The Minnesota state Fair begins on Thursday, and since the Grandstand acts are well-publicized, I’ve listed some of the notable acts on the free stages, listed separately after Blues, Roots, and other. Outside the Fair, we have another week of intriguing music, with new jazz groups popping up, some see-worthy visitors, and reliable resident groups. Music lifts the Spirit!
Wednesday, August 22
Ben Sidran’s 75th Birthday @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($30) Pianist/vocalist Ben Sidran started playing boogie-woogie as a child, eventually played with Steve Miller and Boz Scaggs while in school at Madison, got a PhD in England, where he was a session player for Eric Clapton, The Rolling stones, and Peter Frampton, joined Miller’s band in California, appearing on four albums, and eventually recorded over 30 albums under his own name, bringing jazz to the masses. He hosted a number of jazz radio programs for NPR, a show for VH1, and has written four books, including one of interviews with musicians like Miles Davis and Art Blakey. He’s a renaissance man who’s comfortable living in Madison, and we’re lucky he does shows here with some regularity. Sidran will be accompanied by his son Leo on drums, Billy Peterson on bass, and Kenni Holmen on reeds.
Louis Armstrong Night w/The Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Get your traditional jazz here, with an emphasis on the music of Louis Armstrong. The Aces are: Dan Eickmeier, trumpet; Tony Balluff, clarinet; Rick Carlson, piano; Josh Granowski, string bass; and Dave Michael, drums.
Thursday, August 23
Rhythm’s Mama @ Studio Z, Saint Paul.7:30pm ($10?) Babatunde Lea; percussion; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Will Kjeer, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Taaji Maalik Hill, percussion. With two percussionists and a drummer this group, the name becomes apparent.
Connie Olson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocalist Olsen is a Mpls native who studied in Los Angeles and consequently worked with many of that towns’ musicians, as well as The Peter Duchin Big Band, The Peter Graves Orchestra, and musicians from The Manhattan Transfer, Brian Selzer Band, and the bands of Prince and Madonna.
Leo Sidran’s Cool School @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Drummer/composer/producer Leo Sidran is the son of Ben Sidran (see Wednesday), who has created a successful career as a film scorer and record producer. He co-produced an academy award winning song from the Motorcycle diaries, and has produced all ofnhis father’s albums for the last decade, in addition to playing with such luminaries as Phil Woods, David Fathead Newman, Clark Terry, and dave Grusin. Tonight he’ll be playing music froths latest album, Cool School, a tribute to the music of Michael Franks.
Friday, August 24
Happy Apple @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($20, $25) The trioof Dave King, drums; Erik Fratzke, electric bass; and Michael Lewis, saxophone have been plying their unique version of jazz since the mid-90s. They’ve a complete grasp of jazz history, and can go from a beautiful ballad to free-jazz, bebop, and free-bop with ease. A bonus – the free association cultural ad-libs by King.
SPACE @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Here’s another group of talented young musicians – Jack Courtright, trombone; Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; and Luke Peterson, drums.
Saturday, August 25
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm: Bassist James Buckley & guitarist Tim Sparks have played together with some regularity. At 8:30pm the Sam Miltich-Dave Karr Quartet takes the stage. Guitaristn Miltich & saxophonist Karr have a natural communication, resulting in a swinging combo.
Monday, August 27
Trio KTB @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Trio KTB is the core rhythm section of Group 47 – Will Kjeer, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Their performance will be followed by a jam at 10pm.
Tuesday, August 28
Nichols/Bates/Bates @Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) A-listers Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums, continue the Shifting Paradigm Records Tuesday Night residency at the Vieux.
Blues, Roots, Other
Wednesday, August 22
Don Scott and Roseanne Licciardi on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm(90.3FM),m7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist/songwriter and vocalist Scott founded the legendary Dustbowl Blues Band back in 21970, and has been performing throughout there U.S. and Europe. Percussionist Roseanne Licciardi studied classical dance and piano and the rhythms of Africa. The couple winter in Zihuatenejo, Mexico and play there in various restaurants and bars.
Honky Tonk Jump @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm dance lessons, 9pm Music ($5) Texas dance hall music – swinging enough to bring out dancers for swing dance night at Lee’s, from: Daddy Squeeze, accordion & vocals; Tom Schaefer, violin; Dan Lowinger, guitar; Vaughn Assisting, bass; and Deal Galhager, drums and percussion.
Thursday, August 23
Due North @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. Doors: 7pm, Music: 9pm? ($10) An intriguing gig, as Due North is an A Capella quintet from the Twin Cities that sings songs by artists ranging from Daft Punk and Miley cyrus to The eagles and Alicia Keys.
Friday, August 24
Cuban Dance Party @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Malamanya’s lead singer Zusel curates a night of Cuban music and Social Dancing. I assume that it’s recorded music, but I could be wrong.
Nikki & The Ruemates @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Nikki’s clear-as-a-bell vocals, plus her guitar playing, not to mention the outstanding guitar work of Rich Rue, always fills up the little NE bar as they play blues and folk-rock. .
Friday, Saturday, August 24, 25
Hipshaker’s16th Anniversary @ The Kitty Cat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) It’s a dance party celebration of rare funk n’ soul from the 60s and 70s, all delivered via 45s.
Saturday, August 25
Alejandro Escovedo/Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $60) It’s a night of Texas roadhouse music, though a bit more lyrical than you would guess from that phrase. Escovedo is a renowned singer/songwriter in Americana circles. He started out in the punk band The Nuns, went on to the country-rock Rank and File, and starting in ’92, released a series of acclaimed solo albums. No Depression Magazine named him Artist of the Decade in 1998, and he won the Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2006. Ely is a Texas songwriter with a bent for rock and poetic lyrics. He was an original member of the Flatlanders, sang backup for The Clash, and was a member of Los Super Seven.
Willie Murphy @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) The venerable rocker/R&B multi-instrumentalist and singer Willie Murphy brings his band and his original music as well as his unique take on classics, to what may be the best dance floor in town.
Sunday, August 26
Asleep at the Wheel @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($35, $40, $45),9pm ($30, $40, $45) Ray Benson and his bandmates in the 8-piece Asleep at the Wheel have been playing Western Swing for 48 years, celebrating the genre’s unique mix of country music and swinging jazz. Here they are with a Bob Wills tune.
“That’ll Be the Day” @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm ($25) Vocalist Colleen Raye and guitarist Wayne Luchau head up this tribute to the music of Roy Orbison, Linda Ronstadt, and Gene Pitney.
Tuesday, August 28
Poco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60), 9pm ($35, $45, $50) Country-rock pioneers Poco was formed after the breakup of Buffalo Springfield, when Richie Furay and Jim Messina joined with Rusty Young and George Grantham. Though they’ve had a number of personnel changes over the years, Rusty Young remains as the only original member. The current quartet only plays sporadic shows, so this is a rare chance to hear this group, whose members play ten instruments between them.
Sprig of That w/The Orange Mighty Trio @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul 7pm (Tip Jar) Sprig of That is: Isabell Damman, fiddle; Ilan Blanck, guitar; and Krissy Bergmark, tabla. They describe their music as instrumental Newgrass/folk music. City Pages describes the music of the Orange Mighty Trio as “Maverick Chamber music.”
State Fair Music (Free w/Fair Entry)
Thursday, Friday, August 23, 24
The Last Revel @ West End Stage. 8pm. A Minneapolis trio that uses multi-instrumental talent to deliver”Front Porch Americans.”
Tower of Power @ The Leine Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm ToP, the 10-piece funk ’n soul band from Oakland, is celebrating their 50th Anniversary this year, and are still sharp as your barber’s razor, as can be found on their recent release, Soul Side of Town. I recently interviewed leader Emilio Castillo, which you can read here.
Saturday, Sunday, August 25, 26
Ipso Facto @ The International Bazaar Stage. 8pm. Funky, funky reggae, and oh yeah, some straight-up funk..
Mayda @ West End Stage. 8pm. R&B-Infused pop.
Bodeans @ The Leine Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm. They just might be Minnesota’s favorite Wisconsin rock band, as well as favorites of anyone who first heard their high energy music in the 80s, or more recently, their almost annual shows at the MN Zoo.
Monday, Tuesday, August 27, 28
En Vogue @ The Leine Lodge Bandshell. 8:30pm. En Vogue is considered one of the best female vocal groups of all time. This R&B trio from the 90s has sold more than 20 million records, received seven Grammy nominations, seven MTV Video Music Awards, and three Soul Train AwardsHere’s your chance to hear them sing such hits as Hold On, My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get it), and others.