April 12, 2017

The beauty of living in the Twin Cities, at least for people interested in the arts, is that there is often more opportunities to see, hear, and discover high quality artists of every type. Unlike larger cities, however, you stand a very reasonable chance of getting tickets. This week we have visiting artists from NYC, Wisconsin, California, Columbia, and the United Kingdom. We also have resident artists who have come here from other cities and other countries, and we have home-grown artists that have achieved international stature. So, pick and choose from this somewhat limited list of opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them. BTW, you can see videos of many of these artists by going to www.rhythmandgrooves.net.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 12

Bates and Friends will be playing while Stephane Cattaneo paints.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) This is bassist Chris Bates’ evening for something new and improvisational. He’ll have Stephane Catteneio, a visual artist from France, paint during the performance, for which he’s gathered a strikingly excellent group of musicians, including: Chris Bates & Josh Granowski, Basses; Davu Seru, Pete Hennig, Chris Hepola,  & Martin Dosh, Drums and Percussion; Nathan Hanson and Jared Jarvis, Saxophones; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Trumpet; and Park Evans on Guitar. Sounds like a memorable evening.

Dennis Spear’s Birthday Cabaret @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Dennis Spears first became well-known among Twin Cities music fans some umpty years ago, as the male voice of Moore By Four. Since then he’s performed at various venues and theaters in the Twin Cities, as a singer and actor, notably in the Penumbra piece about Nat King Cole, which was reprised at the Kennedy Center in the Spring of 2011. Whether he’s singing solo, or with any of his many musical friends, including the occasional Moore by Four reunion, Spears, with his smooth baritone, is always entertaining. Tonight he’ll be backed by Rick Carlson, piano; and Steve Pikal on bass.

Thursday, April 13

Looking Bacharach @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) As might be expected from their name, this six-piece group  including two vocalists, will perform songs from throughout Bur Bacharach’s career, including both classics and some overlooked treasures. Memb era of the group include; Jimmy Kennedy on Keys & Guitar; Joe Weisman,  Bass, Guitar, & Ukelele; Mo Engel, Drums; Mike Silva, Tenor Sax & Flute; Emily Vilano and Kevin Thomas, Vocals.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Davu Seru’s No Territory Band: You may have seen Britt Robson’s piece on Seru in the past Friday’s edition of the Star Tribune. It provides a good background, and clearly lays out why you should check out Seru and his band. Look at this interesting line-up for the evening. Besides Seru on percussion, he has Jake Baldwin,  trumpet; Pat O’Keefe, Nathan Hanson, and Scott Fultz; saxophones; and Levi Schwartzberg, on Vibes. With special guest from France, Stephanie Cattaneo, who will do some live, improvisational painting while the band plays.

Charmin & Shapira @ Friends @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Charmin Michelle’s buttery vocals and conversational style, coupled with Joel Shapira’s tasty guitar, are a wonderful match, whether tackling a Monk tune or something from the Great American Songbook. Then, when they add some friends, things really get swinging, as tonight, when they’ll be joined by Paul Harper, sax; tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Nortman on drums.

Friday, April 14

Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) It’s a full evening of music as guitarist Chris Cunningham brings his group and special guests to the basement club. Besides FOTHOU  there will be an opening set by the virtuoso Syrian oud player Issam Rafea, and rare vinyl grooves during breaks from Overzealous Sound System (aka DJ Chad Nelson). Performing with FOTHOU include: Chris Cunningham, Guitars; Ivan Cunningham, Saxophones; Michelle Kinney, Cello; Greg Schutte, Drums; Chris Bates, Bass; Adam Svec, Vocals; Noah Ophoven Baldwin, Trumpet; Jared Jarvis, Saxophones; Riley Swain, Baritone Saxophone; and special guest John Keston on keyboards. They’ve got a dense sound, to say the least.

Saturday, April 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Aaron Hedenstrom Trio: Hedenstrom  saxes; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars Erik-Larson, drums. 8:30pm it’s Peter Kogans’ Monsterful Wonderband, with Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman sax; Scott Agster, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Sean Turner, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kogan on drums. Listen below.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) People around the country often pay much, much more to see powerhouse drummer Gravatt  and it’s often in large halls, rather than the intimate Studio Z. He drummed for Weather Report from 1972 – 1974, has toured with McCoy Tyner, and has also played with heavyweights such as Byard Lancaster, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, Charled Mingus, Paroah Saunders, and many others. His band Source Code features bassist Ron Evanuik, and other A-list musicians from the area. Here’s an old video:

Sunday, April 16

Fuzzy Math @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) Mark Vandermyde leads this group, which performs original jazz compositions that draw from a variety of genres: progressive, swing, funk, blues, boogie and Latin. Vandermyde is joined by Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Mark Kreitzer’s ’53 Swingbillies @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Kreitzer is a guitarist who teaches at Carlton College and plays with Patty and the Buttons, among other bands. Tonight he’s leading what is essentially an acoustic four piece (guitar, violin, bass, drums) in some swinging jazz.

Monday, April 17

Jim Campilongo Trio w Chris Morrissey & Josh Dion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($20) Campilongo  s a formidible NY guitar player, who’s contributed to recordings by Martha Wainwiright as well as the Little Willies, a band he has with Norah Jones. He’s recorded or performed with folks as disparate as JJ Cale, Nels Cline, Peter Townsend, Burning Spear, and others. His playing reveals a regular gumbo of influences, from blues to rock, country, jazz, and R&B. He’ll be playing with the Brooklyn-based Minnesota native Chris Morrisey on bass, and vocalist/drummer Josh Dion, who is conversant in jazz, Americana, and rock n’ roll.

Raul Madon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Had guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Raul Madon been around in the 70s, he would have been at the forefront of the jazz soul movement of the time. He’s got a smooth baritone and a percussive playing style that go equally well with folks like Bill Withers and Al Jarreau (with whom he’s worked), as well as the CTI artists of the time. He’s toured internationally, performed with artists as diverse as Sting, Ravi Coltrane, and Red Barat, and demonstrated his unique playing style at TED talks. Audiences especially dig his “mouth trumpet” where he uses nothing but his lips to create be-boppish trumpet lines. Madon just released a new album appropriately entitled Bad Ass and Blind. The New York Times said, “He’s a one man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus”

Tuesday, Wednesday, April 18, 19

Red Planet & Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who has drawn raves from New York City to Europe for his highly inventive ways with a melody. He grew up in Saint Paul but lives in the UP of Michigan. That’s close enough that he comes to town every few months to perform, lately at the Dunsmore Room.  Red Planet is a jazz-rock trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre. Members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; have collaborated with Carrothers on a new album, and are celebrating its release these two evenings. Carrothers and each of the members of jazz Red Planet will undoubtedly bring new colors and sonorities to jazz standards and originals. Here they are some years ago.

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, April 12

Miss Becky Kapell on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Miss Becky Kapell is a Minnesota native who moved to Portland Oregon in the 80s and began singing country music. Fast forward through a move back to MN, marriage, divorce, and raising kids, and in 2007 she began practicing guitar, eventually recording an album entitled For Now with her Portland band mates. Now the singer/songwriter sings in the style of classic country artists front he 50s and 60s – straightforward, with lyrics that are sometimes plaintive, sometimes heartbreaking, and sometimes humorous. Her band, The Fat 6, features Paul Bergen on guitar, and Ray Barnard on bass and backing vocals, as well as others from a rotating cast of musical friends. Listen to her during Harold’s House Party, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 to listen in person.

Thursday, April 13

Maurice Jacox Band @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 Reserved Table) R&B/jazz vocalist Jacox has been plying his trade for over 40 years, appearing in bands such as Willie & the Bees and The Butanes Soul Revue, as well as sitting in with numerous bands and fronting his own trios, and performing a Nat King Cole show. He’s somewhat of a regular at Crooners, in both the big room and the Dunsmore Room. Since he’s in the big room tonight, which means his songs will be a bit more uptempo than in the Dunsmore Room, thanks to the backing of: Thomas West, keys; Mike Dubois, drums; and George Parrish, guitar. Jacox will likely pick up a sax or flute sometime during the evening as well.

Dave Mason @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($45 General) This is a seated show with the center and VIP sections already sold out. That’s because Guitarist/Vocalist Mason is a cultural icon for anyone who lived through the Woodstock and Vietnam era. Mason is a 2004 inductee into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a founding member of Traffic, in which he had a hit with “Feelin’ Alright,” which subsequently become a monster hit for Joe Cocker. He had another hit as a solo artist with “We Just Disagree,”  recorded an album with Mama Cass Elliot, and went on to perform and/or record with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Michael Jackson, Steve Winwood, Fleetwood Mac, Leon Russell, Delaney Bramlett, and, most recently, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, among others – whew! He’ll be performing his album Alone Together in its entirety, and a second set of his other songs.

Friday, April 14

Hail, Hail, Rock n’ Roll @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) For Chuck Berry’s 60th Birthday Party, Keith Richards brought in Robert Cray, Joey Spampinato (of NRBQ), Eric Clapton, and long-time Berry pianist Johnnie Johnson for a show which also featured Etta James, Linda Ronstadt and Jullian Berry. The resulting concert was filmed as Hail, Hail Rock n’ Roll, which will be shown tonight to acknowledge his passing and his influence on rock n’ roll and essentially every guitarist that came after him. After the screening a quintet of Twin Cities rockers will discuss his influence: Kurt Nelson (the Pistons, Simba, Others); Curtiss A (Hmm, let’s just say numerous); Johnny Rey (Flamin’ Ohs, Johnny Rey Band); Steve Brantseg (Suburbs, others); and Cindy Lawson (Clams). The discussion will be emceed by Rob Chapman, who just released a new book about The New Barbarians, the side band of Keith Richards and Ron Wood.

Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures got their start at the annual Twin Cities Jug Band competition back in 2010. Since then, they have steadily become a formidable force in the local blues/bluegrass/Americana scene. They are  increasingly known for crafting their own impressionable original songs along side the band’s arrangements of classics and contemporary covers. Also playing tonight will be local artist/musician Jake Manders (of Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins) and his band, as well as singer-songwriter Brady Perl, and, undoubtedly, a few more of King’s musical friends.

Friday, Saturday, April 14, 15

Bodeans: Stripped Down & Acoustic @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) This quartet from neighboring Wisconsin first hit the charts back in the mid-80s with their adult-ish, mainstream rock songs like Closer to Free, She’s a Runaway, Idaho, Fadeaway, and a number of others, which propelled them to winning Rolling Stone’s Reader’s Poll for Best New American Band in 1987. The BoDeans then toured with the likes of David Bowie, Bob Dylan, and Tom Petty, appeared on SNL and Letterman, and have had ten songs and twelve albums on the charts. For this tour, they’re playing stripped-down versions of classic BoDean songs.

Saturday, April 15

Sexy Delicious & Apollo Cobra @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door)  Gangster Jazz. Quasi-Bohemian retro-pop. These are a couple of the terms used to describe Sexy Delicious, which depends upon a generous helping of sly rhythms, and a dash of dry wit to win over fans. Apollo Cobra is a power trio that uses analog synthesizers, drum machines, bass guitars, samples, vocals and huge beats to create infectious, dance-inducing music. Listen to them here. Note: they don’t use laptops.

The Eddies @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30 (No Cover) You get a fine selection of whiskeys and beers, very good pub food (including bangers and mash and fish and chips), and a convivial atmosphere in which to hear the “almost acapella” vocals of the Eddies singing sea shanties, Appalachian murder ballads, and the occasional song from the late 20th Century. Bring an ID if you want adult beverages.

Samba Meu @ Hennepin Steam Room, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Check out the new music venue in the warehouse district, located north of Washington on First Avenue. Tonight they’re featuring the sensuous rhythms of Brazilian roots and pop music, as performed by: David Martin, guitar and bass; Tim O’Keefe,  percussion; and Karen Quiroz, vocals.

Sunday, April 16

Doug Otto & Friends @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (Tip Jar) It’s the musician’s “brunch time” as Otto, with a voice that seems to carry the weight of the world, and his friends gather at the NE dive bar to explore Americana, country, classic blues of the 30s and 40s, and originals.

Tuesday, April 18

Henrecia de Timbiqui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42) Latin roots music from the coastal foothills of Columbia. This eleven piece group incorporates African and Columbian sounds using both traditional instruments like the Marimba, bajo, and folk drums, as well as guitar, sax, and trumpet.

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.


Variety and Quality: 3.8 – 3.15

March 8, 2017

We’ve some wonderful visiting artists, and a surfeit of outstanding resident artists this week, giving us many opportunities to share a communal moment around music. Remember, the audience is as much a part of the performance as those who are on stage. We all gain energy from each other. And of course, it remains true that such an experience lifts our spirit.


Jazz

Wednesday, March 8

Monty Alexander Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) Jamaica-born pianist Monty Alexander  began playing at age six, and by the time he was a teenager, had a popular band called Monty and the Cyclones. He moved to NYC in 1962 and began playing with folks like bassist Ray Brown and vibist Milt Jackson, and recorded his first album in 1964, when he was 20. With a soulful approach, some hints of Oscar Peterson, and a hard swinging style. He’s recorded over seventy albums since 64, but aside from occasionally using calypso rhythms, didn’t embrace his Jamaican heritage on record until the 90s. Since then he’s recorded a half-dozen or so albums using Jamaican musicians to record reggae, rock steady, and calypso tunes. He’ll be appearing with a trio tonight, which lately has included JJ Wiggins on bass, and Jason Brown on drums, so you can expect that he’ll be drawing on all parts of his vast repertoire.

Chris Bates’ Trio Explorations @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Hard-working bassist Chris Bates will be joined by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums. They’ve played with each other in a number of different contexts, and now will use that experience to find new ways to express their respective musical ideas.

Thursday, March 9

Joel Shapira, Paul Renz Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira – No Cover) 9pm (Renz-$5) It’s a night of double guitar gigs at the Vieux. Joel Shapira will play acoustic guitar during the dinner hour from 6:30 – 8:30pm. Then guitarist Paul Renz and his trio take the stage. Renz graduated from Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, where he studied with jazz greats Herb Pomeroy and George Russell. Though his Twin Cities activities revolve mainly around teaching, he’s recorded a half dozen well received, chart-topping albums and has built a fan base on the East Coast where he tours every once in a while.

Gypsy Mania @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (Tip Jar) This is definitely Hot Club music – acoustic, swinging jazz, under the direction of bandleader and world-beat guitarist Glen Helgeson. Other members of Gypsy Mania include additional outstanding musicians: Gary Schulte, violin; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Be sure to sit relatively close to the stage, as the noise level can be quite high at Hell’s Kitchen.

Sarah M. Greer & Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Greer is an under-appreciated vocalist who has the chops and skill to teach others, yet is not as well known as some of her contemporaries and students. Magraw, as those of you who have received this newsletter for a while know, is a versatile guitar player who is equally at home in a fusion trio, world music group, or accompanying a singer such as Ms Greer.

Thursday, Friday, March 9,10

Victor Wooten Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42), 9pm ($25, $32) Bassist Victor Wooten has won five Grammys, and every major award given to a bass guitarist. He’s a member of the pioneering bluegrass/jazz fusion group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, but regularly puts out his own solo recordings. For these two nights of appearances, he’ll lead a trio with Bob Franceschini on sax; and Dennis Chambers on drums.

Friday, March 10

Cannonball Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Even with so many colleges featuring jazz programs, when it comes down to it, graduates of such programs should also embrace the “old school” form of learning – playing with older, established musicians. The Cannonball Collective brings several generations of Twin Cities musicians together to celebrate the music of Cannonball Adderley. The last time they performed, the group included:  Mac Santiago, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Doug Haining, sax. This will definitely be a fun gig.

Friday, Saturday, March 10, 11

Dave King’s Vector Families @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Vector Families is one of a dozen or so projects that drummer Dave King is part of, including the Bad Plus, and Dave King’s Trucking Company. For this group, he’s joined by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; and Anthony Cox, bass/cello. This is a group that can swing while still exploring the outer reaches of chord changes and melodies. I believe they are celebrating the release of a new album.

Saturday, March 11

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set: Post Atomic Trio, with David Hamilton, piano; John Croarkin, sax; and Derrin Pinto, drums.  8:30pm, Central Standard Time; Javi Santiago – Piano, Dave Brattain – Saxophones, Steve Kenny – FLUMPET, Ted Olsen – Bass, Eric Kamau Grávátt – Drums

Davu Seru’s No Territory Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm Master Class, 7pm Concert ($10 Advance/$15 Door) This is another in the very excellent Jazz at Studio Z series. Tonight drummer/percussionist Davu Seru is featured, along with the band, featuring Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pat O’Keefe, clarinets; Nathan Hanson & Scott Fultz, saxes; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes. There will be a master class at 6pm, and two sets of music.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/Vocalist Kate Lynch always delivers a bit of history with the songs she and Her Most Excellent Fellows perform. Not so much about the song itself, but about the era in which it was popular. She says that about 1/5 of the presentation is about history, which is about right, from what I can tell. The rest is swinging, danceable music, from early to mid 20th Century.

Monday, March 13

Andrew Tomten Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Tomtem is a young saxophonist who’ll be leading a trio tonight, playing mostly his own compositions.

Tuesday, March 14

Chris Lomheim @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Pianist Lomheim has been inspired by Bill Evans, but has his own sound – one that is imaginative and often contemplative, yet he can swing mightily, and serve as the foundation for larger groups. Tonight he’s by himself, providing first class music for diners.

Sam Miltich & Charmin Michelle @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35/Dinner) This is a very promising combination, one that will work well in Crooners’ listening room. Sam Miltich is an extraordinary jazz guitarist who comes from the northern woods of Minnesota. He plays gypsy jazz with the Clearwater Hot Club, but is also enamored of traditional jazz, Brazilian fork music, French Musettes and other world musics. He’ll be playing with Charmin Michelle, whose creamy dreamy voice, perfect diction, and great sense of time have made her popular both here and in Europe (especially Spain), and its jazz musicians. They’ll have added help from bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Jay Epstein.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Dough Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, lead this 17 piece aggregation in the classic sounds of Ellington and Basie, as well as Thad Jones, Clare Fischer, and others.

 

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 8

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) though Rockin’ is part of his name, don’t be fooled. Guitarist Johnny Burgin is no blues rocker, but rather an effective acolyte of traditional Chicago blues. He grew up in Mississippi and South Carolina, but got his start in Chicago playing with Taildragger, and touring with folks like Pinetop Perkins and drummer Sam Lay. He’s doing a mini-tour of the Twin Cities, playing in Holihans’ The Schooner, and Shaw’s over the next few days. Usually, he would appear on Harold’s House Party first, but the show is pre-empted today for International Women’s Day programming.

David Lindley @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) During his time as featured accompanist with Jackson Browne and leader of his own band El Ray-X, multi-instrumentalist David Lindley often drew inspiration from, and played, music from around the world. He often includes elements of African, Arabic, Asian, Turkish, and Malagasy music, and, when combined with his many stringed instruments, colorful outfits, unique sense of humor, and elfin looks, creates a wholly satisfying and enjoyable music experience for listeners.

Thursday, March 9

Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Ace bottleneck guitar player Jeff Ray can be depended upon to take traditional or well-known songs, and recast them, sometimes with Eastern influences, sometimes creating an old-timey song out of a rock n’ roller. The Stakes are usually Mikkel Beckman  on percussion and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica. Though this video is titled as Hurricane Harold, it’s essentially Jeff & the Stakes.

Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 door) Thanks to help from many volunteers, The Cedar Cultural Center can keep expenses low enough to bring in a wide variety of music from around the world. Tonight they are featuring the duo of Ballake Sissoko, a Malian master of the traditional 21-stringed kora, a harp-like instrument, and French cellist Vincent Segal, who has a background in trip-hop. Their collaboration results in hauntingly beautiful chamber music, which, by the way, is the name of their album.

Friday, March 10

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) Walker’s regular appearances at Crooners are always happy affairs, with a full house, and people finding space to dance amongst the tables. Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for both Goldwax in Memphis, and Chess records in Chicago. His latest recording, If Nothing Ever Changes, won a Blues Music Award as Best Blues Album of 2015 in the New Recordings/Southern Soul Category. He also won an award as Comeback Artist of the Year.

Grant Hart’s Birthday @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) Grant Hart was a founding member of the influential post-punk band Hüsker Dü. In fact, this year marks the 30th Anniversary of their album Warehouse Songs and Stories. Hart is turning 56, and he’s celebrating at the Hook, along with his friends The Fury Things, a trio that plays fast, loud songs, much in the spirit of Hüsker Dü, and The Rank Strangers, a band that has won numerous awards over its 27 year history.

Saturday, March 11

Cajun Cats @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon – 2pm (No Cover) Get yourself some lunch from the Cajun/Creole menu at Como Dockside and listen to music from Southern Louisiana, as performed by Shawn Gidden, Gary Powell, and John Terr on violin, button accordion, and guitar.

Saturday Salon: Bach to Bruch @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 3pm ($20) Here’s another performance in Crooner’s Saturday afternoon series of chamber music, curated and hosted by Maria Jette. Today, Mark Mazullo (piano), Tom Rosenberg (cello), Rena Kraut (clarinet), perform pieces by Bach, Schumann, Beethoven, and Max Bruch.

Hurricane Harold @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No Cover) Harpmaster Hurricane Harold is joined by guitarist/vocalist Doug Otto for some dinnertime blues.

SubDudes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60) This New Orleans group has released ten albums over the course of 25 years, drawing on the roots of R&B, gospel, jazz, and rock n’ roll that exemplify so much of the music coming out of the Big Easy. They are led by Tommy Malone on guitar; and John Magnie on accordion; and include Steve Amendee on tambourine and Tim Cook on bass.

Malamanya @ The Uptown VFW, 2916 Lyndale Ave So. Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Here’s a group that mines vintage Cuban music as well as current salsa, to create music that will have folks getting out their dancing shoes. The Uptown VFW has plenty of space to twirl and spin.

Prohibition Swing Night @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 advance/$12 Door) It’s a celebration of old time swing music, featuring the Mississippi Hot Club and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League. The Mississippi Hot Club will draw their performance from the hot club sound of the 30s, while incorporating romantic ballads, European folk music, and American jazz into their set. The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League draws their inspiration from the early 20th Century, but adds a modern sensibility to their compositions. Swing era costumes are encouraged and swing dance lessons will be provided at 8:30pm.

Sunday, March 12

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm (No cover) Charanga Tropical was founded in 2006 by saxophonist/flautist Doug Little, who, in the course of a decade, studied for about a year with master musicians and musicologists in Cuba. This is a traditional Charanga group, with a vocalist, violins, flute and full Latin percussion. The play danzons, that stately dance created in Cuba when French immigrants from Louisiana and Haiti settled in Cuba. Their latest album, In Cuba, was recorded in the legendary Egram Studios in Havana. They also play salsas and other Cuban music as well, so dancers will be out in force for this Sunday matinee.

Eric Gales @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) This blues rock guitarist has been called “the best guitarist in the world today” by none other than Joe Bonamassa. Gales grew up in a musical family and released his first album to raves in 1991, when he was only 16. Three years later he played with Carlos Santana at 1994’s Woodstock. Gales has released 17 albums, and has performed as a sideman on dozens of others. Though right-handed, he was taught to play a right-handed guitar upside down by his left-handed older brother. He’s fleet-fingered, tasty, and just as likely to play something by Cream, Hendrix, or Stevie Wonder as he is to play straight blues. Here’s a song from his latest album, to be released March 24th.

Monday, Tuesday, March 12, 13

Judy Collins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60 – $75) The New York Times calls her a “Folk Goddess,” but folk music is only one part of her repertoire, which has included art songs since she began recording. Collin’s crystalline voice helped bring Steven Sondheims Send in the Clowns to the masses, and introduced many fans to the main song from the musical Marat/Sade. She was one of the first singers to record songs by Leonard Cohen, and had a huge hit with Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now. Her appearance at the Dakota a few years back was absolutely charming. Given that she has a new album coming out called A Love Letter to Steven Sondheim, this show has been dubbed Sondheim and Hits. Special guest Kenny White opens.

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.


Lovers and Music: 2.8 – 2.15

February 8, 2017
Clearly thinking: Valentines Day - Meh!

Clearly thinking: Valentines Day – Meh!

Well, Valentine’s Day is upon us, and I only have a few things for those of you who have yet to make reservations for the evening. Of course, maybe, like a grumpy cat, you’re not celebrating this year, which is fine. Anyhow, we still have good music to enjoy during the week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 8

Schmidt, Magraw & Nichols @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Though Claudia Schmidt has amassed a great following during her four decades as a singer/songwriter, and charming storyteller, she has primarily worked as a folk singer. However, she would often include a standard or two in her concerts, and has successfully stepped out as a jazz singer on a number of occasions. She’s worked with guitarist Dean Magraw many times, but this is the first time in over ten years that she has worked with pianist Bryan Nichols as well as Magraw. Here are Claudia and Dean doing a folky number.

Bates, Nordlund, & Sanborn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s another evening where bassist Chris Bates brings together some musicians for a night of fine jazz, including both originals from the group, and jazz standards. JT Bates may add his drums to the mix.

Thursday, February 9

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s featured act is the Phil Hey Quartet, with Hey on drums; and Phil Aaron, piano; Dave Hagedorn, vibes: and Chris Bates, bass. This is a swinging group of veterans who have played together for years, attacking the music of Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, and others with verve and panache.

Rachel Holder & The Wolverines @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 (No Cover) Vocalist Holder was studying classical music at the U when she heard a jazz performance and switched to McNally Smith, where she studied with Judi Donaghy Vinar, Debbie Duncan, and Pete Whitman, among others. About ten years later, she now teaches at McNally as well as at Macalester, and gigs around town, as a soloist and featured singer with folks like Bruce Henry, the George Mauer Group, Vital Organ, The Girls, and others. With a supple voice that’s a bit throaty and sensuous, she’ll be accompanied by the always swinging Wolverines Trio: Rick Carlson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jendeen Forburg, drums. Here she is with George Mauer.

Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Cardenas is an energetic, hard working vocalist whose debut CD, I’ll Be Seeing You, has been well-received, with much airplay on KBEM. She has a natural, soulful sound, that she uses to great affect on jazz standards and the occasional pop/R&B number by Amy Winehouse or Beyonce.

Friday, February 10

Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) This isn’t your father’s (or grandfather’s) big band experience. Johnson creates modern day mixes that cross genres. Johnson attended Saint John’s University and settled in Saint Cloud, where he started his career with Tonic Sol-fa, the vocal quintet that’s sold two million records. He’s still an active member of that group, but decided to bring a new approach to big band music, honoring folks like Frank Sinatra, while acknowledging Michael Buble, and performing songs from across the music spectrum. Here’s an example.

Saturday, February 11

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s UW Eau Claire Jazz night, with an opening set at 7pm by the UW Eau Claire Jazz Combo 1, and the Michael Shults Quintet at 8:30pm. Shults, a saxophonist who teaches at Eau Claire, will be joined by Aaron Hedenstrom, sax, who did his undergraduate work at Eau Claire; as well as  Chris Bates, bass; Javier Santiago, piano, and a drummer TBA.  Here’s a slightly different version of the quintet.

Sunday, February 12

Cole Mahlum Jam @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm ($5) Get your dose of Hammond B3 music as guitarist Cole Mahlum leads a jam session.

Monday, February 13

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s the Acme Company’s monthly gig, bringing you big band music and the vocals of Arne Fogel.

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, February 8

Doug Otto & the Getaways on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mournful, down home sounds from Doug and the guys, performing music that ranges from originals, to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Buddy Guy, and Robert Johnson. Here’s a video from their residency at the late Nyes.

Thursday, February 9

Anda Union @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Formed in 2000, Anda Union is a ten-piece band of Mongolians who come from differing ethnic nomadic cultures of Mongolia. They bring together a wide range of musical instruments and vocal styles (including throat singing) from tribal and music traditions throughout Inner Mongolia, finding their inspiration in old and almost forgotten songs.

Quirkestra @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul 8pm (Tip Jar)  A five-piece band playing a blend of Americana, 60s R&B, Reggae, Swing, & Jazz.

Lonesome Dan Case @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Ahh, with his trademark fedora and fleet guitar, Lonesome Dan is a man who evokes the blues of the 30s blues and wraps them in the trials and tribulations of modern day society.

Friday, February 10

Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10??) Gifted songwriting, rhythms that span New Orleans, Chicago, Africa, and the Caribbean, and a rhythm section that will have the soles of your dancing shoes light up from friction. Milwaukee guitarist/songwriter/singer Paul Cebar has not only earned a rabid following, but has managed to keep it over the last three decades.

The Pachanga Society, with Dan Newton @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) The Pachanga Society  alls from the Saint Cloud area, and has been in existence for 15 years. Tonight, they present “Crossing Borders: An (im)migration story in words, images, and Woody Guthrie songs.” Using searing guitar, haunting wooden flute and pan-flutes, charango, Cuban tres, keyboards, bass and tight, world-beat percussion, they have built a repertoire that includes classic songs from all over the Caribbean and Latin America, new arrangements of some Rock and Country standards, and a good, steady dose of original compositions.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Lil’ Ed  s an electrifying, raucous slide guitarist who learned from one of the best – his uncle Homesick James. You’ll be hard pressed to find any blues guitarist who will fire you up so much with his stage presence.

Joyann Parker & Annie Mack @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So, we’ve got Joyann Parker and Annie Mack on the bill. They are two of the area’s fine female blues performers for one night. Both are equally at home writing their own material as they are singing classic blues and R&B.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, February 10, 11, 12

Be My Nasty Valentine @ Bryant-Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Here’s a non-traditional look at Valentine’s Day, as this show is subtitled Songs of Love and Liberation. As described, Mistress Ginger is “gonna sing and dance her way into your hears and inter your pant, saving the world while she’s at it.” Mistress Ginger will be accompanied by Lori Dokken, piano; Dustin Jensen, drums; and Noah Welter, on bass. Here is Mistress Ginger with the Wolverines Trio.

Saturday, February 11

Cate Fierro Sings Sade @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance, $20 Door) The show is actually titled “Stronger Than Pride: The Passionate Songs of Sade.” It was about a year ago that Fierro, an in-demand soul singer around town, debuted her tribute to Nigerian-born English singer Sade to much acclaim. She’ll be doing 22 songs from Sade’s catalog, spanning the albums Diamond Life (1984) to Lover’s Rock (2000), and using her soulful voice to good effect on the slow-burn intensity of Sade’s numbers. Here she is, tackling a standard.

Soul Tight Committee @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free drink) Old, Old School R&B from a ten-piece horn band for those who simply want to dance.

The Eddies @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar) The weather on Saturday is supposed to be relatively mild, just right for getting out to hear songs of life, love, death, and work. Now a quartet, the Eddies are a friendly, charming group of men who sing songs they remember, from old ballads of walking among cemeteries, to Bob Marley, and Sympathy for the Devil. Sometimes they even change up a word or two in order to make a mild political statement, but whatever they sing, they end the night walking through the bar and toasting all who are present.

Sunday, February 12

35th Annual Battle of the Jug Bands @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. Doors: 12:30pm. Ends 8pm ($5 Suggested Donation) It’s the annual battle for the coveted Holliwood Waffle and Pancake Irons, that is, if they don’t get hijacked by dastardly losers. The rules are plain. Kitchen instruments, so to speak, and no rehearsals. An intriguing or funny name helps, but is no guarantee.  Proceeds are donated to the Dave Ray/Bill Hinkley Memroial Fund. Though it’s not a very good video, this 2013 performance will give you an idea of what occurs.

Kelly Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 – $30) It would be easy to call Kelly Hunt a boogie-woogie piano player, but that wouldn’t begin to encompass her gifts. Even the record charts list her in multiple genres – blues, Americana, and Adult Alternative, among others. Hunt is a piano-pounder, for sure, but this powerful singer will entrance and delight with her stories, all the while keeping your kiester moving as she lays out a ferocious beat with her left hand.

Monday, February 13

Maceo Parker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $50), 9pm ($25 – $40) Saxophonist Maceo Parke  was just another hard-working sideman in James Brown’s band until Brown said “Maceo, I Want You to Blow” during I Got You (I Feel Good). Since then, his name has become synonymous with funk, though he is also a skilled jazzman. Back in 2011 I managed to get an interview with him which you can read here.

Tuesday, February 14

Michael Monroe @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 7pm ($20)  Monroe is a charming singer/songwriter who has been performing for forty years, charming audiences with his wit and songwriting. He’s a self-taught musician who plays guitar, ukelele, and glass bamboo flutes who can be as romantic as necessary for this day.

Third Annual Valentine’s Day Variety Show @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7pm ($29 – w/various discounts) Storyteller extraordinaire Kevin Kling, brings together some musical friends for an evening of “dynamic duos, tender trios, and oh solo-me-ohs” on love. Musical friends include Dan Chouinard, Bradley Greenwald, Prudence Johnson, Simone Perrin, Claudia Schmidt and Dane Stauffer, along with special guest writer/director Ali Selim, known for the movie Sweet Land.  Here’s an example of Kling’s storytelling abilities.

Music for Lovers @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25, $65 Dinner Show) This annual event put together by Lisa Wenger and Billy Larson has been presented at a number of venues around town, though I don’t think the option of a 3-Course Dinner has been offered before. Celebrate the date with Lisa Wenger + Billy Larsobn; Deb Brown + Brian Z; Sena Ehrhardt + Cole Allen; Jennifer Grimm + Joe Cruz; and Tamara Barnett + Phil Barnett. Don’t have any videos of the couples, but here’s one of Lisa Wenger.

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.


All Kinds of Music: 1.18 – 1.24

January 18, 2017

 

Everybody plays (See Peter & the Wolf listing, below)

Everybody plays (See Peter & the Wolf listing, below)

It’s a good time, and the Twin Cities is a good place, for folks who enjoy live music. In the coming week, we’ve got performances from some outstanding visiting artists and a few nationally known resident artists. Additionally, we have a couple of fundraisers, each featuring a variety of artists, and two chances to hear chamber music: a production of Peter and the Wolf, and a chamber music quartet interpreting A Love Supreme. Music lifts the Spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 18

Pete Whitman Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) Saxophonist Pete Whitman brings another group to the basement club, this time with: Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Chris Olsen, guitar; Jay Young, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, January 18, 19

Roy Hargrove With Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) What great possibilities lie in this show. Hargrove is among the best trumpet players of his generation, and has won two Grammys, one with his Cuban-based bans Crisol; and another with Herbie Hancock and Michael Brecker. He’s recorded over twenty albums, including an album of ballads with strings, and a hip-hop album, in addition to recordings with his quintet. Italian-born and NYC-based Roberta Gambarini is a magnificent vocalist with a supple, multi-octave range. You can read an interview I did with her in 2011 here. Here are the two artists with a big band doing a Latin number.

Thursday, January 19

Nichola Miller & The Wolverines Trio @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Miller has been taken up with raising a little boy these past few years, which has cut down on her gigging, so get out and see her while you can. She has pipes galore, an unerring sense of time, clear enunciation, and swings like mad, helped along by the Wolverines Trio. Her style is classic – in fact, listening to her may inspire you to order a classic cocktail like a Martini or Manhattan.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Peter Vircks is a fine saxophonist, whose improvisational skills add to any group, whether he’s playing for The Rhythmic Circus dance troupe or as a sideman. Tonight he’ll be joined by Brian Ziemniak, keys; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Feathermucker @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The weekly series at Khyber Pass always features adventurous music to go with its small plates and drinks. Tonight’s group will be performing The Dream Project, with music by Ted Moore  and text by Timothy Otte, featuring Alyssa Anderson, voice; Joe Spoelstra, guitars; and Ted Moore on electronics.

Friday, January 20

Adam Meckler & Cory Grossman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Trumpeter Adam Meckler and Cellist Cory Grossman have shown how the sonically different instruments can work together in Lulu’s Playground and other groups. Tonight, they explore the possibilities of the instruments with an evening of duets.

Saturday, Jantuary 21

Bryan Nichols: The Art of Solo Piano @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop ($10), 7pm concert ($15) Nichols is a pianist, composer, and educator often found playing jazz and improvised music, but at home in a variety of musical worlds. He leads and composes for his own trio, quintet, and nonet in addition to performing, recording, and touring with forward-thinking artists like Nicole Mitchell, Ron Miles, and Olga Bell, and groups like the Gang Font, Dead Man Winter, and Halloween, Alaska. Tonight, however, he’ll be playing solo, with songs from his release of last May, Looking North, as well as some other originals.

 

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start off at 7pm with the JazzINK Youth Showcase, which features  the Simon Petrick Group, a quartet of young musicians ranging from HS seniors to college juniors: Petrick, drums; Adam Astrup, guitar; Sam Worthington, bass; Levi Schwartzberg, Vibes. Headlining at 8:30pm is Chris Bates’ Red 5, a group that doesn’t play out much, since all of its members are busy in other groups as well. With Chris Bates  bass; JT Bates, drums; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Brandon Woznicak, tenor; JC Sanford, trombone.

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) Benny Weinbeck  piano; Gordon Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums, are consummate veterans who produce piano jazz of the highest order.

Sunday, January 22

Parisota Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Guitarist Robb Henry started the Parisota Hot Club as a quartet back in 2002. Since then, he’s developed a collective of musicians that he can call upon, depending on the needs of the venue. Tonight he brings a trio, with a violin (likely Gary Schulte) and bass to the Aster.

Monday, January 23

Turtle Island String Quartet Plays A Love Supreme @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45) 9pm ($25, $35) This classical chamber quartet  as won multiple Grammys for Best Classical Crossover Album. They are able to take the esthetic of classic chamber music and apply it to contemporary styles, breaking tradition, and finding new audiences. Tonight they tackle John Coltrane’s iconic music on meditation and spirituality: A Love Supreme. Here they are doing another song that’s often associated with Coltrane.

Brian Handeland @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Brian Handeland doubles on sax and woodwinds. He’s attended UW-Eau Claire, and went to grad school at the well known University of North Texas. Between both schools, he played in a number of DownBeat award winning ensembles. He was part of a 7-month tour with Flashdance, the musical, and performs around town with a number of jazz, rock, and ska groups.

Tuesday, January 24

Sean Turner Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners are taking an unusual step to ensure that people have a chance to discover the music of pianist Sean Turner by having no cover charge for the quiet listening experience of the Dunsmore Room. Turner heads the Keyboard Department at McNally Smith and composes music for films and commercials. He studied with famed pianist JoAnn Brackeen, thanks to a Study Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and currently plays around town in various groups. Tonight, he heads a trio with the always reliable veterans Gary Raynor on bass; and Jay Epstein on drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 18

Munson & Beckmen Go To IBC on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Bluesman and slide guitarist Mike Munson teamed up with percussionist about town Mikkel Beckmen to win the contest to represent Minnesota in the solo/duo category at the International Blues Challenge. Now they have to raise money to get there, and this is one of a number of events toward that end. Tune in to Harold’s House party about 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club to hear and support this winning duo.

Thursday, January 19

Celebrating 20 Years of the Dakota Dave Hull Show @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 11pm ($15 Suggested Donation) Dakota Dave Hull  has been doing his ultra rootsy show on KFAI for 20 years, and is handing in his headphones and going out in style by bringing along some friends to celebrate and raise funds for KFAI. Dale Connelly will host the event, which features special guests Lonnie Knight, Jack Klatt, Patty Harison, Adam Kiesling, Jay Peterson, Papa John Kolstad & Bill Smith and more! There’ll be a “meet and greet” at 6:30 and the music will get going about 7:30. Suggested donation of at least $15, though nobody will be turned away, with all proceeds going to KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio. Tune in to KFAI from 10am to Noon for the last show, and show up for an evening of great folk/Americana. Here’s Dave on A Prairie Home Companion.

Twilight Hours @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) The Twilight Hours are the brainchild of John Munson, bass & vocals; and Matt Wilson, guitar, drums, & vocals, who played together in Trip Shakespeare some twenty odd years ago and have played together off and on since then. Twilight Hours is a rock band, but one they describe as “thoughtful, sometimes introspective, sometimes full of rejoicing.” Sounds a bit like folk-rock to me. I don’t know who else they’ve rounded up for this gig, but Steve Roehm, Munsons band-mate in The New Standards, has been known to take part in their musical proceedings.

Friday, January 20

Tribute Night @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) It’s another night of dancing at the Eagles Club with three bands doing three different types of music: The Saddle Sores, with Clay Williams on guitar, will be doing Country Duets; Hornucopia will be digging into the past to perform the songs of rock-era horn bands; and Looking Bacharach, a group described as “doing songs by Burt what’s-his-name.”

ACLU Benefit @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 6pm ($20, $10 Student/Hardship) Here’s a benefit for the American Civil Liberties Union, which is featuring a host of terrific players each doing a 20-30 minute set:  Dakota Dave Hull, The Beavers, Greg Herriges, Matt Sowell, Siama Matuzungidi, Leslie Rich, Charley Dush. 100% of the cover goes to ACLU.

Boom Boom Stevie V & The Knockouts @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Steve Vonderhaar is a knockout harpist with an appropriately named blues band. Back in 2012, he and guitarist Kit Kildahl represented Minnesota in the International Blues Challenge.

Nicolas David & Vic Volare @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40)  Before he began his storied run to become a finalist on The Voice in 2012, Nicolas David gained fans around town as Nick the Feelin’. Of course, he had already released five well-recieved albums and received national airplay for his alternative soul music before his appearance on the show. His dynamic vocals and insightful songwriting have only improved since then, and tonight, he’s teaming up with crooner and retro swingster Vic Volare for a unique evening of music.

Saturday, January 21

Peter and The Wolf @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 10AM, 11AM (Free) This is part of MacPhail’s Free Family Music Series, and is a chamber music version of “Peter and the Wolf,” the symphonic tale for children by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev. It’s a one-movement narrated story with each character being represented by a different instrument of the orchestra. This arrangement is based on the original one-piano arrangement made by the composer. Performers all come from MacPhail’s faculty, and include: Daniel Abdon, Narrator; Stella Anderson, Violin (Peter); Julie Johnson, Flute (The Bird); Carrie Vecchione, Oboe (The Duck); Greg Kajiwara, Clarinet (The Cat); Thea Groth, Bassoon (Grandpa); and Pinar Başgöze and Susana Pinto Piano Duo (The Wolf, Hunters

New Riverside Rambler Trio @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon- 2pm (No Cover)  Cajun music for brunch, performed by a trio from one of the busier Cajun bands in town.

 

Jeff Ray & the Stakes and Paul Mayasich’s RAMM Band @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) It’s an evening of roots and R&B at The Hook. Jeff Ray and the Stakes are driven by Ray’s slide guitar and vocals, and propelled forward by Mikkel Beckmen’s foot stomping and percussion; Nick Salisbury’s bass and home made foot-shaker contraption, and Harold Tremblay’s gritty harp playing. The RAMM band, led by guitar master Paul Mayasich, plays American Music, from Motown to R&B, rock n’ roll, and the blues. Here’s 3/4 of Jeff & the Stakes

Big George Jackson @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Big George Jackson has a voice that rumbles with the authority of an oncoming train. It’s well suited to the blues and boogie that he plays on harp, ably accompanied by Jeremy Johnson on guitar, and others.

Last Waltz Tribute @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12, $15) The Last Waltz is a Martin Scorsese movie documenting the last concert at The Band in 1976. Scores of top acts performed, from Dylan and Muddy Waters, to Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, The Staple Singers, and more. Over twenty of the area’s musicians are gathering to honor the film by presenting the songs featured in the film.

Sunday, January 22

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s another fundraiser to help send Minnesota musicians to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Featuring The Mark Cameron Band, and Mike Munson & Mikkel Beckmen, this year’s Minnesota entries in the group and duo categories, along with Colin Campbell  the Shackletons, and past winners of the Road to Memphis in an all-star jam.

Hot Club of Cowtown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Here we have three excellent musicians from Texas who integrate the acoustic jazz of Django Rheinhardt with the Western Swing of Bob Wills. With talent galore, the trio bring joy and excitement to the music, and have gained worldwide fans through tours with Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan and tours to Europe, the UK, and State Department sponsored tours to places like Armena, Azerbijan, and the Sultanate of Oman.

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


Resident Talent Abounds: 1.11 – 1.18

January 11, 2017

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

Jazz

Wednesday, January 11

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

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

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

Thursday, January 12

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

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

Friday, January 13

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

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

Saturday, January 14

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

 

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

Monday, January 16

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

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

Monday, January 17

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 11

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

Thursday,January 12

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

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

Friday, January 13

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, Saturday, January 13, 14

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

Saturday, January 14

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

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

Sunday, January 15

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

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

Tuesday, January 18

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

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


Music Lifts the Spirit: 11.9 – 11.15

November 9, 2016

unknown-2I’m sure that many of you are feeling like Casey, after his turn at the bat, but looking at the results of yesterday’s election, I’d wager that at least some of my readers are celebrating. I have no idea what kind of music our new President will bring to the White House, but whether you are celebrating or commiserating, music has the power to elevate your spirits, and this week we’ve got many opportunities to do so, from both visiting and resident artists, including the movies about music at the Sound Unseen Festival. Here’s a few ideas.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 9

Leigh Kamman Legacy Project Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant is donating all of the $10 cover to the Leigh Kamman Legacy Project. All of the musicians playing for free. They include: The Larry McDonough Quartet;  Patty Peterson; Doug Haining and the Twin Cities 7;  Steve Blons; The Santiago Trio; and more. Maryann Sullivan will serve as the emcee. Families and students are welcome.

Debbie Duncan sings Oscar Brown Jr. @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Oscar Brown Jr was a jazz singer and songwriter who not only wrote originals, but wrote words for tunes like Work Song, Dat Dere, and Afro Blue. Tonight, the award-winning Debbie Duncan honors the late vocalist by singing his songs.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates bring along Joe Srachan on piano and Miguel Hurtado on drums to play originals and improvise on jazz standards.

Thursday, November 10

Sarah M Greer with Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Greer teaches singers, including well established vocalists, how to scat and how to find their true voice. Additionally, she has collaborated with dancers and other artists, and works with four different groups, including Jay Young & the Lyric Factory. Here she is doing some gospel.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Nick Syman Quartet CD Release 9pm (Tip Jar) Trombonist Nick Syman leads this quartet, which includes Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olsen, bass, and Pete James Johnson, drums.

Friday, November 11

Brian Culbertson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) Keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Culbertson is one of the most successful artists around who can cross between contemporary R&B, jazz, and funk. His 16th album, recently released, is entitled “Funk!” is a throwback to greasy horn licks, snaky bass lines, and funky drums.

Jana Nyberg & Sean Turner @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Nyberg in a different setting than usual, accompanied by pianist Sean Turner, rather than singing with her group, or husband Adam Meckler. Here she is with her band.

Mancrush Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Lars-Erik Larson, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Zacc Harris, guitar, are among the busiest musicians in town. This quartet applies their improvisational skills to a variety of genres, from folk to Bartok, not to mention the original tunes of bandleader Lars-Erik Larson.

Saturday, November 12

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitar master Chris Olson and cello master Greg Byers play duets at 7pm, followed at 8:30 by a CD release party for “Addendum” from the Illicit Sextet: Paul Harper, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; David Roos, guitar; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a video from some years back.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band CD Release @ The Parkway, Minneapolis. ($15 Advance, $17 Door) It’s the “Southside Shake Show” as the brass band from Madison, WI roars into town to preview the release of Brass Jackson, a CD full of Michael Jackson music. They’ll also have the Southside Aces along for the ride, so the party spirit of New Orleans will be in full flower.

Sunday, November 13

Dan Chouinard & Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner)  A couple of veteran musicians – Pianist Chouinard & vocalist Evingson – will be performing music of composers who were born during the month of November.

Monday, November 14

Catherine Russell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45) Vocalist Russell has worked with folks such as Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Michael Feinstein, Al Kooper and others. Her dad, the late Luis Russell, was a long time music director for Louis Armstrong, and her mom, Carlene Ray, performed with the pioneering International Sweethearts of Rhythm, as well as with Mary Lou Williams and Sy Oliver. It’s no surprise then, that Russell prefers to reinvigorate older songs. Her latest album, “Harlem on My Mind” celebrates the golden era of African American song, with tunes from Billie Holiday, Etta James, Benny Carter, Fats Waller, and others. Previous appearances have always been delightful.

Tuesday, November 15

Joyce Lyons CD Release @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) Vocalist/actress Lyons has performed at venues around the country, including a special concert for the Supreme Court. Tonight she’s celebrating the release of “Song for You” with the help of Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

The Mill City Hot Club and Connie Evingson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Once a month Tuesdays at the Vieux are given over to Hot Jazz, the acoustic swing that includes elements of Gypsy Jazz, and reinterpretations of contemporary pop songs and the Great American Songbook. Tonight the Mill City Hot Club will start things off, with vocalist Connie Evingson joining the group for the second set.

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

 

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 9

Javier Matos on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) A solo gig by the outstanding guitarist/singer.

Sarah Morris/Galen Weston Band @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Morris – No Cover), 8pm (Weston – $8) Singer/Songwriter Morris has built a solid reputation gigging around town and in small tours around the area. After the dinner hour, we’ll be treated to a rare Vieux booking of someone from outside the Twin Cities. Canadian guitarist Weston and his band just completed two tours with the Gypsy Kings and Dave Sanborn. His band includes Cuban drummer Michel Medrano Brindis; Canadian saxophonist Richard Underhill, and Czech basis Lukas Kytna.

Thursday, November 10

Sue Orfield guests with the Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) While the four-piece Butanes always live up to their awards as the Best Blues Band in the Cities, the Thursday night gigs at Shaw’s are somewhat of an open-ended affair, with folks like Maurice Jacox, Willie Walker, and Jellybean Johnson sitting in whenever they’re visiting the club. Tonight, however, Wisconsin saxophonist Sue Orfield will be joining the band all night. Whether she’s improvising to the changes of I’ve Got Rhythm, or blowing a mean blues, Orfields’ command of her instrument adds depth and excitement to any group in which she participates. Here’s Sue with her own band.

Friday, November 11

Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Mack sings the blues, but not the 12 bar kind. You’re likely to hear roots-based gospel, Motown, or even a bit of alt country. Just the kind of music to go over with the TGIF customers at Crooners.

Nigel Egg, Tim Fast, and Dan Rumsey @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 7:00pm (Tip Jar) This is a “Songwriters in the Round” event with all three singer-songwriters on stage at the same time. They will each take turns to play while the others might harmonize, play some accompaniment and make cruel jokes in between songs.

Rich Lewis Band @ Erté, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar?) Lewis was a founding member of the fabled Explodo Boys back in the late 70s. The guitarist/singer leads the band through a mix of R&B, Motown and New Orleans. Given the venue, I suspect this will be the smaller version of the band, rather than the six-piece group, which plays for venues where dancing occurs.  Here’s the larger version of the band.

Saturday, November 12

Eddies @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar) Sea shanties, work songs, and murder ballads by four guys who only use an instrument or two. the warm, obviously Irish Dubliner is a perfect place to hear this quartet.

Black Market Brass @ Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Here’s a group of area musicians who have done a lot of listening to Fela Kuti, Tony Allenm, and Evo Taylor, using their inspiration to create original Afrobeat and Afrofunk tunes, as well as the occasional cover. Complex rhythms that are nevertheless easy to dance to, brash brass, and exciting guitar work make for compelling grooves that will have you moving your hips and all other parts of your body.

Paul Cebar @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee native Cebar has been visiting the Twin Cities for nigh unto 30 years, always with a gaggle of excellent musicians. During that time his sound has evolved from classic danceable R&B to polyrhythmic celebrations incorporating Latin, Afro, and other world sounds, though it still remains unabashedly danceable, as both long time and brand new fans will attest.

Sunday, November 13

Sound Unseen @ Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 5pm, 7pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door at each show) The music cinema Festival screens two movies of interest to area R&B fans. At 5pm it’s Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows, about the Chicago guitarist/singer who used to make regular trips to the Twin Cities, and who has been a huge influence on Black music for the last 5 or 6 decades, from Blues, Soul, and Funk, to Hip-Hop, where the guitar lines and funky beats of his drummers were heavily sampled. The at 7pm it’s Bang! The Bert Berns Story, the founder of Bang! Records, writer of songs like Twist & Shout, Take A Piece of My Heart, Hang On Sloopy, I Want Candy, and more, and a guy who unwittingly made connections with the Mob in NYC.

Atlanta Rhythm Section @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($30 – $40) The ARS, as they are often known, were the house band at Studio 1 in Georgia. A couple of them had been in the Classics IV, and recruited the other three members from Roy Orbison’s backing band. They’ve recorded 15 albums since 1972, and were often looked to as a Southern band that would stand with the Allmans and Lynard Skynard. Though they never came close to the popularity of those bands, the group had a strong following in the South and charted a consistent string of hits such as “Doraville”, “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight”, “Champagne Jam”, “So Into You”, “Imaginary Lover”, “Do It Or Die”, “Neon Nites” and a cover version of the Classics IV 1968 hit, “Spooky.”

Monday, November 14

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) “Fingers” is a former National Fingerpicking champion who used to perform as part of a highly popular radio variety show. He and some of his “So Called Friends” are performing their Annual Food Shelf Benefit tonight, so bring a bit more $$ than you usually do for a tip jar show.

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


Autumn Music: 10.12 – 10.18

October 12, 2016

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

Jazz

Wednesday, October 12

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

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

Thursday, October 13

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

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

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

 

Friday, October 14

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

Saturday, October 15

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

Sunday, October 16

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

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

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

Monday, October 17

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

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

Tuesday, October 18

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

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, October 12

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

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

Thursday, October 13

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

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

Friday, October 14

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

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

Saturday, October 15

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

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

Sunday, October 16

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

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

Tuesday – Sunday, October 18 – 25

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

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


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