Dancegiving. Music for 11.21- 11.27

November 21, 2012

How did Thanksgiving get here so quickly?  Well, there’s much going on, though Thursday is a little light, as might be expected. There’s plenty of opportunities to dance off the calories over the weekend, so whether you’re having Turkey, Duck, Turducken, or Veggies, have a good Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, Nov 21

Body Omara @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. (Free) This trio – Joseph Damman guitar; Tom Reichert, bass; and Davu Seru on percussion – create original music that evokes the desert blues of Mali, and includes some elements of American folk and jazz music. The south Minneapolis neighborhood bistro provides the flavors and cocktails that will help you get your weekend started.

Friday, Saturday, November 23, 24

Zacc Harris Group @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 9pm (no cover)  The ever-busy guitarist Zacc Harris brings his group to the Loring Park neighborhood bar. With Bryan Nichols on piano; and Chris and JT Bates on bass and drums. While some of his other groups are more collaborative in nature, this group performs Harris’ tunes, along with a tasty standard or two. Here’s a taste of what they sound (and look) like.

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Drummer Dave King is in enough groups to have his own festival, which actually occurred at the Walker a year or so ago. This group was created especially for that event, and it’s proven to be more than a one-off effort. With Brandon Wozniak, sax; Adam Linz, bass; and Erik Fratzke, guitar. They recently released a CD which got positive reviews in the New York Times.

Saturday, November 24

Tony London @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) London is a talented singer who reminds me of some of the classic baritones of the 50s. He can swing like Sinatra, and handle a ballad like Vic Damone. I expect that the excellent dance floor at the Eagles Club will be filled.

Monday, November 26

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) JT’s Jazz Implosion brings Graydon and his group to the fore. Peterson is known as a stellar bassist, and provides a firm foundation for a number of groups around town. Tonight he’s leading his own group, playing his own songs. Other members of the group are Adam Meckler, trumpet; Vinnie Rose, guitar; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Monday, Tuesday, November 26, 27

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) The pianist/vocalist has a bakers dozen of well-received albums to her credit. Her warm voice and subtle ways with a melody have won her fans around the world and a couple of grammy nominations, to boot. She lived in the Twin Cities for a while in the nineties, and it’s always a pleasure to have her back.

Tuesday, November 27

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapoils 8:30pm (Donation) Exciting music for a large band – 17 members, including some of the area’s finest players. Meckler is proving to be as talented at composition and arranging as he is on the trumpet.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Nov 21

Nikki & Rue-Mates @ KFAI & 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – tip jar) Clarion-voiced Nikki, along with her talented band-mates play their annual pre-Thanksgiving gig. Listen at 5pm and head over to the 331 Club.

Thursday, Nov 22

Davina & Vagabonds @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Even if you’re sitting down, you will likely work off some calories listening to Davina and the guys. Her mixture of classic New Orleans Jazz, Blues, and roots will have you hoopin’ hollerin’ and jumpin’ in your seats. A few folks might even find room to dance.

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30 – Midnight (Tip jar) Guitarists Dean Mikkelson leads this aggregation, featuring fellow guitarist Dean Harrington, bassist Matt Senjum, and Del Gallagher on drums. Tasty music for the end of a taste-filled day. Bring an ID if you want to drink alcohol.

Friday, November 23

Hipshaker @ the Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Now you can really dance some calories off as Tarik Thornton and Mark Trehus guest, spinning funk and soul 45s along with DJ Brian.

An Evening with Ben Kyle & Romantica @ The Ritz Theater, NE Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12) Kyle is the leader of the alt-countryish Romantica. He and the band earned high praise for the 2007 album, America, which showcased Kyle’s writing. Now Kyle has written some songs about his own demons, and the challenges of having a family and a music career. The album was just released, and to celebrate, Kyle is bringing members of the band (who all appeared on some portion of the album) and a few friends to the Ritz.

Saturday, November 24

Paul at a Reading

Paul Metsa CD Release @ Electric Fetus and Palmers, Minneapolis. 2pm – 3pm (Fetus) 9pm (Palmers – $3) This Iron Ranger/Twin Citizen is a bar-band veteran who has been there and done that, from sharing the stage with Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, to campaigning with Paul Wellstone, and wrote about it in his memoir, Blue Guitar Highway. Now he’s releasing a 30 track retrospective entitled Blues, Ballads, and Broadsides. He’ll be reading and playing at the Fetus, and then will be joined by some of his musical friends at Palmers.

Greg Carr & the Mixmaster @ The Third Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. (no cover) Greg has this amazing vintage deejay setup, wherein the Mixmaster has two turntables and three tone-arms. He’ll be spinning 78s, including a bunch of vintage Brazilian music, while you and your friends can partake of ten different tap beers, cocktails, and wine, along with some chocolate.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Another night of dancing to rare funk and soul 45s.

City on the Make @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Here’s a group that doesn’t fit into an easy category. Vocalist Mike Massey is more a growler than a singer, and he declaims their songs with a measured ferociousness. The music ranges from blues to rock to hip-hop, and the way the band feeds off each other gives an improvisatory feel to some of their numbers.

Sunday, November 25

Malamanya @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Actually, the doors open at 9pm. Music will likely begin around 10pm. Latin dance music that will move even those with two left feet.

Monday, November 26

Jenny Dalton @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. (Free) There are three artists on the bill, but Dalton is the only one I know, and I’m not sure when she sings. Nevertheless, her ethereal vocals are worth waiting for. She’s recently released an EP called Blood Folk, that’s inspired by living a simpler life in a small town.

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.

Music for an Early Spring: 3.21 – 3.27

March 21, 2012

Minnesota Spring. Photo by Ellen Empson (

Well, Spring has officially arrived, though the warm weather we’ve had makes it seem that perhaps we’ve skipped Spring entirely. Not many are complaining. Though the outdoors beckon, there are many good reasons to go indoors and hear music this week, including an open rehearsal, and a modern big band performance, some touring artists, a couple of CD release parties, and a benefit with some very unique combinations of musicians.  Have fun.


Wednesday, March 21

Good Vibes @ Cafe Maude, South Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover)  The diners at Cafe Maude will get a special treat tonight. Chris Bates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes, perform sometimes intricate, often beautiful music. Call for reservations and say you’d like to be near the music.

Thursday, March 22

Nick Haas Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. An early evening gig from Haas, a guitarist/composer with good taste in both originals and standards.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Piano jazz the way you want it, tasteful, yet exciting. That’s not a paradox in Lomheim’s case.

JelloSlave @ Barbette, Uptown Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) JelloSlave has been using the combination of two cellos, tablas, and trapset for a few years now, creating a highly unique combination of drones, groans, and moans for originals, pop tunes, and classical numbers.

Sons of Daughters @ Jazz Central, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. (Donation)  Word is getting out to musicians that Jazz Central is a great venue for DIY performances. Sons of Daughters are an avant-garde jazz trio from New York City, though all three members are originally from Washington. They’re touring in support of their latest album, “Beyond Animals.” You can hear some of their music on their myspace page. BTW, at Jazz Central, it’s always BYOB.

Friday, Saturday, March 23, 24

Bruce Henry @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The master vocalist may now live in Chicago, but he does return a few times a year. His singing is informed by a thorough knowledge of all types of African American music. Whether he’s doing Marvin Gaye or Freddie Hubbard, the results are worth going out of your way to hear. Luckily, The AQ is smack in the middle of downtown Saint Paul.

Saturday, March 24

James Allen & Tom Peiper @ First Course Bistro, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover). This tiny place is hosting Allen, a guitarist whose combination of single lines and chords brings out much in his instrument. With Peiper on bass the two will be treating diners to acoustic jazz, bossa novas, and sambas.

Sunday, March 26

Chris Bates Quintet Open Rehearsal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm (Donation – $5 encouraged).  This is the third of three open rehearsals for the band before heading into the recording studio. After working on arrangements over the last few weeks, they’ll be playing new songs in their entirety. Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Brandon Wozniak, alto sax; Chris Thomson, tenor sax; Zac Lozier, trumpet.

Sunday, Monday, March 25, 26

Hiromi: The Trio Project @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($35, $25) Okay. Hiromi has blinding technique, but there is much, much more, such as the pure joy that she emanates when at the keyboard. Her imaginative playing has attracted the likes of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and others with whom she’s played and toured. A recent Downbeat review of The Trio’s performance spoke of “a remarkably high level of intense-but-controlled energy.”

Monday, March 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ O’Gara’s, Saint Paul. 8pm – 9:30pm ($7). Adam is bringing an 18 piece big band to O’Gara’s Shamrock room. They play Adam’s original music, and will be premiering two new pieces. I saw this exciting group at their last O’Gara’s appearance. Anyone with an interest in big bands should check them out.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the Bebopified Calendar, here.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, March 22

Camille Baudoin w/the Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) You may know Baudoin as the guitarist for the long lived-but-no-longer extant Radiators out of New Orleans. Winner of Offbeat Awards for his 2011 acoustic album “Old Bayou Blues,” he’s in town for a couple of gigs, including the Sunday benefit listed below. Tonight he’s playing with Curt Obeda and the Butanes, the award-winning blues group that’s versatile enough to tackle all sorts of rhythms and blues with equal elán.

Friday, March 23

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings CD/LP Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10). Take a washtub (played by Brad Ptacek) and a washboard (Mikkel Beckman) from the laundry room. Add a broom and rope to the tub as per the diagram. Bring in a guitarist (Kaul) who is especially effective on Resonator, and who can write old sounding songs about contemporary life, and you’ve got the formula for an engaging trio. On “Machine,”the new CD/LP, and for tonight’s performance, the crew expands with the addition of fiddler Jillian Rae from the Killer Hayseeds.

Bethany Larson & the Bee’s Knees, Joey Ryan & the Inks, and Communist Daughter @ The Varsity, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8) Three young bands that feature excellent writing and vocals, fine musicianship and a sunny sound that sometimes hints at darker concerns.

Saturday, March 24

Janiva Magness CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Aside from Koko Taylor, Janiva is the only woman to receive the BB King Entertainer of the Year Award. A man is the target of some particularly tough words on her latest CD, “Stronger for It,” though that shouldn’t stop guys from listening or attending this show. After all, it’s the blues. Mighty fine blues, goosed along by Janiva’s soulful singing. Here’s a video of her doing a song from the new album.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Soul. Funk. Vinyl. 45s. Dancing. Lots, and lots, and lots of Dancing.

Sunday, March 25

Brunch w/Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm. (No cover) More bracing than the hair of the dog, easier to take than a Rocky Balboa health drink, the swinging country blues of Javier & the boys will go well with the Kitchen’s famed breakfast dishes.

Never Let Your Fire Go Out: Benefit or Karl Bremer @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. Doors at Noon, Music 2pm – 9pm. ($25) Members of the New Orleans Radiators, The Butanes, the Cats Under the Stars Acoustic Trio, along with Willie West, Tony Glover, Gene LaFond and more. This is a unique and extraordinary gathering of veteran musicians. Well worth the entry, PLUS, it’s going to benefit Karl Bremer, founder of the Krewe of Dads, music writer, former Brewmeister of St. Croix Brewing,and author of “The Madness of Michelle Bachman” (2011, John Wiley & Sons).

Maurice Jaycox Band @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul 4pm (No Cover) This talented singer/instrumentalist has a long history with a number of highly popular bands. He’s also done a Nat King Cole tribute show, and of late has been sitting in at various venues around town. Jaycox has particularly good rapport with guitarists Bobby E. and Dean Mikkelson, who he’s been playing with lately. Hope they are with him for this late afternoon show. Well worth taking some time out of a sunny day.

Tuesday, March 27

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30) Back when pop music was in love with psychedelic guitars, obtuse words, and overblown suites, along came the witty acoustic swing of Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks, providing a refreshing blend of folk, jazz, and country music and retro/nouveau hipsterism. He still concocts deliciously funny lyrics, and still swings. Here’s an example of his droll humor.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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

New, Obscure, and Established venues – Music Suggestions for January 18th to the 24th

January 18, 2012

Rhythm and Roots will be heard at the James J. Hill Library this week.

It is heartening to see music being performed in venues that aren’t known for presenting music, like the James J. Hill Library (See Jan 19 listing under Roots). This week’s venues range from said historic  library, to a new club, small restaurants and coffee shops, a classic jazz joint, a classy restaurant/club, a high school, and a couple of small bars that feature a variety of musical genres.  We’ve a CD release by a jazz group and a vinyl LP re-release of a 60s soul singer. In between, you can hear from veteran musicians of all stripes as well as some talented musicians of high school age. Please support those who perform live music wherever they may appear.


Wednesday, January 18

Parker Paisley CD Release @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm. (no cover) Park Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Adam Wozniak, bass; Pete Hennig, drums. Quite the line-up here. Though Evans moved here to study classical guitar and composition, his musicality has landed him in about eight or nine different groups ranging from jazz to rock to world music. Expect modern jazz, with a bit of reggae, latin and other world  influences. Reservations are recommended if you want dinner.

Phil Hey, Tanner Taylor, James Buckley @ The Nomad World Pub, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm (No cover). Drummer Phil Hey is the veteran of the group, though pianist Tanner Taylor and bassist James Buckley both have impressive resumes of their own. I suspect that musical fireworks will ensue.

Thursday, Jan 19

7th Annual South High Singer Showcase @ South High School, 3131 19th Ave South, Minneapolis. 5pm dinner ($20 w/show) 7pm show ($8). South High has an excellent jazz program, though its vocal program usually concentrates on theatrical and pop singing. This year singer Rhonda Laurie has been working with some of the young performers as shown at left.  Tonight’s program will showcase 5 or 6 singers each performing a song with the Jazz Ensemble. Connie Evingson will then join the Ensemble and  sing a few songs as well.

Snowblind @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($5) With a three-horn frontline of Shilad Sen, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; and Scott Agster, trombone; together with Graydon Peterson on bass, and Reid Kennedy on drums, Snowblind produces a sound as full-bodied as a California Cabernet, while their grooves, improvisation, and rhythmic excitement provide some memorable spice.

Friday, Jan  20

Katie Gearty & Nichola Miller @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, 501 Washington, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) It’s a two-chanteuse night at the spacious Crooked Pint (with room to dance) on Washington. As singers, Katie and Nichola are not your sweet naive things. They sing songs for grownups and have the chops to put most any song in its place. Plus, they’re backed by the Tanner Taylor Trio. A fun date. Here’s a video of Nichola at the Farmer’s Market last summer.

 Saturday, Jan 21

Kenny Lewis & the Barflyz @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Guitarist/bassist/vocalist Kenny Lewis was a touring member, producer, and writer for the Steve Miller Band since 1982. Other credits include working with folks like BB King, Dave Mason, Boz Scaggs, and Brian Wilson, among others. Wouldn’t be surprised if former bandmate Billy Peterson is part of this group.

Sunday, Jan 22

No Room For Squares Benefit for Ann Cirelli @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 5pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ann Cirelli (wife of drummer Bill Steiger) is recovering from Meningitis and facing a lifetime of disability. Hence this fundraiser to help with expenses. No Room for Squares is an impressive group, featuring the powerful Sue Orfield on sax; supreme bassist Billy Peterson; lyrical Chris Lomheim, piano; inventive Steve Kenny, trumpet; and Stieger on drums. You’ll have a fun evening and be helping someone out at the same time.

Tuesday, Jan 24

Maryann Sullivan @ The Nicollet Coffeehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. (tip jar). The swingin’ Ms Sullivan is host of a couple of shows on KBEM and a fine singer in her own right. No doubt she’ll be backed by a combo that makes it easy for dancers to take advantage of the roomy wooden floor of The Nicollet.

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

Roots, Blues, Other

Wednesday, January 18

Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($4)  Moving a couple of blocks from Nye’s where she held down a residency for many years, Molly & Erik now perform in this intimate, comfortable space overlooking the downtown skyline. There is now a small cover charge. Well worth it to hear their soulful Americana.

Thursday, Jan 19

Paul Cebar and Dana Thompson @ The James J. Hill Library, downtown Saint Paul. 8pm. ($25) This is part of a roots music series put on by Real-Phonic Radio. It’s a great family-friendly event that’s broadcast live on the internet and then podcast. Cebar and his group are purveyors of genre-bending dance music, with influences from the Caribbean, Africa, 60s and 70s soul, and who knows what else. Singer/Songwriter Thompson has been in a number of bands, including the Strawdogs and Hot Head fiasco, been named Best Female Vocalist by City Pages, and has toured with her own band in support of her critically acclaimed album, Ox.

Friday, Jan 20

Mike Fugazzi & Friends @ The Hat Trick Lounge. 9pm ($7). Fugazzi is a rock harpist with a blues bent and a mission – to play hard, but with imagination. He’ll have you kicking up your heels. The intimate obscure Hat Trick is just the place for him to kick up the jams.

Saturday, Jan 21

Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Jump/Swing/Retro Blues from San Francisco. Though her album covers make good use of Smith‘s “charms” the fact is she has a good voice and a cookin’ seven-piece band backing her up. In fact, Smith’s last album, “Everybody’s Talkin’ Bout Miss Thing” received 4.5 stars in Downbeat.

Mickey Murray @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis 8pm ($15). A soul singer who had a million seller in 1968 with Otis Redding’s “Shout Bamalama,” Murray was signed to King Records, ostensibly to replace the departing James Brown. His debut LP, “People Are Together,” hardly made it to the shelves, as a result of King being sold, and the title track being deemed too racially sensitive by black deejays in the South. Now, local crate diggers Secret Stash Records are re-releasing the LP and celebrating with this show. Deejays Bill DeVille and Jim McGuinn from the Current will open.

Sunday, Jan 22

Get Out of Town Fundraiser @ the Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm    Good Time Willy, Boom Boom Steve, John Franken, Davina & Vagabonds, Scottie Miller, Papa John Kolstad, Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, Javier & the Innocent Sons, Annie Mack, and more.  The Minnesota Blues Society has put together this show to raise funds to send bands to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Sunday, Monday, Jan 22, 23

Meshell Ndgeocello @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) Meshells been nominated for a Grammy 10 times. Her bass playing and mix of jazz, funk, and African roots music, combined with personal and political lyrics is energetic, to say the least. She’s a musical explorer who can be in your face (If That’s Your Boyfriend, He Wasn’t Last Night), or take a quieter approach, as on her latest album, “Weather.” Give a listen.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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