Saint Pat’s and Much More: 3.15 – 3.21

March 15, 2017

Well, we’ve another week where there are more enticing music events than I could list, though I have managed to whittle the number down to a couple of dozen. Anyway, we’ve a plethora of marvelous visiting and resident artists, and with Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, there are many chances to drink green beer if you are so inclined, or you can find other events that aren’t celebrating the day. It’s all good, as the saying goes, with many opportunities to let music lift our spirits

Larry

PS: Friday marks the start of the Spring Pledge Drive at KFAI. Please pledge your support for my show by going to http://www.kfai.org and pledging on-line, or call 612-375-9030 during the hours of my show (10:30am – Noon, Saturday)

Jazz

Wednesday, March 15

Sophia Shorai, Twin Cities Hot Club @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai-No Cover), 8pm (Hot Club-$7) It’s a double bill of easy-on-the-ears jazz at the Vieux tonight. Vocalist/pianist Sophia Shorai performs during the dinner hour. Her honey-sweet voice will undoubtedly help your digestion. Then the Twin Cities Hot Club takes the stage with acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, bossa novas, and the occasional musettes. Members are: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45, $40), 9pm ($20, $25, $30) Gary Burton is a jazz superstar, who revolutionized the playing of vibraphones by using a four-mallet technique, creating a pianistic approach to playing, as opposed to the prevailing two-mallet technique. After more than five decades in the business, the six-time Grammy winner recently announced his retirement, and that this March tour would be his last. He’ll be joined by a former student, Japan’s foremost jazz pianist Makoto Ozone  who has been member of Burton’s quartet and recorded four albums with him.

Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Walesch is a very talented singer/pianist with a penchant for the Great American Songbook, and often has a nine-piece band to help him swing Sinatra standards. Tonight, however, Walesch is only working with two accompanists, but what a pair they are! Saxophonist Dave Karr may be in his 80s, but his sound is strong, and his improvisational abilities are bebop quick and buttery smooth. Dean Magraw is the genre-spanning guitarist who calls his approach “Heavy Meadow,” but puns aside, he’s a master of improvisation, whether working in a jazz fusion mode, or in a Celtic, acoustic mode.

Thursday, March 16

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Illicit Sextet, Minnesota’s first jazz composers collective, has a new CD, Addendum, and are celebrating with a Minneapolis release party tonight. Members are: Chris Lomheim, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Paul Harper, sax; Dave Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a song from their album.

Friday, March 17

Jason & the Q @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jason Weissman is a fine saxophonist with the kind of smooth vocals just perfect for crooning overlooked standards and the occasional original.

Nick Syman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Versatile trombonist Nick Syman plays with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, and with The Nexus Ensemble, a band that fuses jazz with hip-hop and R&B, as well as with Latin jazz ensembles, West African drumming groups, and traditional New Orleans jazz bands. Tonight he leads his quartet, featuring Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; and Pete Johnson on drums.

Jeremy Walker, King Baron Hot Several @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker-No Cover), 9pm (King Baron Hot Several) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour, then King Baron Hot Several brings their traditional New Orleans jazz, leavened with some contemporary sensibilities, for a sound that’s part second line, part traditional jazz, and part something else entirely. Band members are: Superb vocalist and trumpeter Cameron Kinghorn, vocalist Abbie Mills; reedman Nelson Devereaux; trombonist Keith Hilson; tuba player Evan Clark; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Saturday, March 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – JazzInk Youth Showcase, featuring Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams of Totino-Grace HS. 8:30 set is the Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet, with Hedenstrom  sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, March 19

Brian Lynch & the Emmet Cohen Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($25, $55 Dinner Show) Oh boy! Grammy winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is coming back to town again. His appearance last year with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at a Jazz Central fundraiser was energizing, which you might expect from someone who established his Latin bona fides with the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra. Tonight he’ll be playing with the Emmet Cohen Trio, led by pianist/organist Cohen  who was a child prodigy and has regularly worked with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Herlin Riley, Christian McBride, and as tonight, Brian Lynch. Cohen also is an avid teacher, visiting 50 schools a year through a Jazz at Lincoln Center program, and conducting workshops while touring (see below). Meanwhile, here is Lynch and Cohen in a duo.

Monday, March 20

Emmet Cohen B3 Organ Clinic @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm Here’s a chance to get Emmet Cohen’s insight into what it takes to play a Hammond B3 organ. The workshop is Included with the $20 ticket to any of four performances on Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, Tuesday, March 20, 21

Emmet Cohen Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) In a change from it’s usual presentation of resident artists, Jazz Central presents a well-resepected touring artist in four shows. Cohen’s trio includes Jamaican-born, Brooklyn based bassist Russell Hall, and drummer/percussionist Joe Saylor  who you may recognize as the cowboy-hatted drummer for Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the band for Steven Colbert’s show.

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, March 15

Mary Flower on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mary Flower is a Portand Oregon based finger-picking and lap slide guitarist, with a voice that’s equal parts honey smooth and graveled whiskey. She was a top three finalist tin the 2000 and 2002 National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship, was named “A world class finger-style guitarist and lap slide player.” by Downbeat. Flower has 10 albums to her credit, the last four with the Memphis-based Yellow Dog Records. Tune in to Harold’s House Party, which is being broadcast from Indeed Brewing, and then head off to the 331 to hear her in person.

Samite w/Aida Shahghasemi @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 door) Cancelled due to travel conditions out East Ugandan born Samite was taught how to play traditional flute by his grandfather, and then when he was twelve, was introduced to a western flute by a music teacher. He became renowned throughout East Africa for his flute playing, until 1982, when he was forced to flee to Kenya as a political refugee. Now he lives in Ithaca New York, using smooth vocals, as well as kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes in his performances. Aida Shahghasemi moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in 2000. She fell in love with Persian classical music, studying it and even writing a senior project at the U Anthropology department on the restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran.

Thursday, March 16

Nicholas David w/Vic Volare, Ryan Young and Mike Cini, featuring Billy McLaughlin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) This is a benefit for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and will feature guitarist Billy McLaughlin.  McLaughlin is the Minneapolis-born guitarist who is recognized for his innovative technique on acoustic guitar, which led to a number of appearances on the Top Ten charts in the 90s. In 2001 McLuaghlin was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia, an incurable neuromuscular disorder which left him unable to play. In 2006 he decided to relearn his own songs one note at a time, using his opposite hand. The other star attraction tonight is Nicholas David, who we used to know, before his appearance on The Voice, as Nick the Feelin’ and though his name has changed, the emotive power of his “alternate soul” hasn’t. The singer/songwriter has already recorded five albums, and tours constantly.

Boiled in Lead @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advnace, $15 Door) Avoid the Friday crowds and celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with Boiled in Lead  those purveyors of Celtic and world musics with a punk-rock attitude, or as they put it, Rock n’ Reel. They’ve been at it since 1983, and in 2016, core members Todd Menton, David Stenshoel, and Drew Miller added drummer and multi-ethnic percussionist Michael Bissonette to the mix. After an evening dancing and jumping to these guys, you may not have any energy left for tomorrow. Listen to them.

Friday, March 17

Smithereens & Martha & The Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm,10pm ($45, $50) It’s not a St Patrick’s Day party, but fans of 80s rock will be celebrating this show. New Jersey rockers the Smithereens were responsible for a string of moderate hits that stuck to power pop and evoked 1960s rock, including Only a Memory, A Girl Like You, and Blood and Roses, inspiring a number of alternative rockers, including Curt Cobain. The Motels rocketed to stardom on the basis of their smash single, Only the Lonely, which helped the album All Four One achieve gold status. Lead singer Martha Davis went solo in 1987, and reformed the band in 1997. With new management, the band spent 2014 doing more shows than in any year since 1985. They have a new anthology due out this month, and a new album coming out later in the year.

Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Big-voiced songwriter/singer Annie Mack uses the blues as the foundation for her work, but she’s just as likely to draw inspiration from gospel music, Motown, Americana, and country music.

Belfast Cowboys @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s fifteen years to the date that this nine-piece Van Morrison tribute band played their first gig, and what better way for rockers to celebrate the day than with the music of Van Morrison. The Belfast Cowboys have headlined at BB Kings Blues Club in New York, opened with a three hour set for Chicago before 15000 people, and have played in Ireland. They are also the parent group to St. Dominic’s Trio, and proved their road warrior status by playing over 400 gigs from 2012 to 2014.

Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) It’s a St. Paddy’s day party for blues lovers, as the raw, punkish, delta sounds of Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders fill Famous Daves.

Saint Patrick’s Day @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 11am – 10om (Tip Jar) This friendly bar is actually an Irish pub, as you may gather from its name. They regularly feature Irish music and dancing, as well as other roots music, but today is the day to celebrate with them. If you don’t want to take part in a parade, the Dubliner has a whole day of music starting at 11am with Todd Menton; 2pm Charlie Heymann; 5pm Tiller Black; 8pm Irish Brigade

Saturday, March 18

Saturday Salon, featuring Taggart Squared @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’’s chamber music session will feature a couple of young siblings who have already made a mark in classical. fourteen year-old Emma Taggart has already won several local and international competitions and has played with several orchestras. She also played at Orchestra Hall alongside Shelia E’s band. Her bother is ten year-old Jacob Taggart, another classically trained pianist. Jacob was a finalist in the 2013 State Fair Talent competition, and in 2014 played with members of the Milan Chamber Orchestra at a piano festival in Lovere, Italy. He also played with Sheila E’s band, performing a jazz piece.

Katy Vernon Band w/April Fools @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Katy Vernon is a delightful singer and ukelele player who has used her songs to deal with tough challenges, leading her to say she sings “sad songs on a happy instrument.” The Star Tribune has called her “one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved folky singer/songwriters,” to which I agree. Her band includes Simon Husbands, another Brit, on keys and Clay Williams on guitar. Opening act the April Fools  led by Brian Drake, also features Williams on guitar. Ben Kaplan on drums, and Scott Hreha on bass round out the group, which performs  straight-up country, Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more.

Feufollet @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Get out those dancing shoes and be prepared to spin, twirl, and two-step as the Twin Cities’ Krewe de Walleye presents a Mardis Gras party for all the Cajun/Zydeco fans in the area. They’re bringing up Feufollet from South Louisiana to provide music for the party. Feufollet takes Cajun, honky-tonk, and string-band music as a starting point and keep an open mind about where the music takes them, and ultimately, where it takes dancers. The band consists of Chris Stafford, vocal, accordion, guitars; Kelli Jones-Savoy, vocals, fiddle, guitar; Andrew Toups, keys; Mike Stafford, drums; and Philippe Billeaudeaux, bass.

Sunday, March 19

Jazz Brunch w/Nutria @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (Tip Jar) Nutria is a trio that was formed in New Orleans. They emphasize collective improvisation as they explore jazz, chamber music, and the musics of the African Diaspora and eastern Europe.  The band is Byron Asher, tenor sax and clarinet; Trey Boudreaux, bass; and Shawn Myers, drums.

Tuesday, March 21

Dreamland Faces Record Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) If you’ve never heard Dreamland Faces  their music may come as a surprise as no one else in the area does what they do, which is to compose and perform musical scores for silent films – over 50 at this point. The group was organized by Karen Majewicz, who plays two types of piano accordion, and multi-instrumentalist Andy McCormick, who is best know for his great ability on the musical saw. Together with a rotating cast of other musicians, they utilize accordion, musical saw, pump organ, pain, double bass on vocals on a repertoire that includes modern classical music, waltzes, tanks, and original compositions. Opening are the Poor Nobodys  a seven-piece group that plays spaghetti western type instrumentals, along with Americana, and old country waltzes.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 21, 22

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ the Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($45-$60) Rowdy, passionate, bar band R&B from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Johnny is an alumni of bars on the Jersey Shore, where he and friends Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt came up before hitting the big time, a few decades back. He more than satisfied with his performance at the Dakota last year around this time.

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.


Resident Talent Abounds: 1.11 – 1.18

January 11, 2017

musicians_paint_on_silenceWell there aren’t many visiting artists this week, but there are plenty of interesting gigs in both jazz and blues/roots, which isn’t that surprising, considering what an active music scene we have in the Twin Cites. There are new combinations of artists, special presentations, and even a retirement party for some blues musicians. Not that they’re leaving the blues, but they no longer have to worry about getting up to work after a late night gig. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 11

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Sometimes, all you need is a bit of swinging music to put some snap in your step. Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; can do that for you, whether they’re playing jazz standards or putting some swing to Chopin or video game music.

Jimmy Scott Documentary @ Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This 50 seat movie house is screening I Go Back Home, a documentary about the legendary, if under-appreciated Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer without peer.  Though he began recording in the 50s, he became a prisoner to a contract that kept him from recording for about 30 years. This film features appearances by Quincy Jones, Joe Pesci, David Sanborn, and others. Check with the Trylon website to see if tickets are still available. Here’s the official trailer.

Chris Bates Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever-busy bassist uses this monthly gig to spotlight one of his several groups, or to bring together new combinations of musicians to see what happens. Tonight Bates is joined by Thomas Nordlund, guitar; JC Sanford on trombone, and possibly his brother JT on drums.

Thursday, January 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band: Songs of Sinatra @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover, but you can reserve a seat in the stage area for $10) Walesch is a talented pianist and vocalist whose clear enunciation, and ability to swing certainly qualifies him as a crooner. His ten piece band features Bob Parsons, arrangements/alto sax; Dave Karr, tenor sax; Bruce Thornton, bari sax; Mark Bobnick and Steve Wagner, trumpets; Dave Graf, trombone; Geoff LeCrone, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein on drums. There’s often a line out the door for this show, so be forewarned that it will pay to get there early. Here’s a bit of what Walesch and the big band can do.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) First set is by the Julian Manzara Quartet: Manzara, guitar; Drew Stinson, bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; George Randall, drums. Second set by the Aaron Hedenstrom Trio: Hedenstrom, saxes; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars Erik-Larson, drums. Here’s Hedenstrom performing all parts for Dolphin Dance.

Friday, January 13

Jeremy Walker, Debbie Duncan Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Duncan – $10) Another double bill of jazz at VC. Opening the evening is pianist Walker, who is a prolific composer, having written over 70 pieces for the various small bands he leads, as well as a number of commissions and the evening-length work 7 Psalms for jazz combo and choir. Then at 9pm it’s Debbie Duncan, who has been entertaining audiences with her mix of jazz, R&B, and sass for decades.

Doug Haining Presents the Music of Horace Silver @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Back in the 50s pianist Horace Silver was one of the architects of Hard Bop, infusing the improvisational wizardry of bebop with the soulfulness of gospel. The result is now considered mainstream jazz, having outlasted and outgrown a lot of other jazz movements. Tonight, saxophonist Doug Haining is gathering musicians to pay homage to Silver’s music, which includes such jazz standards as: Song for My Father, Sister Sadie, and Señor Blues. Joining Haining are: Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.

Saturday, January 14

OUDYANO @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop ($10), 7pm concert ($15, or free with workshop admission) Oudyano is the duo of Issam Rafea, oud; and Steven Hobert, eclectic keyboardist. Rafea, a native of Syria, and Hobert, of Minneapolis, have discovered a deep musical connection that’s immediately apparent when they play. Those who have heard Hobert in different settings know that he’s always a sensitive improviser, and with Rafea, he has found a musical partner that shares that sensitivity. Their music explores all the potential that’s inherent in the pairing of Arabic classical tradition with American jazz & roots. The resulting music is delightful, and if there are any political overtones to their work, it is simply the desire for peace.

 

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) There is no opening act tonight, so the Solomon Parham Quintet will perform starting at 8:30, with a stellar line-up of musicians, including: Parham, trumpet; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Graf, trombone.

Monday, January 16

Paul McCandles & Charged Particles @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Back in the late 70s and early 80s, multi-instrumentalist/reed player Paul McCandles was a member of the original Paul Winter Consort and Oregon, both of which melded classical, jazz, and world music. McCandles still performs with Oregon, though he’s also managed a solo career, performing and recording with such stellar musicians as Jaco Pastorious, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Reich, Bruce Hornsby, the String Cheese Incident, and Bela Fleck.

Very Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) I may have missed it, but I’ve not seen this group listed before in any of the dozens of websites I check each week. They’re described as “an instrumental jazz, funk and pop trio” consisting of Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Monday, January 17

Butch Thompson @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm Solo on Monday ($12, $37 w/Dinner). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial jazz recording, so its only appropriate that the Dunsmore Room features Thompson, a pianist/historian, known for his elegant playing of early jazz pieces. This is the first of two nights at the Dunsmore Room for Thompson, who will be joined by Pat Donohue on Tuesday night. (See listing under Blues and Roots, below)

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 11

Mikkel’s Birthday Party featuring Jeff Ray on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Slide guitar master Jeff Ray has released 6 CDs and has made fans throughout North America andEurope. Tonight he’s joined by percussionist Mikkel Beckmen, who happens to be celebrating a birthday. Using just a djembe drum and washboard, Beckmen has managed to become a percussionist about town for a number of blues and roots performers, and as a result, is a frequent visitor to Harold’s House Party. Expect some of his many musical friends to be on hand at the 331, and, as he often does, host Harold Tremblay to sit in on harp for a few numbers.

Thursday,January 12

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This energetic, enthusiastic funk n’ soul band will turn the Dakota into party central. Vocalist Jaedyn James has a powerful voice and commanding stage presence, both of which are enhanced by the 8-piece horn band and two vocalists who provide the backing.

Dean Magraw & Dan Newton, w/guest Pat Donohue @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Guitarist Magraw and accordionist Newton could easily be placed under jazz listings, but the Aster’s website says this as a folk show, and the appearance of guitarist Pat Donohue certainly steers it in that direction. All three are master musicians, so no matter what they play, it will be inspiring and entertaining.

Friday, January 13

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The blues and R&B of the five-piece Armadillo Jump never fails to bring dancers to the floor. They’re a favorite at Wilebski’s and other watering holes in the area.

Captain Gravitone & the String Theory Orchestra @ Dulono’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) This Mankato-based sextet plays a combination of acoustic rock, gypsy jazz, tangos, and roots music, led by banjoist (is that the correct term?) Eli Hoehn, with a sure sense of both theater and a sense of humor.

Americana Showcase @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Not only is it Friday the 13th, but it’s a Full Moon tonight as well, so the Hook & Ladder has put together a quartet of roots music groups sure to make the evening memorable. They’ve got bluesman Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, the world-weary vocals and deft playing of  Doug Otto & The Getaways, singer/songwriter of old-timey sounding music of Jake Manders (of Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins), and those bluegrass funsters, the all female Beavers.

New Feral Cats @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This is the debut performance of this new group, which has arisen from the breakup of Sweet Tea. The New Feral Cats are a soulful blues outfit that includes veteran players with sterling music resumes, that include years with a variety of bands from across the musical specturm. Singer Sonna Olson sings with passion and grit.

Calientando El Bloque @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) This celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms will feature singer/songwriter/hip-hop artist Maria Isa, and Joga Bola, a new Brazilian project led by guitarist/songwriter Adam Levy, featuring Mina Moore and Karen Quiroz, vocals; Lucia Sarmiento, saxophone; Andrew Gillespie, percussion; Tim O’Keefe, reeds; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Charlie Peterson, keys Their sound is inspired by 1960’s & 1970’s samba, funk, soul, and psychedelia from Brazil.

Friday, Saturday, January 13, 14

Radiate! @ The Sheldon Theater, 443 West 3rd Street, Red Wing. 7:30pm ($18 – $30) It’s worth the hour or so it takes to drive to Red Wing simply to see the interior of the Sheldon Theater, a beautifully restored gem of architectural flourishes, ceiling paintings, and delicate plaster sculptures. It’s doubly worth it to see this unique show, described thusly by the New York Times, “RADIATE glows..making it hard to resist this sequined earth-mother’s soulful embrace.” It’s been a critic’s pick in the NY Times, Time Out New York, The New Yorker, and Time Out Chicago. The show itself is a musical about a mythical R&B expatriate diva, Jomama Jones, who returns to the states determined to awaken the ability in everyone to regenerate ourselves. Besides Jones, the production features a band and backup singers, as well as Red Wing High School’s Ovation Choir and the Red Wing Singers. The show’s creator Daniel Alexancer Jones, who performs as Jomama Jones, is a former member of Saint Paul’s Penumbra Theater.

Saturday, January 14

Westside Band Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25, $30 Advance, $35, $40 Door) During the 50s and 80s, EWF ruled the charts with their stunning R&B, selling hundreds of millions of albums, being inducted into the RnR Hall of Fame and eventually being one of the first bands to play at the Obama Whitehouse. With the passing of EWF founder Maurice White this year, Junior Trejo, leader of our own legendary band Westside, is gathering the band and some friends for this tribute to EWF and their positive message of hope and spirituality.

The Gated Community & the Skruffians @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Never mind that it’s the middle of January, the Skruffians will heat things up with the smoking’ sounds of classic ska from the 60s. The instrumental septet take their musical inspiration from the Skatalites, the band that backed The Wailers and other Jamaican groups. Then, at 10pm, a different kind of heat erupts from The Gated Community, an Americana septet that mixes country and bluegrass with a bit of rock. They recently released Country Hymn, their third album since coming together in 2006.

Sunday, January 15

Blues Retirement Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10) Though vocalist/bandleader Dee Miller has been retired for a while, she’s finally getting round to celebrating, and is doing so with a few other friends – Boom Boom Stevie Vonderhaar, Deb Frey, and Chris Bauer – who are now free to rest and/or do the things they enjoy. Of course, Dee Miller enjoys singing, so she and her band will be playing, with special guest harpist Vonderharr. They’ve also got the classic R&B of Who Nu on the bill, a band that Miller often sits in with. There will be a complimentary buffet, along with wine & keg beer during a 2pm – 4pm Happy Hour. Here’s an example of Vonderhaar at work.

Javier Matos @ The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. I mentioned Javier’s gig at Palmers last week, but this is such a different venue (and time) that it’s worth noting. Matos, an excellent slide guitarist and blues vocalist, will be performing in the Conservatory’s fabulous Sunken Garden. Though the Sunken Garden has few places to sit, the music will also be piped in to the Palm Dome and the North Garden. So… give your skin a break and take in the humid air of the Conservatory while hearing some great music.  BTW, Beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Tuesday, January 18

Butch Thompson and Pat Donohue @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner). Pianist Butch Thompson was solo on Monday night. Tonight he’s joined by guitarist Pat Donohue for an evening of classic blues, as found on their excellent album Vicksburg Blues. Don’t be surprised if Donohue sings a few songs and Thompson breaks out his clarinet.

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.


Solstice Music and More: 12.14 – 12.20

December 14, 2016
Druids celebrating the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Druids celebrating the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

We are in the midst of the holiday season: Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mayans, Buddhists, Muslims, Native Americans Neopagans, and Zoroastrians all have some significant celebrations during this month. In fact, this coming Tuesday is Solstice, which has been celebrated in various ways since before the time of Christ. Whether or not you celebrate a holiday, anyone who appreciates the power of music has plenty to celebrate, as this sample of musical happenings demonstrates. Music lifts the Spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, December 14

BZ3 Organ Trio Holiday Show @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 door) Git down, Santa! You say you’re looking for a holiday show that’s a bit out of the ordinary? Well, Brian Ziemniak, B3 organ; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington, drums; have just the thing: funky, greasy, soul jazz versions of your favorite holiday tunes and even some that are unfamiliar, like a James Brown tune. To help them present this funk filled night they’ve enlisted vocalists Maurice Jacox, Deb Brown, and Jody Hanks.

Randy Sabien Holiday CD Release Party @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Renowned violinist Sabien can be bluesy, jazzy, swingin’ and funky. He’s got a new holiday CD entitled, Meet Me under the Misteltoe, and he’s celebrating its release tonight. Joining him will be Gary Raynor, bass; Greg Byers, cello; Andy Dee and Dan Caton, guitars; Ben Kroeger, violin; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; and special guest Erin Schwab on vocals! Here he is doing a Grateful Dead tune.

Joe Strachan Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) Pianist Joe Strachan is proving to be a versatile performer. He plays salsa and charangas with Charanga Tropical – even traveled to Cuba with them; has laid down some Afrobeats with area bands, and of course, plays some mighty fine jazz in groups like the Adam Meckler Orchestra and Pete Whitman’s X-tet. Tonight he’s got a trio with Ted Olson, bass; and Patrick Marshke, drums. Here’s Joe with a different trio.

Thursday, December 15

Thursday Night Jazz:Hip-Hop Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Young drum master, multi-instrumentalist, and fireplug Rodney Ruckus has put together a show featuring two bands led by fellow drummer LA Buckner and himself. I don’t know who is playing in which band, but the line-up includes CJ Pitts, vocals; Russell Evans, piano Rob Coleman, aux piano; Omid Huttur, guitar; Jax Reval, bass, Javier Santiago, piano; and Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet. Sound like an evening featuring new approaches to jazz. Here’s Buckner on drums, and Ruckus on piano.

The Holiday FUN Show w/Cardenas, Zuther, & Carey @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) It’s Vocal Night at Jazz Central, and Katia Cardenas,  Sheridan Zuther, and Nicole Carey have put together a special show featuring touching holiday stories, delightful sing-alongs, inspired solos, and exquisite harmonies. With accompaniment by pianist Ted Godbout and bassist Andrew Foreman, and the additional enticement of holiday treats and a hot cocoa “bar!” Light food and beverage will also be available for purchase from Vanessa.

Aaron, Cox, & Hey @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Three fine musicians gather for an evening of free improvisation. Phil Aaron  piano; Anthony Cox, bass; and Phil Hey, drums are masters of melodic improvisation.

Friday, December 16

Kronick Quintet @ Public Kitchen + Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm (tip Jar) Bassist Richard Kronick leads Aaron Tafoya, percussion; Tony Guscetti, drums; Scott Ives, guitar; and Dennis Landeen sax, through an evening of soulful jazz, in the basement lounge at Public.

Saturday, December 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The evening starts out at 7pm with a JazzINK youth showcase performance by Below Zero, a group from MacPhail Center for Music, featuring Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochell-share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; and Nick Adams, drums. Then at 8:30pm it’s The Ruckus, led by drummer Rodney Ruckus, and featuring Anthony Cox, bass; Javier Santiago, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Babatunde Lea Sextet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm (Masterclass – $10), 7pm (show $10Advance/$15 Door) This is part of the Jazz at Studio Z series. Attend the Masterclass, which will be podcast, and get the $10 price. Tonight, drummer/conguero Babatunde Lea premiers a new suite, “New Rituals of Unity,” co-composed by Lea and guitarist Zacc Harris. It’s based on a series of traditional West African chants. Joining them will be Brandon Wozniak, tenor; JC Sanford, trombone; Phil Aaron, piano; and Graydon Peterson, bass. Here he is with a quartet.

Sunday, December 18

The Peterson Family’s Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 2:30, 6pm, 8pm ($25) Santa must have a tough time figuring out gifts for the talented Peterson family, since the gift of their talent is so unforgettable. I don’t have room to list all their bonafides, but Patty, Linda, Billy, Ricky, Paul, and Linda’s son Jason will all be on stage, sharing their musical gifts with us lesser mortals.

Monday, December 19

Andrew Walesch & Debbie Duncan: It Must Be Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Here’s a combination of vocalists that’s sure to please even the grinches amongst us. Andrew Walesch is a pianist/crooner who can sing pop, jazz, and classic Sinatra. Vocalist Debbie Duncan can get down with some bluesy R&B, and turn around a kill on a jazz standard. They’ll be ably abetted by veteran saxophonist Dave Karr.

Zacc Harris Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarist Zacc Harris is a go-getter who plays in a number of bands and produces the Jazz at Studio Z series. The most prominent group that he plays with is the Atlantis Quartet, which has toured the upper Midwest, NYC, and even London. Tonight he’s joined by: Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, December 20

Winter Solstice: The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. ($10, $35 w/Dinner) With the advent of Solstice the days will once again be getting longer, if slowly so. You can celebrate without going outside by hearing pianist, and occasional vocalist Laura Caviani. She has two holiday CDs, so there will be plenty of seasonal songs as you sit overlooking Moore Lake. She’ll be accompanied by the masterful musicians Chris Bates on bass; and Phil Hey on drums. Here’s a recent interview and performance.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 20, 21

Nachito Herrera & The Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Even if you’ve seen the dazzling Cuban American pianist Nachito Herrera before, you likely haven’t seen him in this setting. He has gathered a number of world famous musicians for the Universals, including violinist Karen Briggs, who has worked for many years with Yanni, and can go from classical to gypsy jazz on a dime; Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Steve Wonder; while Cuban drummer Raul Pineda and Senegal bassist Cheikh Nkoye provide the groups’ thundering heartbeat. All have deep resumes, are supremely conversant in a number of styles, and will no doubt create exhilarating music.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 14

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) this is the 12th year in a row that Parr has appeared on the House Party. In fact, he was on the very first show, so this is always a special event. Expect the 331 Club to be packed to hear Parr’s traditional blues and originals, often done in Piedmont style. Here’s a video that includes a humorous story.

Thursday, December 15

Mikkel Beckmen w/Siama @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The lilting, sensuous guitar lines of soukous guitarist Siama Matuzungidi is supported by the unerring rhythmic instincts of Mikkel Beckmen, percussionist and host of this weekly guest series at the ever comfortable Irish pub.

Louisiana Rhythms Swamp Pop Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis.  7lpm (Donations) It’s a Fais Do Do Ho-Ho-Ho, as this celebration of a Louisiana Christmas has become an annual tradition, with the proceeds going to Second Harvest Heartland. The Swamp Poppas will be playing, as well as backing Tom Leiberman, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine and Lucinda Plaisance. There will be readings and explanations of Louisiana traditions, such as how, in the bayou, Santa uses a pirogue pulled by alligators. Other special guests and readers still to be announced.

Friday, December 16

Davina & The Vagabonds @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) With a repertoire that encompasses originals, as well as Fats Domino, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tom Waits, and more, Davina & the Vagabonds create new fans wherever they play, whether its the stages of the Monterrey Jazz Festival, European concert halls, or bars and lounges around the world. It’s hard to beat the sheer musicianship, energy, and powerful vocals of this tight ensemble.

Ian Alexy & the Deserters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Guitarist and singer/songwriter Ian Alexy is known for his work with the folk troubadours Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. He has a new EP, inspired in part by the music of groups like The Pretenders, Tom Petty, and Thin Lizzy, with R n’ R grit delivered by the Deserters: Dave Mehling, from Minneapolis group The Fontanelles on Keyboards and guitars; while drummer Mike Cini and bassist Johnnie Timm are best known for their work with superstar vocalist Nicholas David. Also on the bill: The Federales, the Lowland Lakers, and Teague Alexy.

Friday, Saturday, December 16, 17

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The new album from Sonny Knight & the Lakers burns, seethes, and simmers, from the opening title track, Sooner or Later, to the closing Oh, Mary. The Lakers’ backing is spot on, with tight, melodic horn arrangements, and solid rhythm section. This annual spotlight gig always fills up the Dakota, so be forewarned.

Saturday, December 17

A Merry 50s Christmas with the Holy Rocka Rollaz @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Here is a show for those of a certain age, as well as younger folks who appreciate the unbounded energy of 50s rockabilly and rock n’ roll. This family-friendly show features a charming trio steeped in the music of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and other rockabilly and early rock n’ roll favorites. The Holy Rocka Rollaz will be backing Tommy Alsup, of Buddy Holly’s Crickets, at the Surf Ballroom this February, so you know they’ve got the right attitude, touch, and talent for this show. The band is: Mark Flora, hollow-body Gretsch guitar; Lisa Lynn, upright bass; and Matt Alexander, hard hitting snare drum. They’ll  be visiting such classics as Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Run, Rudolph Run, Jingle Bell Rock, and other jumpin’ songs of the era.

Smokey Robinson @ Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd, Prior Lake. 8pm ($69, $80, $109) I usually don’t list casino shows, but it’s Smokey Robinson! Poet Laureate of Motown, inspiration for Bob Dylan; beautiful singer, writer of hits for his own Miracles, the Temptations, Mary Wells, and others, including his own solo work. And let’s not forget the iconic Ooh, Baby, Baby. He recently received the well-deserved Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. There are still tickets left, and given our weather, there may be some cancellations, so check with the Casino before making the trip to Prior Lake. Here’s one of his solo hits.

Southside Desire @ The Hexagon Bar, Minneapolis. 10pm ($??) Southside Desire describe themselves as “Femme-Fronted Northern Soul, sprung from the littered alleyways of South Minneapolis,” which is a fairly accurate description. I’d add that touches of Stax and girl-group sounds also make their way into their sound. They’re releasing a seven-inch, which you can listen to here. Also on the bill: the minimal space funk of Moors Blackmon; the sugary grunge-pop of Ahem; and the city rock of Private Interests.

Sunday, December 18

Joe & Vicky Price @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11AM (No Cover) It’s a brunch gig for this couple, who play the Delta Blues by way of Northeast Iowa.

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.


Penultimate Summer Music: 8.24 – 8.30

August 24, 2016

2015-09-07 15.50.34Can it be that it’s time for the State Fair already? Oh the time goes by so quickly when you’re having fun, and we certainly do that every summer here in Minnesota and the Twin Cities. There is music everyday at the Fair, and not just in the Grandstand, which has some noteworthy attractions this year, as do the free outdoor stages at the West End, the Leinie Lodge, and the Intenational Bazaar. I’ll let you check the Fair’s website. I can’t say there’s jazz, but there’s lots of other kinds of music. The Minnesota Blues Society has kindly put together a list of performances on a daily basis, which you can find here. In the meantime, there’s lots of jazz around town. Have fun, music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 24

Pat Donahue and Dean Magraw @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm A guitar-lovers dream as Donahue, a finger-picking champion, and Magraw, a genre-shifting magician, play together in a listening room where they can be best appreciated.

SH4 @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This is the newest group from pianist Steve Hobert  whose playing can often be described as sparkling, etherial, and downright full of wonder. He’ll be joined by Johannes Tona, bass; LA Buckner on drums; and Jabari Powell, a newcomer to town, on alto sax. They’ll be performing jazz and R&B standards from folks like Duke Ellington, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Kendrick Lamar.

 

JelloSlave @ Mill City Museum, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm ($5) This is a “new music” quartet, with quotation marks, in that they have been around long enough that they aren’t new, but rather play new compositions. With two cellos, tabla, and a drum kit, they play classical compositions, as well as pop/rock compositions, sometimes combining them into one piece. Michelle Kinney, cello; Jaqueline Ultan, cello; Gary Waryan, tables; and Greg Schutte, drums, don’t play that often as JelloSlave  so see them while you can, especially considering the unique venue of the outdoor plaza at the Mill City Museum.

Thursday, August 25

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Walesch is a talented pianist/vocalist with a predilection for the Great American Songbook and a singing style that evokes crooners of the past. Tonight he’ll be performing songs about the fleeting passing of summer, with help from the venerable Dave Karr on sax; the always swinging Billy Peterson on bass; and ace timekeeper Pete James Johnson on drums.

Friday, August 26

Jeremy Walker; Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Walker – No Cover); 9pm (Aces – $10) The folks at Vieux Carré have hit on a winning formula: bringing in terrific solo artists for the 6pm dinner show, and equally terrific groups for the 9pm shows. Tonight, pianist/composer Walker will play during the dinner hour, then at 9pm, the six-piece Southside Aces will heat things up with traditional New Orleans jazz. With a sousaphone!

 

Adam Booker’s Hip-Gnosis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/studentID) Adam Booker is a bass player who currently teaches at the UofMN-Duluth. He has an extensive history with groups such as The New Orleans Hot Club, the Jazz Pharaohs, the Asylum Street Spankers, and others. He’ll be joined by Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Aaron Hedenstrom, tenor; and Ben Baldwin, drums.

Boo Boo’s Last Birthday @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10, $5w/studentID) This is the last event in this summer series, as each of these young musicians head back to their respective colleges. Edmund Catlin, drums; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes, have been performing a Thelonious Monk album every other week at Jazz Central this summer. See what they’ll play for their last performance.

Saturday, August 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) A couple of younger bands tonight, starting with Amythest 3: Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums; Josh Granowski, bass; and Park Evans, guitar. Followed at 8:30 or so by No Exit, a group of post high-school students who will all be going back to college in the next week or so: Peter Goggin, alto; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Adam Astrup, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Luke Peterson, drums.

Nicole Mitchell @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10/$15) Wow! Kudos to whomever booked Mitchell  a jazz flautist, who has consistently won Downbeats award for rising flautist before awards as an established flautist during the last decade. She formerly served as the first female to be president of Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, and is the founder of a number of groups, including: The Black Earth Ensemble, Black Earth Strings, and Sonic Projections. tonight, she’s accompanied by Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Davu Seru, drums.

Sunday, August 28

The Peterson Family: Songs Our Mother Loved @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) For the 95th anniversary of the birth of the late Jeanne Arland Peterson, her children, all of whom have been highly successful in the music business, have prepared a special show. Patty Peterson on vocals, Linda Peterson on keys and vocals; Billy Peterson on bass; grandson Jason Peterson DeLaire on saxophone and piano. Jeanne Arland was named an Arts Midwest Jazz Master in 1998, and was the second woman named to the Minnesota Hall of Fame, after Judy Garland. This is sure to be a warm, loving, and entertaining tribute to “The Matriarch of Minnesota Jazz.”

Connie Evingson @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($30) Ms Evingson continues her regular appearances at the Jungle. This time she’s singsong from the Ella Fitzgerald songbooks, backed by the ace trio of Tanner Taylor, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Dave Karr, sax. The afternoon show is about sold out, but fans can still find seats for the 7:30 show.

Monday, August 29

Return of Born to Be Kind of Blue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.8pm ($10) Larry McDonough and his septet keep filling up the Dakota with this show featuring the music of Chet Baker and early 60s era Miles Davis. If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s your chance. Larry McDonough, piano and vocals; Steve Kenny, flumpet; Richard Terrill, tenor and soprano saxes; Jeff King, alto and baritone saxes;  Jim Bierma, bass; Dean White, drums; and Guest: Carol Bergquist, flute

Bill Carrothers and Anna Mjoll @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Pianist Carrothers must really like the Dunsmore Room, since he travels from Michigan’s Upper Penisula regularly to play there. This time the internationally known pianist is bringing an Icelandic singer with him. Mjöll grew up in a musical household (her parents had a successful band and a TV show), and after competing in the Eurovision singing contest, toured the world with Julio Iglesias.

Tuesday, August 30

Pat Mallinger & Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm – 9pm ($15) A concert in which two Saint Paul natives return to the Twin Cities. They’re both monsters of their respective instruments: the piano for Carrothers, appearing for the second night in a row, and the saxophone for Mallinger. This should be fun!

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim – No Cover), 8pm (GRAIN – $6) Another complete evening of jazz at the Vieux. Pianist Chris Lomheim creates luminous, dreamy moments as he plays for a dinner crowd. Then the highly active drummer JT Bates brings his organ trio to the stage, with Kevin Gastonguay on B3, and Zacc Harris on guitar. It’ll be a jazz party!

Aaron Hedenstrom Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Saxophonist/composer recently finished up his PhD in music and has moved to the Twin Cities, where he’s been playing in various groups. HIs is a big band gig, which will likely be more like an open rehearsal. It will be interesting to hear Hedenstrom’s take on big band music.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 30, 31

Jane Monheit and Nicholas Payton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7-m ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) Vocalist Monheit and trumpeter Payton are calling this show Ella and Louis revisited. Since her beautiful voice vaulted her to stardom in 1998’s Thelonious Monk competition, Monheit has released nine albums and has guested on a number of others. The 39 year old still has a terrific voice, as exemplified in her latest release, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. It was produced by New Orleans native and fantastic trumpeter Nicholas Payton, so I guess it seemed natural that they collaborate on this project. If they can have half as much fun as Ella and Louis Armstrong, it will be a great show.

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 24

Hounds of Finn @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. noon – 1pm (Free) This trio performs music based on the roots of Celtic and American traditions, that is music inspired by Celtic, Americana, Blugrass and other folk and roots music from around the world. Its members are Pete McCauley, on vocals, mandolin, and guitar; Michelle MacGregor on fiddle and bodhran (that skinny drum often played with a small double headed stick); and Lojo Russo on vocals, guitar, mandolin, bodhran, and bass.

Kildahl & Vonderharr Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Kit Kildahl, guitar; Boom Boom Steve Vonderharr (aka Stevie V) on harp; and Dave Pengra, bass guitar; all hail from the Mankato area. Kildahl and Vonderharr put out a fine blues album a few years back called Working Without A Net, featuring some snappy originals and a few choice covers. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour, and then head over to the 331 Club.

Mehmet Polat Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Three virtuoso practitioners of instruments that are definitely not European. Mehmet Polat was born and raised in Turkey, and studied Ottoman music in Istanbul, where his approach to playing the oud eventually landed him in Amsterdam. There he studied and immersed himself in the music of a number of other cultures, including Persian, Flamenco, and African music. He formed a trio, whose other members are pekin Basar, who plays the Ney, an end-blown flute that may be the oldest kind of instrument still in use, and Victor Sims, on ngoni and percussion. I believe there’s also a Kora, a 21 string instrument from West Africa, in the mix. The resulting music is, at times, contemplative, and spicy.

Thursday, August 25

The Honeydogs @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) This is the last performance of this year’s Music in Mears series, and the organizers are presenting us with one of the finest rock/pop bands in the area. Under the leadership of frontman/guitarist/songwriter Adam Levy, they’ve produced 10 albums and a Best of compilation since their 1995 debut on Mercury records. No less an artist than Al Kooper is a fan, as is the mayor of Saint Paul. The Latin Billies, a sextet that performs in both English and Spanish, open.

Dan Tedesco w/Hannah Von Der Hoff @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) If you’re looking for a lower key evening, this double bill of singer/songwriters might just fill the bill. Headliner Tedesco, who hails from Des Moines these days, is a guitarist/singer songwriter whose influences range from Van Halen and Pete Townsend to George Benson and Wes Montgomery, though he admits that the rock n’ roll side is dominant. Von Der Hoff is a bluesy, soulful singer/songwriter who sometimes leads an R&B-ish band, though tonight she’s flying solo.

Friday, August 26

Soul Tight Committee w/Ginger Apocalypse @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) As summer winds down, so do some of the outdoor series we’ve been enjoying. This is the last performance in the Rhythm in Rice series, featuring the tight, ten-piece R&B horn band Soul Tight Committee. Opening is Ginger Apocolypse, for whom it is hard to find information. It might be an electronic/metal band or a horde of red-haired, freckle-faced, pale skinned zombies.

Buffy Sainte-Marie @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) Those of you of a certain age may remember her songs “Universal Soldier,” or “Until It’s Time for You To Go.” If you’ve followed her closely, you know that she co-wrote “Up Where We Belong” with Joe Cocker. And, she was on Sesame Street for five years in the mid-70s. Her songs have been covered by The Indigo Girls, Janis Joplin, Neko Case, Dottie West, Glen Campbell; Andy Williams, Barbra Streisand, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Donovan, and many more. Sainte-Marie has a new album out, Power in the Blood, with a batch of new songs, some of which cover social criticism, while others are love songs and one is a blues rocker. Here them now before they get covered.

Malamanya Album Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) If you missed their performance at the Icehouse last week, have no fear. Even if you caught it, this is a CD release party, so the energy and excitement will be even more pronounced for these purveyors of classic Cuban sons, energetic salsas, and other Latin rhythms.

Friday, Saturday, August 26, 27

Hipshaker 14th Anniversary Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?) Now one of the longest running funk soul dance nights in the country, Hipshaker is celebrating its 14th Anniversary as a 45RPM Dance Night with a two night blowout. Friday night is dedicated to Hipshaker favorites, while Saturday night will be a showdown between Motown and James Brown. Dance, Dance, Dance.

Saturday, August 27

Nikki Roux & Rich Rue/Erica West Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Nikkie & Rich – No Cover), 9pm (Erica West $8) Again we have a one-two punch at the Vieux, with Nikki & Rich providing bluesy folk and folk-rock during the early evening, and the Erica West Band starting at 9pm. West is a sultry, powerful singer with a six-piece back up band. West and the band perform blues, R&B, and jazzy versions of standards.

Wenso Ashby Live! @ the Penumbra Theater, 270 Kent Street, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm ($10 general, $15 Reserved) Ashby is a keyboard player who started out as a producer in hip-hop and has had some significant success in the smooth jazz area, though he calls it Contemporary Jazz With Soul. He’s released six albums, often featuring a female singer, and tonight he’ll be presenting music from a singer/songwriter point of view. The show also features K Jay The Comedian, and proceeds will be donated to the Hallie Q Brown Food Shelf.

Sunday, August 28

Lonnie Knight Cancer Fight @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Donation at Door) Veteran guitarist/singer Lonnie Knight started as a folk singer back in the antediluvian days and was part of the burgeoning Twin Cities rock scene in the early 60s. He’s since gone on to record and perform with a slew of better known, if no more talented, performers. Of late, hes been fighting off cancer, but still needs help with medical expenses. A number of friends are helping out by performing, including Mick Sterling, the Lisa Wenger Band, Mary Jane Alm, James Loney and Lolo’s Ghost, anmd the Smokin’ Section, in addition to Knight himself. There’ll be an All-Star Jam, and well as a live auction and raffle.

Tuesday, August 30

Cajun Crawfish Hotdish @ Sea Salt, Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm (Tip Jar) Cajun Crawfish Hotdish is not a new offering from the popular restaurant, but rather a seven-piece group that lays down the Southern Louisiana sounds that make people get up and dance. You can even dance a step or two while waiting in line for Sea Salts signature dishes of crawfish, fish tacos, oysters, and gumbo.

 

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.

Jazz

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.

 


Resident and Visiting Artists: 4.29 – 5.5

April 29, 2015

Unknown-1Spring is finally busting out with buds on the trees, and grass getting greener. With the weather getting nicer, it will be easier to get out in the evenings to continue Spring Rejuvenation with some music. this week I’m highlighting eight visiting artists in both jazz and roots/blues, as well as a talented bunch of resident artists, including a few with national reputations. Have a good week. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 29

Ben Abrahamson Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With apologies to Paul Mayasich, Jazz Central seems to be having a Guitar-a-thon this evening as features two other guitarists in his trio: Nich Champeau and Jacob Park Evans. Abramason can be seen around town playing with Lulu’s Playground and the Thomas Nordlund Quintet.

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Today is the anniversary of Duke Ellington’s Birthday and is also Andrew Walesch’s birthday, so to celebrate, vocalist/pianist Walesch is performing the songs of Ellington. He’ll be ably supported by Dave Graf, trombone, Bob Parsons, woodwinds; Mac Santiago, drums, and Gary Raynor, bass. Here’s Walesch doing a solo number

Wednesday, Thursday, April 29, May 30

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Hard to believe that it’s almost 20 years since this boho-jazz chanteuse released her first album in 1996. Peyroux retreated from her original success by returning to busking in the streets of Paris, nor releasing her second album until 2004. Now she’s touring behind a greatest hits collection on Saint Paul’s Red House Records, which includes the title song “Keep Me in Your Heart” includes the previously unreleased title track from the movie Union Square. Her somewhat small, Billie Holiday-like voice, combined with unique interpretations from songs across genres, makes her an audience favorite.

Thursday, April 30

Debbie Duncan: International Jazz Day @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahh, it’s a celebration of jazz that takes place all around the world, and Ms Duncan and the folks at Jazz Central are doing their part.

Friday, May 1

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra & the Anoka Ramsey College Jazz Ensemble @ the Performing Arts Center, Anoka Rmsey Comm College, Coon Rapids. 7pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear a hot big band that specializes in Latin Rhythms as well as a student ensemble. And it’s free!

Framework @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates  bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, are each worthy of leading their own groups, and they sometimes do, but tonight they collaborate, to create 21st Century jazz.

Saturday, May 2

Andrew Kolker w/Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kolker is a saxophonist/composer/arranger who has 7 CDs as a leader and has worked with Ray Barretto, Maria Schneider, Billy Hart and others. He’ll be playing with Chris Bates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes. Considering the close communication and interplay of the trio, this should be a killer of a show.

Jason Moran and Rober Glasper @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm (Sold Out), 10:30pm ($28) These two contemporary pianists are not only helping to define jazz piano for the 21st Century, but are friends from high school in Houston. They’ll be mixing classic boogie boogie, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and hip-hop tunes in duets such as those that were ecstatically received at the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records.

Unknown-2Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Dave Brattain Group w/Mac Santigo on drums opening at 7pm. Featured artist is Anthony Cox’s DD7, featuring Cox on bass, JT Bates on drums, Brandon Wozniak on sax, and Steve Kenny on trumpet/flumpet.

James Buckley Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5-$20 suggested Donation) Buckley is the bassist who works with a variety of jazz, indie-rock, and folk-rock groups. Working with Bryan Nichols on keys and JT Bates on drums, Buckley and his bandmates create modern, original, sometimes ethereal, and always accessible jazz. Here they are with the title song from their last CD.

Sunday, May 3

University of MN Jazz Ensemble I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Free) The ensembles will be playing the music of Woody Herman and Count Basie.

Monday, May 4

Scott Agster @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The trombone player cooks, whether he’s in a salsa band, or co-leading the Explosion Big Band. Thought the lighting is bad, here’s a video of a previous Jazz Central performance.

Tuesday, May 5

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Bennett’s Chops and Railhouse, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s the place to go when you’re looking for traditional New Orleans Jazz. Don’t be surprised if one of the older listeners starts a parade around the small chophouse.

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, April 29

Jake Manders on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip jar) Singer/songwriter/guitarist Manders just released his second acoustic/rootsy album, Acousitc Frequency. Whether performing under his own name (often with fiddler Greta Huntstiger) or with the alt-blugerass Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, Manders’ songs reveal an undercurrent of hope even in the most mournful times. Tune in at 5pm and head over to the 331 Club at 7.

Charanga Tropical @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free, Donations Accepted) The Charanga is an elegant dance from Cuba, always played with a small violin section. This group  led by saxophonist Doug Little, also plays lively salsas. They are the first American group to be invited to the Danzon Festival in Cuba, which takes place at the end of June, and are now working to raise the money for the trip. They’ve got a Kickstarter program, and are performing a series of concerts to publicize the program and raise funds.

Thursday, April 30

American Pleasure Dome @ Grumpy’s NE, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This indie-rock quartet caught my attention in part because of the presence of guitarist Park Evans, who also plays with the New Primitives and a score of area jazz groups, and bassist/vocalist Brenda Shepard of the Rebel Queens. The group is led by songwriter Hans Schumacher, and also features Joel Arlpin on drums.

Friday, May 1

Charlie Parr Jumpstumper Release @ The Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($18) The unassuming, simple living Parr has amassed a great deal of fans over the course of 12 albums of old-sounding blues and roots music. Jumpstumper is his latest album, and his debut on Red House Records. It’s also the first solo album in which he has a backing band, and they serve him well, proving an effective foil to his declamatory songs and stories. Hear cuts from the new album here.

Joe Louis Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Bluesman Walker grew up in the Bay area and at a young age had already played with John Lee Hooker, Thelonious Monk, and Steve Miller. He was a roommate to Mike Bloomfield for a few years, whose death prompted Walker to change his lifestyle, enroll in college and perform with a gospel group. In 1985 he returned to the Blues, and has been hard at it ever since. The sharp guitar lines of this Blues Hall of Fame inductee (2013) can range from rockin’ to soulful.

Saturday, May 2

The Pines EP Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $30), 9pm ($20-$25) The Pines are another roots music act that has been steadily increasing their fan base through steady touring. Though David Huckfeldt and Benson Ramsey are both natives of Iowa, they met in a Mexican barrio in Arizona, relocated to Minneapolis, and released their first album in 2004. Since then they’ve managed to blend roots and blues with indie-rock proclivities to national acclaim while remaining true to an acoustic aesthetic. Here’s a performance from about 18 months ago.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover?) This is one of Davina’s dance gigs, and though the dance floor isn’t very big, it will undoubtedly be filled.

home-image-3High & Mighty @ Narrows Blues Saloon, Navarre. 9pm ($?) This ten-piece horn band has three vocalists and a repertoire that ranges from Lady Gaga and Mayer Hawthorne to the Ohio Players, Aretha Franklin, and Kool & the Gang. In other words, they’ve got your dancing jones covered.

Sunday, May 3

Paul Thorn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($36) Thorn is an entertaining roots-rock storyteller and songwriter whose life has had enough twists and turns to provide provide endless fodder for his songwriting. While previous albums have featured stories drawn from his life, his latest CD, Too Blessed to be Stressed is an intentional effort to write songs that not only have universal truths, but make people feel good. Once you get through the introduction to this video, you’ll get a taste of his outlook and his new music.

Tuesday, May 5

Salsabrosa and Alma Andina @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) It’s Cinco de Mayo and some salsa dancing is in order. Alma Andina opens with some Andean-inspired folkloric music, followed by a couple of dance lessons and the sounds of Salsabrosa with special guest Esti Price singing some Mexican classics.

Tuesday, Wednesday, May 5, 6

The English Beat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis ($35-$40) The English Beat were one of the pillars of the  British Two-Tone ska movement in the early eighties, with their message of love, unity, inclusion and dancing. After disbanding in ’83, members went on to form General Public, International Beat, and Fine Young Cannibals. A reunion in 2003 reinvigorated the group, and they’ve remastering their old albums and rereleasing them with bonus tracks and DVDs, the latex of which is Special Beat Service. I’d be might surprised if some Gen Xers don’t find room to dance.

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. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.


A Wealth of Music: 2.25 – 3.3

February 25, 2015

images-2We are faced with another week in which the richness of artistic offerings here in the Twin Cities can create difficult choices when going out. Much like the teens at right choosing from a jukebox, it’s a good problem to have. Get out and support our resident artists and check out visiting artists as well. We’ll all benefit, since music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 25

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover)  Pianist Walesch is an emerging artist on the vocal jazz scene in the Twin Cities. Though he concentrates on the Great American Songbook and jazz standards, including Frank Sinatra, he also writes his own material and has been known to perform a pop song or two.

Leisure Valley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This is a relatively new group featuring Bruce Thornton, reeds; Patrick Harrison, button accordion; Joey Van Philips, drums; and Chris Bates, bass. I have to admit I haven’t heard them, but judging by the inclusion of Bates, Harrison and Van Philips, I’m betting they’ll swing.

UnknownMcNally Smith Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman has gathered together a talented big band of 17 students at McNally Smith College of Music. Their repertoire ranges from Hard Bop to Afro-Peruvian Festejo music. They are an exciting ensemble to watch and hear, and have recently toured in Peru, and took first place at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival.

 

Thursday, February 26

Fireside Five and Guests @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave North, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) The UMC is a cozy spot featuring coffee, wine, and beer, as well as chairs for about 40 folks. Lately, they’ve been featuring jazz on a regular basis. Tonight it’s the talented musicians of the Fireside Five: Tom Ashworth, trombone & euphonium; Brian Grivna, reeds; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Special guests include Pat Mallinger, sax; Zack Lozier, trumpet; and Dean Sorenson, trombone. A rather star-studded evening for such an intimate room.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and tonight’s artist, Erin Livingston, is not only a vocalist, but a classically trained flautist. She has been singing around town with the Parisota Hot Club, performing blues, some Beatles, and the gypsy jazz of Django Rheinhardt. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Parisota guitarist Robb Henry. Here’s a surprising choice of music.

Friday, February 27

Photo of Javi by Andrea Canter

Photo of Javi by Andrea Canter

Javi Santiago Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Santiago is in town for a few months, and we’re lucky to have some opportunities to hear his fine playing. Tonight he’s joined by Chris Bates, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Debbie Duncan @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Crooners has become the place to hear many of the Twin Cities best singers, including Ms Duncan, who is somewhat of a legend in the Twin Cities for her superb ability to sing jazz and blues with equal verve.

Saturday, February 28

Bacharach & David with Oscars for "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head"

Bacharach & David with Oscars for “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head”

Arne Fogel and Jennifer Eckes: the Songs of Bacharach & David @Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($26) From Alfie and Wishin’ and Hopin’, to What’s New Pussycat and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, the team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David created a soundtrack for the 60s. Fogel & Eckes put their own interoperation on these songs and many more, with the help of Rick Carlson, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Jendeen Forberg, drums.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s an evening of modern, original jazz. Tonight’s opening band is Central Standard Time, a band of young upstarts and a couple of veterans, with Charlie Lincoln, bass; Sten Johnson, sax; Dave Roos, guitar; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Alex Burgess, drums. Then at 8:30pm the Zacc Harris Group will take the stage with Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; JT Bates, drums; and Chris Bates, bass.

Monday, March 2

BZ3 Organ Trio @ The Narrows Saloon, Wayzata. 7pm (No cover) Get down with some Soul Jazz from Brian Zienmiak, B3; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Bob Parsons @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Parson is a Minnesota saxophonist who lived in NYC for much of the 90s and 00s, where he was an arranger for folks like Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, and the Brecker Brothers, among others, and was co-leader of the Blue Note Late Night Band for several years. He also recorded four albums with guitarist Dave Styker. Since returning to the Twin Cities in 2008 he has been a member of the Acme Jazz Company Big Band. tonight he’ll be playing his own compositions and arrangements.

Tuesday, March 3

Rene Marie @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Vocalist Rene Marie is one of the most distinctive voices in the nation these days, a daring artist with the ability to crawl inside a lyric and make it her own. Tonight she’s performing her homage to the sensual singer and actress Eartha Kitt, the subject of Marie’s most recent (10th) album. Here’s a song from the album.

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm. ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Both Magraw on guitar and Seru on drums & percussion are extremely versatile, and both are capable of finishing the other’s musical thoughts. It’s always a treat to hear them.

For a comprehensive listings of Jazz, go to Jazz Police and  the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on jazz, check out Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 25

Big George Jackson on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) The big man with the deep deep voice sings the blues like no other in town. It’s authentic, and comes from his heart, whether singing originals or songs that you recognize. One thing is certain, Jackson’s music will make you move.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Treat yourself to some romantic ballads and jumping’ swing tunes from Radio Joe and the guys. It’s high quality stuff.

Thursday, February 26

Beckmen, Roux, & Rue @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard/percussionist Mikkel Beckmen brings in guests each week to join him on the Dubliner’s small stage. Tonight he’s joined by Nikki Roux and Rich Rue of Nikki & the Rue-Mates. A good way to spend some post work time.

Black Audience & Voice of Culture @ The Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($10) Vocalist Jayanthi Kyle is the not-so-secret weapon in the arsenal of Black Audience as they play music that draws upon Folk music, Black Heritage, Work songs, and Chain Gang songs. Opening act Voice of Culture is a West African drum and dance group that spans generations.

Friday, February 27

Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Funk, and good ol’ Rock n’ roll from Mr Murphy and his rockin’ cohorts. There’ll be lotsa dancing on one of the best dance floors in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, February 28

Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ The Bayport BBQ. 8pm ($5) Here’s a change of pace for Chris Johnson’s smoking’ BBQ joint; some traditional jazz. The Syncopaters include Jeffrey Dunitz, guitar; Tom Zosel, reeds; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; and Tom Lyseng, drums. Heck, this kind of music goes with BBQ just as much as the blues.

Funktion Junction @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Not sure how this 7-piece funk band will fit on the Station’s small stage area, but I’m betting the mostly middle-aged crowd that frequents the Station will be shaking their booties all night long.

Saturday, Sunday, February 28, March 1

Black Violin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) This classically-trained duo use violin and viola to play a blend of classical music, hip-hop, rock, and R&B, with some bluegrass thrown in for good measure. They’ve played for one of Obama’s Inaugural Balls, on Broadway, and for troops in Iraq, and have collaborated with folks ranging from Kanye West to Aretha Franklin and The Eagles. Opening is Twin Cities artist LOTT.

Sunday, March 1

Grateful Sundays @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) Deadheads Unite! You have nothing to lose but a fun time listening to acoustic and electric sets of Grateful Dead music presented by the Shotgun Ragtime Band. Acoustic sets start at 6pm and are family friendly. Electric sets start at 8pm and go until about 11.

FullSizeRender

Cadillac at Pioneer & Soldiers Cemetery

Cadillac Kolstad @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) With the wildness of a young Jerry Lee Lewis, Kolstad attacks the piano with vigor, backed by a rockabilly rhythm section that matches his ferocity note for note.

Monday, March 2

Jon Rodine @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 6:30pm (Tip Jar) Besides working for Red House Records, Rodine is one of the Twin Cities finest singer/songwriters of blues and roots music, though truth be told, he is relatively unknown, though he’s played and recorded with a heavy duty roster of Midwest musicians. Check him out and then stay for the fun-filled Roe Family Singers at 9pm.

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. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.


%d bloggers like this: