Visitors and Special Events: 2.15 – 2.21

February 15, 2017

unknown-1There are lots of interesting gigs this week, some of which required a long explanation, while I’ve covered others with just a few sentences. We’ve a couple of high-profile visitors and a few special events to pique our interests and bring us musical pleasure. Whatever you choose, just remember that music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 15

Ambrose Akinmusire and Kool A.D. @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($20) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series commissions new projects presented in unique venues. Such is the case tonight, when young jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire partners with rapper Kool create a brand new chamber music work. Akinmusire won both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competiton and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition back in 2007, when he was 25. He has since put out three albums and was a sideman on about 25 albums, including CDs by Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, and Steve Coleman, among others. Kool A.D. is the nom de rap of Victor Vasquez. The rapper’s work was described by Mother Jones magazine as:  “a thoughtful effort to deconstruct and rearrange cultural objects in ways that challenge our deepest assumptions.” Special guests include The Mivos String Quartet along with pianist Sam Harris and drummer Justin Brown

Jeremy Walker Songtet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker is a musical explorer, who delves into musical styles and creates haunting compositions. This new group is about great songs. He’s enlisted Jason Harms, who was heard in Walker’s epic 7 Psalms, to work with the Songtet interpreting great songs, whether Walker originals, or from Dylan, Ellington, or the Great American Songbook. Joining Walker and Harms are two other frequent collaborators: Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums.

Thursday, February 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/MMEA Badge) Meckler is a trumpeter-about-town who is a gifted composer and teacher. He’ll be doing a workshop at the MMEA conference Friday afternoon, working with the band from Spring Lake Park High School. He’s bringing his 18 piece orchestra to the Dakota to provide MMEA participants and others with a preview of his work.

Maria Schneider Orchestra @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($35 – $65; Discounts for students, seniors, military, MPR) Five-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider grew up in Windom, attended the U and essentially redefined the sound of a jazz orchestra. Schneider is one of the leading lights of jazz these days, and was recently on the cover of Downbeat, when her album The Thompson Fields was named the best of the year in the magazine’s Readers Poll. The evocative, gorgeous album, named for the fields near her Windom home, won the 2016 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Students can get a 2-4-1 discount by using the code WWMA.

David Rempis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Rempis is a free jazz saxophonist who isn’t afraid to do solo performances. With a background that includes studying African music in Ghana, years with Chicago’s Vandermark Sound, numerous collaborations, and as an organizer of Chicago’s indie-rock Pitchfork Festival, Rempis will be performing one set solo tonight, as well as a set with Levi Schwartzberg, vibes and piano; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Ruckus Trio spent most of January touring, so tonight’s show should be quite tight, featuring Ruckus on drums; Javi Santiago on piano; and Greg Byers on bass and cello. Though this video from just a few weeks ago is dark, the sound is good.

Friday, February 17

The Jazz Bridge Project @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7 suggested donation) Here’s a relatively new project featuring the father-son team of Roger Johnson, guitar; and Rajah Johnson on flute; as well as Ron Evanuik, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Abebi Stafford, keys.

Jay Young & the Lyric Factory @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00[pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Jay Young brings his funky, jazzy R&B to the basement club, featuring music from Blondie, Tina Tuner, Steely Dan, and Bobby Brown. The band consists of Jay Young, piccolo bass; Ian Young, bass; Theo Harris, drums; Tom West, keys; Ernest Bisong, violin; Haylee Dee, vocals; and Caitlynn Daniels, vocals.

Saturday, February 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) JazzINK once again presents an young opening act for this series: Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams. Headliners are What Would Monk Do? with Peter Schimke, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Kenny Horst on drums.

Sunday, February 19

Kaki King @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42) It’s difficult to slot guitarist Kaki King into any genre, or even describe her music. She’s worked with bands like the Foo Fighters and Timbaland, contributed to film and TV soundtracks, and sometimes performs with a NYC-based string quartet ETHEL. She also performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical pice commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Tonight, she’s presenting “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” in a multi-media performance.

Patty Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Singer Patty Peterson is celebrating the anniversary of the aortic tear which almost ended her life about ten years ago. Thankfully, she’s still with us, and still sounding great, as she proved at the Winter Jazz Fest a couple of weeks ago. She’ll be performing songs that celebrate life and love. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

Monday, February 20

MVP Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $30), 9pm ($25) Bobby Watson  sax; Donald Brown, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums; are the MVP Quartet. They have played together in various combinations and bands since these veterans were young. Both Watson and Brown were in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, though at different times. Drummond and Smith both have extensive resumes. Here’s Watson with a standard.

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) I suspect that I mention Mary Louise quite a bit, but she’s such a great pianist, I feel more folks should know about her. After all, she’s the first call pianist for Doc Severensen when he tours the Midwest. She’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums, in Crooners’ listening room. Here’s what she sounds like.

Tuesday, February 21

UW Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble w/Michael Davis @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Jazz Studies program at UW Eau Claire has been doing a great job of turning out musicians. Tonight they’ve invited NYC-based trombonist Michael Davis to sit in with their Jazz Ensemble. The bone-man is widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones since 1994. He toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released 9 solo CDs, composed over 150 works, authored 10 books and appeared on over 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. He’s worked with scores of high-profile musicians, including Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Terence Blanchard and others.

MVP Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) After playing at the Dakota lat night (see above), this all-star quartet is moving over to the Vieux.

Tuesday, Wednesday, February 21, 22

Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly & George @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm  ($40 – $55), 9pm ($24 – $45) Pianist Aaron Diehl turns the spotlight on the music of rag time pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and popular composer George Gershwin. There is certainly plenty of wonderful material to explore, and Diehl has picked out both classic tunes as well as little-known gems for further exploration. He’ll be joined by  pianist Adam Birnmaum, who has played with Al Foster, Wallace Roney, Eddie Gomez, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as well as young contemporary artists. Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant is the icing on the cake, so to speak, with her ability to unearth new interpretations of standards and long-forgotten, yet worthwhile tunes.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 15

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Joe and Vicki have such a fan base here in the Twin Cities that they could almost move here from their Decorah, Iowa home. Listen in during the 5 o’clock hour to catch their spare, but effective blues.

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Here we have three masters of slack key guitar – a distinctly Hawaiian style of open tunings. George Kahumoku Jr, Kawika Kahiapo, & Nathan Aweau are masters of the instrument who have produced four Grammy-winning CDs.

Maurice Jacox @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a chance to hear a vocal master of R&B, soul, blues, and even some crooning in the comfy confines of this “dive-ish” bar with friendly staff.

Aaron Kerr’s Dissonant Creatures @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Original compositions from electric cellist Aaron Kerr  along with Jeff Crandall, guitar; Toni Tinetti, cello; Justin DeLeon, drums; Matt Kanive, bass; Mike Nordgy, mandolin & percussion; and Brett Hansen, guitar.

Thursday, February 16

International Novelty Gamelan @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A gamelan is a traditional music ensemble from Indonesia that typically uses bronze percussive instruments. The ING may not be Indonesian, but it’s six members have taken the music of that far-off land to heart, and learned to create their own songs as well. Their music is drone-like, and can be very abstract, which makes it perfect for the cauldron of progressive music presented at Khyber Pass.

Friday, February 17

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The Duchess of the Blues, singing and playing for your early evening dancing pleasure.

Dobet Gnahoré @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) 9pm ($25, $30) This singer, dancer, and percussionist from the Ivory Coast is likely to stun you with the sheer physicality of her dancing, though her singing (in a variety of African languages) and time-keeping are nothing to sneeze at. Gnahoré has a warm, powerful voice, and a commanding stage presence, sure to hold you in wonder.

Slimabration @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, Donation at Door) It’s been five years since Bob “Slim” Dunlap experienced the stroke that sidelined him from playing music, and racked up some significant medical expenses. Slim’s friends and family decided to mark the occasion with a celebration of Bob and his music, featuring solo and band performances from the likes of Dan Baird, of the Georgia Satellites; John Eller & Friends; Curtiss A, Frankie Lee, Whale in the Thames, and many more. There will be craft food and beverages available.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free beverage) Primer served as bandleader and lead guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. He’s received two Grammy nominations, including a 2017 nomination as Best Traditional Blues Artist (Male). In other words, when it comes to the blues, Primer is the real deal.

Saturday, February 18

Ling-Ju Lai: The Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Host Maria Jette has lined up an impressive array of artists to perform for the somewhat informal Saturday Salon series. Though Ms Jette’s commentary and quick wit keep things light, the audience is as rapt as possible in this listening room. Today features pianist Ling-Ju Lai  a native of Taiwan who has gained an international reputation for her creative interpretations of Baroque music. From the venue’s description: “Highlights of the 2016-17 season include appearances in notable concert series such as the Aula de Música at the University of Alcalá in Spain, the PianoForte Foundation Salon Series in Chicago, and Brookline Library Music Association Concert Series in Massachusetts presenting The Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach.”

Freaker’s Ball 2017 @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Let your Freak Flag Fly as the White Iron BandKung Fu Hippies, and trumpeter Willie Waldman take you on a trip through various stomp-your-feet permutations of roots, jam band, psychedelic, and free form music.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Silvertones are a cover band that features rock and R&B from the sixties, for that evening when you just want to sing along and (for older folks) perhaps relive your youth.

Sunday, February 19

Bad Companions @ The Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Two guitars, a stand-up bass, and drums are just what is needed to play roots-rock that encompasses Rockabilly, R&B, Country, and the Blues. Al Subola (Vibro Champs), guitar; Dan Gaarder (Trailer Trash), guitar; W.E. Keefe (Vibro Champs), bass; and Hayden Grooms (Hillions) are the Bad Companions  providing the sounds in the Sunken Garden of the Margorie McNeely Conservatory. Beer and wine is available and the music is piped into the North Garden and Palm Dome so you can keep up with the music as you enjoy the plants and humidity of the Conservatory. Here they are with the addition of a saxophonist.

Tuesday, February 21

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Latin sounds by the first American Group to be invited and appear at the International Danzon Festival in Havana. Leader Doug Little will have just returned from Cuba, so I imagine he will be pumped.

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.


All Kinds of Music: 1.18 – 1.24

January 18, 2017


Everybody plays (See Peter & the Wolf listing, below)

Everybody plays (See Peter & the Wolf listing, below)

It’s a good time, and the Twin Cities is a good place, for folks who enjoy live music. In the coming week, we’ve got performances from some outstanding visiting artists and a few nationally known resident artists. Additionally, we have a couple of fundraisers, each featuring a variety of artists, and two chances to hear chamber music: a production of Peter and the Wolf, and a chamber music quartet interpreting A Love Supreme. Music lifts the Spirit.


Wednesday, January 18

Pete Whitman Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) Saxophonist Pete Whitman brings another group to the basement club, this time with: Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Chris Olsen, guitar; Jay Young, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, January 18, 19

Roy Hargrove With Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) What great possibilities lie in this show. Hargrove is among the best trumpet players of his generation, and has won two Grammys, one with his Cuban-based bans Crisol; and another with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker. He’s recorded over twenty albums, including an album of ballads with strings, and a hip-hop album, in addition to recordings with his quintet. Italian-born and NYC-based Roberta Gambarini is a magnificent vocalist with a supple, multi-octave range. You can read an interview I did with her in 2011 here. Here are the two artists with a big band doing a Latin number.

Thursday, January 19

Nichola Miller & The Wolverines Trio @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Miller has been taken up with raising a little boy these past few years, which has cut down on her gigging, so get out and see her while you can. She has pipes galore, an unerring sense of time, clear enunciation, and swings like mad, helped along by the Wolverines Trio. Her style is classic – in fact, listening to her may inspire you to order a classic cocktail like a Martini or Manhattan.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Peter Vircks is a fine saxophonist, whose improvisational skills add to any group, whether he’s playing for The Rhythmic Circus dance troupe or as a sideman. Tonight he’ll be joined by Brian Ziemniak, keys; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Feathermucker @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The weekly series at Khyber Pass always features adventurous music to go with its small plates and drinks. Tonight’s group will be performing The Dream Project, with music by Ted Moore  and text by Timothy Otte, featuring Alyssa Anderson, voice; Joe Spoelstra, guitars; and Ted Moore on electronics.

Friday, January 20

Adam Meckler & Cory Grossman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Trumpeter Adam Meckler and Cellist Cory Grossman have shown how the sonically different instruments can work together in Lulu’s Playground and other groups. Tonight, they explore the possibilities of the instruments with an evening of duets.

Saturday, Jantuary 21

Bryan Nichols: The Art of Solo Piano @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop ($10), 7pm concert ($15) Nichols is a pianist, composer, and educator often found playing jazz and improvised music, but at home in a variety of musical worlds. He leads and composes for his own trio, quintet, and nonet in addition to performing, recording, and touring with forward-thinking artists like Nicole Mitchell, Ron Miles, and Olga Bell, and groups like the Gang Font, Dead Man Winter, and Halloween, Alaska. Tonight, however, he’ll be playing solo, with songs from his release of last May, Looking North, as well as some other originals.


Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start off at 7pm with the JazzINK Youth Showcase, which features  the Simon Petrick Group, a quartet of young musicians ranging from HS seniors to college juniors: Petrick, drums; Adam Astrup, guitar; Sam Worthington, bass; Levi Schwartzberg, Vibes. Headlining at 8:30pm is Chris Bates’ Red 5, a group that doesn’t play out much, since all of its members are busy in other groups as well. With Chris Bates  bass; JT Bates, drums; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brandon Woznicak, tenor; JC Sanford, trombone.

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) Benny Weinbeck  piano; Gordon Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums, are consummate veterans who produce piano jazz of the highest order.

Sunday, January 22

Parisota Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Guitarist Robb Henry started the Parisota Hot Club as a quartet back in 2002. Since then, he’s developed a collective of musicians that he can call upon, depending on the needs of the venue. Tonight he brings a trio, with a violin (likely Gary Schulte) and bass to the Aster.

Monday, January 23

Turtle Island String Quartet Plays A Love Supreme @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45) 9pm ($25, $35) This classical chamber quartet  as won multiple Grammys for Best Classical Crossover Album. They are able to take the esthetic of classic chamber music and apply it to contemporary styles, breaking tradition, and finding new audiences. Tonight they tackle John Coltrane’s iconic music on meditation and spirituality: A Love Supreme. Here they are doing another song that’s often associated with Coltrane.

Brian Handeland @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Brian Handeland doubles on sax and woodwinds. He’s attended UW-Eau Claire, and went to grad school at the well known University of North Texas. Between both schools, he played in a number of DownBeat award winning ensembles. He was part of a 7-month tour with Flashdance, the musical, and performs around town with a number of jazz, rock, and ska groups.

Tuesday, January 24

Sean Turner Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners are taking an unusual step to ensure that people have a chance to discover the music of pianist Sean Turner by having no cover charge for the quiet listening experience of the Dunsmore Room. Turner heads the Keyboard Department at McNally Smith and composes music for films and commercials. He studied with famed pianist JoAnn Brackeen, thanks to a Study Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently plays around town in various groups. Tonight, he heads a trio with the always reliable veterans Gary Raynor on bass; and Jay Epstein on drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 18

Munson & Beckmen Go To IBC on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Bluesman and slide guitarist Mike Munson teamed up with percussionist about town Mikkel Beckmen to win the contest to represent Minnesota in the solo/duo category at the International Blues Challenge. Now they have to raise money to get there, and this is one of a number of events toward that end. Tune in to Harold’s House party about 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club to hear and support this winning duo.

Thursday, January 19

Celebrating 20 Years of the Dakota Dave Hull Show @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 11pm ($15 Suggested Donation) Dakota Dave Hull  has been doing his ultra rootsy show on KFAI for 20 years, and is handing in his headphones and going out in style by bringing along some friends to celebrate and raise funds for KFAI. Dale Connelly will host the event, which features special guests Lonnie Knight, Jack Klatt, Patty Harison, Adam Kiesling, Jay Peterson, Papa John Kolstad & Bill Smith and more! There’ll be a “meet and greet” at 6:30 and the music will get going about 7:30. Suggested donation of at least $15, though nobody will be turned away, with all proceeds going to KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio. Tune in to KFAI from 10am to Noon for the last show, and show up for an evening of great folk/Americana. Here’s Dave on A Prairie Home Companion.

Twilight Hours @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) The Twilight Hours are the brainchild of John Munson, bass & vocals; and Matt Wilson, guitar, drums, & vocals, who played together in Trip Shakespeare some twenty odd years ago and have played together off and on since then. Twilight Hours is a rock band, but one they describe as “thoughtful, sometimes introspective, sometimes full of rejoicing.” Sounds a bit like folk-rock to me. I don’t know who else they’ve rounded up for this gig, but Steve Roehm, Munsons band-mate in The New Standards, has been known to take part in their musical proceedings.

Friday, January 20

Tribute Night @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) It’s another night of dancing at the Eagles Club with three bands doing three different types of music: The Saddle Sores, with Clay Williams on guitar, will be doing Country Duets; Hornucopia will be digging into the past to perform the songs of rock-era horn bands; and Looking Bacharach, a group described as “doing songs by Burt what’s-his-name.”

ACLU Benefit @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 6pm ($20, $10 Student/Hardship) Here’s a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is featuring a host of terrific players each doing a 20-30 minute set:  Dakota Dave Hull, The Beavers, Greg Herriges, Matt Sowell, Siama Matuzungidi, Leslie Rich, Charley Dush. 100% of the cover goes to ACLU.

Boom Boom Stevie V & The Knockouts @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Steve Vonderhaar is a knockout harpist with an appropriately named blues band. Back in 2012, he and guitarist Kit Kildahl represented Minnesota in the International Blues Challenge.

Nicolas David & Vic Volare @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40)  Before he began his storied run to become a finalist on The Voice in 2012, Nicolas David gained fans around town as Nick the Feelin’. Of course, he had already released five well-recieved albums and received national airplay for his alternative soul music before his appearance on the show. His dynamic vocals and insightful songwriting have only improved since then, and tonight, he’s teaming up with crooner and retro swingster Vic Volare for a unique evening of music.

Saturday, January 21

Peter and The Wolf @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 10AM, 11AM (Free) This is part of MacPhail’s Free Family Music Series, and is a chamber music version of “Peter and the Wolf,” the symphonic tale for children by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. It’s a one-movement narrated story with each character being represented by a different instrument of the orchestra. This arrangement is based on the original one-piano arrangement made by the composer. Performers all come from MacPhail’s faculty, and include: Daniel Abdon, Narrator; Stella Anderson, Violin (Peter); Julie Johnson, Flute (The Bird); Carrie Vecchione, Oboe (The Duck); Greg Kajiwara, Clarinet (The Cat); Thea Groth, Bassoon (Grandpa); and Pinar Başgöze and Susana Pinto Piano Duo (The Wolf, Hunters

New Riverside Rambler Trio @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon- 2pm (No Cover)  Cajun music for brunch, performed by a trio from one of the busier Cajun bands in town.


Jeff Ray & the Stakes and Paul Mayasich’s RAMM Band @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) It’s an evening of roots and R&B at The Hook. Jeff Ray and the Stakes are driven by Ray’s slide guitar and vocals, and propelled forward by Mikkel Beckmen’s foot stomping and percussion; Nick Salisbury’s bass and home made foot-shaker contraption, and Harold Tremblay’s gritty harp playing. The RAMM band, led by guitar master Paul Mayasich, plays American Music, from Motown to R&B, rock n’ roll, and the blues. Here’s 3/4 of Jeff & the Stakes

Big George Jackson @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Big George Jackson has a voice that rumbles with the authority of an oncoming train. It’s well suited to the blues and boogie that he plays on harp, ably accompanied by Jeremy Johnson on guitar, and others.

Last Waltz Tribute @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12, $15) The Last Waltz is a Martin Scorsese movie documenting the last concert at The Band in 1976. Scores of top acts performed, from Dylan and Muddy Waters, to Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, The Staple Singers, and more. Over twenty of the area’s musicians are gathering to honor the film by presenting the songs featured in the film.

Sunday, January 22

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s another fundraiser to help send Minnesota musicians to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Featuring The Mark Cameron Band, and Mike Munson & Mikkel Beckmen, this year’s Minnesota entries in the group and duo categories, along with Colin Campbell  the Shackletons, and past winners of the Road to Memphis in an all-star jam.

Hot Club of Cowtown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Here we have three excellent musicians from Texas who integrate the acoustic jazz of Django Rheinhardt with the Western Swing of Bob Wills. With talent galore, the trio bring joy and excitement to the music, and have gained worldwide fans through tours with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan and tours to Europe, the UK, and State Department sponsored tours to places like Armena, Azerbijan, and the Sultanate of Oman.

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

A Full Week of Music: 8.17 – 8.23

August 17, 2016

imagesOur cup is overflowing with a full week of music ahead of us,. We have visiting pianists, blues artists, and a great bluegrass band coming to town. Of course, we have our own roster of resident musicians whose talent is truly worthy of our support. We’ve got jazz, Americana, blues, and Latin music, with a Japanese Lighting Festival just for fun. Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, August 17

Tributary, featuring Adam Meckler and Brian Courage @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) This is a group made up of musicians who all met at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, which has produced a number of very good musicians. Besides Meckler on trumpet, and Brian Courage, who used to live here and is now based in NYC on bass, the group includes Aaron Hedenstrom, of numerous groups and leading his own big band on tenor; Greg Woodside, of Boston, on piano; and Derek Dreier, of Des Moines, on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) One of the most versatile guitarists on the planet (Magraw), and an internationally known powerhouse drummer (Gravatt) come together for a tuneful evening that can go in any direction.

Monseur Periné @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $32) Columbia has a thriving music scene, and Monseur Perine is a big part of it. They take acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, and add Latin percussion, for a fresh approach to the music.

Capri Big Band @ Minnehaha Falls Park, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) This intergenerational big band can swing with the best of them. What a great way to hear them, at the pavilion at Minnehaha Falls, with perhaps, some food and drink from the nearby Sea Salt Cafe.

Thursday, August 18

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pippi Ardennia sings For Peace, accompanied by a trio of young artists that she’s taken under wing: Jo Schad, piano & vocals; Luke Pickman, cello & flute; and Beth Varela, drums.

Kandace Springs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Pianist/vocalist Ms Springs recently received a glowing review in Jazz Times for her Blue Note album Soul Eyes. The reviewer called her pop-jazz sound “a bewitching amalgam of Dusty Springfield’s caliginous, cream-filled soulfulness and Nancy Wilson’s sensual sophistication, with distinct shades of Michael Jackson.” Springs is a Prince protege, and this is a chance for you to say, “I saw her when…”

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and tonight, the well-regarded Ms Doring is center stage, with her inviting blend of jazz and a bit of the blues.

Friday, August 19

Sophia Shorai @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Hoo boy! You might think that Ms Shorai’s honey-sweet, and sometimes coquettish vocals could easily be lost in the loud conversations that accompany a TGIF night at Crooners, but have no fear, she has enough grit, not to mention an abundance of talent, to capture the attention of almost anyone celebrating the end of the week.

Lulu’s Playground @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Their music is charming and inventive, and while the members of Lulu’s Playground may call their music “chamber jazz,” truth is, their music is hard to define, though their instrumentation does imply such a label. Their music includes tangos, jazz, waltzes, and even some free improvisation. Members are: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; Corey Grossman, cello; and Ben Abrahamson, guitar.  and

Rodney Ruckus @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is part of the All Originals Jazz Series at Studio Z, not to be confused with Jazz at Studio Z. We’re lucky to have two different jazz series at this location. At any rate, drummer Rodney Ruckus has put together a new group to play a live version of A Love Supreme, along with some new compositions. Rodney Ruckus, drums; Will Kjeer, piano; Steve Kenny Flumpet; and Ron Evaniuk, bass.

Saturday, August 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s another night of two bands and a tip jar. Opening set is by the Mitch Rand Quartet: Mitch Rand, saxes; Dillon Nelson, guitar; Andrew Nelson, electric bass; and Noah Kittelson, drums. then at 8:30, Steve Kenny celebrates 100 weeks of Saturday Night Jazz with Group 47, Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, tenor; Adam Tucker bass; Alex Burgess, drums; and the veteran Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Ethan Iverson Masterclass & Performance @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $50 w/Dinner) Masterclass: 4-6pm included with 7pm show. Though Iverson is best known as one third of The Bad Plus, with whom he’s played venues as varied as The Village Vanguard and Bonnaroo, he also plays with the Billy Hart Quartet and with jazz elders such as Albert “Tootie” Heath, and Ron Carter. Time Out New York called him, “Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist-scholar.” In concert he’ll be playing a diverse selection of jazz piano pieces, including numbers from James P. Johnson and Mary Lou Williams. While the masterclass is meant for piano players, everyone is welcome.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Ms Lynch brings her Most Excellent Fellows back to the Vieux. this time around the Fellows include Chris Beaty, guitar; Dan Eickmier, trumpet; Richard Medek, drums; and Peter Enblom, trombone. As the ensemble performs hits from the 30s, 40s, and even the 50s, dancing will be encouraged, but certainly not required.

Monday, August 22

Rick Germanson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40w/Dinner) NYC-based pianist Germanson moved to the Big Apple from his hometown of Milwaukee in 1996, and soon established himself as a go-to-pianist for many national acts. He’s released three very-well received albums and has appeared at major clubs and festivals around the world. He’s no stranger to the Twin Cities, having appeared at the old Artists’ Quarter a number of times, and recorded with Carol Martin. He currently tours with the Cannonball Legacy Project, led by drummer Louis Hayes, as well as with Kyle Eastwood.

Javier Santiago & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Pianist Javier Santiago has been playing some modern rhythms and riffs of late, dipping his oh so talented fingers into neo-soul, in addition to giving a contemporary touch to old standards. His friends include Dan Carpel, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and Proper T on vocals.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 17

Willie Walker on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) the Twin Cities own original soul man is not only still going, but has had a boost in his career from last year’s release of If Nothing Ever Changes, which was produced by Rick Estrin, formerly of Little Charlie and the Night Cats. The CD received Blues Award nominations in three categories. Walker doesn’t even need a full band to work his magic. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by guitarist Scott Ives.

Dakota Dave Hull @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Hull is an international guitar star, at least for those who follow finger-picking. He gets his suits made in Thailand when touring Asia, and is a frequent visitor to Great Britain and Europe. As a result, we don’t get to see him perform in town very much, so this is a rare opportunity, especially given the price.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) They’ll be clearing away tables to allow for salsa dancing at the Icehouse as the seven members of Malamanya work their magic with vintage Cuban sons and other Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Thursday, August 18

Erik Koskinen and Rogue Valley @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul 6pm (Free) It’s Americana Night at Mears Park. Erik Koskinen is a singer/songwriter and excellent guitarist who deserves to be known throughout the nation, both for his playing, and his slice of life songs that evoke the classic country music of the 50s and 60s. Rogue Valley is a quintet led by singer/songwriter Chris Koza. A couple of years back they released four albums in one year, each dedicated to one of the seasons. More recently, they released radiate/dissolve. As usual, Music in Mears will feature a half-dozen food trucks, and beer from Lake Monster Brewing and Summit Brewing.

Doug Otto & The Getaways @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you’ve never made it to NE Mpls to catch Doug and the guys at Nye’s or the 331 Club, here’s a chance to catch them in the newly redesigned Black Dog, which now boasts a full bar and a real kitchen. Soulful, mournful blues of various stripes.

Guitar Shorty @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($10) In a five-decade performing career, Guitar Shorty has been credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. We’re not likely to see the hard-hitting performer do flips on stage, as he once did, but the blazing fingering and fiery bursts of notes are still there.

Friday, August 19

Frogleg w/Bailey Hubbs @ Rice Park, Saint Paul 6pm – 9pm (Free) Headliners Frogleg can usually be heard performing their jam-bandish blend of R&B, Reggae, Funk, and rock at Bunker’s on Thursdays. Tonight they cross the river for some outdoor dancing. Hubbs is a talented sixteen year old from Saint Paul currently recording her original music in Nashville.  Food trucks and beverage sellers will be available.

Jaedeyn James & The Hunger @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This ten-piece horn band has lots of fun on stage, playing high energy original R&B and selected covers with a brashness usually found in punk bands. Listen to them on their BandCamp page.

Saturday, August 20

John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $35) Jorgenson may be one of the most talented guitarists around. He’s spent years touring with Elton John, started the country-rock band Desert Rose, and helped kick-start the gypsy jazz revival of the last decade or so. He’s a virtuoso player who also plays mandolin. Tonight he’s showcasing one of his three bands – J2B2, featuring Herb Pederson on banjo, guitar, and vocals (Byrds, Desert Rose, Flying Burrito Brothers); as well as Jon Randall on guitar (Emmylou Harris, Nash Ramblers); and Mark Fain on bass (Ricky Skaggs, Kentucky Thunder).

BrassZilla @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Just in case you haven’t had enough brass in your life, along comes BrassZilla: Hal Longley, sousaphone; Zach Zins, trombone; Bob DeBoer, trumpet; and Jeffrey Dunitz, drums. With their originals and brass band versions of songs you know, BrassZilla will be easily heard in the somewhat noisy confines of Hell’s Kitchen.

Sunday, August 21

Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival @ Como Zoo & Conservatory, Saint Paul. 3pm – 9pm ($5) The 18th annual Como Park Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival is a family-friendly event, reminiscent of Japan’s annual Obon holiday.  In the Japanese Garden at the Conservatory, you will find bonsai, martial arts, Ikebana, singing, dancing, drumming, food and other aspects of Japanese culture.The day will culminate at dusk with the main event—the lantern lighting. Stone lanterns as well as hundreds of floating paper lanterns throughout the Japanese Garden pond and the Frog Pond will create a vision of peacefulness and harmony.

Phil Heywood @ Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7:45pm (Tip Jar) A helluva finger-picking guitarist  with a pleasant baritone voice to boot, performing in the welcoming confines of this “Irish in Saint Paul” pub.

Shemekia Copeland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) What we have here is proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ms Copeland is the daughter of the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, and there’s no doubt she’s learned much from her father.With a powerful, soulful voice, she’s headlined the Chicago Blues Festival and others around the world, performed at the White House, and shared the stage with folks like Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, BB King, and Buddy Guy.

Monday, Tuesday, August 22, 23

Ruthie Foster @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) It’s a testament to Foster’s talent that she can fill the Dakota whenever she performs, which seems to be a couple of times a year. With her warm on-stage presence, and knack for storytelling, Foster is an ideal purveyor of folk blues. Folks notice: she’s won numerous awards from Living Blues, including Female Blues Artist of the Year. Jack Broadbent opens

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

A Big List: 6.1 – 6.7

June 1, 2016

Unknown-1Holy mackeral! There is so much music this week that my listing is much larger than usual, and I still left a number of worthy gigs off the list. At any rate, let’s just get to it.Music lifts the spirit!


Wednesday, June 1

Anthony Cox Presents deVon Gray @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 student ID) deVon R. Gray is a  multi-instrumentalist, classically trained composer. You can find him writing orchestral and operatic works as well as jazz riffs, in addition to backing area R&B and hip-hop acts. Tonight he’s playing with his trio, REFINED: Gray on keyboards: James Everest on guitar; and Davu Seru on drums and percussion.

Thursday, June 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight, this is the place to go to find out hear the next generations of jazz musicians.  Adam Astrup Quartet, a band of young lions, opens at 7pm: Astrup, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Simon Petrick, drums; Gerhart Robinson, sax. At 9pm it’s the slightly older Rodney Ruckus Trio: Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olson, bass; Ruckus, drums.

Chrisette Bany @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) There is always someone new to discover. Case in point is Ms Bany, who has been performing in the Twin Cities and beyond for 17 years, yet has remained under the radar until recent appearances at Crooners.

Hanson, O’Brien, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Nathan Hanson, sax; Casey O’Brien, bass; and Davu Seru, drums, will take you on a far-reaching expedition to the outer edges of jazz, and bring you back safe and sound.

Friday, June 3

Mancrush @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm Master class, 7pm performance. ($10 Advance/$15 door) Drummer Lars-Erik Larson, leads this group, which includes Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Bryan Nichols, piano. Larson will discuss unconventional rhythm sections and how he composes for the bass-less group.

Patty Peterson All Stars w/Steve Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) With seven Minnesota Music Awards, four solo albums, and her own jazz show on KBEM, Peterson is known far and wide for her blend of jazz and R&B vocals. Her last album features such heavyweights as David Hazeltine, Bobby Lyle, Sheila E. and of course her brothers Billy, Ricky, and Paul. Tonight she is more than ably assisted by Steve Cole, sax; Clyde Davis, drums; Cory J. Wong, guitar; Lamar Jones, bass; Jason Peterson Delaire, keyboards.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Eric Kamau Gravatt – Drums; Solomon Parham – Trumpet; Lucia Sarmiento – Sax; Dean Magraw – Guitar; Ron Evaniuk – Bass. At 10pmit’s the Edmund Caitlin Trio: Edmund Catlin – Drums; Charlie Lincoln – Bass; Levi Schwartzberg – Vibraphone They will be playing the Thelonious Monk album, Straight No Chaser, in its entirety.

Jazzland Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet/vocals; Nelson Devereaux, reeds; Keith Hilson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; Evan Clark, tuba

Brazilian Jazz @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (No cover) Along with changing the name from Señor Wong’s to the SW Craft Bar, and adding more craft beers and liquors, this Mexican/Asian restaurant now feature music on Fridays. Tonight, Mira & Tom Kehoe along with Xibaba will be playing Brazilian jazz, Bossa Novas, Sambas ,Forros, and Choros. Though the stage (such as it is) lighting is dim, you do get to view the LRT passing by as the band plays, in addition to their cocktails, food, and beer.

Saturday, June 4

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Some of the best straight ahead jazz in town is on display tonight, beginning at 7pm with the James Wallace Group: James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Adam Tucker, bass; Bill Steiger, drums. At 9pm it’s Bone Chance: Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dave Graf, trombone; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Peter Schimke, keys.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Former Twin Citizen and now a Chicagoan, Bruce Henry has sung on major stages on four continents, bringing his unique take on African American music to the world.

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Shorai has been delivering yearning, sweet vocals to Twin Cities audiences for over ten years, singing a mix of originals, jazz standards, and modern gems.

Brad Bellows & Friends @ Boom Island Tap Room, 2014 North Washington, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This is the start of a weekly gig featuring valve trombonist Brad Bellows and a rotating cast of musical friends for some tasty jazz while you taste some brews.

Sunday, June 5

Concours d’Elegance @ Excelsior Commons, Excelsior. 10am – 3pm ($35) It’s not the name of a band, but rather an event featuring beautiful, rare, and valuable classic cars, boats and motorcycles. There will be four jazz bands playing while you amble lakeside among the vehicles. From 10am – 11:15 it’s Peter Kogan’s Mosnterful Wonderland, with Adam Meckler, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Scott Agster Trombone; Sean Turner, piano; Chris Olson, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Peter Kogan, drums. From 11:30 – 12:45, the Mary Louise Knutson Trio with Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums. Kogan then comes back with a quartet at 1pm, with Whitman and Bailey, along with Steve Hobert, piano. After a short break it’s a trio with Hobert, Bailey, and Kogan. The whole affair is a benefit for the ICA Foodshelf.

Joe Lovano’s Tribute to Gunther Schuller @ Sundlin Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul. 4pm ($25, $25 Senior [62+], $15 Student ID) Note: One K-12 Student is admitted free with each paid adult. Lovano and company will be performing in a tribute to Gunther Schuller. With Anthony Cox, bass; Young-Nan Kim, violin; Timothy Lovelace, piano; and Fred Harris, drums. With guest composer Peter Child.

Poncho Sanchez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35) The Texas born, California raised conguero started out as a singer, and started playing congas almost 50 years ago, while still in hight school. He was a major part of Cal Tjader’s last ensemble, released 19 albums, won a Grammy, and collaborated with Tower of Power and Hugh Masakela. Afro-Cuban music is in good hands.

Monday, June 6

Jazz Implosion featuring the Adam Meckler Quintet @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) 1st Set – Adam Meckler Quintet w Meckler, trumpet; Joe Mayo, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; & Greg Schutte, drums. 2nd Set – A double dose of drums with Davu Seru  & JT Bates

Tuesday, June 7

Teri Roiger @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) NYC vocalist Roiger also plays piano, composes, and writes lyrics, including lyrics to Monk’s Misterioso, approved by his family. She’s taught course on the Music of Billy Strayhorn, Monk, and Brazil, and currently teaches at SUNY New Paltz in the jazz program there. It’s her singing, however, that we should concentrate on. It’s been cooled “smooth but heady,” (All About jazz), “powerfully moving: and impressively deep (JazzTimes), and “made for those who still undetand the meaning of the term the real thing” (Stanley Crouch). Indeed, Roiger can express much with the slightest turn of a phrase, and has a voice that will sound wonderful in the listening environment of the Dunsmore Room. She’ll be previewing her soon-to-be released album, Billie 101, a collection of tunes associate with Ms Holiday. With husband John Menegon, bass; Joe Stracha, piano; and Phil Hey, drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 1

Paul Barry & The Acetones, w/guest Lila Ammons on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harp man Paul Barry plays the blues with help from the Acetones: Jon Pederson, Guitar; Vince Hyman, Piano, Vibes; Scott Soule, Bass; and Doug Hill, drums. They’ll be joined by special guest vocalist Lila Ammons, who is the granddaughter of boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons, and niece of the great sax player Gene Ammons. Lila Ammons sings around town in jazz clubs and does blues tours of Europe on an annual basis.

Nikki & the RueMates @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Take in the lakeside breezes at the Como Pavillion while the crystal clear voice of Nikki soars over the lake. Rich Rue, guitar and vocals, and Jon Olson, bass provide a solid foundation for the group’s blues and folk-rock. Drinks and food available in The Dockside.

Wednesday, Thursday, June 1,2

Suzy Bogguss @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Since the late 80s, Bogguss has gone from rising star of country music to award winning hit maker. She’s done it her own way, with original songs, and collaborations with the likes of Chet Atkins and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel. Her 2014 album, Lucky, is chock full of Merle Haggard songs, though to paraphrase Bogguss, it’s not a tribute, just a collection of some of the greatest songs she could find.

Thursday, June 2

Siama Matuzungidi and Drew Peterson @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis.  (time?? $$??) After being closed for 10 years, the new owners of the Viking have installed new bathrooms, a kitchen, took off the false ceiling, expanded the back bar, installed new sound and lighting on the stage, and kept the original booths. They’ve even added a “banana booth” from Nyes. The result is a more spacious feel, with a row of TVs over the bar that seem more decoration than sportscasting. Tonight brings West Bank veteran Drew Peterson, an Americana singer/songwriter, along with Congolese guitarist, Siama Matuzungidi, the Soukous master who just released a CD, and is representative of the West Bank of recent decades. It promises to be a night of great music.

The Hot Seat w/Paul Mayasich and the RAMM Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This is the first of Paul’s Hot Seat series to take place at the Fridley Lounge. He’ll be there with guests for every thursday but the last one of the month. His comrades in the RAMM band are kicking things off as the three-piece tackle the blues, Motown, and more.

Friday, June 3

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings, and Rena Haus @ the Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings were formed at the old version of the Viking Bar, at one of Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Fridays. Well, here it is over 10 years later, the Viking looks much better, Jackson is still producing Freewheelin’ First Fridays, and Steve and the Brass Kings still sound great. The Brass Kings produce jug-bandy old time music played by: Steve on acoustic and resonator guitars & vocals, Mikkel Beckmen on washboard, refrigerator door, butter dish, and djembe; Brad Ptacek on washtub bass; and Jillian Rae on fiddle. Opening is the farming blues gal Rena Haus, whose clever wordplay and strong guitar work make for some entertaining blues.

Willie Murphy and the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s time to party down with the blues, R&B, and Rock n’ Roll of Mr Murphy and his horn band. Listen to their take on a Jerry Lee Lewis number.

Cantus Sings Pet Sounds @ Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 – $35) Here’s an intriguing event. The nine members of the all-male chamber singing group Cantus will perform music from an album Rolling Stone calls “one of the greatest albums of all time.” It’s 50 years since the Beach Boys released Brian Wilson’s opus to unrequited love. Don’t necessarily expect Beach Boy type harmonies however, as the group will be singing the songs in jazz, bluegrass and funk settings. They’re bringing in a trio to back them up, and will bookend the Pet Sounds portion of the concert with other popular tunes from the past as well as today. This runs weekends through June 11. Here they are doing a song by the Dave Matthews Band.

Doug MacLeod Live in Europe CD Release @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20)The award winning acoustic bluesman has a way with words and his national steel guitar. Back in 2006 Macleod was in The Netherlands, recording a live album for a DVD released by Black and Tan Records as The Blues in Me. Though he had a fever, and felt like he wasn’t in good voice, the results were nevertheless well worth listening. So well, that they’ve now put out an album. It’s just Doug, his guitar, and his foot, recorded as he performed, with no overdubs. Jeff Arundel opens.

Dee Miller Band @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Hard charging Ms Miller sings take-no-prisoner blues, tonight featuring the guitar work of Moses Oakland and Craig Clark, along with the usual crack backing of Paul Mejia, vocals & harmonica;  Jesse Mueller, Keyboards; Eric Meyer, Bass; and Ben Irvin, Drums.

Friday, Saturday, June 3,4 & Wednesday, June 8

Prince Tribute: This Thing Called Life @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45) While waiting for the star-studded Prince tribute being discussed by Prince’s family and friends to come, here is one that features Twin Cities musicians who were part of the New Power Generation, featuring drummer Michael Bland, bassist Sonny Thomnpson, and keyboardist Tommy Barberella. Also featured are Julius Collins, vocals; Tracey Blake, guitar; and special guests Jamecia Bennett (lead singer for Sounds of Blackness), and others. DJ Jules and DJ fat will start spinning at 8pm, with the band beginning at 9pm. Friday and Saturday appear to have sold out, so act quickly if you want to see the show on Wednesday, the 8th.

Saturday, June 4

New Primitives @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Get a reservation or arrive early to get a table and hear the reggae and worldbeats of this quintet.

Movies and Music @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) The hot and smoky rhythms of the Prohibition years are delivered on the Pavillion stage by the four-piece Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League, followed by Labyrinth, a Jim Henson-directed film from 1986 starring David Bowie, with almost all other significant parts given to puppets from Henson’s imagination. The pavilion will protect you from the setting sun, and food and drinks are available inside.

Dakota Dave Hull: The Sacred and Profane Album Release @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm ($15) The late Dave Van Ronk called Hull one of the best guitarists in the world. He uses both flat-picking and finger-picking to dazzle audiences around the world and tonight Hull is releasing two albums: Heavenly Hope and This Earthly Life. One need not be Karnak the Magnificent to guess the contents of each. Opening set by Adam Kiesling.

International Reggae All-Stars @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Catch the Island rhythms of the All-Stars on a weekend night, from this international sextet that holds down Tuesday nights at Bunker’s.

Sunday, June 5

Curtiss A & Dark Click @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Old school roots music, including the blues, energized by original Twin Tone recording artist and John Lennon Tribute star Curtiss A and his fertile imagination. Every Sunday in June.

Tuesday, June 7

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whoa! The Blasters are coming, the Blasters are coming! Back when any punk band worth its salt was playing faster and louder, along came the Blasters, who played somewhat loud and somewhat fast. Thing is, they were using vintage R&B and Rockabilly for their template, infusing the old styles with an energy that matched punk, note for note. Led by the Alvin Brothers, brother Dave left. Though he’s returned as an occasional guest in the last few years, Phil’s singing powers the band, along with the guitar of Keith Wyatt. As they demonstrated at Lee’s and the Dakota last year, they’ve still got the energy make you sweat, even when you’re only chair dancing. As an added bonus, Molly Maher opens.

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

It’s All Good Music: 4.20 – 4.26

April 20, 2016

Unknown-1It’s another good week to be an ominiverous music fan. We have a few highly anticipated jazz artists in town, as well as some great blues and a battle of the blues bands, and some fine resident artists at work. Music lifts the spirit. Have a great week.


Wednesday, April 20

Nathan Hanson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Saxophonist Hanson leads Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Cornet; Erik Fratzke, electric bass; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion; through a program of Nathan’s originals, as well as tunes from Carla Bley, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, and some spontaneously composed works.

Bernstein, Goldings, & Stewart Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($22 – $30) This isn’t your father’s classic organ trio, though it’s a hard-charging group that’s taking the format in new directions. Guitarist Peter Bernstein has been a NYC institution since 1989, playing with legendary drummer Jimmy Cobb, Joshua Redman’s band, Diana Krall, Tomn Harrell, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Sonny Rollins, and more. Larry Goldings is the organ player in the group, though he’s equally at home with other keyboards, enough so that’ he’s been nominated for a Grammy and has playd with folks like Norah Jones, Madeleine Peyroux, Charlie Haden, Herbie Hancock, and Elton John. He’s got 18 albums as a leader, and hundreds more as a sideman. Drummer Bill Steward is another versatile veteran, having performed with Maceo Parker, John Scofield, Joe Lovano, james Brown, and Pat Metheny.

Thursday, April 21

Andrew Walesch Big Band: The Sounds of Sinatra @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) If you want to see this group I recommend getting there early, as pianist/vocalist Walesch has certainly hit on a popular concept. Though it’s not exactly a big band, the group does have ten members, giving it significant heft to support Walesch’s vocals.

Thursday, Friday, Sunday, April 21, 22, 24

Davina & The Vagabonds CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($15) The hardest working musician in the Twin Cities is releasing a live album entitled Nicollet & 10th. She and the band (trumpet, trombone, upright bass and drums) will soon be heading to the San Francisco Jazz Festival, then out East for a plethora of appearances, including a couple of blues festivals, before returning to the Monterrey Jazz Festival once again, where they’ll perform on two different stages. Later this summer they head to Europe. If you’ve never seen her and wonder what it’s all about, the best I can say is that Davina has a powerful voice, and a kick-*ss band, which does not include a guitar. Her music straddles lines between New Orleans R&B, traditional jazz, blues, and the occasional standard. The high-energy combination works, as she gains new and rabid fans wherever she plays.

Friday, April 22

Father & Son Pancake Breakfast @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Not what you think, but rather a trio featuring the father/son team of Javi Santiago on piano and Mac Santiago on drums, joined by Anthony Cox on bass. No word on whether Vanessa will be selling pancakes.

Saturday, April 23

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Steve Kimmel Trio w/Steve Kimmel, piano; Margo Beivik, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. 8pm Javi Santiago Trio: Miguel Hurtado, drums; Dan Carpel, bass;  and Santiago on piano. Here’s Javi in a solo piece.

Adam Meckler Quintet CD Release @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) opening is Jack Lion, electronic modern Jazz from Iowa. Then its’ tha AMQ: Meckler, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Greg Shulte, drums, Joe Mayo, sax. Here they are at the Black Dog.

Andy Martin & Bob McChesney w/the JazzMN Orchestra @ Hopkins High School, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Hopkins. 7:30pm ($$10 – $33) The show is called Slide by Slide, since both Martin and McChesney are veteran trombonists – both have appeared on hundreds of soundtracks and TV scores. They’ve also been featured performers with the likes of Natalie Cole, Michael Buble, and Gordon Goodwin. Here they are with the Carl Saunders band.

Superstitious Thriller: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Jay Young and his Lyric Factory have been presenting some of the music of Wonder and Jackson as part of larger shows over the last few years. Now he just concentrates on the two Motown Stars, bringing jazz arrangements to their songs. Though groups are always a bit flexible, past versions of the Lyric Factory have included Jay on piccolo bass; his son Ian on regular bass; Kevin Washington, on drums, and Thom West on keys. Various and sundry singers take over the vocal duties.

Sunday, April 24

The Elders @ Minnesota Historical Society, Saint Paul. 2pm ($20 Adults, $16 MNHS members, $10 5-7 yrs old) Patty Peterson host this event, which includes live music and conversation with jazz elders from the area. Guests include gospel singer Tom Tipton, and saxophonist/composer/arranger Dave Karr.


Superstitious Thriller: A Tribute to Stevie Wonder & Michael Jackson @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 3pm ($25) Jay Young and his Lyric Factory have been presenting some of the music of Wonder and Jackson as part of larger shows over the last few years. Now he just concentrates on the two Motown Stars, bringing jazz arrangements to their songs. Though groups are always a bit flexible, past versions of the Lyric Factory have included Jay on piccolo bass; his son Ian on regular bass; Kevin Washington, on drums, and Thom West on keys. Various and sundry singers take over the vocal duties.

Lucia Newell & Phil Aaron @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm – 9pm ($8, $35 Dinner) Ms Newell is a chanteuse whose knowledge of Brazilian songs comes from having lived there some years (decades?) back. She and Phil Aaron on piano will be performing some new material along with the Brazilian and American jazz standards that she favors. There will likely be some songs of spring as well for this intimate show.

Monday, April 25

Nancy Harms @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $40 Dinner), 9pm ($15) NYC-based, Minnesota-native Nancy Harms reruns to the Twin Cities for the local release of her highly anticipated album “Ellington at Night”. Judging from the videos released in anticipation of the album, Harms continues to find new emotion and strength in well known standards, this time from the Ellington songbook. Nancy will be appear with pianist Jeremy Siskind, a frequent collaborator with a light touch; as well as bassist Gordy Johnson and drummer Jay Epstein. Noted jazz writer Will Friedwald says of her  “…What makes ‘Ellington at Night’ so remarkable is the way that Nancy Harms and chief collaborator Jeremy Siskind have found a whole new way to sing Ellington, one that’s perfectly in keeping with the Ellington tradition, yet, at the same time, fresh and original.”

JAWS @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) I doubt you’ll hear the scary music from the movie, but one never can tell. This is a young outfit, co-led by pianist Jordan Anderson and guitarist Will Schmid, with Drew Stinson on bass, and Ben Beyene on drums. Anderson is now in his second year on the Dakota Combo, and was recently accepted into the jazz program at the University of Michigan, where he’ll study with Beeny Green. Schmid plays with the Minnesota Youth Jazz Band, and leads his own groups, in addition to playing in a guitar duo with Adam Astrup – the two got a warm reception at the Winter Jazz Fest.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The first set is guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker & drummer JT Bates performing  “A Musical Tribute to US Bank Stadium,” which sounds like it could be anything. The second set feature – Mancrush – Lars-Erik Larson, Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Bryan Nichols, keyboards. Here are Jeremy and JT playing in Alpha Consumer.

Tuesday, April 26

John Raymond Quartet @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner) Young trumpet ace John Raymond is back in town and appearing with Bryan Nichols, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and JT Bates, drums at the Dunsmore Room Crooner’s listening room, where people keep quiet in order to fully appreciate the music being presented. The quartet will be doing Raymond’s original music from his two albums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 20

Joe T. Cook on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Though he moved to the Pacific Northwest 10 years ago, Joe is fondly remembered around here, as well he should be. A winner of multiple blues awards and accolades from our own Blues Society, this harmonica player/vocalist/composer is in town for only two shows. He’ll be joined by Joe Franken on guitar and what is promised as a “killer rhythm section.” Tune in and get to the 331 Club for the show.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The Icehouse will become a veritable whirlpool of salsa dancers who enjoy the Cuban sons and other latin dance music of Malamanya.

Thursday, April 21

Papa John Kolstad and the Perfect Phits @ Vine Arts Center, 2637 27th Ave So, Minneapolis 6pm – 9pm (Free) Well, here’s Papa John in a place you don’t normally associate with the blues or acoustic swing – an art gallery. But then, John’s wife Susan Horns Kolstad is one of the artists whose work is on display, along with the work of C. Kim Pickering and Cecilia Schiller. Don’t know anything about the Perfect Philts, but since tonight’s event is sponsored by KBEM as part of its Gallery Grooves series, I trust they’ll play some great music.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (tip Jar) The raucous sounds of this Balkan party band will reverberate through the Northern Warehouse as dancers set aside tables and grab partners. If you’re lucky, some choral singers will show up to add another dimension to the music.

Thursday, Friday, April 21, 22

Music in Movies @ MStP International Film Festival, Saint Anthony Main Theater, Minneapolis. Various prices, and times. During this week there are a few music films being shown during the Festival. On Thursday, cellist Yo Yo Ma is the subject of a film at 7:15, while Twin Cities rapper Eyedea is featured at a 9:20 screening, both at Saint Anthony Main Theater. On Friday, the film about Gypsy will be shown at 9:20 at the same theater.

Friday, April 22

XTC: An All Star Tribute @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) This tribute to the British Pop giants XTC will feature a cast of dozens of regional stars, including Leslie Ball, Chris Beaty, Paul Boblett, Al Church, Adam Levy, John Munson, and many more. It’s a benefit for the Pay It Forward Cancer Fund at the Ridgeview Medical Center, which helps breast and women’s cancer patients pay basic living expenses while undergoing treatment.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Cat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Brian, Greg, and George get out the little records with the big holes and spin them in a dance-inducing way.

Saturday, April 23

Willie Walker & We “R” @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) As the summer sneaks up on us Willie Walker is preparing to travel to Brazil, Argentina, and northern Europe. His recent album, “If Nothing Ever Changes” is a solid slab of soul singing for the 21st Century. In fact, Walker has received three nominations from the Blues Foundation: Album of the Year, Soul Blues Album, and Soul Blues Artist. Well deserved, and we are lucky enough to be able to see him up close in the large room at Crooners. Here’s Walker in Brazil.

Graham Parker/Brinsley Schwarz Duo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($40 – $45) Parker came to the fore as a punkish soul singer with sharp writing skills from Britain during the late 70s and early 80s, when he led Rumour. Schwarz was in the Rumour and also led his own aggregation. Schwarz has often played with Parker on post-Rumour records, and recently the two have been selling out theaters around Europe playing some of Parker’s more recent music as well as some well-known “hits.”

Sunday, April 24

Road to Memphis Band Competition @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm ($10) So the solo/duo competition was a couple of weeks ago, and now it’s time to choose a band to represent Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. Today’s challengers include The Mark Cameron Band, The Lisa Wenger Band, The Gopher Tones, and Harrison Street. It’s a great way to get a sampling of some of the best blues around.

Tuesday, April 16

Paul Mayasich @ The Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Mayasich has a weekly gig at the Station, bringing in guests each week for a different take on guitar based rock, blues, and who knows what else. Tonight you can experience Mayasich Mayhem (according to his website) as Paul brings in Mark and Greg Mayasich to help him and listeners have fun.

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.

Jazz, Roots, and More: 2.24 – 3.1

February 24, 2016

I’m off this week, and so there aren’t as many links or videos as usual. I do have links for a couple of videos, however. Once again, we have a virtual cornucopia of talent playing in the Twin Cities. There should be something here you might find interesting, at the least. Get out. Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, February 24

Casey O’Brien Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Bassist O’Brien has been on over 60 recordings, and has performed in countries around the world. Tonight he’s joined by Ted Godbout on piano, and Peter Hennig on drums to perform O’Brien’s original music.

Fuzzy Math @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House. No wonder City Pages called them a jazz band for people who don’t like jazz.

Thursday, February 25

Bill Evans and Tony Bennett: 40 years Later @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) After doing the music of Chet Baker last year, Larry McDonough and his group are coming back to Jazz Central to revisit the songs of Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. Though McDonough, who will be playing piano as well as singing, will start off each song as Evans and Bennett did, he promises that where the songs go is not planned, so this is not so much a tribute as an homage. The group will also do songs recorded separately by Evans and Bennett.  He’ll be joined by Richard Terrill, sax; Greg Stinson, bass; Dean White Drums; and guest Rosie McDonough on African Drum.

Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28) You may have seen Brit Robson’s large piece in the Sunday Star Tribune on this Jazz Supergroup, which also includes Johannes Weidenmueiller, bass; Dan Weiss, drums; and Elizabeth Means, cello. Guitarist Abassi is Pakistan-born, with pianist Iyer and saxophonist Mahanthappa have Indian roots. Abassi has composed the music for the group, which “walks the line between the mathematic precision and discipline of South Asian music and the more freewheeling creativity of jazz,” as Robson put it. As an added attraction, Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition will perform a short opening set.

Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Actually, this is a variation of the AJE – it’s the Idiosyncrats, a group of strong regional players – with Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Jeff Bailey, bass; and JT Bates, drums; led by pianist Bryan Nichols. They’ll be doing music that ranges from Charlie Parker and Bix Beiderbecke to Ornette Coleman.

Friday, February 26

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features a band that is so new it doesn’t have a formal name. It’s the New and Still Unnamed Davu Seru 4-Tet, with Pat O’Keefe, on clarinets; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; and Seru on drums and percussion. There are essentially four generations of musicians in this band, all of whom can swing, but also embrace adventurous music.

Bria Skonberg with the Augsburg College Jazz Ensemble @ Foss Center, Augsburg College, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Skonberg is a Canadian-born trumpet player, vocalist, and composer who moved to New York City in 2010. She’s received a number of awards, and has appeared at festival in North America, Europe, and China, playing traditional, hot jazz.

Emily Jane Davis Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) Davis is a vocalist who began performing in 2012, often in duos with guitarist Robert Bell. She also sits in with his Twin Cities Hot Club, and has an affinity for Swing, Bossa Nova, and the Great American Songbook.

Saturday, February 27

3rd Annual Winter Jazz Fest @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 4pm – 9pm ($15) Congratulations to both Jazz at Studio Z celebrating it’s 3rd Annual Winter Jazz Fest, and to  Shifting Paradigm Records, which is celebrating a 2nd Anniversary. Together, they’re providing a value packed show. Five acts for $15, and what great acts: Dean Magraw’s Red Planet, Bryan Nichols Solo, The Adam Meckler Quintet, JT Bates Solo, and Dean Granros’ Tall Tales. All of them have recordings on Shifting Paradigm Records, and which is also celebrating a 3rd Anniversary.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening act is Falls Five, with Mitch Rand, saxophones; Ben Coleman, trombone; Sam Mathias, guitar and piano; Tessa Bloch, electric bass; and Derek Westholm, drums. At 8:30, it’s time for Source Code, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Chris Thomson, sax; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Ron Evaniuk, bass.

Monday, February 29

Rick Carlson with Dennis Spears @ The Dunsmore Room,  Crooner’s, Fridley. 7pm ($ 25 Minimum) Pianist Rick Carlson in a Basie acolyte who is also a very good accompanist, which is great because tonight he’ll be accompanying the great vocalist Dennis Spears, who first came to prominence in town with Moore by Four. Whether Spears is channeling Nat King Cole, singing jazz standards, or singing something from the Great American Soul Book, Carlson will have the right touch.

Geoff LeCrone @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Guitarist LeCrone regularly plays with the Acme Jazz Company, the Andrew Walesch Big Band, the Yohannes Tona Band, and in theater productions around town. Tonight he’ll be joined by saxophonist Bob Parsons.

Tuesday, March 1

Tommy O’Donnell Tribute to Erroll Garner @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooner’s, Fridley. 7pm ($15 or $20 Minimum) Pianist O’Donnell has been a Twin Cities Jazz fixture since the 50s. Tonight, he’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums; to play the music of Erroll Garner in the gorgeous and quiet listening room at Crooners.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 24

Andy Cohen & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm 331 Club (Tip Jar) Piedmont and Country blues from a virtuoso fingerpicking guitarist. Cohen is enamored of folks like Rev. Gary Davis, Skip James, Big Bill Broonzy, and more. He’s also a folklorist and funny storyteller.

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $40) If you’ve ever wondered about slack key music – that distinctive Hawaiian style of open tunings on guitar – now it the time to sate your curiosity. Three master musicians will take the stage tonight: Four-time Grammy winner George Kahumoku Jr.; Ledwar Kaapana, a National Heritage Fellow; and the award-winning Jeff Peterson. Wear a brightly colored shirt, order a rum drink, and relax.

Bonearama @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($13) As the name implies, this is a powerhouse trombone band. Bonerama is  based out of New Orleans, and play the brass band, New Orleans Jazz, funk, and R&B associated with The Big Easy. Opening are special guests The Cellar Kings and The Jack Brass Band

Thursday, February 25

George Harrison Birthday Party w/Joey Molland @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $50, $100) Molland is the sole survivor of the original Badfinger, the Beatles-discoverd band that appeared on Apple Records. He played on two George Harrison albums and with John Lennon on Imagine. Though this is a birthday tribute for Harrison, all proceeds will be going to support the Lowertown Blues Festival.

Friday, February 26

Winter Show of the Skeleton Crew Collective @ The Black Forest Inn, 26th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm (Suggested Donation $10 – $20) The Skeleton Crew is collective is a mixed chamber ensemble with a of creating an open-door family friendly environment to share and expose inventive music of the eclectic minimalist and post-minimalist composers of our time. They’ll be performing In C by Terry Riley as well as Demolition Dreaming by John Akre and selections from Seven Secrets of Snow by Paul FonFara. There will be some visuals, a photoplay, and special guests.

Saturday, February 27

Nikki Roux and Rich Rue@ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) You don’t have to pay a cover to hear the talented Nikki & Rich play blues, folk rock, and some Americana, though you’d certainly be tempted to order some of the New Orleans inspired food from the Vieux’s kitchen.

Hannah von der Hoff & the Dangertones @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ms von der Hoff has a soulful, often sensuous voice, making her equally adept at covers and originals. She’s backed by the 7-piece Dangertones, who give her a solid foundation.

Sunday, February 28

The Fattenin’ Frogs @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm. (Tip Jar) While away a late Sunday afternoon with some rockin’ Americana from the Frogs. They apply lots of energy to songs originally done in the 30s, and add some occasional electricity to their instruments.

Monday, Tuesday, February 29, March 1

Rickie Lee Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $60) She won two Grammys after hitting the pop charts with Chuck E’s in Love back in the late 70s. She also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone twice in two years. Jones continues to surprise – something she’s done throughout her career – both as a songwriter and a vocalist.

Tuesday, March 1

Carrie Rodriguez @ Cedar Cultural Center, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 advance, $20 door) This singer/songwriter/fiddler from Austin, Texas has a contemporary spin on Tex Mex music. She’s recorded with Chip Taylor (composer of Wild Thing and Angel in the Morning), and our own Ben Kyle, and has toured and/or collaborated with the likes of Bill Frisell, Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and Rickie Lee Jones, among others. Rodriguez is currently touring to promote her latest album, Give me All You’ve Got, recorded with her own band. Opening are the Roe Family Singers.

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

Mid-December Music: 12.9 – 12.15

December 9, 2015
Drink to the reunion of Rio Nido

Here’s to the reunion of Rio Nido!

Hard to believe we’re approaching the middle of December and we haven’t been hit with either a major snowstorm or temps below 20 degrees. Not to complain, however, since such weather makes it easier to get out and about – we don’t need to plan for an extra 20 minutes just to get properly dressed. At any rate, we have some great music in store for this week, including a long awaited reunion of Rio Nido, a couple of outstanding visiting artists, and some more holiday celebrations. It’s all good. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, December 9

Gary LaRue Quartet @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) LaRue and his Rat Pack Band (a trio) will perform songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and others of that era and time. Throw in the layout and atmosphere of Mancini’s bar, and it shouldn’t be hard to feel transported to a lounge in on the Jersey Turnpike during the 60s.

Framework @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; are three veteran musicians with a vast wealth of experience between them. They mesh well as a unit, to create swirling sounds that range from Americana-like swing to aural soundscapes.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 9, 10

Ramsey Lewis: The Sound of Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50), 9pm ($30, $40) With over 80 albums and three Grammys  to his credit, pianist/composer Lewis knows how to connect with an audience. He’ll be applying his sprightly, swinging style to tunes of the season for this appearance.

Thursday, December 10

Vicky Mountain Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Mountain has a fairly extensive performing resume that includes touring South America with a show band many years ago. Nowadays, she’s a vocal teacher at MacPhail Center for Music and occasionally gets lets her talent shine on stage, where she sings originals as well as her own arrangements of hip pop tunes and standards. Tonight she’s accompanied by Chris Lomheim, piano; and Jim Chenoweth, bass. Here’s a video of her singing at a house concert.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler brings his 16 piece big band to the basement boîte. His compositions and arrangements take full advantage of the colors and palettes of the group’s instruments, as you can see and hear in this video.

Friday, December 11

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Perhaps you got to see the article about this group in Sunday’s Star Tribune. It’s been 35 years since they performed together at a commercial venue, and many folks are eagerly awaiting the return of this swinging trio. Back then, their tight harmonies on tunes from the thirties and forties provided a refreshing break from the Blues, Punk, R&B, and cover bands that were sprouting all over the Twin Cities. Here’s an example of why they had such great appeal.

Bill Simenson Quintet @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar)  Simenson, on trumpet, leads a big band in town. He’ll be joined by a talented mix of the areas best:  Nathan Hanson, sax; David Martin, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums. Preceded at 7pm by the Mac Wilms Quartet, a group of secondary students appearing as part of the monthly JazzInk Youth Showcase.

Saturday,December 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band: Frank Sinatra Centennial @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Lines were out the door last time Walesch presented his Frank Sinatra show at Crooners. Since today is the Centennial anniversary of Sinatra’s birth, I suspect the demand will be even greater, so be forewarned if you want a seat.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kenny continues to find both upcoming and veteran bands to play each Saturday night. Opening set by the Cadenza All Stars. At 8:30 it’s the King/Fletcher/Woods CD Release, with Jeff King, saxes; Charles Fletcher, bass; and Eron Woods, drums.

Peter Kogan Quartet @Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The tympanist from the Minnesota Orchestra takes out a smaller set of drums and is joined by Brian Grivna, sax and woodwinds; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass; to play songs from both Cornucopia and his latest, Some Monsterful Wonderthing. If you scroll down past this post, you’ll find a short review of the new album. Here’s one track from the album.

Sunday, December 13

Got any chips?

Got any chips?

Fuzzy Math CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Mark Vandermyde, keys; Eric Graham, bass; Andrew Schwandt, sax; and Haralds Bondaris, drums; celebrate the release of their second album, Pass the Guacamole. Their first, released in 2012, resulted in the band being named, “best jazz band for people who don’t like jazz,” or something to that effect.

Monday, December 14

George Cartwright’s PAL @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Drummer JT Bates has been exploring the use of electronics as part of his performing, which may be one of the reasons saxophonist George Cartwright, who is quite adventurous himself, tapped him for this group. They’ll be joined by Andrew Broder, guitar; and Josh Granowski, bass; for an evening of thrilling music.

Monday, Tuesday, December 14, 15

New York Voices @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) This vocal quartet  as been around for about 27 years now, and, with close harmonies and tight arrangements, seamlessly blend jazz, R&B, Brazilian, and classical sounds into their repertoire.  Check out this acapella version of a Beatle’s song.

Tuesday, December 15

Katia’s Holiday Special @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Here’s a chance to get some holiday cheer without attending a large hall. Katia Cardenas has the pipes to get over an R&B tune, but also has the instincts and subtlety to handle jazz standards. Tonight she’ll tackle some seasonal favorites as well.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 9

The RAMM Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Twin Cities guitar hero Paul Mayasich leads this trio (Hye Pockets, drums; & John Iden, bass) through a program of R&B, Funk, and rock n’ roll.

Thursday, December 10

Mikkel Beckmen with Pop Wagner @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Wind down from work and prepare for the weekend with Beckmen’s weekly residency, this week featuring the esteemed Pop Wagne  on vocals, guitar, fiddle, and perhaps a lasso trick or two. Whether he’s singing cowboy songs, forgotten tin pan alley gems of the 30s and 40s, or telling stories, Wagner will set your toes to tapping and tickle a funny bone or two.

Ms Quiroz, leader of Samba Meu, and shaker of Shakeres

Ms Quiroz, leader of Samba Meu, and shaker of Shakeres

Samba Meu and Snap Frost! @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Acoustic Brazilian roots and pop music, performed by Karen Quiroz, vocals; David Martin, guitar; Tim O’Keefe, percussion, and special guest Pat O’Keefe, clarinet. There will be an intermission set by SnapFrost!, the sisterhood of the shakere, the dried gourd with beads that helps create unrelenting rhythms.

Friday, December 11

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue Holiday Part @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Harold Tremblay’s harp playing is so sharp he has no problem recruiting players for his All Star Blues Revue. Tonight he’ll be joined by Keith Boyles, bass; Bruce McCabe, piano; Doug Otto and Mark “Good Time Willy” Williams, gutars; and Allen “Captain” Kirk on drums. Besides celebrating the holidays, this show will be recorded for future release, so a noisy crowd is a welcome crowd. Here’s Harold with another version of the All-Stars.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Rockabilly, roots, and a bit of Western sound from a trio that’s been around in various groupings for a long, long time. Check out this example of their work.

Saturday, December 12

The Fattenin’ Frogs @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This sextet performs roots music – the stuff you would hear in juke joints, tent revivals, and medicine shows of years past years, upping the energy by using electrified instruments. The Bayport will soon be ending its presentation of music, so here’s one of your last chances to chow down on some mighty fine ‘Q while listening to live music.

JT at work

JT at work

JT Bates’ Grain Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15) The Jazz at Studio Z Series has started up once again. Since tonight’s group is an organ trio playing the genre’s hits from the 60s, I thought to put it under blues and roots. Tonight, drummer JT Bates  Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ; to the stately listening room. As usual, there’s a workshop at 6pm, followed by the group’s performance at 7pm.

Sunday, December 13

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm (No Cover) Charanga Tropical was the first American band to play at the Danzon Festival in Havana, held biannually in June, and also recorded in the fames EGREM studios while there. Look for the resulting album in early 2016. In the meantime, hear them live this afternoon.

Phil Heywood @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) With its wooden chairs and tables, The Dubliner is about a comfy a neighborhood bar as you can find, even if it is located along the Green Line LRT on University Avenue. It’s a perfect place to listen to the relaxed, warm vocals and mighty fine finger-picking of guitarist Heywood.

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($40) Rollicking swamp pop, Texas blues, and second line rhythms from the always entertaining Ms Ball  Whether singing about doomed relationships, life on the Mississippi, or backyard barbecues, Ms Ball delivers party music, plain and simple. While on her website, check out Marcia’s recipe for emergency chicken gumbo.

Monday, December 14

Doug Otto & Friends, featuring Nikki Roux and Rich Rue @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Admittedly, these are two of my favorite roots acts. Otto is an often mournful, evocative singer, while Nikki’s vocals are sprightly. All three are strong guitar players.

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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