Obituary – Larry Englund

February 4, 2019

Well, it appears that I’ve died. Passed away, departed, checked out, left this earthly vale, kicked the bucket, left town… you get the idea. I went home, as it were on Saturday February 2nd, 2019, at the age of 73 after lengthy treatments for stomach cancer. I am survived by Liz, my loving wife of 23 years.

I was born and raised in the Bronx, the only son of Carl, a carpenter, and Edna, a housewife and excellent cook of comfort food. As a child, I was coddled by my three sisters. I have tried to live a life of kindness and understanding. Perhaps that is what led me to social work while in college.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve been an explorer of sorts, open to new experiences and adventures. My work life has been… varied. I stopped counting after 28 jobs, but can say I learned something from each job. Eventually, I got into tech writing and then marketing for hi-tech and medical companies. When I retired in 2007, I was working for Public Art Saint Paul.

Music & Me

My “Baby Book” (do they still have them?) tells of me loving my little turntable and golden records. My sister Lorraine turned me on to the music of Big Joe Turner and Fats Domino when I was about ten, and a few years later I became a teenage deejay, using one of those 45-only turntables for Friday Night dances at a church basement in the Bronx. I kept up my interest in music through college, and chose music for parties throughout my twenties and thirties. I started hosting shows on KFAI radio in 1981. Over 28 years I hosted three different shows and subbed for many others. I’ve been involved in producing a couple of outdoor festivals, as well as a show called Saint Paul Live! for KBEM and have served on the board of the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

As a music writer, I interviewed folks like James Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Nick Lowe, Bo Diddley, Allen Toussant, and Esperanza Spaulding, as well as numerous Twin Cities musicians. I started my blog,, in 2010, and have written weekly on upcoming music events as well as featuring an occasional interview.

Adventures: High and Low

My adventures have included biking from Minneapolis to New Orleans; traveling with a band on tour in Peru, during which I spent a day at Machu Picchu and took part in a cleansing ceremony led by Incan shamans. I’ve visited pyramids in Mexico and Guatemala; hitchhiked cross-country a number of times; played tambourine and sang back-up in front of thousands of Luther Leaguers. Liz and I saw the “Wrapped Reichstag” in Berlin; visited the hamlet where my father lived in Finland; lived in the Netherlands for three years; visited Havana twice; built homes in Costa Rica; and, along with my wife Liz, were the only Americans on a bus traversing the Finland/Russia border.

Here are a few things I have learned, in no particular order:

  • When working road construction, never, ever leave your lunch bucket where it can get run over by a truck
  • When the computer asks, “Delete file?” Always take a moment, and a deep breath, before hitting the key
  • Even if it’s after midnight and you’re dead tired from working 14 hours, always take a shower after spending an evening cleaning a turkey processing plant
  • Having the Pope in town is no guarantee for success in selling Pope T-shirts
  • Always be open to exploration — even if it’s just trying some new food
  • The more you travel, the more you understand the traits that tie us together are stronger than the traits that separate us
  • Having a partner that can use humor to point out foibles and miscommunications helps keep a relationship on an even, happy keel

That’s it. It’s been a good life. I’m leaving behind a loving wife, Liz, whom I adore, two sisters, Janet and Rene, and a passel of nieces, nephews, cousins, and many, many good-hearted, loving friends. Thanks to everyone for their support during these last few years. See you on the other side, wherever that may be.

A memorial / celebration service featuring some of the area bands that I have been so fond of will be held in March at the Hook and Ladder in Minneapolis.

Please share if you knew Larry.

Temporarily suspending publication

January 16, 2019

Dear Friends;

I am temporarily suspending publication of this music blog. After being hospitalized twice for complications with some newly discovered cancer, I am completely spent. The good news is that I start a new treatment regimen tomorrow. However, I’ve no idea how side effects will affect me, or what ind of energy I will have for the next few weeks, and so I’ll just have to wait and see.  In the meantime, there’s always good music out there to Lift Your Spirit. Thanks for your support. 


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.


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