Visitors and Special Events: 2.15 – 2.21

February 15, 2017

unknown-1There are lots of interesting gigs this week, some of which required a long explanation, while I’ve covered others with just a few sentences. We’ve a couple of high-profile visitors and a few special events to pique our interests and bring us musical pleasure. Whatever you choose, just remember that music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 15

Ambrose Akinmusire and Kool A.D. @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($20) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series commissions new projects presented in unique venues. Such is the case tonight, when young jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire partners with rapper Kool A.D.to create a brand new chamber music work. Akinmusire won both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competiton and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition back in 2007, when he was 25. He has since put out three albums and was a sideman on about 25 albums, including CDs by Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, and Steve Coleman, among others. Kool A.D. is the nom de rap of Victor Vasquez. The rapper’s work was described by Mother Jones magazine as:  “a thoughtful effort to deconstruct and rearrange cultural objects in ways that challenge our deepest assumptions.” Special guests include The Mivos String Quartet along with pianist Sam Harris and drummer Justin Brown

Jeremy Walker Songtet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker is a musical explorer, who delves into musical styles and creates haunting compositions. This new group is about great songs. He’s enlisted Jason Harms, who was heard in Walker’s epic 7 Psalms, to work with the Songtet interpreting great songs, whether Walker originals, or from Dylan, Ellington, or the Great American Songbook. Joining Walker and Harms are two other frequent collaborators: Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums.

Thursday, February 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/MMEA Badge) Meckler is a trumpeter-about-town who is a gifted composer and teacher. He’ll be doing a workshop at the MMEA conference Friday afternoon, working with the band from Spring Lake Park High School. He’s bringing his 18 piece orchestra to the Dakota to provide MMEA participants and others with a preview of his work.

Maria Schneider Orchestra @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($35 – $65; Discounts for students, seniors, military, MPR) Five-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider grew up in Windom, attended the U and essentially redefined the sound of a jazz orchestra. Schneider is one of the leading lights of jazz these days, and was recently on the cover of Downbeat, when her album The Thompson Fields was named the best of the year in the magazine’s Readers Poll. The evocative, gorgeous album, named for the fields near her Windom home, won the 2016 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Students can get a 2-4-1 discount by using the code WWMA.

David Rempis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Rempis is a free jazz saxophonist who isn’t afraid to do solo performances. With a background that includes studying African music in Ghana, years with Chicago’s Vandermark Sound, numerous collaborations, and as an organizer of Chicago’s indie-rock Pitchfork Festival, Rempis will be performing one set solo tonight, as well as a set with Levi Schwartzberg, vibes and piano; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Ruckus Trio spent most of January touring, so tonight’s show should be quite tight, featuring Ruckus on drums; Javi Santiago on piano; and Greg Byers on bass and cello. Though this video from just a few weeks ago is dark, the sound is good.

Friday, February 17

The Jazz Bridge Project @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7 suggested donation) Here’s a relatively new project featuring the father-son team of Roger Johnson, guitar; and Rajah Johnson on flute; as well as Ron Evanuik, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Abebi Stafford, keys.

Jay Young & the Lyric Factory @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00[pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Jay Young brings his funky, jazzy R&B to the basement club, featuring music from Blondie, Tina Tuner, Steely Dan, and Bobby Brown. The band consists of Jay Young, piccolo bass; Ian Young, bass; Theo Harris, drums; Tom West, keys; Ernest Bisong, violin; Haylee Dee, vocals; and Caitlynn Daniels, vocals.

Saturday, February 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) JazzINK once again presents an young opening act for this series: Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams. Headliners are What Would Monk Do? with Peter Schimke, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Kenny Horst on drums.

Sunday, February 19

Kaki King @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42) It’s difficult to slot guitarist Kaki King into any genre, or even describe her music. She’s worked with bands like the Foo Fighters and Timbaland, contributed to film and TV soundtracks, and sometimes performs with a NYC-based string quartet ETHEL. She also performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical pice commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Tonight, she’s presenting “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” in a multi-media performance.

Patty Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Singer Patty Peterson is celebrating the anniversary of the aortic tear which almost ended her life about ten years ago. Thankfully, she’s still with us, and still sounding great, as she proved at the Winter Jazz Fest a couple of weeks ago. She’ll be performing songs that celebrate life and love. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

Monday, February 20

MVP Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $30), 9pm ($25) Bobby Watson  sax; Donald Brown, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums; are the MVP Quartet. They have played together in various combinations and bands since these veterans were young. Both Watson and Brown were in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, though at different times. Drummond and Smith both have extensive resumes. Here’s Watson with a standard.

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) I suspect that I mention Mary Louise quite a bit, but she’s such a great pianist, I feel more folks should know about her. After all, she’s the first call pianist for Doc Severensen when he tours the Midwest. She’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums, in Crooners’ listening room. Here’s what she sounds like.

Tuesday, February 21

UW Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble w/Michael Davis @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Jazz Studies program at UW Eau Claire has been doing a great job of turning out musicians. Tonight they’ve invited NYC-based trombonist Michael Davis to sit in with their Jazz Ensemble. The bone-man is widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones since 1994. He toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released 9 solo CDs, composed over 150 works, authored 10 books and appeared on over 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. He’s worked with scores of high-profile musicians, including Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Terence Blanchard and others.

MVP Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) After playing at the Dakota lat night (see above), this all-star quartet is moving over to the Vieux.

Tuesday, Wednesday, February 21, 22

Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly & George @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm  ($40 – $55), 9pm ($24 – $45) Pianist Aaron Diehl turns the spotlight on the music of rag time pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and popular composer George Gershwin. There is certainly plenty of wonderful material to explore, and Diehl has picked out both classic tunes as well as little-known gems for further exploration. He’ll be joined by  pianist Adam Birnmaum, who has played with Al Foster, Wallace Roney, Eddie Gomez, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as well as young contemporary artists. Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant is the icing on the cake, so to speak, with her ability to unearth new interpretations of standards and long-forgotten, yet worthwhile tunes.

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 15

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Joe and Vicki have such a fan base here in the Twin Cities that they could almost move here from their Decorah, Iowa home. Listen in during the 5 o’clock hour to catch their spare, but effective blues.

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Here we have three masters of slack key guitar – a distinctly Hawaiian style of open tunings. George Kahumoku Jr, Kawika Kahiapo, & Nathan Aweau are masters of the instrument who have produced four Grammy-winning CDs.

Maurice Jacox @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a chance to hear a vocal master of R&B, soul, blues, and even some crooning in the comfy confines of this “dive-ish” bar with friendly staff.

Aaron Kerr’s Dissonant Creatures @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Original compositions from electric cellist Aaron Kerr  along with Jeff Crandall, guitar; Toni Tinetti, cello; Justin DeLeon, drums; Matt Kanive, bass; Mike Nordgy, mandolin & percussion; and Brett Hansen, guitar.

Thursday, February 16

International Novelty Gamelan @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A gamelan is a traditional music ensemble from Indonesia that typically uses bronze percussive instruments. The ING may not be Indonesian, but it’s six members have taken the music of that far-off land to heart, and learned to create their own songs as well. Their music is drone-like, and can be very abstract, which makes it perfect for the cauldron of progressive music presented at Khyber Pass.

Friday, February 17

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The Duchess of the Blues, singing and playing for your early evening dancing pleasure.

Dobet Gnahoré @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) 9pm ($25, $30) This singer, dancer, and percussionist from the Ivory Coast is likely to stun you with the sheer physicality of her dancing, though her singing (in a variety of African languages) and time-keeping are nothing to sneeze at. Gnahoré has a warm, powerful voice, and a commanding stage presence, sure to hold you in wonder.

Slimabration @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, Donation at Door) It’s been five years since Bob “Slim” Dunlap experienced the stroke that sidelined him from playing music, and racked up some significant medical expenses. Slim’s friends and family decided to mark the occasion with a celebration of Bob and his music, featuring solo and band performances from the likes of Dan Baird, of the Georgia Satellites; John Eller & Friends; Curtiss A, Frankie Lee, Whale in the Thames, and many more. There will be craft food and beverages available.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free beverage) Primer served as bandleader and lead guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. He’s received two Grammy nominations, including a 2017 nomination as Best Traditional Blues Artist (Male). In other words, when it comes to the blues, Primer is the real deal.

Saturday, February 18

Ling-Ju Lai: The Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Host Maria Jette has lined up an impressive array of artists to perform for the somewhat informal Saturday Salon series. Though Ms Jette’s commentary and quick wit keep things light, the audience is as rapt as possible in this listening room. Today features pianist Ling-Ju Lai  a native of Taiwan who has gained an international reputation for her creative interpretations of Baroque music. From the venue’s description: “Highlights of the 2016-17 season include appearances in notable concert series such as the Aula de Música at the University of Alcalá in Spain, the PianoForte Foundation Salon Series in Chicago, and Brookline Library Music Association Concert Series in Massachusetts presenting The Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach.”

Freaker’s Ball 2017 @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Let your Freak Flag Fly as the White Iron BandKung Fu Hippies, and trumpeter Willie Waldman take you on a trip through various stomp-your-feet permutations of roots, jam band, psychedelic, and free form music.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Silvertones are a cover band that features rock and R&B from the sixties, for that evening when you just want to sing along and (for older folks) perhaps relive your youth.

Sunday, February 19

Bad Companions @ The Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Two guitars, a stand-up bass, and drums are just what is needed to play roots-rock that encompasses Rockabilly, R&B, Country, and the Blues. Al Subola (Vibro Champs), guitar; Dan Gaarder (Trailer Trash), guitar; W.E. Keefe (Vibro Champs), bass; and Hayden Grooms (Hillions) are the Bad Companions  providing the sounds in the Sunken Garden of the Margorie McNeely Conservatory. Beer and wine is available and the music is piped into the North Garden and Palm Dome so you can keep up with the music as you enjoy the plants and humidity of the Conservatory. Here they are with the addition of a saxophonist.

Tuesday, February 21

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Latin sounds by the first American Group to be invited and appear at the International Danzon Festival in Havana. Leader Doug Little will have just returned from Cuba, so I imagine he will be pumped.

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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Resident Talent Abounds: 1.11 – 1.18

January 11, 2017

musicians_paint_on_silenceWell there aren’t many visiting artists this week, but there are plenty of interesting gigs in both jazz and blues/roots, which isn’t that surprising, considering what an active music scene we have in the Twin Cites. There are new combinations of artists, special presentations, and even a retirement party for some blues musicians. Not that they’re leaving the blues, but they no longer have to worry about getting up to work after a late night gig. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 11

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Sometimes, all you need is a bit of swinging music to put some snap in your step. Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; can do that for you, whether they’re playing jazz standards or putting some swing to Chopin or video game music.

Jimmy Scott Documentary @ Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This 50 seat movie house is screening I Go Back Home, a documentary about the legendary, if under-appreciated Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer without peer.  Though he began recording in the 50s, he became a prisoner to a contract that kept him from recording for about 30 years. This film features appearances by Quincy Jones, Joe Pesci, David Sanborn, and others. Check with the Trylon website to see if tickets are still available. Here’s the official trailer.

Chris Bates Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever-busy bassist uses this monthly gig to spotlight one of his several groups, or to bring together new combinations of musicians to see what happens. Tonight Bates is joined by Thomas Nordlund, guitar; JC Sanford on trombone, and possibly his brother JT on drums.

Thursday, January 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band: Songs of Sinatra @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover, but you can reserve a seat in the stage area for $10) Walesch is a talented pianist and vocalist whose clear enunciation, and ability to swing certainly qualifies him as a crooner. His ten piece band features Bob Parsons, arrangements/alto sax; Dave Karr, tenor sax; Bruce Thornton, bari sax; Mark Bobnick and Steve Wagner, trumpets; Dave Graf, trombone; Geoff LeCrone, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein on drums. There’s often a line out the door for this show, so be forewarned that it will pay to get there early. Here’s a bit of what Walesch and the big band can do.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) First set is by the Julian Manzara Quartet: Manzara, guitar; Drew Stinson, bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; George Randall, drums. Second set by the Aaron Hedenstrom Trio: Hedenstrom, saxes; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars Erik-Larson, drums. Here’s Hedenstrom performing all parts for Dolphin Dance.

Friday, January 13

Jeremy Walker, Debbie Duncan Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Duncan – $10) Another double bill of jazz at VC. Opening the evening is pianist Walker, who is a prolific composer, having written over 70 pieces for the various small bands he leads, as well as a number of commissions and the evening-length work 7 Psalms for jazz combo and choir. Then at 9pm it’s Debbie Duncan, who has been entertaining audiences with her mix of jazz, R&B, and sass for decades.

Doug Haining Presents the Music of Horace Silver @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Back in the 50s pianist Horace Silver was one of the architects of Hard Bop, infusing the improvisational wizardry of bebop with the soulfulness of gospel. The result is now considered mainstream jazz, having outlasted and outgrown a lot of other jazz movements. Tonight, saxophonist Doug Haining is gathering musicians to pay homage to Silver’s music, which includes such jazz standards as: Song for My Father, Sister Sadie, and Señor Blues. Joining Haining are: Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.

Saturday, January 14

OUDYANO @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop ($10), 7pm concert ($15, or free with workshop admission) Oudyano is the duo of Issam Rafea, oud; and Steven Hobert, eclectic keyboardist. Rafea, a native of Syria, and Hobert, of Minneapolis, have discovered a deep musical connection that’s immediately apparent when they play. Those who have heard Hobert in different settings know that he’s always a sensitive improviser, and with Rafea, he has found a musical partner that shares that sensitivity. Their music explores all the potential that’s inherent in the pairing of Arabic classical tradition with American jazz & roots. The resulting music is delightful, and if there are any political overtones to their work, it is simply the desire for peace.

 

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) There is no opening act tonight, so the Solomon Parham Quintet will perform starting at 8:30, with a stellar line-up of musicians, including: Parham, trumpet; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Graf, trombone.

Monday, January 16

Paul McCandles & Charged Particles @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Back in the late 70s and early 80s, multi-instrumentalist/reed player Paul McCandles was a member of the original Paul Winter Consort and Oregon, both of which melded classical, jazz, and world music. McCandles still performs with Oregon, though he’s also managed a solo career, performing and recording with such stellar musicians as Jaco Pastorious, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Reich, Bruce Hornsby, the String Cheese Incident, and Bela Fleck.

Very Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) I may have missed it, but I’ve not seen this group listed before in any of the dozens of websites I check each week. They’re described as “an instrumental jazz, funk and pop trio” consisting of Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Monday, January 17

Butch Thompson @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm Solo on Monday ($12, $37 w/Dinner). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial jazz recording, so its only appropriate that the Dunsmore Room features Thompson, a pianist/historian, known for his elegant playing of early jazz pieces. This is the first of two nights at the Dunsmore Room for Thompson, who will be joined by Pat Donohue on Tuesday night. (See listing under Blues and Roots, below)

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, January 11

Mikkel’s Birthday Party featuring Jeff Ray on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Slide guitar master Jeff Ray has released 6 CDs and has made fans throughout North America andEurope. Tonight he’s joined by percussionist Mikkel Beckmen, who happens to be celebrating a birthday. Using just a djembe drum and washboard, Beckmen has managed to become a percussionist about town for a number of blues and roots performers, and as a result, is a frequent visitor to Harold’s House Party. Expect some of his many musical friends to be on hand at the 331, and, as he often does, host Harold Tremblay to sit in on harp for a few numbers.

Thursday,January 12

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This energetic, enthusiastic funk n’ soul band will turn the Dakota into party central. Vocalist Jaedyn James has a powerful voice and commanding stage presence, both of which are enhanced by the 8-piece horn band and two vocalists who provide the backing.

Dean Magraw & Dan Newton, w/guest Pat Donohue @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Guitarist Magraw and accordionist Newton could easily be placed under jazz listings, but the Aster’s website says this as a folk show, and the appearance of guitarist Pat Donohue certainly steers it in that direction. All three are master musicians, so no matter what they play, it will be inspiring and entertaining.

Friday, January 13

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The blues and R&B of the five-piece Armadillo Jump never fails to bring dancers to the floor. They’re a favorite at Wilebski’s and other watering holes in the area.

Captain Gravitone & the String Theory Orchestra @ Dulono’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) This Mankato-based sextet plays a combination of acoustic rock, gypsy jazz, tangos, and roots music, led by banjoist (is that the correct term?) Eli Hoehn, with a sure sense of both theater and a sense of humor.

Americana Showcase @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Not only is it Friday the 13th, but it’s a Full Moon tonight as well, so the Hook & Ladder has put together a quartet of roots music groups sure to make the evening memorable. They’ve got bluesman Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, the world-weary vocals and deft playing of  Doug Otto & The Getaways, singer/songwriter of old-timey sounding music of Jake Manders (of Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins), and those bluegrass funsters, the all female Beavers.

New Feral Cats @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This is the debut performance of this new group, which has arisen from the breakup of Sweet Tea. The New Feral Cats are a soulful blues outfit that includes veteran players with sterling music resumes, that include years with a variety of bands from across the musical specturm. Singer Sonna Olson sings with passion and grit.

Calientando El Bloque @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) This celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms will feature singer/songwriter/hip-hop artist Maria Isa, and Joga Bola, a new Brazilian project led by guitarist/songwriter Adam Levy, featuring Mina Moore and Karen Quiroz, vocals; Lucia Sarmiento, saxophone; Andrew Gillespie, percussion; Tim O’Keefe, reeds; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Charlie Peterson, keys Their sound is inspired by 1960’s & 1970’s samba, funk, soul, and psychedelia from Brazil.

Friday, Saturday, January 13, 14

Radiate! @ The Sheldon Theater, 443 West 3rd Street, Red Wing. 7:30pm ($18 – $30) It’s worth the hour or so it takes to drive to Red Wing simply to see the interior of the Sheldon Theater, a beautifully restored gem of architectural flourishes, ceiling paintings, and delicate plaster sculptures. It’s doubly worth it to see this unique show, described thusly by the New York Times, “RADIATE glows..making it hard to resist this sequined earth-mother’s soulful embrace.” It’s been a critic’s pick in the NY Times, Time Out New York, The New Yorker, and Time Out Chicago. The show itself is a musical about a mythical R&B expatriate diva, Jomama Jones, who returns to the states determined to awaken the ability in everyone to regenerate ourselves. Besides Jones, the production features a band and backup singers, as well as Red Wing High School’s Ovation Choir and the Red Wing Singers. The show’s creator Daniel Alexancer Jones, who performs as Jomama Jones, is a former member of Saint Paul’s Penumbra Theater.

Saturday, January 14

Westside Band Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25, $30 Advance, $35, $40 Door) During the 50s and 80s, EWF ruled the charts with their stunning R&B, selling hundreds of millions of albums, being inducted into the RnR Hall of Fame and eventually being one of the first bands to play at the Obama Whitehouse. With the passing of EWF founder Maurice White this year, Junior Trejo, leader of our own legendary band Westside, is gathering the band and some friends for this tribute to EWF and their positive message of hope and spirituality.

The Gated Community & the Skruffians @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Never mind that it’s the middle of January, the Skruffians will heat things up with the smoking’ sounds of classic ska from the 60s. The instrumental septet take their musical inspiration from the Skatalites, the band that backed The Wailers and other Jamaican groups. Then, at 10pm, a different kind of heat erupts from The Gated Community, an Americana septet that mixes country and bluegrass with a bit of rock. They recently released Country Hymn, their third album since coming together in 2006.

Sunday, January 15

Blues Retirement Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10) Though vocalist/bandleader Dee Miller has been retired for a while, she’s finally getting round to celebrating, and is doing so with a few other friends – Boom Boom Stevie Vonderhaar, Deb Frey, and Chris Bauer – who are now free to rest and/or do the things they enjoy. Of course, Dee Miller enjoys singing, so she and her band will be playing, with special guest harpist Vonderharr. They’ve also got the classic R&B of Who Nu on the bill, a band that Miller often sits in with. There will be a complimentary buffet, along with wine & keg beer during a 2pm – 4pm Happy Hour. Here’s an example of Vonderhaar at work.

Javier Matos @ The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. I mentioned Javier’s gig at Palmers last week, but this is such a different venue (and time) that it’s worth noting. Matos, an excellent slide guitarist and blues vocalist, will be performing in the Conservatory’s fabulous Sunken Garden. Though the Sunken Garden has few places to sit, the music will also be piped in to the Palm Dome and the North Garden. So… give your skin a break and take in the humid air of the Conservatory while hearing some great music.  BTW, Beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Tuesday, January 18

Butch Thompson and Pat Donohue @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner). Pianist Butch Thompson was solo on Monday night. Tonight he’s joined by guitarist Pat Donohue for an evening of classic blues, as found on their excellent album Vicksburg Blues. Don’t be surprised if Donohue sings a few songs and Thompson breaks out his clarinet.

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.


From Jazz Masters to New Takes on Tradition: 10:5 – 10.11

October 6, 2016
Food for the Food Opera!

Food for the Food Opera!

This week we’ve a couple of great pianists visiting town, as well as a visiting ten-piece jazz band. In addition, we’ll be treated to some hot swing, acoustic blues, new R&B, and new takes on traditional music from Columbia and the Nordic countries, as well as a record release party, a scat-off, and a food opera! Not to mention the talented musicians who live and perform in our Twin Towns. Get out. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, October 5

Kenny Barron Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($354, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) A rare chance to see the elegant and lyrical pianist Barron. The Philadelphia native  moved to New York in 1962 at the age of 19 and began playing with the likes of Lee Morgan, Roy Haynes, and James Moody. He was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s Orchestra, and performed with other masters such as Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, and Milt Jackson. He taught at Rutgers from ’73 until 2000 and is now teaching at Julliard. Barron has won numerous awards and accolades from Downbeat, Jazz Times, and Jazzis magazines, as well as from the Jazz Journalists association.

Debbie Duncan @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. &pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Tonight the highly respected Ms Duncan explores the music of Billie Holiday. Classic songs by a classic singer.

Anthony Cox Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Cox brings another sterling group to his once-a-month-curated gig. This time the bassist is accompanied by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Peter Schimke, piano; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Expect great originals and cool interpretations of jazz standards.

Thursday, October 6

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Bassist Brian Courage is back in town, and appearing with his quartet, which includes: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Luke Polipnick, guitar; and Pete James Johnson on drums. Here’s a video of Courage and two other bassists – he’s in the middle – or you can get an idea of what the band sounds like here.

Connie Evingson w/Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) This looks like a winning combination. The Travis Anderson Trio  with Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums, can swing standards with the best of them. Ms Evingson has fans from across the nation, thanks to her straightforward, always fresh, and yet sensuous interpretations of Peggy Lee, the Beatles, Dave Frishberg, bossa novas, and hot club tunes.

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) You may have read about Khyber Pass and this Thursday night series in the Strib a week or so back. Tonight guitarist Magraw and drummer Seru bring their close communication and always interesting improvisations to the small restaurant. Here’s a video of the two of them with guest Dave Graf.

Friday, October 7

Chris Misch-Bloxdorf Dectet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Originally from Wisconsin, trombonist Misch-Bloxdorf brings a ten-piece group to the basement club to play his original chamber jazz, which features elements of hip-hop, metal, electronic, and indie-rock. After graduating from Lawrence in WI (which is turning out excellent musicians), he recently received his masters from NYU, studying with Kenny Werner, among others. You can listen to some of his music here.

Xibaba @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) Get a hit of Brazilian jazz, Bossa Novas, Sambas, Forros, and Choros from Mira and Tom Kehoe and friends.

Saturday, October 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kimmel, mallet percussion; and Greg Byers, cello, perform the opening set, followed at 8:30 by the Park Evans Quintet, with Evans, guitar; Evan Benidt, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, Ted Olson, bass, and Greg Schutte, drums.

Singers Scat-Off @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15, $5 w/Student ID) Some of you who went to the Jazz Festival this past June may remember an event at Golden’s where various singers scatted, both solo, in duos, trios, and in a Scat-Off featuring all the singers. That was so well received that some of the participants put together this show, hosted by Maryann Sullivan, and featuring Dorothy Doring, Sarah M. Greer, Jana Nyberg, and Jason Peterson DeLaire. The audience will be invited to choose a champion after seeing all of them in action.

Sunday, October 9

Sunday B3 Jam Session @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm ($5) Guitarist Cole Mahlum hosts this jam session, the success of which, is at least partially up to who shows up to play. It can get greasy, funky, and out there.

Benny Green Solo @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm ($30, $65w/dinner) The Dunsmore Room has a new Steinway piano, chosen with the help of Fred Hirsch, and Benny Green is here to christen it with a solo performance. Green can be called a “keeper of the flame” for hard bop as he passes on the lessons he learned from Betty Carter, Art Blakey, and Ray Brown to a younger generation. He  was last in town in October when he gave a sparkling performance at the Dakota.

Tuesday, October 11

Chris Lomheim, Shapria/Granros duo @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shapira/Granros, $5) Another two-fer night at the Vieux, starting with pianist Chris Lomheim, followed by an interesting guitar duo. Joel Shapira plays both jazz and classical music on his nylon-stringed guitar, and can be heard with vocalist Charmin Michelle and other groups about town. Dean Granros, who can often be heard with How Birds Work, among other groups, can play fairly straight as well as “out” with great facility and imagination. They’ve an excellent album recorded at the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

For more listings, 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, October 5

Bingham & Thorne on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I always look forward to this duo’s annual visit to the House Party and the 331 Club. Bob Bingham and Gordon Thorne are great storytellers, whether in song or in-between patter. They are accomplished guitarists on both six and twelve-strings, with Thorne also bringing out a mandolin from time to time. They’re even bringing in a special guest, acclaimed fiddler Randy Sabien! Whether playing festivals, libraries, or dive bars, Bingham and Thorne are always fun. Tune in to the House party and then head over to the 331 Club.

Thursday, October 6

Paul Mayasich’s Hot Seat w/Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Guitarist Mayasich always brings in compatible players who help stretch his usual wizardry. Tonight he’s got the singer/harpist with a booming voice, Big George Jackson, along with Jackson’s ever-present cohort, guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, October 6,7,8

Saint Paul Food Opera @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 11am, 12: 30pm Thursday and Friday, 5:30pm, 7:30pm Friday, Saturday ($35 lunch, $70 Dinner) Here’s a way to combine your gustatory experience with an aural experience. Zeitgeist composer Ben Houge, and a number of outstanding Saint Paul chefs are teaming up to mix musical and culinary arts. As described Delectable dishes will be paired with evocative music to enhance the experience of both. Composer Houge is creating a set of musical works for Zeitgest, the new music ensemble of piano, woodwinds, and two percussionists. The music will be paired with dishes prepared by chefs from Tongue in Cheek, Saint Dinette, The Handsome Hog, Golden’s Lowertown, Izzy’s Ice Cream, and Brake Bread. Houge’s music is beautiful, with a meditative quality that nevertheless has little surprises scattered throughout each composition, much as a dish might have a number of different flavors. This isn’t the first time Houge has created food operas, as you can read here.

Friday, October 7

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5)The five-piece Armadillo Jump will have the commodious dance floor at Wilebski’s filled with blues lovers who like to dance.

Erik Koskinen and Randy Weeks @ The Hook & Lander Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Koskinen is a sharp guitarist and songwriter, who uses the vernacular of classic country music to write about personal issues and comment on American life, whether small town values, or tracking. Windom-born, Texas-based Randy Weeks is another observant songwriter, whose music can meld surf rock with folk rock, and Americana with pop. He happens to be the writer of Lucinda Williams’ hit Can’t Let Go, from her Grammy winning album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Here’s a video of Weeks.

Friday, Saturday, October 7, 8 

Squirrel Nut Zippers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($35 – $45) Back in the mid-90s, the Zippers were part of a swing revival that was sweeping the nation creating a retro, yet definitely hot sound that hearkened back to hot jazz of New Orleans, as well as swing of the 30s. They sold over a million copies of Hot, their second album. This is their first tour since 2009, and band founders Jimbo Mathus and Chris Phillips have recruited some New Orleans musicians to spice up their sound, as well as singer Ingrid Lucia of the Flying Neutrinos.

Saturday, October 8

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Saturday night tends to be party night at Crooners. Case in point: Ms Miller, who, together with a tight band, can raise the roof and cause folks to push tables aside and dance.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers Record Release @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, Advance,. $17 Door) It’s a funky, funky night at First Avenue, as Sonny Knight and the Lakers release their second studio album, Sooner or Later. From the uptempo title tune, to the slow building finale of Oh Mary, Knight’s emotional singing and the Lakers’ tight playing create a satisfying slab of soul that moves well beyond any attempt at retro R&B. Duluth horn band Big Dave Wave & the Ripples will start the party, followed by the deep grooves of Nooky Jones, before Knight & the Lakers take the stage.

Sunday, October 9

Henrencia de Timbiqui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) This group from Columbia takes traditional folkloric music of their country and play it with modern instruments. What makes this group especially interesting is that Timbiqui, the town they come from, has deep African as well as Columbian roots, so you’ll hear those influences as well as elements of contemporary urban music.

Monday, October 10

King @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. ($27, $35) This female R&B vocal trio is made up of twins Paris and Amber Strother (originally from Minneapolis), and their musical sister, Anita Bias (from Los Angeles). They’ve received numerous accolades, are selling out venues around the US, and collaborated on the Grammy winning Move Love by Robert Glaspar, from his album Black Radio.

Tuesday, October 11

Nordic Fiddlers Block @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 Door) Take highly accomplished fiddlers from Norway, Sweden, and the Shetland Islands, have them focus on traditional music from each of their countries, add in rich harmonies and bass lines, and you have a trio that’s more than the sum of its parts. Their 2011 eponymous debut received acclaim from around the world, and they’re now touring behind a new release entitled Deliverance.

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.


Summer’s End: 8.31 – 9.6

August 31, 2016

STATE_FAIR_MUSICWell, as we approach the Labor Day weekend, I’ve learned that the AFL-CIO booth at the Fair seems to have lots of jazz. You can find out the schedule, as well as what’s on other stages, here. .The Minnesota Blues Society has kindly put together a list of blues and some roots performances on a daily basis, which you can find here. If you aren’t heading to the Fair, there is plenty of other music around to help you bring the summer to an end, whether you’re looking for visiting artists or some of our own resident artists. Thanks to Tim Nyberg for his reworking of a photo of mine from a past fair. Have fun, music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 31

Jane Monheit and Nicholas Payton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7-m ($35, $45), 9pm ($25, $35) Vocalist Monheit and trumpeter Payton are calling this show Ella and Louis revisited. Since her beautiful voice vaulted her to stardom in 1998’s Thelonious Monk competition, Monheit has released nine albums and has guested on a number of others. The 39 year old still has a terrific voice, as exemplified in her latest release, The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. It was produced by New Orleans native and fantastic trumpeter Nicholas Payton, so I guess it seemed natural that they collaborate on this project. If they can have half as much fun as Ella and Louis Armstrong, it will be a great show.

Patrick Adkins @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Edina HS grad is currently studying piano at Lawrence University in Wisconsin. The former member of the Dakota Combo will play a solo set and then be joined by Thomas Strommen, sax; and Aidan Sponheim, trumpet, for the second set.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Veteran Steve Kenny once again surrounds himself with some outstanding 20-ish musicians: Jabari Powell, saxophones; Ted Olsen, bass; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Kenny will be playing his signature Flumpet, and combination fluegelhorn/trumpet.

Thursday, September 1

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s a guitar-lovers evening at the Reverie as Tall Tales, which includes two of the Twin Cities most adventurous guitarists takes the stage. Zacc Harris & Dean Granros, guitars; with the outstanding support of Chris Bates, bass; Jay Epstein, drums. Here’s an example of what they sound like.

Thursday, Friday, September 1,2

Barbara Morrison w/Houston Person @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) No one else can perform jazz and blues with the verve and innate talent of Morrison, who has recorded with the Crusaders, the Clayton-Hamilton Orchestra, Ray Charles, Johnny Otis, Kenny Burrell and Doc Severinson. She’s recorded 20 of her own albums and has been nominated for Grammys. Back in 2004 she appeared at the Dakota and recorded a fine album with Houston Person, that big-toned, soulful sax player who can caress a ballad or put grit on a blues. The two of them are back, for a show that will surely be enjoyable.  Here’s Person.

Friday, September 2

Jon Pemberton/Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Pemberton – no cover), 9pm (Kogan – $10) Enjoy the music of pianist/trumpeter Jon Pemberton, who may have a musical partner, from 6 to 8pm, then stick around for Kogan’s quintet, playing his original music: Kogan, drums; Pete Whitman, just back from China, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; Anthony Cox, bass.

Jason and the Q @ Hells Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jason Weismann is a saxophonist and crooner whose vocals and sound harken back to the 50s, though his playing is certainly modern. Bonus: he always has stellar musicians in the Q.

Saturday, September 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) After two years of shows, this series has settled into a groove. The opening act is generally a young, or newer band, to give the audience a chance to discover new talent, while the headlining band is generally, but not always, a well established group of veterans who play two sets. Tonight’s opener at 7pm Lars-Erik Larson Trio: Larson, drums; Kam Markworth, bass; Aaron Hedenstrom sax; with special guest Steve Kenny, flumpet. Headlining at 8:30pm is the Paul Harper Bardo Band: Harper, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis bass; Nathan Norman, drums.

Sunday, September 4

Jazz Brunch w/James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 10am (No Cover) It’s Sunday brunch. It’s jazz. What else do you need to know? Oh yes, Buckley, bass; Nelson Devereaux, sax; JT Bates, drums

Sunday Jam Session w/Cole Mahlum @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 2pm – 4pm (Tip Jar??) Spontaneous collaboration is the essence of jazz. Todays session is hosted by guitarist Cole Mahlum, and focuses on the soul jazz sound of the Hammond B3, played by Abebi Stafford, with drumming by Jesse Simon, leader of the MN Hard Bop Collective.

Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) Pianist Crawford is often called the Prince of New Orleans. He certainly comes from a royal musical background, as his grandfather was guitarist Sugarboy Crawford, the first artist to record Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko), and is the godson of Roberta Flack. At ten years old, he was accompanying gospel choirs in New Orleans, giving him a foundation for everything he currently plays, which can range from classic R&B to B3 Soul Jazz to jazz and ballads.

Monday, September 5

LaValle Jazz Cats Little Big Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) This ten-piece little big band does music by Basie, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Miles, Sonny Rollins, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, and some contemporary artists like Michael Buble, Chick Corea, and Harry Connick Jr.

Tuesday, September 6

Todd Clouser’s Future Dance @ Crooners’ Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Guitarist Clouser has earned rave reviews in the national press for his guitar playing, which is heavily based in jazz but, as a relatively young musician, also includes influences from funk and rock. With this new trio, Clouser; Greg Schutte, drums; and from Paris, Warren Walker, sax; form a groove heavy trio performing a collection of original music and de-arrangements of artists from the Motown era to create danceable jazz. After all, jazz was originally played for dancing. Here’s Clouser with his other project, A Love Electric, showing his funk influence.

For more listings, 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, August 31

House Party’s 10 Year Anniversary, with the RAMM Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Can it really be ten years since Harold Tremblay began the House Party? The Blues and Roots show features live artists every week, followed by an appearance at the 331 Club. To Celebrate, Harold is bringing in the RAMM Band. It’s Real American Made Music, filled with classic Motown, funk, and rock n’ roll, performed by three very fine musicians: Paul Mayasich, guitar; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson.

Maurice Jacox Band @ The Mill City Museum, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm ($5, free for museum members) Is this a cool gig or what? The courtyard of the Mill City Museum lets you be outdoors, yet surrounded by some very old stone walls. Plus, vocalist Jacox has a quartet to back him, rather than a duo, or even trio, which will make for some fine ballads, blues, jazz, and R&B. They are: Thomas West, keys; John Della Selva, guitar; Charles Fletcher, bass; and Rob Stupka on drums. Plus, your $5 ticket gets you into the museum between 4pm and 9pm.

Kari Arnett & Laney Jones and the Spirits @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) An evening of Americana at the Aster. Arnett is a guitarist and singer/songwriter who, much like Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams, or Emilylou Harris, draws her inspiration from older forms of country and folk music. Her 2105 EP Midwestern Skyline has drawn praise from around the country. She’ll be accompanied by a four-piece band. Laney Jones is a 24 year old multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter who was raised in rural Florida, and began songwriting while in college. She then went to Berklee, where she majored in Songwriting. Since then, she’s been featured on PBS, and named as one of Ten Country Artists You Need to Know by Rolling Stone. In March she released a self-titiled album which leans a bit more towards pop, with the dance-happy Allson as her first single, and has been touring the nation since then backed by her band The Spirits.

Thursday, September 1

Nikki Roux & Rich Rue @ Golden’s Lowertown, 275 East 4th Street, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar?) Golden’s, the little restaurant with the walk-up window across from Saint Paul’s Farmer’s Market, has a stage and small room dedicated to music, much of which covers folk/Americana, though the occasional jazz group turns up. Tonight they have the folk-rock/blues of Nikki Roux and Rich Rue, who’ve been gathering Saint Paul fans with regular appearances at the Vieux Carre.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11pm ($5??) The dance floor at the Eagles Club will be filled as the Poppas perform their blend of Southern Louisiana music: R&B, Swamp Pop, and a bit of Cajun/Zydeco.

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones w/Lila Ammons @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No cover) Some west coast and jump blues from harpist Paul Barry, along with Jon Pederson, guitar; Vince Hyman, piano & vibes; Scott Soule, bass; and Doug Hill, drums. They’ll be joined by special guest Lila Ammons, who can sing the blues with verve and style.

Friday, September 2

The Pluto Trio @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The Pluto Trio is bassist Paul Kammeyer, percussionist Josh Smith, and keyboardist John Kammeyer. They describe their music as mostly original compositions, is in the vein of Booker T and the MGs, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, or Tortoise, with a dash of new wave and electronica for good measure.

An Evening with Charlie Parr, w/Lianne Smith Opening @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Freewheelin’ First Fridays moves to the new Hook & Ladder Lounge in the space formerly occupied by Patrick’s Cabaret. Doors open at 8pm and Lianne Smith opens. Some may remember Smith from the late 80s band Safety Last, which featured Gary Louris and Rusty Jones, among others. Nowadays she lives in Brooklyn and writes about making decisions, adventurous bicycle riding, and saying goodbye to Summer, for which this gig is highly appropriate. Duluth bluesman Charlie Parr is the star, and will undoubtedly pack the place, as he plays his stripped down Delta style blues with the conviction (and experience) of a man who can do nothing but be on the road and sing songs.

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) Just returned from Brazil, our own original soul man and his band take over the MMC stage on a Friday night for your dancing pleasure. A good way to kick off the Labor Day Weekend.

Saturday, September 3

Dee Miller Band @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Ms Miller and her band will be belting out the blues in this south side neighborhood joint. The small dance floor will undoubtedly be filled, thanks to Ms Miller’s choice of material and vibrant voice.

Joe Cruz & Jennifer Grimm @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 9pm (Tip jar?) Vocalist/songwriter Grimm had Manitou Station hopping on Sunday nights for years, until the Station, as it’s now called, decided to stop featuring music. You can catch her tonight in a slightly more intimate duo set with well-respected guitarist Joe Cruz.

Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Murphy is one of three charter members of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, along with Dylan and Prince, and he delivers rousing rock n’ roll and R&B. Though the dance floor is much smaller than many places Murphy has played, the energy is still full-on fun.

Sunday, September 4

Porktoberfest II @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. Noon – 2am ($5 advance/$10door) Music and pork products galore, including Pork Shanks, Beer Brats, Pork Belly sliders, and bacon, bacon, bacon! Music starts at 2pm, and includes Private Oates, Rolling Stoners, Marah in the Mainsail, Brass and Bodyworks, and the School of Rock. Pretzels, veggie sandwiches, and corn on the cob will also be available at this family-friendly, but no pets allowed, event.

Katy Vernon Band @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 5:30pm – 7pm (Free)  The London-raised, Minnesota-based Vernon is a singer/songwriter who creates charming folk-pop. Though her lyrics may speak of sad and melancholy topics, she surrounds them with light-hearted music, thanks in part to her use of the ukelele, as well as her ace band. Bring a picnic and a blanket, or stake out a space on the benches in front of the bandshell and get some food from the The Bread and Pickle restaurant next to the bandshell, and listen while kids frolic at the nearby beach, sailboats cross the lake, and airplanes fly overhead. A glorious way to spend part of the Labor Day Weekend.

Monday, September 5

Jose Feliciano @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $55), 9pm ($35 – $45) Eight Grammys, over forty-five gold and platinum records, Feliciano is a virtuosic guitarist with a musical imagination that can rework  all kinds of songs into a blend of Latin, jazz, pop, rock, and even a nod or two to classical music. His last appearance at the Dakota a few years back was a delightful evening of mixed media, storytelling, and great music.

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 eve


Goosebump Music: 3.2 – 3.8

March 2, 2016
Who can resist a baby enjoying music?

Who can resist a baby enjoying music?

It’s promising to be another great week of music here in the Twin Cites. In fact, a number of both resident and visiting artists are likely to give you goosebumps, and if they don’t to that, they’ll get you on the dance floor. You may have a hard time deciding who to see, and that, my friends, is a good problem to have. Music lifts your spirits, just ask the baby at right.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 2

The McNally Smith X-Tet and The Pete Whitman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10)  Here we have two groups for the price of one, both of which are worth seeing. Saxman Pete Whitman directs the McNally Smith X-Tet, a group of students, including a couple of grad students and advanced seniors who are already playing professionally around town. The Pete Whitman Quarte includes Chris Olson, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger on drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, March 2,3

Brian Blade Fellowship @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($22) Drummer/composer Blade is a multi-talented performer who has drummed for folks like  Wayne Shorter, Seal, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Bill Frisell. He and bandmate John Cowherd on piano studied and played with many New Orleans greats, including Ellis Marsalis, John Vidacovich, Germaine Bazzle, Alvin “Red” Tyler, and Tony Dagradi, among others. They, along with bassist Chris Thomson have played together for over 20 years, while fellow bandmates Myron Walden and Melvin Butler have played with the Fellowship since 2000. This is a tight band, playing as a bunch of friends, and we’re lucky to be able to enjoy a small part of their world for an evening.

Thursday, March 3

Love Is Here to Stay: Songwriting Teams of the Great American Songbook @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10)  Vocalists Paula Lammers and Reeves Cary perform songs by composers and lyricists such as Rogers & Hart, the Gershwin Brothers, Arlen and Mercer, Cahn & Van Heusen and more.

Thursday, Friday, March 3,4

Katia Cardenas and Javi Santiago @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club Happy Hour, Fridley. 4:30pm – 6:30pm. (No Cover) Their dads met in Junior High School in Los Angeles and later ended up on the road together. Pianist Javi grew up in town, left for school and NYC, and returned to become a respected performer. Vocalist Cardenas grew up on the West Coast, and came to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend college. This is their first time playing together and it should be great fun, what with Cardenas’ ability to deliver jazz and R&B, and Santiago’s ability to play many styles.

Friday, March 4

Todd Harper & Nathan Hanson @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30 (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper plays lots of original music,m most oa good portion of which are in 3/4 time. He notes that “listening to music in 3/4 time actually extends your life and brings a high joy factor.”  Whether or not you agree, you should still catch his Friday night gigs at the ‘Dog, especially tonight, since he’ll be joined by the outside/inside saxophonist Nathan Hanson.  to listen to an interview Harper did with KBEM’s Phil Nussbaum, go to https://beta.prx.org/stories/162000.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Drummer Gravatt is an alum of Weather Report, and stints with McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and others, including the Twin Cities own Natural Life. Gravatt and bassist Ron Evaniuk form the foundation of Source Code which recently has also featured trumpeter Solomon Parham and guitarist Dean Magraw. Tonight they also had young sax player Lucia Sarmiento. Her he is with a different configuration.

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s show is Chet – The Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker, with the Larry McDonough Quintet: Larry McDonough, piano, vocals and arrangements; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Richard Terill, saxes; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums. Watch McDonough playing a  piano at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Saturday, March 5

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s a Birthday Celebration for Davis Wilson, the genial hipster.jazz emcee, with a show that starts at 7pm and lasts until closing, generally around 11pm, featuring Dean magraw, guitar; Dave Brattain, saxes; Kenny Horst, drums; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, featuring Laura Caviani @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. 8pm  ($26) Swagger, Swing, And Swoon, as ten swinging veterans play originals and jazz standards with original arrangements. David Milne, Pete Whitman,Dave Karr-saxophones; Adam Meckler, Adam Rossmiller-trumpets; Jeff Rinear-trombone; Dave Hagedorn-vibes; Laura Caviani-piano; Chris Bates-bass; Phil Hey-drums.

Carver & Clarke @ Mendoberri Cafe and Wine Bar, Mendota Heights. 7pm (No Cover) Jeff Carver, trumpet; and Steve Clarke, sax; play the music of Baker & Mulligan as well as selections from the Great American Songbook. Mendoberri has a nice selection of wines and eats, and reservations are recommended if you would like dinner.

Sunday, March 6

Jazz Brunch with the James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 10AM. (No Cover) Bassist James Buckley, who plays roots music as well as jazz brings jazz to the Turf Club, with pianist Bryan Nichols and drummer Cory Healey as his cohorts in the subversion of the Turf’s rock n’ roll reputation. Here is Buckley & Nichols playing with Jt Bates.

Monday, March 7

Vector Families @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Dean Granros, guitar; Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; and Brandon Wozniak, sax, deliver cutting edge modern jazz for late night jazz fans.

Tuesday, March 8

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dunsmore Room in Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($20 Minimum) The last time pianist/clarinetist Thompson and guitarist Donahue played Crooners together they were in the lounge. This time they’re in the club’s acoustically sensitive listening room. Thompson will take full advantage of the sonority of the room’s 9 foot Bosendorffer piano, and Donahue’s finger picking will be more easily appreciated. Reservations recommended. Listen to a cut featuring Thompson on clarinet, from their excellent album, Vicksburg Blues.

For more listings, 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, March 2

Jack Klatt on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) An award-winning singer, guitarist, and troubadour, Klatt has traveled enough highways here, in Canada and in Europe, to create and collect songs and stories that inform and entertain. Listen during the 5pm hour and head over to the 331 when you hear what you like.

Thursday, March 3

Jeff Ray w/ Mikell Beckman @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist Beckman hosts a Thursday night event every week. Tonight he’s got guitarist/singer Jeff Ray as his guest. The two work together in Jeff Ray and the Stakes, so I imagine they will be tight, to say the least. Here’s the two of them, along with Hurricane Harold Tremblay

Friday, March 4

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Roadhouse blues, delivered in a slighty tonier place. Miller packs em’ in, and since the dance floor is relatively small, there will be many folks vying for a spot as Dee and the band pump out some powerful blues. Listen to them here.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$10Door) They packed the Parkway Theater last time this Madison WI Band was in town. Here you’ll be able to show off your freestyle dance moves as the members of this band take on traditional brass band music, fortified with unique arrangements of contemporary tunes.

Purple Funk Metropolis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm – 11:30pm ($10) The Friday Late Night set at Jazz Central is always a student affair. This time it features an 9-piece funky jam band (including a vocalist) of students and recent grads that fuses hip hop and jazz into a danceable, modern sound.

Friday, Saturday, March 4,5

Aaron Neville @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75 – $100) If you’ve an appreciation for the R&B of New Orleans, and you’ve never heard the angelic voice of Aaron Neville, it would be worthwhile to shell out the money for this intimate show. He has been successful within the context of his family group, The Neville Brothers, as well as at a solo artist. In fact, his first hit, 1967’s Tell It Like It Is, was a solo number that stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks. He’s recorded duets with Linda Ronstadt, for which he won Grammys, had four platinum selling hits, and reached the country charts in ’93. A sweeter voice you’ve never heard, whether he’s singing pop, R&B, or doo-wop.

Saturday, March 5

SEOP Dance Company @ The Ordway, 345 Washington Street, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23 – $45) SEOP is a South Korean dance company that fuses Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theatre, with contemporary and traditional Korean dance techniques. Their celebrated piece, A Man’s Requiem, tells the story of a sinner’s judgement day. See for yourself.

Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. ($10 advance/$12 Door) The Saint Paul Hipster Club welcomes the Angel-Headed Hipsters, led by Murphy, a guy who has eschewed the hipster label for all of his 40 plus years of performing rock n’ roll, blues, and rhythm and blues. There’s a nice sized dance floor at the Turf, which will undoubtedly be filled by folks responding to Murphy’s arrangements of covers and originals.

Sunday, March 6

Songbirds

Songbirds

Nightingale Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Three women inspired by traditional music from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It’s earthy, sensual, and in the hands of these ladies, transformed.

Devil Music @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($6Advance/$8Door) A CD Release party for “Devil Music” produced by the House of Mercy folks, and featuring a host of performers, including John Hermanson, the House of Mercy Band, the Blood Washed Band, Mother Banjo, Daddy Squeeze, the Roe Family Singers, and more. Don’t worry, it’s not music that extols the Devil, but rather warns of his influence.

Beausoleil Avec Michael Doucet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Back in the mid 70s, Beausoleil was one of the defining forces that brought Cajun music to the masses of America. Since then, their insistent, irresistible rhythms and French lyrics have inspired thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, to take up Cajun dancing, while they’ve won Grammys along the way. The gentleman at Prairie Home Companion has dubbed them the “Best Cajun Band int he World,” though you’ll have to see them yourself to decide if that’s hyperbole.

Monday, March 7

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Last time Fischer was at the Dakota was when the Rolling Stones were in town, and Charlie Watts sat in on drums. Of course, Fischer has been singing backup and duetting with Jagger on Gimme Shelter for 26 years. She’s also sung backup for folks like Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin, Grover Washington, Bobby McFerrin, and Patti Labelle. This isn’t necessarily a rock or soul show, however, though a couple of songs will undoubtedly be familiar. Fisher blends a number of genres to create unique takes on all kinds of songs, and, with an incredible range, has the ability to send chills up your spine.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 8,9

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. ($40 – $60) Coming out of the Jersey Shore along with friend and contemporary Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny played R&B with the horns of the 11-piece Jukes backing him up. It didn’t hurt that his first three albums were produced by Steve Van Zandt (of the E Street Band), and included songs by both Springsteen and Van Zandt, as well as guest appearances by the Drifters and Ronnie Spector as well. It’s rowdy, passionate R&B, designed for dancing and sweating.

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.


Jazz, Cambodian Pop, Chamber Blues, and More: 1.6 – 1.12

January 6, 2016
Dengue Fever, appearing at the Ordway

Dengue Fever, appearing at the Ordway

Good music this week, from around the world (see photo) and perhaps, around the block. Get out and hear some. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 6

Anthony Cox: Deconstruction/Reconstruction @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Bassist Anthony Cox  ethinks the roles of different instruments and orchestration. He’ll be joined by Steve Kenny, trumpet; Davu Seru, drums; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; to perform new compositions, and engage in dialogue with the audience. Here’s an example of how Cox approaches a song, with a slight change in the lineup.

Thursday, January 7

Jon Pemberton @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) I don’t know if this is a solo gig or if pianist Pemberton will have any accompaniment. In either case, Pemberton’s playing is well worth a listen.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Ms Livingston has been singing a lot with The Parisota Hot Club, proving she can swing the standards, pump up the blues, and caress a Beatles tune. Tonight she performs with Marc Z on piano.

Jack Brass Band CD Release @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) These purveyors of both traditional and contemporary New Orleans Brass Band music have a new CD, For Your Soul, and they’re celebrating with a performance tonight. And what better place to celebrate than the gumbo and po-boy haven in downtown Saint Paul. Here’s a video of the band from Wednesday morning.

Friday, January 8

Ted Olsen & Joe Strachan @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Bassist Olsen and pianist Strachan are relatively young players who serve up some tasty licks and imaginative improvisations.

Denny Malmberg Trio w/Charmin Michelle @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The accordionist used to play behind chanteuse Charmin Michelle at the Fireside Pizza on a weekly basis. That gig ended some months ago, so it’s a delight to have them together again, this time will the help of Tom Lewis on bass. Listen to them with a drummer.

Pete Whitman X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) They’re back! Saxophonist/leader Whitman has been concentrating on the McNally Smith big band that he leads, so it’s fun to have the X-Tet, formed in 2001, they received glowing review for their only CD, playing mostly original compositions from the members: Clay Pufahl, saxes, flute; Gus Sandberg, baritone sax, flute’ Adam Meckler, trumpet & flugelhorn; Jake Baldwin, trumpet & flugelhorn; Jeff Rinnear, trombone; Laura Caviani, piano; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here they are with Whitman’s arrangement of the old chestnut, Good Night Ladies.

Saturday, January 9

Zacc Harris Guitar Recital @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) It’s listed as a recital, so I’m assuming guitarist Harris  will be performing solo, given that he’ll be playing in a trio later in the evening. This is a chance to clearly hear his clean, rhythmic lines.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The Pete Snell Trio opens, with Snell, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; and Tom Lewis, bass. At 8:30 it’s Golden Circle, with outstanding musicians Davu Seru  drums; Dean Granros, guitar; Chris Bates, bass.

JT Bates’ Grain @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8)  Get down and a bit greasy with this B3 Organ trio led by the chameleonic drummer JT Bates, with Kevin Gastonguay, B3; and Zacc Harris, guitar.

Sunday, January 10

The Birthday Club w/Dan Chouinard & Friends @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 6pm – 8pm ($20 Minimum) The folks at Crooners are starting a new residency with keyboardist Dan Chouinard in which he and an invited guest celebrate the music of a particular songwriter. He has a long history of doing informative and edifying shows. For this first appearance, he’s bringing along a long time collaborator, singer Prudence Johnson  Her recent appearance with Rio Nido at the Dakota showed that she’s got chops aplenty when it comes to interpreting songs. Here’s something from their Gershwin album.

Monday, January 11

Colleen Raye @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) The singer/actress will be performing songs from women songwriters of the 40s and 50s. Raye is somewhat of an expert here, having produced and starred in shows such as Sirens of the 60s, Belting Babes, Girl Singers of the Hit Parade, and others that feature songs from women. She’ll be accompanied by Gary Raynor, bass; and Ted Godbout, piano. Listen to her on an old Nat King Cole Song.

Tuesday, January 12

Peter Kogan Quartet @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum) Kogan is a former tympanist from the Minnesota Orchestra, who was able to explore his jazz side during the organization’s strike, and came up with a couple of winning CDs, including his latest, Some Monsterful Wonderthing, which exhibits his skill at composing and leading a band. From classic bebop to New Orleans rhythms, Kogan writes it all.  Look at who he has in this quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s a cut from the album.

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, December 6

Andra Suchy Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Classically trained and a veteran of musical theater, Suchy is a regular performer on Prairie Home Companion, and has recorded with a wide variety of indie, rock, blues, and folk acts, including the Honeydongs, Peter Ostroushko, and Dave Perner of Soul Asylum. She’s a Red House recording artist, with a folky style that fits the label’s sound.

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The joint will be jumpin’ as powerhouse vocalist Ms Miller and her band deliver exciting and danceable blues. Extra reason to be excited: Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar. I’m thinking this might be a crowded place tonight.

Thursday, January 7

Pat Donahue & The Prairie All Stars @ Golden’s Deli, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($8 for reserved stage area seating) Grammy-winning finger style guitarist Donahue has many fans, including the late Chet Atkins, and of course, Garrison Keillor, who featured Donahue and company at the house band on Prairie Home Companion for many years. Golden’s has a stage area off the main dining area, and serves beer and wine, in addition to sandwiches and soups. The band includes Dan Newton, accordion; Gary Raynor, bass; Richard Kriehn, mandolin and fiddle; and Peter Johnson on drums. Here he is with some of the band.

Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The “Twin Horns of Joy” are a couple of young musicians from Omaha who have been guided by folks like Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, and a host of other music luminaries. Adeev, trumpet; and Ezra, trombone; have studied in New York, and appeared at places ranging from Birdland to the Field Museum and the MN State Fair Grandstand. They play a very jazz-oriented pop that reaches across generations.

Friday, January 8

Worldwide Discoteque @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Pan-tropical vinyl, producing irresistibly funky dance sounds from Afrobeat to Island jams, to sambas, cumbias, and more for a multi-culti audience. Special guest deejay ILana Percheri will be alternating with host deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engle. Here’s an example of what you might hear.

Saturday, January 9

Dengue Fever @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $27) Take Cambodian pop music. Add hints of Ethiopian jazz, psychedelica, garage band music, Latin grooves, and the British Invasion and you have this thoroughly intriguing and fun six-piece group. Their music has been featured in TV and films, including CSI: Las Vegas, Weeds, The Hangover 2, and City of Ghosts.

Sunday, January 10

Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, w/Ernie Watts @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Siegel  known back in the day for his incisive harp playing as part of the Seigel-Schwall Blues Band, has been collaborating with classical musicians for quite some time now. This particular act features the West End String Quartet, as well as Frank Donaldson on world percussion, and sax master Ernie Watts  creating a blend of classical and blues styles in a chamber music setting.

Charlie Parr @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance) Parr is unique among today’s blues performers, with 13 albums to his credit and a huge following among the younger set. He sounds and looks like an itinerant picker, and in some respects is, but there’s an intelligence to his lyrics and playing (guitar, dobro, banjo) that goes way beyond his often-disheveled appearance. MN based singer/songwriter Amanda Standalone opens.

Tuesday, January 12

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) I’ll admit that I really like the approach of bassist/vocalist Lynch to performing. She takes on old songs – pop tunes from the 20s to the 60s, and puts them in context before she and her Most Excellent Fellows hit a downbeat that brings out swing dancers. Though there’s no real room for dancing at the Dakota, I wouldn’t put it past some of her fans to push some table aside to create a small dance floor.

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.


Jazz, Folk, and Blues: 9.16 – 9.22

September 16, 2015
The Capri Big Band. Photo by Andrea Canter

The Capri Big Band. Photo by Andrea Canter

What a stellar week ahead! We have three old school folkies visiting town, as well as a couple of great jazz vocalists, a Nepalese rock band, and both a jazz and a rockin’ blues festival on Saturday. Music lifts the spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, September 16

Lila Ammons @ Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Vocalist Ms Ammons is getting ready to head off for another tour of Europe during late September through October. Stop by and see her perform jazz and blues standards at this lounge with comfy, large booths and leather sofas.

Asher Kurtz @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested Donation) This young guitarist is only 22 and already making a name for himself. After recently graduating from Berklee College of Music, he toured Europe with Terri Lyne Carrington, and has settled in NYC. Here’s a video of him with a group including Twin Cities trumpeter Jake Baldwin.

Thursday, September 17

Jason Weismann & The ‘Q’ @  Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Weismann is an emerging saxophonist active in a number of groups as well as a vocalist in the crooning tradition with his own band. With The “Q” he performs songs by Sinatra, Chet Baker, Mel Torme, and similar jazz vocalists. Plus, he can get into a funky groove as well.

Patricia Barber @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Cool, erudite, and adventurous, Barber is a pianist, vocalist, and composer who may be one of the most individual jazz artists on the scene today. Her own songs are poetic, filled with unforgettable imagery and imagination. The New York Times says of her, “This is the kind of art we need to be on the lookout for everywhere.”

Lund, Paris, & Scofield @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Three vocalists for the price of one. Jennifer Lund has sung mezzo-soprano with the Minnesota Chorale for the last 14 years, and began studying jazz a few years ago. She’s a student of Vicky Mountain. Suzanne Paris made her debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Jazz Unlimited Series, and has sung backup to many recording artists. Susan Scofield has been singing since the age of 5, has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Swing Beat Big Band, and is currently a member of Vocal Essence.

Friday, September 18

Evan Benidt Quintet @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 8:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxophonist Benidt and his group: Joe Mayo, sax; Javi Santiago, piano; Greg Byers, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums – will feature jazz blues, and rock, from jazz standards to Joe Satriani.

Bryan Nichols Quartet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Pianist Nichols spent four years in Chicago honing his craft and playing with such heavyweight musicians as  Nicole Mitchell, Von Freeman, and Hamid Drake. Nichols plays in a number of groups around town in addition to leading his own, but tonight he is bringing up some friends from Chicago: Kurt Schweitz, bass; Jim Gailoreto, sax; and Jon Deltemyer, drums. Her is Nichols with  a quartet of Twin Cities’ musicians

Saturday, September 19

Freedom Jazz Festival @ Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. Noon – 6pm (Free) Often called “The best little jazz festival in town,” this year’s lineup includes The George Scott Trio: The Tangents; Three Women of Jazz: Debbie Duncan, Yolande Bruce, & Linda Sloan; The Minneapolis Jazz Workshop; jam sessions; the Capri Big Band; and more, as well as art and family activities.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) . The Zeb Cruikshank Band opens: Cruikshank  guitar; Dan Musselman, piano; Brent Wallace, bass; and Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. They’re followed at 8:30 by Paul Harper’s Show and Tell, featuring saxophonist Harper  a member of the Illicit Sextet, among other bands; Charlie Riddle, bass; Mike Cramer, guitar; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Lynch is an excellent bassist and engaging vocalist, and her Excellent Fellows provide the support she needs as they play songs from the 30s to the 60s. Many of her songs are fox-trots, the kind of music to which almost anyone can dance, or medium tempo swing numbers. Here she is doing a number by the Ink Spots.

Monday, September 21

The Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Trumpeter Adeev and Trombonist Ezra have settled into the Twin Cities for a while after recording their eponymously titled album here produced by Steven Greenberg of Funkytown fame. Though both are only 21, they’ve managed to play and study with an extraordinary coterie of musicians, including Wynton Marsalis and Jon Baptiste, the music director for Steven Colbert’s new show. they’ve also performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, South by Southwest, Birdland, and Warren Buffet’s Annual Shareholder’s meeting. Their music is jazz wrapped up in pop sensibilities, or as guitar ace Cory Wong puts it, their music falls “someplace between Katy Perry and Miles Davis.” A CD release party earlier this summer was sold out at the Icehouse. Here they are talking about their music.

Tuesday, September 22

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Sometimes subtle, often inspired, and always ear-pleasing, pianist Lomheim leads a trio through some cool tunes.

Connie Evingson & The Parisota Hot Club @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Robb Henry, Matt Senjum, and Jay Epstein, aka The Parisota Hot Club  along with special guest Dave Karr on sax, provide the support as Ms Evingson explores Django Rheinhardt-inspired tunes.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 22, 23

Lizz Wright @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Wright was a preacher’s kid, and sang in church during most services. That start certainly informs her music, but she is also able to integrate blues, soul, pop, and jazz into her performances. Freedom & Surrender  Is her fifth album since her debut in 2003. It features a number of songs she co-wrote with folks like Jesse Harris (Norah Jones), and JD Souther (Linda Ronstadt & lots more), and just received a four-star review in Downbeat, which said, “Well played and expertly sung, Freedom & Surrender shows Wright continuing to mature and developing her distinctive voice.” Here’s a recent video

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, September 16

BB King Birthday Bash with Ray Covington @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10 pm (No Cover) BB King was, perhaps, the most jazz-oriented of all blues musicians, so having Covington, who can easily traverse jazz, blues, and old school R&B, perform some of King’s music is practically a no-brainer. Here he is doing a slow jam.

Heritage Blues Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) This aggregation is dedicating to showcasing the power and possibilities of African American music. They combine the energy of gospel, the emotion of the blues, and the power of field hollers, and gospel music to create something new, getting rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and Downbeat in the process.

Thursday, September 17

Paul Cebar’s Tomorrow Sound @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10?) Cebar’s eclectic taste in music can be heard on his Wednesday morning radio show on WMSE in Milwaukee (www.wmse.org), where he plays a mix of deep soul and R&B, as well as Brazilian, Cuban, African, classic ska & reggae, and other pan-tropical songs. He takes these influences and creates infectious, highly rhythmic tunes that will have you getting your dancing shoes out of the closet to spin, twirl, and bop on the commodious dance floor at the MMC. Here’s a fun video that features the band playing as well Paul talking about music.

Friday, September 18

Archie Fisher @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25, $20 advance) When Fresh Air Radio first started back in the late 70s and early 80s, Fisher was a favorite of the station’s folk programs, and still is on their playlists. The Scottish troubadour will be celebrating the release of his first album in seven years, A Silent Song, on Red House Records, which has also had a long association with Fresh Air.

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($35) Not only do we have Scottish Troubadour Archie Fisher in town tonight, but we have Scottish folk rocker, Al Stewart, who came to prominence in the late 70s with the top ten The Year of the Cat and its platinum follow up, Time Passages. He makes use use of historical references and literary sources in his songwriting, with The Lord of the Rings providing inspiration for his very first single in 1966, and has never stopped recording or touring. His latest album, Uncorked, has received very postive reviews. It is a live venture that showcases the breadth of Stewart’s writing yet stays away from the obvious hits of his career. Here’s what you can expect.

Saturday, September 19

Annual Rockin’ Music Fest @ Shaw’s Bar & Grill, NE Minneapolis. 4pm – close. (No Cover) The Brian Naughton Band will be starting the festivities at 4pm. Naughton will be especially rockin’ since he’s celebrating a birthday. At 8:00, Shannon Curfman will take the stage. The exciting guitarist has sold a quarter million albums and has been Kid Rock’s duet partner, background singer, and guitarist since 2010. At 10pm things move inside when Paul Mayasich and the RAMM Band take to the stage. Here’s Curfman doing a classic from the 70s.

Dee Miller Band @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) Get yourself some earth-shakin’ blues with Ms Miller and her cohorts, who will pack the tiny club and deliver your blues jones with gusto.

Sunday, September 20

7.8 Rock the Rubble featuring Albatross @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 1pm – 5pm ($20-$35 Advance, $40 Door) Nepal suffered through twin devastating earthquakes this past Spring – one at 7.8 and the other at 7.3, with over 400 aftershocks. Nine thousand died, and over 22,000 were injured. This show featuring Albatross, a Nepalese rock band, is a fundraiser for Earthquake relief in Nepal. Albatross is a four piece with crunchy guitars, and though their lyrics are Nepalese, their sound, whether on rockers or ballads, will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in metal and hard rock. Hot Date, folk duo specializing in love songs, and This Mad Future, a quintet from Saint Cloud, open. Here’s Albatross.

Matuto and Daddy Squeeze @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Matuto is a New York group that uses a plethora of Brazilian instruments to play Appalachian and traditional blues combined with the rhythms of Northern Brazil. Daddy Squeeze, which opens, is another of accordionist Dan Newton’s groups that plays a swinging mix of blues, Cajun, Tex-Mex, and French rhythms. Here’s Matuto with a unique cover of Beyonce.

Sunday, Monday, September 20, 21

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Be prepared to dance as Mambo’s Combo brings the groove to the North Loop. They’ve been playing this weekly gig since 1987, covering rhythmic rock and R&B tunes with panache and grit. Visiting and resident musicians will often sit in for a tune or two.

Monday, September 21

Tom Paxton w/Joe Vezner & Don Henry @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) What with Archie Fischer and Al Stewart in town this week, Tom Paxton makes it a trifecta of folk music. In 2009, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work, which spans more than 50 years. Paxton has written songs with enduring appeal, like The Last Thing On My Mind, Bottle of Wine (a hit for the Fireballs in the 60s), and Ramblin Boy, as well as topical protests songs about current events, like Talking Watergate, Without DeLay, about the former congressman, and Train for Auschwitz, about the holocaust. While Crooners might not be a typical venue for Paxton, it is a good listening room for the intimacy of Paxton’s performance. Check out this topical number about banks.

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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