Ignore the Snow! Music: 4.4 – 4.10

April 4, 2018

What happened to March – Out Like a Lamb?

Oh boy, we’ve gotten dumped on by snow and now will have a week or so of well-below-average temperatures, with the prospect of another snow on the way next week. TV stations are reporting on how tired we are of this, but also on those hardy enough to still find ways to enjoy the weather, especially those of you who cross-country ski. Getting inside to enjoy music is another way to deal with the weather. Here are some ideas. Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, April 4

Claudia Schmidt, w/Laura Caviani @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($12, $15) Vocalist Schmidt is a folkie who moves easily into jazz, especially when accompanied by someone as talented as pianist Caviani.

Noah  Ophoven-Baldwin Duo w/Michelle Kinney @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Trumpeter/Cornetist Ophoven-Baldwin has a perfect foil for his often sweet tone in cellist Kinney.

Dead King Mother @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15, $10/Students and Seniors) Fifty years after the assassination of Martin Luther King, percussionist Davu Seru tells the story of an almost forgotten incident in North Minneapolis that occurred as a result. The Capri is located in the same neighborhood where the incident occurred. This musical story will be presented by Zeitgeist and special guests, and will be followed by a panel discussion.

Brian Courage Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bassist Courage is back in town for a bit, so you’ll see him appearing as a special guest at some gigs, and heading the Black Dog on Saturday. Tonight he leads a quartet with musicians that he played with while living here in the early teens: Chris Thomson, saxophones; Park Evans, guitar; and Jay Epstein, drums

Thursday, April 5

Jana Nyberg w/Sean Turner @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) It’s been three months since vocalist/flutist Nyberg gave birth to a baby boy, and she’s raring to get out and perform. Tonight she has an excellent accompanist in pianist Sean Turner. Here she is in a group setting.

Southside Aces’ Fats Waller Night @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) The Aces are a brass-heavy band who will be taking on the music of the irrepressible Fats Waller, who delivered his music with a sly wink and knowing grin.

Pool Party, Round 6 @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Erik Fratzke, bass; Carley Olson, clarinets; Adam Zahller, vox/recorders; with special guest, Brian Courage, bass.

Friday, April 6

Reynold Philipsek CD Release @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($12) This intimate cafe in the western ‘burbs is perfect for appreciating the nuanced technique of guitarist Philipsek, who often plays gypsy jazz, ala Django Reinhardt. The first 40 patrons (essentially a full house) will get a free copy of his new CD, Picture This. He’ll be accompanied by Matt Senjem, bass; and Michael Bisonette, drums.

Donnie Norton Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Norton, who teaches at Mankato, was a student of Von Freeman and Jerry Bergonzi, which should be more than enough to whet your curiosity about his music. Norton, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, April 7

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7:00 Opening Set : Carter Pearson Quartet: Carter Pearson, Drums; Abebi Stafford, Piano; Graydon Peterson, Bass; and Bruce Acosta, Guitar. At 8:30 pm its Courageous Endeavors: ​Brian Courage, Bass; Nelson Devereaux, Saxophones; Joe Strachan, Piano; and Miguel Hurtado, Drums.

Sunday, April 8

Emmett Cohen Trio w/Tootie Heath @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($30, $40), 8:30pm ($25, $40) Cohen is a relatively young, imaginative, and often impish piano player who believes in the intergenerational transfer of artistic knowledge. He has been seeking out holder players to record and perform with, and tonight, he has drummer Tootie Heath (youngest of the Heath Brothers) as his older compatriot. Heath’s career includes stints with a pantheon of jazz greats, including Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Milt Jackson, Wes Montgomery, Cedar Walton… The list goes on. Grammy and Emmy nominated bassist Russell Hall will join them.  BTW, I’m being honored with an award from the Jazz Journalists Association at the beginning of the 6:30 show.

Monday, April 9

Emmett Cohen @ Dual Citizen Brewing, 725 Raymond Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($25 suggested donation) This benefit for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival is being held at a new brewery, just South of University on Raymond Avenue. If you didn’t catch Cohen at Crooners last night, you can hear him as a soloist tonight.

Tuesday, April 10

Moonshine Rhythm Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) This lively group hails from Nashville, and are adept at old school swing, and gypsy jazz: Josh Irwin – Lead Guitar; Billy Jewell – Trumpet; Charles Kay – Saxophone; Eddie Rutland – Rhythm Guitar; and Thomas Altman – Bass.

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, April 4

Papa John Kolstad & the Perfect Phitts on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Papa John’s good natured swing and blues are complemented by the slide guitar of Gary Powell, and the harmonica of Bill Smith. Hence the name.

Willie Murphy @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Bluesman/rocker/soulster Murphy is solo as part of the Hook’s Free Wednesday series.

Thursday, April 5

The Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) You can’t go wrong by seeing the multiple award winning blues band on a Thursday night.

Friday, April 6

Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul 8pm (Suggested Donation $10) Those of you looking for a bit more informal approach to classical music should enjoy this regular event, which takes place in the buildings’ third floor atrium, among art, and with refreshments. Tonights’ program includes music by Bach, Bartok, Karg-Elert, Seiber, Pixinghina, di Majo and more, performed by: Eva Beneke, guitar; Catherine Ramirez, flute; Richard Kreihn, mandolin; Gary Raynor, bass. With Special Guest soprano Maria Jette. Enter through the alley.

Craig Clark Band @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis8:30pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Clark brings his tasty licks and love of the blues to this Southside bar.

Saturday, April 7

Renee Austin Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($20, $25) Austin is a six time Minnesota music Award winner who calls her mix of classic soul, gospel, and R&B “Roadhouse Soul.” Hers is a miraculous story: after gaining fame in the early part of this century, the Texas-born singer lost her voice after a medical procedure in 2005, only to have it come back in 2015. Now she has a new album, Songbirds and Angels, which she’ll be singing tonight.

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) In Lil’ Ed you get a highly energized band leader, a dynamite slide guitar player, and a Chicago master of the endless boogie. You’ll be sweating by the end of the show.

Sunday, April 8

Song for Juliet @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($9 Advance/$12 Door) Singer/songwriter and ukelelest Katy Vernon put together this show to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and to honor her mum, who died of Lymphoma. Besides Vernon, the show will feature Mary Bue, and the Homefires (Sarah Morris & Vicky Emerson).

Road to Memphis Solo/Duo Challenge @ Coon Rapids VFW Post #9625, 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd NW, Coon Rapids. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s time once again to pick a solo or duo act to represent Minnesota in the International Blues Challenge. Judges will have to choose among the following; Donnie Sauve; Tim Reigstad; Trevor Marty; Tony Cuchetti & Joe Filipiovich; Wain McFarlane & Kurt Graham; and the Phil Kitzke Acoustic Band.

Sunday, Tuesday, April 8, 10

The English Beat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 9pm Sunday, 7pm Tuesday ($35, $42) Back in the early 80s, the English Beat helped animate the ska revival of the time, though their music also ventured into punk, reggae and soul. They had a string of hit singles, including Mirror in the Bathroom, and Save it for Later, and toured the world with the likes of David Bowie, The Clash, and Talking Heads, among others. At the time, the band had two lead vocalists, Ranking Roger, and Dave Wakeling. It appears this version of the group is led by Wakeling, as they’re preparing to release a new album in May.

Monday, April 9

Ana Moura @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($45, $55, $65) The Portuguese music called Fado has been likened to the blues, due to its emphasis on facing and surviving life’s vicissitudes. Vocalist Moura, whose voice is luxurious and passionate may be the most well-known of the proponents of this music, which almost died out before a renewed interest by the younger generation of Portuguese artists.

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.

Ana Moura at The Dakota

February 24, 2012

Ana Moura brought Fado music to the Twin Cities in her mid-February  appearance at The Dakota Jazz Club. For those of you who are not familiar with Fado, it’s a Portuguese music form that is most often identified with feelings of loss and melancholia, and an acceptance of one’s fate. It dates back to the early 19th century, when it was first performed by sailors and members of the urban working class. Fado has had a resurgence in Portugal, thanks to young performers like Moura. Mind you, I don’t know Portuguese, and until a couple of weeks ago, had little idea of the music myself.

Moura entered the stage quietly, after her band (bass, classical guitar, and Portuguese guitar) had begun the first song. As soon as she began singing, it seemed that waves of longing washed over the audience, most of whom, like myself knew no Portuguese. Maybe I’m projecting my own response onto others, but it did seem that the audience was highly involved in her performance.

Moura has a slightly smoky voice, perfect for communicating heartbreak and sadness. That expressive voice, combined with evocative melodies, tapped a deep well of emotion and the audience responded in kind. She didn’t need any grand gestures to communicate. A slight movement of her hips or shoulder in time to the music would signal her delight in the music. The slightest hand movement was all that was needed to encourage the audience to clap in time to the more rhythmic numbers. It was during the faster numbers that Angelo Fadou, on Portuguse guitar, astounded listeners with his facile and imaginative playing.

About half way through the hour and 45 minute set, Moura talked about working with Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. She then sang “No Expectations,” mixing English and Portuguese. As sung by Moura, it was not only beautiful in a way I had never imagined, but fit right in with the rest of her repertoire.

Moura’s performance was warm, inviting and uplifting. I know that sounds odd given the melancholy nature of the songs, but the audience’s response was just as warm. It it now obvious to me why Moura is a rising international star, with fans that include The Rolling Stones and Prince, who was in attendance that evening. For what little it is worth, I am now a fan as well.

Love and Other Diversions. Music for 2.8 – 2.14

February 8, 2012

Well, this is the week where, for some reason, there is heightened awareness of romance. Blame it on the greeting card industry if you will (with some help from florists and restaurants), or blame it on Geofrey Chaucer and his friends, who, in the 14th Century, invented many of the legends that characterize Saint Valentine. It was at that time that February 14, the feast day for the saint, first became associated with romantic love, and people began exchanging Valentine’s greetings.

But I digress. Whether you see it as a day to connect with your partner, or a day to rebel against an unrealistic idea of love, you can still go out and hear some good music.


Wednesday, Feb 8

Alexander, Anton, Ciernak, & Oikari @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover). This is part of the West Bank club’s weekly jazz series curated by bassist James Buckley. Barry Alexander, drums; Jim Anton, bass; Jef Ciernak, guitar, and Al Oikari, keyboards.

Thursday, Feb 9

Music Under Glass: Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ McNeely Conservatory, Como Park, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm (Free) Sacre Bleu! Get out the berets. It’s Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, and his irrepressible group playing romantic, boho, gypsy inspired musettes and more, all in the tropical confines of the Conservatory. Food, cocktails, beer and wine are available for purchase.

Brattain, Hagedorn, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5)  That’s Dave Brattain, sax; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. A dynamic combination of mainstream players.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 10, 11

Bobby Peterson Memorial Piano Showcase @ The Artists’ Quarter. 9pm ($12) Area pianists remember their friend, mentor, and inspiration. Friday: Bryan Nichols, Laura Caviani, and Bill Carrothers. Saturday: Chris Lomheim, Peter Schimke, Bill Carrothers.

Saturday, Sunday, Feb 11, 12

Speak Low When You Speak Love @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Sat, 3pm Sun ($25) Part of the Capri’s fifth Annual “Legends” Series, this show is about the male take on love and romance, and features Julius Collins, Dennis Spears, Dennis Oglesby, and Sanford Moore on piano.

Tuesday, Feb 14 

Lee Engele w/Reynold Philipsek @ Nona Rosa’s, Robbinsdale. 6pm – 9pm (no cover)  The Italian restaurant will feature Ms Engele, a swingin’ chanteuse, accompanied by the inventive guitar stylings of Mr. Philipsek. A special menu will help those of you who want to celebrate amore.

Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No cover) Another special menu and show, this one featuring two singers whose love for the songs they sing is apparent, accompanied by Rick Carlson on piano, and Steve Pikal on bass.

Music by Lovers @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15/person, $25/couple)  Billy Larson & Lisa Wenger; Todd Olson and Cris Simonson; Roxy & Cruz; and Phil Barnett and Tamara Jo Barnett. Musical couples being musical for couples. Includes a glass of wine and a chocolate tasting.

The Steeles: Be My Valentine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 5:30 Dinner show ($80), 9:30 Dessert Show ($50) Here’s where to go all-out for a night of music and romance. If you’ve lived in the Twin Cities for more than a month, you’ve undoubtedly heard of the Steeles, each of whom has performed throughout the nation and the world. The Dinner show includes an opening by JoAnn Funk’s trio, and there is no seating after 6:15. For more information, go here.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other

Wednesday, Feb 8

Davina & The Vagabonds on KFAI (90.3FM & 106.7FM) and @ the 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. The irrepressible Davina and her crew return to Harold’s House Party during the 5:00 hour for an in-studio performance, and then head over to the 331 Club at 7pm. Find out why she’s in demand wherever she goes.

Thursday, Feb 9

Samba Meu @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm. (Tip jar). Contemporary pop from Brazil. The band includes includes four musicians with much experience in Brazilian music: Tim O’Keefe, percussion (Xibaba, Brassamba, Batudada do Norte;) David Martin, guitar/bass (Salsa del Soul, Havana Hi-Fi); James Allen, guitar (2011 MN State Arts Board Artist); and Karen Quiroz, vocals (Maguito Pop, Batucada do Norte)

Hipshaker @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Tonight’s monthly 45rpm dance party will feature guest deejay Mark Trehus, a guy who is so into music he has his own record store – Treehouse Records, which, by the way, is a good place to shop for vinyl. Expect lots of funk in your trunk, bump in your rump, groovalicious tunes.

Friday, Feb 10

Romantica w/Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul.  9pm.  ($7) A double bill of roots/Americana from two of the most popular groups around.

Eric “Guitar” Davis @ Wilebski’s, Rice & Larpenteur, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($10) At ten years old, Davis was drumming at Theresa’s and the Legendary Checkerboard Lounge in Chicago. Buddy Guy gave him a beat up guitar and taught him his first chord. Some thirty years later, Davis is a Chicago bluesman who had traveled the world. He’s part of the new generation of Chicago Blues. Get to Wilebski’s early for the free happy hour food.

Sat, Feb 11

Krewe de Walleye Mardis Gras Party @ Withrow Ballroom, Withrow. 6pm. ($12) Get out the masks, the beads, and the dancing shoes and head East to this old time Ballroom between White Bear Lake and Stillwater. The Cajun Hot Soles and Dan Newton’s New Jumbo Ya Ya will be playing music that will definitely get you in the Mardis Gras mood. Jambalaya will also be available at $6/bowl. Dance lessons at 6:30.

The Eddies @ The Hat Trick Lounge, downtown Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) It’s always a warm show among friends when the Eddies play the Trick.

Saturday, Sunday, Feb 11, 12

All kinds of jug bands show up for the Annual Battle

30th Annual Battle of the Jug Bands @ The Nomad & Cabooze, Minneapolis.  Saturday at the Nomad, 7:30pm and Sunday at The Cabooze, 1-8pm. ($5 suggested donation) The largest known gathering of jug bands in the Universe, according to their website. Featuring jug bands that are satirical, witty, experimental (egg separators as instruments?), and talented. Will the prize waffle iron be stolen once again before it can be handed off? Attend and find out. These are long sessions, so potluck donations are encouraged to keep all nourished.

Sunday, Monday, Feb 12,13

Ana Moura @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($35). Moura is a native of Portugal who is responsible for the renaissance of a style of music called Fado, which deals with loss, suffering, and fate. You needn’t know Portuguese to hear the longing and heartache in her voice. Go to YouTube and listen to a song like “Dentro da Tempestade.”  Folks like the Rolling Stones and Prince have recognized her talent. You will as well.

Monday, Feb 13
Saint Paul Live! on KBEM, 88.5FM 7pm – 8pm. This show features a cabaret production with Zeitgeist, Julie Johnson and the No-Accounts, and AntiGravity.

Tuesday, Feb 14

Love Lies Bleeding: A Valentine’s Day  Tribute to Elton John @ The Amsterdam (Hall Stage), 6th & Wabasha, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8/$10). An alternative to candlelit dinners and chocolates, featuring Elton Hills Drive with a slew of guests such as Kevin Bowe, the Laurel Strings Quartet, Adam Levy, Allison Scott, John Muson, Ashleigh Still, and more.

For a complete list of blues (and some roots) events, see the calendar of the Minnesota Blues Society.

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