Music Not for Fools: 3.30 – 4.5

March 30, 2016

imagesFriday is April Fools Day, with a couple of appropriate shows, but for the most part there is nothing foolish about our music scene, which is so rich in talent over a variety of genres. We even have some outstanding visiting artists this week. With the weather approaching real Spring temps, it’s a good time to get out and hear some music, which will undoubtedly lift your spirits.


Wednesday, March 30

Steve Kimmel, Gary Byers, & Gary Shulte @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Wednesdays are a bit more experimental than other nights at this basement studio/performance space. Tonight features Steve Kimmel, a long time veteran of the Twin Cities music community, on piano and percussion; versatile violinist Gary Shulte; and cellist Greg Byers. Here’s Kimmel having some fun on vibes.

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Johnson-Blanchard is a drummer with a number of funk/R&B bands in town, but for the past year or so he’s led this trio with the ever inventive Park Evans on guitar and Josh Granowski on bass. So you have some fine jazz to listen to during Barbette’s great lat night happy hour. You can hear songs by the trio here.

Thursday, March 31

McNally Smith Singer Showcase @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) The best and brightest young vocal students from McNally Smith.

Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) NPR called them the “Twin Horns of Joy.” The trombone/trumpet duo have caught the ears of such notables as Wynton Marsalis, and Jon Faddis, Chris Botti, and Gregory Porter, among others, and have played at Birdland, SXSW, and Warren Buffet’s Annual Shareholder meeting! As young as they are (early 20s), their music nods towards pop, but is at its heart, jazz, plain and simple. Here’s an example:

Friday, April 1

Paul Harper’s Chordless Quartet @ Public Kitchen, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Friday Night at the Reverie in Minneapolis is on hiatus as it moves to Thursday nights in May. In the meantime, bands that were scheduled are being moved to different venues, including the Public, across the street from Mears Park in Lowertown. Saxophonist Harper  along with Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Lewis, bass; and Matt Buckner on drums will explore originals by Harper and Kenny, as well as music by Joe Henderson, Thelonious Monk, and more. Here are Harper and Kenny performing with the Illicit Sextet, which does have chorded instruments.

Friday, Saturday, April 1, 2

Dave King Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) King is the genre-crossing drummer best known for stints with avant jazz, pop, and Americana groups. Tonight he takes the stage with Bill Carrothers  piano; and Billy Peterson  bass; to play jazz standards, though the combination of these three outstanding musicians may take the songs slightly beyond “standard.”  Here’s an extended clip from a performance in Italy a couple of years ago.

Saturday, April 2

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Friday evening crowds at Crooners are looking for a good time. Ms Shorai, with her sweet voice, sharp emotive instincts, and talented band, should make it easy for the crowd to enjoy themselves.

Maud Hixon: What Would Doris Do? @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  ($27 Adults; $24 Seniors; $20 Students) Ms Hixson has impeccable phrasing and very good taste in the songs she presents. Tonight she examines the music of Doris Day, who started with big bands, and had a successful solo and movie career. With the ever swinging Wolverines Trio. Here she is with piano accompaniment by Rick Carlson, of the Wolverines.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator Steve Kenny often has a young group to start out this Saturday Night tradition, and tonight is no exception. Opening act is The Dark Blue Quartet, with Thomas Strommen, saxes; Dylan Nelson, guitar; Jason McLean, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.  Both Burgess and Strommen have proven themselves in Kenny’s Group 47, so it will be interesting to catch them in another setting. Headliner at 8:30pm is Courageous Endeavors, a young-ish group that achieved some local popularity until leader/bassist Brian Courage left for NYC. He’s back visiting and will be perfuming with Nelson Devereaux, sax; Joe Strachan, Fender Rhodes; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Listen to their music here.

Sunday, April 3

Jazz Lunch with the Century Jazz Ensemble @ Jethro’s Char House & Pub, 3140 Century Ave, Mahtomedi. 2-4pm (no cover) While away a Sunday afternoon having lunch while listening to some swinging music from the Ensemble.

Sunday, Monday, April 3,4

SF Jazz Collective: the Music of Michael Jackson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35)  This is an All-Star octet  in the best sense of the word, brought together each year to explore the music of a particular composer, from John Coltrane, to Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder. This year’s group includes Miguel Zenon, alto; David Sanchez, tenor; Avishai Cohen, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Warren Wolf, vibes; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penmanm, bass; and Obed Calvaire, drums. Their interpretations have proven to be illuminating in the past, and I’m excited to hear what they’ll do with the music of Michael Jackson. Here’s an example.

Monday, April 4

Riley Helgeson @ Jazz Central, Minneapols. 8:30pm ($10) Trumpeter Riley Helgeson takes a night off from the McNasty Brass Band to stretch out. As usual, there’ll be a jam session after Helgeson’s set. Examples of his work can be found here.

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 30

Javier & The Way Back @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Javier Matos, guitar, vocals, harmonica; Michael Carvale, upright bass; Grant Wibben, drums. This trio explores all kinds of music from the cultures around this nation: blues, swing, Americana, and more. Here’s Javier with his more well known band – the Innocent Sons.

Wednesday, March 30 – Sunday, April 3

A Night With Janis Joplin @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($34 – $101), 2pm Saturday and Sunday ($34 – $110) Mary Bridget Davies does an excellent job of conveying the power and emotion of Janis Joplin’s singing in this jukebox musical. There’s no plot, just Davies as Joplin singing and talking a little bit about her early life and the power of the blues. She’s given outstanding help from the band as well as four exceptional female singers who portray some of her inspirations, including Bessie Smith, Odetta, Etta James, and the Chantels. Listen for yourself.

Thursday, March 31

Shannon Mac Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The guys in the Mystic Order of Reverb and Twang were looking around for a new spark to their music and found it in Shannon Mac  She’s a firecracker of a singer, whether attacking Rockabilly, foot stomping R& B, or good ol’ Rock & Roll.

Doug MacLeod @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) This blues troubadour is a singer/songwriter/guitarist with great chops who writes about life experiences that relate to many of us. MacLeod has won both the 2014 Blues Music Awards as Acoustic Artist of the Year and for Acoustic Album of the year. He was nominated again in 2015, and his latest release “Exactly Like This” has received glowing reviews.

Friday, April 1

Local Hermits and Papa John Kolstad @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5?) Things get off to a rockin’ start with the garage rock of the Local Hermits: music by T Rex, The Stones, The Flaming Groovies and more. Then at 9pm, the wry, former mayoral candidate, Papa John Kolstad steps up to entertain with some blues, jazz, and occasional stories.

Momentary Lapse of Floyd @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12advance/$15 Door) It’s music for Sci-Fi Fans and others, as The Dark Side of the Moon meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. A live band will perform the Pink Floyd album in its entirety while syncing the music to a screening of the 1968 classic movie. There will be two sets of Dark Side material as well as other songs from Pink Floyd’s catalog. The band includes musicians from The Big Wu, Kung Fu Hippies, the Last Waltz; and Nicholas David. Here’s the band doing a Pink Floyd song from Wish You Were Here.

Dap Squad @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a funky variety band that can go from the Doobie Brothers to Daft Punk.  Each member of this ensemble has toured with or shared the stage with such artists as Prince, the Commodores, Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Harry Connick Jr and Wynton Marsalis. Here’s a promo video

April Fools on April Fools @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Rock, twangy country, pop, and blues from Brian Drake, lead vocals and guitar; Clay Williams, guitar; Ben Kaplan, drums; and Scott Hreha, bass.

Saturday, April 2

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 – includes a free beverage) If you’re looking for a rompin’ stompin’ evening of take-no-prisoners blues, then Famous Dave’s is the place to be tonight. Lil’ Ed plays slide guitar with a ferocity that’s hard to match, no less beat.

Sunday, April 3

Taiko Lab @ Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 2pm, 7pm ($10) Like the sound of big drums? You may want to explore the drumming and theater of the Taiko Lab, featuring the drummers Mu Daiko. They will present the evolution of ideas presented in last year’s lab, as well as a host of brand new pieces. Their work uses fue melodies, Japanese folk dance, tai-chi movement and heart pounding rhythms to stretch the melodic and choreographic elements of taiko.

Tuesday, April 5

Acoustic Africa featuring Habib Koite, and Vusi Mahlasela @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) The Cedar continues to prove that when it comes to world musics, it’s unmatched. Tonight the rich traditions of African Voice and Song will be explored by two beloved singers: Habib Koite  and Vusi Mahlasela  Koite is a Malian guitarist and composer named by Rolling Stone was the biggest pop star of the region,selling over 250,000 albums worldwide.  Mahlasela, from South Africa, has appeared in town a couple of times, to the delight of his audiences. He played at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, and has served as an official ambassador to Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative. Mahlasela’s voice at times recalls Sam Cooke, but it’s his message of hope for his apartheid-scarred country that resonates around the world.

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.

Celebrations and Visitations. Music: 7.8 – 7.14

July 8, 2015
The Brass Messengers will bring their antics to Bastille Day in Minneapolis.

The Brass Messengers will bring their antics to Bastille Day in Minneapolis.

We’ve got another weekend of outdoor music celebrations this weekend, what with Bastille Day Celebrations in both Minneapolis and Saint Paul, as well as a hip-hop festival and a one-day jazz festival at a vineyard. We also have some very interesting visiting musicians, a CD release party, and some stellar combinations of resident musicians. All in all, a good week for music lovers. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, July 8

Connie Evingson w/Patty and the Buttons @ The Woman’s Club, 410 Oak Grove, Minneapolis. 6-8pm ($10) Patty and the Buttons bring their happy rhythms and swinging influences (gypsy jazz, ragtime, American Popular song, to the music of Ms Evingson  To quote the sublime vocalist, “I love singing with these guys!”

Capri Big Band @ Minnehaha Falls Pavilion, Minneapolis. 7-9pm (Free) The Capri Big Band is an intergenerational band led by saxophonist Donald Washington will be swinging for visitors to the park, providing much more than just background music for those waiting in line for fish tacos at Sea Salt.

Chris Bates’ Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chris Bates, bass; Corey Healy, drums; and Peter Schimke, piano; bring their considerable talent to bear on originals and jazz standards.

Thursday, July 9

Christine Hitt @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist/vocalist Hitt established herself in the Saint Louis jazz scene, recording and working for MAXJAZZ records and performing with the likes of Ugonna Okegwo, Hubert Laws, Slide Hampton and others. Tonight she is joined by Eric Hitt, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; and Brian Handeland, sax.

James Buckley Trio & Jacob Hanson@ Studio Z, Saint Paul. ($10) The All Originals Jazz Series returns for another season. Opening the season this year is the James BuckleyTrio, featuring Bryan Nichols, piano; JT Bates, drums, and Buckley on bass. Their imaginative swinging sounds will be augmented by guitarist Jacob Hanson, who plays in a number of high profile groups including The Pines, Haley Bonar, Solid Gold, and more. Hanson’s approach to the guitar is informed by blues, surf music, 50s pop, and more, as he uses technique and pedals to create intriguing soundscapes.

Friday, July 10

Judy Donaghy Vinar & the Wolverines Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is a fine club/lounge, with a small dance floor and a comfortable stage. Vocalist Vinar will be joined by Jendeen Forberg, drums; Rick Carlson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Doug Haining on clarinet and reeds. Here she is with the big band version of the Wolverines.

Milwaukolis@ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The name implies a combination of musicians from Milwaukee and Minneapolis. Nelson Devereaux, sax; paul Westfahl, drums, and Cody Steinmann, guitar; play music rooted in tradition but also drawing inspiration from modern pop, hip-hop, and rock music.

Dean Granros’ Tall Tales @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This two-guitar jazz group features Zacc Harris, as well as leader Dean Granros on guitars, with Chris Bates on bass, and Jay Epstein on drums providing a formidable foundation. They have a new CD out on Shifting Pardigm records, and blew folks away at their CD Release parties a couple of months back.

Jordan Anderson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) If you’ve had a chance to see the Dakota Combo or the Walker West Jazz Band, you’ve seen this young pianist (16) in action. I’m not sure if he’ll be performing solo or with other musicians, but either way, he’s already a seasoned, imaginative performer and soloist.

Saturday, July 11

Jazz Fest @ Saint Croix Vineyards, 6428 Manning Ave No., Stillwater. Noon – 6pm. (Free) Here are four very good reasons to while away a pleasant afternoon. You get to hear the Javi Santiago Quartet at noon, the Andrew Walesch Trio at 1:30, the Adam Meckler Orchestra at 3pm, and Doug Little’s Seven Steps to Havana at 4:30. Bring a picnic basket, or buy some food while there. Wine (of course) and non-alcoholic beverages are always available.

Bastille Day in Saint Paul @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 2pm – 8pm ($10, kids under are free) Outdoor on the West 7 Place Mall. Music by French Jazz Band Lo’Jo, as well as Twin Cities based Francine Roche Trio, with The New Standards capping the day. Then go inside to hear Connie Evingson and the Parisota Hot Club in the newly refurbished Vieux Carre.

Jacob Teichroew Quintet w/guest Adam Meckler @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxophonist and composer Jacob Teichroew has studied classical sax with Stephen Jordheim, jazz with Antonio Hart, and contemporary improvisation with Vijay Iyer. All those influences are part of his music. He’ll be joined by members of his group: Syberen van Munster, guitar; Jarrett Cherner, keys; Christopher Nolte, bass; and Shawn Baltazor, drums; as well as trumpeter Adam Meckler, no slouch himself when in comes to playing or composing.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Here is another combination of a new group and some fine veterans performing on a Saturday night. Opening at 7pm King/Fletcher/Woods: Jeff King, sax; Charles Feltcher, bass; Eron Woods, drums. At 8:30, the highly talented pianist Laura Caviani takes the stage, accompanied by the ever inventiveJay Epstein, drums; and rock solid Gordy Johnson on bass.  Here’s Laura celebrating Monk.

Sunday, July 12

Stan Bann’s Big Bone Band @ Como Dockside Pavilion, Saint Paul. 3-5pm (Free) Ahh, Sunday afternoon under the exposed pavilion at Como Lake, with victuals and beverages available from Como Dockside, the new bar/restaurant from Jon Oulman, of the 331 Club and the Amsterdam Bar & Hall. Trombonist/composer/arranger Bann brings his band, with seven trombones, a euphonium, tuba, and rhythm section, to the pavilion for your listening pleasure

Monday, July 13

Jacob Teichroew Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. ($8) Another chance to see this New York sax player (see Saturday)

Tuesday, July 14

Katia Cardenas @ Vieux Carre Grand Opening, Saint Paul. 7pm ($?) A year and a half after the Artists’ Quarter closed, Vieux Carre (view ma-ray) will finally have its grand opening in the space. They’ve had some pop-up events during the last six months, but now, all the furniture has been replaced, there’s a new sound system, new paint and images on the black walls, the carpeting has been taken up, some walls removed, and a small kitchen installed. And… they’ve got up and coming vocalist Cardenas for the official opening. She is well versed in jazz, and R&B, and a bit of pop as well. She’ll be joined by Kevin Gastonguay, piano; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wednesday, July 8

Mother Banjo @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. noon – 1pm (Free) Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo  has been gaining fans and friends around the country with her unique blend of Americana and “pub gospel.” I’ll be hosting this noontime show that’s perfect for taking a break from work.

Gang of Mischief on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Gang of Mischief is a loose aggregation of old blues guys and younger adherents. This time around the gang includes, Rena Haus, Doug Otto, Josh Granowski, Papa John Kolstad, Dan Schwalbe, and Hurricane Harold. Stick around for Firefly Forest at 9:30pm – they’re a world/folk group led by Steven Hobart, with a mischievous bent of their own.

Carolyn Wonderland CD Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) The daughter of a band singer, blues/country/folk singer Wonderland combines the vocal prowess of Janis Joplin with guitar slinging reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughn, and other influences such as Doug Sahm, and Angela Strehli, which is only natural, considering she comes Texas. She’s touring behind her latest release, Miss Understood, which includes her own compositions, as well as some by JJ Cale and Rick Derringer.

Thursday, July 9

Jones Family Singers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Five sisters, two brothers, and their father were playing the Gulf Coast gospel music circuit when they ended up at South by Southwest, where their readings of gospel songs (complete with elements of vintage soul and R&B – duh!) caught the attention of fans and promoters alike. Now we get to hear their joyful noise between appearances at the Newport and Winnipeg Folk Festivals.

Friday, July 10

Mingo Fishtrap @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) This five-time winner of Austin Texas Music Awards, Mingo Fishtrap is an eight-piece funk n’ soul band with punchy horns and relentless rhythms.

Raw Oyster Cult w/The Butanes @ Bunker’s Music Bar & Grill, Minneapolis. 9:30pm  ($25) Raw Oyster Cult is a supergroup of New Orleans musicians, with lead vocalists in Radiators guitarist Dave Malone and Papa Grows Funk’s John Gros, who also plays B-3. They are joined by  The Rads’ Camille Baudoin on guitar, drummer Frank Bua Jr, and bassist Dave Pomerleau. They’ll be reimagining some Radiators’ songs and adding originals and some of their favorite older tunes. The Butanes, of course, are the Twin Cities favorite blues band.

Saturday, July 11

For the Love: A Community Celebration @ Union Depot, Bedlam, and Black Dog, Saint Paul. 3pm – 10pm. (Free) This is a celebration of hip-hop music featuring 15 artists (most doing 20 minute sets), including the return of the Kanser crew, celebrating their 20h anniversary, and headlined by Saint Paulite Ashely Dubose from 8:50 to 10pm. It also features 15 deejays at the Bedlam Theater from 2pm to 2am, which will turn into an 18+ nightspot after 10pm. Even youngsters have their own stage, at the Black Dog from 2pm – 7pm, where demonstrations of emceeing, breakdancing, beatboxing, and more will occur. Note that 50% of the performers/hosts are female. To add to the festivities, live graffiti painting will take place during performances and Metro Transit is providing free transit to the show.

Maurice Jacox Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) I’ve written enough about vocalist Jacox for regular readers to know of his versatility in singing blues, R&B, jazz, and acoustic Motown. Tonight he’s joined by Thomas West, piano; John Della Selva, guitar; and Poncho Lopez, percussion at a venue that seems made for his music.

Doug MacLeod w/Jeff Arundel @ The Aster Cafe, MInneapolis. 9pm ($15) Here’s a chance to see a blues artist that rarely makes it to these parts. MacLeod is a perennial Blues Music Award nominee, having won the 2014 Award for Acoustic Artist of the Year and Acoustic Album of the year, and the 2013 Award for Male Artist of the Year. He’s a prolific singer and songwriter, with tunes that are full of smart remarks and keen observation.

Willie Walker CD Release @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) The Twin Cities own Original Soul Man is out with a new album, If Nothing Ever Changes, produced by Rick Estrin, the often-comic singer from the Nite Cats. Willie recorded with Goldwax Records in Memphis, and even released some sides on Chess back in the 60s. The new CD is a slab of solid soul, including a moving reading of a country song, “Not that I Care,” and great versions of a couple of Eddie Hinton songs: “Everybody Meets Mr. Blue” and “Hymn for Lonely Hearts.” Not that this is a retro record; it’s contemporary, yet oh, so soulful.

Sunday, July 12

Bastille Day Block Party @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 3pm – 10pm (Free) PaviElle, Toki Wright & the Big Cats, Gramma’s Boyfriend, The Brass Messengers, Kate Lynch, MC Foxy Tann, street entertainers, and much, much more.

Monday, July 13

Jon Cleary @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Cleary is a New Orleans-based Englishman who, according to his website, has been studying, as he put it, “the musical culture and life of New Orleans” for over twenty years,. He’s a terrific, accomplished pianist, a soulful vocalist, and a multi-instrumentalist who has added his touch to music by Bonnie Raitt, Taj Mahal, BB King, India Arie, and most recently John Scofield, on the album Piety Street. A must-see gig for fans of New Orleans music.

Tuesday, July 14

Bruce Henry Band @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Henry and his band will be doing Motown and more on the outside terrace. There will be prizes at intermission for the most fashionable hat, based on the Center’s current exhibit, 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair. Dance lessons at 6:30. Pack a picnic or buy from vendors on site.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.

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