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
Talking 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.
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.
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 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.