March! 2.28-3.6

February 28, 2018

I, like many of you, am very glad that sub-zero temperatures seem to be behind us, now that we’re heading into March. We’ve some notable visiting artists, including a couple of world music artists and colorful celebration of Brazil to consider as we make choices on how to spend our entertainment dollars. Just like many of you, I choose to attend live music events, since their impact can reverberate in our lives long after a performance. Music Lifts the Spirit!



Wednesday, Feb 28           

Donny McCaslin Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Many folks may have discovered saxophonist McCaslin through his friendship with David Bowie, and their collaboration on Bowie’s last album, Black Star. They’d be surprised to learn that McCaslin in a 25-year career in jazz, has released 12 albums as a leader. He’ll have the band that worked on Black Star with him: Jason Lindner, of Now Is Now on keys; Tim Lefebvre, from the Tedeschi Trucks band on electric bass, and Mark Guiliana, who’s played with Meshell Ndgecello and Brad Mehldau, on drums.

Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID)  Zuther is a delightful and charming vocalist, who has an engaging way with songs and with her audiences, due in part to her theater training, as well as her years with 5 By Design. Expect songs from the Great American Songbook as well as some favorites of Zuther’s from her youth on the Central Plains of North Dakota.

Thursday, March 1

Delfeayo Marsalis & the Uptown Jazz Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($40, $50), 9pm ($30, $40) Trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis is a prince of New Orleans’ Marsalis Family musical dynasty. He is one of today’s top trombonists, and a favorite of Twin Cities’ audiences. The Uptown Jazz Orchestra, anchored by baritone saxman Roger Lewis (Dirty Dozen, Fats Domino) was formed in 2008 to work with, and bring music to, the schools of New Orleans.

Friday, March 2

Central Standard Time @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Dave Brattain, saxes; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, March 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist and musical entrepreneur Zacc Harris is in control tonight, starting at 7pm with a Carleton College combo that he directs called Unstablemates, with Adam Nijhawan, alto sax; Aman Panda, guitar; Rohan Mukherjee, piano; Alex Aeppli, bass; and Todd Johnson, drums. At 8:30, Harris takes the stage himself with his exquisite American Reverie trio, dedicated to jazz interpretations of classic Americana/Roots tunes: Harris, guitars; Matt Peterson, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Sunday, March 4

Jam Session with Cole Mahlum @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($5) Now that Joel Shapira’s jam at the Basement Bar has ended, guitarist Mahlum may satisfy your appetite for listening to musicians in various combinations..

Monday, March 5

Carter Pearson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Experience the exuberance of young jazz musicians, as tonight’s featured artist is drummer Carter Pearson, who attends Maple Grove High School. His chops have earned him membership in a couple of bands. As usual, Pearson’s performance will be followed by a jam session at 10pm.

Nutria and Twin Talk @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($10) This week’s Jazz Implosion features two visiting groups. Nutria is a New Orleans trio that emphasizes collective improvisation, drawing on jazz, chamber music, and traditional music of the African Diaspora. Twin Talk is a Chicago trio that draws from that city’s heritage of creative improvisation, using sax, drums, and bass/vocals.

Tuesday, March 6

Acme Jazz Company w/vocalist Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Now that Crooner’s is closed Monday nights during the winter, this big band’s regular gig has moved to Tuesday. Having Arne Fogel as the vocalist is just icing on this big band’s formidable music cake.

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, Feb 28

Andy Cohen and Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cohen is not only a technically and emotionally outstanding guitarist, but is a musicologist, with complete understanding of the roots and influences of country blues, and a warm story-telling style. He’ll be joined by some of our area’s finest: Ralph Witcoff, bass; Mary du Shane, fiddle; and Hurricane Harold, harp.

Friday, March 2

Harp Blowout @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) It’s another edition of this annual event, this time featuring such harp masters as: Boom Boom Steve V, Paul Barry, Curtis Blake, Foster Willy (Terraplane), Hurricane Harold, and Joe Gagliardi (From Harrison Street Band), with special guest and legend Pat Hayes (Lamont Cranston). Backing up these monster players is an equally talented All Star Band: Dan Schwalbe, Marty Bryduck, Keith Boyle and Tim Wick.

Sierra Hull @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($28, $35) This very talented singer/mandolinist was signed to Rounder Records when she was 13. Her debut vocal album Secrets, was released in 2008 when Hull was 16, and reached #2 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts. Her latest album, Weighted Mind, was nominated for a Grammy for Best Folk Album of 2017.

Saturday, March 3

Carnaval Brasileiro @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis.7pm ($22 Advance/$30 Door) The 16th Anniversary edition of this event will feature a Masquerade Ball, as well as the usual mix of singers, dancers, percussionists, and more. It’s a spectacle, a party, an insight into Brazilian culture, and more. Here’s a video with highlights from the 2015 celebration.

Brews, Blues, and BBQ @ Modist Brewing, 505 North 3rd St, Minneapolis. 5pm – 11pm ($40) Sena Ehrhardt & Cole Allen; Cory Medina & The Brothers Band; Crankshaft & The Gear Grinders; and Hurricane Harold’s All Star Blues Revue will be performing while attendees get two pints and two BBQ Sliders as part of their admission. There will be more food and beer available, as you might expect.

Sunday, March 4

Dead Pigeons @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Drew Peterson singer, songwriter, guitarist, and banjo player, has been leading this trio for about 6 years now, abetted by Mandy Fasset on fiddle and mandolin, and Daryn Christensen on drums and percussion. Their footstompin’ barroom bluegrass will reverberate throughout the Conservatory.

Red Baraat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) This eight-piece Brooklyn-based brass band pumps out Bollywood tunes, Sufi music, and other songs from Northern India, adding guitar and a few electronic effects to create what NPR called, “The best party band in years.”

Väsen @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis.7:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Now in their 27th year of touring together, this Swedish acoustic trio has long been a favorite of the Cedar and its fans. They use a five-string viola of sophisticated symphonic taste, an adventurous 12-string guitar, and a nyckelharpa (a “keyed fiddle”) deeply rooted in the traditions of Swedish folk music, to create playful, joyous music.

Monday, March 5

Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) If ever a bar band deserved national attention, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes were the band. They survived the bar wars of New Jersey’s shore in the 70s, where Johnny was friends with Bruce Springsteen and Steven Van Zandt, to bring their rowdy, passionate playing to the nation. He more than satisfied with his performance at the Dakota last year around this time.

Tuesday, March 6

Lila Downs @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($22-$58) Downs is a vocalist who was raised in Minnesota and Oaxaca. She’s a global superstar, whose exquisite artistry bridges traditions from across the Americas, with influences ranging from the folk and ranchera music of Mexico and South America, to North American folk, jazz, blues, and hip-hop. At 6:30, there’s a pre-show lecture-demonstration with members of Curandero, whose music is a fusion of pre-Columbian Indigenous instruments with contemporary electronic elements.

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.

Adapting to Winter. Music: 11.12 – 11.18

November 12, 2014

SAMSUNGOkay, so winter is here, said Mr. Obvious. After a few days we’ll adapt our driving and have all of our warm clothes out of storage. Then we’ll be ready to enjoy the rich nightlife of the Twin Cities, no matter what the weather. This week we have the debut (or near debut) of a couple of jazz groups, a couple of CD release parties, a “birthday in blue” from Willie Murphy, and a number of well known visiting artists gracing area stages. Have a good week. Music will lift your spirits, even in winter. Even when there’s lots of snow.


Wednesday, November 12

Corey Healy’s Beautiful Happy Sunshine Deathsquad Experience @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Healy heads up this aggregation, which will be playing his originals, as well as new arrangements of jazz standards. Members include: Zacc Harris, guitar; Erick Fratzke, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Jake Baldwin, trumpet.

Thursday, November 13

Joyce Meets Carmen: Joyce Lyons @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ms Lyons brings along Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; as she visits the music of Carmen McCrae in an “intimate conversation.”  Listen to her doing Love Me or Leave Me.

The band is named for a draft horse, originally from France.

The band is named for a draft horse, originally from France.

Le Percheron @ the Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz has a new group, and this is their debut performance. It includes: Cory Healey, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; and Brandon Wozniak, sax. They already have some dates in France for next year.

Friday, November 14

The Gentle Assassins of Sound @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is a piano/cello duet between Friday happy hour regular, pianist Todd Harper, and his guest, cellist Aaron Kerr. What makes this a unique cello/piano duet is that one or both of the artists will be playing electric.

Dutz/Wabich Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Brad Dutz and Chris Wabich are percussionists with long and varied resumes. Their work can be heard on several TV shows, including King of the Hill and American Idol. Individually, Dutz’s work can be heard on the soundtracks of the Bourne Legacy, and Anchorman, as well as on CDs with Alanis Morrisette, Willie Nelson, and KISS. Wabich has recorded with artistes such as Ludacris, Alex Acuna, and Jeff Hamilton. “Together they use a plethora of percussion instruments to blend improvisation, high art, and comedy. Here’s an example of their inventiveness.

Barbara Meyer/Phil Mattson CD Release @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocalist Meyer & pianist Mattson have created a winning combination by recording the music of Harold Arlen. They are celebrating the release of Down and Up With Love: The Music of Harold Arlen, at this dance-friendly coffeehouse that also serves wine and beer.

Saturday, November 15

Mary Louise Knutson & Gary Raynor @ Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 5701 Eden Prairie Rd, Minnetonka. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) The graceful pianist and Prairie Home Companion bassist collaborate for an art opening.

Travis Anderson Trio @ Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover). Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; Nathan Norman, drums. Fresh interpretations of standards and more – from Chopin to the Mario Brothers. Reservations are recommended, as the Kitchen has a relatively small bar.

Dean Granros Group @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free), 7pm performance. ($10) Another in the Jazz at Studio Z series. Guitarist Granros is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Since the mid-60s, Granros has been mixing up genres such as blues, rock n’ roll, classical music, western swing and a host of world musics into his own cauldron of bubbling jazz. He’ll conduct a free master class on blues concepts in contemporary improvisation at 6pm.

Unknown-2Dean Magraw Solo @ Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15)  Well, I’m listing this under jazz, but Magraw is a guitarist who draws from a number of genres and plays them all equally well, whether Irish, World music, R&B, jazz fusion, or who knows what else. This is a rare opportunity to hear him solo. Plus, you have the opportunity to try some of the Riverview’s many wine flights.

Monday, November 17

Charlie Lincoln Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested Donation) Lincoln is the young bassist who has been studying (and occasionally playing) with Eric Kamau Gravatt. Joining him will be a number of other young jazzmen: Ben Beyene, drums; Gavin Brehm, trumpet; Peter Goggin, sax; Levi Schwartzberg, piano; and Sam Stroup, electronics.

Firebell CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Jacob Park Evans, he of the clean guitar lines, joins forces with Graydon Peterson, bass master; and Jay Epstein, drummer extraordinaire, in Firebell. They’re releasing their first CD and are celebrating tonight.

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, November 12

Dead Pigeons on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Pigeons have been around for a few years now, with frontman/songwriter Drew Peterson providing them with sardonic, mordant, and often witty lyrics. Though their instrumentation is old-timey, their approach to music is anything but, as they create rough-hewn music that might, at times, be mistaken for acoustic punk. Drew Peterson, lead singer, songwriter, guitar, banjo; Ryan Douglas Canyon, mandolin and backing vocals; Gretta Hunstiger, fiddle and backing vocals; Andy Carroll and John Reinhart, bass; Daryn Christensen – drums and percussion.

Thursday, November 13

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows: Foxtrot @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (Given the venue and the time, I guess you can call this a dinner dance. Ms Lynch  on bass, and her cohoes play music that swings easily. It’s often in a rhythm called the Businessman’s Bounce, which means just about anybody can get up and dance with a partner. Dressed down jazz and pop hits from the 20s – 70s. The Most Excellent Fellows include: Chris Beaty, guitar; Ken Chastain, drums; Michael Nelson, trombone, Greg Lewis, trumpet.

Friday, November 14

Little River Band @ The Medina Ballroom, Hamel. 7:30pm ($29-$49) Well the Little River Band  as sold more than 25 million records, had one gold and two platinum selling albums, and then had six top ten singles between 1978 and 1981, the biggest of which was Reminiscing (#3). Originally from Australia, be warned that the current lineup has no original members, though bassist/vocalist Wayne Nelson has been with the band for all but four years since 1980. Kurt Jorgenson opens.

Love TKO: Tribute to Teddy Pendergrass @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20, $25 reserved) How many articles of underwear have been discarded while couples have listened to Teddy Pendergrass. The mind boggles. Johnnie Brown will be recreating some of those signature sounds tonight, with Kathleen Johnson singing the music of Etta James for good measure.

Friday, Saturday, November 14, 15

Shawn Colvin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45-$50) This singer/songwriter won Grammys for Record of the Year and song of the year (Sunny Came Home) in 1998, after winning Best Contemporary Folk Album for her debut album in 1991. Colvin continues to produce folk with a pop influence, and since the turn of this century has been doing a lot of collaborating with folks like Emmylou Harris, Bela Fleck, James Taylor, and Allison Krauss. Her latest album, All Fall Down, was produced by Buddy Miller and includes contributions from Bill Frisell, Brian Blade, and Jakob Dylan, among others.

Saturday, November 15

It's his birthday!

It’s his birthday!

Willie Murphy w/the Liquor Pigs @ The Eagles Club #34, MInneapoils. 8pm ($?) It’s Willie’s Birthday, so you know he’ll be knocking’ the music out of the park, so to speak. the Liquor Pigs, with their ragged yet rockin’ approach to acoustic rock/blues open. Willie’s friends and fans will be out in force, with bells on and dancing shoes.

Joe & Vicki Price @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?) The Iowa natives with the deep South blues style are once again visiting our fair cities. Tonight they’re bringing their music to the tap room, where you can drown your sorrows in a variety of beers.

Sunday, November 16

MN Blues Society Road to Memphis Benefit @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 4:30pm  ($10 Suggested Donation) With Lisa Wenger & Bruce McCabe, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Del Vincents, & More. Every year the Minnesota Blues Society sends a group and a duo to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. This year they are sending Jimmi & the Band of Souls and Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and today are having a fundraiser to help compensate for the bands’ travel expenses.

Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12, $15) Adrenaline-fueled Southern Gothic Swamp boogies from a band that doesn’t do murder ballads, “they do murder boogies” as the publicity for Bloodshot Records states.

Todd Rundgren @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. ($40, $42) Rundgren first came to the public’s attention in 1967 or so as a member of Nazz. Then he went solo with his album Runt in 1970 and earned a gold record for the double LP Something/Anything in 1972 and recorded A Wizard: A True Star in 1973, which led to the creation of Utopia, a biggish prig-rock band. He’s continued to record, rather prolifically, but has also been a producer for numerous groups, including the Paul Butterfield Blues Band to the New York Dolls, XTC, Cheap Trick, and Hall & Oates, among others.

John McEuen & John Carter Cash @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50) Back in the 70s John McCuen and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band pretty much started the interest blue/newgrass/Americana roots genre when they put out Will The Circle Be Unbroken, an homage to the music of Mother Maybelle Carter and family. Cash  as you might guess, is the only progeny of June Carter and Johnny. They’ll be celebrating the music of the Carter Family and Johnny Cash. So, here’s a chance for young (and old) fans of roots music have to see artists with true connections to the genre.

Tuesday, November 18

Malamanya @ Honey, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) 18+ This popular Cuban/Salsa six-piece just began a weekly residency at the basement club under Jitters. Bring your dancing shoes.

Tuesday, Wednesday, November 18, 19

Suzanne Vega @ The Dakota, Minneapoils. 7pm ($35, $45) Whether you call it New folk, Neo-Folk, or Contemporary Folk, Vega is often credited with creating the style in the 80s. Her 1987 album Solitude Standing, reached the top ten in many international markets and produced two hit singles: Luka, and Tom’s Diner, which was originally a cappella, but remade as a 1990 dance track in Britain. After eight album (the latest released this year) Vega remains an impressive storyteller who uses music to get her stories across.

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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