audiences. For this appearance she’ll be performing “A Girl Named Bill,” a “revue-with-dialogue” about a fairly successful pianist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton. Tipton was thought to be a man, and wasn’t discovered as a woman until her death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay.

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Talented trumpeter Zack Lozier has spent time in the Doc Severeinson Orchestra; The Jack brass Band, Havana Hi-Fi; Southside Aces, Davina & the Vagabonds and a number of other bands. He’s an in-demand kind of guy, who also has this great trio with Steve Pikal, bass; and Stephen Hobart, piano, the group explores some of Lozier’s favorite songs, including tunes by Louis Armstrong.

SPAT @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) A group of college age musicians that will likely be the next generation of star players in town: Sam Worthington, bs; Patrick Adkins, pno; Andrew Tomten, sax; Tarek Abdelqader, drums

Thursday, February 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features a great trio, Red Planet, a group that knows how to successfully create jazz fusion without bombarding listeners with overbearing drum beats. That’s because drummer Jay Epstein, whose background includes a stint with the rock band Gypsy, is one of the more tasteful drummers around. It certainly helps that his bandmates, Dean Magraw on guitar, and Chris Bates on bass, also have taste and chops galore.

Cox, Nichols, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Anthony Cox, bass; Bryan Nichols, keys; and Davu Seru, drums/percussion, have formed a group called Suffer the Children. They are three advanced musicians who can play it straight, or go out there. I suspect that tonight will lean towards going out there, which should prove to be exciting.

Friday, February 3

Davell Crawford’s B3 Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $40) New Orleans native and keyboard player Davell Crawford has become a favorite at the Dakota. He comes from a musical family, essentially absorbing traditional jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B in his veins to the point where he is the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition. Tonight, however, he’s heading for the Hammond B3, which should increase his music’s fun factor by several degrees.  Here he is on piano.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist/flutist Jana Nyberg has a unique take on music, effortlessly blending and integrating jazz and pop with panache and grace. She also happens to have a great band: husband Adam Meckler on trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as Sean Turner, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Rodney Ruckus on drums.

Friday, Saturday, February 3, 4

Todd Harper & Friends @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12/night, $20 for both) Pianist Todd Harper used to do an annual series with Carei Thomas and Paul Cantrell called Keys Please each year. This year, he’s doing something a bit different. These two evenings will be devoted to the compositions of Carei Thomas & Todd Harper.  Friday night will feature a quartet of Todd Harper, piano; Eric Coursen, drums; Aaron Kerr, electric cello; and Nathan Hanson, soprano and tenor saxophones. Saturday night will have two components: an exploratory/lyrical trio with Todd Harper, Eric Coursen, and bassist Keith Yanes, and the release of Harper’s solo piano CD, Metaphorsisis. Harper was my guest on this past Saturday’s Rhythm and Grooves. if you want to hear the interview, go to the link and click on the appropriate icon.

Saturday, February 4

Davell Crawford Deep in the Heart of New Orleans @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Crawford (see Friday, above) returns to the piano for this evening that will explore the music of the Big Easy.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Holy Shamoley, as cartoon characters sometimes say. Tonight we have The Atlantis Quartet, area leading lights of 21st Century jazz, as the opening act at 7pm. Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums, will have you alternately rockin’ and swingin’. Then at 8:30, The Ben Allison Trio, with Ben Allison  bass; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Allison Miller, drums take the stage. Allison has recorded eleven albums as a leader and has been a sideman on recording by folks like Ted Nash, Curtis Stigers, Frank Kimbrough, Lee Konitz and others. Earlier in the day, from 1pm – 2:30pm, the trio will conduct a free clinic on improvisation at the McNally Smith College of Music auditorium for high school and college-aged students and young professional musicians, and will include a live performance by Ben Allison’s Trio, and an interactive clinic with featured demonstration group, the Dakota Combo. Here is Allison with a different trio.

Monday, February 6

Bruce Barth Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner Show) Pianist Barth is a favorite of Tony Bennett and in fact, has accompanied him a number of times. Barth arrived in NYC in 1988 and soon joined Stanley Turrentine, with whom he played for over a decade. He toured with Nat Adderley, as well as Vincente Herring, and was a member of Terence Blanchard’s band, where he recorded six CDs and appeared as a piano player in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. He’s been recorded on about one hundred albums, including ten as a leader. The California born pianist has had extended collaborations with folks such as Tony Bennett,  Terell Stafford, Karrin Allyson, and David Sanchez. And he has performed with a host of other jazz giants, including James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and the Mingus Big Band.

Tuesday, February 7

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The always amazing duo of guitarist Dean Magraw and drummer/percussionist Davu Seru can be counted on to take you to unexpected, yet highly enjoyable music places.

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, February 1

Dan Rumsey on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  Dan Rumsey is a guitarist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist whose singing and playing evoke 70s rock and singer/songwriters. I’ll be hosting the House Party today, so tune in to KFAI and get over to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Erica West Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Take a soulful, sensuous singer, add in her guitarist husband to lead the band, and you have a tight unit that creates jazzy R&B and pop.

Thursday, February 2

Home Fires @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:00pm (No Cover)  Sarah Morris and Vicky Emerson are a couple of accomplished singer/songwriters who were scheduled to appear as the Home Fires last month, though Ms Emerson had to stay home to care for a sick child. The two singers have often appeared on the same bill and have a lot in common: both are excellent songsmiths; both have an affinity for Americana/alt country; and both can deliver heartfelt ballads and romping uptempo tunes with equal verve.

Jake Hanson Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Hanson is an inventive guitarist who makes good use of pedal effects to create surf sounds, Ventures music, blues, 50s rock, and more. He’s a sought after musician who has played with a variety of high-profile Minnesota artists, including Halloween Alaska, Mason Jennings, Solid Gold, Haley Bonar, The Pines and many more. It will be fun to see him playing for the Friday night crowd at Crooners. Here is Hanson in a duo setting.

Danny B. Harvey & His Cats @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7 Advnce/$10 Door) Here’s a night of rockabilly from Danny B. Harvey, best known as the guitarist for the super group HeadCat (a band he formed with Lemmy from Motorhead and Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats), he was also a founding member of the the original neo-rockabily band The Rockats. Danny has also produced, recorded and performed with Wanda Jackson, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Ramone, and Lee Rocker. Joining Danny on vocals is Annie Marie Lewis, niece of pioneering rock n’ roller Jerry Lee Lewis, and the daughter of Linda Gale Lewis, as well as a cousin of Mickey Gilley. They’ll be joined by special guests Noah Levy on drums and Tommy Vee, bass. I understand that Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland may join them for a few songs. The Bad Companions open.

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) This is a somewhat raw, but exciting 10 piece R&B/Soul band, with a leader/vocalist who brings on the energy with no restraint. They promote fun with a passion, and are certain to keep people from staring at their phones during a performance. They will, in fact, delight anyone who is into danceable R&B.

Friday, February 3

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) Ms Davina is a force of nature when it comes to singing, while the Vagabonds can match her note for note. With a repertoire that’s inspired by New Orleans, and a backbeat just made for swing dancers, I expect this will be a fun-filled show.

Ben Cook-Feltz and…  Friends? @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) This show will feature guest performances from some of the finest talent the Twin Cities has to offer, who happen also to be some of Ben’s best friends on the scene, including Jillian Rae, Sarah Morris, Mother Banjo, Doug Otto, Kari Arnett and Art Vandalay. Some will be sitting in with Cook-Feltz and the band, others will perform their own songs.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) R&B, Soul, Jazz, and standards from the under-recorded Maurice Jacox on vocals and occasional sax, as well as Thomas West, keys; Mike Cramer, guitar; and award winning drummer Robb Stupka.

Saturday, February 4

Saturday Salons @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The folks at Crooners are starting a new series for those who enjoy classical music, with the inimitable Marie Jette as host. This matinee series will feature a wide panoply of the world’s chamber music from early Renaissance and Baroque pieces to Mosart, Debussy, and music of the 21st Century. Today, performers will be presenting music from the Love Song Waltzes of Johannes Brahms in solos, duets, and quartets for four singers and two pianists. Today’s musicians are: Maria Jette, soprano; Victoria Vargas, mezzo-soprano; Dan Dressen, tenor; Michael Jorgensen, bass baritone; with pianists Mary Jo Gothmann and Tadeusz Majewski.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The State Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($29.50 – $49.50) Can it really be 50 years since South Africa’s Joseph Shabala had a dream about the music he would make with 8 other male singers? The deep sonority of their acapella voices, combined with their storytelling, dancing, and messages of peace, love, and harmony can still strike a chord deep within us. The membership of the group has changed over the years, as a younger generation replaces older singers, yet their message and sound remains the same.

Undervud @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 Members, $20 General, 4 or more/$15 per ticket) The wonderfully curated and laid-out Museum of Russian Art continues to bring in liver performers of all stripes. Tonight they’ve got the leaders of a popular Russian rock band called Undervud, formed in the late 90s by two medical students who quit school after a couple of hits and moved to Moscow. They’ve since recorded seven albums. This will be an acoustic performance by the founding members of the band. Opening is Roman Lugovykh, leader of the band Romario, which had a sold out performance at the museum in September.  Here’s Undrvud – the full band.

Mini Blues Fest @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 8pm ($??) It’s a midwinter blues respite, with an evening devoted to three different blues acts, Featuring harpist Paul Barry with his trio the Ace Tones with vocalist Lila Ammons at 8pm, octogenarian pianist (and father of Jimmy Jam) Cornbread Harris at 9:30pm and finishing up with The Cobras at 11pm, with Washtub James, aka Pat Dawson, bass; Elliot “Mojo: Harris, drums; Brian Duke, guitar & vocals; and Tom Ferring, vocals and harmonica.

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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