Music Galore: 6.24 – 6.30

June 24, 2015

illustration of music background in doodle style

The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is upon us, with more opportunities to hear free music than I could possibly list. You can always find a complete schedule for the Jazz Festival here.

Of course, there is much more music to be found in town, including some visiting blues and roots artists of note, as well as The Pride Festival, the Midwest Harmonica Workshop, the Twin Cities Bass Camp concerts from Saturday through Tuesday, and some post-festival music at the Dakota. Here is just a brief sampling. Music lifts the spirit


Wednesday, June 24

Lila Ammons @ Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) The Tangiers is a great spot to hear vocalist Ammons  what with its glitzy decor, and generally low key style on Wednesday evenings.

Ted Olson Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Olson, who graduated from high school in 2010, is studying music and composition at Luther College, and the University Of Northern Colorado, where he recently graduated. He’s been gigging around town as a sideman, and leads his own group, as he will this evening. You can hear some tracks by him here.

Thursday, June 25

Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) What with Marci Ball tomorrow night, and Dr. John at the Jazz Festival on Saturday, we have a bit of a New Orleans weekend going on. The Dirty Dozen are responsible for blowing new life into the brass band tradition about 30 years ago or so, by incorporating both pop and jazz standards into their repertoire, and spawning groups like Rebirth Brass Band and more. They are still a band to be reckoned with. Here they are at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

Nicole Carey & Hanna Cesario @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Two up and coming vocalists, each with a distinct voice. Carey gets her inspiration from Judy Garland, Fleetwood Mac, Strayhorn, and Gershwin, among others. Cesario creates her own arrangements of jazz standards on ukulele. They will be joined by Doug Rhode on piano.

Friday, June 26

Maurice Jacox Trio @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover)  If you aren’t taking in the Jazz Festival, but still want to hear some jazz, head up Central Avenue to a mile or two north of 694, to catch the veteran vocalist who is at home with jazz standards and Nat King Cole as he with stripped down Blues and R&B.

Saturday, June 27

Esperanza Spalding’s Emily’s D+Evolution @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. 9pm ($29) Bassist/Singer/Songwriter Spalding  appeared at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years back, when Prince famously listened in his limo and then invited her to jam at Paisley Park until the wee hours.   She went on to appear at the Dakota a couple of times and win a Grammy as Best New Artist, a first for a jazz artist. Since then she’s been growing as an artist and trying out different approaches to her music. Her latest project revolves around her childhood interest in theater, poetry and movement. Like Chamber Music Society, this performance is part theater, part music.

Sunday, June 28

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) Pizzarelli is a charming raconteur and formidable guitarist who can breathe new life into songs that have been done hundreds of times. His singing and scatting adds to the pleasure of a performance, as you can see and hear in this video.

Monday, June 29

TC Bass Camp Party @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Tonight’s edition of JT’s Jazz Implosion is part of a series of concerts from the Twin Cities Bass Camp. The evening starts with a duo set by bassists  Jeff Harshberger and Doan Roessler. For the second set they’ll be joined by Pete Hennig and Martin Dosh, drums; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Erik Fratzke, guitar

Tuesday, June 30

Charles Lloyd @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50), 9pm ($30, $40) If you are a jazz fan, you have to here this master saxophonist at least once in your life. Lloyd’s career goes back to the 60s, when he won many young fans by playing the Fillmore in San Francisco. He is a musical force, a titan of jazz. Here, for example, is his ethereal take on a Brian Wilson song.

Francois Rabbath @ Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20/$15 for seniors & students) Rabbath is a French master bassist whose work with the double bass is considered as important as Paganini’s on violin. He has blown folks away in previous appearances in town, notably at the Minnesota Sur Seine festivals some years back. He will be accompanied by his son Sylvain on piano. Expect a night of exquisite, uplifting music

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 24

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) Get some hot Cajun music to go with the warm weather we’ve been having, as another season of Groovin’ in the Garden kicks off with the Rockin’ Pinecones  There’ll be activities for kids and (I believe) wine and beer for adults.

Wayne “The Train” Hancock @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($15) Whether you call him alt-country, the keeper of the classic country sound, or a honky-tonker, guitarist/singer Hancock puts such energy into old songs that they sound new again, and creates new songs that fit right alongside the classics. Hank Williams III has recorded a couple of his songs, and the two recorded a duet together. He’s now on Bloodshot Records the alt-country label that can get him more exposure among young rockabilly and alt-country fans. Opening by Ross Kleiner & the Thrill.

Thursday, June 25

Hurricane Harold & Friends @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) I believe this may be the first time Harold has headlined at the downtown watering hole & kitchen. His raucous harp playing will surely catch the attention of the after-work crowd, and he always has an interesting mix of friends with whom he plays.

Icicles @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No cover) Jake Hanson, guitars; Jim Anton, bass; and Jeremy Hanson, drums explore the sonic possibilities of a reverb-loving trio.

Friday, June 26

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35), 10pm ($30) I’ve seen Ms Ball at least 8-10 times, and she always creates a rollicking good time. As a pianist she channels Professor Longhair, Clifton Chenier, and Fats Domino into her own musical stew of music that celebrates life. Here she is on A Prairie Home Companion.

Buddy Guy @ The Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater, Apple Valley. 7:30pm ($65) It’s been about 30 years since you could catch Guy at the old Blues Saloon for about $10, but times change, artists, and their reputations grow, and the amphitheater at the Zoo is decidedly larger, and offers more comfort than the old saloon (if it doesn’t rain). Guy is one of the few surviving blues musicians from the 50s/60s flowering of Chicago Blues, and is a recipient of Kennedy Center Honors. He can play like any rock guitar god, if he feels the audience is looking for that, but he’ll surely provide explosive blues guitar that is both moving and satisfying.

Rockin’ Johnny @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) San Francisco harpslinger Aki Kumar is in town for the Midwest Harmonica Workshop  and tonight he’s joining with Jeremy Johnson, guitar; Bill Black, bass; and Richard Medek, drums to perform. Come see why he’s one of the featured teachers at the workshop.

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) The dance floor at Dave’s will be filled with zydeco dancers, twirling, spinning, and generally having a good ol’ time. Dopsie is a member of a storied zydeco family (his father was Rockin’ Dopsie), and he certainly knows the tradition, but he infuses his zydeco with touches of soul, blues, and more, creating a higher than usual energy quotient. For zydeco, that’s saying’ something.

Erik Koskinen Band @ the Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Alt-country singer/guitarist Koskinen writes well-crafted songs about the vagaries of life. He’s releasing a new album, Live at the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, recorded at the JJ Hill Library during the monthly series. Opening by Leo Rondeau, a Texas by way of North Dakota singer/songwriter.

Saturday, June 27

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) The honky-tonkin’ Watson has a  New Album, Call Me Insane, on Saint Paul’s Red House Records. Known as Austin’s King of Country, Watson writes songs that are populated with characters he’s met while performing around the country.  Opening by Doug Otto & the Getaways.

Black-Eyed Snakes @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This electric blues band from Duluth is led by Frontman Alan Sparks of LOW and the Retribution Gospel Choir. They’ve toured the US with Charlie Parr, using jagged guitars for an occasional foray into psychedelia, all in the name of bringing raw emotions to the fore.

NextNotes Concert 2015 @ Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Macalester College, Saint Paul. 8pm – 9pm (Free) Six up and coming composers from around the country will present their original compositions. Each is a winner of NextNotes, an American Composer Forum competition for High School composers. Music will range from string and brass ensembles to pop/rock and electronic compositions.

Sunday, June 28

Javier & the Innocent Sons: Blues and Brews @ Nicollet Island Pavillion, Minneapolis. ($50) Sure it’s a bit more than you’d expect to pay for these resident bluesmen  but it’s a fundraiser, with the money raised going to a good cause. It will go to Canvas Health, an organization that provides mental health services and suicide prevention phone lines and text lines. There will be craft beer poured by local breweries along with food pairings. Plus, for those of you who enthusiastically partake of all the offered brews, Dry Drivers will get you and your car home safely with a free ride.

Monday, June 29

Becca Stevens @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Stevens is a vocalist/guitarist who has been getting great reviews around the country and has collaborated on a wide variety of projects across musical genres. The NY Times calls her “New York’s best kept secret,” and Kurt Elling, who knows a thing or two about singing, heralds her talent.


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. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.

The Height of Summer. Music: 7.24 – 7.30

July 24, 2013
Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Well, this Saturday is shaping up to be one of the best of the summer, with an abundance of music offerings. We’ve a Roots Festival in Saint Paul, the Dakota Street Fest in Minneapolis, and dozens of other performances in jazz, blues, and roots, only a few of which I’ve listed. It’s what we wait for throughout the winter, and then we end up with making difficult choices, or mapping out a day of travel between events. We are lucky to have such a cornucopia of talent in our midst.


Wednesday, July 24

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Now into his ninth decade of performing, Karr plays the saxophone with beauty and grace, even when playing a bracing bebop number.

Thursday, July 25

Jeremy Walker Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Ted NashDavid BerkmanAnthony Cox, & guests from the MN Opera come together to help raise funds for pianist/composer Jeremy Walker (Nownet!, Boot Camp, Small City Trio), who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease after years of suffering. Nash and Berkman will be playing with Boot Camp, and Cox will be playing with his own band, Happy Spirits.

Unknown-1Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra w/Charmin Michelle @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 7:15pm – 10pm. (Free) The Ordway Summer Dance series continues, with lessons on ballroom dancing followed by big band sounds, and thrush Charmin Michelle.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) If you’re looking for more great music after the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, or maybe want a cool dark spot to listen, mosey over to the AQ, where Pete Whitman gathers nine terrific musicians to play energetic jazz.

Friday, Saturday, July 26, 27

Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Quite the lineup, one that could easily headline a high-profile NY club. Besides Lea (traps and conga), who in his forty years of experience has worked with folks ranging from Pharoah Sanders to Van Morrison, he’ll have Anthony Cox, bass; Richard Johnson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.

Saturday, July 27

Dorothy Doring @ Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Doring is a personable, versatile, and charming vocalist who knows her way around jazz and blues. Her recent recording of tunes by Ellington & Strayhorn received much critical praise. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Lincoln Berry on organ, and Donald Thomas on drums. Live music on the deck overlooking the lake. Sounds like an ideal summer evening.

The drum master at work

The drum master at work

Eric Kamau Gravatt Drum Clinic and The Cockeyed Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30 clinic ($15) 7;30 concert ($15,  $20 for clinic & concert)  Famed drummer Gravatt will give a clinic on drum patterns, and some of the history of drumming. Afterwards, he’ll join Gregg Inhofer and the Cock-eyed band for a performance. There will also be music from The Electric String Quartet, an ambient pop group, and poetry from Neil Hilborn, plus free food and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer and wine will be available for sale as well.

Sunday, Monday, July 28, 29

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ruffins is a terrific trumpet player who perfectly encapsulates much of what is loved about New Orleans music. Aside from his technical bona fides, he projects soulfulness, joyfulness, and playfulness in his performances, mixing the traditional with new, and keeping the spirit of Louis Armstrong alive. Plus, he actually cooks Barbeque when performing in N’Awlins. With the end of the series Treme, he’s returned to touring.

Tuesday, July 30

UnknownDick & Jane’s Brass Band @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Lake & 35th Ave. This new neighborhood bar and restaurant is starting to feature music a few nights a week and is looking to make Tuesdays a New Orleans night, starting with Dick & Jane’s Brass Band. With the bar’s selection of craft beer, and its homemade, unique takes on burgers and other bar food, this could be a very fun evening.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler has been on a tear lately, writing and arranging modern compositions for his 18 piece band. After spending almost a year doing shows at Jazz Central, they are moving to the bigger space of the AQ where they are starting a last Tuesday residency. I’ll have Adam on my show (90.3 & 106.78FM) this Saturday, the 27th, to talk about the orchestra and preview a couple of their tunes.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, July 25

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) The Pinecones have been dispensing New Orleans R&B, along with Cajun and Zydeco tunes for quite a while now, and have no trouble getting both veteran and neophyte dancers up and dancing on one of the best dance floors in the cities.

Rick Estrin & the Nitecats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Estrin and the Nightcats play fun-filled blues. Estrin has developed a slightly cheesy, always humorous persona as a skirt chasin, blues lovin’ smart ass. It’s hard to find blues that’s this humorous. Check out this video to see what I mean.

Friday, July 26

Chicago Afrobeat Project feat. Tony Allen, and Blackmarket Brass @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Tony Allen was the drummer for Fela for fifteen years. Tonight he’ll be joining the Chicago Afrobeat Project for another evening of pulsing, mesmerizing music. The Twin Cities own Blackmarket Brass open. Here they are.

Dreamland Faces @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Dreamland Faces create new old music, utilizing a bassoon, accordion, piano, and saw. They’ll be joined by the Skeleton Crew of Scott Fultz, sax; Sean O’Hea, marimba; and Julie Sweet, piano. Julie is also the pianist for Dreamland Faces.

Saturday, July 27

Lowertown Roots Festival @ Mears Park, The Black Dog, and the Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 2pm – 10pm. (Free) Lowertown is taken over by various kinds of roots music, from folk to Nordic, to Zydeco. Music starts at 2:30 at Mears Park, and will feature Paul Dahlin, Nordic Angst, the bluegrass of the  High 48s, the Violin Roots Ensemble of Randy Sabien, and zydeco master CJ Chenier. Over at the Hat Trick there’s a different artist every hour, starting at 2pm, and the Black Dog will feature music starting at 8pm.

Dakota Street Fest @ 10th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm. After a hiatus last year, the Dakota Street Fest returns with twenty bands on four stages, showcasing musicians across a number of genres. Artists range from Sophia Shorai and Debbie Duncan to Sonny Knight & the Lakers, Kelley Hunt, The Tex Pistols, Irv Williams, Paul Metsa with Willie Walker and Willie West, Patty Peterson, and the Dakota Combo.

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Great Food Truck Rally @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (Free) Twelve food trucks, including AZ Canteen, A La Plancha, and Bloomy’s Roast Beef, will gather at the Tap Room, where five different groups will be playing during the day. Bands include Vinyl Lounge at Noon; Big Blue Station Wagon (Zack Lozier’s electric trio) at 2pm; Concentual at 4pm; Maurice Jacox Group at 6pm; and The Butanes at 8pm.

The Flamin’ Ohs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) In the late 70s, they were called Flamingo, and though they were a rock band, and not a punk band, they caused quite a stir in the Twin Cities music scene. After changing their name to the Flamin’ Oh’s, they recorded a couple of well-recieved albums and toured nationally. Attrition, families, and life eventually wore them down and by the late 80s, they had gone their separate ways. Now, since a 1997 reunion, they are playing once again, if sporadically, bringing their heart felt rock n’ roll to grown up Gen Xers, and a new audience of millenials. Here’s a video that got played on MTV back when it actually played music videos.

Monday, July 29

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15) Lee’s is the Honky-Tonk/Rockabilly epicenter of the Twin Cities. What better place to see Dale Watson, a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and his traditional/maverick style of country music. His most recent album, El Rancho Azul, for Red House Records, charted on Billboard, and earned him a June appearance on David Letterman. Here’s a video from that appearance.

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

Music for a Winter Wonderland 12.12 – 12.18

December 12, 2012
The Brass Messengers will lead Santacon participants throughout Lowertown

The Brass Messengers will lead Santacon participants throughout Lowertown

Well, we finally have some weather to match our reputation. Don’t let that stop you from going out, however. There is too much good music out there to stay home. Simply make sure you have more time for travel. After all, we’re all getting used to driving in snow and ice again. Have a good week.


imagesWednesday, Thursday, December 12, 13

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) Though Pizzarelli is sometimes touted for his vocals on the Great American Songbook, it’s his guitar playing that stands out. He’s also a charming conversationalist, as anyone who has listened to his NPR show will attest.

Thursday, December 13

Ahmed & the Creators @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($?) It’s true, you have to climb stairs to get to this inviting venue, but when you do, you’ll be treated to the hard bop/mainstream sounds of this classic sextet.

Friday, December 14

Fratzke, Hanson, Roessler, Hennig & Legget @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) It’s a “Not so Silent Night” at the Black Dog, as Eric Fratzke, guitar; Brian Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig and Pete Legget, drums, create improvisational music.

Friday, Saturday, December 14, 15

Laura Caviani Holiday Show @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Caviani will be performing music from her cool album of holiday songs, Music We Have Heard On High, with Lucia Newell on vocals, Jay Young on bass, Dave Schmalenberger on drums, and Saturday only, Pete Whitman on sax. Though it’s not holiday music, here’s a video of Laura.

Saturday, December 15

University of Manitoba Jazz Studies Faculty Master Class @ Walker West Academy, Saint Paul.11am (Free with Pre-Registration)  Here’s a chance for aspiring young musicians to take a free master class with six internationally known musicians who teach at the University of Manitoba. This event, and their performance later in the day (see below) are part of an effort to recruit young musicians to their program in Winnipeg. If you know someone who might benefit from the class, register them at 651-224-2929.

Jazz Studies Faculty @ Progressive Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Ave, Saint Paul. 7:00pm (Free)  Steve Kirby, bass; Anna-Lisa Kirby, voice; Quincy Davis, drums; Will Bonness, paino; Laurent Roy, guitar; Derrick Gardner, trumpet; and Craig Bailey, sax, will be performing. These are nationally recognized musicians who have played with Basie; Ellington; Cyrus Chestnut, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, and Wynton Marsalis, among others.

imagesJef Lee Johnson, Yohannes Tona, & Michael Bland @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($12) Johnson  plays jazz, funk, and blues-rock, with an individual style that has Hendrix influences. He’s worked with, and earned praises from, folks like Chaka Khan (who called him a “gift from God”), as well as Esperanza Spalding, George Duke, Christian McBride, and McCoy Tyner. His cohorts tonight are Ethiopian-born Twin Cities bassist Yohannes Tona (Nachito Herrera and Stokely Williams), and drummer Michael Bland (Prince, Soul Asylum, Mambo’s Combo). Should be an evening of exciting music.

Monday, December 17

Pete Hennig & Jazz Central All-Stars @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Drummer Hennig is versatile enough to play   stripped down blues with Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, 21st Century jazz with the Atlantis Quartet, and provide the drum chair for Adam Meckler’s big band. He also plays the banjo, though I don’t think he’ll playing that percussive instrument tonight. Here’s a video of Pete with Nathan Hanson on sax at the Black Dog.

Charlie Christiansen Trio @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Christiansen is a vocalist and piano player who heads up the vocal department at MacNally Smith. He’ll be joined by trumpeter Adam Meckler for an evening of standards and original Christmas and Holiday music.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 12

imagesTim Sparks and Dean Magraw @ The Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – doors at 6:30 ($25) Sparks is a finger-picking monster, who will be playing selections from his revolutionary “Nutcracker Suite.” It’s the 20th Anniversary of the recording, which has been hailed as a significant contribution to the existing body of guitar literature. He’ll also be doing his rendition of East European dance tunes found in his latest work, Balkan Dreams. Dean Magraw, another terrific player opens. Tim came by my show and played a few tunes this past Saturday, the 8th. Go here to listen. The interview and songs start about 30 minutes into the show.

Thursday, December 13

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($15) Some call Watson alt-country, but he sure sounds like a traditional honky-tonker to me. Traditional as in Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Hank Thompson. This Texas Troubadour simply doesn’t go along with country cliches or current “Gnashville” approaches to the industry. Local faves The Cactus Blossoms open. Here’s a video.

Southside Aces Christmas CD Release Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($5) The Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz, which they’re applying to some Christmas tunes in the form of a CD called “Santaphone.” They’ll be joined by some special guests, as they are on the CD, including Charlie DeVore, Rick Rexroth, Nadine DuBois, Maude Hixon, and the Beaujolais Sisters. Let the dancing begin.

Friday, December 14

4th Annual Holiday Shindig @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) A collection of some of the best songwriters in the Twin Cities, including Martin Devaney, Steve kaul, Alison Rae, and Dan Gaardner. They’ll be doing seasonal originals and holiday favorites, and it will all culminate in a sing-a-long and free raffle. All ticket proceeds go to Open Arms of MN to cook and deliver meals to folks with life-threatening diseases. It’s a small club, so table reservations are recommended.

Lamont Cranston Band w/Bruce McCabe @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm  – 9pm ($?) This is the Cranston’s first album of all new studio material in 15 years for this veteran blues and boogie outfit. If you’ve never heard the Cranstons, especially with pianoman McCabe goosing the energy, you deserve to check them out.

Saturday, December 15

Just follow the tuba.

Follow the tuba.

Lowertown Santacon V @ Lowertown venues, Saint Paul. 5:30pm (Free) This is the fifth year for this rambling convocation of folks dressed as Santa’s, Mrs Santa, elves, and other Christmas beings. It starts at the Black Dog Cafe, where kids are welcome, but after that, it’s strolling to various venues throughout the neighborhood, led by the Brass Messengers, and singing songs and having a few adult beverages. Don’t overdo it, though. No one likes an inebriated elf.

Booker T and the MGs & The Ventures Cover Band @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 10pm. I’m not sure who is in this band, but it sounds intriguing and fun. The two bands created some of the most memorable instrumentals of the 60s, which should sound just fine in the cozy comfines of the downtown Maude.

Hot Pants Dance Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Time for the Holiday edition of dancing to rare soul and funk 45s. Their poster promises a Love Potion Voodoo Dance. Don’t know if that’s Love Potion #9, or another batch.

Monday, Tues, Wednesday, December 17, 18, 19

ToP Funkifying the Zoo last summer

Funkifying the Zoo last summer

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($70, $55), 9pm ($60, $45) The funkiest band from Oakland/San Francisco is still a powerhouse of butt-moving rhythms and horn licks. Though they’ve been going for 44 years, the band had 1400 people movin’ and groovin’ when they played the Zoo last summer. No doubt they will have folks shakin’ it and jumpin’ out of their seats at the Dakota.

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

It’s Officially Summer. Music for 6.20 – 6.26

June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice is upon us. Heat is upon us. Rains are upon us. And we have a new music venue in town. The Icehouse in the Whittier neighborhood is presenting jazz late night on Mondays, and from 8:30 – 10:30 weekends. Other nights feature soul & funk deejays, and acoustic, rootsy music. Around the corner, The Eat Street Social is beginning to have afternoon music on Saturdays. We have some stellar artists performing this week. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is next week. Life is good.


Wednesday, June 20

Off the Map @ The Clown Lounge. Photo by Howard Gittelson

Off The Map @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm. (Tip jar) Brandon Wozniak, alto; Bryan Nichols, keyboards; and Jay Epstein, drums. This bass-less trio used to perform more often, but each of them is so busy with other projects that this is a rare appearance.

Maude Hixson and French 75 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Maude and her sextet perform “foreign-born offerings from 20th Century songwriters.” Maude’s cool, inviting voice is the perfect vehicle for evoking smoky clubs with a distingue clientele.

Friday, June 22

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric and Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Ritz Theater, NE Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This is a CD Release Party for A Love Electric’s 2nd CD on Royal Potato Records. The Adam Meckler Orchestra is proving to be an exciting aggregation, playing Meckler’s original compositions and premiering his arrangement of one of Clouser’s tunes.

Jeremy Boettcher and Phil Aaron @ The Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Boettcher is a young, up and coming bassist. Aaron is a seasoned piano player with exquisite taste. The Icehouse is a new restaurant/music venue.

Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) This group was originally put together for the celebration of drummer King’s music at the Walker a couple of years ago. They’ve proven to be popular enough to play and tour regularly, adding another component to King’s plethora of groups. Erik Fratzke, guitar; Adam Linz, bass, Brandon Wozniak and Chris Speed, saxes.

Saturday, June 23

Linda Peterson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Another talented member of the Peterson clan, Linda is an accomplished composer and pianist with slightly smoky vocals.

Monday, June 25

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 & 11:30 ($5) Wow, it’s been a long time since Mike Lewis, sax; Adam Linz, bass; and JT Bates, drums, performed at the Clown Lounge. This time around they’re playing a venue with a wide variety of drinks and an appealing bar menu. If you’ve never seen FKW, expect adventurous forays into originals and jazz standards. For a review of a NYC appearance of a few years ago, click here.

Tuesday, June 26

Clouser & Buckley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:00pm (No Cover) Todd Clouser is the inventive guitarist who has been touring both nationally and internationally with his band A Love Electric. James Buckley plays bass in a number of aggregations, including some whose music strays far from jazz. If you’re going for music, get there early to find a seat at the bar. If you want to eat at this popular neighborhood bistro, make sure to get reservations and ask to be near the music.

Emily Singin’ for Swing Dancers

Emily Green @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Green is a nuanced vocalist with an easy way with swing. Just right for the couples that come out to dance at this coffeehouse. Hear examples of Emiy’s singing on her myspace page.

Magraw, Nichols, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The AQ continues to find new combinations of musicians. This time the “house rhythm section” of Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums; is joined by guitarmaster Dean Magraw and ever-busy pianist Bryan Nichols.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 20

Dustin Hatzenbuhler @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (free) Hatzenbuhler goes for the nerdy look, which you’ll forget once he starts singing, as he has a soulful voice and is a good songwriter, with a penchant for covers of Marvin Gaye and Adele, among others.

Cactus Blossoms on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – tip Jar). With their brotherly harmonies (think of the Everlys or the Delmore Brothers), and ability to write country tunes that sound 60 years old, I’m thinking the patrons at the 331 may do some waltzes and two steps among the tables. You may dance at home as well when they play live on KFAI (90.3 & 106.7FM).

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($15) Watson is a huge honky-tonk hero in Europe and pockets of the US, deplores the current state of country music, and loves Lee’s enough to have written a song about the place. Rachael and the Ranch Hand Resistance open, with dance lessons at 8pm. Here’s an example of his honky-tonk/Bakersfield country music.

Thursday, June 21
Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) 9pm ($30) With the recent passing of “Duck” Dunn, we won’t be seeing Booker T with the MGs anymore. Nevertheless, Jones is an architect of American soul music, and has released two well-received solo projects in recent years, collaborating first with the Drive-By Truckers ( Grammy winner), and then with the Roots band. A genuine, soulful force on the Hammond B-3.

Friday, June 22

Old Californio and Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($6) Old Californio is a Pasadena quintet with a sound that evokes a number of country-rock, slightly psychedelicized bands, from the New Riders of the Purple Sage, to Canned Heat and the Byrds. Yet their recent release, Sundrunk Angels, shows they’re more than throwbacks. They’ll appeal to today’s young audience for Americana and roots as well as to those of a certain age. Steve Kaul and the boys (correction: they’ve added fiddler Jillian Rae) explore Americana in highly unexpected ways, weaving jug band music into ragas and back again.

617 Band @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) A versatile quintet of seasoned musicians that have fun playing originals and dance tunes from a variety of genres – Latin, Rock, R&B, and more. They’ve got the grooves that will free any aversion to dancing.

Sunday, June 24

Henry’s Funeral Shoe @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This UK brothers act plays blues that’s been re-filtered through the Who and The Clash, among others. One of their songs is featured in a funny commercial from Fiat. Reservations: 651-955-6337

Saturday, June 23

Hootenanny VI @ Tuttles, 107 Shady Oak Rd, Hopkins. 2pm – 2AM. ($15 Suggested donation) A benefit for the wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, an organization that provides homes for wild animals that had previously been held as pets. It’s not a zoo, but a place where wild cats can live out their days. It’s a day filled with Americana, Bluegrass, and jamgrass stylings. String Theory starts the proceedings at 2pm. Other bands include: Shotgun Ragtime Band  (A Grateful Dead tribute band), Brady Perl, Boys N’ the Barrels, Moss Piglets, and Drew Peterson, among others.

Sunday, June 24

Havana Hi-Fi @ the Aster Cafe, St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The Aster has a tiny dance floor, but the joyous sensuous Latin sound of this group will undoubtedly move listeners to squeeze into the space. Don’t dance? Then simply enjoy the food, wine and tea list, and view of DT Minneapolis across the river.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 26, 27

Les Nubians @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) This sister act from Paris sings pan-global music in a variety of languages, both aural and musical. Expect elements of Afrobeat, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, soul, and hip-hop. Here’s a video.

Wednesday, June 27

Mother Banjo @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (free) Early warning for this untraditional traditionalist.

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

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