It’s Snow! Music: 12.6 – 12.12

December 6, 2017

Photo of Tuesday’s traffic from the Star Tribune

Happy Snowfall everyone!

With the advent of this past Monday’s snowfall, we learned once again, that Minnesotans tend to forget how to drive in snow once it’s stopped in the Spring (see photo at right). Maybe it’s because many of us have come here from warmer climates. Or, to be as charitable as possible, maybe the slowest going among us have been in accidents before, or have recently experienced traumatic events and losses. My own theory is that weather forecasters and news directors are from out of town, and don’t have a history of dealing with snow, and consequently treat every snowstorm as a major event. To be sure, we have to be careful in bad road conditions, but we certainly don’t need to be discouraged from going out in the winter to enjoy music. After all, as Minnesotans we should scoff at snow. Enough ranting. Go out. Listen to music. Get your spirits lifted. Here are some ideas for the week.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 6

Joey DeFrancesco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($20, $30) Hard bopping B3 player DeFrancesco may be the preeminent organist of the jazz world. He grew up in Philadelphia, where Don Patterson and Jimmy Smith were influences, and put out his debut album at 17, which resulted in working with Miles Davis and, a few years later, John McLaughlin. He’s been recording and touring for almost 30 years, and is at the top of his game, now touring with a quartet (including a vocalist) in supper of this recent release, Project Freedom.

Laura Caviani Trio CD Release @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) While recording her recent CD Mysterious Thelonious, Caviani’s bandmates, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Dave Schmalenberger noted that she had a lot of original material, so they decided to record that material as well. The CD, Confluences, includes a suite of five songs inspired by the work of Shakespeare. I had Laura on my show this past Saturday, to talk about the CD and play a couple of tracks. You can hear the interview and the songs at http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves. The interview starts about one hour into the show, after the Leigh Kammen 45 of the week.

Thursday, Dec 7

Jennifer Lund & Lori Bloomberg @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Here’s a chance to hear some newcomers on the jazz vocal scene as Lund & Bloomberg perform an evening of standards. To add to the evening’s merriment, they’ll be joined by Vicky Mountain for a few songs.

Music Formally Known As Jazz @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) An evening of adventurous jazz, featuring some masters of the genre: Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds;  Douglas Ewart, wind instruments; & Steve Hirsh, drums. The event is subtitled A Continuing Coversation with J Otis Powell?! reflecting their past performances with the late poet, which leaves one to only guess what musical paths the group will travel.

Friday, Dec 8

Javier Santiago Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($10) Santiago is an imaginative pianist who has been on a bit of a roll, playing clubs in San Francisco lately. Tonight, he teams up with long-time friends and bandmates Ted Olsen on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums for Friday Night Jazz in Crooners’ listening room.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) We’re so lucky to have drummer extraordinaire Gravatt living in the Twin Cities. He’s a veteran of Weather Report and numerous tours with McCoy Tyner, and deserving of our support any time he plays. Plus, it sounds like he’ll soon be moving East, so here’s a chance to see him before he leaves. Tonight Gravatt will be joined by long-time musical partner Ron Evanuik on stand up bass; as well as Aaron Kippola & Dean Brewington on alto saxophones, and Solomon Parham on trumpet, which will make for an exhilarating sonic experience. Here he is with some masterful jazz cats – McCoy Tyner, Bill Frisell, and Gary Bartz.

Saturday, Dec 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This weekly series has begun to occasionally feature vocalists for the opening act at 7pm. Tonight it’s the Lila Ammons Quartet, featuring Ammons, who, in addition to being a fine jazz interpreter, is classically trained, and a singer of classic blues (think Bessie Smith and Alberta Hunter). Such an approach seems natural when you consider her family heritage, which includes saxophonist Gene Ammons as an uncle and boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons as a grandfather. At 8:30 The Ruckus Touring Group will play. Talented drummer Rodney Ruckus lived in the Twin Cities for a couple of years and is now based out of San Francisco, where he’s regularly playing and backing visiting musicians. This group includes Javier Santiago on piano, who has been traveling to SF on a regular basis to play with Ruckus, along with Jonathan Greenstein, tenor sax; and Jax Ravel on bass.

Nachito Herrera & the Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $45) Cuban born, Twin Cities based Herrera is a force of nature on piano, with outstanding technique and an improvisational mind-set that incorporates the music of Cuba, as well as jazz, classical music, and world music. The Universals reflect those influences, with the outstanding Karen Briggs on violin; Raul Pineda, drums; Mile Phillips, sax; and Cheikh Ndoye, bass. Their resumes include work with Stanley Clarke, Diana Ross, Chucho Valdes, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kazumi Watanabi, and Randy Brecker, among others.

Sunday, Monday, Dec 10, 11

Benny Green @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. Sunday: 5pm and 7:30pm ($30), Monday 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25)  This hard bopping pianist learned from the best, having played in the bands of Oscar Peterson, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Freddie Hubbard, and Ray Brown. If you want to be conversant in the jazz of today, you need to be familiar with Green.

Tuesday, Dec 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No Cover, but $15 for Guaranteed Seat) Walesch is a fine singer and piano stylist who has a particularly good way with the Great American Songbook. He’ll be celebrating the 102nd anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth tonight, backed by a dynamite 10 piece band. His shows with the band often sell out, so get there early, or go to Crooner’s website to reserve your seat. Here he is with a more contemporary standard.

Also: Chris Lomheim/Tony Balluff Big Three Play Fats Waller @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim – No Cover), 8pm (Balluff – $?)

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

 

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Dec 6

Javier Matos on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Matos is a guitar ace who can swing the blues, play searing slide guitar, and generally make you feel good as he performs. As Hurricane Harold says on The House Party, “You know the drill.” Tune in to hear him play live, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 to see him play in person.

No Tent w/Reina Del Cid @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free, 21+) No Tent is a bluegrass band formed by Reina del Cid featuring guitarist extraordinaire Toni Lindgren, who plays in del Cid’s main band, as well as a rotating cast of characters from the Minneapolis-St. Paul folk scene. Together, they play a mix of old-time traditionals, bluegrassified covers, and a few roots inspired originals.

Also: Curtiss A & Dark Click @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Blues from the “Dean of Scream

Thursday, Dec 7

Louisiana Rhythms Christmas Party & Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11pm (Donation of cash, check, or food ) Eric, Mo and Karl may no longer be on the air, but tonight they’re presenting all the fun of their late, well missed show, only this time they have a dance floor. They’ll be hosting an evening of seasonal music done Louisiana style, with The Swamp Poppas provide the backup for guest stars Rich Lewis, Lucinda Plaisance, Max Ray and others. A feature of the night will be French and English recitations of “Christmas Eve on the Big Bayou.”

Friday, Dec 8

Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) An evening of R&B and Blues from two singers that share a musical mindset. It appears that both are appearing without their respective bands, though they are strong singers, so the lack of a full band shouldn’t inhibit them. Parker opens at 9pm, and Mack takes the stage at 10pm.  Here’s Mack with her band.

Otis Redding Tribute w/David James Carlson @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Carlson is an actor, musician, and songwriter with over 500 songs and five albums to his credit. He’s put together a tribute/play about Otis Redding, the great soul singer whose life ended in a plane crash in Madison 50 years ago. Tonight he’ll feature some actors performing excerpts from the play, along with a full band to perform some of Redding’s music.

Saturday, Dec 9

Tom Hunter’s Blue Christmas @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Pianist Hunter can often be found at Willie Murphy jam sessions. He’s played or recorded with folks like Bernard Allison, Big John Dickereson, and Little Sammy Davis, and has toured with Mary Cutrufello as the opening act for the Allman Brothers. He can bring a soulful outlook to songs by Billy Joel and Tom Waits, and has released three albums. No doubt it will be a soulful, blue Christmas. Here he is doing an old R&B/Rock n’ Roll classic.

Trailer Trash: A Trashy Little Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) It’s about 24 years since Trailer Trash, those purveyors of honky-tonk, traditional country, and swinging rock n’ roll began this annual tradition of bringing their trashy view of the holidays into our lives. If you haven’t attended for a while, this might just be the time to dance, frolic, and take part in Candy Cane hi-jinks.

Also: Jaedyn James & The Hunger @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Horn-driven funk n’ soul with an attitude

Sarah Morris & Her Sometimes Elves Holiday Show @ The Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) An authentic, powerful singer/songwriter takes on the holidays.

Sunday, Dec 10

Dan Rein CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 door) Dan Rein is the long time host of Century’s Song on KFAI, a world music show that truly lives up to the stations motto of Radio Without Boundaries. He’s releasing a CD, Just One Breath, singing the poetry of Omar Khyyam in Persian and English, accompanied by special guests Mikkel Beckmen, washboard; Liz Draper, upright bass; Adam Kiesling, banjo; and Andy McCormick, musical saw(?).

Stokely Williams Sonic Healer Tour @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($37 – $67) As the lead singer and studio drummer of the highly popular Mint Condition, the Saint Paul native has played to sold out crowds both here and throughout the nation. Now, he’s released a solo album, Introducing Stokely, and has mounted this tour in support of the release. Though he’s already played successful shows in Chicago, NYC, and Washington DC, this is a homecoming for Williams, who has resisted the music industry’s siren call to relocate to either of the coasts.

Tuesday, Dec 12

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Asher has been touring with various versions of his story for about 4 years now. Though some parts are the same, he keeps things interesting enough to go back a second time to hear about Paul McCartney as his roommate, his ownership of the gallery where John met Yoko, his discovery of James Taylor, work with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and more. Plus, you get him singing his Peter and Gordon hits (with Gordon on video).

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.


From Jazz Masters to New Takes on Tradition: 10:5 – 10.11

October 6, 2016
Food for the Food Opera!

Food for the Food Opera!

This week we’ve a couple of great pianists visiting town, as well as a visiting ten-piece jazz band. In addition, we’ll be treated to some hot swing, acoustic blues, new R&B, and new takes on traditional music from Columbia and the Nordic countries, as well as a record release party, a scat-off, and a food opera! Not to mention the talented musicians who live and perform in our Twin Towns. Get out. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, October 5

Kenny Barron Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($354, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) A rare chance to see the elegant and lyrical pianist Barron. The Philadelphia native  moved to New York in 1962 at the age of 19 and began playing with the likes of Lee Morgan, Roy Haynes, and James Moody. He was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s Orchestra, and performed with other masters such as Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, and Milt Jackson. He taught at Rutgers from ’73 until 2000 and is now teaching at Julliard. Barron has won numerous awards and accolades from Downbeat, Jazz Times, and Jazzis magazines, as well as from the Jazz Journalists association.

Debbie Duncan @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. &pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Tonight the highly respected Ms Duncan explores the music of Billie Holiday. Classic songs by a classic singer.

Anthony Cox Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Cox brings another sterling group to his once-a-month-curated gig. This time the bassist is accompanied by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Peter Schimke, piano; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Expect great originals and cool interpretations of jazz standards.

Thursday, October 6

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Bassist Brian Courage is back in town, and appearing with his quartet, which includes: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Luke Polipnick, guitar; and Pete James Johnson on drums. Here’s a video of Courage and two other bassists – he’s in the middle – or you can get an idea of what the band sounds like here.

Connie Evingson w/Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) This looks like a winning combination. The Travis Anderson Trio  with Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums, can swing standards with the best of them. Ms Evingson has fans from across the nation, thanks to her straightforward, always fresh, and yet sensuous interpretations of Peggy Lee, the Beatles, Dave Frishberg, bossa novas, and hot club tunes.

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) You may have read about Khyber Pass and this Thursday night series in the Strib a week or so back. Tonight guitarist Magraw and drummer Seru bring their close communication and always interesting improvisations to the small restaurant. Here’s a video of the two of them with guest Dave Graf.

Friday, October 7

Chris Misch-Bloxdorf Dectet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Originally from Wisconsin, trombonist Misch-Bloxdorf brings a ten-piece group to the basement club to play his original chamber jazz, which features elements of hip-hop, metal, electronic, and indie-rock. After graduating from Lawrence in WI (which is turning out excellent musicians), he recently received his masters from NYU, studying with Kenny Werner, among others. You can listen to some of his music here.

Xibaba @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) Get a hit of Brazilian jazz, Bossa Novas, Sambas, Forros, and Choros from Mira and Tom Kehoe and friends.

Saturday, October 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kimmel, mallet percussion; and Greg Byers, cello, perform the opening set, followed at 8:30 by the Park Evans Quintet, with Evans, guitar; Evan Benidt, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, Ted Olson, bass, and Greg Schutte, drums.

Singers Scat-Off @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15, $5 w/Student ID) Some of you who went to the Jazz Festival this past June may remember an event at Golden’s where various singers scatted, both solo, in duos, trios, and in a Scat-Off featuring all the singers. That was so well received that some of the participants put together this show, hosted by Maryann Sullivan, and featuring Dorothy Doring, Sarah M. Greer, Jana Nyberg, and Jason Peterson DeLaire. The audience will be invited to choose a champion after seeing all of them in action.

Sunday, October 9

Sunday B3 Jam Session @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm ($5) Guitarist Cole Mahlum hosts this jam session, the success of which, is at least partially up to who shows up to play. It can get greasy, funky, and out there.

Benny Green Solo @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm ($30, $65w/dinner) The Dunsmore Room has a new Steinway piano, chosen with the help of Fred Hirsch, and Benny Green is here to christen it with a solo performance. Green can be called a “keeper of the flame” for hard bop as he passes on the lessons he learned from Betty Carter, Art Blakey, and Ray Brown to a younger generation. He  was last in town in October when he gave a sparkling performance at the Dakota.

Tuesday, October 11

Chris Lomheim, Shapria/Granros duo @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shapira/Granros, $5) Another two-fer night at the Vieux, starting with pianist Chris Lomheim, followed by an interesting guitar duo. Joel Shapira plays both jazz and classical music on his nylon-stringed guitar, and can be heard with vocalist Charmin Michelle and other groups about town. Dean Granros, who can often be heard with How Birds Work, among other groups, can play fairly straight as well as “out” with great facility and imagination. They’ve an excellent album recorded at the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

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, October 5

Bingham & Thorne on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I always look forward to this duo’s annual visit to the House Party and the 331 Club. Bob Bingham and Gordon Thorne are great storytellers, whether in song or in-between patter. They are accomplished guitarists on both six and twelve-strings, with Thorne also bringing out a mandolin from time to time. They’re even bringing in a special guest, acclaimed fiddler Randy Sabien! Whether playing festivals, libraries, or dive bars, Bingham and Thorne are always fun. Tune in to the House party and then head over to the 331 Club.

Thursday, October 6

Paul Mayasich’s Hot Seat w/Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Guitarist Mayasich always brings in compatible players who help stretch his usual wizardry. Tonight he’s got the singer/harpist with a booming voice, Big George Jackson, along with Jackson’s ever-present cohort, guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, October 6,7,8

Saint Paul Food Opera @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 11am, 12: 30pm Thursday and Friday, 5:30pm, 7:30pm Friday, Saturday ($35 lunch, $70 Dinner) Here’s a way to combine your gustatory experience with an aural experience. Zeitgeist composer Ben Houge, and a number of outstanding Saint Paul chefs are teaming up to mix musical and culinary arts. As described Delectable dishes will be paired with evocative music to enhance the experience of both. Composer Houge is creating a set of musical works for Zeitgest, the new music ensemble of piano, woodwinds, and two percussionists. The music will be paired with dishes prepared by chefs from Tongue in Cheek, Saint Dinette, The Handsome Hog, Golden’s Lowertown, Izzy’s Ice Cream, and Brake Bread. Houge’s music is beautiful, with a meditative quality that nevertheless has little surprises scattered throughout each composition, much as a dish might have a number of different flavors. This isn’t the first time Houge has created food operas, as you can read here.

Friday, October 7

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5)The five-piece Armadillo Jump will have the commodious dance floor at Wilebski’s filled with blues lovers who like to dance.

Erik Koskinen and Randy Weeks @ The Hook & Lander Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Koskinen is a sharp guitarist and songwriter, who uses the vernacular of classic country music to write about personal issues and comment on American life, whether small town values, or tracking. Windom-born, Texas-based Randy Weeks is another observant songwriter, whose music can meld surf rock with folk rock, and Americana with pop. He happens to be the writer of Lucinda Williams’ hit Can’t Let Go, from her Grammy winning album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Here’s a video of Weeks.

Friday, Saturday, October 7, 8 

Squirrel Nut Zippers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($35 – $45) Back in the mid-90s, the Zippers were part of a swing revival that was sweeping the nation creating a retro, yet definitely hot sound that hearkened back to hot jazz of New Orleans, as well as swing of the 30s. They sold over a million copies of Hot, their second album. This is their first tour since 2009, and band founders Jimbo Mathus and Chris Phillips have recruited some New Orleans musicians to spice up their sound, as well as singer Ingrid Lucia of the Flying Neutrinos.

Saturday, October 8

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Saturday night tends to be party night at Crooners. Case in point: Ms Miller, who, together with a tight band, can raise the roof and cause folks to push tables aside and dance.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers Record Release @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, Advance,. $17 Door) It’s a funky, funky night at First Avenue, as Sonny Knight and the Lakers release their second studio album, Sooner or Later. From the uptempo title tune, to the slow building finale of Oh Mary, Knight’s emotional singing and the Lakers’ tight playing create a satisfying slab of soul that moves well beyond any attempt at retro R&B. Duluth horn band Big Dave Wave & the Ripples will start the party, followed by the deep grooves of Nooky Jones, before Knight & the Lakers take the stage.

Sunday, October 9

Henrencia de Timbiqui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) This group from Columbia takes traditional folkloric music of their country and play it with modern instruments. What makes this group especially interesting is that Timbiqui, the town they come from, has deep African as well as Columbian roots, so you’ll hear those influences as well as elements of contemporary urban music.

Monday, October 10

King @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. ($27, $35) This female R&B vocal trio is made up of twins Paris and Amber Strother (originally from Minneapolis), and their musical sister, Anita Bias (from Los Angeles). They’ve received numerous accolades, are selling out venues around the US, and collaborated on the Grammy winning Move Love by Robert Glaspar, from his album Black Radio.

Tuesday, October 11

Nordic Fiddlers Block @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 Door) Take highly accomplished fiddlers from Norway, Sweden, and the Shetland Islands, have them focus on traditional music from each of their countries, add in rich harmonies and bass lines, and you have a trio that’s more than the sum of its parts. Their 2011 eponymous debut received acclaim from around the world, and they’re now touring behind a new release entitled Deliverance.

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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