Music Lifts the Spirit: 11.9 – 11.15

November 9, 2016

unknown-2I’m sure that many of you are feeling like Casey, after his turn at the bat, but looking at the results of yesterday’s election, I’d wager that at least some of my readers are celebrating. I have no idea what kind of music our new President will bring to the White House, but whether you are celebrating or commiserating, music has the power to elevate your spirits, and this week we’ve got many opportunities to do so, from both visiting and resident artists, including the movies about music at the Sound Unseen Festival. Here’s a few ideas.


Wednesday, November 9

Leigh Kamman Legacy Project Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant is donating all of the $10 cover to the Leigh Kamman Legacy Project. All of the musicians playing for free. They include: The Larry McDonough Quartet;  Patty Peterson; Doug Haining and the Twin Cities 7;  Steve Blons; The Santiago Trio; and more. Maryann Sullivan will serve as the emcee. Families and students are welcome.

Debbie Duncan sings Oscar Brown Jr. @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Oscar Brown Jr was a jazz singer and songwriter who not only wrote originals, but wrote words for tunes like Work Song, Dat Dere, and Afro Blue. Tonight, the award-winning Debbie Duncan honors the late vocalist by singing his songs.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates bring along Joe Srachan on piano and Miguel Hurtado on drums to play originals and improvise on jazz standards.

Thursday, November 10

Sarah M Greer with Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Greer teaches singers, including well established vocalists, how to scat and how to find their true voice. Additionally, she has collaborated with dancers and other artists, and works with four different groups, including Jay Young & the Lyric Factory. Here she is doing some gospel.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Nick Syman Quartet CD Release 9pm (Tip Jar) Trombonist Nick Syman leads this quartet, which includes Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olsen, bass, and Pete James Johnson, drums.

Friday, November 11

Brian Culbertson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) Keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Culbertson is one of the most successful artists around who can cross between contemporary R&B, jazz, and funk. His 16th album, recently released, is entitled “Funk!” is a throwback to greasy horn licks, snaky bass lines, and funky drums.

Jana Nyberg & Sean Turner @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Nyberg in a different setting than usual, accompanied by pianist Sean Turner, rather than singing with her group, or husband Adam Meckler. Here she is with her band.

Mancrush Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Lars-Erik Larson, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Zacc Harris, guitar, are among the busiest musicians in town. This quartet applies their improvisational skills to a variety of genres, from folk to Bartok, not to mention the original tunes of bandleader Lars-Erik Larson.

Saturday, November 12

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitar master Chris Olson and cello master Greg Byers play duets at 7pm, followed at 8:30 by a CD release party for “Addendum” from the Illicit Sextet: Paul Harper, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; David Roos, guitar; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a video from some years back.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band CD Release @ The Parkway, Minneapolis. ($15 Advance, $17 Door) It’s the “Southside Shake Show” as the brass band from Madison, WI roars into town to preview the release of Brass Jackson, a CD full of Michael Jackson music. They’ll also have the Southside Aces along for the ride, so the party spirit of New Orleans will be in full flower.

Sunday, November 13

Dan Chouinard & Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner)  A couple of veteran musicians – Pianist Chouinard & vocalist Evingson – will be performing music of composers who were born during the month of November.

Monday, November 14

Catherine Russell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45) Vocalist Russell has worked with folks such as Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Michael Feinstein, Al Kooper and others. Her dad, the late Luis Russell, was a long time music director for Louis Armstrong, and her mom, Carlene Ray, performed with the pioneering International Sweethearts of Rhythm, as well as with Mary Lou Williams and Sy Oliver. It’s no surprise then, that Russell prefers to reinvigorate older songs. Her latest album, “Harlem on My Mind” celebrates the golden era of African American song, with tunes from Billie Holiday, Etta James, Benny Carter, Fats Waller, and others. Previous appearances have always been delightful.

Tuesday, November 15

Joyce Lyons CD Release @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) Vocalist/actress Lyons has performed at venues around the country, including a special concert for the Supreme Court. Tonight she’s celebrating the release of “Song for You” with the help of Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

The Mill City Hot Club and Connie Evingson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Once a month Tuesdays at the Vieux are given over to Hot Jazz, the acoustic swing that includes elements of Gypsy Jazz, and reinterpretations of contemporary pop songs and the Great American Songbook. Tonight the Mill City Hot Club will start things off, with vocalist Connie Evingson joining the group for the second set.

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


Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 9

Javier Matos on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) A solo gig by the outstanding guitarist/singer.

Sarah Morris/Galen Weston Band @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Morris – No Cover), 8pm (Weston – $8) Singer/Songwriter Morris has built a solid reputation gigging around town and in small tours around the area. After the dinner hour, we’ll be treated to a rare Vieux booking of someone from outside the Twin Cities. Canadian guitarist Weston and his band just completed two tours with the Gypsy Kings and Dave Sanborn. His band includes Cuban drummer Michel Medrano Brindis; Canadian saxophonist Richard Underhill, and Czech basis Lukas Kytna.

Thursday, November 10

Sue Orfield guests with the Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) While the four-piece Butanes always live up to their awards as the Best Blues Band in the Cities, the Thursday night gigs at Shaw’s are somewhat of an open-ended affair, with folks like Maurice Jacox, Willie Walker, and Jellybean Johnson sitting in whenever they’re visiting the club. Tonight, however, Wisconsin saxophonist Sue Orfield will be joining the band all night. Whether she’s improvising to the changes of I’ve Got Rhythm, or blowing a mean blues, Orfields’ command of her instrument adds depth and excitement to any group in which she participates. Here’s Sue with her own band.

Friday, November 11

Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Mack sings the blues, but not the 12 bar kind. You’re likely to hear roots-based gospel, Motown, or even a bit of alt country. Just the kind of music to go over with the TGIF customers at Crooners.

Nigel Egg, Tim Fast, and Dan Rumsey @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 7:00pm (Tip Jar) This is a “Songwriters in the Round” event with all three singer-songwriters on stage at the same time. They will each take turns to play while the others might harmonize, play some accompaniment and make cruel jokes in between songs.

Rich Lewis Band @ Erté, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar?) Lewis was a founding member of the fabled Explodo Boys back in the late 70s. The guitarist/singer leads the band through a mix of R&B, Motown and New Orleans. Given the venue, I suspect this will be the smaller version of the band, rather than the six-piece group, which plays for venues where dancing occurs.  Here’s the larger version of the band.

Saturday, November 12

Eddies @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar) Sea shanties, work songs, and murder ballads by four guys who only use an instrument or two. the warm, obviously Irish Dubliner is a perfect place to hear this quartet.

Black Market Brass @ Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Here’s a group of area musicians who have done a lot of listening to Fela Kuti, Tony Allenm, and Evo Taylor, using their inspiration to create original Afrobeat and Afrofunk tunes, as well as the occasional cover. Complex rhythms that are nevertheless easy to dance to, brash brass, and exciting guitar work make for compelling grooves that will have you moving your hips and all other parts of your body.

Paul Cebar @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee native Cebar has been visiting the Twin Cities for nigh unto 30 years, always with a gaggle of excellent musicians. During that time his sound has evolved from classic danceable R&B to polyrhythmic celebrations incorporating Latin, Afro, and other world sounds, though it still remains unabashedly danceable, as both long time and brand new fans will attest.

Sunday, November 13

Sound Unseen @ Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 5pm, 7pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door at each show) The music cinema Festival screens two movies of interest to area R&B fans. At 5pm it’s Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows, about the Chicago guitarist/singer who used to make regular trips to the Twin Cities, and who has been a huge influence on Black music for the last 5 or 6 decades, from Blues, Soul, and Funk, to Hip-Hop, where the guitar lines and funky beats of his drummers were heavily sampled. The at 7pm it’s Bang! The Bert Berns Story, the founder of Bang! Records, writer of songs like Twist & Shout, Take A Piece of My Heart, Hang On Sloopy, I Want Candy, and more, and a guy who unwittingly made connections with the Mob in NYC.

Atlanta Rhythm Section @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($30 – $40) The ARS, as they are often known, were the house band at Studio 1 in Georgia. A couple of them had been in the Classics IV, and recruited the other three members from Roy Orbison’s backing band. They’ve recorded 15 albums since 1972, and were often looked to as a Southern band that would stand with the Allmans and Lynard Skynard. Though they never came close to the popularity of those bands, the group had a strong following in the South and charted a consistent string of hits such as “Doraville”, “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight”, “Champagne Jam”, “So Into You”, “Imaginary Lover”, “Do It Or Die”, “Neon Nites” and a cover version of the Classics IV 1968 hit, “Spooky.”

Monday, November 14

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) “Fingers” is a former National Fingerpicking champion who used to perform as part of a highly popular radio variety show. He and some of his “So Called Friends” are performing their Annual Food Shelf Benefit tonight, so bring a bit more $$ than you usually do for a tip jar show.

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.

Live Music and a Pledge Drive, Week 2. Music: 3.18 – 3.24

March 18, 2015

imagesWell, it’s week two of KFAI’s Spring Pledge Drive and we’re about to celebrate the Vernal Equinox and the arrival of spring this Friday at 5:45pm here in the Twin Cities. As James Brown once put it, “Please, Please, Please” pledge to KFAI during my show on Saturday morning (10:30 – Noon) or online at

That message isn’t meant to distract from the myriad of music offerings we have here, from Saturday night jazz in Lowertown, to old folkies, young Afrobeat adherents, and resident musicians performing the music of Hawaii and Scandanavia. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, March 18

Pete Whitman Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tenor saxophonist Whitman is a teacher, the leader of the X-Tet and the McNally Smith Big Band, and an in-demand sideman around town. Tonight he brings his leadership and playing skills to bear on a quintet of stellar musicians, with Chris Lomheim, piano; Chris Olsen, guitar; Jay Young, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, March 19

Harmonic Convergence @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s not a line-up in the sky, but rather a six-piece vocal ensemble from Iowa, directed by Lucas Mattson, son of arranger Phil Mattson.

Friday, March 20

Ms Mountain

Ms Mountain

Vicky Mountain Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) It’s well worth a trip to Bloomington to hear the singing’ and swingin’ Ms Mountain, accompanied by the ever tasteful duo of Phil Aaron, piano; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Donald Washington Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Multi-instrumentalist Washington is always a revelation when he plays, whether the compositions are standards or composed on the spot. With Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums.

Jake Baldwin Group @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar?) Baldwin is the fine trumpet player who has been gigging around town as a sideman and with his own groups. Tonight, he’s leading a pack of young lions, including Nelson Deveraux, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson on drums.

Clarke & Louis

Clarke & Louis

Louis & Clarke @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Steve Clarke and Louis Sinclair celebrate the release of their first CD: “three of one.” With Clarke, an eleven time winner of the Minnesota Music Award, on soprano sax, Sinclair on Chapman Stick (a tall, guitar-like instrument with ten strings) and Michael Bisonette on drums and percussion, they are using 19th and 20th century instruments to create 21st century jazz.

Actually, they are visible

Actually, they are visible

Invisible Guy + Metzger, Lewis, Cox, & Bates @ Icehouse, MInneapolis. 10pm ($8) Hamir Atwal, drums; Ben Goldberg, clarinet; and Michael Coleman, piano, are currently from the Bay area, and now driving around the Midwest to various gigs. Each comes from a varied background that ranges from Klezmer and Classical to mainstream and exploratory jazz. As a trio, they are in strict pursuit of a beautiful melody. Also on the bill is the exploratory music of Paul Metzger, guitar and built instruments; Michael Lewis, sax; Anthony Cox, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, March 21

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Opening is King Fletcher Woods, with Jeff King, Charles, Fletcher, Eron Woods, drums. Illicit Sextet at 8:30pm with Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, sax; David Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; Nathan Norman, drums; and Steve Kenny, flumpet.

Dave Hagedorn Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Dave Hagedorn is an extraordinary vibes player, who recorded two albums with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra, and who gigs regularly with the Phil Hey Quartet. Tonight he’s teaming up with guitarist Zacc Harris to pay homage to the Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery album Bags Meets Wes. The band is rounded out with Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Corey Healey, drums. Sure to be a treat. Here’s a clip of Hagedorn in action with the Phil Hey Quartet.

Scott Horey @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) Horey is a solo percussionist who specializes in drums and marimba. Aside from performing a couple of actual solo pieces, he will be joined in a program of originals and new classical music by Bethany Gonella flute; Trent Baarspul, guitar; Ted Godbout, keyboards; Karen Kozak, electric fiddle; Douglas Brown, bass; and Charlie Engen, drums. I recently did an interview with him, which you can hear on my show Saturday morning, or read the post just prior to this one.

Monday, March 23

The Adam Meckler Quintet + Zacc Harris Group @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. ($8) Expect an evening with lots of original music. As Meckler himself describes his group – Adam Meckler: Trumpet/Fleugal/Pen/Paper; Nelson Devereaux: Tenor/Alto/Soprano/Hair; Zacc Harris: Guitar/Birthday; Graydon Peterson: Bass/Kung Fu; Greg Schutte: Drums/George Clooney. First up is the Zacc Harris Group playing Harris originals: Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums. Here’s Adam doing his thing.

Monday, Tuesday, March 23, 24

Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42), 9pm ($30) Tyrell always delivers an evening of swinging romantic music, calling upon standards and pop songs from the last half century. He started out as a producer at Scepter Records in the 60s, working with Bacharach & David, and producing a number of hits over the years. Eventually Tyrell was producing music for a number of hit films, and in the 90s sang “The Way You Look Tonight” for the movie Father of the Bride. It launched his singing career, in which he evokes the era of Sinatra, Dean Martin and the like, though with more charm, a rasp in his voice, and less braggadocio.

Tuesday, March 24

Dave Stanoch @ McNally Smith Auditorium, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Stanoch is a versatile drummer who has played with the likes of Sheryl Crow, George Clinton, Jack McDuff and Ben Sidran, among others. He currently teaches at McNally Smith, plays in a half-dozen groups around town, is a contributor to Modern Drummer magazine, and has written a drumset method book, Mastering the Tables of Time, Vol. 1. McNally Smith students will perform in the lobby at 5pm, followed by Stanoch (& friends?) in the auditorium at 6pm.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 18

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3, 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) As part of KFAI’s Spring Pledge Drive, Harold Tremblay has brought in an Iowa duo with a big fan base in the Twin Cities. Joe and Vicki visit our towns with some regularity, playing blues that sound more at home in the southern reaches of the Mississippi River than in Northern Iowa. Listen, and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Haley Bonar @ Rock the Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $25 ) The folks at the Ordway are doing a great job of celebrating the new concert hall by bringing in a wide variety of acts. Haley Bonar is a case in point. In the last decade, the Twin Cities by way of Rapid City and Duluth singer has released eight albums and increasingly earned acclaim for her alt roots/alt folk/alt rock music. Bonar has gained the respect and collaboration of many area musicians, such as Dave King and Andrew Bird, and always has a top-notch band, which might include musicians such as Jake Hanson, Jeremy Ylvisaker, and Mike Lewis.

Wednesday, Thursday, March 18, 19

Tom Paxton & Janis Ian @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) The Greenwich Village Folk Scene may be a thing of the past, but two of its participants are at the Dakota to give us a taste of that time and the intervening years. Back in the day Paxton was known for his protest songs, but he also wrote songs about love and humor, including a few that became folk standards, including “Ramblin’ Boy” and the “Last Thing on My Mind.” Ian was only 15, when “Society’s Child,” her hit song of interracial romance, came out about 1967. It was provocative for the time, to say the least. She then received a Grammy in the mid-70s for “At Seventeen,” a song with great insight into teen musings. They’ll appear on stage together, swapping stories and songs, for most of the show.

Thursday, March 19

Joe & Viki Price @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) In case you missed them at the 331 Club last night, Joe & Vicki will be the featured guests of washboard/percussionist Mikkel Beckman. Given the relaxed atmosphere at the Dubliner, this happy hour gig is about as good as it gets.

Friday, March 20

Tinsley Ellis @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Like many other guitarists who grew up in the late 60s and early 70s, Ellis’ blues have always veered towards the rockin’ side, though he is capable of emotional fire as well. Though often called a better guitarist than vocalist, his last album In From the Cold has him in good voice. The Rhythm Roosters open.

Black Market Brass @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The folks at Secret Stash Records are presenting another evening of their artists. The headliners, Black Market Brass, play original Afrobeat as well as their interpetations of Afrobeat classics. Secret Stash’s house band is The Lakers, who honed their chops touring and recording as the backing band for Sonny Knight. Gospel Machine is a garage-gospel group from NE Minneapolis, featuring Jayanthe Kyle, of Black Audience, on vocals.

Saturday, March 21

Drew Druckry & the Dharma Hounds @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Drew Druckry (North Country Bandits, Julie Johson & the No-Accounts) has a new band, whose members have toiled in a number of groups ranging from the Kung Fu Hippies to Jason Dixon Line, White Iron Band,  and Root City. The Dharma Hounds concentrate on blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock. Opening are a highly compatible group, the Swamp Kings, who’ve been purveyors of New Orleans Funk, and Cajun boogie for almost ten years now.

Hula Peppers @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Celebrate the Equinox with the Mid-Winter Luau. Hawaiian themed garb is encouraged, and will be welcome as you dance, dance, dance to the old-time and Hawaiian sounds of the Hula Peppers. Also on hand will be Patty & the Buttons, so it will be an accordion-centric Luau.

Scandinavian Music Showcase @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) This caught my eye despite the fact that I know little about most of the performers, who include, Kari Tauring, Bob & Lynne Dixon, The Twin Cities Hardanger Fiddle Group, The Nordic Bees and more. When it comes to music, there’s always more to learn.

The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?)  One of the regular appearances for this 10-piece band at MMC. There’s always a dancing crowd, which isn’t surprising given the band’s funkiness and the bar’s commodious dance floor.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) The Digdown guys are an 8-piece band based in Madison, though a couple of their members hail from the Twin Cities. Lots of fun, whether playing a Jackson Five song or traditional New Orleans number.

Sunday, March 22

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm – 8pm (No Cover) It’s a take-no-prisoners battle for bragging rights and a chance to play the Lowertown Blues Festival this summer. Attend, listen, and vote for one of the following: Dee Miller Band; Prior Avenue, Bluedog, and Squishy Mud.

Tuesday, March 23

Paul Mayasich & Big George Jackson @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8:30pm (tip Jar?) Ooh, the guitar playing skills of Mayasich and the deep vocals of Big George, together at the WBL watering hole.

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. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.

Lotsa Music: 9.10 – 9.16

September 10, 2014
The Selby Jazz Festival attracts dancers.

The Selby Jazz Festival attracts dancers.

Well as the temps drop a bit, and we’re reminded that Fall is on the way, there are plenty of opportunities to hear music. You will note that we are blessed with multiple ideas on some nights, whether you’re into jazz, blues, roots, or a combination thereof. With the variety of music at hand, there is surely something for you to get out and see. Music lifts the spirit. Have a great week.


Wednesday, September 10 

Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road: Tribute to Sydney Bechet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Clarinetist Evan Christopher calls his music “contemporary early jazz,” which, I guess is a fairly accurate description. While his repertoire includes many songs from the early 20th Century, Christopher’s playing is anything but stodgy. He swings with ease and is very imaginative when it comes to soloing. Tonight he’ll be paying homage to Sydney Bechet, one of the first important soloists in jazz, even beating Louis Armstrong to the recording studio by a few months. Here’s a video of him doing a Bechet tune.

Kevin Washington Group, Pippi Ardennia All-Stars, & Cory Wong Group @ Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Another presentation of three fine groups by the Mobile Jazz Project. It takes place in the parking lot at Calhoun Square.

Enormous Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thompson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Joey Van Phillips, drums. Bright stars all, this quartet of talented players have long been friends and have long played together, as a quartet and in various combinations. Expect some terrific soloing as they push each other to discover new ways of communicating via music.

Lila Ammons @ the Tangiers, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) With it’s red color scheme and lighting The Tangiers’ posh booths, leather couches, and lavish chandeliers make it a lux nightclub, though the prices are reasonable. They serve flatbreads, salads, and small plates, and on Wednesday nights feature jazz.  Tonight it’s vocalist Lila Ammons, whose signature combination of jazz and blues cannot be beat.

Thursday, September 11

Colleen Raye @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The versatile vocalist performs jazz and cabaret  tunes with ease. Raye will be accompanied by Gary Raynor, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; as they record live in the relaxed setting of this basement club.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The last show in the All Originals Jazz Series features the largest band – the 17 piece Adam Meckler Orchestra. They are preparing for the official release of their very fine CD, and will be premiering a new piece this evening. Here’s a video of a tune from the new album.

Fuzzy Math @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10pm ($6) Mark Vandermyde, piano; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums, play some jazz for West Metro fans. As I’ve mentioned before, the 318 only holds about 40 people, so reservations are a good idea.

Corey Healy, Adam Linz, and Jake Baldwin @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Thursday night musical adventures continue at the Khyber pass. The first set is Corey Healy on solo percussion. The second set features Healy, along with Adam Linz, bass; and Noah Baldwin, trumpet.

Friday, September 12

Guitarmageddon @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Well, guitarmageddon might be an over-reach, but we do have two excellent guitarists, Dean Granros and Zacc Harris, joining with Chris Bates on bass and Jay Epstein on drums, for an evening of fine music.

Saturday, September 13

Selby Jazz Festival @ Selby & Milton, Saint Paul. 11am – 8pm. (Free) This annual event is featuring superstar drummer Harvey Mason, and resident saxophonist Dave Kusz, who has a new album out with a bit of an edge for someone identified with “smooth jazz.” Dick & Jane’s Brass Band will open the proceedings with a second line stroll through the neighborhood, then add a few more instruments and vocalist Maurice Jacox for the Jazz Heritage Showcase. Other acts include The Walker West Legends of Jazz, Jason Weisman & Q, and the 50-piece strong Brio Brass.

John Raymond’s Roots Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) Here’s a chance to see a NYC-based group in the intimate confines of Studio Z. Raymond is a Minnesota native has received praise in the NY Times for his trumpet playing and performed as a leader at clubs like Smalls, the Blue Note, and Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. He’ll be in town to record with his Roots Trio, which includes Gilad Hekselman on guitar, and Colin Stranahan on drums. Here is Raymond with a quartet.

Monday, September 15

Steve Kenny @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The trumpeter continues to find new groups with which to express himself. Tonight he’s joined by Ted Goudbout, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. As always on a Monday night, a jam session occurs about 10pm.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Another evening with two groups. First up is Jacob Hanson, guitar; James Buckley, bass; and JT Bates, drums. Second set is double drum group Real Bulls, consisting of JT Bates and Dave King on drums.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 10

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm hour (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Dig In Magazine states that Crankshaft’s amalgam of blues, country, swing, rock n’ roll, and surf “could not have been imagined prior to the early punk scene.” He’s got enough energy to run a Tesla, and a sense of humor to boot. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour, and if you like what you hear, see him in person starting at 7pm. BTW, it’s also a birthday party for Kathy Schwalbe (the wife of guitarist Dan Schwalbe), so the room will have an extra punch of energy. Here’s an example of Crankshaft at work.

Vieux Farka Toure @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Malian guitar giant Toure has been hailed as “The Hendrix of the Sahara.” He’s the son of the late Ali Farka Toure, who discouraged his son from becoming a musician due to the pressures Ali had experienced. Eventually, Vieux received his blessing before Ali passed. Known for his speed and dexterity on the guitar, Toure is also able to connect the blues to his native music (much like his father did), as evidenced in his 2011 album, The Secret, recorded with Dave Matthews, Derek Trucks, and John Scofield. Guitarist Kenn Wanaku, of West Africa, but now living in Minneapolis opens, and DJ Brian Engel spins before and between sets.

Thursday, September 11

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, ($40 – $50) 9pm ($35 – $45) I’m afraid both shows are sold out. Read about her in this past Sunday’s Star Tribune.

The Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Soulful, funky, instrumental rock, evoking Booker T & the MsGs, The Meters, The Raybeats, and others.

Friday, September 12

The Butanes @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) While the site of the original Blues Saloon may be under the wrecking ball, the new (ish) location still features the blues early on Friday evenings. Just made for folks of a certain age to be able to get out and dance and still get home well before midnight. Tonight the oft-elected Twin Cities best blues band plays for your dancing pleasure.

Black Market Brass & Malamanya @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Oh Boy! Here’s a great evening for folks who love world music. You get the Afrobeat funk of Black Market Brass and the sensuous Latin rhythms of Malamanya. I’m thinking the place will be crowded. Here’s Black Market Brass at a recent festival.

The Silvertones @ The Schooner Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Sometimes you just want to hear a band play some good old tunes from way back in the day, like maybe the 60s. Maybe you’ll be inspired to get up a dance a bit between sips on your favorite beverage. This is the band. It’s hard not to have fun when they’re playing.

Saturday, September 13

Luke the Uke’s Cartoon ExtravaGonzo @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 11:30am – 1pm. ($8m $5 for 12 and under) Luke the Uke (aka Tom Lieberman) mines the cartoon archives, and along with his friends DJ Mr. Gosh on the Ancient MixMaster and Lady Miss Ian on vintage laptop, provides a morning’s worth of fun and silliness. Special musical guests The Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers. Grownups bring kids! Kids bring grownups!

Sunday, September 14

Daddy Squeeze, Pat Donohue, and Richard Kriehn @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) Well, here’s an afternoon delight for fans of acoustic roots music. Daddy Squeeze will deliver all you expect and a whole lot more out of his accordion. Pat Donohue will delight finger-picking fans, and Richard Kriehn will add the sound of a mandolin to the proceedings.

Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) As the old chewing gum commercial went, Double Your Pleasure, Double Your Fun. At least if you’re a fan of fingerpicking guitar, since Tim and Phil are two of the best. Period. Of course, if you were at the Amsterdam earlier today, you would have seen another great finger-picker in Pat Donohue.

Tuesday, September 16

New Ruckus Composer Night @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm. (Free) If you ever wondered what new music (contemporary classical music) is, then tonight’s the night for you, as new music will be presented and the composers will be present to chat with the audience. Zeitgeist and the Caprice Saxophone Quartet will be performing music from Zeitgeist’s call for scores. Zeitgeist will perform Three Portraits for Clarinet and Piano by Linda Tuts Haugen and Karel Suchy’s Inner Voices. The Caprice Saxophone Quartet will perform Marc Phillip Aune’s Wedding Recessional No. 2, and Sitting on Freud’s Lap by David Evan Thomas.

Meshell Ndgeocello @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Ndegeocello is an original who stays true to herself while collaborating with writers and musicians, and drawing from a variety of genres. The groove-laden songs on her latest album Comet Come to Me, includes a cover of Leonard Cohen and another from the seminal hip-hop group Whodini.

Doug Otto & the Getaways, Fattenin’ Frogs, and Business Man @ The Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s a night of rootsy rock n’ roll at the Amsterdam. The six-pice Fattenin’ Frogs will open at 9pm with their bluesy, rock n’ roll approach to traditional music, followed by Doug and the boys at 10 with music that evokes Robert Johnson, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams, and Buddy Guy, among others. Business Man closes at 11. They’re a quartet with drums, bass, guitar and violin.

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. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.



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