Outdoor Music and more…. 8.21 – 8.27

August 21, 2013
Fun at the Fair

Fun at the Fair

Can it really be time for the State Fair already? Just when we’re getting some actual summertime temperatures. Well, there are still many chances to enjoy music and art outdoors, as well as at the State Fair. I’ve listed a few things at the Fair, but you really have to check out their website to get a sense of all of the music (and food, and exhibits, and rides) that’s available. And if you don’t go to the Fair, there is still plenty of music in our Twin Towns. As usual, I’ll have some videos and a few more links on my blog.  Have a good week.


Wednesday, August 21
Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Styled after the hard bop quintets of the 60s, Snowblind plays originals in the style of Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk, with inspiration from Ellington, as well.  Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Shilad Sen, tenor; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums.
Thursday, August 22
UnknownPatty & the Buttons w/Tom McDermott @ The Dakota, Minneapoils. (No Cover) Hot swing and gypsy jazz from accordionist Patty and his cohorts, Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Baluff, clarinet; and Mark Kreitzer, guitar; aided and abetted by McDermott, a highly regarded New Orleans pianist who played in the Dukes of Dixieland and formed the New Orleans Nightcrawlers. Joyous stuff.
Friday, August 23
Rhonda Laurie Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Vocalist Rhonda Laurie has a great sense of swing, which is only heightened when she performs with a small group, as she’ll be doing tonight. 
Fuzzy Math @ The Red Stag Supper Club, Minneapolis. (No Cover) Electrically-based jazz that’s imaginative enough that you’ll find yourself head-bobbin’ and finger snappin’ without realizing it.
Friday, Saturday, August 23, 24
Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Drummer King’s calendar must be awash in notation as he keeps track of the myriad bands for which he drums or is the leader (there are nine listed on his website). He leads this one, so you can expect some of his dry, off-beat humor as he hosts Eric Fratzke, guitar; Adam Linz, bass; and Brandon Wozniak, sax. They seem to perform in town only a few times a year, so catch them while you can.
Saturday, August 24
12th Annual Freedom Jazz Festival @ Martin Luther King Park, 4055 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 1pm – 7pm (Free) Best Kept Secret, Capri Big Band, Walker West Youth Jazz Ensemble, The Tangents, and more. The Freedom Jazz Festival features veterans, newcomers, and many musicians who don’t play out enough. This year it’s celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech. This will start with a rally and speeches at Sabathani, at 11am and a march to the park at noon. Music begins at 1:15. For more information, go here.
Zacc Harris Trio @ Minnesota Wine Country, State Fair. 6:30pm – 9:30pm. (Free with Fair Admission) Now here’s some music that’s a bit unexpected for the Fair, yet it makes perfect sense, given the compatibility of vineyards and jazz. Guitarist Harris will lead a trio playing originals, jazz standards, and, I imagine, other standards as well.
Monday, August 26
Ready to study

Ready to study

Evan Montgomery Good-bye Concert @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm. ($5) Talented guitarist Evan Montgomery is packing his bags and heading to Los Angeles for graduate work. We’ll miss his precise, clean playing in bands like the Jana Nyberg Group, Lulu’s Playground, and the Adam Meckler Orchestra, among others. Both Lulu’s Playground and the Evan Montgomery Quintet will be playing tonight.

Tuesday, August 27
Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Their debut at the AQ last month was electrifying. Though this is a monthly residency, that doesn’t mean you should put off hearing Meckler’s modern compositions and arrangements for this 18 piece band. For some examples of the band’s music, go here.
More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other  

Wednesday, August 21
Brass Band Night @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Two up and coming brass bands – the McNasty Brass Band (from McNally Smith) and the Dirty Shorts Brass Band will create a New Orleans Night at MMC, playing both the expected and unexpected when it comes to the N’Awlins repertoire.
Thursday, August 22
Mary Gauthier & Ray Wylie Hubbard @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) Literate, country-edged songwriting from two masters of the craft. Gauthier has the kind of history that gives her a uniquely honest insight into the human condition: adopted, a runaway, philosophy major at LSU, opened and operated a Cajun restaurant in Boston, didn’t start writing songs until she was 35. If you’ve any interest in roots and Americana, you’ve undoubtedly heard her song “Mercy Now.” Ray Wylie Hubbard is an elder statesman of Texas troubadours. Back in ’73, Jerry Jeff Walker recorded his song “Up Against the Wall, Redneck Mother.” Here’s an example of Gauthier’s honest songwriting.
images-2Andre Williams @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($12) Williams has achieved cult status as an R&B singer (and songwriter) who has toiled on the edges of stardom for over 50 years. He had a #7 R&B hit with “Bacon Fat” in 1957, wrote songs recorded by Stevie Wonder, Ike & Tina Turner, Alvin Cash (Twine Time), and Parliament/Funkadelic, recorded for a slew of small, independent black labels, managed Edwin Starr for a while, and started recording for Bloodshot Records in 1999. Since then, he’s recorded or toured with a number of punk blues bands. Appropriately enough, L’Assassins open. 
Thursday, Friday, August 22, 23
Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band @ Leinie Lodge Stage, MN State Fair. 1pm & 2:30pm (Free w/Fair Admission) Work off your mini-donuts, deep fried bread pudding, and other State Fair treats with high energy zydeco punctuated with funk overtones. 
Friday, August 23
Soul Tight Committee @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. 7pm ($7) Old School Funk n’ R&B from the 70s. You’ll find it hard to stay off the dance floor when the 10-piece band kicks into gear. 
Saturday, August 24
LoLA Musicians @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (No Cover in the afternoon, $5 after 6pm) The LoLA Art Crawl takes place throughout the Longfellow Neighborhood of Minneapolis, and the Tap Room is one of the sites. The Tap Room will be presenting the work of a number of artists, as well as the music of LoLA musicians such as blues/slide guitarist/singer Matt Yetter (noon), the adventurous jazz of John Devine sax; and Zacc Harris, guitar; (2pm), the Latin sounds of Rhumba Eterna (4pm). As the Crawl closes down, Mother Banjo, aka Ellen Stanley, will perform at 6pm, and the White Iron Band will close out the day with their rockin’ mix of blues, country, and Americana.
The Groove Merchants @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Big Walter Smith may be gone, but the Groove Merchants are good to go, doing a tribute to Big Walter with Jimi “Prime Time” Smith on guitar and vocals. Danceable R&B, with a 60s soul groove. 
Monday, August 26
It's gonna be a party

It’s gonna be a party

Big Sam’s Funky Nation @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) From the other end of the Mississippi comes Big Sam, a trombone player who joined the Dirty Dozen when he was 19 and now lays down the funk with his own brass band. He’s appeared with Alan Toussaint and Elvis Costello, as well as Karl Denson, Widespread Panic, and Dave Matthews. 

Monday, Tuesday, August 26, 27
Sena Ehrardt @ the International Bazaar Stage, MN State Fair. 3:15, 4:30, & 5:45pm (Free w/Fair Admission) Sena is an up and coming fresh-voiced blues star, who has won awards for her Blind Pig debut, 2011’s “Leave the Lights On.” Her latest release, “All In,” produced by Grammy Winner Jim Gaines, was just released in March. Here’s a video of one of its songs.
Tuesday, August 27
Paul Mayasich w/Jeff Ray &Nick Salisbury @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8:30pm (No Cover) A couple of guitar wizards, Mayasich on slide & electric, and Ray on acoustic, together with Salisbury, who ably holds down the bottom on bass. 
Tango Pohjan Tahden @ Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 8:30pm (Free) For the last night in their summer outdoor music series, the folks at MHC have come up with another act that stretches our imagination. Tango Pohjan Tahden plays Finnish Tango, which differs somewhat from its Argentinian origins. Though the popular conception of the Tango as a highly eroticized dance may clash with a view of Finns as staid and often depressed, the use of minor keys, and songs about longing (for a lover or home) match the music to the country. Pack a picnic, a blanket, some chairs, and enjoy the music. As always, there are dance lessons first, for those who want to match their moves to the music. Here they are, doing their thing.
For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar

Summer’s End. Music: 8.29 – 9.4

August 29, 2012

One of the aerial rides at the Minnesota State Fair.

Where did the summer go? We’re looking at Labor Day this weekend. I hope you have been able to enjoy the summer. With the State Fair upon us, and school starting up, we’ll start to see fewer outdoor events, though a couple are on hand in the next week or two. in the meantime, we have some unique combinations of jazz players, a few significant birthday celebrations, and  two blues acts from Texas hitting town.


Wednesday, August 20

Thomson, Johnson, & Ikeda @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. That’s Chris Thomson, sax; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Alden Ikeda, drums, bringing jazz to the neighborhood bistro at 54th & Penn. It’s jazz that can stand up to careful listening as well as being in the background. If you go for the music, be sure to reserve a table near the band.

Thursday, August 30

Photo by Bruce Christianson

John Devine & Friends @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (No cover) Devine has been playing his saxophone at this venue for ohh, about twenty or more years. He’s a singular player, who has won awards, fellowships, and commissions from foundations, and has played with R&B bands and classical ensembles, in addition to improvisational groups. You can never tell who will show up to play with Devine, but rest assured, they will be among the most talented musicians in town.

Birthday Celebration for Jeanne Arland Peterson, Irv Williams, and Cliff Brunzell @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10:30pm. Here is a chance to honor and respect some of the musical elders in our midst. Peterson on piano, is 91, as is violinist Brunzell. Williams is 93. Each still plays with verve and imagination.

Friday, Saturday, August 31, September 1

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Okay, so you’re staying in town for the Labor Day weekend, and you’ve exhausted your appreciation for the State Fair. Here’s an opportunity to hear some jazz from musicians that more than hold their own with any group in the nation. Hey is on drums, with Dave Hagedorn on Vibes, Tom Lewis on bass, and Phil Aaron on piano. They usually appear at the AQ on weeknights, so here’s a chance for those of you who have school, work, etc. during the week to see this great band.

Saturday, September 1

Steve Hobart’s Hot Club @ the Harriet Brewing Tap Room. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Here’s an afternoon stop that will pick you up. Steve Hobert is a pianist/accordionist about town who’s been perking up ears in various ensembles. He’s bringing some gypsy jazz to the Tap Room this afternoon. Sounds like a great destination for a bike ride. Music. Beer. And food from Potter’s Pasties

Sunday, September 2

Photo by Andrea Canter

Leigh Kamman’s 90th Birthday Celebration @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 6pm. Another nonagerian in the jazz community. Kammen set vivid scenes and regaled listeners with many stories on Saturday nights as he broadcast the Jazz Image on MPR for so many years. Musical guests include Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Brad Bellows, Carole Martin and more.

Dean Harrington Trio @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Harrington is a relatively unsung jazz guitarist  who can swing standards and Django Rheinhardt tunes with equal aplomb. Tonight he’s joined by Dean “Many Notes” Mikkelson on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass.

Tuesday, September 4

Nichols, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) No, it’s not a law firm, but rather Bryan Nichols, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. A Tuesday night that promises moments of sublime taste as well as effortless flights of imagination.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wednesday, August 29

617 Band @ Groovin in the Garden, Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The 617 Band creates highly danceable R&B, Latin, and rock grooves with creative covers and a few originals. Grab a blanket or camp chairs, bring a picnic and have a fun evening on the lawn of the conservatory. A cash bar and lawn games will be available.

Albert Lee @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Not to be confused with Alvin Lee of Ten Years After, Albert Lee is a revered guitarist with a country/rockabilly bent. He’s played with The Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmy Lou Harris, Jerry Lee Lewis, Joe Cocker, and BB King, to name a few. Considered by many (including Clapton) to be one of the finest guitarists on the planet. Here’s a video of Lee doing his thing.

Thursday, August 30

Andrew Jr. Boy Jones @ Famous Daves Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm. (No Cover). Texas Guitarist Jones was a member of Freddy King’s band twice, in the 60s (when Jones was 16) and again in the 70s. He’s also worked with the Louisiana soul singer Bobby Patterson, as well as Johnny Taylor, appeared on Katie Webster’s album Swamp Boogie Queen, and recorded three albums with Charlie Musselwhite, winning a WC Handy Award in 1995. He’s recorded five of his own albums since then, getting a WC Handy nomination for Watch What You Say on Rounder. In other words, the deep voiced Mr. Jones is the real deal, and for fans of the blues, is well worth seeing.

Friday, August 31

Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold @ the Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm (free) Jeff plays dynamite guitar, Harold blows a mean harp. Together they produce energetic acoustic blues. Freshly tapped beers and the Anchor Fish & Chips Food truck are a plus.

Mary Cutrufello @ Cajun Potuck, 5936 Lexington Ave, Shoreview. 7pm – 9pm. Cajun Potluck is an unassuming little cafe that specializes in one Louisiana dish each day, and sells all sorts of authentic ingredients for those who want to try their own hand at Cajun and Creole cooking. While I’ve recommended Mary Cutrufello in the recent past, a chance to hear her singing solo while having Jambalaya is unique, and worthy of your attention. Though no alcohol is served, you certainly don’t need it to enjoy Mary’s country-rock.

Carolyn Wonderland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Wonderland is an Austin, Texas multi-instrumentalist and composer with a soulful voice that’s tough enough for the blues, and a guitar style to fit. She’s pretty good at singing country and gospel as well.

Sunday, Monday, September 2, 3

Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Bettye Lavette @ The Leinie Lodge Bandshell, MN State Fair, Saint Paul. 3:30 & 4:45 (Big Sam) 8:30pm (Bettye)  (Free with $12 Admission to the Fair) Okay, arrive early in the day and catch New Orleans’ Big Sam who used to be top trombonist in the Dirty Dozen, and his brass heavy funk band. If you’re not familiar with them, check out the video, below. Have some dinner, check out the produce hall, or the sales pitches under the grandstand, and come back to see soul legend Bettye Lavette, a singer who gets inside a song like no one else. Her performances will wring the soul out of you – in the best way possible.

Monday, September 3

Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival @ Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6:30pm. (Free) This is the 14th year for this family-friendly outdoor festival. Twin Cities bands  Ivory BridgeSawtooth, The Platte Valley Boys, and the Middle Spunk Creek Boys, will be joined by up and coming guitarist/singer/composer Nora Jane Struthers will be providing the music. Nearby Sea Salt can provide food and drink, while there will no doubt be other vendors around as well. Stop by while traversing the bikeways, or make a day of it.

Duke Robillard

Duke Robillard and Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Here’s a two-fer that’s sure to be entertaining, not to mention a bargain. You’ve got vocal powerhouse Davina & the Vagabonds, who bring down the house whether playing a festival in the neighborhood or Switzerland. Robillard is the guitarist who started Roomful of Blues, and has played with folks ranging from Pinetop Perkins to Bob Dylan. His jump blues playing has always included some jazz elements, and in fact, he’s put out a few albums of very swinging standards and originals.

Tuesday, September 4

Jack Klatt @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30 pm (no cover) Klatt can co a Western swing number and turn around and play some bluegrass.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

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