March! 2.28-3.6

February 28, 2018

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



Wednesday, Feb 28           

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

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

Thursday, March 1

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

Friday, March 2

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

Saturday, March 3

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

Sunday, March 4

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

Monday, March 5

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

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

Tuesday, March 6

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Feb 28

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

Friday, March 2

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

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

Saturday, March 3

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

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

Sunday, March 4

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

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

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

Monday, March 5

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

Tuesday, March 6

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

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

Veteran and Emerging Artists: 4.26 – 5.2

April 26, 2017

At Twelve – Lizzie Wortham’s winning poster for the Saint Paul Art Crawl

Well, it’s Art Crawl Weekend in Saint Paul, and if you take part in any of it, you are bound to see dance, music, and spoken word performances at a number of the Art Crawl sites throughout town. For more info, go here. Of course, there are plenty of other chances to see and hear live music, some of which I’ve listed below. We have a number of visiting artists in both jazz and roots n’ blues, as well as performances from highly talented resident artists, some of whom are national stars in their own right. Regular readers will note that I’ve added a new feature, Early Alert, to highlight performances from the next week’s Wednesday and Thursday that require reservations. BTW, you can find addresses for most of these venues, as well as see videos of many of these artists by going to


Wednesday, April 26

Connie Evingson and Jon Webber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($20, $45 w/Dinner) Vocalist Evingson and pianist Webber will be celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald, since this week marks the 100th Anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth. Saxophonist Dave Karr and bassist Gordy Johnson will be on hand as well. Here she is with a larger group.

The Jazz Image Through the Decades @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s an intriguing event for fans of the late broadcaster. The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project  helmed by Brad Bellows, has a vast archive of interviews Kammen conducted during more than 70 years in broadcasting. Once a month, Bellows brings out some of those interviews, along with associated recordings, and airs them at the Black Dog. Tonight, he’ll have Kammen’s interviews with a number of female artists, including such legends as Carmen McCrae, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, and others. You can once again enjoy the sound of Kammen’s voice, while gaining some insight into the lives and musical philosophies of these artists.

Gary La Rue & His Rat Pack Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Pul. 7:30pm (No Cover) With its red booths and a dance floor, Mancini’s is a throwback to lounges of the 60s, making it a great place to hear LaRue and his Rat Pack Band do invoke Las Vegas with songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their cronies.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 26, 27

Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrew Sisters @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) The Dakota is partnering with the History Theater to present the story of LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty, from Mound MN. The Andrew Sisters were the most popular female singing group of the first half of the 20th Century. It’s a production that’s been performed in over 30 cities around the country and the world.

Thursday, April 27

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Michael O’Brien Quartet. O’Brien is a Minnesota native who moved to the Big Apple some years back and has been playing and touring regularly ever since. The stand-up bassist is back visiting and is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Steve Kenny Flumpet; Greg Schute, drums. Here is O’Brien in a duo setting.

Matthew Rahaim and Jon Lion @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Here’s a very intriguing performance at a place that specializes in adventurous music. Rahaim is an associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at the U of MN, and is a vocalist who has been performing Hindustani music in both India and North America since 2000, though he also plays a few instruments and other kinds of singing. Jon Lion is a guitarist who has played the Kyber Pass many times, in a variety of configurations.

Huge If True @ Dayblock Brewing, 1103 Washington Avenue So, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Washington Avenue’s Dayblock Tap Room features jazz once a month. I’m unfamiliar with the players, so I believe this is a chance to hear a relatively new band in town: Michelle Mastrianni, Lead Vocals; Robert Hest, Keys; Rob Higgins, Bass/Vocals; Jack Sloan, Guitar; Elliott Bonner, Sax/Vocals; and Brice DeGrand, Drums.

Friday, April 28

Arne Fogel @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Fogel is a vocalist who is equally adept at performing the songs of Der Bingle and Ol Blue Eyes and the Great American Songbook. Hell’s Kitchen is a busy, and often noisy place, so you may want reservations if you want to be close to the stage or, you can sit at the bar.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The Aces are back at the Vieux for a Friday night of traditional New Orleans jazz and brass band music. With a diverse repertoire that includes Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, and originals, they are a party band that will leave dancers sweaty and the rest of the audience uplifted. Here they are at the Eagles Club, another venue where they’re regulars.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator/producer Steve Kenny has been putting together this weekly series for over 140 perform ances thus far. He usually has a relatively new, or young band open, and then a veteran group at 8:30. Tonight, the Brian Handeland Quartet begins at 7pm with: Handeland, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the A-list members of Bottomless Pit, with: Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums

Bill Charlap Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30), 9pm ($20, $25) Charlap is one of the finest pianists of our time, with the ability to swing, and an imaginative approach that gets to the nub of a song. He’s recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin, and has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl. He and Tony Bennett received a Grammy for their 2015 release, The Silver Lining: The songs of Jerome Kern. His fine trio, which has been together for about 20 years, includes Peter Washington on bass, and the unrelated Kenny Washington on drums.

Sunday, April 30

Bruce Henry: Stevie Wonder Unplugged @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bruce Henry is the kind of singer who can tackle a Freddie Hubbard or John Coltrane tune and turn around and deliver some exquisite R&B. Tonight he’ll treat us to the songs of Stevie Wonder, which lately have been receiving deserved attention from jazz artists. He’ll be accompanied by Sean Turner, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Monday, May 1

Delfeayo Marsalis @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Marsalis is, of course, a member of the famed New Orleans musical family. He’s a trombonist, educator, producer, and arranger who’s released six CDs, all of which exhibit the warmth and imagination of his playing. Here’s a chance to hear him in the intimate, 80-seat “listening room” at Crooners. He’ll be accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson, bassist Steve Pikal, and drummer Nathan Norman.

Tuesday, May 2

O’Brien, Lomheim, & Epstein @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner) If you didn’t catch former Twin Citizen O’Brien playing bass with a quartet this past Thursday (see above), you can catch him in a trio setting with two of the area’s finest musicians: pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. It’s a treat.

Early Alert

5.3 Regina Carter @ The Dakota

5.3, 5.4 Randy Brecker @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Roo

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, April 26

Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake stops by Harold’s House Party along with ace guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, for some swingin’ blues. Tune in, and then head over to the 331 Club, where the two will play from 7-9pm.

Willie Murphy @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Veteran blues/R&B/rock n’ roller Murphy takes a solo turn at the Schooner, armed with nothing more than a guitar, keyboard, and songs that range from romantic doowop to rockin’ protest numbers. He’s not promising any guests, but you can never tell who may show up.

Thursday, April 27

Mikkel Beckmen & Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist-about-town Beckmen holds down a Thursday residency at the warm, friendly bar on University, bringing in a different guest each week. Today it’s the slide guitar master Jeff Ray, who often brings new life to traditional blues and surprises with bluesified rock covers.

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Haus has a sustainable farm in Saint Michael, where she supplies food to local groceries and finds inspiration for original songs. Together with her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar virtuoso Ed Petche, she creates highly entertaining performances, whether singing tunes by the Allman Brothers, or humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate. If you can’t make it tonight, you can also catch her in the dinner hour atVieux Carré tomorrow, and for brunch at Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday.

Friday, April 28

Richie Furay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $40) This Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer helped bring country rock into our consciousness as a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Furay then went on to form his own band. He’ll be playing songs from throughout his career, with an opening by his daughter, Jesse Furay Lynch, performing The Songs of Laurel Canyon.

Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 225 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) It’s Art Crawl weekend in Saint Paul and Lowertown Classics has brought in German guitarist Nora Buschmann as the featured artist this weekend. Buschmann has won numerous competitions, and performed a great number of solo concerts at places like the Frankfurt and Nürnberg opera houses, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and NDR-Funkhaus Hannover, and has appeared with a number of orchestras in Germany. She has made radio recordings with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk and the Bayrischer Rundfunk, and is a regular performer at guitar festivals around the world. Buschmann will preceded by the McNally Smith Guitar Quartet, a group of four guitarists with varying backgrounds. Enter through the alley

Slovczech @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Eastern European folk-rock party music, just in case you want to get rejuvenated after touring countless artists studios during Art Crawl.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Nemeth is an ace harmonica player and an award-winning soul/blues vocalist currently based in Memphis, where his music fits in like the proverbial glove. Whether he’s singing the blues, or projecting the emotional release of soul music, fans of either style will find much to admire.

Friday, Saturday, April 28, 29

KFAI Celebration @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) It’s a Listener Appreciation Party and New Antenna Celebration to thank listener members for a pledge drive that helped the “little station that could” retire much of the costs of a new antenna. Friday features Jillian Rae, Boiled in Lead, The yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers and more, while Saturday’s stage will be occupied by Rank Strangers, C. Kostra, The Ronnie Buxtons and others. Both evenings will feature a Super Secret headliner that has yet to be announced.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Salon: Sambas and Sonatinas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The witty and charming Maria Jette hosts this weekly series that brings chamber music into a relaxed, cabaret style “listening room” where small plates and a full bar will be available during the concert. Today’s program, Sambas and Sonatinas, features music from Russia and the Americas, performed by Clea Galhano, recorder; Tom Rosenberg, cello; and Olg Levin, piano. The program includes selections from Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Felix Mendelssohn, Astor Piazzola, and others.

4th Annual Pickin’ for Autism @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Three folk and bluegrass bands will be playing to support Lionsgate Academy, a school dedicated to the education of students with autism spectrum disorders. The evening will feature music from Pert Near Pert (members of Pert Near Sandstone), and well as Luke Warm and the Cool Hands, and the Lowland Lakers.

Bossa Soul Trio @ Hennepin Steam Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This weekly show can feature more than a trio, as various musicians are recruited to create Brazilian sounds, including sensuous sambas, Brazilian pop, bossa novas, and Latin Jazz. Both experienced and would-be dancers flock the small dance floor to sway to the bubbling rhythms.

Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Two of the area’s dynamic blues and R&B singers take to the stage at the tiny, but charming Aster. Both Joyann Parker, who starts at 9pm, and Annie Mack, 10 pm, write and perform compelling originals and gritty covers.

Tuesday, May 2

Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Songwriter/guitarist Ely plays outlaw country music, Americana, and Texas honky tonk . He was a member of the original Flatlanders and Los Super Seven, and sang backup for The Clash, recently winning The Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Opener Jason Eady is a country singer with a direct approach to singing.

The Pines @ Hopkins Center of the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($25) Though now based out of the Twin Cities, The Pines’ Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt share a common musical language rooted in the songs and songwriters of their native Iowa. Each has a distinct voice and an ability to evoke the sparse, rural communities of the Great Plains with cinematic language. The combination of acoustic instruments, rich warm vocals, and an eye (and ear) for detail has helped them gain fans around the country. A social hour begins at 6pm, with the concert beginning at 7pm.

Early Alert

5.3 Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club

5.4 Edgar Winter @ The Dakota


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.

Spring Days. Spring Nights. Music: 4.9 – 4.15

April 9, 2014
Coming soon to a corner near you.

Coming soon to a corner near you.

Ahh Spring! A time for rebirth and awakening, and a time for shedding seven layers of winter clothing. A sure sign of Spring is the reappearance of NiceRide stations in the area. Whether you bike, walk, use public transportation, or your car, there is much out there this week for you musical culture vultures. We’ve got a veritable cornucopia of visiting artists and outstanding projects by resident artists for your listening pleasure. The weather will be mild for the most part, if interrupted by a few showers this weekend, so enjoy life and enjoy the music. It will lift your spirits.


Wednesday, April 9

Slocum's latest: Black Elk's Dream

Slocum’s latest: Black Elk’s Dream

Matt Slocum Trio @ Weyerhauser Auditorium, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18) Slocum is a drummer who grew up in River Falls and studied with Phil Hey. Lately, he’s been making a name for himself in NY as a composer and band leader. He’ll be bringing Sam Yahel, keys; and Massimo Miolcati, bass; with hymn. The evening includes a drum dialogue with Phil Hey, as well as a performance by the Phil Hey Quartet.

Brad Mehldau Trio @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32, $25-standing room) Pianist Mehldau is known as one of the most inventive of today’s pianists. He’ll have Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass. This is a solo piece from him.

Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Bassist Chris Bates brings a new group into Jazz Central on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Tonight, the seven-piece Fall of the House of Usher will be improvising on some world music with some elements of spoken word. Besides Bates, the group includes Chris Cunninham, guitar; Nelson Devereaus, Adrian Larkin, Elliot Wachs, and John Davis, saxophones; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday, April 10

Wes Ruelle Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Wes is a pianist who studied with the late Mulgrew Miller in the prestigious jazz program at William Patterson University, where he earned a degree in Jazz Performance with a minor in Classical Performance. Tonight he’ll likely be joined by Matt Peterson, bass, and Eron Woods, drums

At the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

At the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Delfeayo Marsalis @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) The trombone-playing Marsalis thrilled the audience at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival two years ago. As might be expected, given his lineage, he’s an excellent player, with a burnished tone and wide ranging solos. Then again, he’s toured and played with folks like Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Slide Hamnpton. One can expect he’ll have a top-notch band behind him.

Matt Slocum Trio @ Weyerhauser Auditorium, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($18) This is the second of a two night stand for Slocum. Tonight, Bryan Nichols will open with a solo set, and in addition to the drum dialogue with Phil Hey, Slocum will have the Dave Karr Quartet as well.

Friday, April 11

Harper, Hanson, and Kerr @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30pm. Pianist Todd Harper holds forth at the Black Dog every Friday evening, sometimes solo, but often with a friend or two. Tonight he’s joined by Nathan Hanson, soprano sax; and Aaron Kerr, cello; for a program of music by Carei Thomas, including compositions from over 40 years worth of music. Some are mysterious, some are quizzical, while others are playful and some just beautiful.

Stockton Helbing Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Doc Severinsen often draws upon a number of Twin Cities musicians whenever he’s touring. Tonight marks the Jazz Centrtal debut of one of them, drummer/composer Stockton Helbing. He’ll be joined by some of his bandmates from Doc’s band: Zach Lozier, trumpet; Michael Nelson, trombone; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; and Kevin Thomas on bass. They’ll be playing HJelbing’s original compositions.

7 Psalms CD Release Concert @ Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 advance/$20 door). Pianist/composer Jeremy Walker has created a beautiful work for jazz ensemble and an 18-voice choir. Lead singer Jason Harms, with a commanding baritone, is catching the ear of many in the jazz community, and the ensemble consists of Walker, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums. The workshop performance of this work last year was performed before an audience of 600.

Saturday, April 12

Nick Haas Trio @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This dinnertime show might get noisy, so get a table near the bandstand to hear the clean, supple lines of guitarist Haas.

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Another dinnertime show at a place known for food and a party atmosphere. Watch out if any bachlorette parties come in! Anyway, I’ve been a fan of Sophia’s since her first CD came out 10 years ago. Her clear voice, subtle phrasing, and sunny disposition are always a delight.

Parisota Hot Club @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600  Old Rockford Road, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) Twelve years ago, the Parisota Hot Club was the first band  in the Twin Cities to focus on the songs of Django Rheinhardt and Stephan Grappelli. Since then, the band has branched out a bit to include standards from pop music and soundtracks in their repertoire. Tonight leader/guitarist Robb Henry will be joined by  Tom Schaefer, violin; Matt Senjem, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Sunday, April 13

Connie Evingson with Jon Weber @ the Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Connie and pianist Jon perform their Desert Island Picks from Fats Waller, Irving Berlin, Dave Frishberg, The Beatles, Sting, and more. As of Wednesday, there are only a few seats left for the afternoon showing, though the evening performance still has plenty of seats available. Here’s Connie singing a Beatles song, with images from a Peruvian fashion photographer.

Monday, April 14

Good Vibes Trio CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Hey, drums, have a new CD. Bates, who has played on over 30 albums, is actually the youngster in the group, though Hagedorn and Hey play with the energy of youngsters themselves. The CD includes tunes by Mingus, Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and others, and will be given out with admission.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.


Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 9

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings w/Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound Opening @ State Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($32) Well, as many of you may know, the hardest working woman in show business has recovered from pancreatic cancer and is back on the road bringing her explosive funk and soul to folks around the world. Tonight she’s joined by Milwaukee’s Paul Cebar, a long time favorite in the Twin Cities. Check this out.

Thursday, April 10

Charanga Tropical @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm, 5pm – 7pm. (Free) The Schubert Club presents this exciting Latin Band as part of it’s Courtroom Concert Series at Noon. Then, at 5pm, they play for the Cocktails with Culture Series on the 2nd floor, where woodturners will be demonstrating their art, while attendees munch on appetizers, and drinks from a cash bar.

Friday, April 11

Lynwood Slim, The Butanes, Bruce McCabe, Jimi Primetime Smith @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7) Former Twin Citizen and vocalist/harp man extraordinaire Lynwood Slim has been battling health issues lately, but is back in town for this very special evening of blues. He’ll be backed by the Butanes, featuring guest pianist Bruce McCabe, and other special guests, including Jimi “Primetime” Smith. Expect some swinging’ blues, and expect blues fans out in force.

Worldwide Discoteque 2nd Anniversary Party @ Club Jaeger, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The little dance party that started a couple of years ago has grown so much they’re starting early to accommodate the crowds. Dance to vinyl sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and more. Deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engel fill the dance floor with folks who don’t know special dances – they just move to the music. You will too. This will give you an idea of what to expect from this mulit-culti paryu.

Saturday, April 12

Flute Fest @ Augsburg College Recital Hall, Minneapolis. 11:30am ($5) This is part of an all-day event featuring workshops, exhibitors, and performances, including a master class and concert by Jim Walker. I’m not sure, but you may be required to register. At 11:30am a number of Midwest Flutists will perform, including Adam Kuenzel, Greg Milliren, Immanuel Davis, Bethany Gonella, the Flutespiration Quartet, and Julie Johnson, who will perform a piece for amplified flute and live looping pedals with dancer Tamara Ober.

Evushin playing at The Museum of Russian Art

Evushin playing at The Museum of Russian Art

Seasons of the Year with Tchaikovsky @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($30) Featuring Denis Evsuhin, pianist, with Mindy Ratner, MPR Classical Music host. The Seasons is Tchaikovsky’s most beloved solo piano composition. Evstuhin is a Russian pianist who has been hailed as one of the finest in today’s generation. He will play each of the twelve musical pictures by Tchaikovsky, while Ratner will recite original poetic epigraphs by famous Russian poets.

Little Jr. Walker & the All-Stars @ Arnellia’s, Saint Paul. 7pm, 9pm ($20?) Okay, I know what you’re saying, “Didn’t Junior Walker die?” Well, yes, back in the mid-nineties, but this is his son and some of the original All-Stars, along with some back-up singers and lead singers, since “Little Jr. Walker” isn’t a musician. Bound to be entertaining, any way you look at it.

Foreign Motion @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11:00pm ($9) Funky jazz/fusion from some of the bright lights of the Twin Cities jazz scene: Cory Washington, guitar; Yohannes Tona, bass; Kevin Gastonguay, piano; and Peter Janjic, drums. Together, they have a wealth of experience with various national artists in various and sundry jazz, funk, gospel, and pop outfits.

Sunday, April 13

Allison Miller Benefit @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 7pm. ($10 Suggested Donation) The music community comes together once again, this time for the daughter of blues singer/bandleader Dee Miller. Allison was recently hospitalized for pneumonia, and then had many complications, including the amputation of part of her leg.  To entice you to the event to raise money for her hospitalization, there is Steve Clarke, Annie Mack Band, Who Nu, Jimi Primetime Smith, guest vocals, and of course, Dee Miller and her band, along with a silent auction.

Malamanya @ Nomad World Pub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Sunday night dancing to Cuban/Salsa sounds. The music is infectious. You’ll be moving even if you don’t know a lick or a kick of Latin dancing.

Tuesday, April 15

YeYe Pow w/Trompe Le Monde @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Ye Ye Pow is a band that plays 60s French Pop, while Trompe le Monde is a Pixies tribute band. Here’s an example of Ye Ye Pow at work.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.



Celebrations and Visitations. Music for 9.19 – 9.2

September 19, 2012

Festa Italiana will be at Harriet Island this weekend.

Festivals, an anniversary party, an album release, and a celebration of the arts and its role in aging. Lots of interesting events going on, not to mention a few outstanding visiting artists to supplement our own batch of talented musicians.

Early warning: I don’t get any income from doing this, but would be pleased as punch to have some of my readers  join KFAI and my show during next week’s pledge drive. In fact, you can pledge right now at Have a good week.


Wednesday, September 19

Irv Williams with Kairos Dance @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:00pm (Free) Kairos Dance is an interactive dance troupe, and nonagenerian saxophonist Irv Williams to celebrate a tpt documentary entitled Arts and Mind. The flyer says we’ll learn how music, dance, painting, poetry, and theater markedly improve well-being at all stages of life. Frankly, I can’t think of a better example of how the arts keep you lively than Irv Williams. The event iss free, but you are advised to visit to reserve a ticket. This video explains the philosophy of Kairos Dance.

Delfeayo takes a solo at the Jazz Festival last June.

Delfeayo Marsalis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30/$25) Delfeayo is the trombone playing/record producing member of the famed Marsalis family completely sold the crowd at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in Saint Paul last June. Then he showed up late at the AQ and blasted out another crowd-pleasing song or two. Tonight he has a spotlight-stealing band of players who each could (and do) lead there own band. Sean Jones on trumpet; Winard Harper on drums, Richard Johnson on piano (you may know him from some of the cool theme shows he presented after moving here), and bassist Jeremy Boettcher. Whew!

Thursday, September 20

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s a monthly gig for Karr, a venerable and inventive saxophone player. Don’t pass by an opportunity to hear Karr, whose versatility includes playing baritone sax in his Gerry Mulligan tribute band, playing with Pete Whitman’s X-Tet and touring with Henry Mancini as the featured player for the Pink Panther Theme.

Robb Henry Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (Free) Robb’s guitar playing encompasses jazz standards and “new” standards from the pop music of the late 60s and on. Listen to this.


Friday, Saturday, September 21, 22

Bob Sheppard Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. With a resume that runs from Steely Dan to Queen Latifah to Joni Mitchell to Freddie Hubbard, Chick Corea, and Horace Silver, among others, Sheppard is the consummate pro, able to provide atmospheric backdrops for pop stars as well as improvise with the best that jazz has to offer. This is a rare Midwestern appearance for this Los Angeleno musician.

Saturday, September 22

Gypsy Mania Hot Club @ The Mill City Farmer’s Market, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (Free) Enjoy the gypsy jazz sounds of the Hot Club whilst you shop for food from local growers.

Charmin Michelle @ The Lexington (South Room), Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) Charmin Michelle on vocals, with Laura Caviani, piano; and Pete Whitman, sax. The South Room is a bit smaller than the Williamsburg Room where the music is generally presented. That means it’s important to have a reservation or get there early to hear this terrific combination of musicians.

Tuesday, September 25

Aaron, Peterson, and Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Phil Aaron, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. Aaron is a sensitive player with numerous credits. Peterson can swing with the jazziest cats (say, Ben Sidran) or rock, a la Steve Miller. Horst has an impressive number of credits himself, from Al Hirt to Jimmy McGriff and Lew Tabackin, and is the owner/mentor and keeper of the jazz flame at the AQ.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at Jazz Police. It also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, and Other…

Thursday, September 20

Still playing after all these years.

John Mayall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) & 9pm ($30) Over the course of a fifty year career, bluesman Mayall has served as bandleader and mentor for a who’s who of blues-rock, starting with Eric Clapton, and Jack Bruce, on through to Mick Fleetwood, Don “Sugarcane” Harris, Harvey Mandel, to Walter Trout and Coco Montoya. He recorded dozens of albums over the years, a few of which are classic. Though now approaching 80, recent videos reveal that he’s still has good harmonica chops and a good voice.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) I guess you can call Primer a member of the second generation of bluesmen. He played guitar at Teresa’s in Chicago during the second half of the 70s, played with Willie Dixon’s All-Stars, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim, venturing out on his own in the early 90s. Since then he’s been nominated for Traditional Blues Artist of the Year a number of times, received a Grammy nomination in 2009, and was named Blues Artist of the Year in the 2010 Critics Poll of Living Blues Magazine. If you have a taste for traditional blues, this is the guy to hear. Here he is with a Dutch band backing him at a Blues Festival in The Netherlands.

Friday, September 21

Tracy Grammer CD Release @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18) Red House Records kicks off this season of Red House Live! with the talented vocalist/fiddler Tracy Grammer, first known for her musical partnership with Dave Carter, which set the folk world afire when they released their first album in the late 90s. Her partner passed about ten years ago, and she’s now released Little Blue Egg, a CD of previously unreleased songs from the two of them on Red House. There’s a cocktail hour at 7pm followed by the concert at 8pm.

Friday, Saturday, September 21, 22

Festa Italiana @ Harriet Island, Saint Paul. 3pm – 10pm Friday, 10am – 10pm Saturday (Free) This is the second year for Festa Italiana, a celebration of the Italian part of Saint Paul’s heritage, including strolling accordionists and two stages. The Main Stage will feature a Dean Martin tribute, Arne Fogel doing songs of the 40s and Italian classical music and more, while a second stage will feature Italina folk songs and dancing. Then there’s the food, and gondola rides, to boot. More information here.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, September 21, 22, 23

Thinking Outside the Squeezebox II @ O’Gara’s Shanty and the CSPS Hall, Saint Paul. 3pm – 11pm Friday, 10am – 10pm Saturday, 10am – 1:30pm Sunday (at CSPS Hall) A bunch of accordion players from around the country are gathering to see what happens when the traditional uses of accordion in ethnic music collide with rock, jazz, and more. Sunday at the CSPS Hall (above Glockenspiel on West 7th) will feature folk dancers from the Tapestry Center. For more information re: artists and schedule, go here.

Saturday, September 22

Dee Miller Band @ Holihans, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Ms Miller just got back from a successful fishing trip and vacation up north. Whether rested or not, she always gives her all, which is how she earned the nickname “The Duchess of the Blues.” Her five piece band has the energy to match. Wonder if she’ll sing “The Fishing Blues?”

Twin Cities Funk & Soul LP/CD Release Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10) Okay, so Secret Stash, the Mpls record company that specializes in re-issue vinyl, has put together a compilation of great music from the Twin Cities, and they’re gathering some of the artists to perform at the Cedar. Willie Walker and Maurice Jacox may be familiar to many of you, but you’ll find the Valdons and Wanda Davis, who are also performing, to be amazing discoveries. The band includes members of the Exciters, Band of Thieves, and others. Hot Pants DJs will be spinning discs beforehand. Here’s a video of the current Valdons.

Hot Pants 5th Anniversary @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) After the Funk & Soul Release Party cross the street to the official afterparty and place to be to dance to rare soul and funk 45s. The four deejays in the Hot Pants crew each bring a slightly different spin, if you’ll pardon the expression, to things. Some musicians from the Funk & Soul release party will be enjoying the sight of young folk dancing to their music.

Tuesday, September 25

Valdons In-Store @ The Fifth Element, 2411 Hennepin, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Continuing the celebration of the release of Twin Cities Funk & Soul, the Valdons will be singing a few songs and showing off their harmonies at this record shop. It’s all ages, and free.

Paul Mayasich & Jimi “Prime Time” Smith @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No cover) Mayasich continues his habit of creating special evenings by playing with other guitarists. Expect some slide, as well as other guitaristic pyrotechnics, for sure.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.  For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

The Jam at the Artists’ Quarter

June 30, 2012

It was 1AM when Delfeayo Marsalis arrived. Many patrons at the Artists’ Quarter in Saint Paul had already left. After all, they’d been treated to a fiery appearance by Cuban drummer Francisco Mela and members of his band, who tore through a couple of jazz standards. I’d tell you what they were, but who had time to take notes, or do anything other than soak in the music. Young trumpeter Marquis Hill, from Chicago also stepped up, blazing through a number of solos. Young pianist Witness Matlou surprised with his imaginative playing, and a young cat whose name I didn’t get played one of the AQ’s tables as if it were a conga drum. He then did a four hand piece with Jon Weber, the pianist with an encyclopedic knowledge of tunes and piano styles. Jon served as the ringmaster. Earlier, he, Billy Peterson on bass, and Joe Felice on drums backed chanteuse Maude Hixson in a sublime set.

So, everyone was feeling good, and as I said, a number of folks packed it in, thinking it was too late for anyone else to show up. But Delfeayo surprised and delighted those of us who were left. Marquis Hill had packed up and was beginning to leave, but soon unpacked. He was joined by another young, fiery player on saxophone. And on one song, a trumpeter came up and played a fine solo using a mute. It was the only contribution from him during the evening, but it was solid. The Twin Cities’ own Mac Santiago sat in on the drums and cooked. Other players joined in. It was difficult to keep track. 

It was, as you might expect, thrilling, as each of the players brought forth their A-game. Those of us in the audience could only bask in the music. After 50 minutes, it was time to close shop, and the stage lights were shut down, but Delfeayo and Jon offered one last blast to send us into the night.

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