Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

December 31, 2014

images-2Greetings to one and all;

I trust and hope that you have had a good holiday season thus far.  We’re coming to its end and beginning a new year, where we can hope for more progress in creating a world of justice, harmony, and prosperity for all. In the meantime here are some ideas for music in the coming week. Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!


Wednesday, December 31

Early New Year’s @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm  (Tip Jar) This is a family-friendly event designed to let you celebrate the arrival a New Year and still get home in time to put the kids to bed and avoid tipsy revelers on the road. w/Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; & Davu Seru; drums.

A Very Pippi New Year @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($25) Pippi, that purveyor of feel good jazz and blues, brings Patty Lacy, of Sounds of Blackness, and Judi Gronseth, of musicals, to the stage at the Weyerhauser Auditorium to sing tunes from the Great American Songbook, Motown, and more.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($102), 10:30pm ($82) Yes, it is spendy, but Davina and her band put on a rousing show, to say the least, and at the 6pm show you get a five-course dinner (vegetarian option available), and at the 10:30 show you get a complimentary champagne toast and $20 voucher good for food or drinks.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Charmin Michelle w/ The Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra @ Shakopee Ballroom, 2400 4th Ave East, Shakopee. 6pm – 12:30am ($50 – dinner & Dance, $35 – Dance only) Dinner from 6pm – 8pm. Dancing starts at 8:30pm. Big Band sounds from Jerry O’Hagen with the added bonus of the marvelous Ms. Michelle on vocals.

Southside Aces @ A Room with A Vieux (Old Artists’ Quarter), Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The Dakota is presenting a pop-up New Year’s Eve party in the space they’re developing at the old Artists’ Quarter. It’s billed as a Hot New orleans party with beads, brass, and a midnight countdown parade as a preview of what’s to come in the space. The Aces fill the bill on all counts.

Thursday, January 1

Zack Lozier Three @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Zack is one of the many talented trumpet players in town. He’s also good at traditional jazz vocals, i.e., the kind of things you hear at Preservation Hall. He always surrounds himself with good players, and it’s no wonder. He’s good enough to get solos in Doc Severinson’s band.

Seru, Hanson, & Roessler @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) So after an early New Year’s at the Black Dog, Davu Seru, drums; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Brian Roessler, bass; head to Grand Avenue to perform in the intimate space at the Khyber Pass Cafe. Though Emil, the owner of the Khyber Pass, loves music that’s “outside,” this trio manages to play such music without alienating more casual listeners.

Friday, January 2

Jeremy Walker’s Small City Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jeremy has grown into a piano player and composer of note, as shown 7 Psalms, the excellent album he released this year. Though that piece was composed for a jazz ensemble, voice and choir, he is equally adept and composing for small groups and arranging the songs of other composers. Tonight he’ll be joined by Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne on drums. This electronic press kit from a few years ago will give you a good idea of the group’s talent.

Saturday, January 3

Pigs Eye Jass Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm ($?) Traditional jazz band that seems to draw swing dancers. It’s a casual, fun-filled good thing.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) With pianist Will Kjeer home for the holidays, Group 47 is complete, and can continue its winning ways with original tunes and such. Opening set by Ramtrak (Lars-Erik Larson, Jake Baldwin, Tom Nordlund) at 7pm. Here’s a link to Andrea Canter’s article about Group 47.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Henry is as fine a male vocalist as you will find in these parts. Though he now lives in Chicago, he makes it back here often enough to whet our appetites for more, whether he’s singing originals, the Great American Songbook, or the Great American Soul Book.

Sunday, January 4

Mill City Hot Club @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Get your brunch and a hit of gypsy jazz and acoustic swing at the same time as Mill City Hot Club  featuring the underrated Dean Harrington on guitar; along with Gary Shulte on violin; and Tom Lewis on bass provide the music.

Monday, January 5

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The old Shorewood is now Crooners. The new owners have added an extension to their stage for a piano, leaving more room for the members of this big band  Given the name of the club, and artists that are usually appearing here, Arne Fogel is the go-to guy to sing here. No one knows the music of Der Bingle and Frank better than Arne. Of course, he’s no slouch when it comes to interpreting the songs of others as well.

Brian Ziemniak Organ Trio @ The Narrows Saloon, 3380 Shoreline Drive, Navarre. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance for those of you who live in the West Metro area to hear some soul jazz, you know, the kind of stuff that Jimmy Smith did back in the day. Brian Ziemniak is at the keys and pedals, while Troy Norton is on guitar and funky drummer Kevin Washington lays down the beat. That’s not to say they won’t be exploring modern tunes as well as some classics. Plus, the Narrows will be offering a special on their craft beers.

O’Brien, Hanson, & Seru: CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)  A double header for the late night crowd, starting with a CD release party by bassist Casey O’Brien  ably assisted by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Davu Seru, drums. Christopher Thomson follows, on solo sax (at least that’s what’s implied in the announcement).

Tuesday, January 6

Douglas Ewart & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s a busy week for Davu Seru, drums; as he returns to the Black Dog, this time with multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart, which should make for some very interesting music. Here’s a video where Ewart performs and talks about his craft.

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The honey-toned vocalist returns to the Dakota for a Foodie Night. Sophia is always a treat, whether channeling her sunshine personality or digging into deeper emotions.

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 31

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become a tradition, as Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to bring sea chanties, work songs, and death ballads to the young and the restless (as well as the old & sedentary) that often inhabit the 331 on early Wednesday evenings. Start your NYE partying by tuning in the the House Party on KFAI and then heading over to the 331.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Another way to start off your New Year’s celebration is with Nikki & the Ruemates, bringing Nikki’s wonderful vocals, and Rich Rue’s imaginative guitar to the unique downtown restaurant. As I often warn, try to get a table near the stage, since the boisterous activity throughout the restaurant can make listening a bit difficult.

Tim Sparks, Phil Heywood, & Tim O’Keefe Dinner Set @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm  (No Cover) Another dining while listening option is the Icehouse, where guitar wizards Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood will hold forth. They’ve been playing together quite a bit lately, but tonight they’re joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe, whose presence will undoubtedly create some aural surprises.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So you’re looking for a celebration that’s festive yet inexpensive. Look no further, as the Hipshaker Deejays bring rare funk n’ soul into your life from those little 7 inch records. It’s a relatively young crowd, but dancers of a certain age will certainly find plenty of musical reasons to have fun.

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Some people still call them Mambo’s Combo, but everyone calls them fun. If you’re looking for old school R&B, you’d be hard pressed to find a better band in town. Of course, they throw in a rock n’ roll number or two, and almost always have a guest or two sit in. No reason why tonight should deviate from the norm.

Bedlam & Brass @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door, $5 Lowertown Residents) Dance your Brass off with the zany, free-spirited Brass Messengers & special Deejays. there will be a midnight ball drop, free champagne at midnight, and more. They’re even encouraging masquerade outfits, so do you best.

Thursday, January 1

Church of Cash @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) It’s a Johnny Cash tribute show. Hipsters of every age seem to agree on him music, so you’ve got that. Opening by Mississippi Driftwood, those Anoka purveyors of psychedelic Blues & Swamp Rock. There’s bound to be dancing.

Friday, January 2

Jack Klatt w/Mike Gunter @ Harriet Brewiing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5?) During the many years he’s been on the air at KFAI, Jackson Buck has gotten to know many of the area’s rootsier acts, which fit his Freewheelin’ Fridays just fine. Continue your celebration of the new year with two of the area’s finest roots acts: Mike Gunter at 7pm, and Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers at 9pm.

Mick Sterling & the Irresistables @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Sterling is a multiple winner of the Minnesota Music Awards. He’s a powerhouse singer who with this group has surrounded himself with a bunch of talented musicians, including singers Katie Gearty and Cate Fierro, as well as bassist and musical director Nick Salisbury; drummer Aaron Johnson; Luke Fredrickson, guitar; Jason Craft, keys; Scott Snyder, trumpet; and Gus Sandberg, sax.

Graveyard Club @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Opening acts: Warehouse Eyes, Wooden Antler. Graveyard Club is a four-piece indie band that takes at least some of their inspiration from synthesizer-fueled British bands of the 80s: think New Order and The Cure. Their first EP was recorded in the basement of a possibly haunted Summit Avenue mansion, which accounts for it dark tone, while “Nightingale” was recorded at Flowers studio. Though it’s lighter in tone than the EP, it still has moments of darkness, and has been receiving internet play in Brazil, England, and Germany. The pop-ish Warehouse Eyes and Wooden Antler, with lush harmonies and fuzzed out amps, open. Listen to them here.

Saturday, January 3

Szaszka @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($?) This three-piece string band plays Transylvanian village dance music  including  Hungarian, Romanian, and Roma tunes. Its members are: Colleen Bertsch, violin; Sara Bruins, bass and violin; and Doug Code, kontra, viola, and koboz.

Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) They’re described as Swamp country blues and truck driving music. Given that their vocalist is Ray Bernard (formerly of the Copperheads), and other members have served in the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, A Certain General, and Curtiss A’s band, that description sounds just about right.

Sunday, January 4

Dirty Shorts Brass Band CD Release Party @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm (No Cover) This is a classic brass band of mostly older players, though their energy belies the age of its members. Mea Culpa: In my weekly e-mail of this information I mixed up these guys with the McNasty Brass Band, recent grads of McNally Smith.

Monday, January 5

Roe Family Singers @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Start off your Mondays in 2015 with a visit to the weekly gig, which has become something of an institution. The Roe Family Singers are led by Kim and Quillan Roe, whose young children are often on stage, or at least in the audience. As a “jug band” with a sometimes revolving group of members, the Singers approach old time music with a modern (dare I say rock/punk) attitude, though they can be pretty straight ahead as well.  Here they are doing the same song as the Dirty Shorts Band, above.

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.


It’s Officially Spring! Music: 4.23 – 4.29

April 23, 2014
Painting by Ta-coumba Aiken. To be exhibited at Artist Mercantile.

Painting by Ta-coumba Aiken. To be exhibited at Artist Mercantile.

We have finally passed the vernal equinox, and it’s the weekend for the Saint Paul Art Crawl, so it’s now official: Spring is here, even if it’s a little chillier than we’d like.

Lots of great music from Twin Cities artists this week, as well as a few notable visiting artists. Special events include a blues competition that promises to be lively, a birthday celebration for an octogenarian musician, and a special live broadcast of a radio drama. Though the cover charge for area artists is often relatively low, don’t forget to order a drink or menu item, as the band generally gets the door, while the venue depends on your purchases to make having a band profitable. Music can lift your spirit.


Wednesday, April 23

Lila Ammons @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, East Lake Street, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Zeke’s is a funky little place on East Lake Street, more or less kitty-corner from Merlin’s Rest. They have about a dozen interesting beers on tap as well as some nice wines, and an imaginative menu. Lila is equally at home with jazz or classic blues, so if you want to hear some fine vocals whilst dining and drinking, this would be a good place to be.

Ghost Tour @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Graydon Peterson, bass; Adrian Suarez, drums; and Jacob Park Evans, guitar. Inventive musicians, all.

Thursday, April 24

Charmin Michelle @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the debut appearance at Jazz Central for Ms Michelle, whose swinging phrasing evokes a modern Billie Holiday.

Friday, April 25

Atlantis Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 suggested donation) This Minnesota Modern jazz quartet can get kind of funky, kind of ballad, and swinging. And no wonder. Its members include Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Saturday, April 26

Augsburg College Jazz Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) Augsburg has a worthy jazz program, and for this gig they have a guest artist: Julie Johnson on flute doing a performance of Astor Piazzolla’s Libertango.

JazzMN Orchestra w/guest Miguel Zenon @ Hopkins High School, 400 Lindberg Drive, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($28, $30, $18 Student) Not only has alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon been nominated for a Grammy multiple times, he’s been awarded Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships. Last seen here with the SFJAZZ Collective (of which he is a founding member), the Puerto Rico native makes music that makes you dance. The JazzMN Orchestra is made up of some of the best musicians in town, so this promises to be an evening to remember.

Sunday, April 27

KBEM’s Jazz Noir @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4pm ($43), 7pm ($53) This is an original radio drama that will be broadcast live on KBEM 88.5FM at 7pm. It’s called the Black Hand Side That Feeds You, and centers around the jazz scene on Minneapolis’ Near North Side during the 1960s and juxtaposes it with the civil rights movement of the time. The 7pm show includes a three course dinner, while the 4pm rehearsal show includes a sweet and savory set menu.

One World Consort & Friends

One World Consort & Friends

One World Consort @ Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, 4401 Upton, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This a a concert in celebration of Earth Day and includes music from cultures and traditions from around the world, in addition to pieces by resident artists. The performers of One World Consort are: David Milne (saxes, flutes, etc); Mary Louise Knutson (piano); Eric Graham (acoustic and electric bass); and Craig Hara (drumset, percussion, wavedrum). They’ll be joined by the Four Voices String Quartet– Laurie Petruconis and Allison Ostrander (violin); Susan Janda (viola); and Rebecca Arons (cello).

Monday, April 28

images-1Joe Lovano’s Us5 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) Lovano is a searching, innovative saxophonist who started out playing with Tom Jones, Jack McDuff and Woody Herman. He’s led a variety of ensembles, from duets to a nonet, recording over 25 albums, including a tributes to Frank Sinatra and Enrico Caruso. Tonight he brings his two-drummer quintet, Us5, featuring James Weidman, piano; Peter Slavov, bass; and Otis Brown III and Fransciso Mela on drums.

No Coast Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($8) The No Coast Quintet is a new group featuring some up and coming musicians: Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brian Courage, bass: and Lars Larson on drums, in addition to veteran Zacc Harris on guitar.

Tuesday, April 29

Acme Jazz Company CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 – 11:00pm (Suggested Donation – $10) The Acme Jazz Company has been around since 2008, and has just released its debut album, which has climbed to number 16 on CDBaby’s big band jazz chart. The band features the multi-talented Arne Fogel on vocals.

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, April 23

Cornbread Harris’ 88th Birthday on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) 87? 88? Who really knows? The legendary octogenarian can still tear up a piano, whether he’s playing solo, trio, or in a quartet. He’s got several weekly gigs around town, but this is the only gig at which he’s celebrating his birthday.

Thursday, April 24

Walter Trout Benefit @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Guitarist Trout should be celebrating his 25th year as a solo artist. Instead he’s at the UCLA Medical Center awaiting a liver for a transplant. Blues communities around the country are helping to raise money for his care. Tonight you get to hear Lamont Cranston at 7pm, Davina & the Vagabonds at 8:15pm, and Alex Rossi & the Root City at 9:30, all in support of Trout.

Friday, April 25

The Brass Messengers @ Sweet 317, Northern Warehouse, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) It’s an Art Crawl After-Party of sorts, in suite 317 of the Northern Warehouse. The Messengers will deliver New Orleans Second Line, Balkan Brass Music, and other raucous sounds from around the globe. Since it’s an artist loft, there is limited space (about 50-60), and it’s a BYOB.

Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) This hole-in-the-wall is more-or less kitty corner from the old Grain Belt Brewery on Marshall in Nordeast. Nikki & Friends will be occupying the “booth stage” and playing psychedelic folk-rock and blues, led by Nikki’s clarion vocals and Rich Rue’s slide guitar.

Saturday, April 26

Sol Bock Revival @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 1pm – 10 pm (Free) Here’s an event made for Spring. Harriet Brewing celebrates the release of a number of seasonal brews with a festival featuring live art, food trucks, and four acoustic bands. It’s as close to the back porch of a home brewer as you’ll get. Music includes: No Man’s String Band – 2pm; The Dead Pigeons – 4pm; The Roe Family Singers – 6pm, and the Evergreen Grass Band – 8pm. Here’s a video of the Roe Family Singers.


Film Production Kickstarter Launch Party w/music @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 5pm ($15) Here’s your chance to hear a variety of quality music while supporting a crowdsourcing campaign for a Minnesota Film Production Company to be called Don’t Mind If I Do Films.  The festivities begin at 5pm with the Zacc Harris Trio (Jazz); 6:45pm Ham Dog (Folk/Americana) later on, pop/rock from Kadet,w/Adam Hurlburt of Solid Gold and Maggie Morrisonm of Lookbook; and The Commanders with Zach Coulter of Solid Gold and Cecil Otter of Doomtree.

Mark Hummel, Corky Siegel, & Billy Boy Arnold @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($30) You won’t see any harmonica playing in the audience for this event, though there will no doubt be plenty of fans of the “Mississippi saxophone.”  This is billed as the Blues Harmonica Blowout, and is it ever. Harmonica swing master Hummel organized this annual event in 1991 and has been hard at it ever since. Corky Siegel gained fans as part of the Seigel Schwall band back in the 70s. Arnold is a contemporary of James Cotton, and helped create the “Bo Diddley” sound with Bo himself. He’s one of the last survivors of the 50s Chicago blues scene.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Searing slide guitar. High energy,. foot-stompin’  performances. Unfiltered Chicago Blues. Nothin’ but fun. For more on Ed, read this, or you can just watch the video.

Sunday, April 27

Road to Memphis Group Competition @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 7pm. ($10) The Minnesota Blues Society holds the competition to send an area band to the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Groups vying for the honor include The Swamp Kings, the Mark Cameron Band, the Gopher Tones, the Rhythm Roosters, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Phil Kitze & the Resonators, and Bluedog. Support your local blues bands. (Full disclosure: I’ll be one of the judges)

The Hula Peppers @ The Happy Gnome (Upstairs), Saint Paul. 2-5 pm (Free?) If you are old enough to remember R.Crumb and his Cheap Suit Serenaders, you’ll be familiar with the 78 RPM inspired zany combination of blues, swing, Hawaiian music, and novelty songs performed by Dan Newton, accordion; Gary Powell, Hawaiian guitar; Dave Furniss, resonator, and Corey Mohan on ukuleles and musical saw. Lighthearted and fun, with occasional Betty Boop-ish vocals from Lauren Asheim.

Pop Trans-Atlantic w/Dan Chouinard @ Alliance Francais, 113 First Street No., Minneapolis. 3pm ($20) There have been a number of songs that have crossed the Atlantic in either direction, and with new lyrics, have become hits in languages other than their original. Pianist/accordionist Dan Chouinard  often heard on that big-time public radio variety show, will lead sing-a-longs for some of these songs, combining a little learning with a lot of 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.

2.19 – 2.24

February 19, 2014
Most musicians are playing indoors these days

Most musicians play indoors these days

After the sub-zero temperatures of the last few weeks, it’s good to be heading into a spell of above freezing. All the easier for you to shuck off cabin fever and get out. We’ve got jazz at a Best Steak House, a Grammy winning trumpeter, some New Music, and worldbeats, not to forget some rocking’ R&B and old timey music. Get out and enjoy yourself. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 19

Todd Harper honors this family

Todd Harper honors this family

Medium Rare: Music for the Best Steak House @ Best Steak House, 860 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 5-7:30pm (Free) Somehow I had this listed for this past Saturday. Never fear, however, as you still have time to hear Pianist/composer Todd Harper, joined by bassist Andrew Foreman, and presenting an evening of dinner music, including the premiere of a Harper composition dedicated to the owners of the Steak House – the Hatzistamoulos Family.

Pete Whitman’s Mississippi @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11pm (Donation). Pete teaches at MacNally Smith, heads up the Pete Whitman X-Tet, and can be found playing sax in a number of different aggregations. He’s an always interesting soloist, whether on ballads or barn-burners. Tonight he brings his group Mississippi to Jazz Central: Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Friday, February 21

The Bridge @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:30pm Tonight, the Bridge Series features Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brian Courage, bass; and Lars Larson, drums.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Baritone saxophonist Washington is a regular performer at the Black Dog. Tonight he’ll bring in Eric Jacobsen, sousaphone; Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion. It’s an adventurous group of musicians, all of whom are well versed in free improvisation.

Friday, Saturday, February 21, 22

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30 (Friday – $10, Saturday – $20) Zeitgeist, the contemporary music ensemble, will be presenting winning songs from their annual Eric Stokes Songwriting contest, as well as compositions and performances by vocalist Viv Cunningham and saxophonist Nathan Hanson. Cunningham is a British vocalist, composer, and sound artist who has worked internationally and recently called Minnesota home for some years. Hanson has worked with folks like Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Tayor, and Chris Potter. He’s known in the Twin Cities as part of the Fantastic Merlins, and has been praised in the music press of France. Saturday’s performance is a fund-raiser, with post-performance wine, hors d’ oeuvres and conversation with Hanson and Cunningham.

Saturday, February 22

JonPemberton-1576thJon Pemberton Trio @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jon is a triple threat: trumpet, piano, and composition, with a number of talented friends in the jazz community. Don’t know who he’ll have along tonight, though he often plays with Jimmy Wallace. The LPB can be noisy, since people seem to be their for dinner and visiting with each other, so try to get a table close to the band if going for supper.

Arne Fogel & Maude Hixson Sing Movie Songs: The Winners & Losers @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($25) Arne and Maude have an easy way on stage. Heck they’ve been doing shows together for a number of years. Tonight they celebrate Hollywood’s favorite songs – both the winners and losers of songs associated with the golden age of cinema.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) Ace trumpeter Kenny had a 5 year residency at the Artists’ Quarter, and is a co-founder of the Illicit Sextet, which released their second album last year. His Group 47 is composed of young turks from the area, but this Quartet features some mighty players with pedigrees. He’ll be joined by Billy Peterson, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, on drums.

Celebrating Seven Healthy  Years

Celebrating Seven Healthy Years

Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Patty is making her debut at the Icehouse tonight, and it’s a very special occasion – her 7th Annual Celebrate Life Concert, to commemorate seven years since her open heart surgery. She’ll have Donnie La Marca, Paul Peterson, Bobby Vandell, and Billy Franze along for the celebration. The $12 is for Music Only. A three course meal is available for $35, with a supplemental wine pairing for $15. As noted on my page for Spinning Vinyl Around Town, I’ll be deejaying for the “afterparty” at 11pm (no cover).

Saturday, Sunday, February 22, 23

Girl Talk @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($25) Charmin Michelle, Pippi Ardennia, and a band of resident All-Stars: Laura Caviani (piano), Joan Griffith (bass), Jendeen Forberg (drums) and Kathy Jensen (saxophone).

Monday, Tuesday, February 24, 25

Terence Blanchard @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Blanchard is originally from New Orleans, and was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (he replaced, and was recommended by, Wynton Marsalis). He’s written film scores, including the Grammy winning A Tale of God’s Will, an especially moving soundtrack for Spike Lee’s documentary about the affects of Hurricane Katrina. He’s won four other Grammys and has recently written an opera. All of which is a way of saying he’s extremely talented trumpeter and composer. Expect music of the highest order. Here he is with his quintet at Blues Alley in D.C.

Tuesday, February 25

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Here’s the first time that the AMO will be at the Amsterdam. Given that the crowds were growing at their monthly shows before the AQ closed, the larger venue may prove to be apt for the group. Meckler is a talented composer and arranger, and he’s managed to gather many exciting young players for this group. Plus there’s no cover! Here’s one of their songs.

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, February 19

Maria de Barros @ The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23)  The Ordway has been imaginative in bringing world music to downtown Saint Paul, as shown in their choice of Cape Verdean singer Maria de Barros. De Barros can’t help but be influenced by Cesaria Evora, but she also integrates sounds from other parts of the world into her performance. You’ll hear influences from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean, France and Spain in her music. Opening is resident musicians Havana Hi-Fi, with the dance-centric sounds of old Cuba. Here she is.

Sue Orfield Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7 pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Orfield is a Wisconsin saxophonist who leads her own quartet in clubs in around the cheese state. She often plays with the Butanes Soul Revue, and was occasionally featured at the Artists’ Quarter. Orfield is an exciting and inventive player, with a gutsy tone. She’ll be on Harold’s House Party (90.3 or 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis to play from 7pm – 9pm.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nyes’ Polonais Room, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No cover) A couple of years ago a national men’s magazine named Nye’s as the best bar in America. And those folks hadn’t even heard Doug and the Getaways. They play music that will transport you to the bad ol’ days of the 1930s.

Wednesday, Thursday, February 19, 20

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan, & Romero Lubambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $55, $45) Isbin is a three-time Grammy winning classical guitarist, Jordan is a guitar virtuoso who introduced a new way of playing back in the 80s, and Lubambo is a Brazilian guitarist. This promises to be a unique and exciting show.

Thursday, February 20

Real-Phonic Radio Hour Presents Erik Koskinen and the Chastity Brown Duo @ James J. Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Koskinen is the music director for the Real-Phonic Radio Hour and perhaps the best country songwriter in the area. Not only that he’s a crack guitarist, attested to by his work for Trampled by Turtles, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers and a number of other acts. Chastity Brown crosses and mixes genres with ease – folk, blues, gospel, jazz, country – they’re all in her music, which is being increasingly recognized. NOTE: Because of the weather, this has been postponed until Saturday, February 22.

Friday, February 21

The New Album

The New Album

Willie Walker & Paul Metsa CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($10) Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for Goldwax back in the day, but has been living in the Twin Cities for at least 30 years. His version of You Send Me still sends thrills up my spine. Though Walker has recorded a couple of CDs under his own name as well as a couple with the Butanes, he still remains one of the best kept secrets in town, which is a shame. Metsa is an Iron Ranger who’s been performing in the Twin Cities and around the country for 30 years, winning seven Minnesota Music awards in the process. The two have been performing together for the last couple of years, creating soulful sounds in small bars, cafes, and on the Dakota stage. They’re celebrating the release of Live on Highway 55, an intimate, moving recording where Paul’s guitar provides the right support for Willie’s slightly raspy, always soulful voice.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) A fun cover band, reprising the hits of the late 60s and early 70s in an unpretentious bar where both the drinkin’ and the dancin’ are easy.

Saturday, February 22

Fifth Annual Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Swamp Pop is that genre of music that’s popular in the Cajun areas of the south. It combines the classic R&B of New Orleans with C&W, early rock n’ roll, and French influences. Think of the music of Cookie & the Cupcakes, Jimmy Clanton, and Rod Bernard. Tonight’s performers incljude Becky Thompson, Dan Newton, Mister Dan Rowles, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine, Lucinda Plaisance, and the Rockin’ Pinecones. Backed by the Swamp Poppas – Scott Yoho, Paul Gagner, Max Ray, Joe Luoma, Steve Sandberg, Eric Mohring, Gary Powell, Ted Klotz, and Karl Smelker. This is a benefit for Second Harvest Heartland.

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Corpse Reviver @ the Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Mikkel Beckman, Jillian Rae, and Adam Kiesling bring their homage to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music to the cozy, confines of the Bayport BBQ, which features a mouth-watering buffet before each show. The Bayport is a cash-only Deep Blues Juke Joint with excellent ‘Que.

Sunday, February 23

The Hula Peppers @ The Happy Gnome, Saint Paul. 2pm – 5pm  (No Cover) Dan Newton brings another of his many groups to the Gnome to play 20s and 30s dance music and Hawaiian tunes in the upstairs room at the Gnome. Flowered shirts are optional. Here’s what they sound like.

The Ericksons @ The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Close-knit sisterly harmonies from the Ericksons, in the best place in town to escape winter – the sunken garden of the conservatory at Como Park & Zoo. Wine and beer is available for purchase.

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.

Celebrations and Visitations. Music for 9.19 – 9.2

September 19, 2012

Festa Italiana will be at Harriet Island this weekend.

Festivals, an anniversary party, an album release, and a celebration of the arts and its role in aging. Lots of interesting events going on, not to mention a few outstanding visiting artists to supplement our own batch of talented musicians.

Early warning: I don’t get any income from doing this, but would be pleased as punch to have some of my readers  join KFAI and my show during next week’s pledge drive. In fact, you can pledge right now at Have a good week.


Wednesday, September 19

Irv Williams with Kairos Dance @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:00pm (Free) Kairos Dance is an interactive dance troupe, and nonagenerian saxophonist Irv Williams to celebrate a tpt documentary entitled Arts and Mind. The flyer says we’ll learn how music, dance, painting, poetry, and theater markedly improve well-being at all stages of life. Frankly, I can’t think of a better example of how the arts keep you lively than Irv Williams. The event iss free, but you are advised to visit to reserve a ticket. This video explains the philosophy of Kairos Dance.

Delfeayo takes a solo at the Jazz Festival last June.

Delfeayo Marsalis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30/$25) Delfeayo is the trombone playing/record producing member of the famed Marsalis family completely sold the crowd at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in Saint Paul last June. Then he showed up late at the AQ and blasted out another crowd-pleasing song or two. Tonight he has a spotlight-stealing band of players who each could (and do) lead there own band. Sean Jones on trumpet; Winard Harper on drums, Richard Johnson on piano (you may know him from some of the cool theme shows he presented after moving here), and bassist Jeremy Boettcher. Whew!

Thursday, September 20

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s a monthly gig for Karr, a venerable and inventive saxophone player. Don’t pass by an opportunity to hear Karr, whose versatility includes playing baritone sax in his Gerry Mulligan tribute band, playing with Pete Whitman’s X-Tet and touring with Henry Mancini as the featured player for the Pink Panther Theme.

Robb Henry Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (Free) Robb’s guitar playing encompasses jazz standards and “new” standards from the pop music of the late 60s and on. Listen to this.


Friday, Saturday, September 21, 22

Bob Sheppard Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. With a resume that runs from Steely Dan to Queen Latifah to Joni Mitchell to Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, and Horace Silver, among others, Sheppard is the consummate pro, able to provide atmospheric backdrops for pop stars as well as improvise with the best that jazz has to offer. This is a rare Midwestern appearance for this Los Angeleno musician.

Saturday, September 22

Gypsy Mania Hot Club @ The Mill City Farmer’s Market, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (Free) Enjoy the gypsy jazz sounds of the Hot Club whilst you shop for food from local growers.

Charmin Michelle @ The Lexington (South Room), Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) Charmin Michelle on vocals, with Laura Caviani, piano; and Pete Whitman, sax. The South Room is a bit smaller than the Williamsburg Room where the music is generally presented. That means it’s important to have a reservation or get there early to hear this terrific combination of musicians.

Tuesday, September 25

Aaron, Peterson, and Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Phil Aaron, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. Aaron is a sensitive player with numerous credits. Peterson can swing with the jazziest cats (say, Ben Sidran) or rock, a la Steve Miller. Horst has an impressive number of credits himself, from Al Hirt to Jimmy McGriff and Lew Tabackin, and is the owner/mentor and keeper of the jazz flame at the AQ.

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

Roots, Blues, and Other…

Thursday, September 20

Still playing after all these years.

John Mayall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) & 9pm ($30) Over the course of a fifty year career, bluesman Mayall has served as bandleader and mentor for a who’s who of blues-rock, starting with Eric Clapton, and Jack Bruce, on through to Mick Fleetwood, Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Harvey Mandel, to Walter Trout and Coco Montoya. He recorded dozens of albums over the years, a few of which are classic. Though now approaching 80, recent videos reveal that he’s still has good harmonica chops and a good voice.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) I guess you can call Primer a member of the second generation of bluesmen. He played guitar at Teresa’s in Chicago during the second half of the 70s, played with Willie Dixon’s All-Stars, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim, venturing out on his own in the early 90s. Since then he’s been nominated for Traditional Blues Artist of the Year a number of times, received a Grammy nomination in 2009, and was named Blues Artist of the Year in the 2010 Critics Poll of Living Blues Magazine. If you have a taste for traditional blues, this is the guy to hear. Here he is with a Dutch band backing him at a Blues Festival in The Netherlands.

Friday, September 21

Tracy Grammer CD Release @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18) Red House Records kicks off this season of Red House Live! with the talented vocalist/fiddler Tracy Grammer, first known for her musical partnership with Dave Carter, which set the folk world afire when they released their first album in the late 90s. Her partner passed about ten years ago, and she’s now released Little Blue Egg, a CD of previously unreleased songs from the two of them on Red House. There’s a cocktail hour at 7pm followed by the concert at 8pm.

Friday, Saturday, September 21, 22

Festa Italiana @ Harriet Island, Saint Paul. 3pm – 10pm Friday, 10am – 10pm Saturday (Free) This is the second year for Festa Italiana, a celebration of the Italian part of Saint Paul’s heritage, including strolling accordionists and two stages. The Main Stage will feature a Dean Martin tribute, Arne Fogel doing songs of the 40s and Italian classical music and more, while a second stage will feature Italina folk songs and dancing. Then there’s the food, and gondola rides, to boot. More information here.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, September 21, 22, 23

Thinking Outside the Squeezebox II @ O’Gara’s Shanty and the CSPS Hall, Saint Paul. 3pm – 11pm Friday, 10am – 10pm Saturday, 10am – 1:30pm Sunday (at CSPS Hall) A bunch of accordion players from around the country are gathering to see what happens when the traditional uses of accordion in ethnic music collide with rock, jazz, and more. Sunday at the CSPS Hall (above Glockenspiel on West 7th) will feature folk dancers from the Tapestry Center. For more information re: artists and schedule, go here.

Saturday, September 22

Dee Miller Band @ Holihans, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Ms Miller just got back from a successful fishing trip and vacation up north. Whether rested or not, she always gives her all, which is how she earned the nickname “The Duchess of the Blues.” Her five piece band has the energy to match. Wonder if she’ll sing “The Fishing Blues?”

Twin Cities Funk & Soul LP/CD Release Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10) Okay, so Secret Stash, the Mpls record company that specializes in re-issue vinyl, has put together a compilation of great music from the Twin Cities, and they’re gathering some of the artists to perform at the Cedar. Willie Walker and Maurice Jacox may be familiar to many of you, but you’ll find the Valdons and Wanda Davis, who are also performing, to be amazing discoveries. The band includes members of the Exciters, Band of Thieves, and others. Hot Pants DJs will be spinning discs beforehand. Here’s a video of the current Valdons.

Hot Pants 5th Anniversary @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) After the Funk & Soul Release Party cross the street to the official afterparty and place to be to dance to rare soul and funk 45s. The four deejays in the Hot Pants crew each bring a slightly different spin, if you’ll pardon the expression, to things. Some musicians from the Funk & Soul release party will be enjoying the sight of young folk dancing to their music.

Tuesday, September 25

Valdons In-Store @ The Fifth Element, 2411 Hennepin, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Continuing the celebration of the release of Twin Cities Funk & Soul, the Valdons will be singing a few songs and showing off their harmonies at this record shop. It’s all ages, and free.

Paul Mayasich & Jimi “Prime Time” Smith @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No cover) Mayasich continues his habit of creating special evenings by playing with other guitarists. Expect some slide, as well as other guitaristic pyrotechnics, for sure.

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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