More Daylight, More Music: 3.7 – 3.13

March 7, 2018

Well, in spite of the snowstorm of the last few days, Spring is approaching, days are getting longer, and Daylight Savings Time will begin this weekend. We have a good balance of visiting and resident artists appearing for our pleasure, a special Birthday residency by a jazz legend, and three nights of Latin Dancing on the calendar. Soo… get out and hear some music – it lifts our spirits.



Wednesday, March 7

Cecile McLoren Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $37) Vocalist Salvant sings unique and often little known songs, from the early 20s onward, to her own originals. Singing in English, French, and Spanish, she has an elastic voice and unerring improvisation, as well as a command of various styles, and seems to be in line to build on the legacies of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Red Planet w/Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $22) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in the UP of Michigan, close enough to perform at the Dunsmore Room every few months. Red Planet is a fusion trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre, thanks to members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. The four released an album late last summer that received four stars from Downbeat.

Thursday – Sunday

Charles Lloyd’s 80th Birthday Residency @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($55 – $125) This may be the hot ticket of the year, as sax master Charles Lloyd leads three different groups over the course of four nights. Britt Robson wrote an enlightening article in Tuesday’s Star Tribune describing the groups and how Lloyd chose the Dakota to celebrate his 80th birthday. You can read it here. Here is one of the groups – appearing Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, March 8

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Vocalist Livingston, who sometimes appears with the Parisota Hot Club, will be performing jazz standards accompanied by her music director Marc Ziegenhagen on piano.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Le Percheron is led by bassist Adam Linz, and features up and coming young lions Levi Schwartsberg on vibes; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on cornet, and Corey Healy on drums. They create music that is at once accessible and adventurous.

Friday, March 9

Wall Smashers Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This is a new trio led by the fine multi-keyboardist Steven Hobert, with Jax Ravel, bass; and LA Buckner, drums.

Saturday, March 10

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7:00pm Opening Set: Three Faces: Joe Mayo, saxes; Dave Graf, trombone; Michael Gold, bass, and Rick Nair on drums. Headlining at 8:30 pm: The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass: Joe Strachan, Piano; Nelson Devereaux, saxes, and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here’s Ravel with some bass soloing.

JazzMN Orchestra: The Commission Project @ Hopkins High School, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($31,$38) The JazzMN Orchestra is a 7- piece band, with a number of the area’s best musicians. Tonight’s program is The Commission Project, featuring the premier of new works by John Wasson – A Minnesota native and award-winning composer, conductor and performer, whose arrangement of “Caravan” was featured in the movie WhiplashDavid Berger – Conductor and arranger for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in NYC; and resident artists Dean Sorenson, Director of Jazz Studies at the U of MNH; and Adam Meckler, a vibrant trumpeter, educator, and leader of the Adam Meckler Orchestra. The evening also includes guest vocalist Andrew Walesch. Here’s the Orchestra with a classic.


Tuesday, March 13

Maud Hixson: Moon River & Mercer @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) Once again, Ms Hixson has hit upon a perfect theme to showcase her warm, sophisticated vocals, this time celebrating the music of Johnny Mercer, lyricist and composer responsible for such songs as Fools Rush In, That Old Black Magic, the lyrics to Skylark, Satin Doll, Summer Wind, and of course, Moon River. She’ll be joined by her frequent pianist, the ever tasteful Rick Carlson. Here she is doing a song from early 20th Century.

Melissa Aldana @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) Tenor Saxophonist Aldana left her native Chile in 2007 to study at Berklee school of music. In 2009 she moved to New York, where she apprenticed with Greg Osby and George Coleman, among others. In 2013 she became the first female instrumentalist (and the first South American) to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. Her influences include Sonny Rollins, Don Byas, Gene Ammons, and Chris Potter. She’ll be appearing with her chordless trio – Pablo Menares, bass; and Jochen Ruekert, drums.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 12, 13

Jose James: Lean On Me @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $0, $5) Soulful, elegant vocalist, and Minneapolis native, James is a rising star in the jazz firmament. He’s flexible enough to have performed with performed with Chico Hamilton and the electronica artist Flying Lotus, and has released four well-received albums, including a tribute to Billie Holiday. For this show, he celebrates the music of Bill Withers (with Withers blessing) accompanied by his band: Brad Allen Williams, guitar; Sulllivan Fortner, keys; Ben Williams, bass, and Nate Smith, drums, all of whom have stellar resumes.

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 7

Pistol Whippin’ Part Penguins on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This 5-piece string band features 2 guitars, a mandolin, a bucket of fiddles, an upright bass, a banjo, and a 4 part vocal harmony. They’re preparing to record their fourth album of folk, rock, blues, and bluegrass. Listen in and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Thursday, March 8

Brazlian Night @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $15) The Dunsmore Room will be taken over by the sensuous rhythms of Brazilian music as performed by Lucia Newell, a vocalist who spent two years performing with Brazilian artists in Rio, accompanied by Clea Galhano, a renowned recorder player from Brazil, Joan Griffith on guitar, and Gordy Johnson on bass. A rare opportunity.

Joanne Shaw Taylor @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($40 Advance/$45 Door) The UK’s hot blues rock guitarist/singer finally makes her way to the U.S. and Twin Cities after touring world-wide and breaking out with appearances on Jools Holland’s TV show and rave reviews for her album Wild.

Friday, March 9

Salsa del Soul @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) I‘m not sure if this is in the tap room or upstairs in the ballroom, which seems a more appropriate place to handle the outpouring of dancers whenever this 9-piece band plays its repertoire of Latin rhythms.

Saturday, March 10

Chino Latino Jazz Project @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7-10pm ($12, $7w/Student ID) This 7 -piece Latin Jazz ensemble will turn the basement club into a dance studio, with a free latin dance lesson at the beginning of the evening, and a special dance demonstration by professionals from the Arthur Murray dance studio.

RRDB Fest Pre-Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($9 Advance, $12 door) It’s a night of blues-stompin’music as the Hook unveils the line-up for the 8th Annual Roots, Rock, and Deep Blues Festival taking place July 14th. Tonight’s line-up features alumni of past RRDB Festivals, including resident stalwarts Javier Matos, and Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, Colimbia MOs punk blues trio The Flood Brothers, and Kent Burnside, singer/songwriter and grandson and keeper of the flame of RL Burnside and his music.

Dee Miller Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Foot Stompin’ good time blues from Ms Miller and band, two time winners of the Minneapolis Battle of the Blues Bands.

Sunday, March 11

Heatwave & Landman @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Heawave is Chris “Heatwave” Holm, and Landman is Mark “Landman” Larson, both of whom were the original rhythm section for 4ontheFloor. Today they’ll fill the warm wonderfully humid confines of the conservatory with Delta blues, British invasion pop, and a bit of garage rock.

Tuesday, March 13

Charanga Tropical @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) This is the third Latin Dance gig in five days, this time featuring Cuban Danzones, as well as well as modern salsa, originals, and other Latin dance rhythms. The Icehouse usually removes tables to make room for the dancers that flock to this band.

Wednesday, March 14

D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage @ Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This  1980 Rockumentary about the beginning of punk follows the 1978 American tour of the Sex Pistols, (after which they broke up) and also includes fiery performances  by X-Ray Spex, Generation X with Billy Idol,  Sham 69, and the Dead Boys. It also includes one of the last interviews recorded with Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, three months before their deaths. Here’ the film’s trailer.

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.

Here Comes the Sun. Music: 3.4 – 3.11

March 5, 2014

IMG_4997w-2Lent is now upon us, and to quote George Harrison, “I feel the ice is slowly melting.” This brings us a few opportunities to celebrate, what with a Brazilian Carnaval experience, a blues revue, and a visiting Cajun/Creole musician. We also have a much-talked-about young jazz singer coming to town, and a bevy of performances from residential artists.  Thanks to Teresa Boardman for the use of her photo of sunrise over Saint Paul. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, March 5

Debbie Duncan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Ballads, bebop,  blues and more. Duncan is a master at each, bringing a bit of sass, but more importantly, an deep understanding of each song she sings.

Anthony Cox Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) The first Wednesday of each month, Cox brings together a number of talents from different genres to collaborate. Dialogue with the audience is encouraged.

Thursday, March 6

Lila Ammons & Thom West @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:00pm  (Donation) Ammons started out singing classical music, before turning to classic blues, for which she’s become popular in Europe after touring with pianist Axel Zwingenberger and drummer Charlie Watts. Though she’s kept a low profile here in the Twin Cities, Ammons is a first rate jazz singer, with a CD that features Houston Person. She’ll be joined by pianist Thom West for this vocal night at Jazz Central. Learn more about her from an interview I did a couple of years ago.

Carlo Gesualdo Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm – 11:30pm  (donation) And now for something completely different. As described on the Jazz Central website, the Carlo Gesualdo Band plays the music of the 16th/17th century Italian composer/murderer/visionary Carlo Gesualdo. Andrew Bergmann is a bassist, composer, and Massachusetts native who has arranged this strange and harmonically adventurous vocal music for a free-wheeling instrumental jazz-rock quintet that includes Scott Fultz, sax; Sean Roderick, piano; Park Evans, guitar; and Adam Patterson, drums.

Friday, March 7

Harrelson Trumpets Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Donation) The trumpet manufacturer presents a night of trumpet duets, featuring Harrelson friends and family — Jason Harrelson, Christine Palmer, Mark Bobnick,  Todd Tanji, Leighton Tuenge  and Greg Zent.

Saturday, March 8

Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.7 pm – 10pm. Pianist Hobert is a talented young musician who also plays accordion in Lulu’s Playground and leads a playful group called Firefly. He can support a big band (The Adam Meckler Orchestra), a combo, or play solo, where his sometimes ethereal, and often impressionistic playing is best heard. He recently returned from a tour of Japan. Though he’ll mostly be playing solo, some friends will be joining him tonight. Here’s an example of his playing.

Erick Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Studio Z, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Free workshop at 6pm. This edition of Source Code includes Solomon Parham on trumpet, Dave Graf on Trombone, and Ron Evaniuk on bass. Gravatt is a ferocious drummer, which doesn’t mean he can’t show some restraint when the music warrants it. He made a name for himself playing with Weather Report on I Sing the Body Electric, and has played with a who’s who of jazz artists.

Sunday, March 9

Cecile McLorin Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm  Salvant is an up and coming Grammy-nominated jazz singer who is receiving raves from the NY Times and others for extending the heritage of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She writes her own songs but also put her own, very original stamp on standards, communicating modern sensibilities through the Great American Songbook. See her now, before she outgrows clubs. Here’s an example.

Monday, March 10

Enormous Quartet and Beast @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. ($8) The Enormous Quartet is Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; and Joey Van Phillips, drums. Beast is a Brian Courage trio, with a second bassist and a drummer.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police, Bebopified, and JazzInk.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, March 5

Nikki & the RueMates and Peace Life @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($4) An evening of folk, folk rock, and blues. Life is a folk duo consisting of Jack on acoustic Guitar and Tess’ailene on vocals. I’ve written of Nikki & the Ruemates before, though tonight it’s really just Nikki & Rich. The two duos will also be performing together on a song or two, causing Nikki to dub the four as the PeaceMates.

Midweek Mambo w/Charanguita @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Despite the name, this is a salsa dance party. The action starts with a deejay and dance lessons at 9, and then six-piece core of Charanga Tropical (hence Charanguita) takes the stage shortly before 10 to play for salsa dancers until midnight.

Thursday, March 6

Ben Abrahamson Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Abrahamson is a stellar guitarist and composer who specializes in flamenco, having studied in Barcelona. Tonight he crosses and blends music genres as he gathers Max Corcoran, sax; Cory Grossman, cello; and Thomas Nordlund, guitar; for an evening of new compositions influenced by flamenco, jazz, and avant-garde music.

Friday, March 7

“We Beat Winter” Party w/Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. The forecast calls for temps above freezing this weekend, so it may be that we have really Beat Winter. Celebrate with Scottie Miller, piano, vocals; Doug Otto, guitar, vocals; Jeremy Johnson, guitar; Good Time Willy, guitar & vocals;  Bill Black, bass; and Hurricane Harold on harp.

Joe Louis Walker @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Walker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame last year, an honor that is well deserved, though he’s probably more well known in Europe than in the US. Born in 1949, he’s part of the second generation of bluesmen. By the time he was 19 he had been onstage with John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, The Soul Stirrers and Thelonious Monk. He also became a friend a roommate to Michail Bloomfield, whose death was the impetus for earning degrees in English and music, and performing with a gospel group. Walker returned to the blues in a big way in 1985, and has recorded eleven albums since then. Here he is showing a bit of influence from T-Bone Walker.

Black Oak Arkansas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($25adv/$27Door) They may not be the Dead, but these Southern party rockers have had a long strange trip of their own – formed in ’63 while in high school, they were eventually signed to Atlantic by Ahmet Ertegun, had 3 gold albums, and a gold single recorded (Jim Dandy to the Rescue, a ’57 hit for LaVern Baker) on the advice of Elvis Presley. Fans have included Bill Graham and Betty Ford, as well as Bill Clinton, and a slew of folk who came of age in the 70s.

Saturday, March 8

Carnaval Brasiilero @ Muse Event Center, 107 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis. 2pm – 5pm (Family Matinee – $10 advance/$15 door) 9pm  – 2am(18+, $17 Advance, $25 door). This is the 12th Annual Brazilian Carnaval. It’s hosted by Robert Everest and Beira Mar Brasil, a ten-piece band. They’ll be joined by singer/dancer Dandara Odara from Bahia, and will have food, drink, Carnaval masks, and more.

Maurice Jacox @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  8pm (Tip Jar) I’ve been posting Maurice’s gigs quite a bit lately, but only because he’s so versatile and has performed in a variety of settings, from R&B horn bands to intimate duos, to singing with Nachito Herrera and the Cuban National Symphony. Tonight he’s appearing in a new configuration, with the under-rated and very fine guitarist, Bobby E, along with Tom Wells on Tuba,which will certainly add interest to the proceedings.

Viva Brazil @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Here’s another Brazilian group that is worth seeing. Viva Brazil plays Brazilian Popular Music, aka BPM, which includes sambas, funk, & jazz in both Portuguese and English. The group includes Will Lopes, vocals; Altamir Coelho, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Josue Alfaro, percussion; Cory Wong, guitar; and Dan Musselman, keyboards.

Sunday, March 9

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 advance/$18 door) A talented, relatively young musician, Watson is a fiddler, vocalist, and accordionist, who brings his own lively and imaginative perspective to traditional Cajun and Creole songs.

Tuesday, March 11

Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover)  The fingerpicking ace provides interesting, intricate music for diners. Get a reservation and tell them you want to sit near the music.

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

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