Once again, we are looking at mostly area artists for inspiration and lifting our spirits this week, though we have a few visitors in the Blues, Roots, & Other category. It’s good stuff, and worth your efforts to get out and hear. And remember, these are just my ideas about what’s out there. We have a plethora of talent in almost every artistic endeavor you can name. So.. with Mardis Gras approaching, get out and let music lift your Spirit!
Wednesday, Feb 7
Kevin Gastonguay, Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Gastonguay – No Cover), 8pm (Laurie – $6) Start the evening off with pianist Kevin Gastonguay, who is a member of JT Bates’ GRAIN Trio, and other groups, including New Sound Underground, and Nooky Jones, two of the hottest bands in town. Then at 8pm, vocalist Rhonda Laurie will keep things swingin, whether vocalizing on gypsy jazz, straight-ahead jazz, cabaret, or standards. She’ll be accompanied by Robert Bell, guitar, and Matt Peterson on bass.
Davu Seru/Noah Ophoven- Baldwin Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) The always inventive percussionist Davu Seru teams up with the exciting young trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin for an evening of originals.
Thursday, Feb 8
Adam Meckler Trio & MacPhail Student Combos @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($5) This evening features two MacPhail combos directed by trumpeter Adam Meckler, who is working with the groups even though MacPhail left both students and teachers in the lurch when it closed. Afterward, Meckler will be joined by Park Evans, guitar, and Reid Kennedy, drums, to finish off the evening with a program of jazz standards. Here is Meckler in a quintet setting.
Friday, Feb 9
JC Sanford Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Sanford, a Minnesota native and trombonist/composer recently moved back home after spending 16 years in NYC. He’s a long time student of the great Bob Brookmyer and has performed with Danilo Perez, Matt Wilson, and Danny McCaslin, in addition to conducting large groups including the Alice Coltrane Orchestra, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and the Frank Carllberg Large Ensemble. He’ll be joined by guitarist Zacc Harris and two other members of the Twin Cities jazz scene. Here is Sanford with a different quartet.
Really Big Shoe @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Saxophonists Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl created this quartet in 2015 to play original compositions and modern interpretations of contemporary and relevant tunes. They are joined by Ted Olsen, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.
Saturday, Feb 10
MN Hard Bop Collective’s “Soul Station” Quartet @Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon really likes the music of Hank Mobley, as this is the third concert of Mobley’s music by the MN Hard Bop Collective, this time featuring Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; Ted Olsen, bass; and Simon on drums. Here’s a Mobley track.
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start out with the John Devine Quartet, with Devine and Bill Lang on saxophones: Brock Thorson, bass; and Alden Ikeda, drums. At 8:30pm it’s a combination of seasoned veterans and Young Turks in the Jazz Bridge Project: Brian Handeland, sax; Rajiah Johybson, flute; Roger Johnson, guitar; Mark Vandemyde, piano; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.
Sunday, Feb 11
Mary Lou Williams’ Music for Peace: Re-Imagined @ Aquinas Chapel U of St Thomas, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free?) Commonly known as “Mary Lou’s Mass,” this sacred jazz music of legendary composer/pianist Mary Lou Williams was her testimony to the healing power of music at the close of the Civil Rights Era. The work will be presented in new arrangements by Laura Caviani and Kari Musil, and performed by jazz vocalists with the Swing Sisterhood Big Band. Here is the wonderful Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in collaboration with Ms Williams.
Patty Peterson and the Jazz Women All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 5pm, 7:30pm (No Cover, $25 for Guaranteed Seat) This isn’t a group that’s guided by the novelty of being female, but rather a group of jazz musicians whose gender has little to do with their talent: Ginger Commodore, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass and guitar; Shelia Earley, drums; Kathy Jensen, sax; and, of course, Patty Peterson on vocals.
Monday, Tuesday, Feb 12, 13
Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Note: Cocktail Service only on Monday. Drummer Dave King usually uses the trio format to explore the Great American Songbook. Tonight, however, in addition to bassist Billy Peterson, he has NYC pianist Matt Mitchell in the group, whose CV includes groups such as Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, The Dave Douglas Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, and other boundary-breaking groups, so look for the aforementioned standards to receive even more contemporary treatments than usual.
Tuesday, Feb 13
Mardis Gras w/South Side Aces and The All Souls Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Celebrate Fat Tuesday with the traditional New Orleans Jazz of the South Side Aces, and what appears to be a new brass band for this area.,
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, Feb 7
Gang of Mischief w/Richard Kriehn on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This band normally plays on the last Sunday afternoon of the month at Neumann’s in North Saint Paul, so here’s your chance to hear them on the radio and see them within the city limits. Harpmaster Harold Tremblay, along with Rena Haus, guitar & vocals; Dan Schwalbe, guitar; and Mark Rizzardi, bass; will be joined by mandolinist Richard Kriehn in the “hot seat,” the designation for their special guests’ place in the band.
Thursday, Feb 8
Poppy.Computer Tour 2018 @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($230 Advance, $25 Door) As an older person who nevertheless tries to stay somewhat abreast of culture, I’m completely perplexed by Poppy, a YouTube sensation whose 10 minute video, I’m Poppy, has been viewed over 14 million times. This waif-like female has numerous videos in which she asks obvious questions, eats things, and makes odd statements, generally delivered with an android-like voice, all of which has gained her followers on YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. She has many shorter videos as well, including 3:36. Importantly for this performance, Poppy also sings, and has an EP entitled Bubblebath with four catchy tunes.
Friday, Feb 9
The 70s Magic Sunshine Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) From Kung Fu Fighting and American Pie to Crocodile Rock, Lido Shuffle, and Love Train, this quintet just loves AM Radio hits of the 70s.
Saturday, Feb 10
Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Blues from Harpist Steve Vonderharr and his band. Vonderharr was inducted into the MN Blues Hall of Fame in 2016. The Knockouts include fellow Hall of Fame member guitarist Dan Schwalbe. It will be a jumpin’ evening.
Mardis Gras @ The Hook & and Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Celebrate Mardis Gras (Fat Wednesday) with no worries about work in the morning. The Brass Messengers start things off with their joyous takes on brass music from New Orleans, Eastern Europe, and other far-flung places. The Butanes are no strangers to the music of Louisiana, having backed Earl King at the Jazz and Heritage Festival. What’s more, they’ll have special guest Camille Baudin of the Radiators sitting in. Scottie Miller’s take on New Orleans piano giants is just the thing to end the evening.
Terence Simien & the Zydeco Experience @ the Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27, $32) This two-time Grammy-winner has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 30 years in a row. He’s brought his infectious music to exuberant fans around the world, and will have you dancing in your seat, if not the aisles.
Sunday, Feb 11
Dusty Heart @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. (Free) Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are highly respected singer/songwriters who together, create music that blends roots, indie, and folk genres. The duo creates rich vocal harmonies that solidify their poetic lyrics. Get there early to find a seat and enjoy the humidity and greenery.
Sonny Landreth @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 Advance, $40 Door) Here’s a guitarist that should be better known. Landreth started out with Clifton Chenier, and since then the ace slide guitarist has collaborated with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Derek Trucks and others, and has recorded with artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. A must-see performer for guitar lovers.
Tuesday, Feb 13
Swamp Kings Annual Fat Tuesday Celebration @ Dixie’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) This trio can lay down Louisiana rhythms with style and much energy – apropos accompaniment for the Southern menu at Dixies.
Mardis Gras w/Davina and the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whether she’s singing Fats Domino, Etta James, or her originals, Davina and the guys are never far from the music of New Orleans, which makes her appearance at the New Orleans-themed basement club so right.