Music, Music: 7.5 – 7.11

July 5, 2017

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th. Once again we have a great combination of visiting and resident artists performing in our fair Twin Cities. Here are just a few of the many music offerings over the next week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 5

Maud Hixson @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Here’s Ms Hixson in a slightly different musical setting than we usually see this warm, compelling vocalist. Though often accompanied by a pianist, tonight she’ll be accompanied by guitarist David Singley and bassist Kent Saunders as she sings songs from the Great American Songbook and more.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) Grab yourself one of the big red booths, and get out on the dance floor as guitarist/vocalist Joe Demko, aka Radio Joe, and his crew pay homage to the music of Tony Bennett and Diana Krall.

Thursday, July 6

Acme Jazz Company, w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though it’s name may evoke Road Runner cartoons, this aggregation is anything but your every day band. The Acme Jazz Company had a regular gig here during previous incarnations of the club, and still sounda exciting. Added bonus: Crooner Arne Fogel.

Lavelle Jazz Cats Little Big Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) With seven horns, a rhythm section  and vocalist, the Lavelle Jazz Cats perform classic tunes by Basie, Sinatra, Ella, Dean Martin, Miles, Sonny Rollins, Ellington, and more, included more recent works by Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr, and others.

Pool Party” @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) With three adventurous musicians: JT Bates, drums; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; and Chris Cunningham, guitar. The Pool Party is described as: “a randomized number of improvisors are selected at random from a selected pool to converge on a selected Thursday.”

Friday, July 7

Illicit Sextet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This composer’s collective always has interesting, well executed musical ideas. The evening has the aptly ironic title of The Greatest Hits. Members of the band are: Paul Harper, saxophones; Chris Lomheim, Piano; Nathan Norman, Drums; Dave Roos, Guitar; Tom Pieper, Bass; and Steve Kenny, Flumpet. Here’s an old video.

BZ3 Organ Trio @ The Mudd Room, 1352 Highway 13, Mendota. 8pm (No Cover) The Mudd Room is a new “speakeasy” located under Lucky’s 13 in the village of Mendota. Enter through the street and you have to pick up a phone to get the entry code. Or you can go into Lucky’s and use either a staircase or elevator to get to the stonewall lined room. It’s a long narrow room, so sit up front to better hear the band. Tonight it’s Brian Zimniek, organ; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington on drums. They swing, they groove.

Saturday, July 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Headlining at 8:30pm is a band whose members exhibit sheer joy at playing together – Chris Bates’ Good Vibes TrioBates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; Dave Hagedorn, vibes. Opening – The Cole Mahlum Quartet: Mahlum, guitar; Ted Olson, bass; Will Kjeer, piano; Miguesl Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, July 9

Parisota Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($6) 8pm – 10pm Guitarist Robb Henry leads this collective of musicians who play Hot Jazz, or as it’s sometimes known, gypsy jazz. Founded in 2002, they were the first group in the area to concentrate on the music of Django Rheinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. However, they play more than the acoustic swing standards of the 30s and 40s, sprinkling their repertoire with occasional Beatles songs, as well as more contemporary fare. Tonight, they’ll be in trio format.

Monday, July 10

Teri Roiger @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10 – $35w/Dinner) NYC vocalist Roiger was at the Dunsmore Room last June and provided a great evening of music. Her singing has been cooled “smooth but heady,” (All About jazz), “powerfully moving: and impressively deep (JazzTimes), and “made for those who still understand the meaning of the term the real thing” (Stanley Crouch). Roiger can express much with the slightest turn of a phrase, and has a voice that sounds wonderful in the listening environment of the Dunsmore Room. She’ll be celebrating the release of Shades of Lady Day, a collection of tunes associate with Ms Holiday. With husband John Menegon, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Phil Hey, drums.

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9:30pm (No Cover) One of the few jazz groups that play the Amsterdam, Fuzzy Math has been called “best jazz act for people bored with jazz” in a Best of MN listing. They play original material as well as creative covers.

Tuesday, Wednesday July 11, 12

Connie Evingson Sings Ellington @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $45w/Dinner) Given that she performs quite regularly in the area, it’s easy to forget that vocalist Evingson has appeared at festivals and venues around the nation and in Europe and Japan. She’s been a guest artist at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein and Vince Giordano, Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, the Minnesota Orchestra and Toronto Symphony conducted by Doc Severinsen, the JazzMN Orchestra and Vocalessence, among others. Her ten CDs have all charted in the top 50. Whether singing the songs of Peggy Lee, Django Rheinhardt, The Beatles, Dave Frishberg, or Norman Gimbel, her slightly smoky, always articulate voice is always a delight. The intimate Dunsmore Room is a perfect place to hear her, as she’s accompanied by Jon Weber, piano, Dave Karr, sax; and Gordy Johnson, bass.

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, July 5

The Two Shoes on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) To understand the name, you have to recall the Guys All Star Shoe Band from the old Prairie Home Companion. Mandolinit Richard Kriehn and guitarist Pat Donohue were both long time members of the band, so their interaction will undoubtedly be as close as two peas in a pod.

Dustbowl Revival @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25-$35) So here’s a new term I’ve seen, that’s actually pretty good at describing the eight-piece  Dustbowl Revival – Americana Swing. Using a couple of horns, tougher with acoustic guitars and a fiddle, not to mention a take-no-prisoners attitude, they give a mighty kick to country blues, early jazz, folk, and originals.W/Jack Klatt Opening.

Thursday,July 6

Graveyard Club @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) This quartet got their start a few years back recording their first album in a 19th Century Summit Avenue mansion that was possibly haunted. Some of the houses creaks and sounds were incorporated into the recording, which got quite a bit of airplay in Europe. Their synth-laden sounds harken back to the the 80s and the recordings of New Order and the Cure. Candid Kid opens, and food trucks will be on hand.

Bill Kirchen @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Guitarist Bill Kirchen is a Master of the Telecaster, to use a somewhat cliched term, but in this case it’s well deserved for this artist who performs hot rod and truck-driving songs that he calls “Dieselbilly” music. We first heard of him back in the early 70s when his lightning licks propelled Hot Rod Lincoln, by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. Nowadays, he often uses the song to show off a number of styles, from Les Paul to Jimi Hendrix.

Lowland Lakers, Mother Banjo, and Jillian Rae @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Here you have three bands fronted by women of substance, performing traditional folk, bluegrass, and Americana, as well as originals. Jillian Rae opens at 9:30, followed by Mother Banjo at 10:30, and the Lowland Lakers at 11:30.

Friday, July 7

Selby Avenue Brass Band @ Rhythm in Rice, Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) The Selby Avenue Brass Band play raucous “street music” made for second-line dancing. They’ll have special guest vocalists Thomasina Petru and Maurice Jacox along to help. Opening is Pippi Ardennia & the Pip Jazz All-Stars.

Paul Barry & the Ace Tones and Squishy Mud @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Two of the best from the Battle of the Bands, conducted to get an opening spot at the Lowertown Blues and Funk Festival later this summer.

Saturday, July 8

The Drifters @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($22 – $57) If you want to hear the hits of The Drifters  a group that had at least five different lead singers during its heyday, then this will be a rewarding experience. Thanks to a string of hits during the 50s and 60s, the Drifters were the first African American group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Don’t expect to hear any of the original members, however. After all, many of them have passed or retired. You can read the story of the multiple Drifters groups at the link above. The Drifters name was always owned by music entrepreneur George Treadwell, who has managed to keep groups performing under the name, so no matter who is in the group, you’ll hear the hits. Here’s what you might hear.

Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 to Guarantee seat) Ms Grimm is a talented singer who is equally at home on a theater stage of in a bar. Either way, she’s an engaging performer, and with her family and friends, provides a highly entertaining evening, as she proved she could do in a long-time weekly residency at the old Manitou Station in White Bear Lake.

Sunday, July 9

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm (No Cover) Charangas, danzons, and salsa for a late afternoon Sunday.

Los Texmaniacs @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($25, $30, $40) Los Texmaniacs have been anointed the New Kings of Tex-Mex, by no less than Flaco Jimenez, of The Texas Tornados and numerous other groups. Founder Max Baca (bajo sexton and vocals) has participated in eleven Grammy winning projects.

Dan Chouinard w/Maria Jette @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $40w/Dinner) Dan Chouinard’  Birthday Club series brings the keyboardist together with various guest vocalists to toast musical birthdays and anniversary of  the month. Tonight’s guest is soprano Maria Jette  whose repertoire ranges from baroque classics to Tin PanAlley. The two have worked together many times, so close musical communication, as well as witty repartee, will be on exhibit. Added bonus: Revenue will go to Center for Victims of Torture

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.


TC Jazz Fest and More: 6.21 – 6.27

June 21, 2017

Greetings everyone;

It’s the big weekend for jazz fans as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday through Saturday. Great headliners and about 300 resident artists will be appearing on stages all over town. Besides Mears Park, Rice Park, and the Union Depot, downtown venues include the Black Dog Cafe, Golden’s Deli, the Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), the Hat Trick Lounge, The Amsterdam, and others. Don’t forget the piano-centric acts at Vieux Carré, with its late night jam, and the stage in the tpt building featuring vocalists all weekend. There are also performances at venues outside of downtown at venues like the Como Dockside and the Episcopal homes. I’ve got the link to the schedule below. Fans of blues and roots also have reasons to be happy, as I’ve listed. Remember, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 21

Lee Engele @ The Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7pm (Free) A preview gig for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Vocalist Engele has a particularly good way with acoustic swing aka gypsy jazz, though she handles standards and the occasional bossa nova with elegance and ease, especially with such stellar accompaniment as Reynold Philipsek on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass. .

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to the Great American Songbook, though she’s adept at pop as well. She’ll be accompanied by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Christian Sands @ The Dakota, Minneapolls. 7pm ($20) Sands is an up and coming pianist who has already arrived in some sense. He’s been a key member of Christian McBride’s Trio for a number of years, was nominated for five Grammys, and was mentored by pianist Billy Taylor. He recently released his debut recording, Reach.

JT Bates Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul 8:00pm ($6) Get your B3 organ fix as drummer Bates brings Kevin Gasonguey, B3, and Zacc Harris, guitar, to the basement club. Things will be cookin!

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23, 24

Twin Cities Jazz Festival  @ Saint Paul locations. (Free) It’s about the most anticipated event of the year for area jazz fans, though fans of R&B, funk, and world music also get to hear some of their favorite bands for free. You can find the schedule here. Needless to say, headliners Anat Cohen, Terrance Blanchard, McCoy, and others are well worth your while, but get to Mears Park early to also hear folks like Emmet Cohen, Bobby Lyle, and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code in opening slots. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase at Union Depot has been expanded to both Friday and Saturday, with the McNally Smith Vocal Ensemble headlining on Friday, and the Dakota Combo headlining on Saturday.

Friday, Saturday, June 23, 24

Django Festival All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Honoring the “hot jazz” (aka gypsy jazz) of Django Rheinhardt, this sextet brings their own creativity to the swinging style. Author and critic Will Friedwald, said of them, “the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe.”

Sunday, June 25

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ The Church of Saint Albert, East 29th Street & 32 Ave, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3pm ($20) Part of a monthly music series examining the music of the 20, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Today it’s the music of the 1930s. Both vocalist Hixson and pianist Carlson excel at this sort of thing.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you aren’t quite ready to give up the spirit of the jazz fest, you can continue your jazz jones with the ever-inventive guitarist Zacc Harris and his trio.

Monday, June 26

Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Cellist Greg Byers leads this quartet: Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums.

Tuesday, June 27

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45/wDinner) Pianist Johnson lived in the Twin Cities for a few years, entertaining us with his lovely playing. Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been playing a booking jazz. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. He has a unique program for 7-17 year olds called Reach afar, to educate them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 27, 28

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. Until the last year or so she was on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them. She’s performed here about twice a year in the last three years and her shows often sell out, or come close to it. Be forewarned.

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, June 21

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Northurp Auditorium Plaza, U of MN, Minneapolis. Noon (Free) Grab a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and if you keep it hidden, perhaps a bottle of wine, and have a picnic while enjoying the music of this “bongos and berets” group, playing French musettes, a cumbia or two, and some old standards.

Cooker John Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cooker John learned to fingerpick from Artie Traum in NYC during the folk boom of the 60s. Since then he’s traveled the country, has played in numerous bands, and for the past few decades has played solo, or with one or two others. I recall hearing about him playing the Midwest back in the 80s. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Randall Webb, Ben Kaplan, and John Vizard. Listen in and head over to the 331 Club if you want to hear more.

Paul Bergen & the Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ The Hook & Ladder, Minnapolis. 7pm (No cover) Honky-tonkin’ swamp country blues from members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Curtss A’ band and others. This is part of a June residency that takes place in H&L’s lounge.

Jillian Rae & Hannah von der Hoff @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 8pm ($6) Fiddler/singer/songwriter Jillian Rae has a Wednesday night June residency at the Aster, bringing her band along to help while she sings her own originals as well as some tasty covers. Tonight she has guitarist/singer/songwriter Hannah von der Hoff along for the ride. Here’s Hannah!

Thursday, June 22

Mikkel Beckmen w/Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen has slide guitar master Jeff Ray as his guest at this after work gig.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) Soul, R&B, and ballads from a master vocalist.

Jonatha Brooke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooke has released nine albums of literate adult pop and two live discs, all of which were well received by critics if not exactly big sellers, and has used crowd funding on her last two albums. Though born in Boston, and having lived in Los Angeles and New York, Brooke relocated to Minneapolis last year, home to her husband/manager. She’s happy with the move, and has been having fun calling on resident talent to fill her bands here. Tonight, she’ll be accompanied by Kevin Gastonguay on keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Joey van Phillips, drums; Aby Wolf, vocals; Rebecca Arons, cello; and Sean Driscoll, guitar.

Friday, June 23

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) He was known as Wee Willie Walker during the 60s and 70s Soul Explosion, and still goes by that name on his website, but the name doesn’t account for his sonorous voice, with a bit a whiskey gravel to it, and an interpretive ability that defines soul.

Charlie Parr @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) It’s nine months since this blues vagabond opened the H&L, so apparently it’s time to have him back. Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders open.

Saturday, June 24

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free) The ribs at Big Daddy’s will get an extra helping of funky soulfulness as the big-voiced blues belter Big George Jackson performs as part of the the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Papa John Kolstand & the Perfect Phitts @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Singer, raconteur, and guitarist Papa John Kolstad brings his wit, wisdom, and sense of fun to Merlins, the best neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. The Phitts are Bill Smith, harmonica and vocals; Gary Powell, National Steel and vocals; and Bill Grenke, bass. There is a reason they’re called the Perfect Phitts as they play seamlessly and perform some three part harmonies.

Sunday, June 25

The Funky United @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) I may be mistaken, but this appears to be a new group, though it’s members have been around for a while: Scott Glaser, bass; Dev Jana, guitar; Chris Kellick, keys; Tim Moran, drums; and Mick Sterling, vocals.. They play original funky soul.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) It’s the last Sunday of the month, so the Gang once again holds court at the oldest continually operating bar in MN. Today, Papa John Kolstad will be in the hot seat, playing with Bill Greinke, bass; Rena Haus and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica.

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.


Veteran and Emerging Artists: 4.26 – 5.2

April 26, 2017

At Twelve – Lizzie Wortham’s winning poster for the Saint Paul Art Crawl

Well, it’s Art Crawl Weekend in Saint Paul, and if you take part in any of it, you are bound to see dance, music, and spoken word performances at a number of the Art Crawl sites throughout town. For more info, go here. Of course, there are plenty of other chances to see and hear live music, some of which I’ve listed below. We have a number of visiting artists in both jazz and roots n’ blues, as well as performances from highly talented resident artists, some of whom are national stars in their own right. Regular readers will note that I’ve added a new feature, Early Alert, to highlight performances from the next week’s Wednesday and Thursday that require reservations. BTW, you can find addresses for most of these venues, as well as see videos of many of these artists by going to www.rhythmandgrooves.net.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 26

Connie Evingson and Jon Webber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($20, $45 w/Dinner) Vocalist Evingson and pianist Webber will be celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald, since this week marks the 100th Anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth. Saxophonist Dave Karr and bassist Gordy Johnson will be on hand as well. Here she is with a larger group.

The Jazz Image Through the Decades @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s an intriguing event for fans of the late broadcaster. The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project  helmed by Brad Bellows, has a vast archive of interviews Kammen conducted during more than 70 years in broadcasting. Once a month, Bellows brings out some of those interviews, along with associated recordings, and airs them at the Black Dog. Tonight, he’ll have Kammen’s interviews with a number of female artists, including such legends as Carmen McCrae, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, and others. You can once again enjoy the sound of Kammen’s voice, while gaining some insight into the lives and musical philosophies of these artists.

Gary La Rue & His Rat Pack Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Pul. 7:30pm (No Cover) With its red booths and a dance floor, Mancini’s is a throwback to lounges of the 60s, making it a great place to hear LaRue and his Rat Pack Band do invoke Las Vegas with songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their cronies.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 26, 27

Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrew Sisters @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) The Dakota is partnering with the History Theater to present the story of LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty, from Mound MN. The Andrew Sisters were the most popular female singing group of the first half of the 20th Century. It’s a production that’s been performed in over 30 cities around the country and the world.

Thursday, April 27

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Michael O’Brien Quartet. O’Brien is a Minnesota native who moved to the Big Apple some years back and has been playing and touring regularly ever since. The stand-up bassist is back visiting and is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Steve Kenny Flumpet; Greg Schute, drums. Here is O’Brien in a duo setting.

Matthew Rahaim and Jon Lion @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Here’s a very intriguing performance at a place that specializes in adventurous music. Rahaim is an associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at the U of MN, and is a vocalist who has been performing Hindustani music in both India and North America since 2000, though he also plays a few instruments and other kinds of singing. Jon Lion is a guitarist who has played the Kyber Pass many times, in a variety of configurations.

Huge If True @ Dayblock Brewing, 1103 Washington Avenue So, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Washington Avenue’s Dayblock Tap Room features jazz once a month. I’m unfamiliar with the players, so I believe this is a chance to hear a relatively new band in town: Michelle Mastrianni, Lead Vocals; Robert Hest, Keys; Rob Higgins, Bass/Vocals; Jack Sloan, Guitar; Elliott Bonner, Sax/Vocals; and Brice DeGrand, Drums.

Friday, April 28

Arne Fogel @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Fogel is a vocalist who is equally adept at performing the songs of Der Bingle and Ol Blue Eyes and the Great American Songbook. Hell’s Kitchen is a busy, and often noisy place, so you may want reservations if you want to be close to the stage or, you can sit at the bar.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The Aces are back at the Vieux for a Friday night of traditional New Orleans jazz and brass band music. With a diverse repertoire that includes Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, and originals, they are a party band that will leave dancers sweaty and the rest of the audience uplifted. Here they are at the Eagles Club, another venue where they’re regulars.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator/producer Steve Kenny has been putting together this weekly series for over 140 perform ances thus far. He usually has a relatively new, or young band open, and then a veteran group at 8:30. Tonight, the Brian Handeland Quartet begins at 7pm with: Handeland, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the A-list members of Bottomless Pit, with: Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums

Bill Charlap Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30), 9pm ($20, $25) Charlap is one of the finest pianists of our time, with the ability to swing, and an imaginative approach that gets to the nub of a song. He’s recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin, and has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl. He and Tony Bennett received a Grammy for their 2015 release, The Silver Lining: The songs of Jerome Kern. His fine trio, which has been together for about 20 years, includes Peter Washington on bass, and the unrelated Kenny Washington on drums.

Sunday, April 30

Bruce Henry: Stevie Wonder Unplugged @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bruce Henry is the kind of singer who can tackle a Freddie Hubbard or John Coltrane tune and turn around and deliver some exquisite R&B. Tonight he’ll treat us to the songs of Stevie Wonder, which lately have been receiving deserved attention from jazz artists. He’ll be accompanied by Sean Turner, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Monday, May 1

Delfeayo Marsalis @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Marsalis is, of course, a member of the famed New Orleans musical family. He’s a trombonist, educator, producer, and arranger who’s released six CDs, all of which exhibit the warmth and imagination of his playing. Here’s a chance to hear him in the intimate, 80-seat “listening room” at Crooners. He’ll be accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson, bassist Steve Pikal, and drummer Nathan Norman.

Tuesday, May 2

O’Brien, Lomheim, & Epstein @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner) If you didn’t catch former Twin Citizen O’Brien playing bass with a quartet this past Thursday (see above), you can catch him in a trio setting with two of the area’s finest musicians: pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. It’s a treat.

Early Alert

5.3 Regina Carter @ The Dakota

5.3, 5.4 Randy Brecker @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Roo

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, April 26

Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake stops by Harold’s House Party along with ace guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, for some swingin’ blues. Tune in, and then head over to the 331 Club, where the two will play from 7-9pm.

Willie Murphy @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Veteran blues/R&B/rock n’ roller Murphy takes a solo turn at the Schooner, armed with nothing more than a guitar, keyboard, and songs that range from romantic doowop to rockin’ protest numbers. He’s not promising any guests, but you can never tell who may show up.

Thursday, April 27

Mikkel Beckmen & Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist-about-town Beckmen holds down a Thursday residency at the warm, friendly bar on University, bringing in a different guest each week. Today it’s the slide guitar master Jeff Ray, who often brings new life to traditional blues and surprises with bluesified rock covers.

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Haus has a sustainable farm in Saint Michael, where she supplies food to local groceries and finds inspiration for original songs. Together with her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar virtuoso Ed Petche, she creates highly entertaining performances, whether singing tunes by the Allman Brothers, or humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate. If you can’t make it tonight, you can also catch her in the dinner hour atVieux Carré tomorrow, and for brunch at Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday.

Friday, April 28

Richie Furay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $40) This Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer helped bring country rock into our consciousness as a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Furay then went on to form his own band. He’ll be playing songs from throughout his career, with an opening by his daughter, Jesse Furay Lynch, performing The Songs of Laurel Canyon.

Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 225 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) It’s Art Crawl weekend in Saint Paul and Lowertown Classics has brought in German guitarist Nora Buschmann as the featured artist this weekend. Buschmann has won numerous competitions, and performed a great number of solo concerts at places like the Frankfurt and Nürnberg opera houses, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and NDR-Funkhaus Hannover, and has appeared with a number of orchestras in Germany. She has made radio recordings with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk and the Bayrischer Rundfunk, and is a regular performer at guitar festivals around the world. Buschmann will preceded by the McNally Smith Guitar Quartet, a group of four guitarists with varying backgrounds. Enter through the alley

Slovczech @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Eastern European folk-rock party music, just in case you want to get rejuvenated after touring countless artists studios during Art Crawl.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Nemeth is an ace harmonica player and an award-winning soul/blues vocalist currently based in Memphis, where his music fits in like the proverbial glove. Whether he’s singing the blues, or projecting the emotional release of soul music, fans of either style will find much to admire.

Friday, Saturday, April 28, 29

KFAI Celebration @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) It’s a Listener Appreciation Party and New Antenna Celebration to thank listener members for a pledge drive that helped the “little station that could” retire much of the costs of a new antenna. Friday features Jillian Rae, Boiled in Lead, The yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers and more, while Saturday’s stage will be occupied by Rank Strangers, C. Kostra, The Ronnie Buxtons and others. Both evenings will feature a Super Secret headliner that has yet to be announced.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Salon: Sambas and Sonatinas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The witty and charming Maria Jette hosts this weekly series that brings chamber music into a relaxed, cabaret style “listening room” where small plates and a full bar will be available during the concert. Today’s program, Sambas and Sonatinas, features music from Russia and the Americas, performed by Clea Galhano, recorder; Tom Rosenberg, cello; and Olg Levin, piano. The program includes selections from Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Felix Mendelssohn, Astor Piazzola, and others.

4th Annual Pickin’ for Autism @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Three folk and bluegrass bands will be playing to support Lionsgate Academy, a school dedicated to the education of students with autism spectrum disorders. The evening will feature music from Pert Near Pert (members of Pert Near Sandstone), and well as Luke Warm and the Cool Hands, and the Lowland Lakers.

Bossa Soul Trio @ Hennepin Steam Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This weekly show can feature more than a trio, as various musicians are recruited to create Brazilian sounds, including sensuous sambas, Brazilian pop, bossa novas, and Latin Jazz. Both experienced and would-be dancers flock the small dance floor to sway to the bubbling rhythms.

Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Two of the area’s dynamic blues and R&B singers take to the stage at the tiny, but charming Aster. Both Joyann Parker, who starts at 9pm, and Annie Mack, 10 pm, write and perform compelling originals and gritty covers.

Tuesday, May 2

Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Songwriter/guitarist Ely plays outlaw country music, Americana, and Texas honky tonk . He was a member of the original Flatlanders and Los Super Seven, and sang backup for The Clash, recently winning The Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Opener Jason Eady is a country singer with a direct approach to singing.

The Pines @ Hopkins Center of the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($25) Though now based out of the Twin Cities, The Pines’ Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt share a common musical language rooted in the songs and songwriters of their native Iowa. Each has a distinct voice and an ability to evoke the sparse, rural communities of the Great Plains with cinematic language. The combination of acoustic instruments, rich warm vocals, and an eye (and ear) for detail has helped them gain fans around the country. A social hour begins at 6pm, with the concert beginning at 7pm.

Early Alert

5.3 Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club

5.4 Edgar Winter @ The Dakota

 

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.


April 12, 2017

The beauty of living in the Twin Cities, at least for people interested in the arts, is that there is often more opportunities to see, hear, and discover high quality artists of every type. Unlike larger cities, however, you stand a very reasonable chance of getting tickets. This week we have visiting artists from NYC, Wisconsin, California, Columbia, and the United Kingdom. We also have resident artists who have come here from other cities and other countries, and we have home-grown artists that have achieved international stature. So, pick and choose from this somewhat limited list of opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them. BTW, you can see videos of many of these artists by going to www.rhythmandgrooves.net.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 12

Bates and Friends will be playing while Stephane Cattaneo paints.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) This is bassist Chris Bates’ evening for something new and improvisational. He’ll have Stephane Catteneio, a visual artist from France, paint during the performance, for which he’s gathered a strikingly excellent group of musicians, including: Chris Bates & Josh Granowski, Basses; Davu Seru, Pete Hennig, Chris Hepola,  & Martin Dosh, Drums and Percussion; Nathan Hanson and Jared Jarvis, Saxophones; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Trumpet; and Park Evans on Guitar. Sounds like a memorable evening.

Dennis Spear’s Birthday Cabaret @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Dennis Spears first became well-known among Twin Cities music fans some umpty years ago, as the male voice of Moore By Four. Since then he’s performed at various venues and theaters in the Twin Cities, as a singer and actor, notably in the Penumbra piece about Nat King Cole, which was reprised at the Kennedy Center in the Spring of 2011. Whether he’s singing solo, or with any of his many musical friends, including the occasional Moore by Four reunion, Spears, with his smooth baritone, is always entertaining. Tonight he’ll be backed by Rick Carlson, piano; and Steve Pikal on bass.

Thursday, April 13

Looking Bacharach @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) As might be expected from their name, this six-piece group  including two vocalists, will perform songs from throughout Bur Bacharach’s career, including both classics and some overlooked treasures. Memb era of the group include; Jimmy Kennedy on Keys & Guitar; Joe Weisman,  Bass, Guitar, & Ukelele; Mo Engel, Drums; Mike Silva, Tenor Sax & Flute; Emily Vilano and Kevin Thomas, Vocals.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Davu Seru’s No Territory Band: You may have seen Britt Robson’s piece on Seru in the past Friday’s edition of the Star Tribune. It provides a good background, and clearly lays out why you should check out Seru and his band. Look at this interesting line-up for the evening. Besides Seru on percussion, he has Jake Baldwin,  trumpet; Pat O’Keefe, Nathan Hanson, and Scott Fultz; saxophones; and Levi Schwartzberg, on Vibes. With special guest from France, Stephanie Cattaneo, who will do some live, improvisational painting while the band plays.

Charmin & Shapira @ Friends @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Charmin Michelle’s buttery vocals and conversational style, coupled with Joel Shapira’s tasty guitar, are a wonderful match, whether tackling a Monk tune or something from the Great American Songbook. Then, when they add some friends, things really get swinging, as tonight, when they’ll be joined by Paul Harper, sax; tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Nortman on drums.

Friday, April 14

Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) It’s a full evening of music as guitarist Chris Cunningham brings his group and special guests to the basement club. Besides FOTHOU  there will be an opening set by the virtuoso Syrian oud player Issam Rafea, and rare vinyl grooves during breaks from Overzealous Sound System (aka DJ Chad Nelson). Performing with FOTHOU include: Chris Cunningham, Guitars; Ivan Cunningham, Saxophones; Michelle Kinney, Cello; Greg Schutte, Drums; Chris Bates, Bass; Adam Svec, Vocals; Noah Ophoven Baldwin, Trumpet; Jared Jarvis, Saxophones; Riley Swain, Baritone Saxophone; and special guest John Keston on keyboards. They’ve got a dense sound, to say the least.

Saturday, April 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Aaron Hedenstrom Trio: Hedenstrom  saxes; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars Erik-Larson, drums. 8:30pm it’s Peter Kogans’ Monsterful Wonderband, with Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman sax; Scott Agster, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Sean Turner, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kogan on drums. Listen below.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) People around the country often pay much, much more to see powerhouse drummer Gravatt  and it’s often in large halls, rather than the intimate Studio Z. He drummed for Weather Report from 1972 – 1974, has toured with McCoy Tyner, and has also played with heavyweights such as Byard Lancaster, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Charled Mingus, Paroah Saunders, and many others. His band Source Code features bassist Ron Evanuik, and other A-list musicians from the area. Here’s an old video:

Sunday, April 16

Fuzzy Math @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) Mark Vandermyde leads this group, which performs original jazz compositions that draw from a variety of genres: progressive, swing, funk, blues, boogie and Latin. Vandermyde is joined by Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Mark Kreitzer’s ’53 Swingbillies @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Kreitzer is a guitarist who teaches at Carlton College and plays with Patty and the Buttons, among other bands. Tonight he’s leading what is essentially an acoustic four piece (guitar, violin, bass, drums) in some swinging jazz.

Monday, April 17

Jim Campilongo Trio w Chris Morrissey & Josh Dion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($20) Campilongo  s a formidible NY guitar player, who’s contributed to recordings by Martha Wainwiright as well as the Little Willies, a band he has with Norah Jones. He’s recorded or performed with folks as disparate as JJ Cale, Nels Cline, Peter Townsend, Burning Spear, and others. His playing reveals a regular gumbo of influences, from blues to rock, country, jazz, and R&B. He’ll be playing with the Brooklyn-based Minnesota native Chris Morrisey on bass, and vocalist/drummer Josh Dion, who is conversant in jazz, Americana, and rock n’ roll.

Raul Madon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Had guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Raul Madon been around in the 70s, he would have been at the forefront of the jazz soul movement of the time. He’s got a smooth baritone and a percussive playing style that go equally well with folks like Bill Withers and Al Jarreau (with whom he’s worked), as well as the CTI artists of the time. He’s toured internationally, performed with artists as diverse as Sting, Ravi Coltrane, and Red Barat, and demonstrated his unique playing style at TED talks. Audiences especially dig his “mouth trumpet” where he uses nothing but his lips to create be-boppish trumpet lines. Madon just released a new album appropriately entitled Bad Ass and Blind. The New York Times said, “He’s a one man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus”

Tuesday, Wednesday, April 18, 19

Red Planet & Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who has drawn raves from New York City to Europe for his highly inventive ways with a melody. He grew up in Saint Paul but lives in the UP of Michigan. That’s close enough that he comes to town every few months to perform, lately at the Dunsmore Room.  Red Planet is a jazz-rock trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre. Members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; have collaborated with Carrothers on a new album, and are celebrating its release these two evenings. Carrothers and each of the members of jazz Red Planet will undoubtedly bring new colors and sonorities to jazz standards and originals. Here they are some years ago.

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, April 12

Miss Becky Kapell on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Miss Becky Kapell is a Minnesota native who moved to Portland Oregon in the 80s and began singing country music. Fast forward through a move back to MN, marriage, divorce, and raising kids, and in 2007 she began practicing guitar, eventually recording an album entitled For Now with her Portland band mates. Now the singer/songwriter sings in the style of classic country artists front he 50s and 60s – straightforward, with lyrics that are sometimes plaintive, sometimes heartbreaking, and sometimes humorous. Her band, The Fat 6, features Paul Bergen on guitar, and Ray Barnard on bass and backing vocals, as well as others from a rotating cast of musical friends. Listen to her during Harold’s House Party, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 to listen in person.

Thursday, April 13

Maurice Jacox Band @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 Reserved Table) R&B/jazz vocalist Jacox has been plying his trade for over 40 years, appearing in bands such as Willie & the Bees and The Butanes Soul Revue, as well as sitting in with numerous bands and fronting his own trios, and performing a Nat King Cole show. He’s somewhat of a regular at Crooners, in both the big room and the Dunsmore Room. Since he’s in the big room tonight, which means his songs will be a bit more uptempo than in the Dunsmore Room, thanks to the backing of: Thomas West, keys; Mike Dubois, drums; and George Parrish, guitar. Jacox will likely pick up a sax or flute sometime during the evening as well.

Dave Mason @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($45 General) This is a seated show with the center and VIP sections already sold out. That’s because Guitarist/Vocalist Mason is a cultural icon for anyone who lived through the Woodstock and Vietnam era. Mason is a 2004 inductee into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of Traffic, in which he had a hit with “Feelin’ Alright,” which subsequently become a monster hit for Joe Cocker. He had another hit as a solo artist with “We Just Disagree,”  recorded an album with Mama Cass Elliot, and went on to perform and/or record with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Michael Jackson, Steve Winwood, Fleetwood Mac, Leon Russell, Delaney Bramlett, and, most recently, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, among others – whew! He’ll be performing his album Alone Together in its entirety, and a second set of his other songs.

Friday, April 14

Hail, Hail, Rock n’ Roll @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) For Chuck Berry’s 60th Birthday Party, Keith Richards brought in Robert Cray, Joey Spampinato (of NRBQ), Eric Clapton, and long-time Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson for a show which also featured Etta James, Linda Ronstadt and Jullian Berry. The resulting concert was filmed as Hail, Hail Rock n’ Roll, which will be shown tonight to acknowledge his passing and his influence on rock n’ roll and essentially every guitarist that came after him. After the screening a quintet of Twin Cities rockers will discuss his influence: Kurt Nelson (the Pistons, Simba, Others); Curtiss A (Hmm, let’s just say numerous); Johnny Rey (Flamin’ Ohs, Johnny Rey Band); Steve Brantseg (Suburbs, others); and Cindy Lawson (Clams). The discussion will be emceed by Rob Chapman, who just released a new book about The New Barbarians, the side band of Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures got their start at the annual Twin Cities Jug Band competition back in 2010. Since then, they have steadily become a formidable force in the local blues/bluegrass/Americana scene. They are  increasingly known for crafting their own impressionable original songs along side the band’s arrangements of classics and contemporary covers. Also playing tonight will be local artist/musician Jake Manders (of Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins) and his band, as well as singer-songwriter Brady Perl, and, undoubtedly, a few more of King’s musical friends.

Friday, Saturday, April 14, 15

Bodeans: Stripped Down & Acoustic @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) This quartet from neighboring Wisconsin first hit the charts back in the mid-80s with their adult-ish, mainstream rock songs like Closer to Free, She’s a Runaway, Idaho, Fadeaway, and a number of others, which propelled them to winning Rolling Stone’s Reader’s Poll for Best New American Band in 1987. The BoDeans then toured with the likes of David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty, appeared on SNL and Letterman, and have had ten songs and twelve albums on the charts. For this tour, they’re playing stripped-down versions of classic BoDean songs.

Saturday, April 15

Sexy Delicious & Apollo Cobra @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door)  Gangster Jazz. Quasi-Bohemian retro-pop. These are a couple of the terms used to describe Sexy Delicious, which depends upon a generous helping of sly rhythms, and a dash of dry wit to win over fans. Apollo Cobra is a power trio that uses analog synthesizers, drum machines, bass guitars, samples, vocals and huge beats to create infectious, dance-inducing music. Listen to them here. Note: they don’t use laptops.

The Eddies @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30 (No Cover) You get a fine selection of whiskeys and beers, very good pub food (including bangers and mash and fish and chips), and a convivial atmosphere in which to hear the “almost acapella” vocals of the Eddies singing sea shanties, Appalachian murder ballads, and the occasional song from the late 20th Century. Bring an ID if you want adult beverages.

Samba Meu @ Hennepin Steam Room, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Check out the new music venue in the warehouse district, located north of Washington on First Avenue. Tonight they’re featuring the sensuous rhythms of Brazilian roots and pop music, as performed by: David Martin, guitar and bass; Tim O’Keefe,  percussion; and Karen Quiroz, vocals.

Sunday, April 16

Doug Otto & Friends @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (Tip Jar) It’s the musician’s “brunch time” as Otto, with a voice that seems to carry the weight of the world, and his friends gather at the NE dive bar to explore Americana, country, classic blues of the 30s and 40s, and originals.

Tuesday, April 18

Henrecia de Timbiqui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42) Latin roots music from the coastal foothills of Columbia. This eleven piece group incorporates African and Columbian sounds using both traditional instruments like the Marimba, bajo, and folk drums, as well as guitar, sax, and trumpet.

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.


Celebrations Galore: 4.5 – 4.11

April 5, 2017

We’ve now got April showers working to bring out the buds on trees and in gardens. We also have some fine visiting artists such as Stacy Kent, John Pizzarelli, Larry Fuller, and Elvin Bishop, as well as some unique events, such as the John Prine Celebration, Zeitgeist’s Early Music Festival, and a “Retirement Celebration” for Spider John Koerner. So…  once again we have many opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 5

Mississippi Hot Club on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harold’s guests are usually be listed under Roots & Blues, but this is different. The Mississippi Hot Club plays gypsy jazz, also known as Jazz Manouche, the style of music pioneered by Django Rheinhardt during the late 1930s and WWII. Though their configuration is classic, they leave room for a bit of a modern take on the genre, with songs that might come from the folk idiom, romantic ballads, or jazz standards. Members are: Joshua Parlanti, guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass.

Paul Harper’s Show & Tell Band @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 6:30pm -9:30pm (No Cover) The Hennepin Steam Room used to be Tangiers. They’ve redesigned the place and have committed to live music at least three nights a week. Tonight, saxophonist Paul Harper, who plays in the Illicit Sextet and other groups, leads his own band.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 5, 6

Stacy Kent, featuring Jim Tomlinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35) Vocalist Stacy Kent  ses her intimate, light voice very effectively, taking an elegant, minimalist approach to successfully convey the emotion behind songs from the Great American Songbook, France, and Brazil. Her latest album, 2015’sTenderly, is a collaboration with Roberto Menescal, the great Brazilian guitarist and composer, who wrote O Pato and other Bossa Nova hits. Her husband, Jim Tomlinson is a saxophonist whose playing evokes Stan Getz.

Thursday, April 6

Art & Jazz @ Casket Arts Building, 681 !7th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities own nationally published jazz photographer Andrea Canter will be showing a collection of (mostly) black and white jazz portraits as well as a special collection of jazz-focused note cards in Studio 116. Meanwhile, The Dakota Combo w/bassist Adam Linz will perform at the 4th Floor Atrium at 5:30 & 7:30; while Larry McDonough & Carol Berquist will perform on the first floor at 6:30pm. BTW, 10% of Canter’s sales will go to The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vicky Mountain has taught of number of Twin Cities vocalists, as well she should, given how good she is at interpreting jazz standards, baseball songs, hip pop and some originals. She’ll be accompanied by David Martin on guitar, and special guests.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header, featuring The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass; Blake Hubel, drums; and Javi Santiago, keys, followed at 10:30pm by the Alden Ikeda Group: Scott Newell, saxes; Alden Ikeda Drums; Steve Gnitka, guitar.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6, 8, 9, 10

earWorm Improvisation Ensemble mini-tour @ Khyber Pass & Other Area Venues. (Various Times) earWorm is a collective of composer-performers who present what they describe as “an immersive experience of electroacoustic improvisation, transporting listeners across a panoply of sonic landscapes.” They draw from many styles and experiences, including free-form jazz, blues, minimalism, electronica, dub-step, edm, hip-hop, funk, rock, classical, folk, and many musical traditions of the world. It’s experimental music, that’s for sure. Members are all multi-instrumentalists: James Holdman; Elliot McKinley; Peter Farmer; and Michael Ethan.  Thursday @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul (9pm, $5); Saturday @ The Underground Music Cafe, Falcon Heights (7-pm no cover); Sunday @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul (4-6pm, no cover); and Monday @ Honey, Minneapolis (7:30 – 9:30pm no cover) Listen to their music here.

Friday, April 7

Lila Ammons @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Lila Ammons is a classically trained vocalist with a family background in jazz (her uncle was saxophonist Gene Ammons) and blues (her grandfather was boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons). Listen to her take on jazz standards, bosses, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists.

Saturday, April 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) For the first time in over 130 weekly shows at the Black Dog, a vocalist will be performing. Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz begin the evening at 7pm, with Maryann Sullivan  vocals; Doug Haining, sax; Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the Steve Kenny Quartet, with Rodney Ruckus, drums (his last performance before moving out of the Cities); Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

JazzMN Big Band w/Guest Maria Schneider @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($35, $37, Students: $10, $20) For jazz fans, this will be a show not to miss. New York based composer Maria Schneider is the pride of Windom, MN, known around the world for her majestic compositions for large groups, including orchestras and symphonies. She’s won five Grammys, including two at the most recent awards for 2016. One was for Sue, her collaboration with David Bowie, and the other was for Thompson Fields, by her own orchestra. She’s been working with the JazzMN band all week, creating arrangements based on the band’s instrumentation.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Kate Lynch and the Fellows (bass, guitar, trombone, trumpet, drums) perform music from the 20s to the 50s, with an occasional 60s hit showing up once or twice an evening. Ms Lynch continues to provide historical perspective on songs, giving not only the year and composers, but other facts, such as what movies were playing downtown when the song was a hit, or where people would go shopping. Add to that the visuals of young swing dancers digging the music, and you have a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Sunday, April 9

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($25, $35) Vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli is warm and witty onstage, whether telling a story or performing. In many respects he’s an old school entertainer – There’s no artifice, no attempts to play “hip chords” or the like, just honest music that’s exceptionally well played by an artist who engages the audience and swings like mad. Note the slightly earlier times for this Sunday night performance.

Monday, April 10

Reichfest @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The April Reichfest celebrating the music of the late minimalist Steve Reich, continues. Tonight a host of musicians will play Reich’s composition 2X5, from 2008. The group includes: Chris Cunningham; Zacc Harris; Pete Hennig; Cody McKinney; Thomas Nordlund; Chris Olson; Doan Brian Roessler; Javier Santiago; Zach Schmidt; and Brian Ziemniak. (Whew!). Second set is by JT Bates and others.

Tuesday, April 11

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover); 8pm (Trio, $6) Start your evening out with the piano stylings of Chris Lomheim, and then get your fill of soulful grease from JT Bates’ organ trio, featuring Bates on drums, of course, with Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ.

Larry Fuller Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Fuller is a pianist who epitomizes the concept of swing, as well he should given his background. He got his start playing for classic vocalist Ernestine Anderson for five years, then went on to join the Jeff Hamilton Trio for six years, before joining the last edition of the Ray Brown Trio for a few years, and finally the John Pizzarelli Quartet for eight years. Along the way he’s also played with a pantheon of jazz illuminaries.

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, April 5

Radio Joe & The JazzBos @ Mancini’s Char House, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No cover) Given the old school Las Vegas vibe of the lounge at Mancini’s, Radio Joe and the JazzBos, with their vintage swing, jump blues, and romantic ballads, were made to fill the dance floor at the venerable Saint Paul institution.

Thursday, April 6

Verretta @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Original music performed with a big nod towards classic rock with a touch of punk. They say they’re an Outlaw Country Rock n’ Roll Revival Band, and listening to their songs, that seems about right, though perhaps more rock n’ roll than outlaw country.

9th Annual Big Fat Love @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Mother Banjo and Art Vandelay are at it for the 9th year in a row, celebrating the half birthday of John Prine. Each year they gather friends to sing the songs of Prine. This year’s participants include: Terry Walsh, of the Belfast Cowboys, The High 48s, The Gated Community, Kari Arnett, The Eddies, and many more.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6 – 10

Zeitgeists’s 7th Annual Early Music Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2pm Sunday ($15, $10 Students & Seniors, $40 festival pass) This year new music group zeitgeist is celebrating the music of composer Lou Harrison, described as ” true American maverick, Harrison’s integrations of non-Western musical traditions and his innovative use of just intonation embraced new artistic possibilities and made a lasting impact that continues to shape new music today.”  Find out more about the program for each performance and the guest artists here

Friday, April 7

Teague Alexy Band CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Friday series features a trio of Americana groups tonight. It’s  CD Release Party for Teague Alexy (of Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank). The Thirsty River String Band, Trevor James Americana Rebel (of Tin Can Gin), and Ian Alexy will also be appearing. Teague Alexy’s songwriting is clearly influenced by his home in Minnesota as well as his childhood in New Jersey, and life as a traveling hobo musician. His new album is Circuit Sessions, on which he uses a strong rhythm section: Eric Pollard, bass; Steve Garrington, drums; as well as Jake Hanson, guitar. Special guests include Trevor James, the Thirsty River String Band and Ian Alexy.

McNasty Brass Band Vinyl Release Dance Party @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The McNasty Brass Band has all the verve and outsized excitement that you might expect from a ten-piece band, including the use of contemporary and original songs. They released King Sized Life in January, and are now having another release party for the Vinyl Edition. You don’t have to know special steps to dance to this group, you only have to let your body react to their beats and the rhythm of the sousaphone.

Saturday, April 8

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Bishop is master blues guitarist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and went on to a successful solo career. While playing solo he also played onstage with The Gratefull Dead, Al Kooper, and The Allman Brothers, recorded with John Lee Hooker, Clifton Chenier, Bo Diddley, and others, and toured with BB King. The Big Fun Trio is an apt name for his group (Bob Welsh, piano/guitar; Willy Jordan, vocalist/percussion), as Bishop’s songs have often been delivered with a sly sense of humor.

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for a reserved table) Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd and deliver a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

The Magnolias @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) With twin guitars creating a buzz-saw attack, the Magnolias  urst on the Twin Cities music scene over 30 years ago, becoming known as “Minneapolis’ scruffy also-rans” compared to groups like the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Their fans knew better as the band recorded 3 albums by the end of the 80s, and two more in the 90s. After some fallow years, in the early 2000s, they issued some unrealesed tracks and demos in 2007, and toured Europe in 2008 and 2009. Opening act Johnny Rey has been a fixture of the vibrant Twin Cities music scene for four decades. The guitar player was an original member of Flamingo, playing the old Longhorn Bar in downtown Minneapolis. He led his own band for a few years, but stopped in 1985, not performing again until about four years ago.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Get your salsa dancing shoes out as this septet plays vintage and traditional Cuban rhumbas and mambos, along with salsas, the updated version of mambo.

Sunday, April 9

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($??) Here’s a chance for an afternoon delight, so to speak. Walker is an original soul man who recorded for Goldwax Records out of Memphis back in the 60s, but he’s been our own treasure for decades now, delivering heartfelt soul music in his slightly raspy voice. He’s just been on another international tour, and was recently named winner of Two Blues Music Awards for 2016 – Comeback Artist of the Year, and New Recordings/Southern Soul, for his album If Nothing Ever Changes.

Spider John Koerner “Retirement” Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Folk legend Spider John Koerner is being honored with a “retirement” party by a bunch of mostly younger artists “who appreciate my work and wanted me to have a show with them,” according to Koerner. Those younger artists include The Cactus Blossoms, Lonesome Dan Case, Jack Klatt, Dave Babb, and Grant Johnson. Long time compatriots Willy Murphy and Tony Glover will also take part, as well as Chip Taylor Smith and Paul Strother. For 50 years, Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, both as a solo artists and with a variety of partners, including Koerner, Ray, & Glover, and Willie Murphy. Along with his work with KRG, Koerner’s albums Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Been, from ’86, and Raised by Humans, from ’92 are classics of American folk music.

Monday, April 10

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Bros on Grand, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Fingers is a world-class finger-picking guitarist performing not-so-secretly under an alias. Get your fill of coffee and cool music.

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.


Saint Pat’s and Much More: 3.15 – 3.21

March 15, 2017

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

Larry

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

Jazz

Wednesday, March 15

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

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

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

Thursday, March 16

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

Friday, March 17

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

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

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

Saturday, March 18

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

Sunday, March 19

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

Monday, March 20

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

Monday, Tuesday, March 20, 21

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 15

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

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

Thursday, March 16

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

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

Friday, March 17

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 18

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

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

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

Sunday, March 19

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

Tuesday, March 21

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

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 21, 22

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

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


Variety and Quality: 3.8 – 3.15

March 8, 2017

We’ve some wonderful visiting artists, and a surfeit of outstanding resident artists this week, giving us many opportunities to share a communal moment around music. Remember, the audience is as much a part of the performance as those who are on stage. We all gain energy from each other. And of course, it remains true that such an experience lifts our spirit.


Jazz

Wednesday, March 8

Monty Alexander Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) Jamaica-born pianist Monty Alexander  began playing at age six, and by the time he was a teenager, had a popular band called Monty and the Cyclones. He moved to NYC in 1962 and began playing with folks like bassist Ray Brown and vibist Milt Jackson, and recorded his first album in 1964, when he was 20. With a soulful approach, some hints of Oscar Peterson, and a hard swinging style. He’s recorded over seventy albums since 64, but aside from occasionally using calypso rhythms, didn’t embrace his Jamaican heritage on record until the 90s. Since then he’s recorded a half-dozen or so albums using Jamaican musicians to record reggae, rock steady, and calypso tunes. He’ll be appearing with a trio tonight, which lately has included JJ Wiggins on bass, and Jason Brown on drums, so you can expect that he’ll be drawing on all parts of his vast repertoire.

Chris Bates’ Trio Explorations @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Hard-working bassist Chris Bates will be joined by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums. They’ve played with each other in a number of different contexts, and now will use that experience to find new ways to express their respective musical ideas.

Thursday, March 9

Joel Shapira, Paul Renz Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira – No Cover) 9pm (Renz-$5) It’s a night of double guitar gigs at the Vieux. Joel Shapira will play acoustic guitar during the dinner hour from 6:30 – 8:30pm. Then guitarist Paul Renz and his trio take the stage. Renz graduated from Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, where he studied with jazz greats Herb Pomeroy and George Russell. Though his Twin Cities activities revolve mainly around teaching, he’s recorded a half dozen well received, chart-topping albums and has built a fan base on the East Coast where he tours every once in a while.

Gypsy Mania @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (Tip Jar) This is definitely Hot Club music – acoustic, swinging jazz, under the direction of bandleader and world-beat guitarist Glen Helgeson. Other members of Gypsy Mania include additional outstanding musicians: Gary Schulte, violin; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Be sure to sit relatively close to the stage, as the noise level can be quite high at Hell’s Kitchen.

Sarah M. Greer & Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Greer is an under-appreciated vocalist who has the chops and skill to teach others, yet is not as well known as some of her contemporaries and students. Magraw, as those of you who have received this newsletter for a while know, is a versatile guitar player who is equally at home in a fusion trio, world music group, or accompanying a singer such as Ms Greer.

Thursday, Friday, March 9,10

Victor Wooten Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42), 9pm ($25, $32) Bassist Victor Wooten has won five Grammys, and every major award given to a bass guitarist. He’s a member of the pioneering bluegrass/jazz fusion group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, but regularly puts out his own solo recordings. For these two nights of appearances, he’ll lead a trio with Bob Franceschini on sax; and Dennis Chambers on drums.

Friday, March 10

Cannonball Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Even with so many colleges featuring jazz programs, when it comes down to it, graduates of such programs should also embrace the “old school” form of learning – playing with older, established musicians. The Cannonball Collective brings several generations of Twin Cities musicians together to celebrate the music of Cannonball Adderley. The last time they performed, the group included:  Mac Santiago, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Doug Haining, sax. This will definitely be a fun gig.

Friday, Saturday, March 10, 11

Dave King’s Vector Families @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Vector Families is one of a dozen or so projects that drummer Dave King is part of, including the Bad Plus, and Dave King’s Trucking Company. For this group, he’s joined by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; and Anthony Cox, bass/cello. This is a group that can swing while still exploring the outer reaches of chord changes and melodies. I believe they are celebrating the release of a new album.

Saturday, March 11

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set: Post Atomic Trio, with David Hamilton, piano; John Croarkin, sax; and Derrin Pinto, drums.  8:30pm, Central Standard Time; Javi Santiago – Piano, Dave Brattain – Saxophones, Steve Kenny – FLUMPET, Ted Olsen – Bass, Eric Kamau Grávátt – Drums

Davu Seru’s No Territory Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm Master Class, 7pm Concert ($10 Advance/$15 Door) This is another in the very excellent Jazz at Studio Z series. Tonight drummer/percussionist Davu Seru is featured, along with the band, featuring Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pat O’Keefe, clarinets; Nathan Hanson & Scott Fultz, saxes; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes. There will be a master class at 6pm, and two sets of music.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/Vocalist Kate Lynch always delivers a bit of history with the songs she and Her Most Excellent Fellows perform. Not so much about the song itself, but about the era in which it was popular. She says that about 1/5 of the presentation is about history, which is about right, from what I can tell. The rest is swinging, danceable music, from early to mid 20th Century.

Monday, March 13

Andrew Tomten Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Tomtem is a young saxophonist who’ll be leading a trio tonight, playing mostly his own compositions.

Tuesday, March 14

Chris Lomheim @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Pianist Lomheim has been inspired by Bill Evans, but has his own sound – one that is imaginative and often contemplative, yet he can swing mightily, and serve as the foundation for larger groups. Tonight he’s by himself, providing first class music for diners.

Sam Miltich & Charmin Michelle @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35/Dinner) This is a very promising combination, one that will work well in Crooners’ listening room. Sam Miltich is an extraordinary jazz guitarist who comes from the northern woods of Minnesota. He plays gypsy jazz with the Clearwater Hot Club, but is also enamored of traditional jazz, Brazilian fork music, French Musettes and other world musics. He’ll be playing with Charmin Michelle, whose creamy dreamy voice, perfect diction, and great sense of time have made her popular both here and in Europe (especially Spain), and its jazz musicians. They’ll have added help from bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Jay Epstein.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Dough Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, lead this 17 piece aggregation in the classic sounds of Ellington and Basie, as well as Thad Jones, Clare Fischer, and others.

 

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 8

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) though Rockin’ is part of his name, don’t be fooled. Guitarist Johnny Burgin is no blues rocker, but rather an effective acolyte of traditional Chicago blues. He grew up in Mississippi and South Carolina, but got his start in Chicago playing with Taildragger, and touring with folks like Pinetop Perkins and drummer Sam Lay. He’s doing a mini-tour of the Twin Cities, playing in Holihans’ The Schooner, and Shaw’s over the next few days. Usually, he would appear on Harold’s House Party first, but the show is pre-empted today for International Women’s Day programming.

David Lindley @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) During his time as featured accompanist with Jackson Browne and leader of his own band El Ray-X, multi-instrumentalist David Lindley often drew inspiration from, and played, music from around the world. He often includes elements of African, Arabic, Asian, Turkish, and Malagasy music, and, when combined with his many stringed instruments, colorful outfits, unique sense of humor, and elfin looks, creates a wholly satisfying and enjoyable music experience for listeners.

Thursday, March 9

Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Ace bottleneck guitar player Jeff Ray can be depended upon to take traditional or well-known songs, and recast them, sometimes with Eastern influences, sometimes creating an old-timey song out of a rock n’ roller. The Stakes are usually Mikkel Beckman  on percussion and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica. Though this video is titled as Hurricane Harold, it’s essentially Jeff & the Stakes.

Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 door) Thanks to help from many volunteers, The Cedar Cultural Center can keep expenses low enough to bring in a wide variety of music from around the world. Tonight they are featuring the duo of Ballake Sissoko, a Malian master of the traditional 21-stringed kora, a harp-like instrument, and French cellist Vincent Segal, who has a background in trip-hop. Their collaboration results in hauntingly beautiful chamber music, which, by the way, is the name of their album.

Friday, March 10

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) Walker’s regular appearances at Crooners are always happy affairs, with a full house, and people finding space to dance amongst the tables. Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for both Goldwax in Memphis, and Chess records in Chicago. His latest recording, If Nothing Ever Changes, won a Blues Music Award as Best Blues Album of 2015 in the New Recordings/Southern Soul Category. He also won an award as Comeback Artist of the Year.

Grant Hart’s Birthday @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) Grant Hart was a founding member of the influential post-punk band Hüsker Dü. In fact, this year marks the 30th Anniversary of their album Warehouse Songs and Stories. Hart is turning 56, and he’s celebrating at the Hook, along with his friends The Fury Things, a trio that plays fast, loud songs, much in the spirit of Hüsker Dü, and The Rank Strangers, a band that has won numerous awards over its 27 year history.

Saturday, March 11

Cajun Cats @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon – 2pm (No Cover) Get yourself some lunch from the Cajun/Creole menu at Como Dockside and listen to music from Southern Louisiana, as performed by Shawn Gidden, Gary Powell, and John Terr on violin, button accordion, and guitar.

Saturday Salon: Bach to Bruch @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 3pm ($20) Here’s another performance in Crooner’s Saturday afternoon series of chamber music, curated and hosted by Maria Jette. Today, Mark Mazullo (piano), Tom Rosenberg (cello), Rena Kraut (clarinet), perform pieces by Bach, Schumann, Beethoven, and Max Bruch.

Hurricane Harold @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No Cover) Harpmaster Hurricane Harold is joined by guitarist/vocalist Doug Otto for some dinnertime blues.

SubDudes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60) This New Orleans group has released ten albums over the course of 25 years, drawing on the roots of R&B, gospel, jazz, and rock n’ roll that exemplify so much of the music coming out of the Big Easy. They are led by Tommy Malone on guitar; and John Magnie on accordion; and include Steve Amendee on tambourine and Tim Cook on bass.

Malamanya @ The Uptown VFW, 2916 Lyndale Ave So. Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Here’s a group that mines vintage Cuban music as well as current salsa, to create music that will have folks getting out their dancing shoes. The Uptown VFW has plenty of space to twirl and spin.

Prohibition Swing Night @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 advance/$12 Door) It’s a celebration of old time swing music, featuring the Mississippi Hot Club and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League. The Mississippi Hot Club will draw their performance from the hot club sound of the 30s, while incorporating romantic ballads, European folk music, and American jazz into their set. The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League draws their inspiration from the early 20th Century, but adds a modern sensibility to their compositions. Swing era costumes are encouraged and swing dance lessons will be provided at 8:30pm.

Sunday, March 12

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm (No cover) Charanga Tropical was founded in 2006 by saxophonist/flautist Doug Little, who, in the course of a decade, studied for about a year with master musicians and musicologists in Cuba. This is a traditional Charanga group, with a vocalist, violins, flute and full Latin percussion. The play danzons, that stately dance created in Cuba when French immigrants from Louisiana and Haiti settled in Cuba. Their latest album, In Cuba, was recorded in the legendary Egram Studios in Havana. They also play salsas and other Cuban music as well, so dancers will be out in force for this Sunday matinee.

Eric Gales @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) This blues rock guitarist has been called “the best guitarist in the world today” by none other than Joe Bonamassa. Gales grew up in a musical family and released his first album to raves in 1991, when he was only 16. Three years later he played with Carlos Santana at 1994’s Woodstock. Gales has released 17 albums, and has performed as a sideman on dozens of others. Though right-handed, he was taught to play a right-handed guitar upside down by his left-handed older brother. He’s fleet-fingered, tasty, and just as likely to play something by Cream, Hendrix, or Stevie Wonder as he is to play straight blues. Here’s a song from his latest album, to be released March 24th.

Monday, Tuesday, March 12, 13

Judy Collins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60 – $75) The New York Times calls her a “Folk Goddess,” but folk music is only one part of her repertoire, which has included art songs since she began recording. Collin’s crystalline voice helped bring Steven Sondheims Send in the Clowns to the masses, and introduced many fans to the main song from the musical Marat/Sade. She was one of the first singers to record songs by Leonard Cohen, and had a huge hit with Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now. Her appearance at the Dakota a few years back was absolutely charming. Given that she has a new album coming out called A Love Letter to Steven Sondheim, this show has been dubbed Sondheim and Hits. Special guest Kenny White opens.

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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