Celebrations Galore: 4.5 – 4.11

April 5, 2017

We’ve now got April showers working to bring out the buds on trees and in gardens. We also have some fine visiting artists such as Stacy Kent, John Pizzarelli, Larry Fuller, and Elvin Bishop, as well as some unique events, such as the John Prine Celebration, Zeitgeist’s Early Music Festival, and a “Retirement Celebration” for Spider John Koerner. So…  once again we have many opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 5

Mississippi Hot Club on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harold’s guests are usually be listed under Roots & Blues, but this is different. The Mississippi Hot Club plays gypsy jazz, also known as Jazz Manouche, the style of music pioneered by Django Rheinhardt during the late 1930s and WWII. Though their configuration is classic, they leave room for a bit of a modern take on the genre, with songs that might come from the folk idiom, romantic ballads, or jazz standards. Members are: Joshua Parlanti, guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass.

Paul Harper’s Show & Tell Band @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 6:30pm -9:30pm (No Cover) The Hennepin Steam Room used to be Tangiers. They’ve redesigned the place and have committed to live music at least three nights a week. Tonight, saxophonist Paul Harper, who plays in the Illicit Sextet and other groups, leads his own band.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 5, 6

Stacy Kent, featuring Jim Tomlinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35) Vocalist Stacy Kent  ses her intimate, light voice very effectively, taking an elegant, minimalist approach to successfully convey the emotion behind songs from the Great American Songbook, France, and Brazil. Her latest album, 2015’sTenderly, is a collaboration with Roberto Menescal, the great Brazilian guitarist and composer, who wrote O Pato and other Bossa Nova hits. Her husband, Jim Tomlinson is a saxophonist whose playing evokes Stan Getz.

Thursday, April 6

Art & Jazz @ Casket Arts Building, 681 !7th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities own nationally published jazz photographer Andrea Canter will be showing a collection of (mostly) black and white jazz portraits as well as a special collection of jazz-focused note cards in Studio 116. Meanwhile, The Dakota Combo w/bassist Adam Linz will perform at the 4th Floor Atrium at 5:30 & 7:30; while Larry McDonough & Carol Berquist will perform on the first floor at 6:30pm. BTW, 10% of Canter’s sales will go to The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vicky Mountain has taught of number of Twin Cities vocalists, as well she should, given how good she is at interpreting jazz standards, baseball songs, hip pop and some originals. She’ll be accompanied by David Martin on guitar, and special guests.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header, featuring The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass; Blake Hubel, drums; and Javi Santiago, keys, followed at 10:30pm by the Alden Ikeda Group: Scott Newell, saxes; Alden Ikeda Drums; Steve Gnitka, guitar.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6, 8, 9, 10

earWorm Improvisation Ensemble mini-tour @ Khyber Pass & Other Area Venues. (Various Times) earWorm is a collective of composer-performers who present what they describe as “an immersive experience of electroacoustic improvisation, transporting listeners across a panoply of sonic landscapes.” They draw from many styles and experiences, including free-form jazz, blues, minimalism, electronica, dub-step, edm, hip-hop, funk, rock, classical, folk, and many musical traditions of the world. It’s experimental music, that’s for sure. Members are all multi-instrumentalists: James Holdman; Elliot McKinley; Peter Farmer; and Michael Ethan.  Thursday @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul (9pm, $5); Saturday @ The Underground Music Cafe, Falcon Heights (7-pm no cover); Sunday @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul (4-6pm, no cover); and Monday @ Honey, Minneapolis (7:30 – 9:30pm no cover) Listen to their music here.

Friday, April 7

Lila Ammons @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Lila Ammons is a classically trained vocalist with a family background in jazz (her uncle was saxophonist Gene Ammons) and blues (her grandfather was boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons). Listen to her take on jazz standards, bosses, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists.

Saturday, April 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) For the first time in over 130 weekly shows at the Black Dog, a vocalist will be performing. Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz begin the evening at 7pm, with Maryann Sullivan  vocals; Doug Haining, sax; Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the Steve Kenny Quartet, with Rodney Ruckus, drums (his last performance before moving out of the Cities); Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

JazzMN Big Band w/Guest Maria Schneider @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($35, $37, Students: $10, $20) For jazz fans, this will be a show not to miss. New York based composer Maria Schneider is the pride of Windom, MN, known around the world for her majestic compositions for large groups, including orchestras and symphonies. She’s won five Grammys, including two at the most recent awards for 2016. One was for Sue, her collaboration with David Bowie, and the other was for Thompson Fields, by her own orchestra. She’s been working with the JazzMN band all week, creating arrangements based on the band’s instrumentation.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Kate Lynch and the Fellows (bass, guitar, trombone, trumpet, drums) perform music from the 20s to the 50s, with an occasional 60s hit showing up once or twice an evening. Ms Lynch continues to provide historical perspective on songs, giving not only the year and composers, but other facts, such as what movies were playing downtown when the song was a hit, or where people would go shopping. Add to that the visuals of young swing dancers digging the music, and you have a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Sunday, April 9

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($25, $35) Vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli is warm and witty onstage, whether telling a story or performing. In many respects he’s an old school entertainer – There’s no artifice, no attempts to play “hip chords” or the like, just honest music that’s exceptionally well played by an artist who engages the audience and swings like mad. Note the slightly earlier times for this Sunday night performance.

Monday, April 10

Reichfest @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The April Reichfest celebrating the music of the late minimalist Steve Reich, continues. Tonight a host of musicians will play Reich’s composition 2X5, from 2008. The group includes: Chris Cunningham; Zacc Harris; Pete Hennig; Cody McKinney; Thomas Nordlund; Chris Olson; Doan Brian Roessler; Javier Santiago; Zach Schmidt; and Brian Ziemniak. (Whew!). Second set is by JT Bates and others.

Tuesday, April 11

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover); 8pm (Trio, $6) Start your evening out with the piano stylings of Chris Lomheim, and then get your fill of soulful grease from JT Bates’ organ trio, featuring Bates on drums, of course, with Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ.

Larry Fuller Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Fuller is a pianist who epitomizes the concept of swing, as well he should given his background. He got his start playing for classic vocalist Ernestine Anderson for five years, then went on to join the Jeff Hamilton Trio for six years, before joining the last edition of the Ray Brown Trio for a few years, and finally the John Pizzarelli Quartet for eight years. Along the way he’s also played with a pantheon of jazz illuminaries.

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 5

Radio Joe & The JazzBos @ Mancini’s Char House, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No cover) Given the old school Las Vegas vibe of the lounge at Mancini’s, Radio Joe and the JazzBos, with their vintage swing, jump blues, and romantic ballads, were made to fill the dance floor at the venerable Saint Paul institution.

Thursday, April 6

Verretta @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Original music performed with a big nod towards classic rock with a touch of punk. They say they’re an Outlaw Country Rock n’ Roll Revival Band, and listening to their songs, that seems about right, though perhaps more rock n’ roll than outlaw country.

9th Annual Big Fat Love @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Mother Banjo and Art Vandelay are at it for the 9th year in a row, celebrating the half birthday of John Prine. Each year they gather friends to sing the songs of Prine. This year’s participants include: Terry Walsh, of the Belfast Cowboys, The High 48s, The Gated Community, Kari Arnett, The Eddies, and many more.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6 – 10

Zeitgeists’s 7th Annual Early Music Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2pm Sunday ($15, $10 Students & Seniors, $40 festival pass) This year new music group zeitgeist is celebrating the music of composer Lou Harrison, described as ” true American maverick, Harrison’s integrations of non-Western musical traditions and his innovative use of just intonation embraced new artistic possibilities and made a lasting impact that continues to shape new music today.”  Find out more about the program for each performance and the guest artists here

Friday, April 7

Teague Alexy Band CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Friday series features a trio of Americana groups tonight. It’s  CD Release Party for Teague Alexy (of Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank). The Thirsty River String Band, Trevor James Americana Rebel (of Tin Can Gin), and Ian Alexy will also be appearing. Teague Alexy’s songwriting is clearly influenced by his home in Minnesota as well as his childhood in New Jersey, and life as a traveling hobo musician. His new album is Circuit Sessions, on which he uses a strong rhythm section: Eric Pollard, bass; Steve Garrington, drums; as well as Jake Hanson, guitar. Special guests include Trevor James, the Thirsty River String Band and Ian Alexy.

McNasty Brass Band Vinyl Release Dance Party @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The McNasty Brass Band has all the verve and outsized excitement that you might expect from a ten-piece band, including the use of contemporary and original songs. They released King Sized Life in January, and are now having another release party for the Vinyl Edition. You don’t have to know special steps to dance to this group, you only have to let your body react to their beats and the rhythm of the sousaphone.

Saturday, April 8

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Bishop is master blues guitarist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and went on to a successful solo career. While playing solo he also played onstage with The Gratefull Dead, Al Kooper, and The Allman Brothers, recorded with John Lee Hooker, Clifton Chenier, Bo Diddley, and others, and toured with BB King. The Big Fun Trio is an apt name for his group (Bob Welsh, piano/guitar; Willy Jordan, vocalist/percussion), as Bishop’s songs have often been delivered with a sly sense of humor.

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for a reserved table) Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd and deliver a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

The Magnolias @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) With twin guitars creating a buzz-saw attack, the Magnolias  urst on the Twin Cities music scene over 30 years ago, becoming known as “Minneapolis’ scruffy also-rans” compared to groups like the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Their fans knew better as the band recorded 3 albums by the end of the 80s, and two more in the 90s. After some fallow years, in the early 2000s, they issued some unrealesed tracks and demos in 2007, and toured Europe in 2008 and 2009. Opening act Johnny Rey has been a fixture of the vibrant Twin Cities music scene for four decades. The guitar player was an original member of Flamingo, playing the old Longhorn Bar in downtown Minneapolis. He led his own band for a few years, but stopped in 1985, not performing again until about four years ago.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Get your salsa dancing shoes out as this septet plays vintage and traditional Cuban rhumbas and mambos, along with salsas, the updated version of mambo.

Sunday, April 9

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($??) Here’s a chance for an afternoon delight, so to speak. Walker is an original soul man who recorded for Goldwax Records out of Memphis back in the 60s, but he’s been our own treasure for decades now, delivering heartfelt soul music in his slightly raspy voice. He’s just been on another international tour, and was recently named winner of Two Blues Music Awards for 2016 – Comeback Artist of the Year, and New Recordings/Southern Soul, for his album If Nothing Ever Changes.

Spider John Koerner “Retirement” Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Folk legend Spider John Koerner is being honored with a “retirement” party by a bunch of mostly younger artists “who appreciate my work and wanted me to have a show with them,” according to Koerner. Those younger artists include The Cactus Blossoms, Lonesome Dan Case, Jack Klatt, Dave Babb, and Grant Johnson. Long time compatriots Willy Murphy and Tony Glover will also take part, as well as Chip Taylor Smith and Paul Strother. For 50 years, Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, both as a solo artists and with a variety of partners, including Koerner, Ray, & Glover, and Willie Murphy. Along with his work with KRG, Koerner’s albums Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Been, from ’86, and Raised by Humans, from ’92 are classics of American folk music.

Monday, April 10

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Bros on Grand, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Fingers is a world-class finger-picking guitarist performing not-so-secretly under an alias. Get your fill of coffee and cool music.

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.


Mardis Gras and Music: 2.22 – 2.28

February 22, 2017

images-1Well, Mardis Gras season is now in full swing, with a number of events planned for the coming week, which actually ends on Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Lent begins. Whether you celebrate or not, there is still ample opportunity to enjoy music here at the north end of the Mississippi River, from both visiting and resident artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 22

Thomasina Petrus @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Thomasina Petrus has lit up local stages with her acting and singing talent, including a notable turn as the star of “Lady Day, Live at the Emerson Bar & Grille.” Tonight she takes the stage in the large room at Crooners to belt out jazz standards, along with a bit of blues and R&B, not to forget some songs of Billie Holiday.

Maud Hixson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Ms Hixson knows how to pick a song that’s just right for her warm, enchanting vocals, whether from the pre-Songbook era of her latest CD, or the music of the under-apprecieated composer Mickey Leonard, or classics from Cole Porter and the Gershwins. It will be an evening of intimate songs, as Hixson is accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano; and Chris Bates, bass. Here’s Maud at a Jazz at Lincoln Center event, with an introduction by Rex Reed.

Leigh Kamman’s Interviews with Eddie Berger @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7 pm (Donation) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project has stores and stores of Kammen’s interviews in their archive, and once a month will be sharing interviews and music at the Black Dog. Tonight, the subject is saxophonist Eddie Berger, a Twin Cities Bebop giant who passed in 2008. Read Berger’s obituary here.

Thursday, February 23

Joel Shapira, Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira – No Cover) 8pm (Midnight Love-$7) Guitarist Shapira starts things off during the dinner hour with his always tasteful licks. Then at 8, Midnight Love takes the stage to deliver classic hard bop as practiced by Blue Note artists of the 50s and 60s, throwing in some 60s and 70s pop ala hard bop along the way. The group consists of: Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Matt Darling, trombone; Patrick Nelson, bass; Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz: Zacc Harris’ American Reverie @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Zacc Harris is a versatile guitarist who always plays interesting lines, whether its 21st Century jazz with the Atlantis Quartet, soul jazz with Vital Organ, or in this case, a jazzy take on Americana. That’s what you’ll get with the American Reverie Trio, which is dedicated to classic tunes and songs like Shenendoah and Tennessee Waltz, as well as some oldies, and perhaps a contemporary tune or two. Joining him are Matt Peterson, bass, and Lars-Erik Larson, drums. Here is Harris with a different trio, performing a standard.

Friday, February 24

Jeremy Walker, Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Aces – $10) It’s another double header of jazz, this time featuring the often contemplative piano playing of Jeremy Walker to start the evening, and following that with the joyous sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz, as played by the six-piece Southside Aces.  Robert Bell, guitar; Dave Michael, drums; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Tony Baluff, clarinet; and Steve Sandburg, trombone, will help you celebrate Mardis Gras a few days early. Here are the Aces performing a classic.

St. Peter Street Stompers @ Bistro LaRoux, 9372 Lexington NE, Circle Pines. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Not only can you celebrate Mardis Gras a bit early by listening to the Stompers do traditional New Orleans music from Louis Armstrong, Kid Thomas Valentine, and others; but you can dine on New Orleans dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets. The Stompers include: Chuck DeVore on tenor, trumpet, and trombone; Eddie Sekula, bass; Dave Wilkeining guitar; and Jason Berg, drums.

Saturday, February 25

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Julian Manzara Quartet is a group of college age musicians performing Manzara’s original jazz and fusion compositions. They start at 7pm with Manzara on guitar, Drew Stinson, Bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; and Geo Randall on drums. With a name like the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective, it’s obvious that the 9pm group celebrates Hard Bop, that 50s style that leavened the technical ferocity and intellectuality of BeBop with the rhythms and emotions of gospel. The Collective features drummer Jesse Simon; and includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Ted Olsen, bass; Ted Godbout, piano; and Aaron Hedenstrom, sax. Here’s a slightly different line-up of the group.

Julian Lage and Chris Eldrige @ Hopkins Center fo the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm social hour, 8:30pm concert ($27) Two Grammy nominated guitarists get together to explore the intersection of jazz, folk and bluegrass. Lage was a child prodigy who at 20, has become a highly respected performer through both his solo efforts and work with Gary Burton’s New Quartet and gigs with folks like Pat Methany, Toots, Thielemans, Jim Hall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Fred Hersch, and others. He’s also played with mandolinist David Grisman and banjoist, Bela Fleck, so a duo with bluegrass guitarist Chris Eldridge is not as uncommon as it might seem. Eldrige was a member of the Punch Brothers, and has worked with Fiona Apple, Paul Simon, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury, and Elvis Costello.

John Scofield @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($35, $40, $45) 9pm ($25, $30, $35) When guitarist Scofield played the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years back, the area if front of the stage’ was completely filled with jam band fans and guitarists wanting to see how he composes his licks. They recognized his genius at unfolding guitar lines that fall somewhere between funky jazz, rock, and R&B. He genius was recognized at the Grammy’s, where his most recent album Country for Old Men, won two awards last week. The album is an homage to such greats as George Jones, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, and Hank Williams, among others. Scofield plays alongside accomplished colleagues Steve Swallow, Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart. Here’s a cut from the album.

Monday, February 27

Ted Olsen Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Olsen is a talented bassist who can be found in many groups around town. Tonight he leads his own quartet, which isn’t listed on the Jazz Central Calendar. However, a few weeks ago the group included pianist Javi Santiago; saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom; and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Here is Ted in a trio setting.

Tuesday, February 28

Mardis Gras w/Patty & the Buttons @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for reserved seat) It’s officially Fat Tuesday, and Patty and the Buttons will help you celebrate in style.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 22

Andy Cohen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Andy Cohen is a country blues musician, musicologist, and folk and blues historian. Besides featuring dazzling guitar work, his shows are filled with stories about classic bluesmen, the folks he’s hung with, like Wiggins and Cephas, Elizabeth Cotton, Etta Baker, Ted Bogan, Honeyboy Edwards, and others. He lives in Memphis, and only gets up here every couple of years. Well worth tuning in to hear him, and heading over to the 331 to see him. He’ll be accompanied by Mary Dushane and another friend or two from the area.

Lev, Olga, and the Band @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) I have to admit I’ve not heard this band, but you have to be curious about a band that claims to play a mix of Russian, Ukrainian, and English retro rock and jazz music.

Thursday, February 23

SPCO @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6pm doors, 7pm showtime ($20, drink included) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Icehouse are teaming up to present chamber music, specialty cocktails and gourmet food at the bar/restaurant. Tonight’s program includes Mozart’s Divertimento in D; Villa-Lobos’ The Jet Whistle for Flute and Cello; Mozart’s Quartet in D for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello; and Strum by the emerging American Composer Jesse Montgomery.

Rockin Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get into the Mardis Gras Spirit as the Pinecones deliver New Orleans R&B from the 50s and 60s, along with a spicy helping of Cajun and Zydeco tunes.

Curtis Blake’s Birthday Party @ Holihan’s Pub, 2160 3rd Street, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake is having a birthday and he’s inviting all of us to celebrate with him as he plays the blues with Greazy Gravy.

Friday, February 24

Winter Blues Shakedown @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) Kent Burnside & New Generation, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, and the Rena Haus Trio will have the dance floor bouncing at the Hook. Headliner Kent Burnside is the grandson of the late, great master of Hill Country Blues, RL Burnside, and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders are the Twin Cities acolytes of stripped-down blues, while Rena Haus Trio can be equally compelling covering the Allman Brothers as performing her own compositions. This video may be dark, but you certainly get a taste of Burnside’s music.

Thursday, Friday, Sunday, February 23, 24, 26

Everett Smithson Band Mardis Gras Parties @ Famous Dave’s (Thursday 7pm), Wilebski’s (Friday 6pm), and Neumann’s (Sunday 4pm) Everett Smithson and his cohorts play swamp pop, Zydeco, and other music inspired by the Mississippi River, and they’re taking advantage of the Mardis Gras season to show off their skills at getting folks to dance.

Saturday, February 25

Bluegrass Saturday Morning 35th Anniversary Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 3pm – 8pm ($10) It’s now 35 years that Twin Citizens have had coffee, read the newspaper, and done their Saturday morning errands to the sound of Bluegrass Saturday morning and its genial, and knowledgeable host Phil Nussbaum. Host station KBEM is celebrating the event with a stellar line-up: The High 48s; Phil Nusbaum and Sherry Minnick; King Wilkie’s Dream; Adam Kiesling; The AJ Srubas Group; Chris and Ari Silver; and Sawtooth.

Kaiser’s Boogie Woogie Ball w/Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Germanic American Institute, 301 Summit Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5) The party-lovin’ folks at the Germanic American Institute are having a Ball featuring the ever-swinging Radio Joe & the Jazzbos, who have convinced them to let in non-members for this event. There will definitely be beer.

Sunday, February 26

Phil Heywood @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Acoustic guitar lovers can have brunch while enjoying ace fingerpicking from Heywood. His fine, plain-spoken baritone vocals are put to good use as well. Here is Heywood on Wisconsin TV about 25 years ago.

Church of Cash @ The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Today is the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s birth. What better way to celebrate than with this tribute band that goes deep into his repertoire. They’ll be taking requests all night long. Check them out.

One World Consort w/guest Laura  MacKenzie @ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 7pm ($16 Advance, $20 Door) One World Consort will be performing special arrangements of Celtic-inspired music, along with their usual diverse repertoire of musical traditions. The addition of Laura MacKenzie, makes it that much more special. If you aren’t aware of OWC, their musicians include: Dave Milne, sax & woodwinds; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Eric Graham, bass; Craig hare, drums and percussion, and the Four Voices String quartet. Here is MacKenzie on concertina.

Sunday, Monday, February 26, 27

Ana Popovic @ Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) While many cultures around the world have their unique form of the blues, the American style of blues has found adherents in all cultures. Case in point: Serbian born guitarist/vocalist Ana Popovic  who grew up listening to her dad’s jam sessions and records and picked up a guitar at 15. Twenty-five years later her blistering finger work and strong vocals have catapulted her to international stardom. She’s appeared at blues, jazz, and rock festivals, and in the process has received nominations for five Blues Music Awards, and regularly reaches the top five in Blues charts. She’s currently touring around her recently released Trilogy, a 3 volume set of music.

Tuesday, February 28

Swamp Kings @ Dixies on Grand, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) If you didn’t make it to any of the last week’s celebration of Mardis Gras you can still actually celebrate on Fat Tuesday (today!). The three members of the Swamp Kings will have you dancing in between tables, as customers enjoy Louisiana cuisine, King Cakes, a shrimp boil and hurricane cocktails.

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.


The Heart of Winter: 2.1 – 2.7

February 1, 2017
It's Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

It’s Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

Happy February! Well, we seem to have gotten through what is normally the coldest week of the year without any adverse weather events. We now have a week featuring a winter carnival, the crazy (stupid?) Crashed Ice, and some great music. With temperatures above normal for this time of year, its easy to get out and find strength and inspiration in music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 1

Nellie McKay: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton @ The Dakota, Minnepolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $50) McKay is a vocalist/pianist whose charm, whimsy, and  satirical wit have earned her many fans among jazz, pop, and cabaret audiences. For this appearance she’ll be performing “A Girl Named Bill,” a “revue-with-dialogue” about a fairly successful pianist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton. Tipton was thought to be a man, and wasn’t discovered as a woman until her death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay.

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Talented trumpeter Zack Lozier has spent time in the Doc Severeinson Orchestra; The Jack brass Band, Havana Hi-Fi; Southside Aces, Davina & the Vagabonds and a number of other bands. He’s an in-demand kind of guy, who also has this great trio with Steve Pikal, bass; and Stephen Hobart, piano, the group explores some of Lozier’s favorite songs, including tunes by Louis Armstrong.

SPAT @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) A group of college age musicians that will likely be the next generation of star players in town: Sam Worthington, bs; Patrick Adkins, pno; Andrew Tomten, sax; Tarek Abdelqader, drums

Thursday, February 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features a great trio, Red Planet, a group that knows how to successfully create jazz fusion without bombarding listeners with overbearing drum beats. That’s because drummer Jay Epstein, whose background includes a stint with the rock band Gypsy, is one of the more tasteful drummers around. It certainly helps that his bandmates, Dean Magraw on guitar, and Chris Bates on bass, also have taste and chops galore.

Cox, Nichols, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Anthony Cox, bass; Bryan Nichols, keys; and Davu Seru, drums/percussion, have formed a group called Suffer the Children. They are three advanced musicians who can play it straight, or go out there. I suspect that tonight will lean towards going out there, which should prove to be exciting.

Friday, February 3

Davell Crawford’s B3 Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $40) New Orleans native and keyboard player Davell Crawford has become a favorite at the Dakota. He comes from a musical family, essentially absorbing traditional jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B in his veins to the point where he is the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition. Tonight, however, he’s heading for the Hammond B3, which should increase his music’s fun factor by several degrees.  Here he is on piano.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist/flutist Jana Nyberg has a unique take on music, effortlessly blending and integrating jazz and pop with panache and grace. She also happens to have a great band: husband Adam Meckler on trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as Sean Turner, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Rodney Ruckus on drums.

Friday, Saturday, February 3, 4

Todd Harper & Friends @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12/night, $20 for both) Pianist Todd Harper used to do an annual series with Carei Thomas and Paul Cantrell called Keys Please each year. This year, he’s doing something a bit different. These two evenings will be devoted to the compositions of Carei Thomas & Todd Harper.  Friday night will feature a quartet of Todd Harper, piano; Eric Coursen, drums; Aaron Kerr, electric cello; and Nathan Hanson, soprano and tenor saxophones. Saturday night will have two components: an exploratory/lyrical trio with Todd Harper, Eric Coursen, and bassist Keith Yanes, and the release of Harper’s solo piano CD, Metaphorsisis. Harper was my guest on this past Saturday’s Rhythm and Grooves. if you want to hear the interview, go to the link and click on the appropriate icon.

Saturday, February 4

Davell Crawford Deep in the Heart of New Orleans @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Crawford (see Friday, above) returns to the piano for this evening that will explore the music of the Big Easy.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Holy Shamoley, as cartoon characters sometimes say. Tonight we have The Atlantis Quartet, area leading lights of 21st Century jazz, as the opening act at 7pm. Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums, will have you alternately rockin’ and swingin’. Then at 8:30, The Ben Allison Trio, with Ben Allison  bass; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Allison Miller, drums take the stage. Allison has recorded eleven albums as a leader and has been a sideman on recording by folks like Ted Nash, Curtis Stigers, Frank Kimbrough, Lee Konitz and others. Earlier in the day, from 1pm – 2:30pm, the trio will conduct a free clinic on improvisation at the McNally Smith College of Music auditorium for high school and college-aged students and young professional musicians, and will include a live performance by Ben Allison’s Trio, and an interactive clinic with featured demonstration group, the Dakota Combo. Here is Allison with a different trio.

Monday, February 6

Bruce Barth Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner Show) Pianist Barth is a favorite of Tony Bennett and in fact, has accompanied him a number of times. Barth arrived in NYC in 1988 and soon joined Stanley Turrentine, with whom he played for over a decade. He toured with Nat Adderley, as well as Vincente Herring, and was a member of Terence Blanchard’s band, where he recorded six CDs and appeared as a piano player in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. He’s been recorded on about one hundred albums, including ten as a leader. The California born pianist has had extended collaborations with folks such as Tony Bennett,  Terell Stafford, Karrin Allyson, and David Sanchez. And he has performed with a host of other jazz giants, including James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and the Mingus Big Band.

Tuesday, February 7

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The always amazing duo of guitarist Dean Magraw and drummer/percussionist Davu Seru can be counted on to take you to unexpected, yet highly enjoyable music places.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 1

Dan Rumsey on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  Dan Rumsey is a guitarist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist whose singing and playing evoke 70s rock and singer/songwriters. I’ll be hosting the House Party today, so tune in to KFAI and get over to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Erica West Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Take a soulful, sensuous singer, add in her guitarist husband to lead the band, and you have a tight unit that creates jazzy R&B and pop.

Thursday, February 2

Home Fires @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:00pm (No Cover)  Sarah Morris and Vicky Emerson are a couple of accomplished singer/songwriters who were scheduled to appear as the Home Fires last month, though Ms Emerson had to stay home to care for a sick child. The two singers have often appeared on the same bill and have a lot in common: both are excellent songsmiths; both have an affinity for Americana/alt country; and both can deliver heartfelt ballads and romping uptempo tunes with equal verve.

Jake Hanson Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Hanson is an inventive guitarist who makes good use of pedal effects to create surf sounds, Ventures music, blues, 50s rock, and more. He’s a sought after musician who has played with a variety of high-profile Minnesota artists, including Halloween Alaska, Mason Jennings, Solid Gold, Haley Bonar, The Pines and many more. It will be fun to see him playing for the Friday night crowd at Crooners. Here is Hanson in a duo setting.

Danny B. Harvey & His Cats @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7 Advnce/$10 Door) Here’s a night of rockabilly from Danny B. Harvey, best known as the guitarist for the super group HeadCat (a band he formed with Lemmy from Motorhead and Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats), he was also a founding member of the the original neo-rockabily band The Rockats. Danny has also produced, recorded and performed with Wanda Jackson, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Ramone, and Lee Rocker. Joining Danny on vocals is Annie Marie Lewis, niece of pioneering rock n’ roller Jerry Lee Lewis, and the daughter of Linda Gale Lewis, as well as a cousin of Mickey Gilley. They’ll be joined by special guests Noah Levy on drums and Tommy Vee, bass. I understand that Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland may join them for a few songs. The Bad Companions open.

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) This is a somewhat raw, but exciting 10 piece R&B/Soul band, with a leader/vocalist who brings on the energy with no restraint. They promote fun with a passion, and are certain to keep people from staring at their phones during a performance. They will, in fact, delight anyone who is into danceable R&B.

Friday, February 3

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) Ms Davina is a force of nature when it comes to singing, while the Vagabonds can match her note for note. With a repertoire that’s inspired by New Orleans, and a backbeat just made for swing dancers, I expect this will be a fun-filled show.

Ben Cook-Feltz and…  Friends? @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) This show will feature guest performances from some of the finest talent the Twin Cities has to offer, who happen also to be some of Ben’s best friends on the scene, including Jillian Rae, Sarah Morris, Mother Banjo, Doug Otto, Kari Arnett and Art Vandalay. Some will be sitting in with Cook-Feltz and the band, others will perform their own songs.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) R&B, Soul, Jazz, and standards from the under-recorded Maurice Jacox on vocals and occasional sax, as well as Thomas West, keys; Mike Cramer, guitar; and award winning drummer Robb Stupka.

Saturday, February 4

Saturday Salons @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The folks at Crooners are starting a new series for those who enjoy classical music, with the inimitable Marie Jette as host. This matinee series will feature a wide panoply of the world’s chamber music from early Renaissance and Baroque pieces to Mosart, Debussy, and music of the 21st Century. Today, performers will be presenting music from the Love Song Waltzes of Johannes Brahms in solos, duets, and quartets for four singers and two pianists. Today’s musicians are: Maria Jette, soprano; Victoria Vargas, mezzo-soprano; Dan Dressen, tenor; Michael Jorgensen, bass baritone; with pianists Mary Jo Gothmann and Tadeusz Majewski.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The State Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($29.50 – $49.50) Can it really be 50 years since South Africa’s Joseph Shabala had a dream about the music he would make with 8 other male singers? The deep sonority of their acapella voices, combined with their storytelling, dancing, and messages of peace, love, and harmony can still strike a chord deep within us. The membership of the group has changed over the years, as a younger generation replaces older singers, yet their message and sound remains the same.

Undervud @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 Members, $20 General, 4 or more/$15 per ticket) The wonderfully curated and laid-out Museum of Russian Art continues to bring in liver performers of all stripes. Tonight they’ve got the leaders of a popular Russian rock band called Undervud, formed in the late 90s by two medical students who quit school after a couple of hits and moved to Moscow. They’ve since recorded seven albums. This will be an acoustic performance by the founding members of the band. Opening is Roman Lugovykh, leader of the band Romario, which had a sold out performance at the museum in September.  Here’s Undrvud – the full band.

Mini Blues Fest @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 8pm ($??) It’s a midwinter blues respite, with an evening devoted to three different blues acts, Featuring harpist Paul Barry with his trio the Ace Tones with vocalist Lila Ammons at 8pm, octogenarian pianist (and father of Jimmy Jam) Cornbread Harris at 9:30pm and finishing up with The Cobras at 11pm, with Washtub James, aka Pat Dawson, bass; Elliot “Mojo: Harris, drums; Brian Duke, guitar & vocals; and Tom Ferring, vocals and 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.


Summer’s End: 8.31 – 9.6

August 31, 2016

STATE_FAIR_MUSICWell, as we approach the Labor Day weekend, I’ve learned that the AFL-CIO booth at the Fair seems to have lots of jazz. You can find out the schedule, as well as what’s on other stages, here. .The Minnesota Blues Society has kindly put together a list of blues and some roots performances on a daily basis, which you can find here. If you aren’t heading to the Fair, there is plenty of other music around to help you bring the summer to an end, whether you’re looking for visiting artists or some of our own resident artists. Thanks to Tim Nyberg for his reworking of a photo of mine from a past fair. Have fun, music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 31

Jane Monheit and Nicholas Payton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7-m ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) Vocalist Monheit and trumpeter Payton are calling this show Ella and Louis revisited. Since her beautiful voice vaulted her to stardom in 1998’s Thelonious Monk competition, Monheit has released nine albums and has guested on a number of others. The 39 year old still has a terrific voice, as exemplified in her latest release, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. It was produced by New Orleans native and fantastic trumpeter Nicholas Payton, so I guess it seemed natural that they collaborate on this project. If they can have half as much fun as Ella and Louis Armstrong, it will be a great show.

Patrick Adkins @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Edina HS grad is currently studying piano at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. The former member of the Dakota Combo will play a solo set and then be joined by Thomas Strommen, sax; and Aidan Sponheim, trumpet, for the second set.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Veteran Steve Kenny once again surrounds himself with some outstanding 20-ish musicians: Jabari Powell, saxophones; Ted Olsen, bass; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Kenny will be playing his signature Flumpet, and combination fluegelhorn/trumpet.

Thursday, September 1

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s a guitar-lovers evening at the Reverie as Tall Tales, which includes two of the Twin Cities most adventurous guitarists takes the stage. Zacc Harris & Dean Granros, guitars; with the outstanding support of Chris Bates, bass; Jay Epstein, drums. Here’s an example of what they sound like.

Thursday, Friday, September 1,2

Barbara Morrison w/Houston Person @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) No one else can perform jazz and blues with the verve and innate talent of Morrison, who has recorded with the Crusaders, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, Ray Charles, Johnny Otis, Kenny Burrell and Doc Severinson. She’s recorded 20 of her own albums and has been nominated for Grammys. Back in 2004 she appeared at the Dakota and recorded a fine album with Houston Person, that big-toned, soulful sax player who can caress a ballad or put grit on a blues. The two of them are back, for a show that will surely be enjoyable.  Here’s Person.

Friday, September 2

Jon Pemberton/Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Pemberton – no cover), 9pm (Kogan – $10) Enjoy the music of pianist/trumpeter Jon Pemberton, who may have a musical partner, from 6 to 8pm, then stick around for Kogan’s quintet, playing his original music: Kogan, drums; Pete Whitman, just back from China, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; Anthony Cox, bass.

Jason and the Q @ Hells Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jason Weismann is a saxophonist and crooner whose vocals and sound harken back to the 50s, though his playing is certainly modern. Bonus: he always has stellar musicians in the Q.

Saturday, September 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) After two years of shows, this series has settled into a groove. The opening act is generally a young, or newer band, to give the audience a chance to discover new talent, while the headlining band is generally, but not always, a well established group of veterans who play two sets. Tonight’s opener at 7pm Lars-Erik Larson Trio: Larson, drums; Kam Markworth, bass; Aaron Hedenstrom sax; with special guest Steve Kenny, flumpet. Headlining at 8:30pm is the Paul Harper Bardo Band: Harper, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis bass; Nathan Norman, drums.

Sunday, September 4

Jazz Brunch w/James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 10am (No Cover) It’s Sunday brunch. It’s jazz. What else do you need to know? Oh yes, Buckley, bass; Nelson Devereaux, sax; JT Bates, drums

Sunday Jam Session w/Cole Mahlum @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 2pm – 4pm (Tip Jar??) Spontaneous collaboration is the essence of jazz. Todays session is hosted by guitarist Cole Mahlum, and focuses on the soul jazz sound of the Hammond B3, played by Abebi Stafford, with drumming by Jesse Simon, leader of the MN Hard Bop Collective.

Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) Pianist Crawford is often called the Prince of New Orleans. He certainly comes from a royal musical background, as his grandfather was guitarist Sugarboy Crawford, the first artist to record Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko), and is the godson of Roberta Flack. At ten years old, he was accompanying gospel choirs in New Orleans, giving him a foundation for everything he currently plays, which can range from classic R&B to B3 Soul Jazz to jazz and ballads.

Monday, September 5

LaValle Jazz Cats Little Big Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) This ten-piece little big band does music by Basie, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Miles, Sonny Rollins, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and some contemporary artists like Michael Buble, Chick Corea, and Harry Connick Jr.

Tuesday, September 6

Todd Clouser’s Future Dance @ Crooners’ Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Guitarist Clouser has earned rave reviews in the national press for his guitar playing, which is heavily based in jazz but, as a relatively young musician, also includes influences from funk and rock. With this new trio, Clouser; Greg Schutte, drums; and from Paris, Warren Walker, sax; form a groove heavy trio performing a collection of original music and de-arrangements of artists from the Motown era to create danceable jazz. After all, jazz was originally played for dancing. Here’s Clouser with his other project, A Love Electric, showing his funk influence.

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, August 31

House Party’s 10 Year Anniversary, with the RAMM Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Can it really be ten years since Harold Tremblay began the House Party? The Blues and Roots show features live artists every week, followed by an appearance at the 331 Club. To Celebrate, Harold is bringing in the RAMM Band. It’s Real American Made Music, filled with classic Motown, funk, and rock n’ roll, performed by three very fine musicians: Paul Mayasich, guitar; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson.

Maurice Jacox Band @ The Mill City Museum, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm ($5, free for museum members) Is this a cool gig or what? The courtyard of the Mill City Museum lets you be outdoors, yet surrounded by some very old stone walls. Plus, vocalist Jacox has a quartet to back him, rather than a duo, or even trio, which will make for some fine ballads, blues, jazz, and R&B. They are: Thomas West, keys; John Della Selva, guitar; Charles Fletcher, bass; and Rob Stupka on drums. Plus, your $5 ticket gets you into the museum between 4pm and 9pm.

Kari Arnett & Laney Jones and the Spirits @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) An evening of Americana at the Aster. Arnett is a guitarist and singer/songwriter who, much like Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, or Emilylou Harris, draws her inspiration from older forms of country and folk music. Her 2105 EP Midwestern Skyline has drawn praise from around the country. She’ll be accompanied by a four-piece band. Laney Jones is a 24 year old multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who was raised in rural Florida, and began songwriting while in college. She then went to Berklee, where she majored in Songwriting. Since then, she’s been featured on PBS, and named as one of Ten Country Artists You Need to Know by Rolling Stone. In March she released a self-titiled album which leans a bit more towards pop, with the dance-happy Allson as her first single, and has been touring the nation since then backed by her band The Spirits.

Thursday, September 1

Nikki Roux & Rich Rue @ Golden’s Lowertown, 275 East 4th Street, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar?) Golden’s, the little restaurant with the walk-up window across from Saint Paul’s Farmer’s Market, has a stage and small room dedicated to music, much of which covers folk/Americana, though the occasional jazz group turns up. Tonight they have the folk-rock/blues of Nikki Roux and Rich Rue, who’ve been gathering Saint Paul fans with regular appearances at the Vieux Carre.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11pm ($5??) The dance floor at the Eagles Club will be filled as the Poppas perform their blend of Southern Louisiana music: R&B, Swamp Pop, and a bit of Cajun/Zydeco.

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones w/Lila Ammons @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No cover) Some west coast and jump blues from harpist Paul Barry, along with Jon Pederson, guitar; Vince Hyman, piano & vibes; Scott Soule, bass; and Doug Hill, drums. They’ll be joined by special guest Lila Ammons, who can sing the blues with verve and style.

Friday, September 2

The Pluto Trio @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The Pluto Trio is bassist Paul Kammeyer, percussionist Josh Smith, and keyboardist John Kammeyer. They describe their music as mostly original compositions, is in the vein of Booker T and the MGs, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, or Tortoise, with a dash of new wave and electronica for good measure.

An Evening with Charlie Parr, w/Lianne Smith Opening @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Freewheelin’ First Fridays moves to the new Hook & Ladder Lounge in the space formerly occupied by Patrick’s Cabaret. Doors open at 8pm and Lianne Smith opens. Some may remember Smith from the late 80s band Safety Last, which featured Gary Louris and Rusty Jones, among others. Nowadays she lives in Brooklyn and writes about making decisions, adventurous bicycle riding, and saying goodbye to Summer, for which this gig is highly appropriate. Duluth bluesman Charlie Parr is the star, and will undoubtedly pack the place, as he plays his stripped down Delta style blues with the conviction (and experience) of a man who can do nothing but be on the road and sing songs.

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) Just returned from Brazil, our own original soul man and his band take over the MMC stage on a Friday night for your dancing pleasure. A good way to kick off the Labor Day Weekend.

Saturday, September 3

Dee Miller Band @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Ms Miller and her band will be belting out the blues in this south side neighborhood joint. The small dance floor will undoubtedly be filled, thanks to Ms Miller’s choice of material and vibrant voice.

Joe Cruz & Jennifer Grimm @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 9pm (Tip jar?) Vocalist/songwriter Grimm had Manitou Station hopping on Sunday nights for years, until the Station, as it’s now called, decided to stop featuring music. You can catch her tonight in a slightly more intimate duo set with well-respected guitarist Joe Cruz.

Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Murphy is one of three charter members of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, along with Dylan and Prince, and he delivers rousing rock n’ roll and R&B. Though the dance floor is much smaller than many places Murphy has played, the energy is still full-on fun.

Sunday, September 4

Porktoberfest II @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. Noon – 2am ($5 advance/$10door) Music and pork products galore, including Pork Shanks, Beer Brats, Pork Belly sliders, and bacon, bacon, bacon! Music starts at 2pm, and includes Private Oates, Rolling Stoners, Marah in the Mainsail, Brass and Bodyworks, and the School of Rock. Pretzels, veggie sandwiches, and corn on the cob will also be available at this family-friendly, but no pets allowed, event.

Katy Vernon Band @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 5:30pm – 7pm (Free)  The London-raised, Minnesota-based Vernon is a singer/songwriter who creates charming folk-pop. Though her lyrics may speak of sad and melancholy topics, she surrounds them with light-hearted music, thanks in part to her use of the ukelele, as well as her ace band. Bring a picnic and a blanket, or stake out a space on the benches in front of the bandshell and get some food from the The Bread and Pickle restaurant next to the bandshell, and listen while kids frolic at the nearby beach, sailboats cross the lake, and airplanes fly overhead. A glorious way to spend part of the Labor Day Weekend.

Monday, September 5

Jose Feliciano @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $55), 9pm ($35 – $45) Eight Grammys, over forty-five gold and platinum records, Feliciano is a virtuosic guitarist with a musical imagination that can rework  all kinds of songs into a blend of Latin, jazz, pop, rock, and even a nod or two to classical music. His last appearance at the Dakota a few years back was a delightful evening of mixed media, storytelling, and great music.

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 eve


Lotsa Choices. Music: 7.6 – 7.12

July 6, 2016
Where to go? What to hear?

Where to go? What to hear?

Another week and more visiting artists, more interesting combinations of resident artists, some new bands, a CD release, and a couple of outdoor events. All in all, another good week for music lovers. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 6

Unknown-2Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Where else can you hear two such stellar musicians for a fin, to use an old term. Guitarist Magraw can play acoustically, bring a bit of Hendrix to Coltrane on electric guitar, and turn around and effortlessly play Irish music and the blues. Thompson, who is at home on piano and clarinet, has spent 45 years studying and playing early jazz around the world.

The Exceptional Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Bassist Anthony Cox continues to bring surprising combinations of musicians to his monthly Wednesday night gig at Jazz Central. Tonight he’s joined by tabla master Marcus Wise and violinist Laura Hirada.

Thursday, July 7

Surprise Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This quintet tackles the music of such rock n’ pop stars as The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and more, restructuring them into jazz, funk, Latin, and other types of music. Rachelle Smith, vocals; Evan Bendt, sax; Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Phil Hey Quartet is the main attraction tonight, back in town after a successful appearance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend: Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Hey on drums. The opening act is the Julian Manzara Quartet: Drew Stinson, bass; Geo Randall, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, drums, and Manzara, guitar.

Friday, July 8

Todd Harper’s CD Release Party @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper celebrates the release of 9th Stream Music, a delightful collection of Harper’s compositions, which seem somewhat familiar, yet always hold a surprise or two, such as the use of Aaron Kerr’s cello, and the playful sound of Nathan Hanson’s soprano saxophone. Others on the CD include drummer Eric Coursen, and Keith Yanes on bass viol.

Hoaxer @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Charlie Lincoln, bass; with Peter Goggin, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Each of the band members have contributed an original to tonight’s playlist.

Paul Harper Bardo Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Harper has been in the Illicit Sextet since its beginning two decades ago, and regularly appears with Charmin & Shapira, Spirit Jazz, Roos & Harper, and with his own ensembles: Show & Tell, and the Chordless Quartet. Tonight he assembles a band of first listers: Joel Shapira, guitar; Nathan Norman, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Drummer Kogan recently retired as principal tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and set to work putting together two well-recieved albums, both of which teem with energy and imagination, covering hard bop, bebop, and postbop sounds. He’s recruited a stellar quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s something from his second album.

Saturday, July 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm it’s the Pete Snell Trio, with Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Snell on drums. At 8:30, it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, July 10

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzy Math is Mark Vandermyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; Matt Peterson, bass. Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House.

Monday, July 11

Bruce Henry @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 with Dinner) Even though vocalist Henry moved to Chicago a few years ago, he regularly returns to the Twin Cities to perform. He’s an imaginative singer and arranger, and always has a band of fine musicians to accompany him.

Tuesday, July 12

Vanessa Trouble, w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Trumpeter Charlie Caranicas is originally from Minnesota, and studied at the UofMN before heading to the Big Apple after graduation. He’s performed with folks like Karryn Allison, the Chico  O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Orchestra. He and his quartet will perform at 7pm, and then at 9pm he and vocalist Vanessa Trouble will perform. Trouble has an affinity for traditional jazz. In addition to songs from her two CDs, you can expect songs that are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings with Louis Armstrong. Here’s the two of them.

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, July 6

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke on KFAI and @ The 331Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) KFAI is broadcasting live from Indeed Brewing in NE Minneapolis this afternoon, starting with Jackson Buck’s Freewheeling Show at 2pm. Harold’s House Party continues at 4pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke appearing during the 5pm hour. He then heads to the 331 Club for a 7pm show. Luedtke has been performing in the upper Midwest for over 40 years, gaining some international experience along the way. He’ll be playing acoustic and solo, showing off some of his fine flatpicking as he regales us with the blues.

Katy Vernon Band @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Vernon’s melancholy and very British acoustic pop (with overtones of Americana) has endeared her to Twin Citizens of all stripes. Her album, Present, was one of the year’s Top 10 for the Pioneer Press and Album of the Year in the Country/Folk category for L’Etoile Magazine. Bring a picnic, lay back, and enjoy her charming patter and learn how she’s become known as a singer of sad songs using a happy instrument – her ukelele.

XIXA @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) This Tucson band plays Chicha music, that Peruvian combination of Cumbias and rock n’ roll, using swirling, psychedelic guitars, a skittering farfisa, and infectious, dance-inducing Latin rhythms. Matt Jennings, who knows a thing or two about cross-cultural musical influences himself, opens.

Thursday, July 7

Blues U Social Hour @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition and Blues U, which is bringing talented teens from across the country to play together and learn from professionals, are sponsoring this free event, which features music from Colin Campbell & the Shackletones and Tres Leches.

Pines @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Benson Ramsey, and David Huckfelt are native Iowans who met in Arizona and proceeded to make music together, moving to the Twin Cities and releasing their first album in 2004. Since then, the Pines have crossed the country, bringing their blend of indie-folk/Americana roots to new fans wherever they appear. They add a rhythm section for some dates, but it appears that Benson’s brother Alex is performing with them for this tour. Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola opens.

Friday, July 8

Ipso Facto @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) It’s an evening of outdoor Reggae at Rice! Ipso Facto has been playing a blend of reggae, funk, and even a bit of jazz since the early 80s, and has been called “the best reggae band ever to emerge from Minnesota’s Tundra” by City Pages. Ryan Liestman’s Reggae Revival opens.

Debo Band @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This is the opening concert in a summer of African music at the Cedar, and features an 11-piece band, with instrumentation reminiscent of Easter European brass bands, playing Ethiopian pop. They are led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, and use traditional Ethiopian scales and vocal styles, integrating them with American soul and funk rhythms.

Drew Druckery & the Dharma Hounds @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Members of this quartet have played in various rock and roots bands around town for over a decade. Together, their sound encompasses blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock, making for a combustible combination. Drew Druckery, vocals, guitar; Paul Mikolich, keys/B3; Joshua Walton, bass; Brett Behrens, drums.

Saturday, July 9

Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a band that can vary in size from 5 to 16 pieces, depending on the occasion. The Pan Handlers may have a full rhythm section, or simply be a collection of differently tuned steel drums. No matter the size, their repertoire ranges from Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to Bob Marly, and calypso favorites Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get yourself some rockabilly and Western Swing from this trio, formed in 1984 by ace guitarist Rick Hollister. He’s joined by Jack Erickson on bass; and Patricia Halverson on drums.

Sunday, July 10

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover)  Spend Sunday afternoon and early evening grooving and dancing to the soulful sounds of Mr Walker  whose soulful singing goes back to the 60s when he recorded a few singles for Goldwax and Chess. His latest album, Nothing Ever Changes, was nominated for three Blues Music Awards.

Tuesday, July 12

Rockin’ Rondo with Bruce Henry and Friends @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 8:30pm. Though he might have sung jazz last night at the Dunsmore Room, Henry will undoubtedly take a turn towards danceable R&B tonight to celebrate the community that was Rondo. Saint Paul Welcome Hat will have a ceremony during the evening to introduce newcomers to the city to its businesses, music and culture. Weather permitting, this will be outdoors on the History Center’s plaza. Bring a picnic or buy food and drinks on-site.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12,13

Sarah Jarosz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $35) Jarosz is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has just released her fourth album, Undercurrent. though she’s a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, she has already received Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations with her first two records. Jarosz is from the Austin Texas area and has appeared on Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC, and have garnered highly positive reviews in publications ranging from Mojo and Paste, to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The Brother Brothers open.

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.


A Big List: 6.1 – 6.7

June 1, 2016

Unknown-1Holy mackeral! There is so much music this week that my listing is much larger than usual, and I still left a number of worthy gigs off the list. At any rate, let’s just get to it.Music lifts the spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, June 1

Anthony Cox Presents deVon Gray @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 student ID) deVon R. Gray is a  multi-instrumentalist, classically trained composer. You can find him writing orchestral and operatic works as well as jazz riffs, in addition to backing area R&B and hip-hop acts. Tonight he’s playing with his trio, REFINED: Gray on keyboards: James Everest on guitar; and Davu Seru on drums and percussion.

Thursday, June 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight, this is the place to go to find out hear the next generations of jazz musicians.  Adam Astrup Quartet, a band of young lions, opens at 7pm: Astrup, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Simon Petrick, drums; Gerhart Robinson, sax. At 9pm it’s the slightly older Rodney Ruckus Trio: Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olson, bass; Ruckus, drums.

Chrisette Bany @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) There is always someone new to discover. Case in point is Ms Bany, who has been performing in the Twin Cities and beyond for 17 years, yet has remained under the radar until recent appearances at Crooners.

Hanson, O’Brien, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Nathan Hanson, sax; Casey O’Brien, bass; and Davu Seru, drums, will take you on a far-reaching expedition to the outer edges of jazz, and bring you back safe and sound.

Friday, June 3

Mancrush @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm Master class, 7pm performance. ($10 Advance/$15 door) Drummer Lars-Erik Larson, leads this group, which includes Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Bryan Nichols, piano. Larson will discuss unconventional rhythm sections and how he composes for the bass-less group.

Patty Peterson All Stars w/Steve Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) With seven Minnesota Music Awards, four solo albums, and her own jazz show on KBEM, Peterson is known far and wide for her blend of jazz and R&B vocals. Her last album features such heavyweights as David Hazeltine, Bobby Lyle, Sheila E. and of course her brothers Billy, Ricky, and Paul. Tonight she is more than ably assisted by Steve Cole, sax; Clyde Davis, drums; Cory J. Wong, guitar; Lamar Jones, bass; Jason Peterson Delaire, keyboards.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Eric Kamau Gravatt – Drums; Solomon Parham – Trumpet; Lucia Sarmiento – Sax; Dean Magraw – Guitar; Ron Evaniuk – Bass. At 10pmit’s the Edmund Caitlin Trio: Edmund Catlin – Drums; Charlie Lincoln – Bass; Levi Schwartzberg – Vibraphone They will be playing the Thelonious Monk album, Straight No Chaser, in its entirety.

Jazzland Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet/vocals; Nelson Devereaux, reeds; Keith Hilson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; Evan Clark, tuba

Brazilian Jazz @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (No cover) Along with changing the name from Señor Wong’s to the SW Craft Bar, and adding more craft beers and liquors, this Mexican/Asian restaurant now feature music on Fridays. Tonight, Mira & Tom Kehoe along with Xibaba will be playing Brazilian jazz, Bossa Novas, Sambas ,Forros, and Choros. Though the stage (such as it is) lighting is dim, you do get to view the LRT passing by as the band plays, in addition to their cocktails, food, and beer.

Saturday, June 4

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Some of the best straight ahead jazz in town is on display tonight, beginning at 7pm with the James Wallace Group: James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Adam Tucker, bass; Bill Steiger, drums. At 9pm it’s Bone Chance: Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dave Graf, trombone; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Peter Schimke, keys.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Former Twin Citizen and now a Chicagoan, Bruce Henry has sung on major stages on four continents, bringing his unique take on African American music to the world.

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Shorai has been delivering yearning, sweet vocals to Twin Cities audiences for over ten years, singing a mix of originals, jazz standards, and modern gems.

Brad Bellows & Friends @ Boom Island Tap Room, 2014 North Washington, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This is the start of a weekly gig featuring valve trombonist Brad Bellows and a rotating cast of musical friends for some tasty jazz while you taste some brews.

Sunday, June 5

Concours d’Elegance @ Excelsior Commons, Excelsior. 10am – 3pm ($35) It’s not the name of a band, but rather an event featuring beautiful, rare, and valuable classic cars, boats and motorcycles. There will be four jazz bands playing while you amble lakeside among the vehicles. From 10am – 11:15 it’s Peter Kogan’s Mosnterful Wonderland, with Adam Meckler, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Scott Agster Trombone; Sean Turner, piano; Chris Olson, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Peter Kogan, drums. From 11:30 – 12:45, the Mary Louise Knutson Trio with Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums. Kogan then comes back with a quartet at 1pm, with Whitman and Bailey, along with Steve Hobert, piano. After a short break it’s a trio with Hobert, Bailey, and Kogan. The whole affair is a benefit for the ICA Foodshelf.

Joe Lovano’s Tribute to Gunther Schuller @ Sundlin Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul. 4pm ($25, $25 Senior [62+], $15 Student ID) Note: One K-12 Student is admitted free with each paid adult. Lovano and company will be performing in a tribute to Gunther Schuller. With Anthony Cox, bass; Young-Nan Kim, violin; Timothy Lovelace, piano; and Fred Harris, drums. With guest composer Peter Child.

Poncho Sanchez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35) The Texas born, California raised conguero started out as a singer, and started playing congas almost 50 years ago, while still in hight school. He was a major part of Cal Tjader’s last ensemble, released 19 albums, won a Grammy, and collaborated with Tower of Power and Hugh Masakela. Afro-Cuban music is in good hands.

Monday, June 6

Jazz Implosion featuring the Adam Meckler Quintet @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) 1st Set – Adam Meckler Quintet w Meckler, trumpet; Joe Mayo, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; & Greg Schutte, drums. 2nd Set – A double dose of drums with Davu Seru  & JT Bates

Tuesday, June 7

Teri Roiger @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) NYC vocalist Roiger also plays piano, composes, and writes lyrics, including lyrics to Monk’s Misterioso, approved by his family. She’s taught course on the Music of Billy Strayhorn, Monk, and Brazil, and currently teaches at SUNY New Paltz in the jazz program there. It’s her singing, however, that we should concentrate on. It’s been cooled “smooth but heady,” (All About jazz), “powerfully moving: and impressively deep (JazzTimes), and “made for those who still undetand the meaning of the term the real thing” (Stanley Crouch). Indeed, Roiger can express much with the slightest turn of a phrase, and has a voice that will sound wonderful in the listening environment of the Dunsmore Room. She’ll be previewing her soon-to-be released album, Billie 101, a collection of tunes associate with Ms Holiday. With husband John Menegon, bass; Joe Stracha, piano; and Phil Hey, drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 1

Paul Barry & The Acetones, w/guest Lila Ammons on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harp man Paul Barry plays the blues with help from the Acetones: Jon Pederson, Guitar; Vince Hyman, Piano, Vibes; Scott Soule, Bass; and Doug Hill, drums. They’ll be joined by special guest vocalist Lila Ammons, who is the granddaughter of boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons, and niece of the great sax player Gene Ammons. Lila Ammons sings around town in jazz clubs and does blues tours of Europe on an annual basis.

Nikki & the RueMates @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Take in the lakeside breezes at the Como Pavillion while the crystal clear voice of Nikki soars over the lake. Rich Rue, guitar and vocals, and Jon Olson, bass provide a solid foundation for the group’s blues and folk-rock. Drinks and food available in The Dockside.

Wednesday, Thursday, June 1,2

Suzy Bogguss @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Since the late 80s, Bogguss has gone from rising star of country music to award winning hit maker. She’s done it her own way, with original songs, and collaborations with the likes of Chet Atkins and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel. Her 2014 album, Lucky, is chock full of Merle Haggard songs, though to paraphrase Bogguss, it’s not a tribute, just a collection of some of the greatest songs she could find.

Thursday, June 2

Siama Matuzungidi and Drew Peterson @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis.  (time?? $$??) After being closed for 10 years, the new owners of the Viking have installed new bathrooms, a kitchen, took off the false ceiling, expanded the back bar, installed new sound and lighting on the stage, and kept the original booths. They’ve even added a “banana booth” from Nyes. The result is a more spacious feel, with a row of TVs over the bar that seem more decoration than sportscasting. Tonight brings West Bank veteran Drew Peterson, an Americana singer/songwriter, along with Congolese guitarist, Siama Matuzungidi, the Soukous master who just released a CD, and is representative of the West Bank of recent decades. It promises to be a night of great music.

The Hot Seat w/Paul Mayasich and the RAMM Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This is the first of Paul’s Hot Seat series to take place at the Fridley Lounge. He’ll be there with guests for every thursday but the last one of the month. His comrades in the RAMM band are kicking things off as the three-piece tackle the blues, Motown, and more.

Friday, June 3

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings, and Rena Haus @ the Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings were formed at the old version of the Viking Bar, at one of Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Fridays. Well, here it is over 10 years later, the Viking looks much better, Jackson is still producing Freewheelin’ First Fridays, and Steve and the Brass Kings still sound great. The Brass Kings produce jug-bandy old time music played by: Steve on acoustic and resonator guitars & vocals, Mikkel Beckmen on washboard, refrigerator door, butter dish, and djembe; Brad Ptacek on washtub bass; and Jillian Rae on fiddle. Opening is the farming blues gal Rena Haus, whose clever wordplay and strong guitar work make for some entertaining blues.

Willie Murphy and the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s time to party down with the blues, R&B, and Rock n’ Roll of Mr Murphy and his horn band. Listen to their take on a Jerry Lee Lewis number.

Cantus Sings Pet Sounds @ Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 – $35) Here’s an intriguing event. The nine members of the all-male chamber singing group Cantus will perform music from an album Rolling Stone calls “one of the greatest albums of all time.” It’s 50 years since the Beach Boys released Brian Wilson’s opus to unrequited love. Don’t necessarily expect Beach Boy type harmonies however, as the group will be singing the songs in jazz, bluegrass and funk settings. They’re bringing in a trio to back them up, and will bookend the Pet Sounds portion of the concert with other popular tunes from the past as well as today. This runs weekends through June 11. Here they are doing a song by the Dave Matthews Band.

Doug MacLeod Live in Europe CD Release @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20)The award winning acoustic bluesman has a way with words and his national steel guitar. Back in 2006 Macleod was in The Netherlands, recording a live album for a DVD released by Black and Tan Records as The Blues in Me. Though he had a fever, and felt like he wasn’t in good voice, the results were nevertheless well worth listening. So well, that they’ve now put out an album. It’s just Doug, his guitar, and his foot, recorded as he performed, with no overdubs. Jeff Arundel opens.

Dee Miller Band @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Hard charging Ms Miller sings take-no-prisoner blues, tonight featuring the guitar work of Moses Oakland and Craig Clark, along with the usual crack backing of Paul Mejia, vocals & harmonica;  Jesse Mueller, Keyboards; Eric Meyer, Bass; and Ben Irvin, Drums.

Friday, Saturday, June 3,4 & Wednesday, June 8

Prince Tribute: This Thing Called Life @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45) While waiting for the star-studded Prince tribute being discussed by Prince’s family and friends to come, here is one that features Twin Cities musicians who were part of the New Power Generation, featuring drummer Michael Bland, bassist Sonny Thomnpson, and keyboardist Tommy Barberella. Also featured are Julius Collins, vocals; Tracey Blake, guitar; and special guests Jamecia Bennett (lead singer for Sounds of Blackness), and others. DJ Jules and DJ fat will start spinning at 8pm, with the band beginning at 9pm. Friday and Saturday appear to have sold out, so act quickly if you want to see the show on Wednesday, the 8th.

Saturday, June 4

New Primitives @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Get a reservation or arrive early to get a table and hear the reggae and worldbeats of this quintet.

Movies and Music @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) The hot and smoky rhythms of the Prohibition years are delivered on the Pavillion stage by the four-piece Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League, followed by Labyrinth, a Jim Henson-directed film from 1986 starring David Bowie, with almost all other significant parts given to puppets from Henson’s imagination. The pavilion will protect you from the setting sun, and food and drinks are available inside.

Dakota Dave Hull: The Sacred and Profane Album Release @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm ($15) The late Dave Van Ronk called Hull one of the best guitarists in the world. He uses both flat-picking and finger-picking to dazzle audiences around the world and tonight Hull is releasing two albums: Heavenly Hope and This Earthly Life. One need not be Karnak the Magnificent to guess the contents of each. Opening set by Adam Kiesling.

International Reggae All-Stars @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Catch the Island rhythms of the All-Stars on a weekend night, from this international sextet that holds down Tuesday nights at Bunker’s.

Sunday, June 5

Curtiss A & Dark Click @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Old school roots music, including the blues, energized by original Twin Tone recording artist and John Lennon Tribute star Curtiss A and his fertile imagination. Every Sunday in June.

Tuesday, June 7

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whoa! The Blasters are coming, the Blasters are coming! Back when any punk band worth its salt was playing faster and louder, along came the Blasters, who played somewhat loud and somewhat fast. Thing is, they were using vintage R&B and Rockabilly for their template, infusing the old styles with an energy that matched punk, note for note. Led by the Alvin Brothers, brother Dave left. Though he’s returned as an occasional guest in the last few years, Phil’s singing powers the band, along with the guitar of Keith Wyatt. As they demonstrated at Lee’s and the Dakota last year, they’ve still got the energy make you sweat, even when you’re only chair dancing. As an added bonus, Molly Maher opens.

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


Lift Your Spirits: 4.27 – 5.3

April 27, 2016

 

One of the many purple lighted tributes to Prince last Thursday

One of the many purple lit-up tributes to Prince last Thursday

Well, it’s a sad week for music lovers, especially here in the Twin Cities, where there’s been wall-to-wall coverage and tributes to Prince. It’s not surprising, since almost everyone in town has a Prince story, or knows someone with a Prince story. I got to see him perform only a few times: at a “surprise” concert at First Avenue in the early 80s, his Civic Center Concert in 1990, and most recently, during his three-night run at the Dakota a couple of years ago. I only got to the first night, an all-instrumental show, which I nevertheless found exhilarating, and reviewed here. Like so many other Twin Citizens, I also had a couple of Prince sightings over the years, at First Avenue, and the Dakota, including last Tuesday night, when I saw him going to the Green Room to talk with Lizz Wright.

Jazz fans will be interested to know that Jimmy Scott recorded a Prince song, which you can listen to here, and that Miles Davis played onstage with him, which you can see here, and our own Adam Meckler Quintet performed Sometimes It Snows In April at their CD release party this past Saturday. There have also been performance tributes by Bruce Springsteen, The Dixie Chicks, and David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and the casts of Hamilton and The Color Purple. I’m sure there will be many tribute events in the coming months, the first of which I’ve listed below for Sunday. In the meantime, we have a full week of great music to lift our spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 27

O’Brien, Gadbout, Hennig @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Casey O’Brien  bass; Ted Gadbout, piano; and Peter Hennig, drums, are fine musicians and good representatives of the “middle” generation of jazz players in town. O’Brien is a well-regarded bassist about town, having released some well-reviewed jazz albums, in addition to playing with such local luminaries as PaviElle and  Sonny Knight & the Lakers.   It’s O’Brien’s gig, and as per usual, they will probably be presenting some of his originals, though Gadbout and Hennig have their own songs as well. You can listen to songs from Ghost Dance, his album from 2014 with Nathan Hanson and Davu Seru here.

Aurora Club Jazz Quartet @ Tattersall Distillery Cocktail Room, 1620 Central Ave NE, #150, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($??) I don’t know this group, though it may contain some familiar names. At any rate, since distilleries seem to be popping up around town here’s a chance to check one out. They distill several types of gin and liqueurs, as well as vodka, bourbon, aqavit, and white whiskey. Plus you can listen to  some music and make use of a food truck at the same time.

Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The foremost crooner of our area will sing at what should be his natural habitat. Fogel will be joined by the Wolverines Trio: Jendeen for berg, drums; Keith Thomas Boyles, bass; and Rick Carlson, piano. They’ll be in the big room, and will undoubtedly generate the energy that room deserves.

Thursday, April 28

Improv on the Plaza @ Ecolab Plaza, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Drummer Pete Hennig and friends will perform. His friends include: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Cody McKinney, electric bass; and Brian Zeimnak, electric piano. Here’s Hennig playing with the Brian Gallagher Quartet.

Some sass from some brass

Some sass from some brass

BrassZilla @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This quartet features three brass and a drum. I’m sure they’ll be able to get your attention and keep it despite the general noise level of this hopping’ restaurant.

 

Songs from the Silo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Vocalist Sheridan Zuther grew up on a farm and spent hours singing in an empty one on her farm. Tonight she celebrates life on a family farm, singing songs from Dolly Parton, Cole Porter, Stevie Wonder, and more – songs that she sang as a child in the silo, and that inspired her to become a singer. She’ll be accompanied by pianist Steve Hobert, whose light, fanciful touch seems just right for such a project.

Friday, April 29

Guitar Night featuring Julian Lage Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $42)  While Grammy-nominated Lage and his modern jazz trio, which just released an excellent album, are the headliners, this evening also features Twin Cites guitar wizard Peter Lang, along with the Takoma guitar masters: Toulouse Engelhart and Rick Ruskin. Those of you of a certain age may remember Takoma Records as the recording home of Lang, as well as John Fahey and Leo Kottke. Engelhardt is known as the “Segovia of Surf” due to his stylings, lighting fast playing and colorful melodies, while Ruskin learned his craft from the Reverend Gary Davis.

Saturday, 30

Brian Lynch w/The Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ The A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 SE Main Street, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6pm ($25, $35, $50) This is a benefit for Jazz Central, the little jazz venue that could. Things start off at 1pm with the Doug Haining/Dave Graf Quintet, with guest vocalists Debbie Duncan, Andrew Walesch, and Sara Greer. At 2:15 it’s the Javier Santiago Trio with Dan Carpel, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. At 3:30, the Vinson Valega Group performs and agh 4:30 it’s Grammy winning trumpeter/bandleader Brian Lynch  who has been part of august bands led by Horace Silver, Art Blakey, and Phil Woods, as well as becoming an in demand musician for work with Latin bands, such as those of Eddie Palmieri and the legendary Hector LaVoe. Today he’ll be showing off his Latin chops with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Here’s Lynch with some students.

How Birds Work, with original bassist Billy Peterson

How Birds Work, with original bassist Billy Peterson

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features the Growlers at 7pm: Joel Shapira guitar; Dave Martin, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums. Headliner tonight is How Birds Work, a quartet that thrilled Artist Quarter customers for years: Peter Schimke, piano; Dean Granros, guitar; Ted Olson, bass; and the indefatigable Kenny Horst on drums.

Boom Room Jazz @ Boom Island Brewing Tap Room, 2014 N Washington Avenue, #300, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Free) This is the second installment of Jazz at the Boom Room. Valve trombonist Brad Bellows brings another group of fine musicians to play while you check out Boom Island’s Belgian-inspired brews. Tonight Brad is joined by Larry Hillman, tenor sax; Steve Kimmel, marimba; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Mike Croy, drums.

Sunday, May 1

Solomon’s Sessions @ The Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This is the last of a grant-sponsored series led by trumpeter Solomon Parham, who just received his Masters in Performance from MacNally Smith. It’s essentially a jam session with a high bar for performance, which results in some terrific music. Here’s a brief idea of what happens.

Monday, May 2

Tom Kliphuis and Sam Miltich @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) For those who appreciate the acoustic swing of Gypsy Jazz, this will be a must-see gig. Classicly trained violinist Tim Kliphuis trained at the Amsterdam Conservatoire and is regarded as Stephane Grappelli’s heir. Though Sam Miltich was born and raised in the woods of northern Minnesota, he somehow gravitated towards Gypsy Jazz as well as Brazilian choros and French musettes, thrilling audiences with his solo performances as well as with his band the Clearwater Hot Club. Here’s a video of Kliphuis in performance.

Joel Shapira & The Growlers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) If you didn’t catch them in the opening slot at the Black Dog on Saturday night, you can catch them tonight, and stick around for a jam session afterwards. Here’s Shapira in a solo piece.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) This late night Monday night series always has the best in regional and visiting musicians who aren’t afraid to stretch boundaries. Tonight it’s The Regional Jazz Trio – Anthony Cox, bass; JT Bates, drums; and  Michael Lewis, sax.

Tuesday, May 3

Mississippi, featuring Andres Prado @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm If you haven’t seen Peruvian guitarist Prado yet, here’s your chance. He’s visiting for a few weeks after returning to Peru a few years ago. His work with Mississippi can range from acoustic Afro-Peruvian Landos to mostly jazz fusion. Other members of Mississippi are: Pete Whitman, saxes; Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 27

Jillian Rae Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rae is a talented violinist, vocalist, and songwriter who can throw down a Led Zeppelin song, follow it with a country hoedown, and then perform a hook-laden original. Tonight she’ll be appearing with her husband Eric. They’ll be followed at the 331 Club by an Americana/newgrass group with members of Pet Near Sandstone, the Sans Souci Quartet, The Farmhouse Band and Row of Ducks.

Judy Collins and Ari Hest @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60 – $75) An evening of compelling folk music from a couple of veterans. Collins may have created a new genre, art-folk, when she recorded the songs of Leonard Cohen, Stephen Sonheim, and Joni Mitchell, as well as the title song from Marat/Sade back in the 60s. She may be best known for her hits with Both Sides Now, Someday Soon, Who Knows Where The Time Goes, and Amazing Grace in the late 60s. Previous appearances at the Dakota have revealed a talent for storytelling as well. Heist has recorded eight albums, three EPS, and in 2008 recorded and released a new song every Monday for a full year.

Thursday, April 28

Courtney Yasmineh Goes Solo @ Reverie Cafe + Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm. (Tip Jar) Rocker/songerwriter Courtney Yasmineh will soon take off on an East Coast tour, where she’s been acquiring fans, and she’s warming up with this show.  Actually,m Ms Yasmineh will be one of four artists featured at the old Nicollet Cafe. Alicia Kay (of the Changeups) will start at 9pm; Andriana Lehr is on at 9:45, followed by Ms Yasmineh at 10:30. I’m afraid I don’t know the closing artist. This video with her band will give you an example of Yasmineh’s songwriting.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Cajun, Zydeco, and perhaps some swamp pop from accordionist Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and his compadres. Dancing shoes are de rigueur.

Friday, April 29

Philip Nusbaum and Sherry Minnick @ Duluono’s Pizza, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar?) Classic Country, banjo originals, and maybe a bit of classic bluegrass from Nusbaum  who hosts Bluegrass Saturday Morning on KBEM, and Ms Minnick  who has been in a number of old-time and bluegrass band, several musical plays at the History Theater, and has taught children’s choirs for 16 years. Here’s a long clip of the two of them.

Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Oh my! This is definitely the gathering place for blues lovers tonight. Thackery  earned his craft performing with Muddy Waters, then went on to be a co-founder of The Nighthawks, with whom he performed for fifteen years. He left them in 1987 and has become the definition of a road warrior, playing nearly 300 shows a year. He loves the guitar stylings found in surf and spy music, but at his heart is a blues guy, through and through.

Saturday, April 30

One Night in Cuba @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Charanga Tropical is heading up this fiesta and dance party, since they are celebrating the release of the CD they recorded in Havana last year. The evening will feature an all-star lineup of musicians from Charanga Tropical, Malamanya, Salsa Del Soul, QBand, and Salsabrosa. Other guests will include Cuban pianist Viviana Pintado, Chicago Salsa singers Franklin Paz and Juan Castro, and more, including dance showcases. Whew! Bring your dancing shoes and take part in a salsa dance lesson.

Complicated Fun Opening Night @ The Minnesota History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $45) If you remember the exploding music scene from First Avenue in the 80s, you’ll want to see this show, which runs through May 29. It’s a story of a couple of misfits who discover themselves thanks to the sounds coming from the club that Prince made famous. Though there are no songs from “His Royal Badness,” as writer Martin Keller dubbed him, there many songs from the punk/funk scene at the time, including music from The Suicide Commandos, The Replacements, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, the Suburbs, and more. If you can’t make it tonight, the show runs through May 29. Ticket information here. Watch the Suicide Commandos perform the title song.

High & Mighty @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) This party-hearty horn band will have the commodious dance floor at the MMC filled with revelers.

Get out the dancing shoes

Get out the dancing shoes

The Good, Bad, & the Funky @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. ($7) Meanwhile, this 10-piece horn band will be laying down R&B dance rhythms for Minneapolis funksters.

Sunday, May 1

Let the Festivities begin

Let the Festivities begin

Mayday Parade and Festival, South Minneapolis. Noon – dusk. The 42nd Annual Mayday Parade and Festival begins at noon, when the parade starts at 25th & Bloomington, going south and to Powderhorn Park The Tree of Life Ceremony takes place at the park at 3pm, while the Festival is open throughout the day. The Festival features music, dancing, poetry, food, canoe rides, and who knows what else. the entertainment runs from The Roe Family Singers to Savage Aural Hotbed, Firefly Forest, Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and the Maroons (Now called Positive Vibrations). Entertainment schedule can be found here.

NE Love Prince Dance Party @ East Side Neighborhood Services, 1700 2nd Street NE, Minneapolis. 3pm – 6pm (Free) This family-friendly party is sure to be one of many that will occur in the coming weeks. There will be a couple of food trucks, a purple art project, and music from Deejay That Dude Trey, spinning Prince, Prince-sampled hip-hop, and Prince influenced artists. Be aware that though this is a family-friendly event, the songs will not be edited. It may be outside, but that is dependent on details like tents, permits, and of course, the weather.

David Lindley @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) If you think you’ve heard eclectic musicians before, be prepared to be knocked out by Lindley  whose electro-acoustic performances incorporate American folk and blues, as well as bluegrass, African, Arabic, Asian, and Malagasy traditions. He’s a highly talented multi-instrumentalist with a wide array of stringed instruments, with a sly sense of humor.

Sunday, Monday, May 1,2

The Combo at work

The Combo at work

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The band, also known as The Combo contains a number of artists who have been associated with Prince, including drummer Michael Bland, bassist Sonny Thompson, vocalist Margaret Cox, and guitarist Billy Franze. I’m not sure about the Prince association for other members, but he used to come by every once in a while and sit in the corner, often bringing new or potential band members to help them learn. JellyBean Johnson is a sure bet as a guest, and you can never tell when a visiting musician will sit in. Last Sunday they opened the third set with a rousing Prince medley that went on for 15 or 20 minutes. Since this band has been performing weekly for almost three decades, they are incredibly tight, and will have you dancing in no time.

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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