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.


Lift Your Spirits: 4.27 – 5.3

April 27, 2016

 

One of the many purple lighted tributes to Prince last Thursday

One of the many purple lit-up tributes to Prince last Thursday

Well, it’s a sad week for music lovers, especially here in the Twin Cities, where there’s been wall-to-wall coverage and tributes to Prince. It’s not surprising, since almost everyone in town has a Prince story, or knows someone with a Prince story. I got to see him perform only a few times: at a “surprise” concert at First Avenue in the early 80s, his Civic Center Concert in 1990, and most recently, during his three-night run at the Dakota a couple of years ago. I only got to the first night, an all-instrumental show, which I nevertheless found exhilarating, and reviewed here. Like so many other Twin Citizens, I also had a couple of Prince sightings over the years, at First Avenue, and the Dakota, including last Tuesday night, when I saw him going to the Green Room to talk with Lizz Wright.

Jazz fans will be interested to know that Jimmy Scott recorded a Prince song, which you can listen to here, and that Miles Davis played onstage with him, which you can see here, and our own Adam Meckler Quintet performed Sometimes It Snows In April at their CD release party this past Saturday. There have also been performance tributes by Bruce Springsteen, The Dixie Chicks, and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and the casts of Hamilton and The Color Purple. I’m sure there will be many tribute events in the coming months, the first of which I’ve listed below for Sunday. In the meantime, we have a full week of great music to lift our spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 27

O’Brien, Gadbout, Hennig @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Casey O’Brien  bass; Ted Gadbout, piano; and Peter Hennig, drums, are fine musicians and good representatives of the “middle” generation of jazz players in town. O’Brien is a well-regarded bassist about town, having released some well-reviewed jazz albums, in addition to playing with such local luminaries as PaviElle and  Sonny Knight & the Lakers.   It’s O’Brien’s gig, and as per usual, they will probably be presenting some of his originals, though Gadbout and Hennig have their own songs as well. You can listen to songs from Ghost Dance, his album from 2014 with Nathan Hanson and Davu Seru here.

Aurora Club Jazz Quartet @ Tattersall Distillery Cocktail Room, 1620 Central Ave NE, #150, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($??) I don’t know this group, though it may contain some familiar names. At any rate, since distilleries seem to be popping up around town here’s a chance to check one out. They distill several types of gin and liqueurs, as well as vodka, bourbon, aqavit, and white whiskey. Plus you can listen to  some music and make use of a food truck at the same time.

Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The foremost crooner of our area will sing at what should be his natural habitat. Fogel will be joined by the Wolverines Trio: Jendeen for berg, drums; Keith Thomas Boyles, bass; and Rick Carlson, piano. They’ll be in the big room, and will undoubtedly generate the energy that room deserves.

Thursday, April 28

Improv on the Plaza @ Ecolab Plaza, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Drummer Pete Hennig and friends will perform. His friends include: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Cody McKinney, electric bass; and Brian Zeimnak, electric piano. Here’s Hennig playing with the Brian Gallagher Quartet.

Some sass from some brass

Some sass from some brass

BrassZilla @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This quartet features three brass and a drum. I’m sure they’ll be able to get your attention and keep it despite the general noise level of this hopping’ restaurant.

 

Songs from the Silo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Vocalist Sheridan Zuther grew up on a farm and spent hours singing in an empty one on her farm. Tonight she celebrates life on a family farm, singing songs from Dolly Parton, Cole Porter, Stevie Wonder, and more – songs that she sang as a child in the silo, and that inspired her to become a singer. She’ll be accompanied by pianist Steve Hobert, whose light, fanciful touch seems just right for such a project.

Friday, April 29

Guitar Night featuring Julian Lage Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $42)  While Grammy-nominated Lage and his modern jazz trio, which just released an excellent album, are the headliners, this evening also features Twin Cites guitar wizard Peter Lang, along with the Takoma guitar masters: Toulouse Engelhart and Rick Ruskin. Those of you of a certain age may remember Takoma Records as the recording home of Lang, as well as John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Engelhardt is known as the “Segovia of Surf” due to his stylings, lighting fast playing and colorful melodies, while Ruskin learned his craft from the Reverend Gary Davis.

Saturday, 30

Brian Lynch w/The Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ The A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 SE Main Street, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6pm ($25, $35, $50) This is a benefit for Jazz Central, the little jazz venue that could. Things start off at 1pm with the Doug Haining/Dave Graf Quintet, with guest vocalists Debbie Duncan, Andrew Walesch, and Sara Greer. At 2:15 it’s the Javier Santiago Trio with Dan Carpel, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. At 3:30, the Vinson Valega Group performs and agh 4:30 it’s Grammy winning trumpeter/bandleader Brian Lynch  who has been part of august bands led by Horace Silver, Art Blakey, and Phil Woods, as well as becoming an in demand musician for work with Latin bands, such as those of Eddie Palmieri and the legendary Hector LaVoe. Today he’ll be showing off his Latin chops with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Here’s Lynch with some students.

How Birds Work, with original bassist Billy Peterson

How Birds Work, with original bassist Billy Peterson

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features the Growlers at 7pm: Joel Shapira guitar; Dave Martin, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums. Headliner tonight is How Birds Work, a quartet that thrilled Artist Quarter customers for years: Peter Schimke, piano; Dean Granros, guitar; Ted Olson, bass; and the indefatigable Kenny Horst on drums.

Boom Room Jazz @ Boom Island Brewing Tap Room, 2014 N Washington Avenue, #300, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Free) This is the second installment of Jazz at the Boom Room. Valve trombonist Brad Bellows brings another group of fine musicians to play while you check out Boom Island’s Belgian-inspired brews. Tonight Brad is joined by Larry Hillman, tenor sax; Steve Kimmel, marimba; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Mike Croy, drums.

Sunday, May 1

Solomon’s Sessions @ The Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This is the last of a grant-sponsored series led by trumpeter Solomon Parham, who just received his Masters in Performance from MacNally Smith. It’s essentially a jam session with a high bar for performance, which results in some terrific music. Here’s a brief idea of what happens.

Monday, May 2

Tom Kliphuis and Sam Miltich @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) For those who appreciate the acoustic swing of Gypsy Jazz, this will be a must-see gig. Classicly trained violinist Tim Kliphuis trained at the Amsterdam Conservatoire and is regarded as Stephane Grappelli’s heir. Though Sam Miltich was born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota, he somehow gravitated towards Gypsy Jazz as well as Brazilian choros and French musettes, thrilling audiences with his solo performances as well as with his band the Clearwater Hot Club. Here’s a video of Kliphuis in performance.

Joel Shapira & The Growlers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) If you didn’t catch them in the opening slot at the Black Dog on Saturday night, you can catch them tonight, and stick around for a jam session afterwards. Here’s Shapira in a solo piece.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) This late night Monday night series always has the best in regional and visiting musicians who aren’t afraid to stretch boundaries. Tonight it’s The Regional Jazz Trio – Anthony Cox, bass; JT Bates, drums; and  Michael Lewis, sax.

Tuesday, May 3

Mississippi, featuring Andres Prado @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm If you haven’t seen Peruvian guitarist Prado yet, here’s your chance. He’s visiting for a few weeks after returning to Peru a few years ago. His work with Mississippi can range from acoustic Afro-Peruvian Landos to mostly jazz fusion. Other members of Mississippi are: Pete Whitman, saxes; Peter Schimke, piano; 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 27

Jillian Rae Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rae is a talented violinist, vocalist, and songwriter who can throw down a Led Zeppelin song, follow it with a country hoedown, and then perform a hook-laden original. Tonight she’ll be appearing with her husband Eric. They’ll be followed at the 331 Club by an Americana/newgrass group with members of Pet Near Sandstone, the Sans Souci Quartet, The Farmhouse Band and Row of Ducks.

Judy Collins and Ari Hest @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60 – $75) An evening of compelling folk music from a couple of veterans. Collins may have created a new genre, art-folk, when she recorded the songs of Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sonheim, and Joni Mitchell, as well as the title song from Marat/Sade back in the 60s. She may be best known for her hits with Both Sides Now, Someday Soon, Who Knows Where The Time Goes, and Amazing Grace in the late 60s. Previous appearances at the Dakota have revealed a talent for storytelling as well. Heist has recorded eight albums, three EPS, and in 2008 recorded and released a new song every Monday for a full year.

Thursday, April 28

Courtney Yasmineh Goes Solo @ Reverie Cafe + Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm. (Tip Jar) Rocker/songerwriter Courtney Yasmineh will soon take off on an East Coast tour, where she’s been acquiring fans, and she’s warming up with this show.  Actually,m Ms Yasmineh will be one of four artists featured at the old Nicollet Cafe. Alicia Kay (of the Changeups) will start at 9pm; Andriana Lehr is on at 9:45, followed by Ms Yasmineh at 10:30. I’m afraid I don’t know the closing artist. This video with her band will give you an example of Yasmineh’s songwriting.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Cajun, Zydeco, and perhaps some swamp pop from accordionist Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and his compadres. Dancing shoes are de rigueur.

Friday, April 29

Philip Nusbaum and Sherry Minnick @ Duluono’s Pizza, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar?) Classic Country, banjo originals, and maybe a bit of classic bluegrass from Nusbaum  who hosts Bluegrass Saturday Morning on KBEM, and Ms Minnick  who has been in a number of old-time and bluegrass band, several musical plays at the History Theater, and has taught children’s choirs for 16 years. Here’s a long clip of the two of them.

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Oh my! This is definitely the gathering place for blues lovers tonight. Thackery  earned his craft performing with Muddy Waters, then went on to be a co-founder of The Nighthawks, with whom he performed for fifteen years. He left them in 1987 and has become the definition of a road warrior, playing nearly 300 shows a year. He loves the guitar stylings found in surf and spy music, but at his heart is a blues guy, through and through.

Saturday, April 30

One Night in Cuba @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Charanga Tropical is heading up this fiesta and dance party, since they are celebrating the release of the CD they recorded in Havana last year. The evening will feature an all-star lineup of musicians from Charanga Tropical, Malamanya, Salsa Del Soul, QBand, and Salsabrosa. Other guests will include Cuban pianist Viviana Pintado, Chicago Salsa singers Franklin Paz and Juan Castro, and more, including dance showcases. Whew! Bring your dancing shoes and take part in a salsa dance lesson.

Complicated Fun Opening Night @ The Minnesota History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $45) If you remember the exploding music scene from First Avenue in the 80s, you’ll want to see this show, which runs through May 29. It’s a story of a couple of misfits who discover themselves thanks to the sounds coming from the club that Prince made famous. Though there are no songs from “His Royal Badness,” as writer Martin Keller dubbed him, there many songs from the punk/funk scene at the time, including music from The Suicide Commandos, The Replacements, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the Suburbs, and more. If you can’t make it tonight, the show runs through May 29. Ticket information here. Watch the Suicide Commandos perform the title song.

High & Mighty @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) This party-hearty horn band will have the commodious dance floor at the MMC filled with revelers.

Get out the dancing shoes

Get out the dancing shoes

The Good, Bad, & the Funky @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. ($7) Meanwhile, this 10-piece horn band will be laying down R&B dance rhythms for Minneapolis funksters.

Sunday, May 1

Let the Festivities begin

Let the Festivities begin

Mayday Parade and Festival, South Minneapolis. Noon – dusk. The 42nd Annual Mayday Parade and Festival begins at noon, when the parade starts at 25th & Bloomington, going south and to Powderhorn Park The Tree of Life Ceremony takes place at the park at 3pm, while the Festival is open throughout the day. The Festival features music, dancing, poetry, food, canoe rides, and who knows what else. the entertainment runs from The Roe Family Singers to Savage Aural Hotbed, Firefly Forest, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and the Maroons (Now called Positive Vibrations). Entertainment schedule can be found here.

NE Love Prince Dance Party @ East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. 3pm – 6pm (Free) This family-friendly party is sure to be one of many that will occur in the coming weeks. There will be a couple of food trucks, a purple art project, and music from Deejay That Dude Trey, spinning Prince, Prince-sampled hip-hop, and Prince influenced artists. Be aware that though this is a family-friendly event, the songs will not be edited. It may be outside, but that is dependent on details like tents, permits, and of course, the weather.

David Lindley @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) If you think you’ve heard eclectic musicians before, be prepared to be knocked out by Lindley  whose electro-acoustic performances incorporate American folk and blues, as well as bluegrass, African, Arabic, Asian, and Malagasy traditions. He’s a highly talented multi-instrumentalist with a wide array of stringed instruments, with a sly sense of humor.

Sunday, Monday, May 1,2

The Combo at work

The Combo at work

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The band, also known as The Combo contains a number of artists who have been associated with Prince, including drummer Michael Bland, bassist Sonny Thompson, vocalist Margaret Cox, and guitarist Billy Franze. I’m not sure about the Prince association for other members, but he used to come by every once in a while and sit in the corner, often bringing new or potential band members to help them learn. JellyBean Johnson is a sure bet as a guest, and you can never tell when a visiting musician will sit in. Last Sunday they opened the third set with a rousing Prince medley that went on for 15 or 20 minutes. Since this band has been performing weekly for almost three decades, they are incredibly tight, and will have you dancing in no 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


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.

Jazz

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: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/movies/born-to-be-blue-review-ethan-hawke-chet-baker.html?_r=0  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.


Mardis Gras and More: 2.3 – 2.10

February 3, 2016

UnknownWe’re back to real winter weather, and both the Super Bowl and Mardis Gras are upon us, but neither of those occurrences need distract you from hearing excellent live music this weekend. In fact, Mardis Gras serves as an inspiration for a number of events around town. So let the Bon Ton Roulet, and rmember live music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 3

The Reverse of Sam and Dave Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) What an intriguing group name! One Wednesday each month, bassist Anthony Cox brings an interesting group to Jazz Central, and often involves the audience in discussions around the music. Tonight he’ll also be playing cello, and will be joined by bassist and saxophonist Mike Lewis, of Happy Apple, Andrew Bird, and numerous other jazz, pop, and roots groups. I have no idea what the reverse of the 60s soul duo just might be, and like you, I’ll have to attend to find out, but I”m sure it will be interesting.

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) JoAnn travels across town from her usual haunt at the Saint Paul Hotel, and adds drummer Nathan Norman to the mix for an evening of jazz standards and a few surprises, from the pens of Leonard Cohen, Dan Penn, and other composers not usually associated with jazz.

Thursday, February 4

Joey Babay & Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Babay is a vocalist who jumps and swings. Hobert is a pianist who can sensitively accompany all sorts of vocalists. This will be fun.

Hanson, Buckley, & Marich @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Every Thursday, the kind folks at the Kyber Pass serve up beer wine, and a few small plates to accompany some extraordinary improvisational jazz. Tonight they have three musicians who are very comfortable pushing boundaries: Nathan Hanson, sax; James Buckley, bass; and George Marich, drums.

Friday, February 5

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis 8pm ($10) Here’s some jazz that will stand up to any touring act that comes through town. Gravatt is the explosive drummer who has toured and recorded with Weather Report back in the day, and has regularly toured with McCoy Tyner. The members of  Source Code vary from time to time, but are always up to the challenge of Gravatt’s musical expressions. Here’s one version of the group.

Steve Hobert/Yohannes Tona Quartet @ Reverie (formerly Nicollet Cafe), Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Hobert, keys; Tona, bass; Kip Jones, violin; Arthur LA Buckner, drums.

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a chance to warm up for Mardis Gras, as this group of veteran players explore the traditional side of New Orleans music. You can expect plenty of clarinet, trombone, and trumpet playing. Don’t be surprised if a little second line parade winds it way through the club.

Saturday, February 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It seems to be trombone night at the Black Dog, as both groups feature the slide trombone as the leader’s choice of instrument.  Nick Syman Quartet @ 7pm: Syman, trombone;  Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; Pete James Johnson, drums. Followed at 8:30pm by the Dean Sorenson Sextet: Sorenson, trombone; David Milne, saxes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Leis Bass; Phil Hey, drums.  Though there are no videos of Sorenson’s group live, you can still listen to something from their recently released album, the Colors of Soul.

Monday. February 8

Irv Williams @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) The 90-something continues to have a wonderful tone on saxophone. Early on, he played behind folks like Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, and Mary Lou Williams. After serving in the Navy band, he settled in the Twin Cities and turned down offers from Count Basie and Duke Ellington. You can catch him in duo settings during Friday happy hour at the Dakota, but this is a special chance to hear him with Billy Peterson, bass; Steve Blons, guitar; and Dave Graf on trombone. It will be sublime, as you can tell from this video, taken a year ago or so.

Monday, Tuesday, February 8, 9

Joe Lovano & John Scofield Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($30) Here’s a duo that will bring out all sorts of music lovers. Guitarist John Scofield has played with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Billy Hancock, and Miles Davis, and more recently has gained fans among the jam band crowd by playing with Mediski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, and Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead. He’s an amazing improviser with a distinctive sound. Grammy winning saxophonist Joe Lovano has played with SF Jazz, The Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Paul Motian, in addition to leading a number of groups, including Us5, the two drummer band. Check them out.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($30 – $35) What better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They revolutionized the Brass Band concept some 35 years ago when they added bebop, pop, and even the Flinstones Theme to their repertoire. They’ve recorded with David Bowie, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, The Black Crowes, and more. Tickets are going fast, so be warned, and if you get in, you can party hearty.

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, February 3

Jeff Ray & The Stakes on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Jeff Ray is a talented songwriter who isn’t afraid to rework classic rock n’ roll tunes to fit his playing on resonator and acoustic guitars. He’s joined by harp master “Hurricane Harold” Tremblay, along with percussionist Mikkel Beckman on Djembe, Scruboard and foot stomps, and Nick Salisbury, of Sonny Knight & the Lakers, and Ashliegh Still, on bass. Here’s a track from their Valhalla, their recent album.

Thursday, February 4

Rockin Pinecones @ The Eagles Club, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get an early start on Mardis Gras celebrations and Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and friends serve up some Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop tunes for your dancing pleasure.

Gilded Palace Sinners @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($8) Throughout a career in the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, duets with Emmylou Harris, and solo excursions, Gram Parsons kickstarted country rock and created an extraordinary body of work. This 8-piece group was formed in 2015 to perform his music. Member come from the Urban Hillbilly Quartet, the Platte Valley Boys, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys, and more.

Friday, February 5

Butanes @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Though the dance floor at Crooners isn’t particularly large, it’s bigger than the one at Shaw’s, where the award-winning Butanes have a weekly gig. Additionally, music starts early, so those of us of a certain age can kick up our heels to the Buantes’ Blues and still get home in time to get sufficient rest.

Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Sometimes you just want some basic blues and rock n’ roll. Pianist/guitarist Murphy delivers, and though his originals are actually far from basic, they deliver a punch that isn’t subtle, even if the harmonies are.  Here he is with a full band.

OboeBassFluteGuitar @ Lowertown Lofts, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This concert is” for fans of classical music in obscure spaces.”  A collaboration of the four performers of OboeBass! and Duo Ancora as OboeBassFluteGuitar! For this concert they will perform several pieces as a quartet, and mix and match their instrumental combinations in a variety of genres from baroque to tango to jazz. Carrie Vecchione, oboe, and Rolf Erdahl, double bass created and perform in OboeBass!, the world’s only professional oboe/bass duo. Catherine Ramirez is flute professor at St. Olaf College and internationally known soloist and teacher of flute. A native of East Berlin, guitarist and Lowertown Classics founder Eva Benekeperforms, records, and teaches around the world in addition to serving on the guitar faculty at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.

Friday, Saturday, February 5, 6

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $50) Motown Soul from the singer of Heat Wave, Nowhere to Run, Come and Get These Memories, and Dancing in the Street. Martha & The Vandellas were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame back in 1995, and have two songs in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Nowadays the Vandellas are Martha’s sisters. Together, they’ll take you back to the pinnacle of 60s Motown, whether you were around then or not.

Saturday, February 6

Wine, Women & Song @ The Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Three outstanding musicians gather for an evening of pop, country, and rock. Rocker Tina Schlieske will explore songs she recorded with the B-sides from her latest work, Barricade. That band formed out of the edgy new wave rock scene that was Minneapolis in the late ’80’s. Katy Vernon will perform her pop/rock/country songs from her newest, critically acclaimed album, Present, named Album of the Year by E’Toile Magazine, and a #6 album of the year by the Pioneer Press. Sarah Morris has released two albums, and has been praised for her intimate songwriting and Norah Jones-like approach to singing alt-country. Here’s a video from each of them.

Buddy Holly Tribute @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm ($5) This is a benefit for Doctors Without Borders, but also celebrates the “Day the Music Died,” when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash near Clear Lake Iowa. Performers include: Nikki & the Ruemates, Larry Havluck, Roady Tate, Don & Leo, Steve West and the Northern Stars.

Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Grimm’s Sunday night gig at The Station in White Bear Lake are legendary for their fun factor. Expect the same at Crooners, with the addition of talented family and friends.

Sunday, February 7

Phil Heywood @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10am – 2pm (No Cover) You can catch Heywood, his acoustic guitar, and his pleasant baritone while having brunch and still have plenty of time to prepare for the Super Bowl later today. He’ll be debuting his 12 string for added interest. Well worth the time for aspiring guitarists who want to see a champion of finger picking at work.

Tuesday, February 9

Mardis Gras Party with Patty & The Buttons @ Dayblock Brewing, 1105 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Patty’s button accordion playing is just the thing for Cajun tunes, though this group can swing out with some jump blues and jazz as well. It’s a masquerade party, with featured cocktails,  and Dayblock’s usual selection of food, not to forget their IPAs, Stouts, and Ales.

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


Jazz, Cambodian Pop, Chamber Blues, and More: 1.6 – 1.12

January 6, 2016
Dengue Fever, appearing at the Ordway

Dengue Fever, appearing at the Ordway

Good music this week, from around the world (see photo) and perhaps, around the block. Get out and hear some. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 6

Anthony Cox: Deconstruction/Reconstruction @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Bassist Anthony Cox  ethinks the roles of different instruments and orchestration. He’ll be joined by Steve Kenny, trumpet; Davu Seru, drums; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; to perform new compositions, and engage in dialogue with the audience. Here’s an example of how Cox approaches a song, with a slight change in the lineup.

Thursday, January 7

Jon Pemberton @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) I don’t know if this is a solo gig or if pianist Pemberton will have any accompaniment. In either case, Pemberton’s playing is well worth a listen.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Ms Livingston has been singing a lot with The Parisota Hot Club, proving she can swing the standards, pump up the blues, and caress a Beatles tune. Tonight she performs with Marc Z on piano.

Jack Brass Band CD Release @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) These purveyors of both traditional and contemporary New Orleans Brass Band music have a new CD, For Your Soul, and they’re celebrating with a performance tonight. And what better place to celebrate than the gumbo and po-boy haven in downtown Saint Paul. Here’s a video of the band from Wednesday morning.

Friday, January 8

Ted Olsen & Joe Strachan @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Bassist Olsen and pianist Strachan are relatively young players who serve up some tasty licks and imaginative improvisations.

Denny Malmberg Trio w/Charmin Michelle @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The accordionist used to play behind chanteuse Charmin Michelle at the Fireside Pizza on a weekly basis. That gig ended some months ago, so it’s a delight to have them together again, this time will the help of Tom Lewis on bass. Listen to them with a drummer.

Pete Whitman X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) They’re back! Saxophonist/leader Whitman has been concentrating on the McNally Smith big band that he leads, so it’s fun to have the X-Tet, formed in 2001, they received glowing review for their only CD, playing mostly original compositions from the members: Clay Pufahl, saxes, flute; Gus Sandberg, baritone sax, flute’ Adam Meckler, trumpet & flugelhorn; Jake Baldwin, trumpet & flugelhorn; Jeff Rinnear, trombone; Laura Caviani, piano; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here they are with Whitman’s arrangement of the old chestnut, Good Night Ladies.

Saturday, January 9

Zacc Harris Guitar Recital @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) It’s listed as a recital, so I’m assuming guitarist Harris  will be performing solo, given that he’ll be playing in a trio later in the evening. This is a chance to clearly hear his clean, rhythmic lines.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The Pete Snell Trio opens, with Snell, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; and Tom Lewis, bass. At 8:30 it’s Golden Circle, with outstanding musicians Davu Seru  drums; Dean Granros, guitar; Chris Bates, bass.

JT Bates’ Grain @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8)  Get down and a bit greasy with this B3 Organ trio led by the chameleonic drummer JT Bates, with Kevin Gastonguay, B3; and Zacc Harris, guitar.

Sunday, January 10

The Birthday Club w/Dan Chouinard & Friends @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 6pm – 8pm ($20 Minimum) The folks at Crooners are starting a new residency with keyboardist Dan Chouinard in which he and an invited guest celebrate the music of a particular songwriter. He has a long history of doing informative and edifying shows. For this first appearance, he’s bringing along a long time collaborator, singer Prudence Johnson  Her recent appearance with Rio Nido at the Dakota showed that she’s got chops aplenty when it comes to interpreting songs. Here’s something from their Gershwin album.

Monday, January 11

Colleen Raye @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) The singer/actress will be performing songs from women songwriters of the 40s and 50s. Raye is somewhat of an expert here, having produced and starred in shows such as Sirens of the 60s, Belting Babes, Girl Singers of the Hit Parade, and others that feature songs from women. She’ll be accompanied by Gary Raynor, bass; and Ted Godbout, piano. Listen to her on an old Nat King Cole Song.

Tuesday, January 12

Peter Kogan Quartet @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum) Kogan is a former tympanist from the Minnesota Orchestra, who was able to explore his jazz side during the organization’s strike, and came up with a couple of winning CDs, including his latest, Some Monsterful Wonderthing, which exhibits his skill at composing and leading a band. From classic bebop to New Orleans rhythms, Kogan writes it all.  Look at who he has in this quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s a cut from the album.

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 6

Andra Suchy Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Classically trained and a veteran of musical theater, Suchy is a regular performer on Prairie Home Companion, and has recorded with a wide variety of indie, rock, blues, and folk acts, including the Honeydongs, Peter Ostroushko, and Dave Perner of Soul Asylum. She’s a Red House recording artist, with a folky style that fits the label’s sound.

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The joint will be jumpin’ as powerhouse vocalist Ms Miller and her band deliver exciting and danceable blues. Extra reason to be excited: Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar. I’m thinking this might be a crowded place tonight.

Thursday, January 7

Pat Donahue & The Prairie All Stars @ Golden’s Deli, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($8 for reserved stage area seating) Grammy-winning finger style guitarist Donahue has many fans, including the late Chet Atkins, and of course, Garrison Keillor, who featured Donahue and company at the house band on Prairie Home Companion for many years. Golden’s has a stage area off the main dining area, and serves beer and wine, in addition to sandwiches and soups. The band includes Dan Newton, accordion; Gary Raynor, bass; Richard Kriehn, mandolin and fiddle; and Peter Johnson on drums. Here he is with some of the band.

Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The “Twin Horns of Joy” are a couple of young musicians from Omaha who have been guided by folks like Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, and a host of other music luminaries. Adeev, trumpet; and Ezra, trombone; have studied in New York, and appeared at places ranging from Birdland to the Field Museum and the MN State Fair Grandstand. They play a very jazz-oriented pop that reaches across generations.

Friday, January 8

Worldwide Discoteque @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Pan-tropical vinyl, producing irresistibly funky dance sounds from Afrobeat to Island jams, to sambas, cumbias, and more for a multi-culti audience. Special guest deejay ILana Percheri will be alternating with host deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engle. Here’s an example of what you might hear.

Saturday, January 9

Dengue Fever @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $27) Take Cambodian pop music. Add hints of Ethiopian jazz, psychedelica, garage band music, Latin grooves, and the British Invasion and you have this thoroughly intriguing and fun six-piece group. Their music has been featured in TV and films, including CSI: Las Vegas, Weeds, The Hangover 2, and City of Ghosts.

Sunday, January 10

Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, w/Ernie Watts @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Siegel  known back in the day for his incisive harp playing as part of the Seigel-Schwall Blues Band, has been collaborating with classical musicians for quite some time now. This particular act features the West End String Quartet, as well as Frank Donaldson on world percussion, and sax master Ernie Watts  creating a blend of classical and blues styles in a chamber music setting.

Charlie Parr @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance) Parr is unique among today’s blues performers, with 13 albums to his credit and a huge following among the younger set. He sounds and looks like an itinerant picker, and in some respects is, but there’s an intelligence to his lyrics and playing (guitar, dobro, banjo) that goes way beyond his often-disheveled appearance. MN based singer/songwriter Amanda Standalone opens.

Tuesday, January 12

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) I’ll admit that I really like the approach of bassist/vocalist Lynch to performing. She takes on old songs – pop tunes from the 20s to the 60s, and puts them in context before she and her Most Excellent Fellows hit a downbeat that brings out swing dancers. Though there’s no real room for dancing at the Dakota, I wouldn’t put it past some of her fans to push some table aside to create a small dance floor.

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.


The 80s, Chicago Jazz, and more. Music: 11.4 – 11.10

November 4, 2015

imagesIt’s another good week for jazz in the Twin Cities, and though we only have one visiting artist (Joey DeFrancesco), we do have a couple of Chicago artists who perform hear regularly. We also have many outstanding players who would welcome your presence. On the blues and roots side of things, we have a couple of musicians who defined that 80s sound, some long time Twin Cities bluesmen, and some classical music as performed by a small choir.  Music Lifts the Spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 4

Anthony Cox: Continuum Series @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The first Wednesday of each month, crack bassist Anthony Cox hosts a group of musicians, and sometimes artists from other disciplines. They play, interact, and sometimes Cox opens it up for the audience to ask questions and take part.

Thursday, November 5

Jon Pemberton @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No cover) The pianist/trumpeter will be accompanied by bassist Matt Peterson, for dinner music that’s much more than dinner music. Here’s Jon in a trio format.

Zacc andCory, getting real. Photo by Andrea Canter

Zacc andCory, getting real. Photo by Andrea Canter

Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Groundswell, 1340 Thomas Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) It’s a three act evening as drummer Cory Healey brings his band to this corner coffeehouse. Besides Healey on drums, the band includes Erik Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax. Also playing this evening: Graham O’Brien (unknown to me) and a group called And…And…End, featuring Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on trumpet; and Cole Pulice, sax.

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) You won’t find a more compatible duo than singer Maud Hixson, whose June Christy cool voice belies a warm execution, and pianist Rick Carlson, whose economical playing says so much with so little.

Jana Nyberg @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jana takes a holiday from the Jana Nyberg Group and sings with some other stellar musicians: Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here she is doing a classic Ellington song.

Friday, November 6

Bruce Henry @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Henry, who now lives in Chicago, is back for a visit. He isn’t a crooner, though he could be if he wanted. Instead, he sings jazz and R&B songs like Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay and Coltane’s Equinox, as well as Motown numbers that will make you dance.

Joel Shapira Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No cover) Joel Shapira combines his own supple guitar work with the brass of Pete Whitman’s stellar sax, and Tom Lewis’s fine bass. Here is Joel in a solo mood.

Jay Young’s Lyric Factory @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Whether he’s channeling Herbie Hancock, Earth Wind and Fire, or Michael Jackson, bassist Young and his Lyric Factory always satisfies.

Graydon Peterson Quartet CD Release @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar) The Graydon Peterson Quartet is releasing a fine little CD entitled, oddly enough, Duets. It features nine tracks of original compositions played as duets between various member  of the quartet: Peterson, bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, keys; and Adrian Suarez, drums. Here’s one of the numbers.

Saturday, November 7

Butch Thompson Trio @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth. 7pm – 8pm ($10) Pianist Butch Thompson, together with Tony Balluf, clarinet; and Steve Pikal, bass, play a combination of old time jazz and occasional blues. You couldn’t find a better trio in town for this music. Here’s Butch with a different trio.

Steve Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) The Chicago native has released 15 albums since his debut in 1998. With a saxophone sound that can be greasy or “smooth” Cole has recorded with Jr. Wells, Buddy Guy, Larry Carlton, Freddy Cole, and Boz Scaggs, among others. Special guest will be our very own Patty Peterson.

Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (tip Jar) Master drummer and conguero Lea has played with Pharoah Sanders and Stan Getz, among others, and had the first release of Motema Records. Tonight he leads Zacc Harris, guitar; Geoff Brennan, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano, in an evening of exciting music. Opening tonight at 7pm is the clever Exquisite Corps, with Dave Roos, guitar; Eron Woods, Drums; and Peter Susag, bass. All of their songs have a body part in the title.

Sunday, November 8

Paul Renz Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) He might be better known on the East Coast than here in town, but Renz  s a guitarist that you should hear. His writing and playing are both melodic and inventive.

Monday, November 9

Joey DeFrancesco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($22) Since the death of DeFrancesco’s mentor, Jimmy Smith, DeFrancesco has become the leading light of B3 Organ music. I’ve seen him a half dozen times at least, and he’s always satisfying.

Tuesday, November 10

Unknown-2Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Though I wrote about Mary Louise playing solo at the Vieux Carre last week, this week she’s joined by Gordy Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums. Pardon the bad grammar, but to put it simply, it don’t get no better!

Phil Aaron Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5)  Aaron, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Jay Epstein, drums. Another stellar trio, this time playing for those who want to hang in the city. Aaron can swing like mad, and makes difficult charts look like child’s play.

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, November 4

Unknown-3John Beach Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) At this point, John Beach is often described as Legendary John Beach. He’s been a fixture on the Twin Cities music scene of years, playing piano for Willie Murphy, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bo Diddley, and more… Tune in to find out who is playing with him.

Joe Jackson @ the Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($40 – $67.50) Musical wanderer Jackson has been all over the place, deftly picking up genres and disposing of them as soon as he’s conquered them. He first made a splash with the new-wavy Is She Really Going Out with Him in 1979 and subsequently explored reggae, salsa, jump blues, R&B and Jazz, film scores, and contemporary classical music,as well as a 2012 horn-free release celebrating Duke Ellington, but nevertheless including a duet with Iggy Pop.  He’ll open the show with a short solo piano set before bringing on a full band. DJ Jake Rudh will spin pre-show music. Here’s a song from Joe’s recently released album.

Friday, November 6

Captain Gravitone & the String Theory Orchestra @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist/banjo picker Eli Hoehn leads this Americana sextet, through a repertoire that emphasizes acoustic instruments with a bit of rock undercurrents. Their new CD, A Real Fine Day (when the circus comes to town) features four brass and a violin as well, but I don’t know if they’ll be in the show.

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) With a low-key style and a voice that evokes Billie Holiday, Peyroux has tackled a wide variety of material. She recently released a Best Of compilation on Rounder Records which includes songs from her 20[-year career including some Atlantic and Decca/Emarcy releases.

Hymnos Vocal Ensemble: Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s an under-the-radar gig for those who appreciate classical music. In fact, you have to enter the artists’  building via its back alley, and make your way to the third floor atrium. Hymnos is a choir of 8-12 highly select mixed voices that has been performing a wide range of music, from Renaissance to contemporary, since being founded in 2011 by Eric Sorum. They will be joined by Jennifer Parker, voice, Eva Bnenke, classical guitar; and Chris Olson, guitar. There will be wine, coffee, pastries and candy.

Papa John Kolstad and the Hot Club of East Lake Street @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Papa John returns to Merlins on a Saturday night. John’s guitar playing, wry humor, and sly political asides, together with Sam Fiske, trumpet; Deano Mikkelson, guitar; and Bill Grenke, bass, makes for an entertaining evening. Bring your ID if you want adult beverages, and get there a bit early to get a good seat.

Saturday, November 7

Scottie Miller @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Miller has a new album, Reciprocation, and as with his last one, he’s rockin’ out a bit, though his New Orleans/Barrelhouse piano, and R&B beats still shine through.

Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Though it’s slightly tonier than his usual haunts, Hurricane Harold, and his All-Star band of Twin Cities Bluesers will fit in just fine at the basement club. Plus, it won’t be hard to move tables when the dancing bug hits. Check out the Scottie Miller video above for one version of the All-Stars.

Monday, November 9

A very different Joe Fingers.

A very different Joe Fingers.

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Joe Fingers is an ace fingerpicker, one of a number of champions that live in the area. Once in a while, though he may be ignored by Latte-drinkes perusing the internet, he just likes to play.

Tuesday, November 10

Howard Jones @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $75) Another act that blossomed in the 80s and, in fact, helped define the synth-pop sound of that decade. He had 15 top 40 singles between 1983 and 1992 and have never stopped performing, still releasing albums (including podcasts) and writing.

TheSubdudes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$45), 9pm ($35 – $40) The Subdudes deliverNew Orleans soulfulness, delivered with acoustic guitars, fine harmonies, and good songwriting.

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.


Culture, Heritage, Music: 9.7 – 9.13

October 7, 2015
The Jamaican National Dance Theater, performing at the Jamaica Expo on Sunday

The National Dance Theater of Jamaica, performing at the Jamaica Heritage Expo on Sunday

It’s another week of great music from resident and visiting artists alike, including Hawaiian music as performed by a chamber vocal ensemble, world jazz, reggae, and of course, the blues. Music lifts the spirit. Have fun!

Jazz

Wednesday, October 7

Katia Cardenas @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Cardenas is a vocalist who is versatile enough to sing jazz, soulful R&B, and the occasional pop song.

Vector Families (aka PBR Street Gang) @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Anthony Cox takes over Jazz Central one Wednesday a month. Tonight he’s joined by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; and Dave King, drums. It’s a stellar cast of musicians, capable of playing difficult rhythms while still swinging.

Thursday, October 8

Suzanne Paris @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and Ms Paris, who has been raising a family for the last 15 years, is returning to performing. She was mentored by Buddy Montgomery, and performed as both a soloist and as a background vocalist for major recording artists such as Dave Mason and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. Her repertoire runs from pop to standards. Here she is doing a blues.

Atrium Jazz Ensemble: Confluence @ Target Atrium of Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?)  Pianist Jeremy Walker kicks off a new season of jazz in the atrium with the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Bob Dylan, and Walker’s suite “A River Like a Train” featuring Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson from New Orleans, alto sax; Chris Thomson, tenor sax; Jeremy Walker, piano; Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums. Here is Anderson fronting his own band.

Trumpet Night @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s always an adventure at this small venue that features wine, beer, and a few food items for these late night soirees. First set is a duo with Steve Kenny and Adam Linz. Second set is a trumpet trio with Noah Baldwin, Jake Baldwin and Elaine Evans.

Friday, October 9

Bob Parsons Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) Parsons is a saxophonist/arranger who spent 15 years in the Big Apple, appearing on over 30 records for Blue Note, Verve, and Steeplechase Records. Since returning to the Twin Cities in 2008, he’s created arrangements for both the Acme Jazz Company and the Andrew Walesch project 100 Years of Sinatra. He’ll be join by Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Bottomless Pit and Live Painting @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm. Tim Nyberg will once again be painting to live music, this time performed by the A-list of Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass. Tim even has a video showing how he paints to music.

Saturday, October 10

Black Violin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42), 9pm ($35) Classically trained Will B and Kev Marcus play violin and viola, and use those instruments to deliver a blend of classical, hip-hop, and R&B, with a tip of the hat to bluegrass music once in a while. They’ve played the President’s Inaugural Ball, backed Alicia Keys at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and have collaborated with Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aretha Franklin, and other legendary acts. Listen as they turn the Brandenburg Concerto into a hip-hop jam.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($Tip Jar) Central Standard Time takes the stage at 7pm, featuring Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ted Olson, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Matthew Buckner, drums. They’ll be followed at 8:30 by Low Blows, a trio consisting of Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Mauilotus: The Marilyn Allysum Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($15 advance/$20 Door) Global Jazz from the group formally known as Quintessence. Mauilotus uses a variety of Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, and Western instruments to weave the musical traditions of East and West into a unique soundscape. Allysum, piano, flute, Gu Zheng, and voice; Charles Fletcher, bass; guitars; Mike Hurley, drums and percussion; and David Wolfe, Persian harp.

Monday, October 12

Charmin and Shapira and Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Charmin Michelle’s voice is sweet and smooth as whipping cream, while Joel Shapira’s guitar provides a light, yet swinging accompaniment. They’ll be joined by friends Paul Harper on sax; Tom Lewis on bass; and Nathan Norman on drums.

Tuesday, October 13

Phil Hey Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This might be the best jazz group in the Twin Cities, and that’s saying something, given the talent in town. This is their debut at Crooners, and the dance floor will be filled with tables for a listening audience. Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Phil Hey, drums; play the music of Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Don Cherry, and others.

Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Born and bred in New York City, vocalist Laurie  started out as a Manhattan cabaret singer and studied jazz with Judy Niemack, Sheila Jordan and others. Whether singing gypsy jazz, straight-ahead, or cabaret, Laurie always satisfies.

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, October 7

Bingham & Thorne on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.  5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – tip Jar) These veteran guitarists (Thorn also plays mandolin) deliver anecdotes, humor, and philosophy as well as the blues. They’re equally at home playing on a porch, in a club, or at a festival. They’ll be joined by fiddle master Randy Sabien, and no doubt harpist/host will join in on a tune or two. Tune in at 5pm, and if you like what you hear, which is likely, catch them live at the 331 Club.

Mark Lickteig’s Original Soul Revue @ The Pourhouse, 10 South 5th St, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Mark Lickteig and the Vicious Licks (horns and Hammond B-3), with special guest Ali Washington. You probably know vocalist/intsrumentalist Lickteig from his work with bands like Mick Sterling and the Stud Brothers, the R Factor, Free and Easy, and his weekly appearances with Mambo’s Combo (The Combo) at Bunker’s. He’s got a powerful voice that holds it own against horn bands and communicates soulful emotion. He’s finally released a CD of his own, Workin’ , backed by the cream of Twin Cities jazz and R&B players.

Thursday, October 8

Portland Cello Project @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Chamber music that stretches boundaries and appeals to all demographics. The group can range in size from a quartet to a 12 piece accompanied by chorus and orchestras. They’ve collaborated with folks like the Dandy Warhols and Trampled by Turtles, and have played symphony halls, NYC loading docks, and Prairie Home Companion.

Thursday, Friday, October 8, 9

Dave and Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $40) Back together again, after the success of Common Ground, their album of Big Bill Broonzy Songs, the brothers Alvin  of The Blasters, celebrate the music of James Brown, Leadbelly, Willie Dixon, Big Joe Turner, and other inspirations on their latest, Lost Time. Here they are performing a Big Bill Broonzy song.

Friday, October 9

Unknown-2Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5) Get jumpin’ with this unassuming rockin’ R&B quintet  They just want folks to dance, and are very successful at doing that. Guitarist Johnny Coburn leads the group and provides some original songs, but their playlist includes songs by Larry Garner, Susan Tedeschi, J Geils, ZZ Top, and even Norah Jones. Monica Louise provides powerful vocals, Mike Brisson, bass; and Nick Zwak drums; provide the foundation, while Rose Duffy provides both sweetening and strength on sax.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Primer’s is a classic blues story: as a Mississippi born child he created a homemade guitar by nailing broom wire to the wall of a house; inspired by Muddy Waters, Little Milton, and BB King songs he heard on the radio; migrated to Chicago and played West side clubs, and became a member of the house band at Theresa’s on the South Side, playing with the likes of Jr Well,s Buddy Guy, and Lonnie Brooks; and working in the bands of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim. I’ve said it of others, but there is not doubt that he’s the real deal.

The Rose Ensemble: The Last Queen of Hawaii @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15 – $37) Here in the Midwest we rarely learn much about Hawaii’s heritage and history, so this performance gives us a peek at Hawaii’s music and dance heritage as this vocal chamber group performs an ancient chant, Victorian Parlor tunes, missionary hymns, and cowboy tunes. It ends with the imprisonment of Queen Lilli’uokalani, composer of the famous Aloha ‘Oe. Listen.

Friday, Saturday, October 9, 10

UkeFest @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) The oft-maligned ukelele is celebrated at this Fourth Annual Ukefest, which now takes up two evenings, and features members of the Hula Peppers, the Meteor Bos, and The Lau Hawaiian Collective, as well as the festivals’ founder Katy Vernon, and Lynn O’Brien, Jake Rowan, and many more. Ukeleles are welcome for the sing-along at the end of the night.

Saturday, October 10

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities best blues band makes its debut at the northern suburb lounge (about a mile north of 694 on Central) with a dance floor. Here they are with an instrumental.

Roundhouse on Tap, featuring Davina & The Vagabonds @ The Jackson Street Roundhouse, 193 Pennsylvania Avenue East, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20) Rowdy music at the Roundhouse, with a tour of the museum, some history, and beer thrown in for good measure. Learn more, including how to take part in an optional vintage bus tour and beer tasting at Urban Growler, by going here.

Jeff Ray & Stakes CD Release Party @ Golden’s Deli, 275 4th Street East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Golden’s Deli is a Lowertown spot that features occasional music and poetry to go with its soups, salads, beer, and wine. Jeff Ray and the Stakes (Hurricane Harold Tremblay, harmonica; Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckmen, percussion) have a new CD, entitled Valhalla, brimming with lively acoustic blues, including Ray originals and tunes from the Grateful Dead, Bobby Blue Bland, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. As an added bonus, they have the great guitarist Pat Donahue as a special guest. Here’s Jeff, Harold, and Mikkel.

Sunday, October 11

MN Blues Hall of Fame Celebration @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 12:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This annual event celebrates the best of Minnesota Blues. Today’s inductees include Big George Jackson, John Beach, and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson. There will be speeches and lots of blues music.

Jamaica Heritage Expo feat. Marcia Griffiths @ The Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($40) Expo begins at 4pm, featuring special performances by National Dance Theater of Jamaica. At 8:30pm Marcia Griffiths (The Empress of Reggae) takes the stage. Here’s a chance to learn more about true culture and heritage of this Caribbean nation. Then, at 8:30, thrill to music from Ms Griffiths, who started her career with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, went out to perform as a member of the I-Threes (backing Bob Marley), recorded and performed with Bob Andy as Bob and Marcia, and has had her own successful solo career. Her version of Electric Boogie started the Electric Slide dance craze (you’ve seen it at weddings), becoming the highest selling single of any female reggae singer.

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


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