Enjoy Live Music! 2.21-2.27

February 21, 2018

My jazz picks for this week all feature resident artists, which is a testament to the breadth and depth of our jazz scene. We have a few visiting artists in blues, roots, and other, as well as a surfeit of resident artists bringing original arrangements and songs for our pleasure. The weather is beginning to let up a bit, so get out and let the music lift your spirit.



Wednesday, Feb 21

Lila Ammons & Tom West @ Sociable Cider Works, 1500 Fillmore St, NE, Minneapolis. 6:30-7:30pm (No Cover) Enjoy some craft beers and listen to some bluesy jazz (or jazzy blues) from Ms Ammons and pianist Tom West.

Peter Schimke & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Pianist Schimke brings together some veterans and an up and coming trumpeter: Pete Whitman, sax; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Debbie Duncan Celebrates Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Twin Cities “First Lady of Song” celebrates the birthday of Nina Simone, the singer-pianist-songwriter who tackled folk, blues, jazz, Ellington, and Broadway tunes, in addition to writing a number of fiery songs of freedom.

Thursday, Feb 22

Beth and Adi Yeshaya @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This week vocalist Beth Yeshaya will be joined with her husband Adi for Thursday Vocal Night. Adi Yeshaya is a composer, arranger & pianist,whose credentials include creative collaborations with some of the world’s top artists, including three years as string arranger for Prince. Here’s an example of Beth’s singing. Adi on piano.

Friday, Feb 23

Cody Steinmann Sightless Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Guitarist Cody Steinmann recently moved here from Milwaukee, and he’s wasted no time putting a group together, with: Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Magraw, guitar; and Gravatt, drums; are two of the finest musicians around. They have a natural communication, which only adds to the musical magic. Her’s an example of their playing, from their album, Fire on the Nile.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 23, 24

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm 10, $15) With winning songs from the Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composer/percussionist Davu Seru, Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert celebrates the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. The program includes the world premiere of Seru’s new work Dead King Mother, which tells the story of a near-forgotten event in North Minneapolis and United States civil rights history that has been with Seru since early childhood. You may recall that I noted a read-through of the work a few weeks back.

Saturday, Feb 24

MN Hard Bop Collective’s Hope Sextet @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer/leader Jesse Simon once again brings a group of like-minded players together, this time to perform the music of pianist Elmo Hope. Featuring: Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Clay Puhfal, sax; Jeff Rinear, trombone; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. Her’s a slightly different version of the group.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set is by Ahmed & the Creators: Ahmed AbdulKarim, Trumpet; Doug Little, Saxophones;  Batume, Drums; Matt McIntyre, Bass. Headlining tonight at 8:30 is Twilight Sentinel: Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophones; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Sunday, Feb 25

Andrew Walesch Big Band; Sinatra! @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch has a good thing going with this big band and their Sinatra show. Be forewarned. They perform only a few times a year, guaranteeing lines out the door to see them.

Tuesday, Feb 27

Bryan Nichols’ Two Trios @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a unique evening, as tonight’s show will feature an acoustic piano, all the better to highlight pianist Nichols’ modern approach to playing. Nichols will be part of two trios: The James Buckley Trio with Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums, and The Bryan Nichols Trio with Chris and JT Bates on bass and 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, Feb 21

Big Trees on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Big Trees is: Frank Boyle, Bill Smith, Doug Lohman, & Pat Lesney. They’ll be playing original songs and some of their favorites, including blues, jazz, country, western. They say their music is “whatever you want to call it.”

Thursday, Feb 22

Cate Fierro’s Tribute  To Sade @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Fierro has long been known as a powerful singer, thanks to her membership in a number of Mick Sterling’s horn-driven bands, leading her own band, and in others. Tonight she’ll be working with the sensual music of Sade.

SPCO @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Brooklyn-based composer Ljova goes back to his Klezmer roots as the opener to this chamber music performance at Icehouse. The program includes works by Zhurbin, Kodaly (Kodaly’s Serenade captures the folk music of Ljova’s native Hungary), and Beethoven.

Friday, Feb 23

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) This early evening gig is a bit different than usual, in that there is an opening act – Slim Willie & the Ride. Additionally, Harpmeister Barry and the Ace Tones will have a Special Guest: our very own Soul Man, Willie Walker.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($32 – $58) This nine person group from South Africa has been wowing audiences all over the world ever since Paul Simon used them on his Graceland album. Though some of the older members have retired since then, new, young members bring fresh energy to the group. The deep sonorities of their harmonies are simply thrilling.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minnepolis. 9pm ($15) Guitarist Allison has certainly grown into his own man since the passing of his dad 20 years ago. Let It Go, his latest album, was released on Feb 2, and has already reached #2 on Billboard’s Blues chart. Reviews credit his songwriting as well as his playing, which looks to the future while acknowledging the past. His very tight band certainly helps.

Saturday, Feb 24

Joyann Parker: The Music of Patsy Cline @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12, $20) Parker is a multi-talented performer, playing guitar, piano, and writing and singing her own songs, though she’s also capable of great interpretations of other’s songs. Tonight in the intimate Dunsmore Room, she leaves the blues and R&B that she’s noted for and heads in a slightly different, but often emotionally similar music – the classic country of Patsy Cline.

Roux & Rue/Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Roux & Rue – No Cover), 9pm (Walker – $12) Catch Nikki Roux & Rich Rue (of Nikki & the Rue-Mates) at 6:30, and stick around for an original soul singer, Willie Walker, whose most recent album, After A While, with The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, was nominated for 5 Blues Awards, and received a four-star review in Downbeat, which was followed a month later in the same magazine with a laudatory story.

Sunday, February 25

Harrison’s Jukebox @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm Doors (Free) Music written and inspired by George Harrison and his jukebox featuring The Basement Band, Kyx, and Curtiss A, with special guests.

Anders Osbourne Acoustic @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35, $40), 8pm ($25, $30,$35) Attention guitar lovers. You’ll want to see New Orleans guitarist Osborne, who has been honored numerous times by various and sundry periodicals and organizations in that music-savvy town. Tonight the electric bluesman is going acoustic. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said, “Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes.”

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) This all-cello quartet was begun last year, to play original arrangements of popular tunes. Members are: Rachelle Smith, Amanda Burgdorf, Catherine Canon, andJulia Floberg.

Also: Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free)

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm

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.

Memorial Weekend and More: 5.23 – 5.29

May 23, 2012

Well, here we are on the cusp of summer. Since 1968, we have reserved the last weekend in May to remember and honor those who have served our country. There will be some quiet moments, some high-flown speeches, and gatherings of friends and family in backyards, parks, and around outdoor grills. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy your time together as much as the folks at Renoir’s Luncheon, above. It’s also a weekend with a rich choice of musical options, including a New York sax player, two CD release parties, and some familiar, and entertaining friends. Take some time to recognize and remember those who have served. Then get out the barbeque, and don’t forget to enjoy and support the wonderful musicians in our area.


Wednesday, May 23

JBB in New Orleans

Jack Brass Band on KFAI’s House Party (5pm) and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (tip jar) I’ve extolled the virtues of JBB before – the clarion trumpets of Zack Lozier and Adam Meckler, the supple trombone of Scott Agster, the booming bass drum of Mike Olander, and the pure musicianship of the other members of the band. Not to forget their material, which ranges from traditional New Orleans tunes to Mardis Gras favorites to funk n’ soul hits. Listen in to KFAI, 90.3 or 106.7 FM at 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club to hear them in person.

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s a monthly gig for Karr and his quartet, but that doesn’t mean they play the same ol’ same ol. Though in his 80s, Karr still brings fleet fingers and a vivid imagination to his sax solos. Always worth a listen. Here’s a sample:

Thursday, May 24

Santiago, Hurtado, & Smith @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A new generation of jazzers is coming up, and they’re hot. Case in point: Javier Santiago, piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums, and Chris Smith, bass. I recall introducing them at the Hot Summer Jazz Festival when they were still in high school some years back. Now, they’ve completed study at some of the nations’ top music schools and each of them is making a name for himself. Santiago and Smith are both working with some of New York’s hot talents, with Hurtado has returned to the Twin Cities, where he’s been working with Davina and the Vagabonds and others.

Friday, May 25

Nichola Miller @ Hells’ Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Begin your weekend with the sass and sophistication of Miller’s vocals, delivering standards with panache.

Saturday, May 26

Jazz Front @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm . Jeffrey Dunitz, drums, Vince Hyman, vibes, Eric Graham, bass. A quick set at the coffeehouse for this trio of talented players.

Young Lions Showcase @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) This is final show of the season for Jazz at Studio Z, and it’s a showcase of three bands, which will assure you that the future of jazz in the Twin Cities is in good hands. Hear the Adam Meckler Quintet, the Miguel Hurtado Group, and the Max Corcoran Project.

Saturday, Sunday, May 26, 27

Eric Alexander @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($18) A Memorial weekend visit to the AQ is an annual event for Alexander, whose warm tone on his tenor saxophone has earned him praise and fans. Whether blowing as a sideman or a leader, Alexander’s hard bop approach to playing is always imaginative and melodic.

Sunday, May 27

Jazz Mass @ Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist, Portland & Kent, Saint Paul. 10AM. Here’s a way to get a double dose of spirituality, at least if you consider listening to jazz a spiritual experience. Tanner Taylor, piano & keys; Mac Santiago, drums; Chris Bates, bass; and Evan Montgomery, guitar will be providing the music.

Zacc Harris Trio 5th Anniversary @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar) if the weather is nice, you can bet this trio will be out on the patio. Harris, Matt Peterson (bass) and Pete Hennig (drums) create music that rewards the listener, even with the distractions of dog walkers, cyclists, and cars going by, not to mention folks chatting over their wine and tasty treats. They’ve been doing this weekly gig for five years now, and you’d be hard pressed to find a more perfect way to enjoy an early summer evening.

Paul Renz Quartet w/Anders Bostrum @ Brit’s Pub Long Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($15) Renz is a prolific recording artist whose way with a guitar has earned him fans both here and up and down the East Coast. Tonight, Renz is bringing in long-time friend and cohort, Anders Bostrum, an in-demand flute player on Broadway. They’ll be backed by Renz’s rhythm section of Andy Shuster on bass, and Nathan Fryett on drums.

Monday, May 28

Scott Agster @ Jazz Central, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm. End your holiday weekend with trombonist-around-town Agster, the featured artist at the club that’s “for cats by cats.”

Tuesday, May 29

Vicky Mountain Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Vicky has the history and chops to successfully take on all manner of material, from bebop scatting, to Fats Waller, Ray Charles, and the Clovers. She’ll have Chris Lomheim on piano, Jim Chenoweth on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. Sure to be fun for both the audience and the musicians. Listen to her music 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, May 23

Anders Osborne @ The Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($20) Originally from Sweden, Osborne has lived in New Orleans since 1985, soaking up in music and becoming a favorite around Town. He’s an accomplished composer, penning a #1 country hit for Tim McGraw, and a couple of tunes on a grammy winning album for Keb Mo. New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine named the guitarist/composer/performer Best Guitar Player two years in a row, and featured him on its cover last year. “Black Eye Galaxy,” his latest on Alligator Records, ranges from raging to unabashedly confessional to hopeful. At times, it’s reminiscent of the best of 70s rock, with a bit of heavy metal (i.e., Black Tar) thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, May 24

Trio Bossa Nova @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) Three members of Ticket To Brazil deliver sensuous sounds for your late night.

Friday, May 25

Willie Murphy Solo @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. (Donation – $5 suggested) The highly talented, sometimes irascible, but always entertaining Murphy playing and singing songs he likes – rock n’ roll, R&B, blues, doo wop, standards, and originals. By the time he’s done, you’ll like them too.

Patty Peterson & Friends @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Patty is equally at home with jazz and R&B. Expect a bunch of the latter tonight as she’s joined by brother Ricky Peterson on Hammond B-3 and saxophonist Steve Cole, who’s played with Boz Scaggs and Larry Carlton, among others, and records for Universal. Patty’s usual cohorts include Paul Peterson on bass, Billy Franze on guitar and Bobby Vandell on drums.

Saturday, May 26

Papa John & the Cool Club of East Lake Street @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Blues, Swing, Jazz, Standards. With Sam Fiske, trumpet, Tom Lewis, bass, Deano Mikkelson, guitar. Relaxed music doesn’t need to mean boring. Case in point: Papa John and his crew. They can swing a standard, have fun with gypsy jazz, and include friends who sit in, while still creating imaginative riffs, melodies, and solos. This neighborhood bar has no TVs, but you must bring an ID if you want alcohol.

Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers CD Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15)  Klatt and his band take  country blues, swing, and ragtime and creates a highly entertaining blend of traditional and original music. On the new CD, “Mississippi Roll,” Klatt pulls in an older generation of musicians – Cornbread Harris, Spider John Koerner, Dakota Dave Hull, and Charlie Parr – to collaborate on a few of the numbers. Cornbread and Dakota Dave will be making guest appearances tonight. The Cactus Blossoms open with their terrific take on classic country music.

Sunday, May 27

Grolar Bears Vinyl Release Party @ The Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis. 8pm  ($5) Interest in older musical forms continues with this Blaxploitation Funk Band, anchored by a trio, but ballooning at times to 19 people!. “Cos: The Original Motion Picture Score” is the product being released. It draws on early 70s Blaxploitation scores and soundtracks for inspiration. “Lucious Fox,” the radio single from the album, features all of the earmarks of the genre: funky drums n’ bass, hypnotic Rhodes electric piano, strings, and chorus. Perfect to run under a collage clip of some anti-hero’s day/night in the heart of the city. In fact, you can see a cheesy ten minute trailer for this imaginary film at:  http://vimeo.com/35797845    The evening will be helped along by the Hipshaker deejays  spinning soul 45s in between opening acts The Max Corcoran Project and Saltee.

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

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