Spring into Music: 3.22 – 3.28

March 22, 2017

Spring has now officially arrived, and we’ve a surfeit of talent to catch in clubs and restaurants, as well as in bigger venues, though arenas and theaters are not usually the subject of these weekly missives. Anyway, we do have some visiting artists that may get your attention as well. So start getting out that springtime wear, though here in Minnesota it’s always a good idea to keep winter wear handy until May. Just let music lift our spirits.

PS: The Spring Pledge Drive at KFAI goes until Friday. You can still pledge your support for my show by going to http://www.kfai.org and pledging on-line

Jazz

Wednesday, March 22

Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Guitarist Dean Magraw shows up in these newsletters quite often, since he’s so damn versatile that he plays in a variety of settings. Tonight, he’s teaming up with pianist (and occasional clarinetist) Butch Thompson  whose knowledge of, and forays into, traditional and New Orleans jazz are formidable.

Debbie Duncan & Margaret Cox @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner show) Here’s an intriguing match-up of two vocalists. Duncan is well-known in jazz circles for her very able, and sometimes sassy, interpretations of standards and blues. Cox  on the other hand, is better known to Prince aficionados, having recorded numerous unreleased songs with him. She is also a featured singer with Mambo’s Combo (aka The Combo) at Bunkers. Back in the day she sang with the Doug Maynard Band and the TC Jammers among others, and then led Ta Mara and the Scene, a Jesse Johnson-produced example of the Minneapolis sound of the 80s. She always kills it during Combo appearances, and will provide a strong foil to Duncan. Here’s a video for one of the few Prince songs that was released.

Sound/Simulacra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 Student w/ID) Each month John Keston  sound design; and Cody McKinney, bass, composition; bring together improvising musicians to attack music from several directions. This week’s special guest is violinist Leah Ottman, aka LOTT (Wind in the Willows), who has brought her classical experiments music to both roots and rock bills around town.

Thursday, March 23

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A classic piano trio led by the inimitable Peter Schimke  whose chops have been honed in a variety of settings and recordings. He’ll be accompanied by Chris Bates, Bass; and Cory Healey on Drums. Here is Schimke solo.

Paris Chansons @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Julia Kantor, a sultry Ukranian songstress, together with her husband Jacob, from Russia, and Max Cohen, from Morocco, perform jazz standards and other classics in French, Russian, Italian, and other languages. The singers of the Los Angeles based Paris Chansons will be backed by their five piece band.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Former Minnesota Orchestra tympanist Kogan has been keeping busy performing jazz since his retirement a couple of years ago. Tonight, his group consists of: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman sax; Phil Aaron, piano; Jeff  Bailey, bass ; with Kogan on drums. It may be a classic hard bop line-up but Kogan’s compositions explore many more avenues in jazz.

Friday, March 24

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm-9pm (Tip Jar)

Shorai’s honey-sweet vocals, when combined with her ability to convey heartache with the slightest crack of her voice, are reasons to sit close to the stage at this somewhat noisy place.

Wozniak, Adkins, Peterson, Peterson @ Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight a couple of up and coming musicians: Patrick Adkins, piano, compositions; Luke Peterson, drums, compositions; perform with a couple of veterans: Graydon Peterson, bass; and Brandon Wozniak, sax; .

Kneedelus @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapoils. 8pm ($28) A Live Collaboration between Kneebody and Daedelus  Many in the jazz community find Kneebody’s music, which is certainly based in jazz, to be unclassifiable, though they’ve collaborated with musicians in a number of genres, even getting a Grammy nomination for their work interpreting the music of Charles Ives. According to Nate Chine in the New York Times, the music of Kneebody  “uses a common jazz instrumentation to make a somewhat less common amalgam of urban-signifying genres, from electro-pop to punk-rock to hip-hop.” Tonight they are playing with Daedelus, a producer with 18 solo albums to his credit, as well as EPs and dozens of remixes for other artists. Their work together ranges from chill mediations to explosive grooves.

Saturday, March 25

Dorothy Doring: Roaring 20s Cabaret @ Eagan Community Center, 1501 Central Parkway, Eagan. 2pm ($15 Adults, $10 under 12 – Cash or Check only) Doring is an engaging, soulful vocalist who will be performing a one hour show as a scholarship fundraiser for her teacher sorority – Alpha Delta Kappa.  (The ECC is located off 494 & Pilot Knob Road)

4th Annual Jazz at Studio Z Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 5pm – 9pm ($12 Advance, $16 Door) Zacc Harris and his JASZ associates have presented a consistently good monthly series at Studio Z, using both straight-ahead and forward looking groups. Things kick off today with Real Bulls, the JT Bates/Dave King drum duo, and continues with Dean Granros’ guitar-driven Tall Tales; The Adam Meckler Quintet, featuring Meckler’s intriguing compositions; and closes with  Drobka/Weller, a drums/sax duo from Milwaukee & Chicago who are about to release a CD.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm is the Shapira/Granros duo, featuring guitarists Joel Shapira and Dean Granros. At 8:30pm it’s The Ruckus Birthday Tour Conclusion w/ Rodney Ruckus, drums; Jonathon Greenstein, sax, Adam Meckler, trumpet; and others TBD

Sunday, March 26

Katia Cardenas’ Birthday Bash @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Vocalist Cardenas has been very busy of late, with auditions and workshops for various shows and a number of part-time jobs, in addition to preparing for this show. Last year’s debut CD, I’ll Be Seeing You, does a good job of spotlighting her versatility and commanding vocals. She’ll be doing songs from the Great American Songbook, as well as songs by Carole King, Amy Winehouse, and other contemporary singers.

Monday, Tuesday, March 27, 28

David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60, $70), 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Sanborn is a talented saxophonist who can appeal to dance-floor R&B fans as well as a listening-only jazz audience. He’s won six gold records, and one platinum record, and eight Grammys, and hosted a TV show. He’s played with David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, James Brown, The Stones, The Butterfield Blues Band, and more.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 22

Lowland Lakers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Folk/bluegrass/Americana from this trio with roots in Duluth. Tune in, listen, and BTW, pledge.

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ the Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($45-$60) Rowdy, passionate, bar band R&B from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Johnny is an alumni of bars on the Jersey Shore, where he and friends Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt came up before hitting the big time, a few decades back. He more than satisfied with his performance at the Dakota last year around this time.

Thursday, March 23

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Famous Dave’s in Uptown is once again having a weekly showcase for blues bands. Tonight, the bands vying for a slot at the Lowertown Blues Festival are: Crooked DiceVibronautsMonny Ray & Triple Trouble; and the Mark Cameron Band.

Las Cafeteras @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm  ($27, $32) Las Cafeteras are an East Los Angeles band of “immigrant children,” as they call themselves. They mash up punk, hip-hop, cumbia, and rock to deliver socially conscious messages inspired by the communities in which they live. Resident artists Alma Andina open with a modern take on music from indigenous cultures of the Andes.

John McCutcheon @ the 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 9pm ($30 Tickets here) The folk veteran makes a rare appearance in this area. He’s recorded 34 albums and has thoroughly toured the US and the world. McCutcheon’s latest album, Trolling for Dreams, was released in February. This small room, with a capacity of less than 50, will provide an intimate setting for his music.

Rose Ensemble: Musique et Masqueray @ The Saint Paul Cathedral, Saint Paul. 7:30pm. ($15 – $38) Architect Emmanuel Masqueray (1861-1917) designed a number of outstanding places of worship in the area, and for four nights, the Rose Ensemble will be performing French Baroque music in them. Tonight kicks off the series at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, with guest artists Patricia Halverson, viola da gamba; Scott Pauley, theorbo; and Bruce Jacobs, organ; sitting in as the Rose Ensemble performs works by Charpentier, Cosperio, and others. On subsequent nights, the music will be performed at Saint Francis Catholic Church in Benson; (Friday), the Basilica of Saint Mary in Minneapolis (Saturday), and the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas in Saint Paul (Sunday).

Friday, March 24

Cory Stevens @ Flat Earth Brewing, 688 Minnehaha Ave East, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 includes one standard brew) Sample the brews of Flat Earth while listening to Stevens, a blues-based guitarist and singer/songwriter who early on (in the 90s) was compared to Stevie Ray Vaughn, but has since developed his own rockin’ sound. Flat Earth is located in the historic Hamm’s Brewery complex.

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 Reserved table) Powerhouse vocalist Ms Miller  aka The Duchess of the Blues, does real well with the weekend crowd at Crooners. Her uptempo tunes, duets with harpist Paul Meja, and choice covers often have people dancing in the aisles.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Under the Radar gig of the week, though the band’s fans (and there are many) are likely aware of this monthly gig. As regular readers may remember, Nikki & the Rue-mates play folk/rock and blues, drawing on inspiration for their originals from the late 60s and early 70s, though they’re also exploring vocal group harmony. Dusty’s is a hole-in-the-wall bar, so much so that Nikki, Rich, and Jon set up in a booth, while fans line the bar and fill up the few tables that are available.

Hipshaker 45 RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Hipshaker deejays Brian Engel, Greg Waletski, and George Rodriguez continue to entice college students and young graduates, along with a smattering of Gen Xers and the occasional Boomer with their collections of rare soul and funk 45s. Tonight they have a guest sitting in with some rare tunes: DJ Jameson.

Friday, Saturday, March 24, 25

Al Stewart Plays Year of the Cat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) Scottish singer/songwriter Stewart first took up guitar when he was swept up in Britain’s skiffle boom of the late 50s. He took guitar lessons from Robert Fripp (who would later lead King Crimson); roomed with Paul Simon in London (before Sounds of Silence was a hit); and had future Yardbird Jimmy Page playing guitar on his first single in 1966. It wasn’t until 1975 that Stewart came into his own, however, with the release of Year of the Cat, with the title song becoming a top ten hit around the globe. He followed that with Time Passages, another hit album. He’s not been able to reproduce that success, though he has continued to record and tour ever since, and in 2005 EMI records released a 5 CD box set. He’ll be performing The Year of the Cat, and more with backing from Marc Macisso and the Empty Pockets Band.

Saturday, March 25

Upper Mississippi Cajun Trio @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon – 2pm (No Cover) The Como Dockside is now featuring Saturday lunch music, featuring mostly Cajun groups. Today it’s a trio that I believe has performed under other names, but includes Shawn Glidden, Doug Lohman, and Marie Stier.

Saturday Salon: Eva Beneke @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The delightful, Saturday afternoon chamber music series at the Dunsmore Room continues with guitarist Eva Beneke  The McNally Smith teacher has performed at international guitar festivals in the China, Peru, and throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Her performances have been broadcast internationally, and on NPR, and include a live-televised performance with Carrie Underwood at the 2010 American Country Music Awards.

Minneapolis Music Showcase @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advnce, $15 Door) Here’s a chance to see four up and coming bands in one venue and still get out early enough for another show or a good night’s sleep. Headliners Sawyer’s Dream is a 7-piece band w/4 part harmonies, performing original songs inspired by Mark Twain, and the harmonies of bands like the Mamas and Papas and ABBA. The River High features the male/female vocals of Justin Law and Rena Carlson Rasmussen, along with fuzzed out guitars and a strong rhythm section. The Friendly Beers is a blue-collar rock band from Saint Paul, and Jeromy Darling is a songwriter and actor.

Soul Tight Committee @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Get out your dancing shoes and head to downtown Saint Paul where this ten-piece band will be laying down old school R&B, mostly from the 70s.

Charlie Lawson Band w/Guest Larry Hayes @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson continues his monthly residency at this warm pub. Tonight, he and his band will be joined by guitarist Larry Hayes, a founding member of Lamont Cranston, and composer/writer of “Excuse Moi, Mon Cheri” for the Blues Brothers. Hayes has won a number of MN Music Awards and is a favorite of other Twin Cities guitarists. He’s helmed the very excellent Larry Hayes and the ToneArms and currently performs with Mississippi Driftwood

Sunday, March 26

Greazy Gravy @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 3pm – 7pm (No Cover) It’s a matinee performance for this blues band featuring harp master Curtis Blake  Members of this band have been laying down blues licks for decades, so their blend of BB King, Albert Collins, a little Eric Clapton, and Chicago Blues goes down very easy.

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.


Saint Pat’s and Much More: 3.15 – 3.21

March 15, 2017

Well, we’ve another week where there are more enticing music events than I could list, though I have managed to whittle the number down to a couple of dozen. Anyway, we’ve a plethora of marvelous visiting and resident artists, and with Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, there are many chances to drink green beer if you are so inclined, or you can find other events that aren’t celebrating the day. It’s all good, as the saying goes, with many opportunities to let music lift our spirits

Larry

PS: Friday marks the start of the Spring Pledge Drive at KFAI. Please pledge your support for my show by going to http://www.kfai.org and pledging on-line, or call 612-375-9030 during the hours of my show (10:30am – Noon, Saturday)

Jazz

Wednesday, March 15

Sophia Shorai, Twin Cities Hot Club @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai-No Cover), 8pm (Hot Club-$7) It’s a double bill of easy-on-the-ears jazz at the Vieux tonight. Vocalist/pianist Sophia Shorai performs during the dinner hour. Her honey-sweet voice will undoubtedly help your digestion. Then the Twin Cities Hot Club takes the stage with acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, bossa novas, and the occasional musettes. Members are: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45, $40), 9pm ($20, $25, $30) Gary Burton is a jazz superstar, who revolutionized the playing of vibraphones by using a four-mallet technique, creating a pianistic approach to playing, as opposed to the prevailing two-mallet technique. After more than five decades in the business, the six-time Grammy winner recently announced his retirement, and that this March tour would be his last. He’ll be joined by a former student, Japan’s foremost jazz pianist Makoto Ozone  who has been member of Burton’s quartet and recorded four albums with him.

Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Walesch is a very talented singer/pianist with a penchant for the Great American Songbook, and often has a nine-piece band to help him swing Sinatra standards. Tonight, however, Walesch is only working with two accompanists, but what a pair they are! Saxophonist Dave Karr may be in his 80s, but his sound is strong, and his improvisational abilities are bebop quick and buttery smooth. Dean Magraw is the genre-spanning guitarist who calls his approach “Heavy Meadow,” but puns aside, he’s a master of improvisation, whether working in a jazz fusion mode, or in a Celtic, acoustic mode.

Thursday, March 16

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Illicit Sextet, Minnesota’s first jazz composers collective, has a new CD, Addendum, and are celebrating with a Minneapolis release party tonight. Members are: Chris Lomheim, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Paul Harper, sax; Dave Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a song from their album.

Friday, March 17

Jason & the Q @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jason Weissman is a fine saxophonist with the kind of smooth vocals just perfect for crooning overlooked standards and the occasional original.

Nick Syman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Versatile trombonist Nick Syman plays with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, and with The Nexus Ensemble, a band that fuses jazz with hip-hop and R&B, as well as with Latin jazz ensembles, West African drumming groups, and traditional New Orleans jazz bands. Tonight he leads his quartet, featuring Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; and Pete Johnson on drums.

Jeremy Walker, King Baron Hot Several @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker-No Cover), 9pm (King Baron Hot Several) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour, then King Baron Hot Several brings their traditional New Orleans jazz, leavened with some contemporary sensibilities, for a sound that’s part second line, part traditional jazz, and part something else entirely. Band members are: Superb vocalist and trumpeter Cameron Kinghorn, vocalist Abbie Mills; reedman Nelson Devereaux; trombonist Keith Hilson; tuba player Evan Clark; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Saturday, March 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – JazzInk Youth Showcase, featuring Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams of Totino-Grace HS. 8:30 set is the Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet, with Hedenstrom  sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, March 19

Brian Lynch & the Emmet Cohen Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($25, $55 Dinner Show) Oh boy! Grammy winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is coming back to town again. His appearance last year with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at a Jazz Central fundraiser was energizing, which you might expect from someone who established his Latin bona fides with the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra. Tonight he’ll be playing with the Emmet Cohen Trio, led by pianist/organist Cohen  who was a child prodigy and has regularly worked with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Herlin Riley, Christian McBride, and as tonight, Brian Lynch. Cohen also is an avid teacher, visiting 50 schools a year through a Jazz at Lincoln Center program, and conducting workshops while touring (see below). Meanwhile, here is Lynch and Cohen in a duo.

Monday, March 20

Emmet Cohen B3 Organ Clinic @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm Here’s a chance to get Emmet Cohen’s insight into what it takes to play a Hammond B3 organ. The workshop is Included with the $20 ticket to any of four performances on Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, Tuesday, March 20, 21

Emmet Cohen Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) In a change from it’s usual presentation of resident artists, Jazz Central presents a well-resepected touring artist in four shows. Cohen’s trio includes Jamaican-born, Brooklyn based bassist Russell Hall, and drummer/percussionist Joe Saylor  who you may recognize as the cowboy-hatted drummer for Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the band for Steven Colbert’s show.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 15

Mary Flower on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mary Flower is a Portand Oregon based finger-picking and lap slide guitarist, with a voice that’s equal parts honey smooth and graveled whiskey. She was a top three finalist tin the 2000 and 2002 National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship, was named “A world class finger-style guitarist and lap slide player.” by Downbeat. Flower has 10 albums to her credit, the last four with the Memphis-based Yellow Dog Records. Tune in to Harold’s House Party, which is being broadcast from Indeed Brewing, and then head off to the 331 to hear her in person.

Samite w/Aida Shahghasemi @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 door) Cancelled due to travel conditions out East Ugandan born Samite was taught how to play traditional flute by his grandfather, and then when he was twelve, was introduced to a western flute by a music teacher. He became renowned throughout East Africa for his flute playing, until 1982, when he was forced to flee to Kenya as a political refugee. Now he lives in Ithaca New York, using smooth vocals, as well as kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes in his performances. Aida Shahghasemi moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in 2000. She fell in love with Persian classical music, studying it and even writing a senior project at the U Anthropology department on the restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran.

Thursday, March 16

Nicholas David w/Vic Volare, Ryan Young and Mike Cini, featuring Billy McLaughlin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) This is a benefit for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and will feature guitarist Billy McLaughlin.  McLaughlin is the Minneapolis-born guitarist who is recognized for his innovative technique on acoustic guitar, which led to a number of appearances on the Top Ten charts in the 90s. In 2001 McLuaghlin was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia, an incurable neuromuscular disorder which left him unable to play. In 2006 he decided to relearn his own songs one note at a time, using his opposite hand. The other star attraction tonight is Nicholas David, who we used to know, before his appearance on The Voice, as Nick the Feelin’ and though his name has changed, the emotive power of his “alternate soul” hasn’t. The singer/songwriter has already recorded five albums, and tours constantly.

Boiled in Lead @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advnace, $15 Door) Avoid the Friday crowds and celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with Boiled in Lead  those purveyors of Celtic and world musics with a punk-rock attitude, or as they put it, Rock n’ Reel. They’ve been at it since 1983, and in 2016, core members Todd Menton, David Stenshoel, and Drew Miller added drummer and multi-ethnic percussionist Michael Bissonette to the mix. After an evening dancing and jumping to these guys, you may not have any energy left for tomorrow. Listen to them.

Friday, March 17

Smithereens & Martha & The Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm,10pm ($45, $50) It’s not a St Patrick’s Day party, but fans of 80s rock will be celebrating this show. New Jersey rockers the Smithereens were responsible for a string of moderate hits that stuck to power pop and evoked 1960s rock, including Only a Memory, A Girl Like You, and Blood and Roses, inspiring a number of alternative rockers, including Curt Cobain. The Motels rocketed to stardom on the basis of their smash single, Only the Lonely, which helped the album All Four One achieve gold status. Lead singer Martha Davis went solo in 1987, and reformed the band in 1997. With new management, the band spent 2014 doing more shows than in any year since 1985. They have a new anthology due out this month, and a new album coming out later in the year.

Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Big-voiced songwriter/singer Annie Mack uses the blues as the foundation for her work, but she’s just as likely to draw inspiration from gospel music, Motown, Americana, and country music.

Belfast Cowboys @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s fifteen years to the date that this nine-piece Van Morrison tribute band played their first gig, and what better way for rockers to celebrate the day than with the music of Van Morrison. The Belfast Cowboys have headlined at BB Kings Blues Club in New York, opened with a three hour set for Chicago before 15000 people, and have played in Ireland. They are also the parent group to St. Dominic’s Trio, and proved their road warrior status by playing over 400 gigs from 2012 to 2014.

Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) It’s a St. Paddy’s day party for blues lovers, as the raw, punkish, delta sounds of Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders fill Famous Daves.

Saint Patrick’s Day @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 11am – 10om (Tip Jar) This friendly bar is actually an Irish pub, as you may gather from its name. They regularly feature Irish music and dancing, as well as other roots music, but today is the day to celebrate with them. If you don’t want to take part in a parade, the Dubliner has a whole day of music starting at 11am with Todd Menton; 2pm Charlie Heymann; 5pm Tiller Black; 8pm Irish Brigade

Saturday, March 18

Saturday Salon, featuring Taggart Squared @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’’s chamber music session will feature a couple of young siblings who have already made a mark in classical. fourteen year-old Emma Taggart has already won several local and international competitions and has played with several orchestras. She also played at Orchestra Hall alongside Shelia E’s band. Her bother is ten year-old Jacob Taggart, another classically trained pianist. Jacob was a finalist in the 2013 State Fair Talent competition, and in 2014 played with members of the Milan Chamber Orchestra at a piano festival in Lovere, Italy. He also played with Sheila E’s band, performing a jazz piece.

Katy Vernon Band w/April Fools @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Katy Vernon is a delightful singer and ukelele player who has used her songs to deal with tough challenges, leading her to say she sings “sad songs on a happy instrument.” The Star Tribune has called her “one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved folky singer/songwriters,” to which I agree. Her band includes Simon Husbands, another Brit, on keys and Clay Williams on guitar. Opening act the April Fools  led by Brian Drake, also features Williams on guitar. Ben Kaplan on drums, and Scott Hreha on bass round out the group, which performs  straight-up country, Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more.

Feufollet @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Get out those dancing shoes and be prepared to spin, twirl, and two-step as the Twin Cities’ Krewe de Walleye presents a Mardis Gras party for all the Cajun/Zydeco fans in the area. They’re bringing up Feufollet from South Louisiana to provide music for the party. Feufollet takes Cajun, honky-tonk, and string-band music as a starting point and keep an open mind about where the music takes them, and ultimately, where it takes dancers. The band consists of Chris Stafford, vocal, accordion, guitars; Kelli Jones-Savoy, vocals, fiddle, guitar; Andrew Toups, keys; Mike Stafford, drums; and Philippe Billeaudeaux, bass.

Sunday, March 19

Jazz Brunch w/Nutria @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (Tip Jar) Nutria is a trio that was formed in New Orleans. They emphasize collective improvisation as they explore jazz, chamber music, and the musics of the African Diaspora and eastern Europe.  The band is Byron Asher, tenor sax and clarinet; Trey Boudreaux, bass; and Shawn Myers, drums.

Tuesday, March 21

Dreamland Faces Record Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) If you’ve never heard Dreamland Faces  their music may come as a surprise as no one else in the area does what they do, which is to compose and perform musical scores for silent films – over 50 at this point. The group was organized by Karen Majewicz, who plays two types of piano accordion, and multi-instrumentalist Andy McCormick, who is best know for his great ability on the musical saw. Together with a rotating cast of other musicians, they utilize accordion, musical saw, pump organ, pain, double bass on vocals on a repertoire that includes modern classical music, waltzes, tanks, and original compositions. Opening are the Poor Nobodys  a seven-piece group that plays spaghetti western type instrumentals, along with Americana, and old country waltzes.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 21, 22

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ the Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($45-$60) Rowdy, passionate, bar band R&B from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Johnny is an alumni of bars on the Jersey Shore, where he and friends Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt came up before hitting the big time, a few decades back. He more than satisfied with his performance at the Dakota last year around this 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.


Variety and Quality: 3.8 – 3.15

March 8, 2017

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


Jazz

Wednesday, March 8

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

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

Thursday, March 9

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

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

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

Thursday, Friday, March 9,10

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

Friday, March 10

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

Friday, Saturday, March 10, 11

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

Saturday, March 11

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

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

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

Monday, March 13

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

Tuesday, March 14

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

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

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

 

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 8

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

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

Thursday, March 9

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

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

Friday, March 10

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

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

Saturday, March 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 12

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

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

Monday, Tuesday, March 12, 13

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

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


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.


Visitors and Special Events: 2.15 – 2.21

February 15, 2017

unknown-1There are lots of interesting gigs this week, some of which required a long explanation, while I’ve covered others with just a few sentences. We’ve a couple of high-profile visitors and a few special events to pique our interests and bring us musical pleasure. Whatever you choose, just remember that music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 15

Ambrose Akinmusire and Kool A.D. @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($20) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series commissions new projects presented in unique venues. Such is the case tonight, when young jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire partners with rapper Kool A.D.to create a brand new chamber music work. Akinmusire won both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competiton and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition back in 2007, when he was 25. He has since put out three albums and was a sideman on about 25 albums, including CDs by Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, and Steve Coleman, among others. Kool A.D. is the nom de rap of Victor Vasquez. The rapper’s work was described by Mother Jones magazine as:  “a thoughtful effort to deconstruct and rearrange cultural objects in ways that challenge our deepest assumptions.” Special guests include The Mivos String Quartet along with pianist Sam Harris and drummer Justin Brown

Jeremy Walker Songtet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker is a musical explorer, who delves into musical styles and creates haunting compositions. This new group is about great songs. He’s enlisted Jason Harms, who was heard in Walker’s epic 7 Psalms, to work with the Songtet interpreting great songs, whether Walker originals, or from Dylan, Ellington, or the Great American Songbook. Joining Walker and Harms are two other frequent collaborators: Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums.

Thursday, February 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/MMEA Badge) Meckler is a trumpeter-about-town who is a gifted composer and teacher. He’ll be doing a workshop at the MMEA conference Friday afternoon, working with the band from Spring Lake Park High School. He’s bringing his 18 piece orchestra to the Dakota to provide MMEA participants and others with a preview of his work.

Maria Schneider Orchestra @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($35 – $65; Discounts for students, seniors, military, MPR) Five-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider grew up in Windom, attended the U and essentially redefined the sound of a jazz orchestra. Schneider is one of the leading lights of jazz these days, and was recently on the cover of Downbeat, when her album The Thompson Fields was named the best of the year in the magazine’s Readers Poll. The evocative, gorgeous album, named for the fields near her Windom home, won the 2016 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Students can get a 2-4-1 discount by using the code WWMA.

David Rempis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Rempis is a free jazz saxophonist who isn’t afraid to do solo performances. With a background that includes studying African music in Ghana, years with Chicago’s Vandermark Sound, numerous collaborations, and as an organizer of Chicago’s indie-rock Pitchfork Festival, Rempis will be performing one set solo tonight, as well as a set with Levi Schwartzberg, vibes and piano; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Ruckus Trio spent most of January touring, so tonight’s show should be quite tight, featuring Ruckus on drums; Javi Santiago on piano; and Greg Byers on bass and cello. Though this video from just a few weeks ago is dark, the sound is good.

Friday, February 17

The Jazz Bridge Project @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7 suggested donation) Here’s a relatively new project featuring the father-son team of Roger Johnson, guitar; and Rajah Johnson on flute; as well as Ron Evanuik, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Abebi Stafford, keys.

Jay Young & the Lyric Factory @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00[pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Jay Young brings his funky, jazzy R&B to the basement club, featuring music from Blondie, Tina Tuner, Steely Dan, and Bobby Brown. The band consists of Jay Young, piccolo bass; Ian Young, bass; Theo Harris, drums; Tom West, keys; Ernest Bisong, violin; Haylee Dee, vocals; and Caitlynn Daniels, vocals.

Saturday, February 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) JazzINK once again presents an young opening act for this series: Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams. Headliners are What Would Monk Do? with Peter Schimke, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Kenny Horst on drums.

Sunday, February 19

Kaki King @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42) It’s difficult to slot guitarist Kaki King into any genre, or even describe her music. She’s worked with bands like the Foo Fighters and Timbaland, contributed to film and TV soundtracks, and sometimes performs with a NYC-based string quartet ETHEL. She also performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical pice commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Tonight, she’s presenting “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” in a multi-media performance.

Patty Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Singer Patty Peterson is celebrating the anniversary of the aortic tear which almost ended her life about ten years ago. Thankfully, she’s still with us, and still sounding great, as she proved at the Winter Jazz Fest a couple of weeks ago. She’ll be performing songs that celebrate life and love. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

Monday, February 20

MVP Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $30), 9pm ($25) Bobby Watson  sax; Donald Brown, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums; are the MVP Quartet. They have played together in various combinations and bands since these veterans were young. Both Watson and Brown were in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, though at different times. Drummond and Smith both have extensive resumes. Here’s Watson with a standard.

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) I suspect that I mention Mary Louise quite a bit, but she’s such a great pianist, I feel more folks should know about her. After all, she’s the first call pianist for Doc Severensen when he tours the Midwest. She’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums, in Crooners’ listening room. Here’s what she sounds like.

Tuesday, February 21

UW Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble w/Michael Davis @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Jazz Studies program at UW Eau Claire has been doing a great job of turning out musicians. Tonight they’ve invited NYC-based trombonist Michael Davis to sit in with their Jazz Ensemble. The bone-man is widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones since 1994. He toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released 9 solo CDs, composed over 150 works, authored 10 books and appeared on over 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. He’s worked with scores of high-profile musicians, including Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Terence Blanchard and others.

MVP Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) After playing at the Dakota lat night (see above), this all-star quartet is moving over to the Vieux.

Tuesday, Wednesday, February 21, 22

Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly & George @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm  ($40 – $55), 9pm ($24 – $45) Pianist Aaron Diehl turns the spotlight on the music of rag time pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and popular composer George Gershwin. There is certainly plenty of wonderful material to explore, and Diehl has picked out both classic tunes as well as little-known gems for further exploration. He’ll be joined by  pianist Adam Birnmaum, who has played with Al Foster, Wallace Roney, Eddie Gomez, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as well as young contemporary artists. Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant is the icing on the cake, so to speak, with her ability to unearth new interpretations of standards and long-forgotten, yet worthwhile tunes.

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 15

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Joe and Vicki have such a fan base here in the Twin Cities that they could almost move here from their Decorah, Iowa home. Listen in during the 5 o’clock hour to catch their spare, but effective blues.

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Here we have three masters of slack key guitar – a distinctly Hawaiian style of open tunings. George Kahumoku Jr, Kawika Kahiapo, & Nathan Aweau are masters of the instrument who have produced four Grammy-winning CDs.

Maurice Jacox @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a chance to hear a vocal master of R&B, soul, blues, and even some crooning in the comfy confines of this “dive-ish” bar with friendly staff.

Aaron Kerr’s Dissonant Creatures @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Original compositions from electric cellist Aaron Kerr  along with Jeff Crandall, guitar; Toni Tinetti, cello; Justin DeLeon, drums; Matt Kanive, bass; Mike Nordgy, mandolin & percussion; and Brett Hansen, guitar.

Thursday, February 16

International Novelty Gamelan @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A gamelan is a traditional music ensemble from Indonesia that typically uses bronze percussive instruments. The ING may not be Indonesian, but it’s six members have taken the music of that far-off land to heart, and learned to create their own songs as well. Their music is drone-like, and can be very abstract, which makes it perfect for the cauldron of progressive music presented at Khyber Pass.

Friday, February 17

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The Duchess of the Blues, singing and playing for your early evening dancing pleasure.

Dobet Gnahoré @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) 9pm ($25, $30) This singer, dancer, and percussionist from the Ivory Coast is likely to stun you with the sheer physicality of her dancing, though her singing (in a variety of African languages) and time-keeping are nothing to sneeze at. Gnahoré has a warm, powerful voice, and a commanding stage presence, sure to hold you in wonder.

Slimabration @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, Donation at Door) It’s been five years since Bob “Slim” Dunlap experienced the stroke that sidelined him from playing music, and racked up some significant medical expenses. Slim’s friends and family decided to mark the occasion with a celebration of Bob and his music, featuring solo and band performances from the likes of Dan Baird, of the Georgia Satellites; John Eller & Friends; Curtiss A, Frankie Lee, Whale in the Thames, and many more. There will be craft food and beverages available.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free beverage) Primer served as bandleader and lead guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. He’s received two Grammy nominations, including a 2017 nomination as Best Traditional Blues Artist (Male). In other words, when it comes to the blues, Primer is the real deal.

Saturday, February 18

Ling-Ju Lai: The Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Host Maria Jette has lined up an impressive array of artists to perform for the somewhat informal Saturday Salon series. Though Ms Jette’s commentary and quick wit keep things light, the audience is as rapt as possible in this listening room. Today features pianist Ling-Ju Lai  a native of Taiwan who has gained an international reputation for her creative interpretations of Baroque music. From the venue’s description: “Highlights of the 2016-17 season include appearances in notable concert series such as the Aula de Música at the University of Alcalá in Spain, the PianoForte Foundation Salon Series in Chicago, and Brookline Library Music Association Concert Series in Massachusetts presenting The Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach.”

Freaker’s Ball 2017 @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Let your Freak Flag Fly as the White Iron BandKung Fu Hippies, and trumpeter Willie Waldman take you on a trip through various stomp-your-feet permutations of roots, jam band, psychedelic, and free form music.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Silvertones are a cover band that features rock and R&B from the sixties, for that evening when you just want to sing along and (for older folks) perhaps relive your youth.

Sunday, February 19

Bad Companions @ The Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Two guitars, a stand-up bass, and drums are just what is needed to play roots-rock that encompasses Rockabilly, R&B, Country, and the Blues. Al Subola (Vibro Champs), guitar; Dan Gaarder (Trailer Trash), guitar; W.E. Keefe (Vibro Champs), bass; and Hayden Grooms (Hillions) are the Bad Companions  providing the sounds in the Sunken Garden of the Margorie McNeely Conservatory. Beer and wine is available and the music is piped into the North Garden and Palm Dome so you can keep up with the music as you enjoy the plants and humidity of the Conservatory. Here they are with the addition of a saxophonist.

Tuesday, February 21

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Latin sounds by the first American Group to be invited and appear at the International Danzon Festival in Havana. Leader Doug Little will have just returned from Cuba, so I imagine he will be pumped.

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

 


Lovers and Music: 2.8 – 2.15

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

Clearly thinking: Valentines Day – Meh!

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

Jazz

Wednesday, February 8

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

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

Thursday, February 9

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

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

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

Friday, February 10

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

Saturday, February 11

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

Sunday, February 12

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

Monday, February 13

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 8

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

Thursday, February 9

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

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

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

Friday, February 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, February 11

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

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

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

Sunday, February 12

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

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

Monday, February 13

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

Tuesday, February 14

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

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

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

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


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.


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