Twin Cities Music: 4.25-5.1

April 25, 2018

Nowadays the sun isn’t going down until after 8pm, and we’re all enjoying pleasant weather. While it’s certainly fun to enjoy the sun, much pleasure can be had from early evening shows as well, and we have plenty of them. They’re a boon for those of us who aren’t 35, unencumbered and don’t have to be at work til noon. We can choose from any number of early jazz, blues, and roots shows this week. Music Lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, April 25

Leigh Kammen Legacy Project Presents: Larry McDonough Quartet and Local Damaging Winds @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (Donation) The rarely seen Locally Damaging Winds will be playing at this fundraiser for there Leigh Kammen Legacy Project. Locally Damaging Winds includes: Peter Enblom, Dave Graf, Brad Bellows, and Wade Clark, with the Larry McDonough Trio rhythm section. Pianist McDonough and his Quartet will open, playing the music of Bill Evans.

Christian Sands Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Pianist Sands is a rising star in jazz, having been mentored by Billy Taylor, served in Christian McBride’s trio for a number of years, and been nominated for five Grammys. His latest release, Reach, has been well received.

Thursday, April 26

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Whether she’s scatting be-bop lines or re-imagining rock n’ roll and jazz standards, vocalist Mountain exhibits sheer musicality. She’ll be accompanied by guitarist Martin, with whom she’s performed a number of times. The addition of Jim Chenoweth on bass adds to both music and fun factor.

Music Without Borders @ Calvary Lutheran Church, 3901 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Cash Donation at Door) Here’s an excellent example of how music transcends boundaries and generations. Students from the Urban Arts Academy, playing hand-made drums, will perform with Douglas R. Ewart, didgeroo, flutes; Bob Fantuzzo, Native American style flutes; Mankwe Ndosi, vocals; Davu Seru, percussion; and Jacqueline Ultan, cello.

Friday, April 27

No Room for Squares @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Another band of cross-generational musicians: Bill Steiger, drums; Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; andDale Alexander, piano.=

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) The talented trio of Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson,and Tom Lieberman first gained fans back in the late 70s with swingin’ songs from the Depression and WWII. After separating to each create a successful career, they reunited a few years back and have added new songs to their repertoire without losing their gorgeous three-part harmonies and sense of swing.

Saturday, April 28

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Starting at 7pm, it’s Chronic Ice Cream, which includes: Macalester Wilms, tenor; Matthew E. Tice, alto; Cody Leduc, trombone; Lee ran, saxes; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes & keys; Drew Stinson, bass; and Bobby T Rossen, drums. The Graydon Peterson Quartet headlines @8:30pm: Peterson, bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Monday, April 30

Silverback Trio & OKnice @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul.9:30pm (Free) Ok, I’m conflicted about where to place this notice, since the show combines a hip-hop rapper and a jazz trio. The Silverback Trio plays two sets beginning about 9:30. They play original songs, using atmospheric electronics and high-energy melodies to create jazz for the 21st Century. Its members are: David Hirsch, electronics and sax; Brent Wallace, bass; and Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. OKnice hits the stage about 11:15. He is described as performing rap that both die-hard fans and casual listeners can enjoy.

Jax Ravel’s Benefit & Birthday @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Drummer/percussionist Jax Ravel was one of the McNally Smith teachers left high and dry (along with students), when the school closed just before Christmas. Since it’s his birthday, musician friends are coming together to raise funds for him by playing tonight. They include the Graydon Peterson Quartet; the Yohannes Tona Band; the Steven Hobert Group, and Ravel’s own Jax Ravel Gang.

Eliane Elias @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $45), 9pm ($20, $24, $35) The Brazilian-born, multi Grammy-winning pianist is touring behind her just-released album, Music from Man of La Mancha, which was actually recorded some years ago and co-produced by Elias and the late Mitch Leigh, who composed the music for both stage and screen. Leigh commissioned the recording to specifically have Elias create an instrumental Latin Jazz album of his music. Here’s Elias singing and playing a Brazilian classic.

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 25

Bobcats on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Bobcats are Bobby E, a guitarist that should be known to more; Kathy Mosher, a vocalist that Bobby regularly accompanies; along with Tom Craven, bass; and Eron Woods, drums.

Issam Rafea and Gao Hong Album Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Rafea is a Syrian Oud Master who has been seen around town playing with a variety of partners, including pianist Steven Hobert. Gao Hong is a Chinese Pipa Master. They only play improvisations and are celebrating the release of Life As Is: The Blending of Ancient Souls fromSyria and China, on Innova Records. Both Issam’s instrument, the Arabic lute called the oud, and Gao Hong’s instrument, the Chinese four-stringed lute called the pipa, originated from the same ancient instrument – the Persian barbat.

Dusty Heart Vinyl Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Here’s a case where the whole is greater than the  sum of its parts. Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are two poetic singer/songwriters who are recognized for their own work , but discovered that together, they create a whole new, harmony-laden sound.  They’ll be accompanied by the ace musicians Jeremy Ylvisaker, guitar; Michael Lewis, bass & sax; and JT Bates, drums.

Thursday, April 26

Nick Moss Band Feat. Dennis Gruenling @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance $15 Door, $18 Reserved) Blues guitarist Nick Moss is riding high with his recent Alligator release, The High Cost of Low Living sitting at #1 on the Living Blues chart and #3 on Billboard. He’ll have superb harmonica player Dennis Gruenling along for this gig, making it a must-see for blues fans. Pianist Scottie “Bones” Miller opens.

Cadillac Kolstad @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Piano pounder Cadillac Kolstad’s rockabilly/R&B is very popular in Germany, where he seems to tour a couple of times a year. Hear him in the enlarged lounge at Crooner’s.

Phil Heywood @ Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery, Smith Ave, Saint Paul. 7:30-9:30pm (Tip Jar?) Fingerpicking champ & vocalist Phil Heywood makes his debut at this new brewery in one of the oldest buildings in Saint Paul. The brewery specializes in German-style beers and serves a variety of sausages and sides.

Also: Vicky Emerson Band with Mother Banjo @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis.8pm

Friday, April 27

Joe & Vicky Price, Ray & Hurricane @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a duo of blues duos tonight as Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold (guitar/vocals & harp, respectively) share the stage with Joe & Vicky Price, whose take on the blues is both traditional and unique. Just to make things even more interesting, there will be wood-fired pizza, craft beer, and a huge selection of craft whiskey.

Missy Andersen Duo @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm- 11:30pm (Tip Jar) Any blues fan that checks out the videos at the Black Dog entry for this duo will try to see them. Missy Andersen’s gospel-tinged vocals are complemented by husband Heine Andersen’s guitar work in which he plays lead, rhythm, and bass lines simultaneously.

Also: Nikki & The Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:45pm

Saturday, April 29

Charlie Parr @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 3pm-5pm (Tip Jar) No matter the weather, the 331 will be filled with fans of Parr, whose original folk-blues and spirituals reflect both the music of the Delta and his life.

Also: Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat)

Saturday, Sunday, April 28, 29

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60 Sat, $35, $45, $55 Sun) Fischer was a featured performer in 20 Feet from Stardom, the documentary about background singers. She’s an absolute pro, having spent over 20 years touring with the Stones. She also toured with Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Sting, and Nine Inch nails. She uses her experience, and her considerable pipes to recast well-known pop/rock songs and make them her own. Be forewarned – her shows often sell out.

Sunday, April 29

Honky-Tonk Jump @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) Western Swing and Texas Dance Hall music from this “Daddy Squeeze” aggregation, with: Dan Newton, accordion & vocals; Tom Schaefer, fiddle; Dan Lowinger, guitar; Vaughn Asseltine, bass; and Deal Gallagher, drums.

Tuesday, May 1

KFAI 40th Anniversary Live Broadcast at Walker Church and Concert @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm at the H&L (Donation) Can it really be 40 years since the Ten-Watt Big Shot (as it was sometimes called) went on the air? Now at 900 Watts (90.3 & 106.7FM), the station returns to its first home, Walker Methodist Church, for a day-long live broadcast before heading over to the Hook & Ladder, where Clockwerks Brewing will release KFAIBock and live music will commence from The Prizefighters, Trash Street,. Beebe Gallini, Theo, and thyself. I’ll be stopping by the Walker between 10AM and noon to chat with Jackson Buck about the station and spin some music from Streetlight Serenade and Shakeup Southside.

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.

 


TC Jazz Fest and More: 6.21 – 6.27

June 21, 2017

Greetings everyone;

It’s the big weekend for jazz fans as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday through Saturday. Great headliners and about 300 resident artists will be appearing on stages all over town. Besides Mears Park, Rice Park, and the Union Depot, downtown venues include the Black Dog Cafe, Golden’s Deli, the Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), the Hat Trick Lounge, The Amsterdam, and others. Don’t forget the piano-centric acts at Vieux Carré, with its late night jam, and the stage in the tpt building featuring vocalists all weekend. There are also performances at venues outside of downtown at venues like the Como Dockside and the Episcopal homes. I’ve got the link to the schedule below. Fans of blues and roots also have reasons to be happy, as I’ve listed. Remember, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 21

Lee Engele @ The Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7pm (Free) A preview gig for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Vocalist Engele has a particularly good way with acoustic swing aka gypsy jazz, though she handles standards and the occasional bossa nova with elegance and ease, especially with such stellar accompaniment as Reynold Philipsek on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass. .

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to the Great American Songbook, though she’s adept at pop as well. She’ll be accompanied by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Christian Sands @ The Dakota, Minneapolls. 7pm ($20) Sands is an up and coming pianist who has already arrived in some sense. He’s been a key member of Christian McBride’s Trio for a number of years, was nominated for five Grammys, and was mentored by pianist Billy Taylor. He recently released his debut recording, Reach.

JT Bates Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul 8:00pm ($6) Get your B3 organ fix as drummer Bates brings Kevin Gasonguey, B3, and Zacc Harris, guitar, to the basement club. Things will be cookin!

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23, 24

Twin Cities Jazz Festival  @ Saint Paul locations. (Free) It’s about the most anticipated event of the year for area jazz fans, though fans of R&B, funk, and world music also get to hear some of their favorite bands for free. You can find the schedule here. Needless to say, headliners Anat Cohen, Terrance Blanchard, McCoy, and others are well worth your while, but get to Mears Park early to also hear folks like Emmet Cohen, Bobby Lyle, and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code in opening slots. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase at Union Depot has been expanded to both Friday and Saturday, with the McNally Smith Vocal Ensemble headlining on Friday, and the Dakota Combo headlining on Saturday.

Friday, Saturday, June 23, 24

Django Festival All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Honoring the “hot jazz” (aka gypsy jazz) of Django Rheinhardt, this sextet brings their own creativity to the swinging style. Author and critic Will Friedwald, said of them, “the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe.”

Sunday, June 25

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ The Church of Saint Albert, East 29th Street & 32 Ave, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3pm ($20) Part of a monthly music series examining the music of the 20, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Today it’s the music of the 1930s. Both vocalist Hixson and pianist Carlson excel at this sort of thing.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you aren’t quite ready to give up the spirit of the jazz fest, you can continue your jazz jones with the ever-inventive guitarist Zacc Harris and his trio.

Monday, June 26

Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Cellist Greg Byers leads this quartet: Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums.

Tuesday, June 27

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45/wDinner) Pianist Johnson lived in the Twin Cities for a few years, entertaining us with his lovely playing. Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been playing a booking jazz. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. He has a unique program for 7-17 year olds called Reach afar, to educate them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 27, 28

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. Until the last year or so she was on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them. She’s performed here about twice a year in the last three years and her shows often sell out, or come close to it. Be forewarned.

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, June 21

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Northurp Auditorium Plaza, U of MN, Minneapolis. Noon (Free) Grab a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and if you keep it hidden, perhaps a bottle of wine, and have a picnic while enjoying the music of this “bongos and berets” group, playing French musettes, a cumbia or two, and some old standards.

Cooker John Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cooker John learned to fingerpick from Artie Traum in NYC during the folk boom of the 60s. Since then he’s traveled the country, has played in numerous bands, and for the past few decades has played solo, or with one or two others. I recall hearing about him playing the Midwest back in the 80s. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Randall Webb, Ben Kaplan, and John Vizard. Listen in and head over to the 331 Club if you want to hear more.

Paul Bergen & the Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ The Hook & Ladder, Minnapolis. 7pm (No cover) Honky-tonkin’ swamp country blues from members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Curtss A’ band and others. This is part of a June residency that takes place in H&L’s lounge.

Jillian Rae & Hannah von der Hoff @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 8pm ($6) Fiddler/singer/songwriter Jillian Rae has a Wednesday night June residency at the Aster, bringing her band along to help while she sings her own originals as well as some tasty covers. Tonight she has guitarist/singer/songwriter Hannah von der Hoff along for the ride. Here’s Hannah!

Thursday, June 22

Mikkel Beckmen w/Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen has slide guitar master Jeff Ray as his guest at this after work gig.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) Soul, R&B, and ballads from a master vocalist.

Jonatha Brooke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooke has released nine albums of literate adult pop and two live discs, all of which were well received by critics if not exactly big sellers, and has used crowd funding on her last two albums. Though born in Boston, and having lived in Los Angeles and New York, Brooke relocated to Minneapolis last year, home to her husband/manager. She’s happy with the move, and has been having fun calling on resident talent to fill her bands here. Tonight, she’ll be accompanied by Kevin Gastonguay on keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Joey van Phillips, drums; Aby Wolf, vocals; Rebecca Arons, cello; and Sean Driscoll, guitar.

Friday, June 23

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) He was known as Wee Willie Walker during the 60s and 70s Soul Explosion, and still goes by that name on his website, but the name doesn’t account for his sonorous voice, with a bit a whiskey gravel to it, and an interpretive ability that defines soul.

Charlie Parr @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) It’s nine months since this blues vagabond opened the H&L, so apparently it’s time to have him back. Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders open.

Saturday, June 24

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free) The ribs at Big Daddy’s will get an extra helping of funky soulfulness as the big-voiced blues belter Big George Jackson performs as part of the the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Papa John Kolstand & the Perfect Phitts @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Singer, raconteur, and guitarist Papa John Kolstad brings his wit, wisdom, and sense of fun to Merlins, the best neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. The Phitts are Bill Smith, harmonica and vocals; Gary Powell, National Steel and vocals; and Bill Grenke, bass. There is a reason they’re called the Perfect Phitts as they play seamlessly and perform some three part harmonies.

Sunday, June 25

The Funky United @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) I may be mistaken, but this appears to be a new group, though it’s members have been around for a while: Scott Glaser, bass; Dev Jana, guitar; Chris Kellick, keys; Tim Moran, drums; and Mick Sterling, vocals.. They play original funky soul.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) It’s the last Sunday of the month, so the Gang once again holds court at the oldest continually operating bar in MN. Today, Papa John Kolstad will be in the hot seat, playing with Bill Greinke, bass; Rena Haus and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica.

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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