TC Jazz Fest and More: 6.21 – 6.27

June 21, 2017

Greetings everyone;

It’s the big weekend for jazz fans as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday through Saturday. Great headliners and about 300 resident artists will be appearing on stages all over town. Besides Mears Park, Rice Park, and the Union Depot, downtown venues include the Black Dog Cafe, Golden’s Deli, the Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), the Hat Trick Lounge, The Amsterdam, and others. Don’t forget the piano-centric acts at Vieux Carré, with its late night jam, and the stage in the tpt building featuring vocalists all weekend. There are also performances at venues outside of downtown at venues like the Como Dockside and the Episcopal homes. I’ve got the link to the schedule below. Fans of blues and roots also have reasons to be happy, as I’ve listed. Remember, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 21

Lee Engele @ The Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7pm (Free) A preview gig for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Vocalist Engele has a particularly good way with acoustic swing aka gypsy jazz, though she handles standards and the occasional bossa nova with elegance and ease, especially with such stellar accompaniment as Reynold Philipsek on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass. .

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to the Great American Songbook, though she’s adept at pop as well. She’ll be accompanied by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Christian Sands @ The Dakota, Minneapolls. 7pm ($20) Sands is an up and coming pianist who has already arrived in some sense. He’s been a key member of Christian McBride’s Trio for a number of years, was nominated for five Grammys, and was mentored by pianist Billy Taylor. He recently released his debut recording, Reach.

JT Bates Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul 8:00pm ($6) Get your B3 organ fix as drummer Bates brings Kevin Gasonguey, B3, and Zacc Harris, guitar, to the basement club. Things will be cookin!

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23, 24

Twin Cities Jazz Festival  @ Saint Paul locations. (Free) It’s about the most anticipated event of the year for area jazz fans, though fans of R&B, funk, and world music also get to hear some of their favorite bands for free. You can find the schedule here. Needless to say, headliners Anat Cohen, Terrance Blanchard, McCoy, and others are well worth your while, but get to Mears Park early to also hear folks like Emmet Cohen, Bobby Lyle, and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code in opening slots. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase at Union Depot has been expanded to both Friday and Saturday, with the McNally Smith Vocal Ensemble headlining on Friday, and the Dakota Combo headlining on Saturday.

Friday, Saturday, June 23, 24

Django Festival All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Honoring the “hot jazz” (aka gypsy jazz) of Django Rheinhardt, this sextet brings their own creativity to the swinging style. Author and critic Will Friedwald, said of them, “the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe.”

Sunday, June 25

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ The Church of Saint Albert, East 29th Street & 32 Ave, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3pm ($20) Part of a monthly music series examining the music of the 20, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Today it’s the music of the 1930s. Both vocalist Hixson and pianist Carlson excel at this sort of thing.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you aren’t quite ready to give up the spirit of the jazz fest, you can continue your jazz jones with the ever-inventive guitarist Zacc Harris and his trio.

Monday, June 26

Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Cellist Greg Byers leads this quartet: Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums.

Tuesday, June 27

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45/wDinner) Pianist Johnson lived in the Twin Cities for a few years, entertaining us with his lovely playing. Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been playing a booking jazz. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. He has a unique program for 7-17 year olds called Reach afar, to educate them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 27, 28

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. Until the last year or so she was on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them. She’s performed here about twice a year in the last three years and her shows often sell out, or come close to it. Be forewarned.

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, June 21

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Northurp Auditorium Plaza, U of MN, Minneapolis. Noon (Free) Grab a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and if you keep it hidden, perhaps a bottle of wine, and have a picnic while enjoying the music of this “bongos and berets” group, playing French musettes, a cumbia or two, and some old standards.

Cooker John Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cooker John learned to fingerpick from Artie Traum in NYC during the folk boom of the 60s. Since then he’s traveled the country, has played in numerous bands, and for the past few decades has played solo, or with one or two others. I recall hearing about him playing the Midwest back in the 80s. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Randall Webb, Ben Kaplan, and John Vizard. Listen in and head over to the 331 Club if you want to hear more.

Paul Bergen & the Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ The Hook & Ladder, Minnapolis. 7pm (No cover) Honky-tonkin’ swamp country blues from members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Curtss A’ band and others. This is part of a June residency that takes place in H&L’s lounge.

Jillian Rae & Hannah von der Hoff @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 8pm ($6) Fiddler/singer/songwriter Jillian Rae has a Wednesday night June residency at the Aster, bringing her band along to help while she sings her own originals as well as some tasty covers. Tonight she has guitarist/singer/songwriter Hannah von der Hoff along for the ride. Here’s Hannah!

Thursday, June 22

Mikkel Beckmen w/Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen has slide guitar master Jeff Ray as his guest at this after work gig.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) Soul, R&B, and ballads from a master vocalist.

Jonatha Brooke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooke has released nine albums of literate adult pop and two live discs, all of which were well received by critics if not exactly big sellers, and has used crowd funding on her last two albums. Though born in Boston, and having lived in Los Angeles and New York, Brooke relocated to Minneapolis last year, home to her husband/manager. She’s happy with the move, and has been having fun calling on resident talent to fill her bands here. Tonight, she’ll be accompanied by Kevin Gastonguay on keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Joey van Phillips, drums; Aby Wolf, vocals; Rebecca Arons, cello; and Sean Driscoll, guitar.

Friday, June 23

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) He was known as Wee Willie Walker during the 60s and 70s Soul Explosion, and still goes by that name on his website, but the name doesn’t account for his sonorous voice, with a bit a whiskey gravel to it, and an interpretive ability that defines soul.

Charlie Parr @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) It’s nine months since this blues vagabond opened the H&L, so apparently it’s time to have him back. Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders open.

Saturday, June 24

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free) The ribs at Big Daddy’s will get an extra helping of funky soulfulness as the big-voiced blues belter Big George Jackson performs as part of the the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Papa John Kolstand & the Perfect Phitts @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Singer, raconteur, and guitarist Papa John Kolstad brings his wit, wisdom, and sense of fun to Merlins, the best neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. The Phitts are Bill Smith, harmonica and vocals; Gary Powell, National Steel and vocals; and Bill Grenke, bass. There is a reason they’re called the Perfect Phitts as they play seamlessly and perform some three part harmonies.

Sunday, June 25

The Funky United @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) I may be mistaken, but this appears to be a new group, though it’s members have been around for a while: Scott Glaser, bass; Dev Jana, guitar; Chris Kellick, keys; Tim Moran, drums; and Mick Sterling, vocals.. They play original funky soul.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) It’s the last Sunday of the month, so the Gang once again holds court at the oldest continually operating bar in MN. Today, Papa John Kolstad will be in the hot seat, playing with Bill Greinke, bass; Rena Haus and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on 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.


Back in the Saddle: 6.14 – 6.20

June 14, 2017

Taken on a different vacation by Andrea Hjelm. The first time on horseback in 30 years.

Well, I’m back in the saddle again, so to speak, after a brief interruption in posting when my vacation was involuntarily extended. All is good, and I’m looking forward to a week of great music from both visiting and resident artists. This Sunday is Father’s Day and that means that the Stone Arch Festival will be taking place all weekend. Besides booths of art, crafts, and food, there are plenty of artists performing, in genres ranging from classic rock and punk, to Americana and C&W, to even a bit of jazz, but I have to admit I know only a few. A schedule of performers can be found here. Have a great week. Remember music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 14

Candy Dulfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35, $40) This Dutch saxophonist has played with Maceo Parker, Aretha Franklin, Lionel Richie, mavis Staples, Beyonce, Van Morrison and more, and has been name-checked by Prince. She’s had several number 1 hits in the US, and is a big draw at festivals around the world.

Gary LaRue & the Rat Pack Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) If ever there was a great spot to hear the music of Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, and other swinging cats from the 50s, it’s the lounge at Mancini’s.

Thursday, June 15

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight it’s the Wayne Horvitz Group: Horvitz, keys; Josh Granowski, bass; Davu Seru, drums, a combination of musicians who celebrate adventurous music making.

Lucia Newell & The Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Newell is a wonderful singer who is conversant in all manner of jazz and Brazilian music (she spent two years singing there). She only plays selected dates each year, so this is a perfect opportunity to hear her, especially since she’ll be backed by the swinging Wolverines Trio. Here she is in her Brazilian mode.

Friday, June 16

Adam Booker @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Booker put out a fine recording, Unraveled Rival, on Shifting Paradigm records in 2015.  He has an extensive history with Duluth groups such as The New Orleans Hot Club, the Jazz Pharaohs, the Asylum Street Spankers, and others. This is his last Twin Cities appearance. After teaching at UMN- Duluth for many years, he heading to Appalachian State University where he’ll be Assistant Professor of Double Bass at the Hayes School of Music. Joining him are Levi Schwarzberg, vibes; and Ben Baldwin, drums.

Kevin Washington Quintet @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Drummer Washington is a master of rhythms, whether playing with Nachito Herrera, Viva Brazil or any of a number of jazz luminaries, such as Anthony Cox, Roscoe Mitchell, James Carter, Fred Wesley or the David Murray Big Band. He’ll undoubtedly have some Twin Cities luminaries in his quintet. Pippi Ardennia and the PipJazz All Stars open this summertime outdoor event.

Saturday, June 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) As is often the case, the evening starts with a young group. Drummer Simon Petrick, who is a member of this year’s Dakota Combo will be leading a group at 7pm. Then at 8:30pm it’s How Birds Work, a quartet started during the heyday of the Artists’ Quarter and featuring Dean Granros, guitar; Peter Schimke, keyboards, Chris Bates, bass, and Kenny Horst, drums. They play high-quality, demanding jazz from the likes of Coltrane, Shorter, Hancock, and more.

Joel Shapira CD Release @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No Cover) Guitarist Shapira has had an every other week solo early gig at the Vieux for almost two years now, and has developed a bit of a following there, members of whom have asked for a solo CD. Well, he’s delivered. The CD, In Essence, contains some gems from the Great American Songbook as well as modern jazz classics by Coltrane, Miles, and Monk, including his third recording of Bemsha Swing. In a recent interview with Tom Surowicz for the Highland Villager, Shapira said, “It’s a challenge, reducing piano music to the guitar.” Shapira is more than up to it.

Sunday, June 18

Nancy Harms @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, 425; $40, $50 Dinner Show) Though not exposed to jazz until she attended college, Ms Harms, a Clara City, MN native performs as if born to the role of jazz singer. She has an innate sense of time and phrasing and an ability to imbue songs with just the right amount of humanity to fully tell each song’s story. She is a uniquely gifted performer who has established herself in NYC and Europe. Her shows here in town are always well-attended, if not sold out, so be forewarned that the Dunsmore Room only seats 80.

Regina Marie Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm )$17 – $22) You may have seen Williams in any number of roles at the Guthrie, Penumbra, Park Square, and Mixed Blood theaters. She’s a fine actress – she’s won an Ivey Award, was named City Pages Best Actress of 2016, and received the McKnight Theater Artist Award. She is also a great songstress, who can whisper as well as soar, as attested by roles where she’s played Dinah Washington and Nina Simone.

Monday, June 19

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Canadian saxophonist Jane Bunnett has been nominated twice for a Grammy and received a number of Canada’s music awards. She went to Cuba back in 1982 and fell in love with the sensual, yet intricate rhythms of the island. She’d often use them with her contemporary jazz performances, and recently assembled an all-star cast of female Cuban musicians to form Maqueque. Their second album, Odara, was released last fall.

Adam Astrup @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (!0, $5 w/Student ID)Though newly graduated from high school, guitarist Astrup as been impressing audiences in various groups for a couple of years now, including the Dakota Combo and two or three groups of his own. Tonight he and members of his quintet will be playing originals. Members include: Nick Benish, bass; Andrew Tomten, Sax; Patrick Adkins, keys; and Simon Petrick, drums. Here he is in a trio setting.

JT’s Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. ($8) This long running weekly event, curated by drummer JT Bates, always features forward thinking artists, whether from the Twin Cities or beyond. Tonight features The Jon Davis Quartet for set one: Davis, bass & woodwinds; Chuck Love trumpet, flute, melodica, & percussion, Bryan Nichols, keys; and Greg Schutte, drums. Performing set two is The George Marich Trio; Marich, drums, George Cartwright, saxes; and Josh Granowski, bass.

Tuesday, June 20

Jordan Anderson Group @ Walker West, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (free) This dazzling young pianist was a member of the Dakota Combo prior to attending the University of Michigan, where he was recruited by, and studies with, none other than Benny Green. I believe he’ll have talented contemporaries with him: Peter Goggin, saxophone; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Here he is while still a HS student, with a different group

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, June 14

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Pack up a picnic and head out the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory to  boogie down to the amped up blues, country, and roots music from the guitarist/songwriter who’s the pride of Anoka  Plus there’s a climbing wall, bouncy tent and other distractions for the wee ones.

The Dollys on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Dollys are Joanna Jahn, Kari Shaw, and Megan Shaw, or are all enamored of the three-part harmonies of EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt. They also perform songs by other female country artists as well as their own versions of folk and Americana hits. Tune in to Harold’s House Party at 5pm, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 Club to see them in person.

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15; $40 for Dinner Show) A creative pairing of legendary, excellent musicians. Pianist Thompson and Fingerstyle Guitarist Donahue mine classic blues and jazz, that is from the 20s and 30s, with an occasional original that fits the style. The Dunsmore Room provides a quiet, intimate space to fully appreciate their musicianship, craftsmanship, and easy-going banter. Here’s a track from the album the duo made, featuring Thompson on clarinet.

Robert Earl Keen @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($40 Advance, $45 Door) Regular listeners of Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ show know that every Christmas he plays Keen’s Merry Christmas from the Family, a description of a blended family at Christmas time. No matter what your background, this tale of a family gathering will include something that’s funny and familiar. It’s a perfect example of his wit and powers of observation, as his his take on modern life called Wireless in Heaven. He’s been writing songs for over three decades and continues to sharpen his wit and entertain folk, and was inducted into the Texas Heritage Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, while a couple of years ago he became the first recipient of BMI’s Troubadour Award. Keen takes a few minutes to introduce the band before singing on this video.

Thursday, June 15

Doug Little’s Seven Steps to Havana @ Arlington Hills Library, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) This septet led by flutist/saxophonist Doug Little features musicians from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Ethiopia, and the US. Their hip-swaying music uses the fiery rhythms of salsa and the rich harmonies of jazz.

Mikkel Beckmen w/Martin Devaney @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist Mikkel Beckmen’s weekly residency is always a great place to stop after work and down a pint in a friendly setting while Beckmen invites guests to share the stage. This week he has Martin Devaney, hard working guitarist and prolific songwriter working on his seventh full length album. Here’s Devaney.

Steve Clarke Quartet w/Patty Peterson @ Seven Steak House, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover?) It seems that Seven Steak House at 7th & Hennepin has new management, and has decided to bring in music on Thursdays. Tonight Steve Clarke brings his swinging saxophone to the venue, along with guest vocalist Patty Peterson, who is equally at home in jazz and R&B. Not sure if you have to order a meal or can hang at the bar, so you may want to call to get particulars.

Friday, June 16

Garland Jeffreys @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooklyn native Jeffreys has been creating urban rock since the 60s, first hitting with Wild in the Streets back in the 70s. His songs have been covered by punkers and neo-folkies, and he’s worked with folks ranging from John Cale, Lou Reed, U2,  and Dr. John to Stan Getz and Sonmny Rollins. Jeffrey’s latest two albums, The King of In Between from 2011, and Truth Serum in 2013 received great reviews and his latest, the newly-released 14 Steps to Harlem, is sure to bring him new fans, at least based on the three songs I’ve heard.

Celtic Rock Night @ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) These days Celtic music is more than fiddles and whistles, and tonight in an event sponsored by the MN Music Coalition, will certainly prove that out. Performing are The Sweet Colleens, a quintet of multi-instrumentalists playing high-energy fiddle and accordion-driven Celtic Americana who just released their 5th album; Belfast-born Leslie Rich a guitarist singer who has played with The Hounds of Finn and Leslie Rich & the Rocket Soul Choir since emigrating to the US, and The Tim Malloys, who fuse traditional Irish music with pub rock and the sensibility (and sound) of Minneapolis punk rock.

Lowland Lakers @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a seated show of Americana as this trio, with roots in Duluth, play their last gig with Dr. Matt Donoghue on bass – he’s taking a position as Emergency Medicine Resident. Opening is the talented Rachel Hanson, who’s a north country artist herself. Then the Last Jackson will close out the evening.

Paul Cebar @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee native Paul Cebar has been at this songwriting/singing/playing thing for decades, always finding ways to incorporate irresistible rhythms into his songs that provide a modern touch to old R&B ideas. For instance, you’ll be dancing along to something funky, when all of a sudden there’s a calypso break. No wonder legions of dancers come out for every performance.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 advance, $15 Door) Late night salsa dancing to this Twin Cities band that with the bona fides to perform classic Cuban music.

Saturday, June 17

Class Action @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) For three years in the late 70s and early 80s, Class Action was just about the most popular dance band in the Twin Cities. No wonder – look at their talented members: Rockie Robbins, who later had seven charting singles as a solo artist; Patty Peterson, who continues to sparkle as a jazz/R&B singer here in town; Ricky Perterson, the wizard keyboard player who played with David Sanborn for 20 years and countless other artiits; Candy Anderson Cretoekos, who started singing in church, and worked with Wayne Cochran & the CC Riders throughout the nation. She moved to Los Angeles from Minneapolis and returned to her church roots, performing throughout California; Stephen Faison, performer for hundreds of jingles and soundtracks and staff writer for recording studios, who worked withThe Coasters, Drifters, Walter Trout and Aretha Franklin and teaches here in town; Rick Cornish, who performed with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and who had one of his compositions premiered by the LA Philharmonic, and winner of numerous national and international awards; Rick Houle, who played in Passage and the Doug Maynard Band before moving to Seattle in 1984. Since then he’s worked with Ernestine Anderson, and is currently a member of a 12 piece group that plays the music of Steely Dan; finally there Glenn Swanson, who was a staff drummer at Creation Audio, who after Class Action went on to work with Sheila Raye Charles (daughter of Ray), including serving as emcee for a Japanese tour, and more recently produced vocalist Pippi Ardennia. Wow!

International Reggae All Stars @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($??) Here’s a chance for east-siders to hear the reggae sound of the All Stars outside of their weekly gig at Bunkers.

Rena Haus Trio @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Dusty’s is tiny, though a more upscale description would say intimate. Nevertheless it provides a great setting as guitarist/songwriter Rena Haus, her bassist brother Bob, and under-appreciated guitarist Ed Petsche will regale you with Rena’s original song stories and great covers of blues songs. Here she is solo.

Monday, June 19

Frankie Lee & Friends @ The Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Lee has the June residency for Monday nights at the rec room inspired Clown Lounge. He’s a country/folk singer whose debut album American Dreamer, was released in 2015 on London’s Loose Records. It promptly became well played on Europe’s radio stations, making many “best of” lists from the continent. It was released in America in the summer of 2016, earning him more praise from NPR, among others. Don’t know which friends will show up, but they include Michael Lewis bass, sax; Jeremy Ylvisaker, guitar; and JT Bates, drums, who appeared on his first EP.

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.


CD Releases and Visiting Artists: 5.31 – 6.5

May 31, 2017

Well, the beginning of June brings us at least three CD releases, some very fine visiting artists, and once again, a bevy of resident talent. Music lifts the spirit. PS: This was written a couple of weeks ago, before I left on vacation, so it might be wise to check with venues before going out.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 31

Chris Potter Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Saxophonist Potter was 18 when he joined bebop legend Red Rodney’s band. Since then he’s worked with Paul Motion’s Electric Bebop band, Jim Hall, Steely Dan, and may be best known for his extensive work with Dave Holland, though he’s been on over 100 albums as a sideman. He’ll have his Underground Quartet along, with Adam Rogers, guitar; Fima Ephron, bass; and Nate Smith, drums.

Geoff Bouchier @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bouchier is a guitarist who draws from R&B, funk, and jazz in playing music that ranges from the Great American Songbook to pop of the past 40 or 50 years. You’ve undoubted heard him on many radio and jingle recordings, but he also contributed tracks to Janet Jackson’s Control album and has performed with artists such as Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, The Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, and more. He’ll likely have play in a trio format, though who’ll be with him is unknown as of this writing.

Steven Hobert Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Pianist Hobert  eems to be everywhere lately, either as a sideman, working in world music contexts, or otherwise leading interesting groups. Tonight he’s joined by Pete Whitman, sax; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Arthur LA Buckner, drums. Here is Hobert with Issam Rafea, oud player.

Thursday, June 1 

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Another of Zacc Harris  many groups, all of which are excellent, no matter what approach they take to jazz. Tonight it’s: Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; JT Bates, drums.

Friday, June 2

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Three part harmonies from Prudence Johnson, Tim Sparks, and Tom Lieberman, who first formed Rio Nido in the 70s, put out a few albums, and then developed their own separate careers. A year or so back they reunited for a special event and were so well received that they’re now doing a few shows a year.

Pete Enblom/Bob Parsons Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Enblom played lead trombone for the Buddy Rich Band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and the Artie Shaw Orchestra. He currently plays with The Brian Setzer Orchestra, MNJazz, The Bill Simonson Orchestra, and the Explosion Big Band. Saxophonist Bob Parsons has played and/or arranged for Dave Stryker, Joe Henderson, The Wolverines Big Band, the Acme Jazz Company, and Andrew Walesch’s nonet, among others. No word at this time on who will round out the quartet.

HOAXER CD Release @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Four post-HS musicians have come together to create a CD produced by Steve Kenny, who has mentored each of them. Charlie Lincoln, bass; Will Kjeer, keys; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Caitlin, drums; all served in the Dakota Combo before going off to college a few years ago. They recorded the CD over two days last December, while home from school, and now that they’ve returned for the summer, are celebrating the release of Crash Test, featuring eight original compositions by members of the group.

Saturday, June 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening at 7pm: No Room for Squares, led by drummer Bill Steiger. Recent configurations of this group have included:Jon Pemberton, trumpet; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, saxes; Mikkel Ramstead, piano; and Adam Tucker, bass, though it’s hard to say who will be with him tonight. At 8:30pm it’s The Paul Harper Bardo Band, with Harper, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Tim Patrick & His Blue Eyes Band @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Patrick is the perfect example of someone who has reinvented himself late in life. After sitting in at the old Nye’s piano bar one evening, he discovered that he had a talent for singing. He’s gone on to embrace the music of crooners such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and has a band that plays out pretty often, whether for dancers, corporate events or weddings.

Monday, June 5

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm $30, $35) Guitarist Liebert is a pioneer in the Nouveau Flamenco style, which incorporates tradition flamenco technique in a modern pop context. It’s worked. In the last twenty years he’s released 25 albums, been nominated for a Grammy five times, and has received 38 certifications for Gold and Platinum sales status.

Will Kjeer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (($10, $5 w/Student ID) Many area jazz lovers have watched as pianist Kjeer has grown from a gifted high school student to an even more gifted college student/young adult finding his own voice as a musician. At this point I don’t know who he’ll have with him, but it’s likely to be some of his equally talented peers, back from college. Here he is leading a group in his original composition.

Tuesday, June 6

Bill Simenson Orchestra CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This monthly gig for the Simenson Orchestra is special tonight, as they are celebrating the release of Big Alpaca. It’s a fine album, full of twists and turns that will delight and surprise the listener. Of course, the band is outstanding with members that include Pete Whitmanm, Doug Little, Simenson himself on trumpet, Jake Baldwin, Pete enblom, Ted Godbout, David Maritn and more….

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music at http://www.jazz88.fm/live-music-calendar.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 31

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Hi-energy blues from Crankshaft  Anoka’s contribution to Deep Blues. You know the drill, as Harold Tremblay says.

Doug Otto & The Getaways @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The often forlorn vocals of Doug Otto are given just the right foundation of blues, Americana, and country sounds by the Getaways.

Thursday, June 1

Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $55) You know him best as the drummer from prog rockers Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, but before that Carl Palmer provided the rhythmic foundation for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Atomic Rooster, while afterwards he played with Asia. This show will feature new arrangements of instrumentals by ELP and a few others.

12 Bar Jambalaya @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) This five-piece band from Illinois plays a combination of funk, blues, and jazz, to get you jumping. Get a taste of their raucous sound here.

Friday, June 2

Toast in the Machine @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) Well, what we have here is a Police Tribute Band – really!  It’s likely the only one in Minnesota, so if you’re a fan of the original, you may want to check out TC Ortberg, Andy Schultz, and Andy Deckard paying homage to the original rock trio.

Wilkinson James @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Liz Wilkinson and AJ Scheiber head up this band, which blends honky-tonk vocal stylings and edgy but classic-sounding original songs to create music that a listener once described as “the bastard offspring of Townes Van Zandt and June Carter Cash.” Their self-titled debut, produced by Ben Kyle of Romantica, dropped in early 2014; this show will celebrate the appearance of their new CD, Abandon, a Fall 2016 release on St. Paul’s House of Mercy Records.

Saturday, June 3

Javier Matos @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Guitarist/vocalist Javier Matos has been playing the blues as a professional since 1992. While in California he worked with a couple of the Blasters in The Blue Shadows, and also formed a group called the Doghouse Lords. He was recently selected by the MN Blues Society to represent Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge next January. In other words, he can keep it real. Don’t take my word for it, The AllMusic guide noted, “He can play bottleneck slide blues like he was born with a National guitar in his hands.” Reservations recommended, as this place get busy for brunch.

Morel Fest @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 2pm until (Free) Well, not only will you get to taste butter-fried morel mushrooms with saltines (as long as the morels last), but starting at 3pm you get music from Romantica, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers; Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures; The Flood Brothers, Javier Matos; and the King of the Tramps. Oh, and lest I forget, you can also get craft beers from Indeed Brewing.

The Eddies @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Grab a pint and listen to this quartet sings of life, death, broken hearts, and work.

Big Daddy Cade’s Tribute to BB King @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Guitarist Big Daddy Cade is originally from Chicago, but now lives in Wisconsin. He’s been doing this tribute, which was originally blessed by BB King himself, for about a couple of decades. He’s not a one-trick-pony however, and frames the Tribute with a couple of sets of blistering blues and funk.

Sunday, June 6

Sweet Colleens CD Release @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Though their isn’t a “Colleen” among them, the Sweet Colleens are nevertheless releasing their fifth album, 10 Mona Lisas, which features their trademark mix of Celtic and American folk roots music. There will be a special appearance by Kate McMahon (of the original Riverdance), who guests on the album, and an opening set by Gambler’s Daughter.

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.


Old Friends, New Favorites: 5.24 – 5.30

May 24, 2017

This week brings lots of old friends out to play and some new favorites as well. Note: I wrote this up before leaving on vacation, so you may want to check calendars and venues before heading out. Just go out and listen to some music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Wednesday, May 24

Jeremy Walker Songet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) The Songtet is dedicated to performing great songs, whether written by Ellington, Dylan, The Gershwins, Cole Porter, or pianist-composer-arranger Jeremy Walker himself. Tonight, Walker celebrates great songs by adding vocalist Jason Harms to his  trio with Tim Zhorne, drums; and Chris Bates, bass.

Thursday, May 25

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Pete Hennig Quartet: Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Cody McKinney, bass; Pete Hennig  drums.

Davu Seru & Douglas Ewart @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Dynamic percussionist Davu Seru and multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart (saxes, clarinets, bassoon, digerderoo, and more!), join forces for an evening of highly creative, often spontaneous music.

Friday, May 26

Greg Lewis/Will Schmid Ensemble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Last year this group was formed as the Greg Lewis/Will Schmid Quartet. This year they’ve expanded to become a multi-generaltional band performing two sets of original compositions. TC Jazz Veterans Greg Lewis, trumpet/woodwinds; and Rose Brzenzinski Lewis, trombone/woodwinds; will be joined by the college-aged musicians returning for the summer: Will Schmid, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Catlin, drums.

Saturday, May 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – The Selby Avenue Brass Band: Larry Sims, trumpet; Chris Fulton, trombone; Marilyn Parker, sax; Tonm Wells, Tuba; and Trenon Graham, drums. At 8:30pm: Park Evans Quintet, w.Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Greg Schutte, drums. Bass TBD

Jana Nyberg 5 @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) As is befitting of a vocalist of her talent, Ms Nyberg has gathered some A-List musicians to back her as she sings jazz, pop, and jazz pop at this gig: Sean Turner, piano; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Washington, drums; and Graydon Peterson, bass.

BDP @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7)  In which a group of forward thinking young musicians apply their many talents to create a fusion of soul and jazz music. Members of the group include: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals; Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Ted Godbout, Piano; Ted Olsen, Bass; and Andres Crovetti on Drums).

Sunday, May 28

Sam Miltich & Dave Karr Play Lester Young @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Sam Militich’s instinctive and fluid guitar playing has graced hundreds of stages, from his hometown in Northern Minnesota to New York’s Lincoln Center. He fronts the Clearwater Hot Club, but tonight is backing octogenarian saxophonist Dave Karr, a bebopper from way back, though he’s also an accomplished sideman for Connie Evingson, the Pete Whitman X-tet, MNJazz Orchestra, among others. Tonight they will be concentrating on the music of the great saxophonist Lester Young.

Regina Marie Williams Sings Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 – $22) Vocalist Williams is a terrific actor who has been seen around town in productions at The Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, and Park Square theaters, among others. She’s done Dinah Washington and Nina Simone in some of her roles, and tonight will sing the music of Nina Simone, a singer who wasn’t afraid to face the truth and tell it. In case you need any more, consider that actor Angela Basset called Williams “the best singer you never heard” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly

Tuesday, May 30

Erin Schwab @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($?) Schwab is a talented singer who is a member of both the Ensemble and Voice Departments at MacNally Smight. She is equally at home in cabaret, musical theater, and jazz settings. Tonight she’s celebrating the music of both Judy Garland and Bette Midler.

Washington/Studer/Hirsch @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist and educator Donald Washington is joined by Dick Studer, bass; and Steve Hirsh, drums, for an evening of improvised and spontaneous music.

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, May 24

Katy Bellville & Those S.O.Bs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Bellville grew up with old timey and bluegrass music always playing in the background. Her own music reflects that, though she puts a modern sensibility into her songs, and occasionally will cover someone like Gillian Welch. Tune in and listen.

Shemekia Copeland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Two time Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland has opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined the Chicago Blues Festival (and others around the world), and performed at the White House for the Obamas. The daughter of bluesman Johnny Copeland, she’s carrying on the tradition of blues singers like Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Koko Taylor. Taylor’s daughter even gave her Taylor’s crown, and both the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have proclaimed Copeland “Queen of the Blues.”

Paul Bergen’s Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Led by Paul Bergen, this group features members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Molly Maher and Eric Koskinen’s band, Curtiss A’s band, Certain General and many other regional roots artists. You can expect to hear swamp blues, country classics, and other truck driving music. It’s a Wednesday residency through June for this group, which will set up in the cozy Hood and Ladder Lounge. Special guests will also be featured each week.

Thursday, May 25

Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The Butanes have been voted as the Twin Cities Best Blues Band numerous times. This weekly gig often feature guests like Jellybean Johnson or Maurice Jacox, who drop by and sit in. But the real attraction is the Butanes.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) If it’s Thursday night, you’re bound to see some folks dancing to Cajun and Zydeco at the Eagles Club. Tonight they also get a bit of New Orleans R&B to test out their dancing shoes. members of this quintet are: Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Dick Danaher, sax & rub board; Dehl Gallagher, drums; Rusty Jones, bass; and Tim Mauseth, guitars.

Friday,May 26

Pure Prairie League @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) These country-rock favorites were formed in 1969, named after a women’s temperance league in a 1939 movie. Pure Prairie League built up a following in their native Ohio before landing a contract with RCA a year later. During the 70s and 80s they had a number of top 40 hits before breaking up in the mid-80s only to reunite in 1998. Though none of the founding members remain, they still keep up the PPL sound.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for guaranteed seat in front) R&B/Jazz vocalist has become somewhat of a regular at Crooners, thanks to his smooth baritone and unerring taste in songs, whether acoustic versions of Motown hits, the under-appreciated songs of Doc Pomus, or Nat King Cole’s ballads.

Power of 10 @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) As might be inferred from it’s name, this is a ten-piece band  heavy on horns, which makes it the perfect group to play classic and contemporary soul, whether it’s the music of Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, or Bruno Mars. They are versatile enough to be a favorite for weddings and corporate events.

Pat Donohue & Richard Kriehn @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($20) Together, ace guitarist Pat Donohue and mandolinist Richard Kriehn have over 20 years experience working on A Prairie Home Companion, though they have played many other gigs in many other bands as well. Tonight you have a chance to see the two of them in the very intimate 318 Cafe, which only seats about 40. You may be wise to get a reservation.

Saturday, May 27

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’s intimate concert is entitled: MIGHTY UNDERDOGS! Mozart & Ewazen for clarinet, viola & piano. Here’s a chance to hear the under-appreciated flute and viola together, playing Mozart, and Eric Ewazen. Performers are: Karen Hansen, clarinet; Sue Ruby, piano; and Steve Staruch, viola.

New Sound Underground @ Surly Brewing, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6:30 (No Cover) This is a young, seriously funky horn band that uses funk, R&B, soul, and jazz to deliver original foot-stomping, hip-shaking music. Plus, it’s at the seriously beer-laden (and food laden) Surly Brewing in SE Minneapolis. What a way to wile away an afternoon.

Steamboat Bill, Jr, with Dreamland Faces @ The Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, Lake & Cedar, Minneapolis. 7pm Gates, Movie at dusk  – about 8:30pm ($10) Buster Keaton’s classic silent film comedy will be accompanied live by music from the Dreamland Faces  who feature accordion and musical saw, and regularly accompany silent films, including many by Keaton. Bring your own blankets or chairs. Refreshments will be on sale during the movie.

Nachito Herrera @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Dazzling piano work from Cuban-born Herrera  who’s been living in the Twin Cities since the turn of the century. He was music director at the famed Tropicana in Havana, toured with the Afrro-Cuban All-Stars, and has played with the Havana Symphony Orcestra, as well as Cubanissmo. One never knows what he’ll play – a classical piece, something from Earth, Wind, & Fire, or a rhythmic explosion of Cuban sounds.

Sunday, May 28

National Tap Dance Day @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 2-4pm (Free) If you’ve ever been astonished by some of the YouTube Videos of tap dancers, here’s the chance to see the real thing. Keane Sense of Rhythm is a tap dance school that specializes in training young dancers. See the results while enjoying the lakeside venue, and perhaps having food or drink from Como Dockside.

West Bank Reunion Show @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Many folks of a certain age will be making their way to Payne Avenue just of East 7th in Saint Paul for this show, which recalls the glory days of West Bank R&B during the 70s and early 80s. Willie Murphy will be there with his band, as will Curt Obeda and the Butanes, and in a nod toward younger West Bankers, Jack Knife & the Sharps. With a big dance floor, solid sound system, and fair priced drinks, the place will be jumpin.

Monday, May 29

Jack Brass Band @ Como Zoo, Saint Paul. 10:30am, 11:45am, & 12:40pm (No Cover) With the coming of Memorial Day, the Jack Brass Band will start up their weekly gig providing second line parades around the Como Zoo. Feed Sparky the Seal, check out the big cats, and ride the carousel. Just don’t jump the fence to get a better look, as a couple of doofusses did a few weeks ago at the giraffe exhibit.

 

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50, $60), 9pm ($35, $40, $50) Here’s your chance to see a 60s legend in a club setting. Felix Cavaliere was a co-founder and leader of the Rascals, often thought of as the best blue-eyed soul group of the 60s, when they had a string of hits like Good Lovin, I’ve Been Lonely Too Long, the #1s Groovin, and People Got to be Free. In the early 70s they moved toward a more jazz-influenced sound before disbanding in 1972. Cavaliere then came out with a number of excellent solo albums, including 2008 and 2010 collaborations with Stax guitar legend Steve Cropper.

Como Town Hotshots @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) Cajun Dancing to start off your week, with Shawn Glidden, Accordion; Gary Powell and Marie Stier on Fiddles; Maurine McCort, Guitar; Tom Lewis, Bass; and Dehl Gallagher on Drums.

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 Music Never Stops: 5.17 – 5.23

May 17, 2017

Well, we’re making our way through May, and to paraphrase the Grateful Dead used to sing, The Music Never Stops. We’ve got it all, from neo-soul to brass bands, to great jazz artists and lots of dancing. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 17

Selby Avenue Brass Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Again, I’d normally be listing Harold’s guest on the House Party under blues and roots, but the Selby Avenue Brass Band, with its combination of traditional New Orleans tunes and more contemporary fare, need to brought to the attention of jazz fans. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour for a taste of their sound, and head to the 331 if you like what you hear.

Standards Night, with Andrew Walesch, featuring Daniel Glass @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Daniel Glass is an award-winning drummer who was a member of the Royal Crown Revue, popular during the swing revival of the 90s. He’s recorded and performed all over the world with many top artists, including Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli. Tonight he teams up with singer/pianist Andrew Walesch to present American standards, with the backing of Dave Karr on Sax, and Veikko Lepisto on bass.

Thursday, May 18

Special EFX @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37), 9pm ($30) Special EFX was founded in 1983 by New York guitarist Chieli Minucci, a virtuoso who has been first call for artists ranging from mark Anthony and Jessica Simpson, to Bobby Caldwell and Gerald Veasley, among others. In addition to Minucci, the band includes Nelson Rangell, who is adept at soprano, alto, and tenor sax, as  well as being a genuine virtuoso on flute and piccolo. He’s also worked with many outstanding artists, including The Rippingtons, Patti Austin, and others. Finally, keyboardist Lao Tizer is a rising star in the continuing development of world fusion music.

Lorri Dokken & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Dokken, aka Ms. Piano Bar, is a cabaret artist and general all-around entertainer who has appeared on stages throughout the Twin Cities and the world. She’ll be supported by the Wolverines Trio – the finest set of accompanists in the Twin Cities.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) In a bit of a change from normal dates, tonight features two groups. The first is Below Zero, w/Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochelle-Share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; Nick Adam, drums. At 10:30 it’s the Steve Kenny Trio: Ted Olsen bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Kristen Lee Sergeant, featuring Ted Nash and the Jeremy Walker Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 Bar seating, $18 Table seating) Vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant has been turning ears and heads since her recent emergence on the NYC jazz scene. Her debut CD, Inside Out, was chosen as DownBeat Magazine’s Editor’s Pick last fall, praising her “buttery to deliciously tart” vocals and “dramatically fresh arrangements.” Resident pianist-bandleader-composer Jeremy Walker has long been friends with NYC saxophonist Ted Nash, who just won 2017 Grammys for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition. This promises to be a special show. Here’s Sergeant with Ted Nash.

Friday, May 19

Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Renz is a fine guitarist who teaches more than he plays out, though as a composer and performer he always impresses with his melodic creativity and sheer craftmaship. In addition to teaching in town, Renz runs a summer jazz camp in Ontarios for adults, and has recruited Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer as a vocal teacher this year. He tours the East Coast at least once a year, and only occasionally plays in town, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) You can’t go wrong when drummer Phil Hey leads his long-standing quartet through a dazzling mix of jazz standards and a few more “difficult” pieces, so to speak, with Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Hagedorn, drums.

Saturday, May 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Pat Moriary is a saxophonist and the music director at Roseville High School, where he manages to bring in some heavyweight talent to work with the schools bands. This week he’s bringing in pianist-composer Angelica Sanchez, who has played with such figures as Paul Motian, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Berne, Ben Monder, and Rob Mazurek. She leads several groups, including a nonet with Roseville HS grad Michael Attias. Her music always offers the sound of surprise, whether she’s playing “free jazz with structure,” as the NY Times noted, or her own composed pieces, which always allow plenty of room for soloists. The evening will open with the Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease Quartet, an always surprising group: Moriarty, sax; Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. At 8:30pm Angelica Sanchez will take the stage with Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Zacc Harris’ American Reverie CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Harris and his group American Reverie have released a fine CD celebrating Americana music. Harris’ single note lines are particularly effective on songs by Woody Guthrie and Willie Nelson, among others.  Special guests for the evening include Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold and the Lesser Lakes Trio. I had him on my show on May 13, you can listen to the interview here.

Monday, May 22

Peter Kogan Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($10) In an unusual turn for the Icehouse, Peter Kogan and his quintet will present an early show before JT Jazz Implosion. As some of you may recall, Kogan is the former tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra who has been having much fun with jazz since he retired a few years ago. Tonight he brings in a multi-generational band: Kogan, drums; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman, Sax; Phil Aaron, keys; and Jeff Bailey, bass.

Tuesday, May 23

Maud Hixson: Judy Garland @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Vocalist Hixson, who recently received a glowing review in the Chicago Tribune, will celebrate the music of Judy Garland, accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson. Here’s what was said: “Hixson’s slightly gauzy tone and breezy phrasing evoked cool-school singers of the 1950s such as June Christy, Chris Connor and Anita O’Day. Yet there was nothing historic nor nostalgic about Hixson’s manner, her inherent swing sensibility driving the music unstoppably forward. She benefited significantly from the pianism of Rick Carlson, whose buoyant accompaniment referenced the stride-style wizardry of Waller and James P. Johnson.” Here she is at a Sylvia Sims Tribute.

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, May 17

Lisa Wenger and Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Blues-based American roots music, performed by Wenger, whose sweet/gritty vocals appeal to a wide swath of listeners, and whose band can rock the blues, New Orleans R&B, and reworked versions of rockabilly classics.

Danceland @ Utephils Brewing, 225 Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis. 7pm-9pm (No Cover) This is a new band, named for teenage dance palaces of yore, which gives a bit of a hint to their repertoire. The band is led by drummer William Thompson, and includes Karl Von Gorhen, keyboards; Tom Lewis, bass; Scot Ives, guitar; and features Maurice Jacox on vocals, sax, and flute. Their songs include Me and Mrs Jones; For Your Precious Love, Inner City Blues, and other old school favorites. Stop by, hear some great music, and if you’re hungry Potter’s Pasties food truck will be there.

Thursday, May 18

Mooseknuckle Brothers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Rockin’ blues for a Thursday night.

Friday, May 19

Paul Cebar @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) The dance-inducing sounds of Paul Cebar and his band always draws a crowd to the large dance floor at Wilebski’s. Using a combination of R&B, Caribbean, African, and other world rhythms, Cebar & company create a celebration of finger-pippin, hip-shakin sounds.

Taylor Hicks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Hicks popped into national consciousness on American Idol, where more than 200 million people tuned in to see him win the Season 5 Finale. His soulful voice reflects a Southern upbringing, where he was exposed to soul music, blues, and country music. Before Idol, played throughout the Southeast, sharing stages with folks like James Brown, Tom Petty, Robert Randoph, and Keb Mo, among others. Once he left Idol, his debut single, Do I Make You Proud, entered the charts at #1, while his self-titled debut album reached #2 a bit later.

Scottie Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 reserved seats are available up front) High energy blues, soul, and rock n’ roll from Miller, a pianist-singer-songwriter whose influences range from Professor Longhair and Dr. John to Bruce Springsteen and The Band.

Complicated Fun @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 door) This is a book release party for Cyn Collin’s Complicated Fun, which describes the influential Minneapolis music scent from 1974 – 1984. A number of bands from that era will be performing, some of whom are reuniting. They include: the Hypsterz; Gondwana; Flamin’ Oh’s; Flamingo; and Curtiss A & the Dark Click.

Saturday, May 20

Lonesome Dan Case/Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Lonesome Dan – No Cover), 9pm (Parker – ?$) A double bill of blues, starting with Lonesome Dan Case and his modern take on 30s blues, rags, and hollers for the dinner hour. Then vocalist Joyann Parker takes over, with her powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence.

Commander Cody @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Back in the late 60s, when the nascent country-rock scene was developing, Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen upended things a bit with satirical takes on classic country. Their first hit, the hi-test fueled Hot Rod Lincoln, was a throwback to the 50s, when it was a hit by Charlie Ryan. Then they followed it up with such subversive songs as (Down to) Seeds and Stems Again, Mama Hated Diesels, and The Kentucky Hills of Tennesee, among others. Commander Cody (George Frayne) disbanded the group in 1976, but returned to the studio in 2009 and has been touring ever since, bringing his foot-stompin’ mix of classic country, rockabilly, and swingin’ music to old and new fans alike.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you’re not interested in dropping a couple of sawbucks on a show, or maybe you just want to hear some basic sounds of the 60s. If that’s the case, the Silvertones, with their mix of garage hits, folk-rock, and girl group sounds, may be just the band you need to hear.

Sunday, May 21

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Founded in 2017, the Delphia Cello Quartet plays original arrangements of popular tunes. It’s members are: Rachelle Smith; Amanda Burgdorf; Katherine Canon; and Julia Floberg. All play in a variety of groups, from orchestras to pit bands, to folk groups.

Monday, May 22

PaviElle @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Vocalist PaviElle French grew up in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, and in the last couple of years has become an advocate of black soul music for the Millenial generation. She’ was voted Best R&B Vocalist of 2015 by City Pages, and has been featured on TPT’s Lowertown Line. You’ll hear her originals and a couple of surprising covers, all done with a contemporary outlook and echoes of 70’s R&B.

Jon Rodine @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Whether singing songs by Doug Sahm, Dan Penn, Bob Dylan, or his own originals, Jon Rodine creates groove-driven rock n’ roll, with a touch of soulful country to boot. He’s played and recorded with a who’s who of Midwest musicians, including Ray & Glover, Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen, Paul Cebar, and Benson Ramsey of the Pines, among others. He deserves wider recognition, even here in his home town.

Tuesday, May 23

Peter Himmelman @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Singer-songwriter and guitarist Himmelman is a metro-area native who started out in the reggae/calypso band Shangoya back in the early 80s and went on to form Sussman Lawrence. His career has blossomed to include TV and film composing, children’s entertaining and webcasting. Time Magazine said of him, “Himmelman writes songs with the same emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency that impelled the Lost Generation to write novels.” Opening is Dan Israel  who has won a number of awards as a songwriter, and released a string of critically acclaimed albums in the 90s and ‘00s.

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.


Fishing, Mother’s Day, and Music: 5.10 – 5.16

May 10, 2017

Plenty to do this week, even if you don’t land a big one.

This weekend is the Fishing Opener, as the Hula Poppers (not to be confused with the Hula Peppers, below) celebrated back in the 80s with their fun single, and many Minnesotans are anxious to get out on a lake and land a a big one. It’s also Mother’s Day, which means that some folks will have to choose between their first shot at fishing for the season and treating Mom to a nice Brunch or Dinner, of which there are plenty – I shouldn’t have to tell you about them. However, there is plenty of music on other days and evenings, including some outstanding visiting artists in jazz, roots, and world music, and our own bevy of talent to entertain you. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 10

Katz and Dogs @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Jive, jazz, and soul from Steve Katz, bass/vocals; Peter Vircks, sax; Matt Darling, trombone; Park Evans, guitar, and Ken Goldman on drums.

Zacc Harris Group @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) This is another performance in the Jazz at Studio Z series. Guitarist Harris will be accompanied by Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums. There will be a master class at 6pm for a high school music class field trip from Winnipeg, Canada, but it is open to the public.

Thursday, May 11, Sunday, May 14

Keiko Matsui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. Thursday: 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) Sunday: 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($30, $40) Japanese born pianist Keiko Matsui create contemporary jazz that blends Eastern and Western influences. Over the course of 27 albums in 32 years her music has ranged from smooth jazz to East/West fusion, to jazz fusion, worldbeats, and funky grooves. Her latest, 2016’s well-received Journey to the Heart, uses a Cuban rhythm section, Peruvian guitarist, a Venezuelan percussionist and strings to weave Afro-Cuban rhythms, Latin jazz, a bit of chamber jazz, and French cafe music into a seamless whole.

Thursday, May 11

Twin Cities Hot Club w/Naomi Uyama @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) The Twin Cities Hot Club was formed in 2004 and has been dazzling audiences ever since with their takes on acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, bossa novas, and the occasional musettes. Members are: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass. Tonight, however, they’re joined by vocalist Naomi Uyama  a NYC-based singer who also specializes in teaching the Lindy Hop and leads her own band.  Here’s the group playing for some very good dancers, including Uyama.

Mill City Jazz @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) It’s a monthly evening of cocktails and jazz, with a new round of gin cocktails for audience members to enjoy while listening to this group. Wish I knew who they were.

Friday, May 12

Steve Coleman @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32) Alto saxophonist Steve Coleman grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where played in a James Brown cover band as a teenager, and later discovered Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane while in college. He was introduced to Von Freeman, Bunky Green, and Sonny Stitt, all of whom he credits with influencing his approach to music. Once he moved to NYC in the late 70s he began playing in big bands, and co-founded M-Base, a self-help organization for Black musicians. His spontaneous, fluid playing has been heard with Dave Holland’s group, as well as in his own Five Elements. Tonight he heads up a chamber-jazz hybrid of a group, to explore spontaneous composition and group improvisation. Members are: Matt Mitchell, piano; Greg Chudzik bass; Roman Filiu, tenor; Rane Moore; clarinet; Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet; Kristin Lee; Violin and Jen Shu, voice. Here he is in a completely different setting.

Jeremy Walker/Cedric Fuller & Global Sound @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker, no cover), 9pm (Fuller, $10) Pianist Walker starts off the evening during the dinner hour, and then at 9pm Cedric Fuller and his band takes over: Cedric Fuller, drums; Ernest Bisong, violin; Steven Hobert, piano; Tomas Simpson, guitar; and Kenneth P. Garnier, bass. Here’s Fuller with a number of those players.

Saturday, May 13

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight starts out with young Jazz Ensembles from Walker West Music Academy at 7 pm. Open Story is on at 8:30. It a new group with well-known, and highly talented members: Dean Magraw, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Jay Epstein, drums

Sunday, May 14

Despejada @ Zorongo Flameco Dance Studio, 3012 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis. 5pm ($10) Pianist/accordionist Steven Hobert  who is always involved in interesting projects, has a new trio, featuring Krissy Bergmark on tabla; and Ben Abrahamson on flamenco guitar. As Steven describes the group, “We draw and blend inspiration from the traditions of Flamenco, Hindustani and Jazz.”

Monday, May 15

Dave Graf @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Trombonist Graf seems to spend quite a bit of time in various pit bands for musical shows at the Ordway and other venues about town. Make no mistake, however, he’s an accomplished jazz musician, always being called on to fill out a group and provide the burnished tone of his axe. Tonight he gets to play originals and original arrangements. As always, a jam session follows at 10pm. Here’s an example of Graf’s talent.

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Vocalist Karrin Allyson has long been a favorite of Twin Citizens, ever since she lived here for a few years in the 90s. After thirteen albums, and four Grammy nominations during her time with Concord Records, she has moved on to Motema, another important jazz imprint, where she received a 2016 Grammy nomination for Many A New Day, an album of Rogers and Hammerstein songs. For this visit, her show is entitled Allyson Sings Allison, as in Mose Allison. She has often included one of Mose’s tunes in her albums and shows, and is putting together a whole album of his songs. Luckily, we get a preview. Here she is doing one of Allison’s classics.

Monday, Tuesday, May 15, 16

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner), 8:30pm ($12) Drummer Dave King unites once again with pianist Bill Carrothers, and bassist Billy Peterson for an evening of exquisite music. King of course, is well known for his work with The Bad Plus, Happy Apple, and countless other bands. Carrothers is an outside-the-box improviser, which isn’t to say he plays “free jazz” but that his playing always takes unexpected, and often delightful turns. Peterson is simply a monster bass player who has played or recorded with BB King, Leo Kottke, and Les Paul, among others. His 20+ years on the road with rocker Steve Miller didn’t affect his ability to play inside, outside, and in the pocket – just hear his work with Ben Sidran, Bob Rockwell, or this trio.

Tuesday, Wednesday, May 16, 17

Marcus Roberts Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($25, $35) Pianist Roberts, who has been blind since he was about 5 years old, is a virtuosic player who played with Wynton Marsalis as well as with large symphonies. He founded his trio in 1995, based on the philosophy that bass, drums, and piano are all featured equally. Roberts recorded output includes solos, duets, and trio arrangements of jazz standards, original suites, and original arrangements for large ensembles, and symphonies.

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, May 10

Siama’s Afrobilly Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Siama Matsuzugidi is an African guitarist who  has lived in Uganda, Kenya, Dubai and Japan and has performed with some of the biggest names in soukous, playing on hundreds of recordings. In 2014 he received a McKnight Fellowship, which allowed him to launch a solo career here in Minnesota. His Afrobilly Trio combines the singular sound of his cascading guitar lines with the rootsy percussion of Mikkel Beckmen (an in-demand accompanist to Charlie Parr, Corpse Reviver, and other performers), in addition to incorporating the vocals and percussion of Dallas Johnson. As usual, tune in and head over to the 331 if you want to hear more.

Hula Peppers @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The music of the 1930s was often hopeful and light-hearted – a response to the Great Depression, when people had little money, and even less hope. The Hula Peppers specialize in the music of the 30s, and also throw in some music from the booming 20s, and an Hawaiian tune or two. It’s blues, swing and novelty songs from the golden age of 78s, delivered with sly winks and a generous helping of loving humor. The Peppers are Papa Gasket (Dan Newton) on accordion; with Tiny Gene Pool on Hawaiian guitar; Mysterious Mo, ukulele and saw; Professor Wheat, guitar; Lotta Miles, ukulele; and Rock Bottom, bass.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 10, 11

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved table) If you’ve not heard this rowdy, sassy singer of guitar-less blues, here’s a great opportunity, and Davina and the band will undoubtedly fill the place. The Vagabonds are a brassy group that’s equal to Davina’s strength as a singer and composer.

Friday, May 12

Trailer Trash @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10?) The Blues Saloon becomes Honky-Tonk Heaven, as these purveyors of traditional country music will fill the dance floor with rockabilly, honky-tonk, and old time rock n’ roll, all perfect for swing dancing, or free-form dancing, whatever you choose. Trailer Trash has been at it for over 22 years now, so they’ll easily fill the commodious dance floor at the Blues Saloon.

Amy Helm & Cindy Cashdollar @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($33 – $38) Singer/songwriter Helm is the daughter of Levon Helm, of The Band, and Libby Titus, writer of Love Has No Pride. When she appeared with her Dad at the Fitzgerald Theater some years back, she was already a formidable vocalist. She’ll have another formidable artist in her group – Cindy Cashdollar  the Austin-based dobro and steel-guitarist who as worked with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dave Alvin, Marcia Ball, Leon Redbone, and others. In 2011 Cashdollar became the first female inducted into the Texas Stel Guitar Hall of Fame, and was then inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2012. the husband/wife team of Fife and Drom open with their originals, as well as Delta and Chicago blues.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Steve Clarke and his roaring saxophone leads an 8-piece group through a heady mix of jump, jive, and swing, from Fats Waller and Count Basie to Louis Jordan, Bill Haley, and Elvis Presley. You’ll end up either snapping your fingers or cutting the rug on the Eagles wonderful dance floor.

Worldwide Discotheque Fifth Anniversary @ The Nomad Pub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) It’s already five years since this Pan-Tropical Vinyl Dance Party was started by Deejays Brian Engel and Steely Dan. It’s been mentioned in the New York Times not only for its infectious music that ranges from Afrobeat and Soukous to Calypso, Reggae, and Cumbia, but for its pan-generational and pan-gendered fans. Deejay Steely Dan, who moved back to his home state of Michigan last year, will be returning to the Twin Cities for this special evening. For examples of the kind of music you may hear, visit this site.  You can also check out this video, made back before the event outgrew Clubhouse Jaeger.

Saturday, May 13

Cariba Days Film & Music Fest @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm – Midnight ($15) The day starts with a free film La Vie Est Belle, featuring guitarist Papa Wembe, and continues (with paid admittance) with Pimento & Hot Pepper, a Jamaican film about Mento music at 4pm, an 11 minute short at 5:30 on life in Pinnacle Jamaica, and then at 6:15, a screening of Hip Hop Colony, a film from Kenya. The last two films will have a Q&A with the director of each after the screening. Music starts at 8:30 with the Soukous Fusion of Siama’s Afrobilly Trio, followed at 9:30 by the Afrobeat of Black Market Brass  and closing the night, the vintage Cuban sounds of Malamanya. Steady Rock Sound DJs will provide music between sets.

Saturday Salon: Dancing Keys @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) This afternoon’s “chamber concert in a cabaret setting” features one piano and four hands. Michael and Kyung Kim will be playing pieces from JS Bach; Mozart; Grieg; Brahms; and Ravel. Drinks and small plates are available until 4:30 pm, when the dinner menu takes over. Here is half of the duo.

Nikki Roux & Rich Rue/Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Nikki & Rich, no cover), 9pm (All-Stars, $8) The Vieux’s practice of featuring a dinner hour performer and an evening performer can sometimes result in odd couplings of genres, but often results in worthy double-bills, such as this one that features the folk/rock and country blues of Nikki Roux & Rich Rue to start the evening, and Harp-master Hurricane Harold’s collection of some of the best blues players in town. The All-Star Blues Revue will have the place jumpin’ though they’ll also throw in a slow blues or two to let folks catch their breath.

Festival au Desert: Caravan of Peace @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 Advance, $30 Door) The Ali Farka Toure Band and Terakaft bring the Desert Blues to the Twin Cities as part of The Festival au Desert, which has been banned from it’s homeland in Mali. Though Ali Farka Toure passed ten years ago, The Ali Farka Turi Band consists of musicians who traveled the world with him, including singer Afel Bocoum and master guitarist Mahmadou Kelly. Terakaft is a Tuareg band from Mali that combines Western high-tech with earthy African roots.

Sunday, May 14

Salsa Cafe @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Well, there’s not too much information about whether this includes a live band or a deejay. Suffice it to say, if you want to get your week started with some lively dancing, this is the place to be.

Left Lane Cruiser @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) Though the Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Festival isn’t until July, the Hook & Ladder is already ramping things up with Left Lane Cruiser  area favorites since their appearance at the original Deep Blues Festival some years back. This high-energy, jet-fueled duo takes the Mississippi Hill Country Blues and growls and snarls it up with punk rock energy. Also on the bill: Liquor Beats Winter, a Mpls quartet that describes itself as the love child of The Dead Kennedys and Captain Beefheart, and the relatively new trio, Snarles Bukkakeski, with DJ Rock the Monkey providing between music between sets.

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.


Mayday and More: 5.3 – 5.9

May 3, 2017

The Tree of Life Ceremony at Powederhorn Park

It’s May and we have a weekend of Cinco de Mayo Festivals (Saturday on the West Side of Saint Paul and Sunday around 27th and East Lake) as well as the 43rd Annual Mayday Parade and Celebration in South Minneapolis (see below), all of which will feature music and performers. This week’s indoor events don’t necessarily coincide with the festivals, but provide other opportunities for uplifting experiences, with a number of visiting artists coming to town and a plethora of veteran and emerging Twin Cities artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 3

Regina Carter: Simply Ella @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40), 9pm ($25 – $35) April 25th marked the100th Anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald, and violinist Regina Carter is releasing an album entitled Ella: Accentuate the Positive. We are lucky enough to be a stop on her tour promoting the album. Carter is among the finest, if not the finest, jazz violinist practicing today. She’s tasteful, melodic, and swinging, whether she’s interpreting folk music of the South, Cajun fiddle music, the songs her mother loved, or something classical. Carter has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (The “Genius Grant”), and numerous awards. You can read an interview I did with her a couple of years ago by going here.

Michael O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Bassist O’Brien is in town visiting and he’s brought together some of the best Twin Cities musicians to join him for this gig, which will feature Latin music in addition to O’Brien’s facility on the bass: Pete Whitman, sax; Steven Hobert, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 3, 4

Randy Brecker Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $30, $60w/Dinner) 9pm ($15, $20) Brecker is a multiple Grammy Award winner, who got his start with the big bands of Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He was in the original version of Blood Sweat and Tears, leaving them to join the Horace Silver Quintet. Since then, he’s recorded with a wide range of musicians, from Frank Zappa, James Brown, and Parliament/Funkadelic to Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorious, and Frank Sinatra. If you need another reason to see him, consider the fact that his quartet will feature Tanner Taylor on piano, as well as the crack rhythm section of Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey.

Thursday, May 4

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Ruckus Hip Hop Jazz: Drummer Rodney Ruckus may have moved to the West Coast, but he’s got plenty of gigs bringing him back to town. Tonight’s show is a double billing with two drum sets on stage, while Ruckus and LA Buckner lead and co-lead different ensembles that fuse jazz and hip hop.

Joel Shapira/Bryan Nichols Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira, no cover), 8pm (Nichols, $5) the first of two nights of double jazz at the Vieux. Guitarist Joel Shapira will help you while away a pleasant dinner hour before pianist Bryan Nichols and his trio (Jeff Bailey, bass; JT Bates, drums) entertain you with originals and jazz standards.

Friday, May 5

Jon Pemberton/Debbie Duncan @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Pemberton, no cover), 9pm (Duncan, $12) Jon Pemberton kicks off the dinner hour with his inventive and melodic piano playing, after which vocalist Debbie Duncan will take the stage to deliver her sassy brand of jazz.

Fuzzy Math @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This quintet  eatures original, if eclectic jazz originals and creative renditions of pop songs. Back in 2012 they were named “the best jazz act for people bored with jazz” by the wags at City Pages. They are, after all, a fun group with the goal of creating “serious music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” This will be the Jazz Central debut for mark Vandermyde, keys/compositions; Curtis Lucky, trumpet; Scott Fultz, sax; Eric Graham, bass; and Haralds Bondaris, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening tonight are The D’Sievers, with John Sievers, trombone; Remi Moulder guitar; Steve Sawyer, bass; and Garrtett Kolb, drums. At 8:30 or so it’s the powerful Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code: Gravatt, drums; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Dave Graf, trombone. Here is Gravatt playing with McCoy Tyner and Bill Frisell.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15)  Mama Digdown has been around for about twenty years, spreading worldwide joy with the creativity of their streetwise brass band music. You can expect traditional New Orleans tunes like Jocomo, and Gloryland, as well as their own version of pop songs like the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back. Since the Madison, WI based group is sometimes supplemented with Twin Cities musicians, there may be guests during the course of the evening.

Sunday, May 7

Bob DeFlores Films: The Big Bands, 1923 – 1950s @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Even if you don’t live in the southern ‘burbs, it’s worth the drive to see films from the collection of Bob DeFlores, whose archive of music shorts and “soundies” encompasses all manner of jazz. Today he presents a rich palette of Big Bands, from Rudy Vallee and the Dorsey Brosters, to Woody Herman, Ozzie Nelson, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Ray Anthony, Artie Shaw, and much, much more.

Dan Chouinard and Lucia Newell @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist Chouinard and vocalist Newell get together for a special Birthday Club. Not only will they be celebrating the music of composers born during May, but all revenue will go to Global Rights for Women, an organization working to end violence against women worldwide! Here’s Newell performing a Brazilian song.

Dakota Combo Spring Concert @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Combo is a group of very talented high school students selected each September by open audition to study with bassist Adam Linz for the school year. It’s a program of MacPhail Center for music, supported by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. This year’s combo is a quintet: Adam Astrup, guitar; Ivan Cunningham, alto; Riley Swain, baritone; Max Voda, bass; and Simon Petrick, drums. They’ve been hard at it and have already performed at a couple of area schools. It’s safe to say you will likely be blown away by their talent. (Full disclosure: I’m on the board of the Dakota Foundation, which provides the support for this program.)

Monday, May 10

Glenn Zaleski @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Twenty-nine-year old pianist Zaleski has been a first-call sideman in NYC ever since moving there nine years ago. He’s performed and recorded with such stellar performers as Ravi Coltrane and trombonist Michael Dease, among others. He’s featured in the latest issue of DownBeat, where he’s described as someone who is not a traditionalist, but to whom “melody still matters.” The writer goes on to say, “His solos hinge on acute, often linear lines that find their counterweight in subsequent measures, cresting the tension and suspense of a well-wrought story.” This is a solo performance, so you’ve got a chance to see and hear his talent in the comfy, intimate confines of the Dunsmore Room.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) It’s an exciting double bill this evening the Levi Schwartzberg Quartet and Barnacle. Schwartzberg’s young group starts the evening: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Patrick Adkins, piano; Drew Stinson, bass; and Tarek Abdelqader, on drums. Then, it’s the return of Barnacle, a two guitar group that was around at the turn of the century, featuring guitarists Jason Goessl, now of Seattle, and Jacob Park Evans, backed by Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte drums.

Tuesday, May 9

Chris Lomheim/Sophia Shorai @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shorai, $5) Yet another double dose of jazz, with pianist Chris Lomheim supplying airy, melodic improvisation during the dinner hour, and vocalist Shorai singing in her distinctively vulnerable yet sweet voice.

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, May 3

Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) So today, Harold’s House Party features this string quartet (plus vocalist) that specializes in Prohibition-era swing. Tune in at 5pm to hear a sample of their music and go to the 331 for a two hour taste of their tunes. I’d say to bring dancing shoes, but it becomes quite crowded in between the tables of the small club.

Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Those of you of a certain age may remember Kinky Friedman as a legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter, satirist, novelist, and onetime gubernatorial candidate for Texas. He calls himself the Texas Jewboy, and is currently on the Resurrected Tour, as he calls it, in support of his latest CD, the Loneliest Man I Ever Met. Brian Molnar, of The Naked Hearts, opens. Here’s Kinky, but her aware, he’s not politically correct.

Thursday, May 4

Edgar Winter Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $65, $75) Since his debut album in 1970, pianist Edgar Winter has always received accolades for his playing, whether it was rock, jazz, blues, or pop. His 1971 album with his horn band White Trash had liner notes by poet/rocker Patti Smith, and enjoyed huge success, as did it’s live follow-up. He then formed the Edgar Winter Group which had the number one Frankenstein, and another chart buster, Free Ride. The album they appeared on, They Only Come Out at Night, peaked at number 3 and was on the charts for 80 weeks. He’s got over 20 albums and collaborative efforts to his credits, and still rocks out as hard as possible.

Paul Thorne @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Thorne is a former prizefighter, and quite literally, the son of a preacher man which, taken with his Southern upbringing, has given him a unique perspective on life. He’s lived a life that give him plenty of material for songs and often humorous stories, such as I Backslide on Friday, and Mediocrity is King, both of which can be found on his latest album, Too Blessed to Be Stressed.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) While the Poppas can always be depended upon to deliver smart, danceable renditions of songs from New Orleans and South Louisiana, tonight they’re bringing in vocalist Lucinda Plaisance to help deliver some new songs in the repertoire, including Clifton Chenier’s Zydeco Cha Cha, Gene Delafose’s Bou Pon Pon, Irma Thomas’ Ruler of My Heart, Lou Ann Barton’s version of Shake Your Hips, and more.

Friday, May 5

Eilen Jewell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell is a bit hard to categorize. She’s got a sweet voice, with smoky undertones, and an instinctive way with phrasing, which she uses well, whether celebrating the music of Loretta Lynn, rocking out with Shakin’ All Over, or putting a rockabilly twist to some of her own reflective originals.

Suicide Commandos Listening Party @ the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Back in 1975 a trio of lads decided they didn’t want to play in a cover band, which was what most of the area’s clubs were hiring. Chris Osgood, Dave Ahl, and Steve Almaas were itching with the raw energy of youth, and wanted to play short, loud, original songs. The old Blitz Bar was willing to hire them, and after that, things changed in the Twin Cities music scene. The Suicide Commandos, as the trio named themselves, laid the foundation for groups like the Suburbs, The Replacements, Husker Du, and other groups. Well, it’s forty-two years later. They had long broken up, developed other music and performing careers, and then started reuniting on a sporadic basis over the last couple of decades. Importantly, they recently recorded their second studio album, Time Bomb. The guys will be hosting this listening party, and selling and signing copies of the album. In addition, Cyn Collins will be selling and signing her new book, entitled Complicated Fun, named after a Commandos song. It’s an oral history of Minneapolis punk and indie rock from 1974 – 1984.

Erik Brandt and the Urban Hillbilly Quartet @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Free) Twenty-two years after forming, the Urban Hillbilly Quartet still delivers original Americana and roots rock inspired by folks like David Grisman, Bruce Cockburn, the Jayhawks and The Grateful Dead. The core of the band is Erik Brandt, guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals; Jeremy Szopinski, electric guitar; Dave Strahan, electric guitar, banjo, & vocals; Mike Schultz, bass; and Jim Orvis, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) This weeks program of chamber music in a cabaret setting is entitled Lonely Hearts: Music Made in Minnesota. It features two Saint Olaf grads who are active in the Twin Cities choral scene, but who also perform solo. Baritone Harrison Hintzsche and soprano Anna Christofaro will be joined by Matt Harikian on piano to perform acerbic, touching, and sometimes lustful songs by Libby Larsen, David Evans, among others. Small plates and bar service are available during the show, with full dinner available at 4:30pm, for those of us who may not want to go home and cook.

Fourth Annual Minnesota Salsa Fiesta @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) It will be an explosion of hip-shaking Latin rhythms as Charanga Tropical hosts guests from throughout the Twin Cities Latin Music scene. Charanga Tropical will play, of course, along with Cuban-style percussion ensemble Rumba del Norte. Then it will be La Gran Charanga, and 18-piece all star group featuring 6 horns, 5 violins, 4 singers, and a full Latin rhythm section. When doors open at 7pm DJ Prieto from Chicago will spin salsa hits mixed with rare videos. A salsa lesson from Cuban-born instructor Rene Thompson will follow, to help folks dance to the pulsating rhythms produced by the bands.

Denny Laine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Laine was an original member of the Moody Blues, and sang lead on their first hit, Go Now back in 1964. He left the Moody Blues to have his own band, joined Ginger Baker’s Air Force for a bit, and then, with Paul and Linda McCartney, was a founder of Wings, which had 24 hits on the charts in the 70s and received a Grammy for Band on the Run. He co-wrote Mull of McIntyre with Paul and it subsequently became the biggest selling hit of all time in the UK. Tonight he’ll play Band on the Run in its entirety, as well as some other tunes, I presume.

Sunday, May 7

Mayday Festival @ Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis. Noon – 7pm (Free) If you want to see a friend you haven’t seen in a while, they will probably be at the community celebration which is taking place for the 43rd year in a row. The day begins with a parade that travels south on Bloomington Avenue from 25th street and turns to Powderhorn Park on 34th Street. The parade features various community groups as well as giant puppets from Heart of the Beast, all marching to the 2017 MayDay theme: Imagine, Resist, Heal.  The Tree of Life Ceremony occurs at 3pm, when the Sun Flotilla paddles the Sun across the park’s lake. There will be music and dancing throughout the day, with entertainment ranging from Morris Dancers and a Women’s Drum Circle, to Savage Aural Hotbed, Prairie Fire Lady Choir and Machinery Hill. Food and merchandise will be available from a plethora of vendors.  Here’s a short clip of what you might see in the parade.

Tuesday, May 9

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Back in 1978, as the Punk movement was gaining steam around the country, a group of guys in Los Angeles named themselves the Blasters and combined that energy with rhythm and blues, early rock n’ roll, and rockabilly in an album called American Music. Funding members Phil Alvin, vocals, guitar; John Bass, bass; and Bill Bateman drums, along with guitarist Keith Wyatt, are still rocking audiences into gleeful pools of sweat.

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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