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


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, 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:

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.


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 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.


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: 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):

JazzINK (as complete a live jazz calendar as you’ll find):

Minnesota Blues Society:

City Pages Concert Calendar:

A Blip in Plans

June 7, 2017

Due to some unexpected developments while traveling, I am unable to blog this week. Check the links I post in every entry for JazzInk, KBEM, and the Ninnesota Blues Society. I also have websites for many venues on my Venues Page, above.

State Fair Music: 8.27 – 9.7

August 27, 2015

STATE_FAIR_MUSICThis will be short and hopefully, sweet. There are many musicians playing the Fair. Some of them are on regular stages, while others are hidden within restaurants. This is a fairly good representation of who is playing where, but it is by no means a complete list, and I didn’t include the Grandstand shows, since they get plenty of mention.

At any rate, get yourself some corn on the cob, a mac n’ cheese cupcake, meatloaf on a stick, sweet corn ice cream, bacon to go, or whatever else tickles your food fancy, pick up a beverage, and enjoy the music along with everything else that the Fair has to offer.

PS: KFAI will be broadcasting from the Education Building from 9am – 9pm on Friday, the 28th and Monday, September 7. Stop by and say hi!

PPS: Thanks to Tim Nyberg for the graphic

State Fair Music

Thursday, August 27

Retro Swing Sister @ AFL/CIO Booth (Vocal swing jazz)

Thursday, Friday, August 27, 28

Reina del Cid @ Schell’s Stage, West End Market. 11am, 12pm, 1pm (Roots/Blues/Folk)

Charlie Parr @ Schell’s Stage, West End Market. 8pm (Delta Blues from Duluth)

Davina & The Vagabonds @ International Bazaar Stage. 7:30pm, 8:45pm (Trad Jazz/Blues)

Gaelic Storm @ The Leinie Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm (Irish/Celtic)

Friday, August 28

Dirty Shorts Brass Band @ The International Bazaar. 12pm, 1:15pm (Second Line Jazz)

The Good, the Bad, and the Funky @ The International Bazaar Stage. 4:30pm, 5:45pm (Funk n’Soul)

High & Mighty @ Dino’s Gyros Stage. 8pm (Funk n’ Soul)

Saturday, August 29

Dirty Shorts Brass Band @ The International Bazaar. 10:45, 12pm. 1:15pm (Second Line Jazz)

Saturday, Sunday, August 29, 30

Janie Miller Band @ Schell’s Stage, West End Market. 11am, 12pm, 1pm (Country)

Pine Leaf Boys @ Leinie Lodge Bandshell. 3:30, 4:45 (Cajun)

Dirty Shorts Brass Band @ International Bazaar Stage. 10:45am, 12 Noon, 1:15pm (Second Line Jazz)

The Good, the Bad, and the Funky @ The International Bazaar Stage. 3:15pm, 4:30pm, 5:45pm  (funk n’ soul)

Crankshaft & The Gear Grinders @ Shell’s Stage at Schilling Amphitheater. 8pm (Punk blues)

Sunday, August 30

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The AFL/CIO Pavillion. 4pm (Swing Jazz)

Monday, Tuesday, August 31, September 1

Sonny Knight & The Lakers @ International Bazaar Stage. 7:30pm, 8:45pm (New Retro Funk n’ Soul)

Lamont Cranston @ Giggle Campfire Grill. 7:45pm (Blues)

Andy Grammer @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm (Singer/Songwriter)

Wednesday, Thursday, September 2, 3

Haley Bonar @ Schell’s Stage, West End Market. 8pm (Singer/Songwriter)

Robert Everest Expedition @ The International Bazaar Stage. 10:45am, 12 Noon, 1:15pm (Brazilian/World)

Blindado Norteno @ The International Bazaar Stage. 3:15pm, 4:30pm, 5:45pm (Tex Mex)

Lou Gramm @ the Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm (Rock – Formerly of Foreigner)

Friday, Saturday, September 4,5

The Bel Airs @ Schell’s Stage, West End Market. 8pm (Blues/Rockabilly Trio)

Kenny Neal @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 1pm, 2:30pm (Blues from Baton Rouge)

Innocent @ International Bazaar Stage. 7:30pm, 8:45pm (Reggae)

High and Mighty @ Dino’s Gyros stage. 8pm (Funk n’ Soul)

Reel Big Fish @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm (Ska/Punk)

Sunday, Monday, September 6,7

The Cactus Blossoms @ Schell’s Stage, West End Market. 8pm (Classic Country for the 21st Century)

Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers @ The International Bazaar Stage. 3:15pm, 4:30pm, 5:45pm (Pirate Songs!)

Malamanya @ The International Bazaar Stage. 7:30pm, 8:45pm (Cuban dance music)

A Short guide to the Twin Cities Jazz Festival: 6.25 – 6.27

June 23, 2015

b97c3ab5-2c00-4bfe-9683-20e679116cc3The Twin Cities Jazz Festival continues to add stages, both downtown and around Saint Paul. It can be daunting to try to figure out where to go, so I’ve put together a short guide to a few of the different kinds of performers you’ll find at the festival. If a band isn’t listed here, it’s not because they aren’t worth seeing. It’s just that with so many bands to choose from, I didn’t want to reconfigure the whole schedule. You can find the full schedule here. Note that some of the bands that I’ve identified as Mainstream may play originals instead of standards, but much of their music has the melodic and harmonic structure of standards. Don’t be afraid to check out any of the other performers on the bill. That’s how you discover someone new.

Blues, R&B, and Funky Jazz

Thursday, June 25


8:30pm – BDP-5Tet @ The Bedlam Theater

10:30pm Smooth & Groove Jam Session @ The Bedlam Theater

Outside of Downtown

3pm Sena Ehrhardt & Cole Allen @ Big Daddy’s

7pm – Zack Lozier Three @ The Underground Music Cafe (New Orleans)

Friday, June 26


6:30pm – BZ3 Organ Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

8:30pm – Black Market Brass @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall (Afro funk)

10:30pm Smooth & Groove Jam Session @ The Bedlam Theater

Outside of Downtown

4:30pm – Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s

9pm – Groove Merchants @ Tiffany’s

Saturday, June 27


2pm – Jack Brass Band @ CHS Field (Saints Ball Park)

3:30pm – Dr. John @ CHS Field

10:30pm-  Smooth & Groove Jam Session @ The Bedlam Theater

Outside of Downtown

4:30pm – Detroit Don King @ Big Daddy’s

Latin and World Music

Thursday, June 25


6pm – Tim Kliphuis w/Sam Militich & the Clearwater Hot Club @ Heartland (Gypsy jazz)

7:15 – Salsa Del Sol @ Rice Park

Friday, June 26


6pm – Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet @ Mears Park Main Stage

7pm – John Penny Trio @ Heartland Restaurant

8:30pm – Matra @ Golden’s Deli

8:30pm – Black Market Brass @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

Outside of Downtown

7pm – Ticket To Brasil @ Como Dockside Pavilion

Saturday, June 27


9:30pm – Tony Marino @ The Hat Trick Lounge

10pm – Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra

Outside of Downtown

7pm – Robert Everst Expedition @ Como Dockside Pavillion

Youth Jazz

Saturday, June 27

10pm – 11:30pm – Master Class with drummer Kevin Washington @ The Bedlam Theater

Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Showcase @ Union Depot

12pm – Joe’s Jazz Camp (Saint Paul Middle School)

1pm  – Jazz Around Minneapolis Jazz Camp

2pm – City Six, from Iowa City

3pm – Yonci & the Footprints, from SW High in Minneapolis

4pm – The Dakota Combo


Thursday, June 25 


6pm – Pippi Ardenia @ Mears Park

7pm – JoAnn Funk @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

8pm – Patty Peterson @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

8:30pm – Charmin Michelle @ Golden’s Deli

Outside of Downtown

5pm – 7pm – Yolande Bruce & Debbie Duncan @ Arnellia’s

7pm – Arne Fogel & Maude Hixson @ Mancini’s

8pm – Lucia Newell Quartet @ 7th Street Social

Friday, June 26


5pm – Jason and the Q – Union Depot

7pm – Jazz Mn Orch w/Patty Peterson

7pm – JoAnn Funk @ Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

Outside of Downtown

5pm – Debbie Duncan @ Arnellia’s

8:30pm – Lee Engele & Vicky Mountain @ Ngon Bistro

Saturday, June 27


6:30pm – Blue-7 Featuring Sarah M. Greer @ The Hat Trick Lounge

7pm – JoAnn Funk @ the Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar

7:15 – Debbie Duncan @ 6th Street Stage

8:30pm – Joyce Lyons & Friends @ Golden’s Deli

Outside of Downtown

5pm – Yolande Bruce @ Arnellia’s

Mainstream Jazz 

Thursday, June 25


8pm – Jon Weber Trio @ Vieux Carre

10pm Solomon Parham @ The Bedlam Theater

10pm – Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar

Friday, June 26


4pm – Laura Caviani @ Mears Park Main Stage

8:30pm – Potter, Holland, Loueke, Harland @ Mears Park Main Stage

7:15pm – No Room for Squares @ 6th Street Stage

8pm – Jazz Central All Stars @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

8:30pm – Jon Weber Trio @ Vieux Carre

10pm – Solomon Parham @ The Bedlam Theater

10pm – What Would Monk Do @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar

Outside of Downtown

6pm – Phil Aaron, Steve Pikal, & Phil Hey @ Ngon Bistro

Saturday, June 27


4pm – Ted Olsen Quintet @ Mears Park Main Stage

6pm – Marquis Hill Blacktet @ Mears Park Main Stage

7pm – Kevin Washington Quintet @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall

7pm – Bottomless Pit @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar

8pm – Javi Santiago Trio @ The Beldam Theater

8pm – Andre Stephani @ SW Craft Bar

8:30pm – Francisco Mela’s Crash Trio w/Nicholas Payton

9pm – Jon Weber Trio @ Vieux Carre

10pm Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar


Another Good Week. Music: 5.7 – 5.13

May 7, 2014

images-1From young jazz musicians to boomer rockers, an oratorio on slavery and some mighty fine blues, we are privileged to be able to choose from a rich palette of music here in Minneapolis/Saint Paul. Music certainly lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 7

Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Two acoustic guitars + Jazz + Bluegrass + Two creative minds + Two virtuosos = Fireworks for guitar lovers.

O'Brien at play

O’Brien at play

Michael O’Brien Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Donation) Minneapolis bassist O’Brien has been based in Brooklyn for a few years now, and lately has been traveling (and playing) around the world. He’ll be joined tonight by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums; to rework some of his old arrangements and play songs from his fine CD, Tunes I Like to Play, which you can sample on his website.

Thursday, May 8

Charmin & Shapira & Friends @ The Dakota. 7pm (No Cover) When the sweet vocals of Charmin Michelle are combined with the tasteful, swinging sounds of Joel Shapira’s acoustic guitar, the results are sublime. Tonight they’re joined by friends on sax, bass & drums to round out an engaging evening of music.

Maurice Jacox @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Donation) Maurice brings his vocal chops to the “basement family room” of jazz. Thomas West will accompany him on the JC piano.

The Dakota Combo @ Antonello Hall, MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 8pm (Free) In September of each year, an open audition is held for high school students to study and perform as part of the Dakota Combo. They study with bassist Adam Linz, jazz coordinator at MacPhail, and then perform at various venues and schools during the school year. This marks the Spring concert for the group, which is as talented a group of young musicians as you can find. Full disclosure: I chair the organization that sponsors the group.

Friday, May 9

Paula Lammers @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Lammers, a sweetly swinging vocalist, teams up with Phil Aaron on piano and Ray Siegel on bass to deliver an evening of standards seasoned with some under-recorded gems. Here she is doing No Moon at All.

Will Kjeer/Levi Schwartzberg Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Here are two high school seniors who are members of the Dakota Combo and who also have been playing professionally around town. Pianist Will Kjeer has been playing with his own group, Blue Haven, as well as with veterans such as Steve Kenny, Dave Brittain, & Jana Nyberg. Levi Schwartzberg plays both vibes and piano in bands such as Blue Haven, Sound Skirmish, and the Cosmic Troubadours. Both are finishing their second year with the Dakota Combo and will be heading off to college next fall.

Courageous Endeavors CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm, ($8) Four twenty-somethings, each of whom has been making his mark in Twin Cities jazz, are releasing Prototype, their debut album of original songs. Though the use of a Fender Rhodes gives it a slightly 70s vibe, the time signatures and melodies are 21st Century. The group includes Nelson Devereaux, saxes; Joe Strachan, Fender Rhodes; Brian Courage, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, May 10

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Group 47 @ Sweet 317, Northern Warehouse, 308 Prince Street, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Trumpeter (Flumpeter?) Steve Kenny has gathered some of the best young talent around for this group: pianist Will Kjeer is finishing up his senior year in high school; Thomas Strommen, sax, is a sophomore at UW-River Falls; drummer Alex Burgess also studies at River Falls; while bassist Adam Tucker has been playing and recording music in the Twin Cities for a number of years. Though their new album, Straight to Vinyl, won’t be out for another month, you can hear some previews in the comfy confines of a house concert. For tickets and more info, go to

Monday, May 12

Brian Grivna @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Donation) Tenor sax player Grivna is a veteran of the Buddy Rich Orchestra, the Guthrie. He’s toured with the Minnesota Orchestra and with Bobby McFerrin and the SPCO. He continues to work with both the Orchestra and SPCO, as well as in the pit band for touring shows. His appearances at Jazz Central are always a delight.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 7

Erik Koskinen Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) If anyone ever asks how to define Americana music, point them to Koskinen’s recordings. With his writing and singing, Koskinen has a way of connecting with the hopes and fears of both toilers and dreamers. His incisive guitar playing draws from rock n’ roll, country and even some classic folk.

Thursday, May 8

Cooker John & Mikkel Beckmen @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Mikkel Beckmen, of the rub board and found percussion, brings in a different guest each week for a genial gathering of business folk, old hippies, and young fans of roots music. This week he’s invited fingerpicker/acoustic blues singer Cooker John to share the stage.

Youngblood Brass Band @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12)  Madison is about as unlikely a place for a New Orleans Brass Band as Minneapolis, but these guys have made it work. YBB has collaborated with hip-hop artists, sold out dates in over 20 countries and continue to stretch boundaries and gain fans. Twin Cities trumpeter Adam Meckler has been playing with them on their recent tour through the west, which has also included a number of workshops in elementary and high schools. Opening is Mpls rapper Botzy.


Friday, May 9

Dee Miller Band @ The Sherwood Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) This venue has remained under the radar as far as I know. Not so The Dee Miller Band, with the potent combination of Miller on take-no-prisoners vocals and Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar.

Friday, Saturday, May 9, 10

Kelly Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) The piano-pounding sassy singer from Kansas City has been appearing at the Dakota so often, she’s probably sampled most of their dinners. She has a new CD, The Beautiful Bones, about to be released, and it’s already garnering praise, so expect some new material.

Saturday, May 10

Unknown-2TU Dance 10th Anniversary Concert @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23 – $48) It’s been ten years since Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands, both veterans of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, started their own troupe. They are marking the anniversary with the premiere of Hikari, an Ordway-commissioned pice created by Uri Sands in collaboration with master wood block print artist Hiroki Morinoue. Uri Sands will also perform Alvin Ailey’s Twin Cities with special guest Laurel Keen, and the troupe will also perform Lady, a signature piece for the company, and the Minnesota premiere of Uri Sands’ One. All in all, a very special evening for fans of dance.

Let My People Go! A Spiritual Journey Along the Underground Railway @ Hamline United Methodist Church, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20, $30) This is a concert-length oratorio featuring T. Mychael Rambo and Aimee K. Bryant in the roles of narrator, and the 75-voice Oratorio Society Chorus. It’s presented by the Oratorio Society of Minnesota. In essence, the piece by composer Dolnald McCulloug interweaves spirituals into a script that explores the ingenuity of America’s slaves, who created “coded” messages within much of their music.

Boom Boom Steve & The Knockouts @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) This small East Metro club provides an intimate space for listening to the passionate harp playing of Boom Boom Steve, with John Franken, guitar; John Shroeder, bass; and Dwight Dario on drums. One or two couples can also dance.

Sunday, May 11

Pat Donahue & Daddy Squeeze @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip jar) Both Donahue and Dan Newton are expertly conversant in a number of genres. The master finger-picking guitarist and wizard of the “stomach Steinway” combine for an evening of music that may range from blues to gypsy jazz to polkas.

Sultans of String @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) This Canadian quartet of two guitars, bass, and fiddle has received raves wherever they go, with their blend of gypsy jazz, Spanish flamenco, Arabic folk, and other genre-blending sounds.

Flamin’ Groovies @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25) Comning out of San Francisco in 1965, The Groovies played what would eventually become known as power pop, using a two-guitar attack to rock up some r&b, classic rock n’ roll, and originals. They were mostly ignored, and certainly outsold by the more psychedelic bands of the time. After the inevitably splintering, quitting, they became cult favorites. After finally reuniting a couple of years ago, they are on the move and on tour. They still rock out, as you can see in the video below. Might Mofos open.


Monday, May 12

Willie Murphy’s Blue Monday Jam @ Richfield American Legion, Richfield 7pm (Tip Jar) Willie’s been doing a Blue Monday Jam for  decades, though the location has changed from time to time, as when the old Viking Bar closed. You never know who will show up and take part, but you do know it will be fun, as Willie goes through a repertoire that includes old rock n’ roll, blues, and originals.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


Record Store Day and More. Music: 4.17. 4.23

April 17, 2013
Mr Spock knows the power of vinyl

Mr Spock knows the power of vinyl

Can we finally be welcoming Spring? One sure sign is Record Store Day this Saturday. It’s a day to visit your independent record store where you’ll find special releases, and at some, performances by area artists. Flip through racks of vinyl and CDs. Check with stores like Eclipse in Saint Paul, and Hymie’s, Treehouse, the Electric Fetus, and Roadrunner Records in Minneapolis to see what they have in store for the day. And once you’ve obtained some recorded product, make sure you support the musicians by going out and hearing them perform. We’ve got some notable jazz artists visiting our fair cities, and many resident artists worthy of your attention. Have a good week.


Wednesday, April 17 Zacc Harris Trio @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm  (Free) Harris on guitar brings New York bassist Ryan Berg and drummer Lars Larson to the South Minneapolis neighborhood bistro. Good food, terrific cocktails, and outstanding music. If you make reservations, which is always recommended, ask for a table near the band.

Thursday, April 18

DownloadedFileTalking Strings @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This is a new configuration of players that is worth getting excited about. Pavel Jany is the guitarist behind Ticket to Brasil. He’s versatile in a number of genres, including jazz, Latin, and classical settings. Gary Schulte on violin is likewise a master of his instrument. He’s played with David Byrne, Ballet of the Dolls, Klezmerica, and in gypsy jazz and occasional blues settings. Andrew Forman provides the foundation on bass. Another versatile musician, he’s played with Max Corcorn Project, Ticket To Brasil, Paisley Parker, and any number of jazz, Latin, and soul aggregations.

Francisco Mela @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Free) Cuban born percussionist Mela will be conducting a free workshop, including performances with Tanner Taylor, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Brandon Wozniak, sax;  An interesting evening for music fans as well as musicians, sponsored by the Twin Cities Jazz Society.

Friday, April 19

Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Bellows plays valve trombone. Washington plays reeds. Together with Chis Bates on bass; and Pete Hennig on drums, this groups creates free jazz, as in music that isn’t written or planned beforehand. You need lots of experience and good communication to make such musicianship work, and this group has it in spades.

Friday, Saturday, April 19, 20

David Hazeltine @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Pianist Hazeltine is known as a “musician’s musician.” The man can play. He’s an inventive, 21st Century player who’s well grounded in the classics. This is a show that jazz fans will not want to miss. For an example of his playing, check out this video of him playing a Monk tune.

Sunday April 21 DownloadedFile-1

Red Planet @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm ($15) The Twin Cities Jazz Society is presenting this trio in The Spirit of Trane. it may seem strange to have a guitar trio take on the music of John Coltrane, but  Dean Magraw  guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein on drums successfully treat Coltrane’s material with imagination and verve.

JoAnn Funk w/The Roseville Strings @ Concordia Academy, 2400 North Dale, Roseville. 3:30pm (Free) The Roseville String ensemble will be performing a few classical numbers (Tartini, Handel) and then feature JoAnn as a guest soloist on “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” a classic by Duke Ellington. Pre-concert discussion at 3pm.

Tuesday, April 23

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Dave Karr brings his quartet to the AQ on a different night than usual. The music won’t be affected, of course. Karr and his bandmates (Chris Lomheim, pno; Billy Peterson, bs; and Kenny Horst, drums) will still deliver standards, bebop, and more.

Molly Ringwald @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Yes, that Molly Ringwald, of Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club, and Sixteen Candles. When she was a little girl, she wanted to sing like Bessie Smith. Her dad was a jazz musician, and her film career more or less got in the way of a singing career. She’s just released an album with songs from The American Songbook, as well as a few surprises. Listen to this cut from her album.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, April 18 Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) The Droppers are a quartet of musicians who’ve played with Greazy Meal, Beat the Clock, The BoDeans, and Prince, among others. Chris Beaty, guitar; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jim Anton, bass; and Noah Levy on drums create a pop/soul sound featuring originals and covers from the likes of Booker T and others.

Friday, April 19 Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee’s hard-touring, hard-working Reverend has become a regular fixture around here, visiting a few times a year, during which time he’s gained numerous fans for his blues, delivered like a shot of whiskey – straight up – with the same results hitting you in the gut and the head. Check out him and the band.

Gene LaFond and the Wild Unknown @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No cover) LaFond is one of those legendary singers that you never heard of. He first heard Bob Dylan when Dylan was playing coffeehouses here in the Twin Cities. Eventually, Gene started writing and singing his own uplifting songs, thanks to his friendship and musical partnership with the late Larry Kegan, befriending Dylan and opening for him. They were flown to San Francisco by Neil Young to open for him at a benefit with 20,000 in the audience. The Wild Unknown, LaFond’s first CD, was produced by Willie Murphy. Kegan has also opened for folks like Ramlin’ Jack Elliot and Kinky Friedman. This is a rare chance to hear LaFond and his band. Here they are with Scarlet Rivera on violin, doing a Dylan tune.

Grolar Bears & Friends @ Cause, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Grolar Bears is a large (>12 pieces) funk band that recorded a neo-blaxploitation soundtrack which ended up on a few best-of lists in the Twin Cities. Opening are Golden Bubbles, who admire Disco music, and the lo-fi Soul sounds of Black Diet. Funkateering Deejay Brian Engel will spin vinyl between sets.

Saturday, April 20

Cornbread Harris 86th Birthday Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 3pm The blues piano man is still tickling the ivories. Stop by to help him and a number of musicians celebrate his birthday.

Dee & the Band

Dee & the Band

Dee Miller Band @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Duchess of the Blues knows when to let loose, and when to simmer. She’s got a tight band, featuring Jimi “Prime Time” Smith. Butt-rockin’ blues, but not rock-blues.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This monthly celebration of the 45rpm record just keeps bringing out the dancers – both young and old.

Monday, April 22

Reina Del Cid & Martin Devaney @ the Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Young songwriter Del Cid leads an excellent little band playing her excellent songs. Martin Devaney is a singer/songwriter who has been producing great music for well over a decade now. The “mayor of saint paul” has shared a stage with dozens of national acts, and continues to create well-crafted songs.

Neighborhood Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm. Steve Roehm, vibes; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Dan Schwartz, guitar & vocals, provide laid back, atmospheric tunes.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Ice Drumming

January 9, 2013

Before I post my normal weekly preview, I want to post this video,which shows a group of Siberian percussionists creating music using the ice of Lake Baikal, the deepest and oldest lake in the world.  Needless to say, don’t try this if you don’t know the thickness of the ice. Music is everywhere, if you know how to listen.


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