Around the World in Music: 4.6 – 4.12

April 6, 2016

Unknown-1Between live music and music in movies, we have quite a bit going on this week, including a film about a trumpet legend (Not the Miles Davis movie); as well as films about Brazilian samba schools and another about Twin Cities jam band the Big Wu. Then we have performances from a Mongolian punk/folk band, a Malian desert punk/blues band, a Peruvian guitarist, a Swedish folk-rock trio, and a bluesman who’s explored music from a number of other cultures. We also have a couple of very talented high-school age jazz combos. It’s a good week: Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, April 6

Cox, playing electric. Photo by Andrea Canter

Cox, Photo by Andrea Canter

The Reverse of Sam & Dave @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) We’re not talking the soul duo, but Sam Rivers and Dave Holland, with Anthony Cox on bass & cello, and Michael Lewis on alto & soprano sax. Tonight they have drummer Corey Healy as a special guest. Expect some musical fireworks.

Thursday, April 7

Lila Ammons Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Jazz and blues from Ms Ammons  with help from Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Here she is doing some boogie boogie with Axel Zwingenberger in Beaune, France.

Friday, April 8

Nuskein Ensemble and the Dakota Combo @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is another of the “Friday Night Jazz in Exile” series. The opening set is by the Dakota Combo, an open-audition group of some of the most talented high school players in the metro area. They are coached by Adam Linz and presented as part of the JazzINK Youth Showcase. This year’s members include: Jordan Anderson, piano; Adam Astrup, guitar; Alma Engebretson, bass and cello; Yonci Jameson, bass clarinet; Gerhardt Robinson, saxophones; Nick Zaczkowski, alto saxophone; Sam Stroup, drums. Then at 8pm it’s the Nuskein Ensemble, a group that combines music, song, spoken word and visual images. It’s members are: Katherine Pehrson, writer, visual culturalist, and musician; Davu Seru, literary scholar and musician; and J. Otis Powell, writer, performance artist, producer and curator. should be a very interesting and enlightening evening.  Here’s music from last year’s edition of the Combo, which contains both Adam Astrup on guitar, and Jordan Anderson on piano. You can expect similar excellence from this year’s edition.

Dave Graf Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Trombone master Graf gathers up Peter Schimke, piano; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums, to play some of Graf’s original music plus his arrangements of some jazz standards. Followed at 10pm by Macalester College Big Band. Here is Graf with a different quartet.

Born to be Blue & Larry McDonough @ The Edina Cinema, Edina. Pianist Larry McDonough has been doing a show honoring trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker at various venues around town. Tonight Born To Be Blue, a biopic about Baker, opens. Baker was a dazzling trumpet player, and ice cool singer with the good looks of James Dean, who succumbed to heroin addiction. McDonough and trumpeter Tim Martin will perform the music of Baker before the movie at 6:30 p.m. and again afterward. They will perform the title of the movie, Born to Be Blue, other pieces from the 1950s, including My Funny Valentine, The Thrill Is Gone, When I Fall in Love, You Don’t Know What Love Is, and There Will Never Be Another You, as well as songs from the end of Chet’s life, such as All Blues (the rare vocal version) and Softly as in a Morning Sunrise. The film stars Ethan Hawke as Chet. Here’s the NY Times Review:  Here’s the trailer.

Andres Prado, Ted Godbout, Randy Sabien @ Lowertown Classics, Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Blvd, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) You have to enter via the alley between Kellogg and 4th Street to hear this trio of musicians. Prado is the Peruvian guitarist who lived in the Twin Cities for a few years. Ted Godbout is a pianist who plays with a number of groups around town, and fiddler Randy Sabien has not only appeared on Prairie Home Companion numerous times, but chaired the jazz strings department at Boston’s Berklee School of Music. Here’s Prado in a trio setting.

Saturday, April 9

Zacc Harris’ American Reverie @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 advance, $15 Door) It seems that many jazz artists are exploring the rural roots of America’s music. Here in the Twin Cities, guitarist Zacc Harris gets together with bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Lars-Erik Larson to re-imagine folk and Americana: songs like Tennesee Waltz, Shenendoah, and Long Black Veil.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Another young group opens, as the Will Schimid/Adam Astrup Quartet takes the stage at 7pm. Schmid and Astrup have been making waves as a guitar duo, with stellar results from their quartet as well. At 8:30pm The stage will be filled with the Illicit Sextet, six veterans who play original music from members of the group, which includes Paul Harper, sax; Chris Lomheim, piano; David Roos, guitar; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s Adam and Will.

Sunday, April 10

Joyce Lyons Remembers Carmen McCrae @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley.  7pm ($8, $35 Dinner & Show) A great concept, great singer, great room, and great band, as Ms Lyons brings Phil Aaron, piano; Jay Epstein, drums; and Graydon Peterson, bass to Crooners’ listening room. Here she is with a big band.

Sunday, Monday, April 10, 11

David Sanborn Electric Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) With eight Grammys, six gold records, and one platinum, Sanborn is the rare saxophonist who can appeal to dance-floor R&B fans as well as a listening-only jazz audience. He’s played with David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, James Brown, The Stones, and more. I’m not sure who is in the band this time around, but there’s little doubt that Ricky Peterson will be on keyboards.

Monday, April 11

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) 1st set – DVrG REDEFINED  – Devon Gray  keys; with Davu Seru, percussion; and JG Everest (bass?).  2nd set – Park Evans Quintet, with Evans on guitar; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Cody McKinney, bass; Greg Schulte, drums; and Brandon Wozniak, sax.

Tuesday, April 12

Chris Lomheim @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul, 6pm (No Cover) Lomheim is a pianist about town who can play with big bands, large combos, or accompany singers with equal ease. Here’s a chance to hear him in a cool room at no cover to start your evening right.

Mississippi, featuring Andres Prado, @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Andres Prado is a Peruvian guitarist who lived in town for a few years before returning to Lima, Peru. He’s back for a visit and will be leading a fine group, with Pete Whitman, sax; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, 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, April 6

Drew Peterson on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) this West Bank singer-songwriter has been involved in a number of successful projects and collaborations over the years, including the Dead Pigeons, Forty Watt Bulb, Julie Johnson & the No-Accounts, and his own solo work. You can expect original, rootsy songs with dashes of Piedmont Blues and Americana. It’s the Spring Membership Drive for KFAI, and this event gives you one more reason to support the station.

Curtiss A & Dark Click @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Dean of Scream does more than high energy rock n; roll: He uses the Dark Click to sing his version of the blues.

Thursday, April 7

Hanggai @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $27) This sextet from Mongolia incorporates throat singing, along with traditional instruments and folk music from their country with western drums and electric guitars to create exuberant performances that have taken them to the Lincoln Center Festival and to Bonnaroo. It may be hard to imagine, so check out this video.

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Dave’s, Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover ??) This is the first in a series of battles to determine what band will open the Lowertown Blues Festival in July. Tonight you can hear Paul Barry and the Ace Tones, Bambi Alexandra and the Dark Horse Blues Band, The Strips, and Sasha Druva and Highway 65. Check out the up and coming talent and vote for your favorite.

Friday, April 8

Väsen @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) This Swedish trio has become a Cedar (and Twin Cities) favorite, for their updated takes on traditional Swedish folk music using fiddle, Nyckelharpa, and guitar. They’ve toured the world, playing their Swedish folk-rock in front of audiences that have numbered 25,000, and have been on Prairie Home Companion.

Armadillo Jump @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The modest stage and just about non-existent dance floor at Shaw’s will be shaking as fans “jump” to the rhythm and blues of this five piece band voted Best Dance Band by the members of U Wanna Dance.

Songhoy Blues @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($20)  Desert punk/blues from a group  hat was forced to leave Mali during the civil conflict there a few years ago. Their music includes element of contemporary rock and hip hop, but is mostly based on the music of the Songhoy people of Mali, with hints of the band’s West African guitar heroes such as Ali Farka Toure.

Saturday, April 9

Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9:30pm $20) An evening of Dvořák, Mendelssohn, and contemporary composer Vivian Fung, in this small, lovely museum The evening starts with a social hour, with beer, wine, and cocktails, enabling you to peruse some of the Russian masterpieces on the walls. An extended intermission will allow further discovery of the museums fabulous artworks.

Eliza Gilkyson @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28) This two-time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter/activist is known for her composing, with songs covered by the likes of Joan Baez, Tom Rush, and Roseanne Cash. Her performances are marked by a mix of storytelling, political diatribes, and love songs.

Oh! What a Night! @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) This is not simply a reprise of the show from a couple of year back. Tonight there will be a bit more emphasis on songs from solo singers, including Sam Cooke. There will be a couple of gospel numbers as well as lesser known songs from the likes of the Temptation, Chi-Lites and the Spinners. The singers are Ronn Easton, Wee Willie Walker, Maurice Jacox, Jerry Eskridge and Maurice Young. Old school, all the way. Here are highlights from the concert two years ago.

Nikki Roux & Rich Rue/Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Revue @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Nikki & Rich – No Cover), 9pm (Hurricane Harold – $8) It’s an evening of roots and blues, starting at 6pm with Nikki Roux & Rich Rue performing a combination of blues and folk rock, particularly inspired by the songs of the psychedelic era. Then at 9pm Hurricane Harold’s All Star Revue takes the stage. The All-Stars are a revolving cast of some of the area’s best blues players and tonight, according to Harold, will feature at least three who sing as well as they play. Here’s one example of the All-Star Revue./

Music Movies @ MStP International Film Festival, Various Venues, prices, and Times. There are two movies being shown today and three others later in the Festival. Today’s features are:  O Samba, about the music of Brazil, screening at 1:30 at St. Anthony Main Theater, and repeated on Sunday, the 10th at 4:15pm; and The Big Wu Way, about the Twin Cities own jam band, screening at 7pm tonight at McNally Smith, and repeated on Tuesday at 9:30 at St. Anthony Main Theater. You can look forward to movies about the Twin Cities favorites’ rapper Eyedea and rockers Gypsy, as well as a film featuring cellist Yo Yo Ma, and another, entitled Mad Tiger, featuring the Asian band Peelander Z.

Sunday, April 10

Road to Memphis Competition @ Schuller’s Road House, Golden Valley. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the solo/duo competition to represent Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. This year’s acts are Mike Munson & Mikkel Beckmen; Jimmi Lngemo & Nate Heinz, Trevor Marty, and Nigel Egg

Tuesday, Wednesday, April 12, 13

Taj Mahal @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $65), 9pm ($35 – $55) though he began his career more than four decades ago playing the blues, Taj  as become somewhat of a ethnomusicologist, exploring and playing music from West Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, and Hawaii. He’s been a favorite of the Twin Cities for a long time, with many appearances at the Zoo and other venues. He is, simply put, a treasure.

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.

Lotsa Music: 6.18 – 6.24

June 18, 2014

Well, we’ve got quite a busy week ahead, with many notable gigs, especially in jazz, and it’s still a week until the TC Jazz Festival. Let’s hope the weather holds for those outdoor gigs, though many have inside alternatives. Have a great week, and support live music.


Wednesday, June 18

Bryan Nichols Quartet @ St. Anthony Park Library, Como Avenue, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 9pm (Free) Pianist Nichols and his quartet (JT Bates, drums; James Buckley, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax) will be presenting  New Forms: Original Works from Jazz’s Past to Future.

Mississippi, featuring Andres Prado @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested Donation) Sax player Pete Whitman leads this band, which includes resident jazz heavyweights Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums. The original edition of this group included guitar master Andres Prado, of Peru, who moved back home. Now, however, he’s returned for a few weeks, giving us this rare opportunity to hear him.

Unknown-2Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42 – $50) Baker is best known, of course, as the drummer for Cream and Blind Faith back in the late 60s early 70s, but he spent considerable time in Africa soaking in African rhythms, and even played with Fela Kuti. However, he started as a jazz drummer in the early 60s and got quite a bit of recognition in the UK at that time. He’s always considered himself a jazz drummer, and on his first album in umpteen years tackles numbers like Wayne Shorter’s Footprints and  Sonny Rollins’ St. Thomas. He’ll be using a double bass drum set up, and will be accompanied by Pee Wee Ellis (James Brown alum) on sax; Alec Dankworth on bass, and Abass Dodoo on percussion.

Thursday, June 19

Laura Underwood Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Underwood is a versatile singer, who can handle obscure folk and blues from the early 20th century, as well as class swing and jazz, and a few selected tunes from contemporary singer/songwriters.  Here’s an example of her singing.

The Third Thursday @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Part of the new Thursday night free improvisation series at the Afghan cafe owned by Emil Sherzad of KFAI’s Radio Duende. Tonight features Milo Fine on drum set, electric piano, and B Flat Clarinet, and Bryce Beverlin II on percussion and voice.

Friday, June 20

Connie Olson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Singer Olson has performed with the Peter Graves Orchestra, the Peter Duchin Big Band, and musicians from a wide variety of bands, ranging from the Manhattan Transfer to Prince & Madonna. Her debut CD, “Daydreaming” is an homage to Doris Day, and showcases her winning voice and interpretive skills.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This monthly gig is always a delight as Washington, on sax, proves adept at creating improvised music that connects with an audience, no matter who is with him. Tonight, it’s  Eric Jackobson, tuba; Brian Roessler, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Saturday, June 21

Improvisation Encounter with Jin Hi Kim @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10) Free improvisation featuring McKnight visiting composer Jin Hi Kim on the Korean Zither (the comungo), along with Twin Cities improvisers Pat O’Keefe and Nathan Hanson (winds); Scott Miller and Steve Goldstein (electronics); and Dean Granros, guitar.

Davu Seru and DeVon Gray @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a new pairing of musicians that I haven’t seen. Davu Seru is a drummer/percussionist at ease with free improvisation and most any rhythm you throw at him. DeVon Gray is a talented pianist who played with the hip-hop collective Heiruspecs, has accompanied vocalists such as Sophia Shorai, and has occasionally had his own jazz quartet.

Jack Brass Band CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) The Jack Brass Brand recently received a second positive mention in Offbeat, the monthly music magazine of New Orleans. They deserve it as both keepers of the Brass Band tradition, and proponents of contemporary music within that tradition. What hip-hop or New Jack Swing song will they next add to their repertoire? Opening is Lulu’s Playground, a chamber jazz group that includes guitar, cello, accordion, and a trumpet player they share with JBB. Here’s the JBB at one of their regular gigs.

Sunday, June 22

Connie Evingson: The Best of the Ella Fitzgerald Songbook @ the Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) With Jon Weber (host of NPR’s Piano Jazz) and Gordon Johnson. An exquisite singer, singing exquisite songs with exquisite accompaniment. Did I say it will be exquisite?

They enjoy singing together

They enjoy singing together

Retro Swing Sisters: Swing Dance Sundays @ Richfield American Legion, Richfield. 5pm – 7pm ($5) Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie (aka: Retro Swing Sisters) begin a weekly gig entitled Swing Dance Sundays. Joining them will be Big Bob Scoggins, guitar; Doug Haining, sax; Keith Boyles, bass and Trevor Haining, drums. There’s a big dance floor, bar, and pizza is available. And, you can still get home in plenty of time to rest up for the week ahead.

James Carter Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($22)  Sax virtuoso James Carter is terrific on a variety of saxophones. He’s won awards for his baritone playing and consistently exhibits a searching, imaginative way with his music. Take this gig, for instance, in which the Detroit native will be joined by Leonard King, drums; and Gerard Gibbs, B3. It’s not enough that they’ve got a soul-jazz sound pat. They’re tackling the music of Django Rheinhardt, using the sax as a substitute for Rheinhardt’s lead guitar. Here’s an example.

Monday, June 23

Javier Santiago @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Uber-talented pianist Santiago is back in town from NYC. He’ll be backed by Dad Mac Santiago, and the rest of the JC rhythm section.

Tuesday, June 24

images-2Diane Schuur @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) It was 35 years ago that Schuur was “discovered” at the Monterey Jazz Festival by Stan Getz, who took her under his wing. Two Grammys, three additional nominations and numerous #1 listings have resulted. Now she has a new album dedicated to Stan and Frank Sinatra, and it looks like this vocalist is headed to the top of the jazz charts once again.

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested Donation) Expect an occasional stop and start as the band works on its often explosive, always rhythmic charts, since this is more of an open rehearsal than performance. Don’t let that stop you from attending and enjoying the music and the experience.

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.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, June 18

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders @ Como Conservatory Visitor Center Lawn, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) It’s time for another Groovin’ in the Garden Series at the Como Zoo and Conservatory. Kicking this season off is wild man Alex “Crankshaft” Larson, whose potent mix of honky tonk, R&B and rockabilly makes for a fun evening. He’s wisely chosen bassist Keith Boyles and drummer Pete Hennig to back him in the Gear Grinders.

Tim Sparks CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $42 Dinner & Show) Guitar fans rejoice. Sparks is one of the most versatile finger-pickers in town, and that’s saying a mouthful in this area. His latest, Chasin’ The Boogie, sparkles with blues takes on tunes from Paul McCartney, Roy Orbison, and others, as well as a traditional tune or two and some originals. Special guests include Tom Lieberman and Phil Heywood. Here is Sparks doing one of the songs on the new album:

Thursday, June 19

Ray Covington and the Maxx Band @ Rice Park, Saint Paul (Free) 6pm Dance Lesson, 7:15 music.  An outdoor evening of old school soul and funk, just right for dancing and Steppin’ and if you don’t know how to Step, there’ll be folk from the TC Steppers to instruct you starting at 6pm. Food and drink will also be available. Moved to the Ordway in the event of rain.

Aaron Neville @ the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley. 7pm ($45, $57.50) Neville came to prominence in the early 60s and had a million selling hit with Tell It Like It Is in 1967. He’s recorded with his brothers, won a couple of Grammys for duets with Linda Ronstadt, had hits on the Adult Contemporary Charts, regularly sang in the gospel tent at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and recently recorded the top-ten album My True Story, a dozen doo-wop songs from his youth, co-produced by Keith Richards, who also contributed guitar. If you go, you’ll hear a man with the voice of an angel under the stars. Northwoods blues/soul/roots singer Cory Chisel opens. Check out Aaron’s version of Stand By Me:

Millie & the Mill City Cajun Heavyweights @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Millie Biere, John Terr, Shawn Glidden, Eric Mohring, AJ Srubas,and Vaughn Asselstine will be laying down those Cajun rhythms for your dancing pleasure.

Friday, June 20

images-3Mary Jane Alm @ 318 Cafe, 318 Water Street, Excelsior. 8pm ($11) Those of you old enough to recall the late 70s and 80s will recall vocalist Alm, one of the highest profile singers in the area. The country-ish singer has had a professional life full of near misses – potential contracts that never arrived, development deals that went nowhere, and rejections by labels as “too country” or “not country enough.” She’s got a great voice and has developed into a darn good songwriter. She usually has a couple of accompanists playing with her, but whatever the configuration, she’ll shine in this intimate listening room.

Black Diet @ Minnehaha Falls Bandstand, Minneapolis. 7pm (free) This garage soul quintet won a trip to SXSW when they won this year’s “Are you Local?” contest. They describe themselves as a garage/soul band that sounds like a Baptist Church service held at a punk house. That’s a pretty fair description of a groove-laden band that uses an organ and soulful riffs and vocals to get their point across. Here’s a video with a couple of their songs.

Tuesday, June 24

Delhi 2 Dublin @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) New urban party music, with plenty of electronic beats, mashing & intersecting Indian Bhangra, Celtic Dub, Reggae and Rock. To quote the band, “Delhi 2 Dublin is way more indie that all this other indie bands cause some of us are actually from India.”

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 Walley calendar.

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