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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Brrr. Music: 1.13 – 1.19

January 13, 2016
If these guys can make it out, so can you

If these guys can make it out, so can you

Well, we should be getting used to the cold by now, and if we aren’t going out quite as much, we’re still going out. This week we have three world music concerts, a couple of country rock shows, a CD release party, and as usual, some great jazz. Have a good week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 13

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 10:30pm ($10) Bates is one of the busier bass players around town, and given how many talented bassists we have, that’s saying something. Tonight he’s joined by a slightly younger generation of talented musicians: Joe Strachan on piano and Matt Buckner on drums. Here’s Chris in a solo performance.

Thursday, January 14

Minnesota Jazz Orchestra @ Wabasha Street Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8) Swing Dancers congregate at the Caves every Thursday night to dance to big bands such as the Minnesota Jazz Orchestra, a 16 piece band with vocalists Greg Marquadrt and Debbie O’Keefe. Doors open at 6pm, and if you’ve never learned how to swing dance, lessons start at 6:15. Here’s the orchestra with a classic.

Suzanne Paris @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Paris is a singer who has lived in New York and LA, and Japan, led a jazz trio at three different Japanese Jazz Festivals, opened for Tony Bennett, and sung at Birdland, The Blue Note and the Iridium. Since 2000, Paris has been living in the Twin Cities and raising a family, and consequently out of the music business. Having impressed as part of a trio of singers at Jazz Central in October, they are bringing her back to sing from the Great American Songbook, with Chris Lomheim, piano; and Josh Granowski, bass. Sounds like a wise choice.

Friday, January 15

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The ever-creative Washington is back at the Dog for his monthly gig. This time he’ll be joined by Brad Bellows on valve trombone, as well as Dick Studer on bass; and Davu Seru on drums & percussion. They can sometimes get out there, but with a strong sense of melody and harmony, always bring it back. Here are Donald and Brad with a different rhythm section.

Peter Schimke @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) This appears to be a solo gig for pianist Schimke  an A-list musician who has performed or recorded with folks ranging from Charlie Musselwhite, to Art Farmer, Victor Wooten, Rita Coolidge, and Tom Harrell.

Saturday, January 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set at 7pm by the Midwest Sax Quartet: Jared Jarvis, soprano sax; Evan Benidt, alto sax; Joe Mayo, tenor sax; and Gus Sandberg, baritone sax. Followed at 8:30pm by the Zacc Harris Group: Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums.  Zacc Harris will be heading to the UK in a couple of weeks, to perform with Michael Janisch at the famed Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club in London for three nights, as well as at other clubs.

Sunday, January 17

John Penny CD Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($7) Guitarist Penny has played with Jack McDuff, Bobby Lyle, Bernard Purdie, and Erik Gravatt, in addition to composing for TV commercials, and scores for the movie Patti Rocks, and well as movies for the MN Twins, The United Way, and others. He has a new CD, Urban Tumble. For the first half of the show, he’ll be joined by bassist Charlie Riddle and drummer Davu Seru playing new compositions by Penny. During the second half keyboardist Daniel Williams will join in for songs from the CD, and Pippi Ardennia will sing some of Penny’s vocal songs. Other guests from the CD will sit in as well.

Monday, Tuesday, January 18, 19

Davell Crawford: Tribute to Allen Toussaint @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $35), 9pm ($20-$30) This is a highly anticipated show for fans of New Orleans R&B. The “Crown Prince of New Orleans” is a highly praised proponent of New Orleans’ piano tradition. Crawford’s grandfather was “Sugarboy’’ Crawford, an early R&B artist, and Allen Toussaint was a family friend. At the age of eleven, Crawford started hanging out at Toussaint’s studio where he felt it was a safe place to explore his own love for playing piano. Now, he’s carrying on the tradition and is performing the music of Toussaint, who recently left town, as they say.

Tuesday, January 19

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum) Take advantage of the quiet ambience of the listening room at Crooners to fully appreciate Ms Knutson’s effervescent piano playing. None other than Doc Severinson recognizes her talent, as she regularly tours with his big band. Tonight, she’s joined by a couple of highly respected veterans: Gordy Johnson on bass; and Phil Hey on drums.

Beasley’s Big Band @ Edinborough Indoor Amphitheater, 7700 York Avenue Sou, Edina. (?) Folks in South Minneapolis and the southern ‘burbs can visit the lovely amphitheater to hear the big band sounds of the 19 piece BBB. Here they are at the Caves.

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, January 13

Joyann Parker & Sweet Tea on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This group is a rising star in the Twin Cities Blues Scene. Joyann Parker is a quintuple threat as a singer, pianist, drum, guitarist, and songwriter. She and the guys in Sweet Tea are heading to Memphis to represent Minnesota in the International Blues Challenge. Whether they win down there or not, they’ve already won the hearts of many blues fans in town.

Wednesday, Thursday, January 13, 14

Pure Prairie League @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45) PPL was one of the groups that helped define country rock back in the 70s. Formed in 1969, they had five top 40 LPs in the 70s and a sixth in the 80s, keeping their sound throughout a number of configurations. Amie was their first hit, recorded in ’73 and hitting the charts in ‘75. They also had a top ten hit in 1980 with Let me Love You Tonight, which also hit number one on the Adult Contemporary charts. Some luminaries who helped out with recording or performing include guitarist Mick Ronson, saxophonist Dave Sanborn, and Vince Gill, who would later go on to fame as a solo artist. After breaking up in the 80s, they reformed at the end of the 90s, and though leader Mike Reilly (bass & vocals) is the only long-time member (he joined in ’73), they still have the sweet harmonies that defined their sound.

Thursday, January 14

On the Way to Uskudar and The Other Country Quartet @ JJ Hill Library, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10) This is part of the World Live! a series sponsored by the Library and KFAI, which knows a thing or two about musics of the world. On the Way to Uskuda  presents Turkish and Balkan music using traditional and modern instruments. The Other Country Quartet, on the other hand, doesn’t present country music from the US, but music from other countries.

Friday, January 15

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5) This rockin’ blues quintet  as recently voted Best Dance Band of 2015 by U Wanna Dance, a website and organization aimed at dancers – see the link below. The award is highly appropriate, since the band pretty much instantly fills up dance floors, and, you don’t have to know any special steps, though its always fun to watch dancers that know those special steps.

Faculty Recital @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Here’s a collection of mostly classical pieces done by some of the faculty at MacPhail Center for Music. You’ll hear some Spanish Folk Songs, sung by Mikyoung Park, with Luke Swanger on piano; two pieces composed by Christopher Caliendo, performed by Julie Johnson, flute; and Jeff Lambert, guitar; As well as a couple of Rachmaninoff vocals, a guitar piece by Hector Villa-Lobos; and a piece for Marimba, Vibes, piano, drum, and bass. For more information, go to: http://www.macphail.org

Willie Walker and We “R” @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) It’s been a good year for Willie Walker  who has paid his dues in the soul circuit since the 60s. Walker toured South America a couple of times, and he and the band  recently tour in Switzerland. To top things off, Walker’s latest CD, “If Nothing Ever Changes,” is up for three awards in the 2016 Blues Awards. The Rick Estrin-produced album jus up for Album of the Year, Soul Blues Album, and Soul Blues Male Artist. See what the fuss is about by checking out the lounge at Crooners.

Sons of Almighty @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Here’s an all-star lineup of funkateers from around town, each of whom has played/recorded with major acts from in town and around the nation. Members are: Tommy Barbarella, keys; Michael Bland, drums; Julius Collins, vocals, Cory Wong, guitar; Brian Gallagher, sax; and Sonny Thompson, bass.

Saturday, January 16

Malamanya & Alma Andina @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) There will be lots of Latin dancing at the Cedar tonight, as two home-town favorites take the stage Alma Andina opens, bringing their meld of Andean music (think pan pipes) and modern instruments to the fore. Then Malamanya will shake things up further with their Cuban-inspired dance grooves. In between, DJS from Radio Pocho will keep the grooves going.

Twin Cities Cabaret Salon: Our Way @ The Town House Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Donation) Each month the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Nework presents a Salon in the back lounge at the Town House. Six different artists perform for 15 minutes each. Tonight they’re celebrating the music of Frank Sinatra, with help from pianist Lori Dokken and Emcee Les Block. Tonight’s performers are Joey Babay, David Young, Mary Keepers, Vicky Mountain, Rhonda Laurie, and Connie Dussl.

Sunday, January 17

Living Colour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60) Since their debut album Vivid, in 1989, Living Colour has been powered by Avant-garde jazz guitarist Vernon Reid and the soulful vocals of Corey Glover. They were among the first bands to transcend genres, mixing rock, jazz, funk, punk and heavy metal into swirling mix of high energy music. Their 1995 dissolution was short-lived, as the band was touring again by 2001. Their latest CD is 2015’s Shade. Here’s a number with some pan-tropical influences.

Mehmet Polat Trio & Srazhalys @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 advance/$25 Door) It’s another evening of intriguing world music. The Mehmet Polat Trio plays hypnotic music with roots in Ottoman, ancient Turkey, Balkan, and West African music traditions. Members are Mehmet Polat, oud; Sinan Arat, Ney; and Bao Sissoko, kora. The trio plays Polat’s compositions, which allow for much improvisation. Opening is Srazhalys, a quartet that uses Western rhythms to drive melodies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Tuesday, January 19

The Federales w/Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. (Free) Here’s a double bill of acoustic Americana. The Federales describe themselves as a country band for a modern world. With the exception of an electric guitar, this six-piece sings of blues, bourbon, Grain Belt, and guitars, occasionally slipping into a country-rock mood. Doug Otto and the Getaways bring their mournful sounds to the opening set.

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. For a listing of dance opportunities, check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Jazz, Rockabilly, Crawfish, and More. Music: 8.13 – 8.19

August 13, 2014
Crawfish, Crayfish - no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Crawfish, Crayfish – no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Summer in the City. It’s hard to beat, what with lakes and trees to help us keep cool, and hot music all about town. And hey, we’ve even got a crawfish (crayfish?) festival with finger-lickin’ music to lift our spirits and help us dance.

 

Jazz…

Wednesday, August 13
Vicky Mountain @ The Piazza on the Mall, Minneapolis. 5pm – 6:15pm (Free) Here’s an after-work treat for downtowners. The Piazza is set up in front of Westminster Church on 12th & Nicollet. There you’ll get to hear the wonderfully assured and melodic voice of Vicky Mountain, accompanied by James Allen on guitar and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Larry McDonough Quartet Anniversary of Simple Gifts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($5) It’s been ten years since pianist McDonogh released his album Simple Gifts. He’s celebrating with a full length performance of the album tonight.

Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) For those of you who didn’t stay up late to catch them at the Icehouse. See last week’s entry for Monday.

Thursday, August 14
Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Each Thursday you can find a vocalist performing at Jazz Central. Sometimes it’s someone who is established on the scene. Other times you can be delightfully surprised at a newcomer to the Twin Cities jazz scene. Zuther is one such singer.  She has sung a range of music from opera to country to jazz, appearing with variety bands in the Midwest and in musical theater here in town. She’s an alumna of the Cabaret Conference at Yale and is a founder of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The Bill Evans-inspired pianist and his fine trio (which includes Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) take their place in the series that features groups playing original compositions. Here’s a cut from this CD.

Friday, August 15
Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover)  Glen Helgeson, guitrar; Dave Stanoch, drums; Gary Schulte, violin, and Chris Bates, bass. Worldbeats combined with elements of modern and traditional jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The first jazz composer’s collective, or perhaps the one that we remember. Dave Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, tenor; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Keith Karns Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A 17 piece band led by trumpeter-arranger-composer Karns, whose arrangements are called dense but also rhythmic by the noted jazz critic Scott Yanow. The band includes Aaron Hedenstrom on sax and Brian Claxton on drums, both of whom performed earlier in the week with their own quintet. Here’s an example of them at work.

Saturday, August 16
Sublime Curve @ the Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This tiny bar feels a bit like a NYC bar in the 60s. It’s got good cocktails, a decent wine list and an award winning kitchen. There’s about 15 places at the bar, and 6-8 high top tables, so reservations are recommended. Anyway, Sublime Curve has been appearing hear every other month or so. The band includes: Jim ‘Tice, keys; Stevie D, percussion; Jeff Moe, bass; Marc Partridge, guitar; and Tom Church on sax. It’s not quite chamber jazz, but it’s far from raucous. Simply good music in a fine setting.

Monday, August 18
Fantastic Merlins @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) Brain Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums explore the sonic possibilities of original compositions, free improvisation, and reworking the occasional jazz standard.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Evan Montgomery Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Guitarist Montgomery has been off studying in California since last Fall. It’s good to have him back, even if for a little while, to see what he’s added to his clean technique.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Jazz doesn’t get much more sophisticated, or well played, than what is offered by this long-working group: Phil Hey, drums, Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Aaron on piano. You can expect tunes from Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Miles Davis, and others of that standing.

Tuesday, August 19
River City Jazz Orchestra @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like Tuesday has become Big Band Night in the Twin Cities. The kind folks at MMC are showcasing big bands for those who like an early show. Tonight, the River City Jazz Orchestra will play from a book that includes tunes by Basie, Dorsy, Ellington, Miller, and more.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested donation) Meanwhile, over in Mill City, The Explosion Big Bandm, led by Doug Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, will fill the intimate space at Jazz Central. When they recently played outdoors at the MN History Center, the Center reported they had the largest crowd, and largest number of dancers of any band that’s ever played there during their summertime series.

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, August 13
Tim Sparks on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) He’s a fingerpicking ace, with the awards and credentials to back up that sobriquet. Sparks‘ latest album, Chasin’ The Boogie, re-imagines songs from the Beatles, Roy Orbison, and Joni Mitchell, as well as gold standards and some gritty blues. Here he is doing I’ll Fly Away.”

The Holmes Brothers @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) By the time they were “discovered” in the late 80s, the Holmes Brothers already had years and years of experience, often backing singers ranging from Jerry Butler and John Lee Hooker to Jimmy Jones, originator of Handyman, not to mention playing blues in bars on Saturday nights and Gospel in churches on Sunday morning. All of which gives some insight into the winning way they can incorporate country, blue, doo-wop, gospel, and more into their act. It’s good to have them back after a long absence from our stages.

Rosie rocks out

Rosie rocks out

Thursday, August 14
Rosie Flores @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) If you didn’t catch Flores at the Guitar Festival last weekend, you still have a chance to get your “Rockabilly Jones” met. I don’t count you’ll be moving, so you may as well wear dancing shoes. Sweet Mama J opens at 9pm, Rosie Flores at 10:15pm

Friday, August 15
Candye Kane @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($8) Kane’s story is unbelievable. She has been called a survivor, a superhero, and the toughest girl alive. The jump blues singer is a mother of two and has been a pin up cover girl, and had sung punk rock, hillbilly music and blues by the time she was 21. Known for shows that are often a celebration of sexuality, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about seven years ago, and has undergone two surgeries since then. In spite of the fact that such cancer has poor survival rates, she’s still on the road, and still a dynamic performer. Ross Kleiner & the Thrill open. Candye Kane at 10:45pm. Here’s an example of what she’s been up to in the past year.

Jack Klatt & Charlie Parr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) In 2012 guitarist/singer Klatt recorded Mississippi Roll with Charlie Parr. This is their first chance to play together onstage. This is roots music that is authentic as can be.

Saturday, August 16
Crayfish Festival @ the Smack Shack, 6th & Washington, Minneapolis. Noon until…  ($40Advance/$50Door) Okay, so it’s not a free street festival, but it is a Louisiana-styled Crayfish Boil featuring a 1/2 dozen bands, all-yoou-can-eat Minnesota mudbugs, and all the Hurricanes and Beer you can drink. Work off that gluttony dancing to The Droppers, Butanes, Wayne McFarlane & Zydeco Blue and the headliners – Davina & the Vagabonds. As they say in the Big Easy: We Be Partyannnnn!Global Rhythm Festival @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St.Croix Trail. Noon – 5pm ($5 Parking) Pack a picnic, some blankets or chairs, and take a pleasant drive to the Franconia Sculpture Park, just SE of Taylors Falls, right off Highway 8. There you’ll find acres of sculptures of all types and sizes in a sunny setting. On-site vendors will have some food and beverages. You can take part in a guided tour during band breaks, and even meet some of the artists-in-residence. Pan Dimensions Steel Drums open at 12:30, followed at 2:15 by guitarist Greg Herriges with percussionist Michael Bissonnette playing a mix of international music. Finally, at 4pm, the Duniya Drum and Dance troupe will take the stage, dancing and moving to traditional West African rhythms.

Unknown-5Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Bluesman Guitar Shorty has quite the resume. At 16, he toured with Ray Charles. At 17 he recorded a single supervised by Willie Dixon.  He led the house band at New Orleans’ legendary Dew Drop Inn for a couple of years and then took a job with Sam Cooke. By the way, Jimi Hendrix was his brother-in-law. He’s been living in L.A. since 1971, playing the blues, recording, jamming, and rocking out around the world. His latest, Watch Your Back, for Alligator Records, was nominated for two Blues Music Awards.

Sunday, Monday, August 17, 18
The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) They play every Sunday and Monday night, bringing out dancers and fellow musicians (some of whom sit in). After 20-some years, they’re as tight as can be, performing some classic soul and funk, and newer tunes as well.

Monday, Tuesday, August 18, 19
Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Pianist Crawford is known as the “Crown Prince of New Orleans,’ a well deserved title, since he incorporates all elements of New Orleans’ music into his own compositions. He is also comes from one of the “royal” lines of N’Awlins’ musical families: his grandfather was James Sugar Boy Crawford, who penned the iconic “Jock-A-Mo” way back in the 50s. He’s been a favorite of the New Orleans Jazz Festival for a number of years now.

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 U Wanna Dance Calendar.


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