Valentines Day and More: 2.14 – 2.20

February 14, 2018

Today is Valentines Day, or as some people put it, Single Awareness Day. Whether you are coupled up or not there is music out there to enjoy on this day and for the rest of the week, with more visiting artists than we’ve had for the last month or so, as well as some special appearances by resident artists. Just get out and let the music lift your spirit.


Wednesday, Feb 14

Chris Bates Presents: Astrologers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Chris Bates, bass; John Keston, keys; and Randy Kramer, drums gather to perform sonic experiments. Plus, for this night only, V-Lo will have her famous tacos available.

Thursday, Feb 15

Greer & Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Vocalist Sarah Greer and guitarist Dean Magraw are both sensitive and imaginative artists who should produce some fine music together.

Manhattan Transfer & Take 6 @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30 ($27 – $89) Vocal Harmonies will abound with this meeting of two long-running groups: the acappella Take 6, and the jazz-centric Manhattan Transfer. They’ll each perform their own songs, and sing about a dozen songs together.

Friday, Feb 16

Babatunde Lea & Ensemble CHOMBO @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Master drummer-percussionist-conguero Babatunde Lea has gathered a new group of musicians to play some Latin Jazz, at least that’s what I get from looking at ther line-up: Trèveris Arteaga, trumpet/percussion/vocals; Viviana, piano/vocal; Jax Ravel, bass; Kevin Washington; timbales/percussion; and Lea; congas/percussion.  Here’s Lea with a different band.

James Buckley Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($10) Bassist Buckley has been called the “hardest working musician in the Twin Cities” by City Pages. He’s appeared on Steven Colbert’s show with Lizzo, tours and records with the Pines, and the Blenders, and has appeared at Coachella with the Gayngs, in addition to leading this trio, with the equally talented Bryan Nichols on piano, and JT Bates on drums. Here’s the Trio at the old Artists’ Quarter.

Saturday, Feb 17

Love Songs with Debbie Duncan & Friends @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12 – $20) Featuring William Duncan III on Hammond B3 Organ, and Adi Yehsaya on piano. If you were too late top see a Valentine’s Day, or perhaps celebrated at home, you can still celebrate the joys of love with Ms Diuncan and friends.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) You can hear the future of jazz at 7pm, thanks to the monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase, which tonight features the group Elevator Jazz, with: Eli Zukor-Zimmermann,  sax; Jackson Wheeler, – guitar; Lasse Corson, piano; Jon Butler, bass; and Carter Pearson on drums. Headlining at 8:30pm is the Sam Miltich Quartet featuring Dave Karr, sax; Chris Bates, bass; Jay Epstein, drums, and the amazing Miltich on guitar. Here’s Miltich with a different group.

Jazz from the Americas and Beyond @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentI D) This is a monthly series that features area musicians exploring jazz from around the world. Tonight features Chino Latino, a 7-piece Latin Jazz Ensemble playing a variety of dance styles including salsa, cha-cha, and merengue, among others. A free salsa dance lesson will start off the evening.

Monday, Tuesday, Feb 19, 20

Stanley Jordan Solo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm Mon, Tues ($25), 9pm Mon ($20) Guitarist Jordan revolutionized gutar playing with his “touch technique” back in 1985. Since then, he’s had a storied career, performing in over 60 countries, collaborating with everyone from Art Blakey and Sharon Ibsin, to Christian McBride, Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, the Dave Mathews Band, and Regina Carter. A must see for guitarists and guitar lovers.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Feb 20, 21

Connie Evingson: Horn Heroes @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Ms Evingson is a sterling vocalist who certainly knows how to create performance concepts to keep things interesting. For these shows, she and her musical cohorts:  Dave Karr, sax; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Tanner Taylor, piano; will celebrate such horn players as Gerry Mulligan, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and more.

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, Feb 14

Miss Becky Kapell & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) While Ms Kapell may have started out as a folk singer, she has evolved into a singer of classic country from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. She’ll be helped out by Ray Bernard and Paul Bergen, of the Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound.

Music by Lovers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This annual event, put on by Lisa Wenger & Billy Larson, has been held in a variety of venues over the past few years. This year’s other performers are: Phil & Tamar Barnett, and Joe Cruz & Jennifer Grimm. The club is also offering a $35 feast for two lovers for this event.

Jorma Kaukonen @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($40 Advance/$35 Door) Spend your Valentine’s evening with a founding member of both Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, which was last at The Dakota a few years back. Kaukonen is also a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and a Grammy nominee, and is known for his fine guitar work, both electrically and acoustically. As a solo artist, he brings new arrangements to old blues song, and creates his own Americana tunes.

Thursday, Feb 15

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) It’s a mini slack key guitar festival, with three masters, featuring George Kahumoku Jr, who is known as a raconteur on stage, as well as for leading the Annual Maui Slack Key and Ukelele Workshop for 15 years. Led Kapana has been one of Hawaii’s most influential musicians for forty years or so, while Jeff Peterson is known for his versatility, having worked with Eric Clapton, James Galway, Aaron Neville, Boz Scaggs, and the Honolulu Symphony.

TC Jammers @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (6$) Back in the 80s, the Jammers were one of the hottest blues/funk bands around. This reformed version of the band features Annie Mack, vocals; Joe Elliot, guitar; Donnie La Marca, keys; Patrick Nelson, bass/vocals; Sam Kuusisto, vocals/guitar; and Bobby Vandell, drums/vocals. Don’t be surprised if some guests sit in.

Friday, Feb 16

Kelly Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) Blueswoman Kelly Hunt is a piano pounder from Kansas City  who has found an adoring audience in the Twin Cities, thanks to her good humor, a story-telling way with lyrics, and a strong left hand on the piano. Her latest CD, The Beautiful Bones, has garnered much praise. I did an interview with her back in December of 2011, which you can find here.

Saturday, Feb 17

Vieux Farka Touré @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32, $38) Born in Mali, the son of legendary guitarist Ali Farka Touré, took up guitar in spite of his father’s misgivings about the life of a musician. His fluid playing has earned him fans around the world since his first recording in 2005. Touré’s third album, from 2011, features Dave Mathews, John Scofield, and Derek Trucks, a testament to his ability to blend genres. Subsequent albums expand on that promise. Expect genre-bending and at the very least, a nod to the blues rock of Malian groups like Tinariwen.

Marimba Bullies @ Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) From the website: The Marimba Bullies is a Twin Cities-based marimba ensemble playing upbeat, high-energy music based on the rhythmically complex music of the Zimbabwe mbira tradition. The Bullies’ repertoire consists of traditional African songs as well as arrangements of contemporary music performed in the lively, danceable, and just plain fun style that is unmistakably the Marimba Bullies.

Eddies CD Release @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 7:30 (No Cover) This “almost a cappella group is releasing their second album, called A Hard Way To Go, with fifteen songs they have sung over the years, with an emphasis on the “work” and “death” categories of their song list, including Sympathy for the Devil, Long Black Veil, and Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Thed Dubliner will have beer and wings specials to help the celebration.

Sunday, February 18

2nd Annual Retirement Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 2pm ($10) It was about a year ago, that Dee Miller held a belated party to celebrate her retirement from the 9-5 world of work. She had so much fun, she’s doing it again. This time, in addition to performing with her own Dee Miller Band, she’s bringing along both Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts, and Who Nu.

FLOWTUS @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) The Conservatory has a great winter series, which takes place in the sunken garden, and is piped into the Palm Dome and the North Garden, so you can hear the music while strolling through or sitting in those parts of the Conservatory. Today the featured group is FLOWTUS, a four-piece group that draws they influences from blues, country, punk, and folk music. Beer and wine are available for purchase.

Steve Page & the Art of Time Ensemble @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm ($30, $40, $45) Pop-oriented chamber music for the 21st Century, featuring re-imagined versions of songs by Randy Newman, Elvis Costello, Radiohead, and others, including Barenaked Ladies (Steve Page was a co-founder and former lead singer), by Page and the highly inventive Art of Time Ensemble.

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.

Happy New Year! 12.27 – 1.2

December 27, 2017

I think I can safely say that most of us are looking forward to putting 2017 behind us. What with hurricanes, mass shootings, wildfires, “taking a knee,” sex abuse scandals, a political climate that could be called tumultuous at best, and locally, the unexpected closing of MacNally Smith Music College, we’re ready to start anew.

On a personal and positive note, my year was upended when I was diagnosed with significant health issues. Thankfully, I have responded very well, thanks to some excellent health professionals and, I believe, the good thoughts, vibes and prayers of family and a supportive community, including readers such as yourself. Thank you.

Another positive thing about the last year is the great talent that has performed in our Twin Cities, from both resident and visiting artists. We’re lucky to have a vital music scene, with high schools and regional colleges producing talented musicians to join a bevy of highly respected veterans. Evidence of emerging talent will be on display this week as a number of young jazz musicians are home on vacation and lining up to play. Roots and Blues groups continue to percolate up with brand new younger groups and realignments of veterans. Now… we’re in for a cold spell, but as hardy Minnesotans, I know that many of you will layer on the clothes and brave the weather to enjoy and support the talent in town. Here are some ideas for music that will lift your spirit.



Wednesday, Dec 27

Will Kjeer Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Talented pianist Will Kjeer is on a Christmas break from school in California, and will be joined by his uncle Kenny Horst on drums, and Billy Peterson on bass. Kjeer was already playing professionally while in high school, and since going to college has performed as a leader and sideman in Washington DC, Montreal; and at the fabled Lighthouse Cafe in Los Angeles. He is also a member of Steve Kenny’s Group 47. Tonight is truly a cross-generational meeting of musical minds. Arrive early to catch pianist Kevin Gastonguay from 6 – 7:30 (No cover)

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson, and Tom Lieberman create wonderful three-part harmonies on tunes from the 30s and 40s, as well as on their original compositions. They are just as beloved today as they were back in the 70s and 80s.

Connie Evingson: Holiday @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($22) It’s not hard to think you’re in a cozy country lodge as you take in the Dunsmore’s view of a snow-covered lake during. Ms Evingson’s cool, yet sultry voice celebrates the season, as she did on The Secret of Christmas, her wonderful Christmas album of some year’s back. She’ll be accompanied by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Dave Karr, sax & flute; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Here’s a version of a Christmas chestnut from The Secret of Christmas.

Thursday, Dec 28

Kendra Glenn and Jazz Fly @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Glenn is a powerful, soulful singer, while JazzFly’s members have played with a wide list of both resident and national artists, ranging from Tower of Power and Avishai Cohen, to Ginger Commodore, Ricky Peterson, and members of Sounds of Blackness. Such experience makes the band and Glenn equally adept at blues, jazz, soul, and R&B. Here’s Kendra, along with her daughter Jalela.

Friday, Dec 29

Young Lions @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – No Exit), 10pm  (Ben Erlich Trtio) ($10, $5 w/valid Student ID) It’s a night of talented young musicians as things start off at 8pm with the No Exit Sextet, led by drummer Luke Peterson, and including  Peter Goggin, alto; Jack Coutwright, Trombone; Levi Schwartzberg, Vibes; Adam Astrup, Guitar; and Charlie Lincoln, Bass. Then drummer Ben Erlich brings on his trio, including Will Kjeer on piano; and Charlie Lincoln, bass. Here’s a video from No Exit, from last summer.

Saturday, Dec 30

The Last Edition of Rhythm and Grooves @ KFAI, (90.3 and 106.7FM) 10:30AM – Noon. After 15.5 years in three different time slots, it’s time for me to move on. Note that I also hostedShake Up Southside for three years in the early 80s, and Streetlight Serenade for five years in the mid-80s. I’ll play a couple of songs from Shakeup, followed by their jazz versions, as well as a couple of vocal group harmony versions of standards from Streetlight, preceded by jazz versions of those songs. It’s not goodbye, just so long, as I’ll show up to help during pledge drives and hope to be called upon to sub for different shows, which is always a treat for me and hopefully for listeners. Tune in.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm DDT is composed of three veteran musicians: Dean Granros, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Tony Moreno, drums. At 8:30pm, a group of young and very talented musicians will perform. Hoaxer, which released their debut CD last summer, is Will Kjeer, piano; Peter Goggin, alto; Charlie Lincoln, bas; and Edmund Caitln, drums.

Sunday, Dec 31

Early & Late NYE @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5-8pm ($5 suggested donation), 9pm – ? ($20 Reserved on stage side, $5 non-stage) The Black Dog continues its tradition of a family-friendly early NYE celebration, this year featuring pianist Todd Harper’s Open Season Ensemble, with Aaron Kerr, electric cello, James Holdman, guitar; Chris Hagedorn, tenor; and Eric Couren on drums. After clearing the stage side, a jazz extravaganza will ensue, with a group of Twin Cities All-Stars featuring Dave Brattain, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums; PLUS special guests. It’s billed as safe and reasonably sane. This video features Steve Kenny’s Grou 47, with Will Kjeer, piano and composition.

Tuesday, Jan 2

Jon Weber’s History of the Piano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $25) Pianist Weber, who is now based in NYC, is a master of musical trivia, host of NPR’s Piano Jazz, and a regular visitor to the Twin Cities and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He’ll be performing in a number of piano styles to show how the piano has been used in music throughout history. Here’s a sample.

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, Dec 27

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This annual event is one of the few times that the Saint Paul-based Eddies cross the river to Minneapolis. Their appearances are even rarer now that guitarist Wyoming Brown (aka Paul) has moved out of town, so we’re lucky he’s visiting and we can hear their songs of life, work, and death, from traditional mountain songs to sea shanties and tunes by Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, and Billy Joe Shaver. If you’ve not heard them, tune in and head over to the 331 if you want to hear more. Listen to this example.

The Skruffians @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This septet will get you moving with their infectious blend of Ska, Reggae, Soul, & Jazz, featuring Todd Baer, trombone; Joe Mayo, tenor; Jared Jarvis, baritone sax; Brian Knox, keys and melodica; Park Evans, guitar; Tom Hutton, bass; and Rick Nair, drums. Hers’s a sampling of their music.

Dress Like Deano @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Have you got a plaid flannel shirt and colorful sneakers? Then you can dress like Deano – that’s Dean Mikkelson, a fine guitarist who always has equally talented sidemen when he plays in the the “Big Green Booth” at Dusty’s. Expect jazzy, bluesy tunes, with perhaps, some guests. Here he is with the Mill City Hot Club, playing rhythm guitar for most of the song and soloing at about 3:10minutes.

Thursday, Friday, Dec 28, 29

Lush Country @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No cover, but guaranteed seat for $15) Classic country sounds from Eddy Arnold to Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Floyd Cramer, from an all-star group of longtime Twin Cities headliners and A Prairie Home Companion veterans: Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, Richard Kriehn, Gary Raynor, Gary Rue, Pete Johnson, and Joe Savage.

Friday, Dec 29

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) More proof that the new owners of Dusty’s are sticking with what works (They’ve also added music on Wednesdays) So… singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Haus Is back, singing humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate, as well as an occasional classic rock song. Backed by her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar-meister Ed Petche, it’s an evening of highly entertaining performances.

Roots, Rock & Deep Blues 2018 Pre-Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/.$12 Door) What better time to get up for a summertime party than in the midst of a spell of below-zero temperatures? To entice you out, tonight the Hook features a group that’s been an RRDB staple since the annual event started – Left Lane Cruiser, the punk bluesmen from Fort Wayne, Ind. Another regular is Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, with their flat-out blues that would be a hot rod if it were a car. Joining in on the fun are Flatwater Mississippi and their psychedelic swamp blues, as well as Mutation playing metallic rock.

Saturday, Dec 30

Nooky Jones 4th Annual End of Year Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($15 Advance/$17 Door) 2017 was a big year for Nooky Jones as they sold out two consecutive nights at the Icehouse and co-headlined at the Fitzgerald Theater. They also released their debut album in July for fans who enjoy the band’s unique blend of soul, jazz, and undertones of hip-hop. Opening set by alternative should singer Jessica Manning, and between-sets music by DJ Keezy.

The “Committee” @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Maurice Jacox, Aisha Baker, and Deb Brown were all part of the Butanes Soul Review when it played at the Cabooze some 25-30 years ago, and recently for the 30th Anniversary of that group. They were also part of the Soul Tight Committee and the Lights Out Committee during much of the 90s. Tonight the three of them gather as “The Committee,” performing songs like Groove Me, Supernatural Thing, Rocking Chair, and other great soul songs of the 60s and 70s. Here they are performing in the Soul Tight Committee back when.

Sunday, Dec 31

Jaeden James & the Hunger @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. Doors at 9pm, music at 10:45pm ($20) This funk/soul ten-piece horn band has a high-energy attitude that’s almost punkish. They will surely ignite NYE revelers in celebration.

Joyann Parker Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 10:30pm ($30) Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Parker has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’ will ignite NYE partiers. She represented Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Additionally, her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society. Her versatility shows up in this duo setting.

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.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays: 12.20 – 12.26

December 20, 2017

Toy Trains at Christmas

Or to put it more humorously and inclusively, Happy Chriskwanzacuh – and don’t forget the celebration of Winter Solstice, since we can look forward to increasing daytime light after Thursday. This is a time of year when a number of faiths and cultures have special celebrations, and if you don’t practice those faiths, you can nevertheless appreciate and even enjoy some of their traditions (including setting up toy trains). You still have the opportunity to hear great music throughout our area, though admittedly, you might have to settle for watching Netflix and getting Chinese takeout on December 25. Besides a couple of holiday shows, we can choose from the last appearance in town by the original Bad Plus, a couple of dance-oriented bands, and some roots music. Whatever your traditions at this time of year, enjoy the season, and remember, music lifts the spirit


Wednesday, Dec 20

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Pianist Chris Lomheim gathers Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums; for an evening of swinging tunes and subtle ballads. Here is what Lomheim sound like in a trio setting.

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 10pm (Free) Original eclectic jazz and creative covers from pianist/composer Mark Vandermyde, with Jason Parvey, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums.

Wednesday, Dec 20 – Saturday, Dec 23

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) Since the turn of this century, Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Kennedy, bass; and Dave King, drums; have been making annual visits to the Dakota to present their iconoclastic jazz, reimagining rock hits and jazz standards while creating songs that are often as quirky as their titles (i.e., 1979 Semi Finalist, Epistolary Echoes). This is the last gig featuring pianist Iverson, who is leaving the group after their New Year’s Eve appearance at the Village Vanguard. His droll wit will be missed, but he’ll be ably replaced by Orrin Evans. Stay tuned….

Thursday, Dec 21

Holiday Piano Bar @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) The “Piano Bar” isn’t really such, since Jazz Central isn’t a bar. Nevertheless curator Sarah M. Greer describes the evening as part open mic, part jam session, and part caroling singalong. Ms Greer will host the evening, aided by pianist Jon de Vall. Bring instruments, charts, your lyric sheets and requests.

Belle Amour Holiday Show @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Looking at their website, it appears that this four-piece group – vocalist, keys, bass, drums – seems to specialize in wedding and corporate gigs. It appears that Graydon Peterson is on bass, though I don’t recognize the other performers. Listening to their songs reveals a tight, jumping outfit that plays vintage jazz, including songs from Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, The Andrew Sisters, and other performers from the 1930s and 40s. Their music is bright, breezy, and fun.

Aerosol Pike @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Acoustic-based spontaneous composition from Philip Mann, Ryan Reber, and Rick Ness on horns (and other instruments?).

Friday, Dec 22

Peter Schimke Trio @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) The Lexington’s Williamsburg Room can be a bit noisy to fully appreciate the playing of pianist Schimke, who always has A-list players with him. Just sit close, enjoy a cocktail, and relax after doing your holiday shopping.

John Raymond’s Standards Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) Minneapolis native Raymond is a trumpeter/flugelhorn player who was called a “Rising Star” by no less than DownBeat Magazine. His four albums have all been well received by the NY Times, Downbeat, and Jazz Times. He’s currently Professor of Trumpet at Indiana University. His trip home provides us with a chance to hear him, accompanied by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here he is with his New York group.

Saturday, Dec 23

Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15, $20) Carrothers, a pianist whose imagination is always inventive and far-ranging, seems to have fallen in love with the Dunsmore Room, as the Saint Paul native makes the trip from Michigan quite frequently to appear in various groups. He’s recorded 26 albums as a leader and has appeared as a sideman with a wide range of jazzers including Buddy DeFranco, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Konitz, Dewey Redmanm, Toots Thielman, and more. He’ll be appearing solo to play on the 9-foot Steinway at the intimate listening room.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Cole Mahlum opens at 7pm, leading his own group. At 8:30pm bassist Ted Olsen appears with frequent collaborators Javi Santiago on piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom.

Sunday, Monday, Dec 24, 25

Merry Christmas! Enjoy a technicolor Christmas at the movies, or a Chinese meal for those who don’t practice the Christian faith.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Dec 26, 27

Connie Evingson: Holiday @ Dunsmore Lodge, Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($22) With its view of a snow-covered lake, the Dunsmore will easily bring to mind a cozy country lodge as Ms Evingson, of the cool, yet sultry voice, celebrates the season, accompanied by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Dave Karr, sax & flute; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Here’s a cut from her gorgeous Christmas album.

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, Dec 20

Ben Eaton on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Roots/Americana songwriter/guitarist Eaton is a native of Des Moines who now lives in Minneapolis. He’s working on a 5-song EP with drummer Dwight Dario, who used to live around here, and Matt Woods. Tonight he’ll have a 4-piece band with him, featuring guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson.

Thursday, Dec 21

Draper-Beckmen-Kiesling @ The Dubliner Pub & Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The Twin Cities hardest-working washboard player teams up with bassist-around-town Liz Draper and Adam Kielsing (of Pert Near Sandstone) to play old-time music, country blues, early jazz, and maybe a holiday tune or two for your happy hour pleasure.

Friday, Dec 22

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?, $10?) Blues, swing, jump, jive, & jazz for dancing in the Ernie Mattson Ballroom at the commodious Eagles Club.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:45pm (Tip Jar) Though Dusty’s is under new ownership, they remain committed to providing the rootsy groups that have been appearing there for years. Example number 1: Nikki & the Rue-mates, whose folk-blue-rock has long been a Dusty’s favorite, often packing the place while they play in the “big green booth.” Nikki’s clarion voice and Rich Rue’s terrific fretwork are always a treat, with the added delight of guitarist Dean Mikkelson often sitting in to accompany Nikki on a jazz standard or two.

Saturday, Dec 23

Steeling Dan @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) You say you want to hear some heady, sometimes inscrutable lyrics, performed with cool, jazzy pop? Then this Steely Dan Tribute Band may deliver just what you need.

Joyann Parker Band @ Crooners’ Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover, but $10 guaranteed seat) Vocalist/pianist/guitarist Parker has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’s just right for the Pre-Christmas Saturday night crowd at Crooners. She’s been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, and represented Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society.

Sunday, Dec 24

Enjoy Christmas Eve!

Monday, Dec 25

Christmas With Robert Robinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) Get your gospel groove on with the highly popular and one-of-a-kind Robinson, who gets rave reviews wherever he appears. Some examples: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal called him “a volcanic talent,” while the Salt Lake City Desert New called his performance “glorious,” and the Star Tribune described him as a “soaring presence.”

Tuesday, Dec 26

Willie West @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Louisiana-born Willie West is a classic soul singer who recorded for Allen Toussaint with the score for the blaxploiotation film Black Samson, and later worked with The Meters in the late 70s and early 80s. He then worked all over Bourbon Street until Hurricane Katrina, after which he moved to Saint Cloud, where he currently lives. In the last few years he’s recorded with some Finnish funk/soul groups (see video), and still has the vocal prowess and emotional power that makes a soul singer a soul singer.

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.

Unique, Remarkable Music: 10.4 – 10.10

October 4, 2017

What every household needs!

Well, just like the “modern housewife,” as pictured, we have a unique and remarkable set of opportunities to hear revitalizing music. We have three new series taking place: Friday Nights @ The Dunsmore; Illicit Jazz Workshop @ Jazz Central; and the monthly Forge at Bryant Lake Bowl. We also have an all-star jazz group visiting our town, a pioneering Stax musician, and a group from Mali. And there’s a celebration of John Lennon’s birthday, a benefit concert, and some unique combinations of resident musicians. Music lifts the spirit!


Wednesday, Oct 4

Dave King Trio @Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $25) If you’re a Twin Cities jazz fan, you have undoubtedly heard drummer King in one of his numerous groups. Tonight he’s joined by Bill Carrothers, piano; and Billy Peterson, bass.  Here they are doing their unique arrangements of a couple of standards.

Zacc Harris/Katia Cardenas @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harris – No Cover), 8pm ($6) Start out with guitarist Zacc Harris, whose clean lines can often be hear with the Atlantis Quartet, as well as in a trio at the Riverview Wine Bar Sunday nights, Vital Organ and other groups. Then at 8pm it’s Jazz & R&B from vocalist Cardenas who will be joined by Ted Godbout, Graydon Peterson & Zach Schmidt, and “The NoDak Girls” Andrina Brogden & Sheridan Zuther.

Forge: Maryam Ershadi Yusefzadeh & Thomas Nordlund @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Forge is a new series celebrating creative music, performed on the stage at Bryant Lake Bowl. This month, singer Maryam Ershadi Yusefzadeh and guitarist Thomas Nordlund present a view into “Migration”, their debut collaboration. It is a collection of reimagined traditional Persian folk songs and original compositions inspired by that musical language. Vocalist Yusefzadeh had her early musical training in Tehran and received a BFA in Art, Music, and Dance performance from the UofMN. She studied jazz with Roberta Davis. Guitarist Nordland can be found as a sideman with any number of Twin Cities artists in a number of genres. He released his debut full length album Divide Avenue, in 2015

Wednesday, Thursday, Oct 4, 5

Savion Glover & Marcus Gilmore @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $65, $75), 9pm ($35, $50, $60) It’s a percussive extravaganza as Glover, perhaps the best tap dancer performing today, partners with drummer Gilmore, who has worked with Chick Corea, Vijay Iyer, Nicholas Payton, and others, and BTW, is the grandson of the great Roy Haynes.

Thursday, Oct 5

Joel Shapira/Maud Hixson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira: no cover), 8pm (Hixson: $6) It’s a double dose of jazz as guitarist Joel Shapira delivers solo numbers before Maud Hixson takes the stage, accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano; and Chris Bates, bass. Expect an evening of cool, yet simmering standards.

Friday, Oct 6

Jazz Women All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm   Patty Peterson, Ginger Commodore, Lucia Newell, Linda Peterson, Joan Griffith, Jendeen Forberg, Kathy Jensen. Need I say more

Le Percheron @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10?) Trumpeter Steve Kenny is always on the lookout for new places to produce live music. Now, through Illicit Productions, he is curating Friday Nights at Jazz Central. To kick things off, he’s got Adam Linz’s terrific group: Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Cornet; Levi Schwartzberg, Vibes; Cory Healey, drums; and Linz, bass.

Bryan Nicols Quintet @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 9pm ($15) The Dunsmore Room is trying a new tactic – Friday night jazz curated by Zacc Harris, and at the same time as music in the main lounge. The Dunsmore’s quiet acoustics (and audience) should make this work. For the first show they have: Nichols, piano; Mike Lewis & Brandon Wozniak, saxes; Eric Fratzge, bass; JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, October 7

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahmed & the Creators at 7pm, followed by Jax Revel Gang at 8:30pm: Jax bass; Matt Trice, sax; Javi Santiago, piano; Blake Huebl, drums

MN Hard Bop Collective: Joe Henderson @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) The Collective returns to Boom Island with another of their shows celebrating past masters. Although saxophonist Henderson’s earliest recordings were marked by a strong hard-bop influence, his playing encompassed not only the bebop tradition, but rhythm and blues, latin, and avant-garde as well. Tonight the Collective includes:  Dave Brattain, Jeff Rinear, Chris Olson, Kameron Markworth and Jesse Simon

Sunday, Oct 8

Katie Thiroux Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) NYC-based Thiroux’s latest album Offbeat (her 2nd) shows the triple threat (bass, vocals, compositions) carrying on the swing tradition of Ray Brown and John Clayton when playing mainstream jazz.

Monday, Tuesday, Oct 9, 10

Connie Evingson & Jon Weber @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20) Ms Evingson is celebrating the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth with a series of concerts from Ella’s Songbook series. This time around it’s the music of Rogers & Hart. She and pianist Jon Weber will be joined by Dave Karr, sax; and Gordy Johnson, bass.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Oct 10, 11

Chick Corea/Steve Gadd Sextet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, ($75, $90, $100), 9pm ($65, $80, $90) Holy Buckets, what a group! Besides Corea on keyboards, and Gadd, who has played on hundred of albums, on drums, we have Lionel Louecke, last seen here at the MN Zoo with Herbie Hancock, as well as bassist Carlitos del Puerto, an original member of pioneering cuban group Irakere, saxophonist Steve Wilson, and Argentine percussionist Luisto Quintero.

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, Oct 4

Pushing Chain on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Boyd Blomberg guitar & vocals; and Adam  Moe, fiddle & vocals; have been performing together in various configurations since 1997, and as Pushing Chain since 2012. They call their music Folky-Tonk, with stron vocals and melodies.

Thursday, Oct 5

Mikkel Beckmen, Jon Rodine, & Dan Gaardner @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (tip jar) Resident percussionist often has only one guest each Thursday, but tonight is special with Jon Rodine, a vocalist who should be  better known in town, and guitarist Dan Gaardner of Trailer Trash.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Wad’ya get when Cajun teenagers in the 50s and 60s heard rock n’ roll? Swamp Pop – Rock n’ Roll with a Cajun accent. You can hear examples of the genre by listening (and dancing) to the Swamp Poppas.

Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The Best Blues Band in the Twin Cities continues their weekly residency at Shaw’s, led by guitarist Curt Obeda, and featuring a number of musicians who sit in for a song or two, such as Camille Boudoin, of the Radiators, Jelly Bean Johnson, Maurice Jacox, and Willie Walker.

Friday,Oct 6 

Willie Walker @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, or $10 for a reserved seat in front of the stage)  Walker’s been doing a lot of recording over the past few years. The Soul Man’s latest is After A While, with the Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, the group that’s backing him on the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise later this month.

Belfast Cowboys @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) The Cowboys are one of the most popular bands in town, delivering sprightly versions of Van Morrison tunes and other gems. This is the first of three monthly gigs at the Hook.

Saturday, Oct 7

Songhoy Blues @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) The Songhoy people were once one of the most prominent ethnic groups in Mali, though the now live on the margins of that West African country. After a number of musicians made their way to Bamako as refugees, they decided to start a band that celebrates the displaced people and their culture, playing desert blues, Malian grooves, and American guitar licks. Opening is Brasszilla, a quartet consisting of Hal Longley, sousaphone; Zach Zins, trombone; Bob DeBoer, trumpet; Andy Deckard, drums.

Sunday, Oct 8

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) Spend a Bluesy Autumn afternoon enjoying the sounds of Harpmeister Boom Boom, and his Knockouts.

Doug Otto & Friends @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 5pm – 8pm (Tip Jar) This tiny, NE dive bar has been bought by the owners of the Nightingale, who are generally happy with the music line-up there. Guitarist/vocalist Doug Otto explores the blues and Americana, with a voice so mournful, you might find yourself crying. He calls upon a number of friends to help him on these “brunch gigs for working musicians.”

General B & The Wiz, The Plott Hounds, & Rlgdppl @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) The Hook presents an evening of live music to benefit the recovery of hurricane victims in Puerto Rico! $1 Per Ticket will be donated by the bands and matched by The Hook and Ladder to PROJECT HOPE. General B plays psychedelic/IndieBlues; The Plott Hounds like 70s Southern rock as they play alt-country blues, and the music of Rlgdppl is rooted in Rhythm & Blues.

Monday, Oct 9

Curtiss A Celebrates John Lennon’s 77th @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) It’s not the annual tribute show, but is bend called Return to the Cavern. That’s the Cavern Club in Liverpool where, upon returning for their Hamburg sojourn, the Beatles made 292 appearances between 1961 and 1963, with their last appearance occurring just after they recorded She Loves You. I expect this show will include the rock n’ roll favorites of John Lennon

Sunday, Monday, Oct 8,9

Booker T Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 8pm Sunday, 7pm Monday ($35, $40, $50) The pioneering Stax organ star may run through Green Onions a bit quicker than usual, but after all, it’s been 55 years since that grooving piece of funk was laid down by Jones and his compatriots in the MGs. He still manages to deliver the hits and the newer pieces from his last few years as a solo artist.

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, Music: 7.5 – 7.11

July 5, 2017

I hope everyone had a safe and happy 4th. Once again we have a great combination of visiting and resident artists performing in our fair Twin Cities. Here are just a few of the many music offerings over the next week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, July 5

Maud Hixson @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Here’s Ms Hixson in a slightly different musical setting than we usually see this warm, compelling vocalist. Though often accompanied by a pianist, tonight she’ll be accompanied by guitarist David Singley and bassist Kent Saunders as she sings songs from the Great American Songbook and more.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) Grab yourself one of the big red booths, and get out on the dance floor as guitarist/vocalist Joe Demko, aka Radio Joe, and his crew pay homage to the music of Tony Bennett and Diana Krall.

Thursday, July 6

Acme Jazz Company, w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though it’s name may evoke Road Runner cartoons, this aggregation is anything but your every day band. The Acme Jazz Company had a regular gig here during previous incarnations of the club, and still sounda exciting. Added bonus: Crooner Arne Fogel.

Lavelle Jazz Cats Little Big Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) With seven horns, a rhythm section  and vocalist, the Lavelle Jazz Cats perform classic tunes by Basie, Sinatra, Ella, Dean Martin, Miles, Sonny Rollins, Ellington, and more, included more recent works by Michael Buble, Harry Connick Jr, and others.

Pool Party” @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) With three adventurous musicians: JT Bates, drums; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; and Chris Cunningham, guitar. The Pool Party is described as: “a randomized number of improvisors are selected at random from a selected pool to converge on a selected Thursday.”

Friday, July 7

Illicit Sextet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This composer’s collective always has interesting, well executed musical ideas. The evening has the aptly ironic title of The Greatest Hits. Members of the band are: Paul Harper, saxophones; Chris Lomheim, Piano; Nathan Norman, Drums; Dave Roos, Guitar; Tom Pieper, Bass; and Steve Kenny, Flumpet. Here’s an old video.

BZ3 Organ Trio @ The Mudd Room, 1352 Highway 13, Mendota. 8pm (No Cover) The Mudd Room is a new “speakeasy” located under Lucky’s 13 in the village of Mendota. Enter through the street and you have to pick up a phone to get the entry code. Or you can go into Lucky’s and use either a staircase or elevator to get to the stonewall lined room. It’s a long narrow room, so sit up front to better hear the band. Tonight it’s Brian Zimniek, organ; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington on drums. They swing, they groove.

Saturday, July 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Headlining at 8:30pm is a band whose members exhibit sheer joy at playing together – Chris Bates’ Good Vibes TrioBates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; Dave Hagedorn, vibes. Opening – The Cole Mahlum Quartet: Mahlum, guitar; Ted Olson, bass; Will Kjeer, piano; Miguesl Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, July 9

Parisota Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($6) 8pm – 10pm Guitarist Robb Henry leads this collective of musicians who play Hot Jazz, or as it’s sometimes known, gypsy jazz. Founded in 2002, they were the first group in the area to concentrate on the music of Django Rheinhardt and Stephane Grapelli. However, they play more than the acoustic swing standards of the 30s and 40s, sprinkling their repertoire with occasional Beatles songs, as well as more contemporary fare. Tonight, they’ll be in trio format.

Monday, July 10

Teri Roiger @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10 – $35w/Dinner) NYC vocalist Roiger was at the Dunsmore Room last June and provided a great evening of music. Her singing has been cooled “smooth but heady,” (All About jazz), “powerfully moving: and impressively deep (JazzTimes), and “made for those who still understand the meaning of the term the real thing” (Stanley Crouch). Roiger can express much with the slightest turn of a phrase, and has a voice that sounds wonderful in the listening environment of the Dunsmore Room. She’ll be celebrating the release of Shades of Lady Day, a collection of tunes associate with Ms Holiday. With husband John Menegon, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Phil Hey, drums.

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9:30pm (No Cover) One of the few jazz groups that play the Amsterdam, Fuzzy Math has been called “best jazz act for people bored with jazz” in a Best of MN listing. They play original material as well as creative covers.

Tuesday, Wednesday July 11, 12

Connie Evingson Sings Ellington @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $45w/Dinner) Given that she performs quite regularly in the area, it’s easy to forget that vocalist Evingson has appeared at festivals and venues around the nation and in Europe and Japan. She’s been a guest artist at Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, Michael Feinstein and Vince Giordano, Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, the Minnesota Orchestra and Toronto Symphony conducted by Doc Severinsen, the JazzMN Orchestra and Vocalessence, among others. Her ten CDs have all charted in the top 50. Whether singing the songs of Peggy Lee, Django Rheinhardt, The Beatles, Dave Frishberg, or Norman Gimbel, her slightly smoky, always articulate voice is always a delight. The intimate Dunsmore Room is a perfect place to hear her, as she’s accompanied by Jon Weber, piano, Dave Karr, sax; and Gordy Johnson, bass.

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, July 5

The Two Shoes on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) To understand the name, you have to recall the Guys All Star Shoe Band from the old Prairie Home Companion. Mandolinit Richard Kriehn and guitarist Pat Donohue were both long time members of the band, so their interaction will undoubtedly be as close as two peas in a pod.

Dustbowl Revival @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25-$35) So here’s a new term I’ve seen, that’s actually pretty good at describing the eight-piece  Dustbowl Revival – Americana Swing. Using a couple of horns, tougher with acoustic guitars and a fiddle, not to mention a take-no-prisoners attitude, they give a mighty kick to country blues, early jazz, folk, and originals.W/Jack Klatt Opening.

Thursday,July 6

Graveyard Club @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) This quartet got their start a few years back recording their first album in a 19th Century Summit Avenue mansion that was possibly haunted. Some of the houses creaks and sounds were incorporated into the recording, which got quite a bit of airplay in Europe. Their synth-laden sounds harken back to the the 80s and the recordings of New Order and the Cure. Candid Kid opens, and food trucks will be on hand.

Bill Kirchen @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Guitarist Bill Kirchen is a Master of the Telecaster, to use a somewhat cliched term, but in this case it’s well deserved for this artist who performs hot rod and truck-driving songs that he calls “Dieselbilly” music. We first heard of him back in the early 70s when his lightning licks propelled Hot Rod Lincoln, by Commander Cody and the Lost Planet Airmen. Nowadays, he often uses the song to show off a number of styles, from Les Paul to Jimi Hendrix.

Lowland Lakers, Mother Banjo, and Jillian Rae @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Here you have three bands fronted by women of substance, performing traditional folk, bluegrass, and Americana, as well as originals. Jillian Rae opens at 9:30, followed by Mother Banjo at 10:30, and the Lowland Lakers at 11:30.

Friday, July 7

Selby Avenue Brass Band @ Rhythm in Rice, Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) The Selby Avenue Brass Band play raucous “street music” made for second-line dancing. They’ll have special guest vocalists Thomasina Petru and Maurice Jacox along to help. Opening is Pippi Ardennia & the Pip Jazz All-Stars.

Paul Barry & the Ace Tones and Squishy Mud @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Two of the best from the Battle of the Bands, conducted to get an opening spot at the Lowertown Blues and Funk Festival later this summer.

Saturday, July 8

The Drifters @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($22 – $57) If you want to hear the hits of The Drifters  a group that had at least five different lead singers during its heyday, then this will be a rewarding experience. Thanks to a string of hits during the 50s and 60s, the Drifters were the first African American group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Don’t expect to hear any of the original members, however. After all, many of them have passed or retired. You can read the story of the multiple Drifters groups at the link above. The Drifters name was always owned by music entrepreneur George Treadwell, who has managed to keep groups performing under the name, so no matter who is in the group, you’ll hear the hits. Here’s what you might hear.

Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 to Guarantee seat) Ms Grimm is a talented singer who is equally at home on a theater stage of in a bar. Either way, she’s an engaging performer, and with her family and friends, provides a highly entertaining evening, as she proved she could do in a long-time weekly residency at the old Manitou Station in White Bear Lake.

Sunday, July 9

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm (No Cover) Charangas, danzons, and salsa for a late afternoon Sunday.

Los Texmaniacs @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($25, $30, $40) Los Texmaniacs have been anointed the New Kings of Tex-Mex, by no less than Flaco Jimenez, of The Texas Tornados and numerous other groups. Founder Max Baca (bajo sexton and vocals) has participated in eleven Grammy winning projects.

Dan Chouinard w/Maria Jette @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $40w/Dinner) Dan Chouinard’  Birthday Club series brings the keyboardist together with various guest vocalists to toast musical birthdays and anniversary of  the month. Tonight’s guest is soprano Maria Jette  whose repertoire ranges from baroque classics to Tin PanAlley. The two have worked together many times, so close musical communication, as well as witty repartee, will be on exhibit. Added bonus: Revenue will go to Center for Victims of Torture

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.

Veteran and Emerging Artists: 4.26 – 5.2

April 26, 2017

At Twelve – Lizzie Wortham’s winning poster for the Saint Paul Art Crawl

Well, it’s Art Crawl Weekend in Saint Paul, and if you take part in any of it, you are bound to see dance, music, and spoken word performances at a number of the Art Crawl sites throughout town. For more info, go here. Of course, there are plenty of other chances to see and hear live music, some of which I’ve listed below. We have a number of visiting artists in both jazz and roots n’ blues, as well as performances from highly talented resident artists, some of whom are national stars in their own right. Regular readers will note that I’ve added a new feature, Early Alert, to highlight performances from the next week’s Wednesday and Thursday that require reservations. BTW, you can find addresses for most of these venues, as well as see videos of many of these artists by going to


Wednesday, April 26

Connie Evingson and Jon Webber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($20, $45 w/Dinner) Vocalist Evingson and pianist Webber will be celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald, since this week marks the 100th Anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth. Saxophonist Dave Karr and bassist Gordy Johnson will be on hand as well. Here she is with a larger group.

The Jazz Image Through the Decades @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s an intriguing event for fans of the late broadcaster. The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project  helmed by Brad Bellows, has a vast archive of interviews Kammen conducted during more than 70 years in broadcasting. Once a month, Bellows brings out some of those interviews, along with associated recordings, and airs them at the Black Dog. Tonight, he’ll have Kammen’s interviews with a number of female artists, including such legends as Carmen McCrae, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, and others. You can once again enjoy the sound of Kammen’s voice, while gaining some insight into the lives and musical philosophies of these artists.

Gary La Rue & His Rat Pack Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Pul. 7:30pm (No Cover) With its red booths and a dance floor, Mancini’s is a throwback to lounges of the 60s, making it a great place to hear LaRue and his Rat Pack Band do invoke Las Vegas with songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their cronies.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 26, 27

Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrew Sisters @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) The Dakota is partnering with the History Theater to present the story of LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty, from Mound MN. The Andrew Sisters were the most popular female singing group of the first half of the 20th Century. It’s a production that’s been performed in over 30 cities around the country and the world.

Thursday, April 27

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Michael O’Brien Quartet. O’Brien is a Minnesota native who moved to the Big Apple some years back and has been playing and touring regularly ever since. The stand-up bassist is back visiting and is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Steve Kenny Flumpet; Greg Schute, drums. Here is O’Brien in a duo setting.

Matthew Rahaim and Jon Lion @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Here’s a very intriguing performance at a place that specializes in adventurous music. Rahaim is an associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at the U of MN, and is a vocalist who has been performing Hindustani music in both India and North America since 2000, though he also plays a few instruments and other kinds of singing. Jon Lion is a guitarist who has played the Kyber Pass many times, in a variety of configurations.

Huge If True @ Dayblock Brewing, 1103 Washington Avenue So, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Washington Avenue’s Dayblock Tap Room features jazz once a month. I’m unfamiliar with the players, so I believe this is a chance to hear a relatively new band in town: Michelle Mastrianni, Lead Vocals; Robert Hest, Keys; Rob Higgins, Bass/Vocals; Jack Sloan, Guitar; Elliott Bonner, Sax/Vocals; and Brice DeGrand, Drums.

Friday, April 28

Arne Fogel @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Fogel is a vocalist who is equally adept at performing the songs of Der Bingle and Ol Blue Eyes and the Great American Songbook. Hell’s Kitchen is a busy, and often noisy place, so you may want reservations if you want to be close to the stage or, you can sit at the bar.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The Aces are back at the Vieux for a Friday night of traditional New Orleans jazz and brass band music. With a diverse repertoire that includes Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, and originals, they are a party band that will leave dancers sweaty and the rest of the audience uplifted. Here they are at the Eagles Club, another venue where they’re regulars.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator/producer Steve Kenny has been putting together this weekly series for over 140 perform ances thus far. He usually has a relatively new, or young band open, and then a veteran group at 8:30. Tonight, the Brian Handeland Quartet begins at 7pm with: Handeland, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the A-list members of Bottomless Pit, with: Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums

Bill Charlap Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30), 9pm ($20, $25) Charlap is one of the finest pianists of our time, with the ability to swing, and an imaginative approach that gets to the nub of a song. He’s recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin, and has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl. He and Tony Bennett received a Grammy for their 2015 release, The Silver Lining: The songs of Jerome Kern. His fine trio, which has been together for about 20 years, includes Peter Washington on bass, and the unrelated Kenny Washington on drums.

Sunday, April 30

Bruce Henry: Stevie Wonder Unplugged @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bruce Henry is the kind of singer who can tackle a Freddie Hubbard or John Coltrane tune and turn around and deliver some exquisite R&B. Tonight he’ll treat us to the songs of Stevie Wonder, which lately have been receiving deserved attention from jazz artists. He’ll be accompanied by Sean Turner, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Monday, May 1

Delfeayo Marsalis @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Marsalis is, of course, a member of the famed New Orleans musical family. He’s a trombonist, educator, producer, and arranger who’s released six CDs, all of which exhibit the warmth and imagination of his playing. Here’s a chance to hear him in the intimate, 80-seat “listening room” at Crooners. He’ll be accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson, bassist Steve Pikal, and drummer Nathan Norman.

Tuesday, May 2

O’Brien, Lomheim, & Epstein @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner) If you didn’t catch former Twin Citizen O’Brien playing bass with a quartet this past Thursday (see above), you can catch him in a trio setting with two of the area’s finest musicians: pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. It’s a treat.

Early Alert

5.3 Regina Carter @ The Dakota

5.3, 5.4 Randy Brecker @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Roo

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 26

Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake stops by Harold’s House Party along with ace guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, for some swingin’ blues. Tune in, and then head over to the 331 Club, where the two will play from 7-9pm.

Willie Murphy @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Veteran blues/R&B/rock n’ roller Murphy takes a solo turn at the Schooner, armed with nothing more than a guitar, keyboard, and songs that range from romantic doowop to rockin’ protest numbers. He’s not promising any guests, but you can never tell who may show up.

Thursday, April 27

Mikkel Beckmen & Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist-about-town Beckmen holds down a Thursday residency at the warm, friendly bar on University, bringing in a different guest each week. Today it’s the slide guitar master Jeff Ray, who often brings new life to traditional blues and surprises with bluesified rock covers.

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Haus has a sustainable farm in Saint Michael, where she supplies food to local groceries and finds inspiration for original songs. Together with her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar virtuoso Ed Petche, she creates highly entertaining performances, whether singing tunes by the Allman Brothers, or humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate. If you can’t make it tonight, you can also catch her in the dinner hour atVieux Carré tomorrow, and for brunch at Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday.

Friday, April 28

Richie Furay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $40) This Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer helped bring country rock into our consciousness as a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Furay then went on to form his own band. He’ll be playing songs from throughout his career, with an opening by his daughter, Jesse Furay Lynch, performing The Songs of Laurel Canyon.

Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 225 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) It’s Art Crawl weekend in Saint Paul and Lowertown Classics has brought in German guitarist Nora Buschmann as the featured artist this weekend. Buschmann has won numerous competitions, and performed a great number of solo concerts at places like the Frankfurt and Nürnberg opera houses, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and NDR-Funkhaus Hannover, and has appeared with a number of orchestras in Germany. She has made radio recordings with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk and the Bayrischer Rundfunk, and is a regular performer at guitar festivals around the world. Buschmann will preceded by the McNally Smith Guitar Quartet, a group of four guitarists with varying backgrounds. Enter through the alley

Slovczech @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Eastern European folk-rock party music, just in case you want to get rejuvenated after touring countless artists studios during Art Crawl.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Nemeth is an ace harmonica player and an award-winning soul/blues vocalist currently based in Memphis, where his music fits in like the proverbial glove. Whether he’s singing the blues, or projecting the emotional release of soul music, fans of either style will find much to admire.

Friday, Saturday, April 28, 29

KFAI Celebration @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) It’s a Listener Appreciation Party and New Antenna Celebration to thank listener members for a pledge drive that helped the “little station that could” retire much of the costs of a new antenna. Friday features Jillian Rae, Boiled in Lead, The yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers and more, while Saturday’s stage will be occupied by Rank Strangers, C. Kostra, The Ronnie Buxtons and others. Both evenings will feature a Super Secret headliner that has yet to be announced.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Salon: Sambas and Sonatinas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The witty and charming Maria Jette hosts this weekly series that brings chamber music into a relaxed, cabaret style “listening room” where small plates and a full bar will be available during the concert. Today’s program, Sambas and Sonatinas, features music from Russia and the Americas, performed by Clea Galhano, recorder; Tom Rosenberg, cello; and Olg Levin, piano. The program includes selections from Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Felix Mendelssohn, Astor Piazzola, and others.

4th Annual Pickin’ for Autism @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Three folk and bluegrass bands will be playing to support Lionsgate Academy, a school dedicated to the education of students with autism spectrum disorders. The evening will feature music from Pert Near Pert (members of Pert Near Sandstone), and well as Luke Warm and the Cool Hands, and the Lowland Lakers.

Bossa Soul Trio @ Hennepin Steam Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This weekly show can feature more than a trio, as various musicians are recruited to create Brazilian sounds, including sensuous sambas, Brazilian pop, bossa novas, and Latin Jazz. Both experienced and would-be dancers flock the small dance floor to sway to the bubbling rhythms.

Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Two of the area’s dynamic blues and R&B singers take to the stage at the tiny, but charming Aster. Both Joyann Parker, who starts at 9pm, and Annie Mack, 10 pm, write and perform compelling originals and gritty covers.

Tuesday, May 2

Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Songwriter/guitarist Ely plays outlaw country music, Americana, and Texas honky tonk . He was a member of the original Flatlanders and Los Super Seven, and sang backup for The Clash, recently winning The Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Opener Jason Eady is a country singer with a direct approach to singing.

The Pines @ Hopkins Center of the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($25) Though now based out of the Twin Cities, The Pines’ Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt share a common musical language rooted in the songs and songwriters of their native Iowa. Each has a distinct voice and an ability to evoke the sparse, rural communities of the Great Plains with cinematic language. The combination of acoustic instruments, rich warm vocals, and an eye (and ear) for detail has helped them gain fans around the country. A social hour begins at 6pm, with the concert beginning at 7pm.

Early Alert

5.3 Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club

5.4 Edgar Winter @ The Dakota


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.


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.

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