Spring into Music: 3.22 – 3.28

March 22, 2017

Spring has now officially arrived, and we’ve a surfeit of talent to catch in clubs and restaurants, as well as in bigger venues, though arenas and theaters are not usually the subject of these weekly missives. Anyway, we do have some visiting artists that may get your attention as well. So start getting out that springtime wear, though here in Minnesota it’s always a good idea to keep winter wear handy until May. Just let music lift our spirits.

PS: The Spring Pledge Drive at KFAI goes until Friday. You can still pledge your support for my show by going to http://www.kfai.org and pledging on-line

Jazz

Wednesday, March 22

Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Guitarist Dean Magraw shows up in these newsletters quite often, since he’s so damn versatile that he plays in a variety of settings. Tonight, he’s teaming up with pianist (and occasional clarinetist) Butch Thompson  whose knowledge of, and forays into, traditional and New Orleans jazz are formidable.

Debbie Duncan & Margaret Cox @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner show) Here’s an intriguing match-up of two vocalists. Duncan is well-known in jazz circles for her very able, and sometimes sassy, interpretations of standards and blues. Cox  on the other hand, is better known to Prince aficionados, having recorded numerous unreleased songs with him. She is also a featured singer with Mambo’s Combo (aka The Combo) at Bunkers. Back in the day she sang with the Doug Maynard Band and the TC Jammers among others, and then led Ta Mara and the Scene, a Jesse Johnson-produced example of the Minneapolis sound of the 80s. She always kills it during Combo appearances, and will provide a strong foil to Duncan. Here’s a video for one of the few Prince songs that was released.

Sound/Simulacra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 Student w/ID) Each month John Keston  sound design; and Cody McKinney, bass, composition; bring together improvising musicians to attack music from several directions. This week’s special guest is violinist Leah Ottman, aka LOTT (Wind in the Willows), who has brought her classical experiments music to both roots and rock bills around town.

Thursday, March 23

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A classic piano trio led by the inimitable Peter Schimke  whose chops have been honed in a variety of settings and recordings. He’ll be accompanied by Chris Bates, Bass; and Cory Healey on Drums. Here is Schimke solo.

Paris Chansons @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Julia Kantor, a sultry Ukranian songstress, together with her husband Jacob, from Russia, and Max Cohen, from Morocco, perform jazz standards and other classics in French, Russian, Italian, and other languages. The singers of the Los Angeles based Paris Chansons will be backed by their five piece band.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Former Minnesota Orchestra tympanist Kogan has been keeping busy performing jazz since his retirement a couple of years ago. Tonight, his group consists of: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman sax; Phil Aaron, piano; Jeff  Bailey, bass ; with Kogan on drums. It may be a classic hard bop line-up but Kogan’s compositions explore many more avenues in jazz.

Friday, March 24

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm-9pm (Tip Jar)

Shorai’s honey-sweet vocals, when combined with her ability to convey heartache with the slightest crack of her voice, are reasons to sit close to the stage at this somewhat noisy place.

Wozniak, Adkins, Peterson, Peterson @ Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight a couple of up and coming musicians: Patrick Adkins, piano, compositions; Luke Peterson, drums, compositions; perform with a couple of veterans: Graydon Peterson, bass; and Brandon Wozniak, sax; .

Kneedelus @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapoils. 8pm ($28) A Live Collaboration between Kneebody and Daedelus  Many in the jazz community find Kneebody’s music, which is certainly based in jazz, to be unclassifiable, though they’ve collaborated with musicians in a number of genres, even getting a Grammy nomination for their work interpreting the music of Charles Ives. According to Nate Chine in the New York Times, the music of Kneebody  “uses a common jazz instrumentation to make a somewhat less common amalgam of urban-signifying genres, from electro-pop to punk-rock to hip-hop.” Tonight they are playing with Daedelus, a producer with 18 solo albums to his credit, as well as EPs and dozens of remixes for other artists. Their work together ranges from chill mediations to explosive grooves.

Saturday, March 25

Dorothy Doring: Roaring 20s Cabaret @ Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Parkway, Eagan. 2pm ($15 Adults, $10 under 12 – Cash or Check only) Doring is an engaging, soulful vocalist who will be performing a one hour show as a scholarship fundraiser for her teacher sorority – Alpha Delta Kappa.  (The ECC is located off 494 & Pilot Knob Road)

4th Annual Jazz at Studio Z Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 5pm – 9pm ($12 Advance, $16 Door) Zacc Harris and his JASZ associates have presented a consistently good monthly series at Studio Z, using both straight-ahead and forward looking groups. Things kick off today with Real Bulls, the JT Bates/Dave King drum duo, and continues with Dean Granros’ guitar-driven Tall Tales; The Adam Meckler Quintet, featuring Meckler’s intriguing compositions; and closes with  Drobka/Weller, a drums/sax duo from Milwaukee & Chicago who are about to release a CD.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm is the Shapira/Granros duo, featuring guitarists Joel Shapira and Dean Granros. At 8:30pm it’s The Ruckus Birthday Tour Conclusion w/ Rodney Ruckus, drums; Jonathon Greenstein, sax, Adam Meckler, trumpet; and others TBD

Sunday, March 26

Katia Cardenas’ Birthday Bash @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Vocalist Cardenas has been very busy of late, with auditions and workshops for various shows and a number of part-time jobs, in addition to preparing for this show. Last year’s debut CD, I’ll Be Seeing You, does a good job of spotlighting her versatility and commanding vocals. She’ll be doing songs from the Great American Songbook, as well as songs by Carole King, Amy Winehouse, and other contemporary singers.

Monday, Tuesday, March 27, 28

David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60, $70), 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Sanborn is a talented saxophonist who can appeal to dance-floor R&B fans as well as a listening-only jazz audience. He’s won six gold records, and one platinum record, and eight Grammys, and hosted a TV show. He’s played with David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, James Brown, The Stones, The Butterfield Blues Band, and more.

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 22

Lowland Lakers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Folk/bluegrass/Americana from this trio with roots in Duluth. Tune in, listen, and BTW, pledge.

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.

Thursday, March 23

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Famous Dave’s in Uptown is once again having a weekly showcase for blues bands. Tonight, the bands vying for a slot at the Lowertown Blues Festival are: Crooked DiceVibronautsMonny Ray & Triple Trouble; and the Mark Cameron Band.

Las Cafeteras @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm  ($27, $32) Las Cafeteras are an East Los Angeles band of “immigrant children,” as they call themselves. They mash up punk, hip-hop, cumbia, and rock to deliver socially conscious messages inspired by the communities in which they live. Resident artists Alma Andina open with a modern take on music from indigenous cultures of the Andes.

John McCutcheon @ the 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 9pm ($30 Tickets here) The folk veteran makes a rare appearance in this area. He’s recorded 34 albums and has thoroughly toured the US and the world. McCutcheon’s latest album, Trolling for Dreams, was released in February. This small room, with a capacity of less than 50, will provide an intimate setting for his music.

Rose Ensemble: Musique et Masqueray @ The Saint Paul Cathedral, Saint Paul. 7:30pm. ($15 – $38) Architect Emmanuel Masqueray (1861-1917) designed a number of outstanding places of worship in the area, and for four nights, the Rose Ensemble will be performing French Baroque music in them. Tonight kicks off the series at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, with guest artists Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba; Scott Pauley, theorbo; and Bruce Jacobs, organ; sitting in as the Rose Ensemble performs works by Charpentier, Cosperio, and others. On subsequent nights, the music will be performed at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Benson; (Friday), the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis (Saturday), and the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas in Saint Paul (Sunday).

Friday, March 24

Cory Stevens @ Flat Earth Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave East, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 includes one standard brew) Sample the brews of Flat Earth while listening to Stevens, a blues-based guitarist and singer/songwriter who early on (in the 90s) was compared to Stevie Ray Vaughn, but has since developed his own rockin’ sound. Flat Earth is located in the historic Hamm’s Brewery complex.

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 Reserved table) Powerhouse vocalist Ms Miller  aka The Duchess of the Blues, does real well with the weekend crowd at Crooners. Her uptempo tunes, duets with harpist Paul Meja, and choice covers often have people dancing in the aisles.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Under the Radar gig of the week, though the band’s fans (and there are many) are likely aware of this monthly gig. As regular readers may remember, Nikki & the Rue-mates play folk/rock and blues, drawing on inspiration for their originals from the late 60s and early 70s, though they’re also exploring vocal group harmony. Dusty’s is a hole-in-the-wall bar, so much so that Nikki, Rich, and Jon set up in a booth, while fans line the bar and fill up the few tables that are available.

Hipshaker 45 RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Hipshaker deejays Brian Engel, Greg Waletski, and George Rodriguez continue to entice college students and young graduates, along with a smattering of Gen Xers and the occasional Boomer with their collections of rare soul and funk 45s. Tonight they have a guest sitting in with some rare tunes: DJ Jameson.

Friday, Saturday, March 24, 25

Al Stewart Plays Year of the Cat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) Scottish singer/songwriter Stewart first took up guitar when he was swept up in Britain’s skiffle boom of the late 50s. He took guitar lessons from Robert Fripp (who would later lead King Crimson); roomed with Paul Simon in London (before Sounds of Silence was a hit); and had future Yardbird Jimmy Page playing guitar on his first single in 1966. It wasn’t until 1975 that Stewart came into his own, however, with the release of Year of the Cat, with the title song becoming a top ten hit around the globe. He followed that with Time Passages, another hit album. He’s not been able to reproduce that success, though he has continued to record and tour ever since, and in 2005 EMI records released a 5 CD box set. He’ll be performing The Year of the Cat, and more with backing from Marc Macisso and the Empty Pockets Band.

Saturday, March 25

Upper Mississippi Cajun Trio @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon – 2pm (No Cover) The Como Dockside is now featuring Saturday lunch music, featuring mostly Cajun groups. Today it’s a trio that I believe has performed under other names, but includes Shawn Glidden, Doug Lohman, and Marie Stier.

Saturday Salon: Eva Beneke @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The delightful, Saturday afternoon chamber music series at the Dunsmore Room continues with guitarist Eva Beneke  The McNally Smith teacher has performed at international guitar festivals in the China, Peru, and throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Her performances have been broadcast internationally, and on NPR, and include a live-televised performance with Carrie Underwood at the 2010 American Country Music Awards.

Minneapolis Music Showcase @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advnce, $15 Door) Here’s a chance to see four up and coming bands in one venue and still get out early enough for another show or a good night’s sleep. Headliners Sawyer’s Dream is a 7-piece band w/4 part harmonies, performing original songs inspired by Mark Twain, and the harmonies of bands like the Mamas and Papas and ABBA. The River High features the male/female vocals of Justin Law and Rena Carlson Rasmussen, along with fuzzed out guitars and a strong rhythm section. The Friendly Beers is a blue-collar rock band from Saint Paul, and Jeromy Darling is a songwriter and actor.

Soul Tight Committee @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Get out your dancing shoes and head to downtown Saint Paul where this ten-piece band will be laying down old school R&B, mostly from the 70s.

Charlie Lawson Band w/Guest Larry Hayes @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson continues his monthly residency at this warm pub. Tonight, he and his band will be joined by guitarist Larry Hayes, a founding member of Lamont Cranston, and composer/writer of “Excuse Moi, Mon Cheri” for the Blues Brothers. Hayes has won a number of MN Music Awards and is a favorite of other Twin Cities guitarists. He’s helmed the very excellent Larry Hayes and the ToneArms and currently performs with Mississippi Driftwood

Sunday, March 26

Greazy Gravy @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 3pm – 7pm (No Cover) It’s a matinee performance for this blues band featuring harp master Curtis Blake  Members of this band have been laying down blues licks for decades, so their blend of BB King, Albert Collins, a little Eric Clapton, and Chicago Blues goes down very easy.

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.


Resident Talent Abounds: 1.11 – 1.18

January 11, 2017

musicians_paint_on_silenceWell there aren’t many visiting artists this week, but there are plenty of interesting gigs in both jazz and blues/roots, which isn’t that surprising, considering what an active music scene we have in the Twin Cites. There are new combinations of artists, special presentations, and even a retirement party for some blues musicians. Not that they’re leaving the blues, but they no longer have to worry about getting up to work after a late night gig. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 11

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Sometimes, all you need is a bit of swinging music to put some snap in your step. Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; can do that for you, whether they’re playing jazz standards or putting some swing to Chopin or video game music.

Jimmy Scott Documentary @ Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This 50 seat movie house is screening I Go Back Home, a documentary about the legendary, if under-appreciated Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer without peer.  Though he began recording in the 50s, he became a prisoner to a contract that kept him from recording for about 30 years. This film features appearances by Quincy Jones, Joe Pesci, David Sanborn, and others. Check with the Trylon website to see if tickets are still available. Here’s the official trailer.

Chris Bates Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever-busy bassist uses this monthly gig to spotlight one of his several groups, or to bring together new combinations of musicians to see what happens. Tonight Bates is joined by Thomas Nordlund, guitar; JC Sanford on trombone, and possibly his brother JT on drums.

Thursday, January 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band: Songs of Sinatra @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover, but you can reserve a seat in the stage area for $10) Walesch is a talented pianist and vocalist whose clear enunciation, and ability to swing certainly qualifies him as a crooner. His ten piece band features Bob Parsons, arrangements/alto sax; Dave Karr, tenor sax; Bruce Thornton, bari sax; Mark Bobnick and Steve Wagner, trumpets; Dave Graf, trombone; Geoff LeCrone, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein on drums. There’s often a line out the door for this show, so be forewarned that it will pay to get there early. Here’s a bit of what Walesch and the big band can do.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) First set is by the Julian Manzara Quartet: Manzara, guitar; Drew Stinson, bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; George Randall, drums. Second set by the Aaron Hedenstrom Trio: Hedenstrom, saxes; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars Erik-Larson, drums. Here’s Hedenstrom performing all parts for Dolphin Dance.

Friday, January 13

Jeremy Walker, Debbie Duncan Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Duncan – $10) Another double bill of jazz at VC. Opening the evening is pianist Walker, who is a prolific composer, having written over 70 pieces for the various small bands he leads, as well as a number of commissions and the evening-length work 7 Psalms for jazz combo and choir. Then at 9pm it’s Debbie Duncan, who has been entertaining audiences with her mix of jazz, R&B, and sass for decades.

Doug Haining Presents the Music of Horace Silver @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Back in the 50s pianist Horace Silver was one of the architects of Hard Bop, infusing the improvisational wizardry of bebop with the soulfulness of gospel. The result is now considered mainstream jazz, having outlasted and outgrown a lot of other jazz movements. Tonight, saxophonist Doug Haining is gathering musicians to pay homage to Silver’s music, which includes such jazz standards as: Song for My Father, Sister Sadie, and Señor Blues. Joining Haining are: Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.

Saturday, January 14

OUDYANO @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop ($10), 7pm concert ($15, or free with workshop admission) Oudyano is the duo of Issam Rafea, oud; and Steven Hobert, eclectic keyboardist. Rafea, a native of Syria, and Hobert, of Minneapolis, have discovered a deep musical connection that’s immediately apparent when they play. Those who have heard Hobert in different settings know that he’s always a sensitive improviser, and with Rafea, he has found a musical partner that shares that sensitivity. Their music explores all the potential that’s inherent in the pairing of Arabic classical tradition with American jazz & roots. The resulting music is delightful, and if there are any political overtones to their work, it is simply the desire for peace.

 

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) There is no opening act tonight, so the Solomon Parham Quintet will perform starting at 8:30, with a stellar line-up of musicians, including: Parham, trumpet; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Graf, trombone.

Monday, January 16

Paul McCandles & Charged Particles @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Back in the late 70s and early 80s, multi-instrumentalist/reed player Paul McCandles was a member of the original Paul Winter Consort and Oregon, both of which melded classical, jazz, and world music. McCandles still performs with Oregon, though he’s also managed a solo career, performing and recording with such stellar musicians as Jaco Pastorious, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Reich, Bruce Hornsby, the String Cheese Incident, and Bela Fleck.

Very Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) I may have missed it, but I’ve not seen this group listed before in any of the dozens of websites I check each week. They’re described as “an instrumental jazz, funk and pop trio” consisting of Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Monday, January 17

Butch Thompson @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm Solo on Monday ($12, $37 w/Dinner). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial jazz recording, so its only appropriate that the Dunsmore Room features Thompson, a pianist/historian, known for his elegant playing of early jazz pieces. This is the first of two nights at the Dunsmore Room for Thompson, who will be joined by Pat Donohue on Tuesday night. (See listing under Blues and Roots, below)

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, January 11

Mikkel’s Birthday Party featuring Jeff Ray on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Slide guitar master Jeff Ray has released 6 CDs and has made fans throughout North America andEurope. Tonight he’s joined by percussionist Mikkel Beckmen, who happens to be celebrating a birthday. Using just a djembe drum and washboard, Beckmen has managed to become a percussionist about town for a number of blues and roots performers, and as a result, is a frequent visitor to Harold’s House Party. Expect some of his many musical friends to be on hand at the 331, and, as he often does, host Harold Tremblay to sit in on harp for a few numbers.

Thursday,January 12

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This energetic, enthusiastic funk n’ soul band will turn the Dakota into party central. Vocalist Jaedyn James has a powerful voice and commanding stage presence, both of which are enhanced by the 8-piece horn band and two vocalists who provide the backing.

Dean Magraw & Dan Newton, w/guest Pat Donohue @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Guitarist Magraw and accordionist Newton could easily be placed under jazz listings, but the Aster’s website says this as a folk show, and the appearance of guitarist Pat Donohue certainly steers it in that direction. All three are master musicians, so no matter what they play, it will be inspiring and entertaining.

Friday, January 13

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The blues and R&B of the five-piece Armadillo Jump never fails to bring dancers to the floor. They’re a favorite at Wilebski’s and other watering holes in the area.

Captain Gravitone & the String Theory Orchestra @ Dulono’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) This Mankato-based sextet plays a combination of acoustic rock, gypsy jazz, tangos, and roots music, led by banjoist (is that the correct term?) Eli Hoehn, with a sure sense of both theater and a sense of humor.

Americana Showcase @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Not only is it Friday the 13th, but it’s a Full Moon tonight as well, so the Hook & Ladder has put together a quartet of roots music groups sure to make the evening memorable. They’ve got bluesman Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, the world-weary vocals and deft playing of  Doug Otto & The Getaways, singer/songwriter of old-timey sounding music of Jake Manders (of Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins), and those bluegrass funsters, the all female Beavers.

New Feral Cats @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This is the debut performance of this new group, which has arisen from the breakup of Sweet Tea. The New Feral Cats are a soulful blues outfit that includes veteran players with sterling music resumes, that include years with a variety of bands from across the musical specturm. Singer Sonna Olson sings with passion and grit.

Calientando El Bloque @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) This celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms will feature singer/songwriter/hip-hop artist Maria Isa, and Joga Bola, a new Brazilian project led by guitarist/songwriter Adam Levy, featuring Mina Moore and Karen Quiroz, vocals; Lucia Sarmiento, saxophone; Andrew Gillespie, percussion; Tim O’Keefe, reeds; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Charlie Peterson, keys Their sound is inspired by 1960’s & 1970’s samba, funk, soul, and psychedelia from Brazil.

Friday, Saturday, January 13, 14

Radiate! @ The Sheldon Theater, 443 West 3rd Street, Red Wing. 7:30pm ($18 – $30) It’s worth the hour or so it takes to drive to Red Wing simply to see the interior of the Sheldon Theater, a beautifully restored gem of architectural flourishes, ceiling paintings, and delicate plaster sculptures. It’s doubly worth it to see this unique show, described thusly by the New York Times, “RADIATE glows..making it hard to resist this sequined earth-mother’s soulful embrace.” It’s been a critic’s pick in the NY Times, Time Out New York, The New Yorker, and Time Out Chicago. The show itself is a musical about a mythical R&B expatriate diva, Jomama Jones, who returns to the states determined to awaken the ability in everyone to regenerate ourselves. Besides Jones, the production features a band and backup singers, as well as Red Wing High School’s Ovation Choir and the Red Wing Singers. The show’s creator Daniel Alexancer Jones, who performs as Jomama Jones, is a former member of Saint Paul’s Penumbra Theater.

Saturday, January 14

Westside Band Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25, $30 Advance, $35, $40 Door) During the 50s and 80s, EWF ruled the charts with their stunning R&B, selling hundreds of millions of albums, being inducted into the RnR Hall of Fame and eventually being one of the first bands to play at the Obama Whitehouse. With the passing of EWF founder Maurice White this year, Junior Trejo, leader of our own legendary band Westside, is gathering the band and some friends for this tribute to EWF and their positive message of hope and spirituality.

The Gated Community & the Skruffians @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Never mind that it’s the middle of January, the Skruffians will heat things up with the smoking’ sounds of classic ska from the 60s. The instrumental septet take their musical inspiration from the Skatalites, the band that backed The Wailers and other Jamaican groups. Then, at 10pm, a different kind of heat erupts from The Gated Community, an Americana septet that mixes country and bluegrass with a bit of rock. They recently released Country Hymn, their third album since coming together in 2006.

Sunday, January 15

Blues Retirement Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10) Though vocalist/bandleader Dee Miller has been retired for a while, she’s finally getting round to celebrating, and is doing so with a few other friends – Boom Boom Stevie Vonderhaar, Deb Frey, and Chris Bauer – who are now free to rest and/or do the things they enjoy. Of course, Dee Miller enjoys singing, so she and her band will be playing, with special guest harpist Vonderharr. They’ve also got the classic R&B of Who Nu on the bill, a band that Miller often sits in with. There will be a complimentary buffet, along with wine & keg beer during a 2pm – 4pm Happy Hour. Here’s an example of Vonderhaar at work.

Javier Matos @ The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. I mentioned Javier’s gig at Palmers last week, but this is such a different venue (and time) that it’s worth noting. Matos, an excellent slide guitarist and blues vocalist, will be performing in the Conservatory’s fabulous Sunken Garden. Though the Sunken Garden has few places to sit, the music will also be piped in to the Palm Dome and the North Garden. So… give your skin a break and take in the humid air of the Conservatory while hearing some great music.  BTW, Beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Tuesday, January 18

Butch Thompson and Pat Donohue @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner). Pianist Butch Thompson was solo on Monday night. Tonight he’s joined by guitarist Pat Donohue for an evening of classic blues, as found on their excellent album Vicksburg Blues. Don’t be surprised if Donohue sings a few songs and Thompson breaks out his clarinet.

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.


The Power of Music: 11.16 – 11.22

November 16, 2016

 

If serfs could find time to dance, so can we

If serfs could find time to dance, so can we

Life continues apace, and no matter what your political affiliation, it’s safe to say that things won’t be the same. Except for music. Music has the power to voice our fears, to call us to action, celebrate our commonalities, call out hypocrisy, inspire us, heal our spirit, lift us up, and perhaps, just perhaps, bring us together. While musicians undoubtedly enjoy playing, music is much more powerful when it is a shared experience. If you are part of the audience, you are part of the music, whether in a concert hall, a dive bar, or a church. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 16

Babatunde Lea Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Though he’s listed on the JC website as a drummer, Lea is much more, as he not only plays a trap set, but often plays congas or other percussion instruments at the same time, incorporating African, Caribbean, and Latin rhythms into the mix. He has an outstanding group of musicians in this band: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Chris Bates, bass.

Butch Thompson and Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Two music veterans from the old West Bank music era who have gone way beyond the music of that time. Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson is internationally known for his traditional jazz and ragtime stylings. Guitarist Dean Magraw has traveled the world playing acoustic and electric instruments to create fine jazz, fusion, and world music.

Thursday, November 17 

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Chris Lomheim Quartet, with Pete Whitman, saxes, Jay Young bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; led by Chris Lomheim on piano. Here is Chris in a trio setting.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Le Percheron is bassist Adam Linz’s group, and features Levi Schwartsberg on vibes; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on cornet, and Corey Healy on drums. While Khyber Pass specializes in music that’s a bit (or sometimes very) out there, this quartet creates music that is at once accessible and adventurous. Linz is a veteran, the other three are powerful young musicians still in their twenties.

Dorothy Doring and Marc Ziegenhagen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Doring is a warm, engaging vocalist who can sing classic R&B, jazz standards, cabaret, and scat. Versatile indeed.

Joel Shapira/Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Shapira, No Cover), 9pm (Midnight Love – $7) Guitarist Shapira  rings his jazz and classical chops to the dinner hour, followed at 9pm by Midnight Love  a band that plays funky soul jazz and rare grooves. They have a fondness for Lou Donaldson, but which will bring in music by Ruby & the Romantics, Leon Russell and Roberta Flack, among others. Midnight Loves is: Greg Schute, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, organ; Matt Darling, trombone; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

Friday, November 18

Bruce Henry @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is celebrating Founder’s Weekend – its second anniversary – and former Twin Cities vocalist Henry is in town to start things off with a combination of jazz, R&B, Motown and other swinging sounds.

Swing Sisterhood Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) There are many talented musicians in the area who happen to be female. A bunch of them have created the Swing Sisterhood Big Band, which is made its Jazz Central Debut last March. Afterwards, there will be a jazz jam for High School students.

Saturday, November 19

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar)  Ahmed & the Creators open at 7pm. The group includes, Ahmed Abdul Karim, trumpet; Batume, drums; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, tenor; Ron Evaniuk, bass. At 8:30pm it’s the The Steve Kenny Quartet Tour Conclusion performance, with Javiaer Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Rodney Ruckus, drums; and Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

JazzMN: New Orleans Night @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindbergh Dr., Minnetonka. 7:30pm $31-$33 Advance, $35-$37 Door, (Students, $10-$18 Advnce, $10-$20 Door) It’s a tribute to the Big Easy as the JazzMN Orchestra takes on traditional jazz, second line brass bands, New Orleans jazz standards, a bit of Cajun fun, and some blues, to create a fun night of music. Orchestra musicians include such outstanding stalwarts as Pete Whitman, Dave and Kathy Jensen, Dave Carr, Mary Louise Knutson, and many other talented musicians. Here they’re performing a Tito Puente tune.

Adam Meckler Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) It’s been a while since trumpeter Meckler has performed with a small group. He and his group  released a new album entitled Wander on Shifting Paradigm Records, but haven’t played much since.  Tonight he has a special guest in saxophonist Tony Barba from Madison. Also in tonight’s group: Zacc Harris, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Sunday, November 20

Firebell @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums all have extensive experience in multiple bands. Their music is both swinging and cerebral.

Tuesday, November 22

Dave King Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $55 dinner show) Uber drummer Dave King is best known for his work with The Bad Plus and Happy Apple,though he also seems to have a dozen or so other projects, many of which explore the outer edges and realms of jazz and rock. Tonight, though, he gathers the fine talents of bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to mine the richness of jazz standards as well as some moody work from the tunes of Bill Evans and Paul Bley. The last appearance of this trio had a number of beautiful moments. Here’s their complete performance at the Village Vanguard a few years ago.

Brian Gallagher Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 door) This project is a commemorative effort to honor the life and music of the late Twin Cities based saxophonist Brian Gallagher. The band features Brian Ziemniak on keyboards, Yohannes Tona on bass, Peter Hennig on drums and Brian’s longtime collaborator Julius Collins adding vocals to a few songs, the night before Brian’s 53rd birthday. In addition to the members of the quartet, special guests performances will include saxophonists David Eiland, Peter Vircks, Brandon Wozniak, trombonist Michael Nelson, vocalist Jody Hanks and many others to be announced.

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 16

Poor Howard Stith on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Poor Howard  s a 12 string blues guitarist who gave Papa John Kolstad his nickname. He’s influenced by Leadbelly, Blind Willy McTell, and Dave Ray, and tells delightful shaggy dog stories.

Flatlanders @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60) When the Flatlanders were formed and recorded in the early 70s, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock had each returned to Lubbock Texas after having spent time elsewhere. In 1973 they recorded an album with their unique take on traditional country music. Entitled Jimmie Dale & the Flatlanders, it was released only on 8-track, without a distribution deal, though truth be told, you could find it in Southern variety stores and truck stops. Naturally, it went nowhere and the group drifted apart. By the end of the 70s, Ely and Hancock had become cult symbols thanks to their solo albums, and Gilmore’s songwriting resulted in his being a hip name to drop by music critics and the like. They reunited on a few occasions and in the late 90s had a song in the film The Horse Whisperer. They released a second album in 2002 and have released four since then.

Pat Donahue & Dan Newton @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Guitarist Donahue was a National Fingerpicking Champion almost 40 years ago, and spent 20 years coming up with songs on a weekly basis for the Prairie Home Companion. He has a pleasant voice, and he can write some very witty lyrics, but his killer app, so to speak, is his fleet fingering, which has only gotten better since that long ago championship. He has a perfectly compatible partner in Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, the accordion ace who taught himself how to play and is equally at home with the blues, jazz, French Musettes, and Cumbias.

Thursday,November 17

Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) Wolf was the lead singer for the J. Geils Band, that raucous group that brought rockin’ rhythm and blues to the airways and many a house party in the 70s and early 80s, when they topped the singles charts with Freeze Frame, Love Stinks, and Centerfold. Wolf’s commanding presence on stage and record was a big reason for the group’s success.

Friday,November 18

Red House Live: Chastity Brown @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Chastity Brown began to turn heads and open ears as soon as she arrived in Minnesota from Tennessee where she grew up and was influenced by roots music from an early age. Her music encompasses roots, soul, rock, blues, and country. Much of her writing describes and talks of the experience of marginalized people in our society. At the invitation of Ani DiFranco, Brown spent much of 2016 on tour with DiFranco. She has signed with Red House Records and will be releasing a new album early in 2017. The show was close to selling out as of this writing, so you may have to call the Landmark Center to ascertain availability of tickets.

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($??) Wilebski’s continues its policy of having early evening shows on Friday night, so those of us of a certain age can get home and get some sleep after dancing their hearts out. Others will simply be energized by Ms Miller’s tough vocals and tight band and find someplace else to go at 10pm.

Saturday, November 19

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The Dakota continues to bring the music of Louisiana to the northern end of the Mississippi River. It’s hard to get any more rootsier than accordionist Chenier  the son of Clifton Chenier, the late King of Zydeco. CJ learned his art by being in his father’s band, and expanded the sound of zydeco by recording with Paul Simon as well as the Gin Blossoms.

Davina & The Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley (No Cover, $10 reserved seat) Get there early if you want a seat and didn’t reserve one. Davina  nd the Guys will pack the big room at the Lounge.

Sunday, November 20

Phil Heywood @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Heywood is another of what seems to be a plethora of National Fingerpicking Champions in town. He’s got a deep baritone voice that’s a nice foil to his precise, melodic playing.

Monday, November 21

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is the second installment of a Food Shelf Benefit that “Fingers” puts on each year. He 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” from that radio show are performing their Annual Food Shelf Benefit tonight, so bring a bit more $$ than you usually do for a tip jar show.

Tuesday, November 22

Midwest Paul Cook and Crankshaft @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) A couple of blues/roots performers who can mine the depths of despair with their own songs, and well as songs from the Great Depression. Listen to Cook here. Learn about Crankshaft here.

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.


Autumn Music: 10.12 – 10.18

October 12, 2016

unknown-1We’ve a busy Fall weekend coming up, what with the Prince Memorial concert on Thursday (it’s also being proclaimed Prince Day by Mayor Chris Coleman); the Saint Paul Art Crawl in Lowertown and elsewhere, the MN Blues Society Hall of Fame Awards, and just a lot of good music all around. Enjoy the change of seasons and get out to hear music – it lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, October 12

Sophia Shorai/Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai – No Cover), 8:30pm (Thompson & Magraw – $5) The Vieux presents yet another two-fer of jazz tonight. Sophia Shorai’s piano-playing and honey-laced vocals take the spotlight during the dinner hour. Then it’s the wonderful combination of Butch Thompson on piano and clarinet and Dean Magraw on guitar. They’ve been playing somewhat regularly lately, and the long time vets of the West Bank music scene seem to delight in their music.

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates joins up with a couple of younger players: Joe Strachan, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drums, for a night of originals and original arrangements.

Thursday, October 13

Emily Jane Davis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central and Emily Jane Davis is bringing in a trio + special guest to accompany her. Here she is with just a guitar accompaniment.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight, bassist Adam Booker brings his band Hip-Gnosis to the Reverie. Members are: Zacc Harris, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxes; and Jay Epstein, drums. Here’s Booker with a different band.

Issam Rafea and Chris Cunningham @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Rafea is a Kuwaiti-born oud player now based in Chicago. He is the Chair of the Arabic Music Department at High Institute of Music in Damascus and the principal conductor of Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. Twelve String guitarist Chris Cunningham has collaborated on stages and in studios with artists such as: including Marianne Faithfull, John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, The Contortions, Gavin Friday, Boukman Eksperyans, Marshall Crenshaw, Richie Havens, John Zorn, and others. In the Twin Cities he currently leads the group Fall of the House of Usher (FOTHOU), as well as composing for and improvising with The Cherry Spoon Collective and Coloring Time. There will be solo sets by each, culminating in a set of duos by the pair.

 

Friday, October 14

Katia Cardenas @ Public Kitchen & Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm – Midnight (Tip Jar) With its big couches and limestone walls, the basement at Public feels a bit like a secret place, all the better to hear songbird Cardenas go through her repertoire of standards, jazz, and pop/jazz tunes. She’ll be aided by Chris Lomheim, piano; and Matt Senjem, bass, to complete the intimate feel, though admittedly, it’s always a good idea to sit close to the band, since the stone walls help create a loud environment.

Saturday, October 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Two very interesting bands are on tap for this evening, starting off with The Jazz Bridge Project: Roger Johnson, guitar; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Javi Santiago, keys; Ron Evaniuk bass; and Rajiah Johnson, flute. Headlining is the dynamic drummer/conguero Babatunde Lea  with Solom Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron piano, and others. Lea always brings top-notch talent to his groups, so don’t worry if only two members are identified. Here’s an example.

Sunday, October 16

Laura Caviani/Lux String Quartet @ Lowertown Classics, 255 Kellogg Blvd E, 3rd Floor Atrium. 5pm ($10 Suggested Donation) After a weekend of the Art Crawl, enjoy a bit of jazz and classical music at this low-key event. You’ll hear the music of pianist Laura Caviani as well as the Lux String Quartet in this Artists Loft. To further entice you there will be a complementary wine tasting from Revival Wine, Beer, and Spirits. Regular readers probably know the music of Caviani, so here’s the Lux String Quartet with a song for the season.

Painting Joni Mitchell @ The Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul. 5pm ($33 – $53) It’s a celebration of Joni Mitchell’s music, courtesy of four excellent singers and an equally excellent rhythm section. Vocalists Judi Donaghy Vinar  Lori Dokken (also on piano); Jacey Pelstring; and Rachel Holder Hennig  ill bring out new meanings in Mitchell’s music, with the help of Dan Caton, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums. The acoustics of the Concert Hall are perfect for this kind of show.

Huntertones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Funky jazz from a Brooklyn-based sextet that, like many young bands, is melding a number of genres to create exciting music. You’re as likely to hear elements of Afrobeat, rock, and funk as you are new takes on jazz standards. At times during a performance, they break down to a trio of sax; sousaphone; and beatbox! To get an idea of their music, watch this.

Monday, October 17

Mississippi Album Release @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($15) Mississippi is a group centered on Peruvian guitarist Andres Prado  who graced the Twin Cities for a  few years and became a highly respected member of our music scene. The group includes Kevin Washington, drums; Jeff Bailey, bass; Peter Schimkie, piano; and Pete Whitman, sax. Bassist Jeff Bailey described their sound, “Much of Andres’ recorded material is centered in the traditional Peruvian styles of Festejo, Lando, etc. Our collective sound tries to allow for more interweaving of traditions: Jazz, Neo-soul, Peruvian Festejo, R&B, and more.” Here’s an example.

Miguel Hurtado @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Hurtado brings in a quintet to play the music of Wayne Shorter: Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; Park Evans,  guitar; Joe Strachan, piano; and Dan Carpel on bass.

Tuesday, October 18

Basement Society @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm ($8, $35 w/Dinner) Javi Santiago will be playing the new, 9 foot Steinway, while Dan Carpel plays the bass and Pete James Johnson plays drums.

Harold Lopez-Nussa @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($22) This Cuban-born pianist received a musical education from his French grandparents, starting, as many pianists do, with classical music. At age 20 Lopez-Nussa shifted to Cuban jazz and then toured with the Buena Vista Social Club as well as with singer Omara Portuondo. His most recent album, El Viaje, received 4 stars from Downbeat, adding to the accolades he’s received while performing at festivals around the world. He’ll be accompanied by his brother Ruy Adrian Lopez-Nussa on drums and percussion and Sengalese vocalist and bassist Alune Wade.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, October 12

Mark Cameron Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mark Cameron and his band-mates are the winners of the Road to Memphis competition, and will be representing Minnesota in the band category of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this winter. You get to hear them on the radio and in person to discover why they’ve been chosen by the Minnesota Blues Society to represent us in Memphis.

Hula Peppers @ Schooners, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) When these guys (and occasional gal) play old-timey music, it’s not tunes of Appalachia, but rather pop tunes from the 20s and 30s, with some Hawaiian tunes thrown in for good measure. The combination of swing, blues, and novelty tunes makes for an enjoyable, comfortable show, especially in the low-key environs of Schooners.

Thursday, October 13

Mikkel Beckmen with Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Beckmen’s weekly showcase has been going on for a couple of years now. Today, you can sit down in the unassuming Irish bar, order up a beverage, and enjoy the fantastic, often bluesy guitar playing of Jeff Ray as Beckmen does his thing on various percussion instruments.  This video takes a minute or two for the music to get started.

Prince Tribute @ The Xcel Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($Lots) I normally wouldn’t talk about a show where some tickets are over $300, but it’s the Prince Tribute, with Stevie Wonder, Morris Day and The Time, Chaka Khan, Mint Condition, Anita Baker, Liv Warfield, and many more. There are a few lower priced single seats left as of this writing, as well as some of the high buck seats, but expect to have a wad of cash on hand if you end up buying from scalpers. Things start off with a free, preshow party at 4pm, so you can enjoy that even if you don’t go to the concert.

Friday, October 14

Uke Fest Five @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Singer/Songwriter and ukelele player Katy Vernon has put together a “really big shew” as a benefit for ARC and the Minnesota Music Coalition. This year she’s gathered over 16 acts who play ukeleles in a number of styles to entertain you, including Jake Rowan, Dean Johnson, The Hula Peppers, Niki Becker, Hot Date, and more.

Samba Meu @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($5) The Brazilian music band returns to performing, this time with a 9-piece band, all the better to create the sensuous rhythms of Brazil: chorros, forks, sambas, and more. There will even be dance lessons in case you want to learn how to swivel your hips like Samba Dancers. Squirrel Haus is not a bar, so BYOB.

Saturday, October 15

Harriet Brewing October Blues Fest @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 5pm. (No Cover?) Prepare for the Blues Hall of Fame ceremony tomorrow by checking out these bands at the Tap Room: the Cobras, Cornbread Harris, Paul Barry and the Acetones featuring Lila Ammons, and Flatwater Mississippi.  

Papa John Kolstad and the Phits @ The Roots Cellar Concert Series at University Baptist Church, 1219 University Ave SE. 7pm ($15, $10 Seniors & Students) You’ll have to go down to the basement for this concert, featuring Papa John Kolstad  master of the 12-string guitar. The Byrds made the 12-string popular, though nowadays, you just don’t see too many guitarists playing the difficulty instrument. Well here’s your chance as Papa John is joined by “Wailin’ Willie” Bill Smith on harmonica and vocals, and Gary Powell on lap steel guitar. There will likely be a bass player as well. They’ll perform Blues, and folk songs from pre-WWII, as well as some more contemporary songs covering swing,  standards,  and even some humorous topics, which will fit in well with Papa John’s story telling and wry political humor.

Sunday, October 16

MN Blues Hall of Fame Ceremony @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the 10th Annual Blues Hall of Fame Ceremony, and once again, some of the talented musicians of our community are being honored. Today will honor: Paul Mayasich (Performer), Steve “Boom Boom” Vanderharr (Sideman), Wilbur Cole (Legend), Gary Eckhart (Arts, Literature, Media), RJ Mischo (Composition), Mike Shaw (Supportive of the Blues), Bobby Johnson and his sister Lavern “Lady Blue” Johnson (Legacy Honors). Arrive early and partake of Pepito’s Brunch for an additional cost (and hear Maurice Jacox while you’re there). There will be live music all day, from the winners and others.

Captain Gravitone and His String Theory Orchestra @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Take a break from politics, or even football, and dig the fun sounds of this acoustic/rootsy sextet, capable of turning a Pink Floyd song into a bluegrass rave-up.

Tuesday – Sunday, October 18 – 25

STOMP! @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($44 – $74) This groundbreaking show has been showing the world how anything can be used as an instrument for 25 years now, using brooms, barrels, garbage can covers, and more in an invigorating display of physical stamina, resourcefulness, and creativity.

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.


The 80s, Chicago Jazz, and more. Music: 11.4 – 11.10

November 4, 2015

imagesIt’s another good week for jazz in the Twin Cities, and though we only have one visiting artist (Joey DeFrancesco), we do have a couple of Chicago artists who perform hear regularly. We also have many outstanding players who would welcome your presence. On the blues and roots side of things, we have a couple of musicians who defined that 80s sound, some long time Twin Cities bluesmen, and some classical music as performed by a small choir.  Music Lifts the Spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 4

Anthony Cox: Continuum Series @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The first Wednesday of each month, crack bassist Anthony Cox hosts a group of musicians, and sometimes artists from other disciplines. They play, interact, and sometimes Cox opens it up for the audience to ask questions and take part.

Thursday, November 5

Jon Pemberton @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No cover) The pianist/trumpeter will be accompanied by bassist Matt Peterson, for dinner music that’s much more than dinner music. Here’s Jon in a trio format.

Zacc andCory, getting real. Photo by Andrea Canter

Zacc andCory, getting real. Photo by Andrea Canter

Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Groundswell, 1340 Thomas Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) It’s a three act evening as drummer Cory Healey brings his band to this corner coffeehouse. Besides Healey on drums, the band includes Erik Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax. Also playing this evening: Graham O’Brien (unknown to me) and a group called And…And…End, featuring Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on trumpet; and Cole Pulice, sax.

Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) You won’t find a more compatible duo than singer Maud Hixson, whose June Christy cool voice belies a warm execution, and pianist Rick Carlson, whose economical playing says so much with so little.

Jana Nyberg @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jana takes a holiday from the Jana Nyberg Group and sings with some other stellar musicians: Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here she is doing a classic Ellington song.

Friday, November 6

Bruce Henry @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Henry, who now lives in Chicago, is back for a visit. He isn’t a crooner, though he could be if he wanted. Instead, he sings jazz and R&B songs like Freddie Hubbard’s Red Clay and Coltane’s Equinox, as well as Motown numbers that will make you dance.

Joel Shapira Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No cover) Joel Shapira combines his own supple guitar work with the brass of Pete Whitman’s stellar sax, and Tom Lewis’s fine bass. Here is Joel in a solo mood.

Jay Young’s Lyric Factory @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Whether he’s channeling Herbie Hancock, Earth Wind and Fire, or Michael Jackson, bassist Young and his Lyric Factory always satisfies.

Graydon Peterson Quartet CD Release @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar) The Graydon Peterson Quartet is releasing a fine little CD entitled, oddly enough, Duets. It features nine tracks of original compositions played as duets between various member  of the quartet: Peterson, bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, keys; and Adrian Suarez, drums. Here’s one of the numbers.

Saturday, November 7

Butch Thompson Trio @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth. 7pm – 8pm ($10) Pianist Butch Thompson, together with Tony Balluf, clarinet; and Steve Pikal, bass, play a combination of old time jazz and occasional blues. You couldn’t find a better trio in town for this music. Here’s Butch with a different trio.

Steve Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) The Chicago native has released 15 albums since his debut in 1998. With a saxophone sound that can be greasy or “smooth” Cole has recorded with Jr. Wells, Buddy Guy, Larry Carlton, Freddy Cole, and Boz Scaggs, among others. Special guest will be our very own Patty Peterson.

Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (tip Jar) Master drummer and conguero Lea has played with Pharoah Sanders and Stan Getz, among others, and had the first release of Motema Records. Tonight he leads Zacc Harris, guitar; Geoff Brennan, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano, in an evening of exciting music. Opening tonight at 7pm is the clever Exquisite Corps, with Dave Roos, guitar; Eron Woods, Drums; and Peter Susag, bass. All of their songs have a body part in the title.

Sunday, November 8

Paul Renz Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) He might be better known on the East Coast than here in town, but Renz  s a guitarist that you should hear. His writing and playing are both melodic and inventive.

Monday, November 9

Joey DeFrancesco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($22) Since the death of DeFrancesco’s mentor, Jimmy Smith, DeFrancesco has become the leading light of B3 Organ music. I’ve seen him a half dozen times at least, and he’s always satisfying.

Tuesday, November 10

Unknown-2Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Though I wrote about Mary Louise playing solo at the Vieux Carre last week, this week she’s joined by Gordy Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums. Pardon the bad grammar, but to put it simply, it don’t get no better!

Phil Aaron Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5)  Aaron, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Jay Epstein, drums. Another stellar trio, this time playing for those who want to hang in the city. Aaron can swing like mad, and makes difficult charts look like child’s play.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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 4

Unknown-3John Beach Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) At this point, John Beach is often described as Legendary John Beach. He’s been a fixture on the Twin Cities music scene of years, playing piano for Willie Murphy, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Bo Diddley, and more… Tune in to find out who is playing with him.

Joe Jackson @ the Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($40 – $67.50) Musical wanderer Jackson has been all over the place, deftly picking up genres and disposing of them as soon as he’s conquered them. He first made a splash with the new-wavy Is She Really Going Out with Him in 1979 and subsequently explored reggae, salsa, jump blues, R&B and Jazz, film scores, and contemporary classical music,as well as a 2012 horn-free release celebrating Duke Ellington, but nevertheless including a duet with Iggy Pop.  He’ll open the show with a short solo piano set before bringing on a full band. DJ Jake Rudh will spin pre-show music. Here’s a song from Joe’s recently released album.

Friday, November 6

Captain Gravitone & the String Theory Orchestra @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist/banjo picker Eli Hoehn leads this Americana sextet, through a repertoire that emphasizes acoustic instruments with a bit of rock undercurrents. Their new CD, A Real Fine Day (when the circus comes to town) features four brass and a violin as well, but I don’t know if they’ll be in the show.

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) With a low-key style and a voice that evokes Billie Holiday, Peyroux has tackled a wide variety of material. She recently released a Best Of compilation on Rounder Records which includes songs from her 20[-year career including some Atlantic and Decca/Emarcy releases.

Hymnos Vocal Ensemble: Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 255 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s an under-the-radar gig for those who appreciate classical music. In fact, you have to enter the artists’  building via its back alley, and make your way to the third floor atrium. Hymnos is a choir of 8-12 highly select mixed voices that has been performing a wide range of music, from Renaissance to contemporary, since being founded in 2011 by Eric Sorum. They will be joined by Jennifer Parker, voice, Eva Bnenke, classical guitar; and Chris Olson, guitar. There will be wine, coffee, pastries and candy.

Papa John Kolstad and the Hot Club of East Lake Street @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Papa John returns to Merlins on a Saturday night. John’s guitar playing, wry humor, and sly political asides, together with Sam Fiske, trumpet; Deano Mikkelson, guitar; and Bill Grenke, bass, makes for an entertaining evening. Bring your ID if you want adult beverages, and get there a bit early to get a good seat.

Saturday, November 7

Scottie Miller @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Miller has a new album, Reciprocation, and as with his last one, he’s rockin’ out a bit, though his New Orleans/Barrelhouse piano, and R&B beats still shine through.

Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Though it’s slightly tonier than his usual haunts, Hurricane Harold, and his All-Star band of Twin Cities Bluesers will fit in just fine at the basement club. Plus, it won’t be hard to move tables when the dancing bug hits. Check out the Scottie Miller video above for one version of the All-Stars.

Monday, November 9

A very different Joe Fingers.

A very different Joe Fingers.

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Joe Fingers is an ace fingerpicker, one of a number of champions that live in the area. Once in a while, though he may be ignored by Latte-drinkes perusing the internet, he just likes to play.

Tuesday, November 10

Howard Jones @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $75) Another act that blossomed in the 80s and, in fact, helped define the synth-pop sound of that decade. He had 15 top 40 singles between 1983 and 1992 and have never stopped performing, still releasing albums (including podcasts) and writing.

TheSubdudes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$45), 9pm ($35 – $40) The Subdudes deliverNew Orleans soulfulness, delivered with acoustic guitars, fine harmonies, and good songwriting.

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.


A Semi-Thaw. Music: 1.28 – 2.3

January 28, 2015

Unknown-3Wow, can it really be January? Generally, the last weekend in January is bitterly cold, and here we are flirting with the thirties all week. We seem to be in the midst of a thaw, which everyone is happy about. Does that mean you don’t need a jacket? Of course not, at least if you’ll be out for a longer period than taking out the garbage. I guess I’m trying to say we need to stay comfortable, and a good way to do that is to hear music. It will inspire us, and lift us up, so, if you are in town, take advantage of the rich music tradition we have in these cities. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 28

Jake Baldwin Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here is a quintet of Twin Cities’ Young Lions playing often fierce, and occasionally beautiful jazz.  Baldwin, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Nelson Devereux, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Thursday, January 30

Tim Kaiser @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Kaiser sits in the midst of hand-crafted electro-acoustic instruments that would seem at home in a steampunk movie, and creates sheets of reverb and unique sounds that range from toy ray-guns to theraminic tones, manufacturing hums, and marimba-like bleats, all of which bring into question the definition of music. It’s more experimental than the electronic music of dancers, or even classicists, and is definitely improvised, so I’m listing it under jazz. Perhaps this interview with him will help you understand what he does.

Friday, January 30

What Would Monk Do @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The music of Thelonious Monk and Monk-inspired originals from some bad cats: Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Peterson, bass; Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny, flumpet. Based on past performances, I believe it will be cooking’

Mississippi Hot Club @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 10pm ($7) It’s more or less a light night acoustic swing party, with a good dose of Djano Rheinhardt, some Latin music, originals, and a touch of Americana from this Northern Minnesota quintet  They just released a self-titled debut CD, which you can listen to on their website (previous link). Members include:  Ian Stenlund and Luke Zupan, la pompe rhythm guitars; Joe Downing, upright bass; Josh Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin.

Saturday, January 31

Thompson, Balluf, & Pikal @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm – 9pm ($10, adults, $5 Students) Lovers of traditional jazz will be out in force to hear pianist Butch Thompson  Clarinetist Tony Balluf, and bassist Steve Pikal. What they play is anything but stodgy, and far from being stuck in the early 20th Century. They bring a joy and liveliness to the music to make it swing beyond its years.

Dean Granros Quartet @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. I was surprised at a recent Anthony Cox show in which Granros played to learn that Granros is known among some listeners as a “noise” guitarist, which never occurred to me. From his work with groups such as How Birds Work and others, it’s obvious that he’s a stellar player with a rich imagination. Tonight he’s joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. They hit the stage at 8:30pm while the Dave Brattain Quartet opens at 7pm: Brattain, sax; Kevin Daley, Billy Peterson, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.  Here’s Granros doing a solo number.

Katia Cardenas w/Ted Godbout @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) If you’re looking for an entertaining evening in a place that isn’t overly crowded, you may want to check out the Nicollet tonight. Katia Cardenas is a fine singer who is building an audience, while the Nicollet provides an intimate setting where she and pianist Ted Godbout can perform both R&B and jazz standards.

Monday, February 2

Zach Schmidt @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Zach has been drumming since he was four. When he got older he attended McNally Smith, where he studied with Dave Stanoch,Marv Dahlgren, Dave Schmalenberger and Gordy Knutson. He regularly plays with the Cory Wong Quartet, but has also performs with Zack Lozier, Chris Olson, Rachel Holder, Jana Nyberg, and more.

Matt Otto & the Fantastic Merlins @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Otto is a Kansas City based saxophonist who has played with the likes of Ben Monder, Wadada Leo Smith, Willi Jones III, Tootie Heath, Charlie Haden Leroy Vinegar, Jimmy Smith, Bobby Watson, and Larry Goldings, to name just a few – whew! Tonight he is joined by the Fantastic Merlins for two exciting sets: Nathan Hanson, sax, Doan Roessler, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Monday, Tuesday, February 2,3

Chris Potter Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($15) Saxophonist Potter entered the NYC jazz scene as an 18 yr old playing with bebop icon Red Rodney. Since then he’s been a sideman on over 100 albums and a leader on fifteen. He’s performed with folks like Herb i.e. Hancock, Davi Holland, The Mingus Big Band, Rayt Brown, and was featured on Steely Dan’t Grammy winning album Two Against Nature. He regularly receives high praise from critics, magazines, and fellow musicians. His quartet includes Adam Rogers, guitar; Fima Ephron, bass; and Nate Smith, drums.  Listen to his take on Charlie Parker’s Anthropology.

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

Paul Mayasich w/ Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Moe’s, Moundsview. 7:30pm (Tip Jar?) Guitarist Mayasich appears here on a weekly basis with different guests each week. Tonight he’s got big-voiced harmonica player Big George Jackson  and guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, two unsung (or under appreciated) heroes of the Twin Cities blues scene.

Thursday, January 29

Viva Brazil @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) This octet is consist of four Brazilians and four musicians who are currently from the Twin Cities, though a few of them were born and raised elsewhere. Geography doesn’t matter as much as talent, however when they start playing sambas, bossa novas, Brazilian jazz, and funky derivations of all. Their sensuous rhythms may have you pushing tables out of the way to dance.

Friday, January 30

Kelley Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Hunt is a barrelhouse piano pounder from Kansas City whose frequent forays into the Northland have earned her a devoted following for her blues/R&B/Americana. She’s steeped in Blues and Gospel and has earned praise from critics and fans alike for her originals. Her latest CD, Beautiful Bones, has been called inspirational and beautiful. Its up to you to figure out if you agree.

Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door)  Cebar integrates the rhythms of New Orleans, the Caribbean, western Louisiana, and Africa with the classic rhythms of 60s soul and 70s funk, to create highly infectious dance music. Opening is Poverty Hash, from Connecticut, seen around here at the Deep Blues Festival of some years back and at the Bayport BBQ.

Big George Jackson @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) So maybe you didn’t want to go to Moundsview to hear George with Paul Mayasich on Wednesday. Check him out with his band at this modest, somewhat dicey bar. He’ll have you boogieing all through the night and onto home.

Friday, Saturday, January 30, 31

Monsieur Jeffrey Evans @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Evans is a singer/songwriter/producer who has recorded dozens of albums and singles with groups such as ’68 comeback, the Gibson Brothers, and the Memphis Roadmasters. The Memphis based musician cites RL Burnside, Charlie Feathers, Gene Vincent, and Doc Watson among his influences, while his music has been described as gutter blues, psychobilly, punk blues, and a half dozen other terms. He’s also the subject of a documentary entitled, the Man Who Loved Couch Dancing. (?!)

Saturday, January 31

Marshall Tucker Band & the Atlanta Rhythm Section @ The Medina Entertainment Center, 500 Highway 55, Medina. 7:30 Doors ($35 – $52) Fans of Southern rock will not want to miss this concert by two of the groups that founded the genre about 40 years ago. Each band contains at least one original member. The Marshall Tucker Band had 5 gold albums in the 70s, followed by Carolina Dreams, which went platinum, and still performs 150-200 shows a year. The Atlanta Rhythm Section didn’t quite hit those heights, but consistently charted and still has a strong following in the South.

Tim Sparks & James Buckley @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 9:00pm (No Cover) Here you have a certified champion flat picker (Sparks) who is comfortable with Yiddish music, jazz, and even the Nutcracker Suite, along with a bassist (Buckley) who has performed with as many as seven different bands in one month, ranging from new wavers, to new folkies, to new jazz. Sparks will fly (no pun intended).

Wild Colonial Bhoys & The Beavers @ Lees Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) The Wild Colonial Bhoys are a Celtic band that has been rockin’ out for over eleven years, and five albums. They’ve a guitar-driven sound that gets it’s Irish lilt from a fiddle. Opening are The Beavers, an all-female band that delves into folk pop, with a touch of old timey music for leavening.

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.


Remembering & Anticipating. Music: 5.21 – 5.27

May 21, 2014

images-2Greetings to one and all. All of a sudden, Memorial Day is upon us. It’s a time to remember loved ones and those we’ve lost to wars. It’s also the unofficial beginning of summer – grilling and festival season. If you’re not heading Up North and enjoy a wide variety of music, there’s a weekend outdoor event at Memory Lanes. We’ve also got a couple of CD release parties and a visiting artist or two to supplement the wealth of music we have here in the Twin Cities. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 21

Century Jazz Ensemble @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) The Century Jazz Ensemble has a long history, a large repertoire, and a deservedly great reputation. It’s members meet weekly in a class called Music 1017, which is just an opportunity to jam and rehearse for two hours. Here’s a chance to hear them outside of the school and their special events. Plus, it’s a chance to check out the big band Tuesdays that MMC is having these days.

McNally Smith X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Pete Whitman leads this eleven piece student ensemble playing an eclectic mix of material ranging from classic hard bop to 21st century sounds.

A musical and sartorial inspiration

A musical and sartorial inspiration

Thursday, May 22

Irv Williams’ CD Release Party @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Like the Energizer Bunny, Irv Williams just keeps on going. The tenor saxophonist may be 90+ but he’s still “Mr. Smooth,” with a beautiful sound and an ability to glide among notes with the greatest of ease. On the new CD, Pinnacle, he plays with Billy Peterson, bass, and Steve Blons, guitar.

Friday, May 23

Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Hey, drums, perform tunes from Monk, Mingus, & Coltrane, as well as originals. Exquisite jazz.

Andrew Foreman @ Jazz Central Late Night, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Andrew Foreman is leaving town for the summer, and is having a going-away party of sorts. The night begins with the Ben Abrahamson Quartet performing their interpretation of Sea Changes, the Beck album. Chomsky, Foreman’s quartet, will then take the stage to play a mix of originals and indie rock covers.

Saturday, May 24

JoAnn Funk & Jeff Brueske @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Pianist/Vocalist Funk and bassist Brueske will be taking off from this weekly gig during the summer, though they’ll return for three nights of Jazz Fest. Anyway, this is a chance to hear some high quality jazz as Funk sings from a songbook that includes tunes by Nat King Cole, Blossom Dearie, and Dan Penn, among others.

Saturday, Sunday, May 24, 25

Unknown-2Davina & the Vagabonds Album Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) In the ten years since this Florida native settled here in the Twin Cities, Davina has gained thousands of adoring fans, who turn out to see her in a wide variety of settings, from the honky-tonk surroundings of Lee’s Liquor Lounge, to the swank Dakota, where she fills the house with every performance. Thanks to incessant touring, her legion of fans stretches across the nation and around the world. She and the Vagabonds will be spending a lot of time in Europe this summer, and cap the season with two appearances at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Unlike most of her previous albums, the new album, Sunshine, was recorded (analogue!) in the studio, yet ably captures the excitement and sass of a DATV performance. Reservations recommended.

Sunday, May 25

Butch Thompson Blues, Rags, and Stomps: An Homage to the Emporium of Jazz @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Pianist/clarinetist Thompson got his start with the Hall Brothers Jazz Band, who opened the Emporium of Jazz in Mendota back in 1966. It was an important tour stop for anyone playing traditional jazz, where you could buy set-ups, dance, and listen to the Hall Brothers backing some of the founders of the tradition. Thompson will be backed by some of the original members of the Hall Brothers: Charlie DeVore, cornet; Russ Hall, trombone; Mike Polad, piano; and Bill Evans, bass. They’ll be joined by drummer Peter Johnson and vocalist Hilary Thavis, who will sing some classic blues.

Monday, Tuesday, May 26, 27

Victor Wooten @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37), 9pm ($27) Wooten is a five-time Grammy Winner, a founding member of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones, and winner of many awards for his electric bass playing. Thanks in part to a clean sound, he has the ability to keep things interesting while taking the lead for whole songs.

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, May 21

Don Scott & Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 FM & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) A classic blues pairing of guitarist/vocalist (Scott) and harp player (Blake). Both have long histories with other bands, and both still play with others, but when they get together, the creative energy explodes. Here they are doing a Brownie McGhee song just about a year ago.

 

Malamanya @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Malamanya’s take on Cuban and Latin rhythms is both infectious and sensuous. The spacious venue with a large dance floor awaits salsa dancers and free-stylers alike. DJ Rambo Salinas will be spinning Latin and Chicano Soul before and between sets.

Thursday, May 22

Nikki & The Rue-Mates @ Sea Salt Eatery, Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis. 5pm (Tip Jar) Can it get any better than catching some folk-rock and blues, hanging in Minnehaha Park, and enjoying the much-praised seafood at Sea Salt. Nikki & the guys will be singing outside, so naturally, this is a weather dependent gig. Here’s a video that shows you what you can expect.

American Composers Forum Showcase @ The Landmark Center Weyerhauser Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) This is an inaugural event of the American Composers Forum, which recently moved into the Landmark Center. The Zeitgeist ensemble will perform new works by Gene Pritsker (NYC), Bruce Reiprich (Flagstaff), Joshua Harris (Denton, TX), and James May (Amery, WI).

Friday, May 23

Jeffrey Broussard & The Creole Cowboys @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 advance/$18 door) Zydeco Dance lesson at 7:30. Band plays at 8. It’s an Upriver Fais Do Do, as the Krewe de Walleye brings Broussard up from Louisiana and local cajun/zydeco dancers fill the floor. If you don’t feel the need to move to the classic creole and contemporary zydeco from Broussard & his bandmates, you better check your pulse.

Ronn Easton @ Famous Dave’s, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Ronn brings his considerable vocal skills to the BBQ joint, where he and his band will be playing uptown blues from the likes of ZZ Hill, Johnny Taylor, Robert Cray, and Tyrone Davis for dancers.

Tom Lieberman @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Vocalist/guitarist Lieberman was a member of the West Bank jazz trio Rio Nido back in the day. He’s continued to write, has had a song sung by Sesame Street’s Elmo, had another featured in the indie film Sweetland and has appeared on Prairie Home Companion. His songs swing, jump, and occasionally, veer into Louis Prima-style humor.

Saturday, May 24

Rhizosphere @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar)  Improvisation from a quartet that explores the fertile territory where the roots of music from around the world come together. Sounds from Europe, Asia, and the Americas interact spontaneously in an aural environment held together by the great American traditions of Jazz, Folk Music, and the Blues. Members of the group include Bob Fantauzzo, Native American and Chinese flutes; Gabriela Sweet, slide guitar & accordion; Mike Burns, guitar; and Sean Egan, clarinet.

Alma Andina @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 11:30PM ($5) Four Chileans and two Americans who have lived in Chile perform Andean and Latin American music. The groups play a combination of percussion, guitar, charanago, flutes and of course, pan pipes.

Saturday, Sunday May 24, 25

Weekend Block Party @ Memory Lanes, Minneapolis. (Free)  If you’re not heading Up North for the weekend, you can enjoy the outdoors while listening to a cornucopia of mostly newer talent. Among the performers Saturday: Black Market Brass, Buffalo Moon, Southside Desire, Black Diet, Grolar Bears, Hotpants/Hipshaker Deejays. Sunday brings: Deadstring Brothers, L’Assasins; Ross Kleiner & the Thrill; DJs Shannon Blowtorch & Father Time, among others.

Sunday, May 25

La Abandonada Orquesta de Tango @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm (No cover) A little tango music from the “ Golden Age of Tango,” played by Cory Grossman, Matt Mioller, Sara Pajunen, and Trish Hurd-Paczkowski.

Lamont Cranston & Willie Murphy: 3rd Annual West Bank Reunion @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($?) It’s s boogie down R&B, soulful, bluesy celebration with two of the stalwart bands of the West Bank, circa the late 70s and early 80s. Both are still going strong, filling dance floors wherever they play. Tomorrow’s a holiday, so even if you’re old enough to remember the revelry at the Cabooze and Union Bar when these bands played those venues, you can stay up and sleep late. Check out Willie & the band.

 

Monday, May 26

Jack Brass Band @ The Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, Saint Paul. 10:30am, 11:45am, & 12:40pm. (Free) You’ll have three chances to take part in a Second Line Parade around the zoo grounds, led by the joyous sounds of the Jack Brass Band.

Tuesday, May 27

Paul Mayasich & Dan Schwalbe @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Two extraordinary guitarists go mano-a-mano for your listening (and dancing?) pleasure, backed by bassist Grant Wibben.

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


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