Solstice, Festivus, and Christmas: 12.19 – 12.25

December 19, 2018

The Winter Solstice, when we have the shortest amount of daylight is Friday, while Festivus, the made-up holiday from Seinfeld, is Sunday. Christmas, with its message of hope and good will to mankind, is Tuesday. So… there are gigs celebrating each this week, as well as gigs from area musicians who are home for the holidays. This gives you an opportunity to bring guests to some great gigs, or to take some time for yourself in this super-busy season. After all, Music Lifts Your Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 19

Winter Solstice with The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm Caviani is a pianist whose compositions and arrangements are graceful and swinging. Tonight, in anticipation of Friday’s Solstice, she’ll undoubtedly be updating songs from her 1999 holiday CD, Angels We Haven’t Heard, and her 2007 release, Holly, Jolly and Jazzy, with Chris bates, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, Dec 20

Stone Arch Jazz Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm Traditional, New Orleans style jazz from a seven-piece, horn-heavy group – often danceable, always energizing.

Ylvisaker, Lewis, & Bates @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5) Drummer JT Bates may have stopped booking the Jazz Implosion, but he continues to deliver a satisfying foundation, and occasional lead, formal manner of groups, including this one with versatile guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker, and bassist, saxophonist Michael Lewis.

Friday, Dec 21

Debbie Duncan & Andrew Walesch: It Must be Christmas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm The Twin Cities jazz maven and piano-playing crooner join up to celebrate the holiday.

John Raymond/Chris Thompson Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10) Not only do the holidays mark the return of college students, but of area musicians who now live elsewhere. Case in point – trumpeter John Raymond, now a Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Indiana University. He’ll be joined by Chris Thomson, sax; Thomas Nordland, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Pete James Johnson, drums.

Saturday, Dec 22

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Owen Finch Group. 8:30pm: John Raymond Feels Trio – Raymond, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; Phil Hey, drums.

Anderson, Lincoln, & Epstein @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) Boom Island Brewing makes Belgian style beers, Pianist Jordan Anderson, bassist Charlie Lincoln, and drummer Jay Epstein create some fine music.

Sunday, Dec 23

Festivus & Other Twisted Holidays @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet host a Festivus for the Rest of Us. Expect an Airing of Grievances, along with music for Festivus Miracle and Feats of Strength, as well as McDonough’s odd takes on holiday music. .

Monday, Dec 24

No jazz shows as far as I can tell, though you might want to check out Deano & the Dinosaurs at Merlin’s Rest (listed below), whose music often veers into jazz territory.

Tuesday – Friday, Dec 25 – 28

Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus have been having a Christmas stand at the Dakota. Last year marked the last appearance of pianist Ethan Iverson. Orin Evans now holds the piano chair, andhas become an integral part of the band. Rolling Stone called their album “Never Stop II” the number one jazz album of 2018.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and some roots music.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 19

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Charlie Parr just may be the most authentic roots/blues musician four time. He grew up without a TV, but made up fort by listening to his dad’s collection of records by Charley Patton, Woody Guthrie, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other artists who form the foundation of America’s music. His truly authentic sound, which evokes the music of itinerant musicians of the 1930s, strikes a major chord with today’s young audiences.

Thursday, Dec 20

Les Nubians @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30, $35) This Franco-African duo blends music from around the world with the rhythms and songs of Africa o create a performance that is both musically and visually stunning.

Friday, Dec 21

Blue Yodel No. 8 @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) John Whitehead, guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals; John Her, bass, vocals; and Ross Johnson, guitar, harmonica, & vocals: play an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, blues, and swing, from artists ranging from Hank Williams and the Delmore Bros to Jimmy Reed and Bob Wills

Tracy Grammer @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Americana/folk artist Tracy Grammer has a pure voice, plays a deft guitar and violin, and excels at storytelling. She’s recorded and performed with Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter, and enjoyed 12 consecutive years as one of folk radio’s 50 top-played artists, both solo and in a duo with the late Dave Carter. Her eleventh CD, Low Tide, was released earlier this year, and is the first ever to feature her original songs. Opening act Dennis Warner may live in Minnesota but he’s a regular road warrior, performing in over 100 cities a year.

Saturday, Dec 22

Wee Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $15) I don’t know if Walker, an original soul man, will be doing any seasonal songs, though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Back Door Santa along with his usual mix of classic and modern soul.

10th Annual Yuletide Sweater Ball @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Whether you were un-ironically given a Christmas Sweater, or found an ugly one for events such as this, enjoy an evening of progressive bluegrass and old-times music courtesy of The Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins; Barbero; and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League.

Sunday, Dec 23

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Paul Mayasich is in the hot seat, Michael Caravale on upright bass, along with Rena Haus, and Papa John Kolstad.

Dee Miller Band: Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ MN Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 2pm ($10?, Donation) Help the Dee Miller Band  et out of town and down to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge in January. To entice your attendance and donations, they’ll be joined by Armadillo Jump; Squishy Mud, & Mark Cameron

Monday, December 24

Jewbilee 2018 @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis. 7pm door, 7:30 music ($5 advance, $7 Door) There’s an old saying that for Jews, Christmas means Chinese takeout and a trip to the movies. Well, for 14 years now, Deejay Danny Sigelman has created another Christmas Eve tradition for Jews and non-Jews alike who are looking to attend something non-Christmasy – Jewbilee. This year’s edition features the bands Planet Pookey, Challo, The Rivkinz (Revolution drummer Bobby Z & sons), and Andy Cook, as well as Fancy Ray McClooney and other comedians. You don’t have to be a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to enjoy this show. All are welcome

Monday, Tuesday, December 24, 25

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Not everyone wants (or gets) to spend a whole evening with relatives from near and afar. If you need a break, or simply don’t want to hear any more Christmas music, you’ve got these gigs to attend. Guitarist Deano Mikkelson does his annual show again this year, with two different sets of Dinosaurs. Christmas Eve it’s Joel Shapira, guitar; George Marich, drums; and James Buckley, bass. Christmas night Deano will be joined by Dean Harrington, guitar; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dehl Gallagher, drums. Harmonica master Clint Hoover is expected stop in one or both nights and join in the fun. Note: if you want to order adult beverages, be sure to bring an ID.

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.

 


Air: Conditioned or Fresh- 5.30-6.5

May 30, 2018

With the unofficial start of Summer behind us, we can take advantage of air conditioned clubs or fresh air when going out, or we can enjoy the fact that it’s still light outside after early shows, and often pleasant when we get out of late shows. Music lifts the Spirit!

Thomasina Petrus as Lady Day

Larry

Jazz

Now through June 24

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Tues – St, 2pm & 7:30pm Sundays ($37 – $47, depending on date) Thomasina Petrus does an uncanny job of giving voice to Billie Holiday as she sounded during the last months of her life. She portrays Holiday as vulnerable and frail, yet strong and defiant. The strong, emotional production is moved along with the help of ace musicians Thomas West on piano; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums. For More Info, go here.

Wednesday, May 30

Bill Carrothers Solo Piano @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15 – $20) Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who’s been praised in the New York Times. He grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, close enough to visit every few months. He normally plays with a number of the area’s fine musicians but tonight he plays solo in the listening room.

Nathan Hanson/Chris Bates Duets @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Chris on bass, and Nathan on sax have known each other for 25 years. Never having done an evening of duets before, they’re going to explore music of the moment.

Thursday, May 31

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30 (Tip Jar) Six-string guitar master Dean Mikkelson takes over the green booth at this tiny joint to play some fine jazz and standards. He’ll be joined by Dean Harrington, another wizard on guitar, as well as bassist Tom Lewis, and drummer Diehl Gallagher.

Le Voyage @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Music composed in and of the moment, by Donald Washington, saxes and flutes; Matt Trice, alto sax; Dick Studer, bass; and Steve Hirsh, drums. Here’s Washington in a trio setting.

Thursday, May 31, Friday, June 1

Vijay Iyer & Teju Cole: Blind Spot @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($24-$30) The Walker, as usual, is staying ahead of the curve when it comes to jazz. For these two evenings they’ve got forward thinking pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, who is collaborating with acclaimed Nigerian-American writer/photographer Teju Cole in some interdisciplinary works.

Friday, June 1 

Zacc Harris Group and Skinny Kid Fridays @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) So tonight’s bill features a new band in the opening set – Skinny Kid Fridays: Eli Zukor-Zimmerman, sax; Carter Pearson, drums; Lasse Korson, keys; and Jorgen Linne, bass. Then at 8:30pm it’s the veterans of the Zacc Harris Group; Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, keys; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Franklin’s Revival Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a new group ready to provide a modern twist to some classic jazz, whether from the 19-teens, 20s, 30,s or 40s. It’s Adam Meckler, trumpet;Paul Fonfara, clarinet; Ted Godbout, piano; Even Clark, tuba; and Trevor Haining, drums.

Saturday, June 2

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s 7pm slot will be Inventions & Dimensions, a group composed of Chris Bates, bass; Joe Strachan, keyboards; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Larry McDonough Quartet takes over at 8:30pm to present: Alice in Stonehenge & Other Acoustic Adventures, with Richard Terrill, saxes, poetry;  Greg Stinson, bass; Nathan Norman, drums; and special guest Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Jelloslave Open Eye Figure Theater, 506 E 24th Street, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Donation – $10 & Up) Jelloslave is premiering new music as the featured ensemble for the American Composers Foru/m Showcase. New works are by Larry McDonough, Robin Holcomb. of Seattle, and Harriet Steinke, of Detroit. They’ll also be performing a work composed for them by Mary Ellen Childs, as well as compositions by group members Michelle Kinney and Jaqueline Ultan, both of whom play cello. The other members of Jelloslave are Gary Waryan, tablas, and Greg Schutte, drums. Make reservations here.

Jelloslave

Monday, June 5

Maryann & The Money Makers @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Maryann Sullivan’s mellifluous voice was once heard on MPR, KBEM, and other jazz stations, and is still heard from time to time on voiceovers for commercials. That voice helps her shine as she and her band take a turn through numerous standards with a small aggregation that’s big on swing.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, May 30 

Rockin’Johnny Burgin on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Traditional Chicago Blues from the hard-touring Burgin, who started out with the Tail Draggers in the 90s and has since become a leading blues star around the world. He does 250 shows a year, and is also in demand as a session player. He’ll be accompanied by Jeremy Johnson and Joh Medek.

Al Jardine: A Postcard from California @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Jardine appeared at the Dakota on the first night of this “story-telling” tour. It was a charming evening as the co-founder of the Beach Boys shared stories and music. Now that the show has been road-tested, he’s back, with more videos and presumably, more stories.

Thursday, May 31

Cash and Carry Band @ Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) R&B, blues, jazz, and pop from a group of seasoned veterans, including Rodney Wilson on keys and vocals andJmes “Jimmyapolis” wallace on sax.

Viva Las Vegas & The Nashville Rebel @ The Heights Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm (Viva Las Vegas), 9:15 (Nashville Rebel) ($20 for both) Here’s an old fashioned double feature, with the King himself starring opposite the vivacious Ann Margret in Viva Las Vegas. As with most of Elvis’ movies, the plot is thin, but in this one in particular, the singing and dancing are hot. It’s followed by Nashville Rebel, featuring Waylon Jennings as a country singer trying to escape his contract with an evil lawyer. Performances by Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, and Tex Ritter.

Thursday – Sunday, June 1 – 3

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm, The-Sat, 6;30pm Sun  ($15 – $25) Davina and her mad mix of New Orleans R&B, classic blues, and fresh take on traditional jazz has filled the club so much in the past that their debut in the newly enlarged main room has been expanded to 4 nights!

Friday, June 1

Mr Ray, not Mr Ree

Jeff Ray & The Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Friday evenings at the Kitchen may be filled with TGIF revelers and diners, but it will be worth it to hear the way slide guitarist Jeff ray brings new arrangements to old bluesy Americana. He’ll be accompanied by Harold Tremblay on harmonica; Mikkel Beckmen; percussion, and an as-yet to be identified bass player.

 

Jaedyn James & The Hunger @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul.7pm (No Cover) Spring Cafe has now replaced the Como Dockside as a lakeside cafe in Como park, and they’ve upped the music game at the Pavillion by having Molly Maher do the booking.There are still community bands, but there’s also a fine mix of jazz, r&b, and Americana acts. Tonight it’s the funky, bad-ass attitude of Jaedyn James and her cohorts.

Saturday, June 2

Spider John Koerner Art Reception @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (Free) This is simply described as a visual collection from the west bank’s most famous world traveler. (He’s also Palmer’s most famous regular)

Sweet Colleens and the Hounds of Finn @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance/$18 Door) Two bands provide a full evening of Celtic-infused, fiddle & accordion driven Americana and folk rock.

Soul Tight Committee @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This ten -piece band, featuring two horns and three vocalists plays lots of 70s era songs and others that will have you dancing in your seats, alongside the bar, and the dance floor.

Sunday, June 3

Grand Old Days @ Dixie’s on Grand, Saint Paul. Noon ton5pm (Free) The Annual gathering of beer lovers and others has a number of stages featuring music. The best of them all is Dixie’s, starting with Crankshaft, and continuing with Boom Boom Stevie V & The Knockouts, The Church of Cash, and Viva Kneivel.

101 Years of Finnish Music @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free) Whether you’re a Finn from the North Country, or discovered Finnish Music at the Cedar Cultural Center, you can hear popular Finnish songs from the last 101 years, performed by Pasi Lautala, Oren Tikkanen, Bob Niltunen, and Tim Havens, with special guests Erik Koskinen, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, Diane Jarvi, and Ralph Tutilla.

 Monday, Tuesday, June 4,5

Peter Asher & Jeremy Clyde @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40, $45) Asher is a multi-talented artist who has been involved in some pivotal moments in rock history – rooming with Paul McCartney, introducing John to Yoko, discovering James Taylor, producing a host of artists and serving as music director for a bunch of award shows, not to forget his partnership in Peter &* Gordon. He’s returning to the Dakota for the 4th or 5th time, and once again will change things up, this time by partnering with Jeremy Clyde of Chad & Jeremy, another British duo with some hits, such as the one in the video below. Always entertaining.

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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