Summer Begins: 3.25 – 3.31

May 25, 2016

Unknown-1Well, the unofficial start of summer is upon us. As the touring season for musicians kicks into high gear, we have more choices for music events from both visiting and resident artists, only a few of which I list each week. Like an overflowing picnic basket, we have more than enough to satisfy us. Have a great week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 25

Larry McDonough: Born To Be Kind of Blue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Pianist McDonough has been doing shows about trumpeters Chet Baker and Miles Davis of late. Hollywood recently released films about both trumpeters, so it seems the next step for McDonough is to combine both shows. McDonough’s voice has the same “cool” quality as Baker, so he’s got that covered, and he’s brought in the talented Steve Kenny on trumpet. Other members of the group include Paul Peterson, tenor; Doug Haining, alto; Jim Bierna, bass; and Dean White, drums. Here’s McDonough doing a standard.

Bobby Lyle w/Billy Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 Dinner), 9pm ($20) The Minneapolis native started playing piano in clubs at the age of 15, and hit the road as a full time musician after two years at Macalester. In the more than three decades since then he’s acquired an impressive resume, recording for Capitol, Atlantic, Three Keys, and Heads Up, and serving as musical director for Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler. His 2005 album Straight and Smooth appeared on both the Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts for Billboard. He’ll be joined by bassist Billy Peterson, whose own musical career also knows few boundaries, having worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Les Paul, Ben Sidran, and Steve Miller, among others.

Thursday, May 26

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Lucia Sarmiento Group is tonight’s attraction, and attraction is certainly the right word. Sarmiento is a young sax player from Peru who has been studying at MacNally Smith and increasingly gigging around town. She’s a strong player and a creative improviser. Joining her are a number of other young and youngish players: Will Kjeer, piano; Ethan Elseth, guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. Here she is from a few years ago.

Paula Lammers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Vocalist Lammers and guitarist David Martin have been exploring the music of singer/songwriters of the 70s, when the form exploded on the radio and pop charts. Ex[pect to hear music from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Rickie Lee Jones, Carole King, and more. Here she is doing an Ellington tune.

Friday, May 27

Jeremy Walker & Ted Nash @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Wow! Walker is a fine pianist and composer, well worth a visit to the Vieux. He’s a long time friend of saxophonist Ted Nash, who is coming through town and will be sitting in with Walker. Nash is a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and co-founded the NYC based Jazz Composers Collective. He will soon be releasing Presidential Suite, based on great political speeches of the 20th Century.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a band that’s just made for the room, allowing you to enjoy gumbo, a po’ boy, or oysters while The Aces play traditional New Orleans jazz from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bix Beiderbecke, among others. The group includes: Tony Baluff, clarinet; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Robert Bell, guitar; and Dave Michael, drums. And what’s more New Orleans than Little Liza Jane?

Maud Hixson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30 (No Cover) Ms Hixson brings her elegant vocals to the lounge at the Italian eatery in the office warrens in the southeast corner of the 100/494 interchange. She’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Rick Carlson on piano, two musicians whose restraint and taste are a good fit for Ms Hixson. Her latest project is a CD with songs mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books, a series from the early 20th Century about life in Mankato. Here’s a sample.

Saturday, May 28

Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Hot jazz from early in the 20th Century, played by Tom Zosel, clarinet/tenor sax; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; Tom Lyseng, drums; and Jeffrey Dunitz, banjo/guitar. Here’s what they sound like.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The new kitchen is open at the Black Dog, so while you’re enjoying music in the expanded space, you can have a burger or banh mi sandwich, among other offerings. At 7pm it’s the Evan Benidt Trio: Benidt, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums. The Peter Vircks Quartet starts sometime between 8:30 and 9:: Vircks, sax; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Brian Ziemniak, piano

Sunday, May 29

Joel Shapira @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) So, you’re hanging around town for the weekend, and if the forecast of rain on Friday and Saturday is correct, by Sunday afternoon, you’ll be looking for some diversion. Guitarist Joel Shapira might do the trick. The garage doors to the tap room will be open, so you can enjoy being on the patio.


Sergio Mendes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm  ($60 – $80) While Stan Getz may have had the first “bossa nova” hit with Desafinado, it was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 that really brought Brazilian music to the world 50 years ago. He adapted songs like The Look of Love, Fool on the Hill, and Scarborough Fair to the sensuous rhythms of Brazil, and took Mas Que Nada, sung entirely in Portugese, to the pop charts. He’s released 55 albums, and continues to meld pop instrumentation with Brazilian rhythms, maintaining his cool factor all these years. Here’s an example of just how cool he is – playing with the Black Eyed Peas

Tuesday, May 31

Dave Karr Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Saxophonist Karr moved to the Twin Cities in the 50s and began gigging around. In the intervening years created an award winning jingle agency, continued to gig, and has become an elder statesman in jazz, with an ever-inventive ability to caress a sweet melody or improvise a bebop line. He’ll be playing with Chris Lomheim, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.

Southern Minnesota REAL Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Waseca-based group is made up of the region’s top jazz musicians. About half are band directors, while the others come from a variety of occupations. They’ve got standard, 18-piece instrumentation, and play music from Ellington, Basie, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gordon Goodwin and others.


Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This may be the first appearance at the Vieux for this group, though they originally started when the place was the Artists’ Quarter. Initially, all members would play as part of Kenny’s early evening Tuesday night jam, until they coalesced as a group, with Kenny as the veteran playing with young lions. Besides Kenny on Flumpet_, the group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Listen.

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, May 25

Moonlight Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Moonlight Duo are Mary DuShane and Nick Jordan. DuShane is a fiddler with a long history in the Twin Cities folk and roots scene. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion as a member of the Powdermilk Biscuit Band, currently plays with the DL Cajun Band, and has been in a number of country, folk, and roots bands over the decades. Nick Jordan plays finger-picked guitar (he flat picks as well), mandolin, and flute/whistle, in addition to singing. It will be an evening of old time, Appalachian, and Irish songs.

The April Fools @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of rock n’ roll loving guys who know how to put the country in country rock. Each has played in a plethora of bands before this collaboration, which was supposed to be a one-off project. They enjoyed working together so much that they became a band. Brian Drake, vocals, guitars; Clay Williams, guitars, lap steel, and pedal steel; Ben Kaplan, drums & percussion; and Scott Hreha, bass.

Thursday, May 26

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Swing dancers and Cajun dancers unite! You have nothing to lose but calories from spinning, twirling, two-stepping, and generally dancing the night away to this seasoned group and their repertoire of New Orleans R&B, Cajun, & Zydeco music.


Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($20) There will be plenty of both young and old fans of funk n’ soul at the former bus depot tonight. Bradley spent years doing James Brown covers before he was discovered by the soul-loving folks at Daptone Records. He’s been given the sobriquet “Screamin’ Eagle of Soul” thanks to the intensity of his singing, which leans toward slow and medium tempos, though he explodes with passion on the occasional fast number.

Jaunito Pascual New Flamenco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Born in Minneapolis, Jaunito Pascual  as been recognized in both Spain and throughout the US for his creativity and virtuosity on the guitar. He’s been hailed by NPR and the Boston Globe, performed on a Prairie Home Companion Cruise, and appeared in Steve Martin’s Pink Panther 2.

Friday, May 27

JD Souther @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $52) Billed as an “Intimate Evening,” it will be just Souther on stage. The singer/songwriter was a critical source for songs during the flowering of California country/rock in the early 70s, having hits with Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and others. He had his own massive hit in 1979, with You’re Only Lonely, which hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Souther has admitted that his songs are often depressing, which may explain why they are popular with country stars like George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks and Dunn, and others. His latest album, Tenderness, finds him, like many other his age, exploring the Great American Songbook. Those of you of a certain age will remember this song, a hit for the Eagles.

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm ($20, $18 members) Doors at 6:30 and limited seating, in one of the nicest unexpected venues in town. Sit amongst stunning examples of 20th Century Realism, and listen to this extraordinary quartet, one of the few guitar ensembles in the country that performs its pieces from memory. You’ll hear music from J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Hiromi Uehara, Maria Kalaniemi, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Don’t think this is on the program, but it’s a fine version.

North Country Bandits @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The band was on hiatus for a while, so it’s good to have them back, performing  a heap of stompin’ blues, a bit of country, good ol’ rock n’ roll, and killer harmonies. The front line is Matt Pudas, Drew Druckery, and Doug Otto on guitars and vocals, along with Rich Casey bass; Chris Gray, drums, Joanna John, keys; and Nick “The Feelin’” Mrozinski on vocals and keys.

Riverside Swing Band EP Release @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though the lounge has a small dance floor, it will undoubtedly be jumping as this quartet celebrates the release of “Songs from the 30s,” a collection of six vintage swing tunes.

Saturday, May 28

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpman and vocalist Steve Vondehaar, aka Boom Boom Steve, plays the Mississippi Saxophone with considerable skill. He’s been at it ever since buying a Tony Glover instruction book as a teenager. He and the Knockouts will have Neumann’s jumping.

Urban Flavor @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Funk n’ soul from a band of seasoned musicians, a few of whom were instrumental in the MPLS Sound of the 70s and 80s. Ben Locke was Alexander O’Neal’s drummer, while Charles and Donald Berry were cofounders of Quiet Storm, featured in the book/CD Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Members of other bands from the era will be present, though it’s hard to say who may join the band for the evening.

Pat Hayes Band @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist/harpist/vocalist Pat Hayes isn’t exactly shedding his Lamont Cranston skin, just putting it aside for this gig, which will undoubtedly still feature an LC tune or two in a new configuration. I’m unsure of who he’ll have with him, except for Tim Wick, who will be playing organ.

Saturday, Sunday, May 28, 29

Memory Lanes Block Party @ Memory Lanes, 25th & 26th Ave So, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 2am Saturday, 3pm – 10 pm Sunday ($5/day) Deejays and bands galore, with Saturday featuring mostly (insert hyphenated genre here) rock bands, while on Sunday there are a few roots and blues bands of note, including: Jaedyn James & The Hunger at 4:30, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders at 8:20, the Legendary Shack Shakers at 9:30, and Davina & The Vagabonds indoors at 10:45.


Sunday, May 29

Ecuador Manta @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Based in Saint Paul since they began in 1992, Ecuador Manta is originally from the tiny village of Atahulapa, Ecuador. They combine traditional rhythms from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia with contemporary Latin and Caribbean rhythms to create a unique form of Andean music.


Tuesday, May 31

Siama: Rivers – From the Congo to the Mississippi CD Release @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) If the swaying rhythms of Congolese guitarist Siama Matuzungidi doesn’t make you want to move, you better check your pulse. Siama was a prolific studio musician during the golden era of soukous music (70s-’80s) and his distinctive guitar style is featured on over 100 hit songs, several of which he composed. He’s been a resident of the Twin Cities for a number of years now, slowly but steadily building a fan base and connections with other musicians in cross-genre projects. From the Congo to the Mississippi is one such project, featuring musicians such as Joe Savage, pedal steel; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; Tim O’Keefe, percussion; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, JD Steele, vocals, and others, all of whom will be on hand. You’re invited to contribute an instrument in the lobby for distribution by Vega Productions to aspiring young musicians.

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

Rock n’ Roll is Here to Stay. Music: 12.4 – 12.10

December 4, 2013

imagesAs I write this, the snow is coming down, and I can hear snowplows on the streets. Fitting that the first week in December brings the first real snowstorm to the metro area. We’re in the final month of the Artists’ Quarter, as owned and managed by Kenny Horst. There’ll be a special benefit to help with closing costs and transition (hopefully there will be one, though there is no word on that yet). In other news, Ronnie Spector is back, as is Bill Frisell. There are a couple of CD Release parties taking place, and rock n’ roll is alive and well. Have a good week


Wednesday, December 4

Anthony Cox @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Uber bassist Cox is considered a national artist when he plays in other towns. Don’t know if he’ll have anyone with him, but even solo, he’ll have you shaking your head in wonder.

Evans, Wozniak, Courage, & Schutte @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul ($5) There really isn’t enough space to list all the credits of these four relatively young lions: Park Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Brian Courage, bass; and Greg Schuute, drums. Between them they’ve played with recognized veterans from elsewhere and in up and coming groups from this area. I expect they’ll be playing originals and jazz standards.

Thursday, December 5

This year's combo.  Photo by Andrea Canter

This year’s combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

Dakota Combo @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The combo is an open-audition group that consists of the best high school musicians in the area. A couple of them are already gigging as professionals. One listen, and you won’t worry about the future of jazz.

Dean Granros Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Granros is a highly respected guitarist – one of those artists that other musicians want to play with. He was in the New York band Curlew back in the day, has played with folks ranging from Ira Sullivan to Dean Konitz and Dave Dudley, and has been seen around here in How Birds Work and Starry Eyed Lovelies. Here he is with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.

Friday, December 6

Todd Harper Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm, more or less (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper is back with his trio, including Aaron Kerr on electric cello, and Peter Leggett on drums.  There’s also a gift bazaar going on at the same time. Shop and enjoy the music.

Friday, Saturday, December 6,7

Happy Apple @ The Artist’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Though undoubtedly a jazz group, it can easily be said that Happy Apple defies categorization. But that’s what you get when a bunch of rockin’ kids discover jazz. Mike Lewis, sax; Eric Fratzke, bass, and Dave King, drums have been at it for about seventeen years now, gaining an international following and garnering praise from the NY Times, among others. Here’s a performance from last year.

Saturday, December 7

Jana Nyberg Group CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Jana has a new CD, Winter Song, with seasonally appropriate songs. The originals, by Jana, and trumpeter hubby Adam Meckler, are at turns romantic and playful, and always well done. The standards are given new, original arrangements. The result is a CD that will have you pushing the Repeat button more than once.

Sunday, December 8

PipJazz @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm Pippi Ardennia’s guest this month is Nicholas Carter, of Paraguay, a harpist, and I don’t mean harmonica. It will certainly be fun to see how he interacts with Pippi and the members of the band. Young pianist Jordan Anderson is the youth guest. Though 15 year old, he’s proving to be a fast learner.

Lots of music at the AQ, plus, Davis will perform his Lord Buckley routine.

Lots of music at the AQ, plus, Davis will perform his Lord Buckley routine.

Friends of the AQ @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 5pm – Midnight? ($10 Minimum donation) Kenny Horst has managed to run the iconic AQ for a few decades now without going in debt, and the musicians involved want to make sure he doesn’t incur any expenses in closing the club and (hopefully) transitioning it to new ownership. At last count there were 38 musicians lined up for this event to show their appreciation for Kenny and this club, with the line-up changing every half hour between 5pm and 10pm and a jam starting at 10:30 or so.

Bill Frisell’s Big Sur Quintet @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45) The searching, exploratory guitarist will be backed by members of two other groups that he plays with: Jenny Scheinman, violin, Eyvind Kang, viola, Hank Roberts, cellok, and Rudy Royston, drums. Frisell brought this particular group together to play Big Sur, a piece commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival. Big Sur combines atmospheric elements of chamber jazz, folk, country, and rock – all elements of Frisell’s musical journey.

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, December 4

Mayor Chris Coleman & the McNally Smith Blues Ensemble @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Hizzoner has played guitar in public before, notably with the ‘Burbs at the Gay Marriage celebration. Wherever you stand on civic issues, you will have fun listening to him as he plays with some of McNally Smith’s best students.

Wax Museum @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Free) It’s open vinyl night at Palmer’s. Listen to an ever-changing rotation of deejays playing everything from classic country to worldbeats to punk, metal, and electronica, or, you can bring some vinyl of your own and sign up to spin a 20 minute set.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 4,5

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Show Ever @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm ($45, $55, $65) The best voice in rock n’ roll, the woman who taught Amy Winehouse how to properly do a beehive hairdo, the kid from the street who made teenage hearts pound back in the 60s and can still thrill, Ms Spector returns after a two year absence to sing her fabulous version of Sleigh Ride, one of the most popular of all Christmas songs, along with hits like Be My Baby, and more. Here’s her big hit.

Thursday, December 5

Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30 doors. ($20) The “Screamin’ Eagle” of soul is becoming, just like the man he impersonated for so long, the hardest working man in show business, criss-crossing the country and the globe to perform sweat-drenched soul.

Willie & the Spectres @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Willie Scott, on dobro and National Steel Guitar, leads Paul Fonfara, clarinet; Evan Clark, tuba; Bobby Eckstrand, guitar; and Chris Hepola, drums; in a blend of  traditional jazz, blues, and Latin influenced music.

UnknownCactus Blossoms Live at the Turf Club CD Release @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) The tight,brotherly harmonies of Blossoms, when applied to their originals as well as classic country and honky tonk tunes, can make a grown man cry in his beer and a young woman sigh with regret.

Friday, December 6

Rock n’ Roll Whores, Le Serpent Rouge, & Grenade Girls @ The Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free)  Want to get a sense of how some young folks are rockin’ out? Here’s a chance. Rock n Roll Whores are a punkish/garage-is quartet with a lead singer who may be the next Dean of Scream. Le Serpent Rouge creates dense, yet melodic songs, with influences of 70s rock & psychedelia throughout. The Grenade Girls take classic rock, amp it up, and spit it out.

Jon Rodine & Friends plus the Electro-Pigs @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($?) Rodine is a singer songwriter who isn’t afraid to tackle Dylan, Dan Penn, and other great songsmiths in addition to doing his originals. He’s a bit of country, and a bit of blues, and often tackles a groove. The Electro-Pigs are the electric version of the Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs, purveyors of a good time, whether electric or acoustic. The Tap Room is relatively small, so you may want to get there early.

Saturday, December 7

Savanna & the Saviours @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:3pm (Tip Jar) Savanna sings with controlled emotion, which isn’t to say she’s a “cool” singer, but rather a rocker who knows how to use her voice. She’s ably assisted by the Saviours, a four piece that is equally at home controlling their music.

New Sound Underground and Spare Parts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) New funk and jazz-funk fusion for your late night revelry. New Sound Underground is made up of regional jazz guys, but they get their funk on in a big way, with inspiration from Soulive, Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, and Weather Report. Spare Parts is a three-piece from Chicago that’s been getting lots of positive press in their hometown.

Sunday, December 8

34th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ First Avenue, Minneapolis – Suburbs, Cactus Blossoms, Sonny Knight & the Lakers. Well Curtiss A has some mighty fine help in his annual tribute. Always packed. Always fun.

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: 5.1 – 5.7

May 1, 2013

images-3I’ve been to the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival more than a dozen times since 1980, and as it has gotten larger over the years, and as I’ve gotten older, I cannot help but appreciate the many opportunities we have to see musicians (including many who perform at that festival) in small venues. This week we have some world, Americana, blues and jazz from area musicians, as well as visits from a singular jazz guitarist, a piano player who creates beautiful improvisations, and an up-and-coming soul singer (who btw, was in New Orleans this past weekend). Have a good week.


Wednesday, May 1

Body Omara @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Take Desert Blues from Africa. Add a proclivity for improvisation and a knowledge of jazz, and you’ve got a trio that moves the body, mind, and heart. Add in the excellent food and cocktails at Cafe Maude, and you’ll end up with a fun evening.

Boot Camp @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9m ($5) After the successful premier of 7 Psalms, pianist Jeremy Walker’s work for jazz quartet, choir and solo voice, he returns to Saint Paul’s jazz club with his quartet, including Brandon Wozniak, alto; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 1,2

Bill Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers @ The Dakota, Minneapoils. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($35) Frisell is an exemplary jazz guitarist with a unique sound. His often meditative, but never sleepy, approach easily crosses genres, and you might hear him playing country melodies as well haunting takes on soul numbers. He’s played with a wide range of artists, from Ginger Baker to Suzanne Vega to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, seamlessly weaving his singular style into the proceedings. These two nights promise to be evenings of superb sonic explorations, as he is joined by Eyvind Kang on viola and Rudy Royston on drums. Here they are doing an old blues tune.

Thursday, May 2

John Devine & Friends @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover)  Hard to know just who will show up to play with John. Doesn’t matter. His saxophone playing and creativity will bring it all together.

Joe Strachan Senior Recital @ Ferguson Hall, Rm 225, UofM, Minneapolis. 7pm. Joe is a piano player who was with the Dakota Combo a few years ago and has been studying at the U. During the last year especially, he’s been playing out and about and is showing that he’s learned his lessons well. He’ll be accompanied by a quartet and be performing music by Henry Threadgill, Billy Strayhorn, Tim Berne, and his own compositions.

Connie Evingson & Phil Mattson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Connie is simply an outstanding jazz singer, known throughout the nation. Phil has created arrangements for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and others, and has accompanied artists ranging from Mark Murphy and Bobby McFerrin to Barbara Morrison and Richie Cole. They’ll be joined by bassist Joan Griffith, a talent in her own right, to perform songs from Connie’s latest CD, Sweet Happy Life.

Friday, Saturday, May 3, 4

Bill Carrothers After Hours Trio @ The Artist’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Though area native and celebrated pianist Carrothers now lives in Michigan, he’s been making some regular forays to the AQ, and we’re the luckier for that. Critics describe his playing with terms like romantic, melancholic, warm, wistful, seductive, and sensuous. His carefully chosen notes shimmer and sparkle, and his partners in the trio – Billy Peterson on bass; and Kenny Horst on drums, are both inspired and inspiring. Here he is playing solo.

Tuesday, May 7

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) This monthly gig is a case study in how well musicians can communicate with each other. Magraw on guitar and Seru on percussion create music that fills the room, your brain, and your heart.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other..

Wednesday, May 1

Joe & Vicki Price, w/Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm. (tip jar) Here’s a double bill that will have the walls shakin’ at the 331 Club. Joe & Vicki are an Iowa couple whose originals often sound like they were penned by a Mississippi bluesman. Jeff Ray & the Stakes, w/Hurricane Harold on harp, take established songs from a variety of sources, and make them into stompin’ blues.  BTW, Joe & Vicki will be on KFAI’s Harold’s House Party, 90.3FM and 106.7FM, during the 5pm hour.

Friday, May 3

Lady J. Griot & the Root Doctors @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Lady J is Jacquie Maddix, of KFAI’s Rollin’ & Tumblin’ on Tuesday afternoons. She and the Root Doctors lay out the story of the blues. Lady J uses the lyrics of classic blues to reveal the ancient form of spiritual worship practiced by African slaves on Southern plantations.

High and Mighty @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) A nine piece rhythm and blues band, playing music that ranges from Stevie Wonder and Aretha Franklin, through Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang, to Mayer Hawthorne and Justin Timberlake. In other words, get out your dancing shoes and take advantage of the large dance floor at MMC.

The Ericksons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Haunting, spare melodies, insightful lyrics, and sisterly harmonies abound in this Americana/roots group.

Friday, Saturday, May 3,4

Secret Stash Soul Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) If you haven’t seen this act yet, and love R&B music, you owe it to yourself. Secret Stash is a local label that specializes in new releases of old vinyl, especially from other countries. Last year, however, they released the Twin Cities Funk N’ Soul, a compilation mining the sounds of the 60s and 70s. The album, and resulting revue featuring some of its artists, were highly acclaimed. Tonight, they’re bringing Sonny Knight, Maurice Jacox, and the Valdons to the stage, along with Chastity Brown, who will add her soulful voice to the mix.

Saturday, May 4

ANCIA Saxophone Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10/$5-advance) A concert of contemporary music from Philip Glass (Concerto for Saxophone Quartet – 1995), Fred Sturm (Picasso Cubed, from 2003 — his abstract recasting of Coleman Hawkin’s improvisations) and others. For more info, click here.

Malamanya @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. ($8) It’s Cuatro de Mayo, or another reason to dance to the invigorating, infectious, Cuban sounds of Malamanya. The Deejays of Radio Pocho from KFAI will be on hand to help keep your dancing shoes slipping and sliding during breaks. Speaking of KFAI, here’s Malamanya live in the studio at KFAI.

Tuesday, May 7

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) The “Screamin’ Eagle,” as he is known, was working as a James Brown impersonator in Brooklyn clubs when he was discovered by the folks at Daptone Records. His initial album, No Time For Dreaming, ended up on a lot of best-of lists, and when he played at the Fine Line last year, he tore the place up. Though many of his songs are of medium or slow tempos, his pure emotion will have the Cedar shakin.’

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.

Twin Cities Music Ideas: 2.15 – 2.21

February 15, 2012

All kinds of jazz. All kinds of roots music.


Wed Feb 15

Red Planet @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) James Buckley has been putting together a varied menu of jazz for the Wednesday night jazz series at the club. Tonight he’s scored a minor coup, as this band doesn’t play out too much, given the other projects of each of it’s members: Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Electrified jazz that encompasses Hendrix, Coltrane, and more.

Valves Meet Slide @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s a trombone throw-down, with Brad Bellows and Dave Graf “battling” it out, with the help of Peter Schimke, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Thursday, Feb 16

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($5) Karr has been peforming in the Twin Cities for about six decades now, and is still going strong, contributing thoughtful, melodic solos to Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, the JazzMN Big Band, and a number of vocalists around town. He’s joined tonight by Chris Lomheim, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst on drums. Here they are doing Zoot Walks In.

Friday, Feb 17

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Though Henry now lives in Chicago, the former Twin Citizen still manages to get back here a couple of times a year, and this is our lucky week. The  smooth baritone has a firm grasp on the history of African American music, and it shows in his performances, which can include standards, bebop,  blues, and Motown. Whatever he sings, the results are all Henry.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 17, 18

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric CD Release @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) This buzzed-about band is lead by guitarist Clouser, who is from Minneapolis but is based in Baja, Mexico. His all-Twin Cities ensemble includes Bryan Nichols, piano; Greg Shutte, drums; Adam Meckler, trumpet; and Chris Bates, bass. Clouser has been touring Europe and is celebrating the release of “20th Century Folk Selections,” which includes songs that range from “Little Boxes” by Malvina Reynolds, to “the Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young, with stops at the Beastie Boys and Nirvana in between. Reviews of the band and the release include terms like “blistering neo-jazz,” “Frisell with some Hendrix,” and “takes its cues from fuzzed out acid rock and vintage funk.” I’ll have Clouser on my show Saturday morning.

Saturday, Feb 18

Kurt Elling and Lizz Wright: Be My Valentine @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm.  ($25 – $55) The premier male vocalist of jazz and a rising star.

Sunday Feb 19

Mary Louise Knutson @ Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, 285 Dale St. No, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free Will Offering). Knutson is top-tier piano player. Doc Severinson knows it, as he has her in his band whenever he comes to town. Her latest CD, “In the Bubble,” has hit the top ten in the jazz charts. This performance is part of the Concerts and Compline series at the church. Mary Louise will be performing her own compositions as well as others.

Music for your mind and humidity for your skin here in the sunken garden

Robb Henry Trio The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm. Henry and his Trio perform new interpretations of Django Reinhardt classics as well as pop melodies of the 60s in the warm, humid confines of the Conservatory. It’s part of their Music Under Glass Series, and is quite delightful, though truth be told, there’s not a lot of seating. Adult beverages are available, as well as some sandwiches and other snacks.

Monday, Feb 20

Debbie Duncan and Jef Lee Johnson on Saint Paul Live! on KBEM (88.5FM) 7pm. Debbie performing with the Tuesday Night Band at the AQ last Summer, and extraordinary guitarist Jef Lee Johnson with Michael Bland on drums and Yohannes Tona on bass, performing at the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar this past Fall.

Didier Petit @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar)  Petit is an avante-garde cellist last seen here trilling audiences during the Minnesota Sur Seine Festival a few years back. He’ll be playing solo and in a trio format with Nathan Hansen on sax and Brian Roessler on bass.


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…

Wed, Feb 15

Koerner & Glover @ The 400 Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($5) Spider John weaves traditional folk songs like nobody’s business. Tony Glover’s harpwork is sharp and to the point. Just because they are local institutions doesn’t mean you shouldn’t catch them while you can. Local Thief opens.

Wed, Thur, Feb 15, 16

Hugh Masakela @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30). A special event, as the South African trumpeter brings his music to the Twin Cities. He’s touring behind a new CD, “Jubalan,” which is full of the joyous sounds.

Thursday, Feb 16

Charles Bradley @ The Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) Though he’s only become known is the last few years, Bradley is no Johnny -come -lately to soul music. He’s toiled in the trenches for over thirty years, honing his act. Bradley last appeared with the Budos Band, his label-mates from Brooklyn’s Daptone Records, and lived up to his nickname as “The Screaming Eagle of Soul.”  Openers are Little Barrie, a hot trio from England that plays stripped down rock n’ roll.

Sat, Feb 18

Joe & Vicki Price @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip jar) The little joint in South Minneapolis provides an intimate setting for the foot-stomping, stripped down, electrifying blues of the Iowa couple.

Freewheelin’ Presents the 2nd Annual Reckless Valentine’s Ball @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) If you have a little attitude about Valentine’s Day, this just might be your ticket. Heck, you’ll especially want to be there if you love fire-breathing rockabilly and danceable roots music. KFAI’s Jackson Buck brings the Restless Ones, Javier & the Innocent Sons, and Ross Kleiner & the Thrill to Lee’s. Get out the hair pomade and shine up those dancin’ shoes. The fun begins with dance lessons @ 8.

Hotpants 45RPM Dance Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis.  9pm ($5) It’s the Belated Valentine’s edition, and the guys with the funky 45s are making up for being late by having a free Photo Booth so you and your sweetie can take some fun pictures.

Sunday, Feb 19

Anders Osborne & Karl Denson’t Tiny Universe Perform Sticky Fingers @ The Fine Line, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25)   Here is one way for the torch to be grabbed, if not passed. Osborne is an award winning guitarist from New Orleans who will join Karl Denson and his band for a song-by-song interpretation of the Rolling Stone’s classic album. Osborne will also open the show with a solo performance of songs from his highly acclaimed CD, “American Patchwork.”

Tuesday, Feb 21
Mardis Gras @ The Eagles Club, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Four bands playing N’Awlins R&B, Swamp Pop, Traditional Jazz, Zydeco, and Cajun to help you party: The Faux Playboys, Mister Rowles, Southside Aces, and the Rockin’ Pinecones. Whether you wear a mask or not is up to you.

For a complete list of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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