A Jazz Festival, Gamelans, Americana, and More: 1.27 – 2.2

January 27, 2016
You don't have to go outside to hear winter jazz

You don’t have to go outside to hear winter jazz

I’m still on vacation for another day, so this newsletter is also a bit short. That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of music to hear out there, including a gamelan orchestra, a one day jazz festival, and some great Americana. There’s more, but I haven’t had the time to fully explore everything. Remember, Music Lifts the Spirit.


Wednesday, January 27
Jake Baldwin Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) The young trumpeter always has simpatico musicians in his band. This time he has Ted Olson on bass, and Matt Buckner on drums.
Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($?) Quite the combination. Thompson, of course is our very own expert on traditional jazz, with a light touch on both the piano and the clarinet.  Dean Magraw is as versatile a guitar player that you will ever find, from the music of India, Ireland, and other  countries, to jazz-rock fusion, bebop, and more.

Thursday, January 28
Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) The powerhouse young singer can do mighty justice to the songs of Aretha Franklin, Amy Winehouse, and Ella Fitzgerald. She’ll be accompanied by Ted Godbout, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Trevor Hainig, drums.
Saturday, January 30
Saturday Night Jazz @ the Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Last week I mentioned that Steve Kenny often has young bands as opening acts for these Saturday Night jazz sets. Here’s one of them, The Nextet, a group of very talented high school students: Jordan Anderson, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; Will Schmid, guitar; and Luke Westemeyer, drums. At 8:30, a special performance of the Dave Karr Group: Karr, saxophones; Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Peterson, bass; and Steve Kenny Flumpet.
Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s dance time at Crooners, as Ms Lynch brings her unique take on songs from the 20s to the 60s to the lounge.
Tim Patrick and His Blue Eyes Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minnapolis. 8pm ($12) Patrick has a way with crooning the songs of Sinatra and friends that brings out the swing dancers.

Sunday, January 31
Cyrus Chestnut Clinic @ MacNally Smith College of Music Auditorium, Saint Paul noon- 1pm (Free) Pianist Chestnut will be playing later in the day at the Winter Jazz Festival, but is starting out the day with a clinic aimed at high school students, but open to the public.
Twin Cities Winter Jazz Fest @ Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 2pm – 8:30pm ($30 advance, $35 Door) Three stages with a surfeit of talent. On the Summit Room Stage: 2pm – The Dakota Combo, in their first appearance of the year; 3pm – John Penny, was scheduled, but is unable to perform after an accident. No word on a replacement yet. On the M Street Cafe Stage: 4pm Patty Peterson with Dave Karr; 5:30pm – Solomon Parham with Steve Kenny. On the Ballroom Main Stage: 2pm – Acme jazz Company; 3pm, Ancia Saxophone Quartet; 4:30pm – JoAnn Funk; 5pm Jazz Central All Stars featuring Debbie Duncan; 6:45pm – Cyrus Chestnut with Francisco Mela and Gerald Cannon

Tribute to Natalie Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm  Ginger Commodore, Yolanda Bruce, Tonia Hughes-Kendrick, Dennnis Spears, Ash Smash. With Brian Ziemniak, keys; Jay Young, bass; Deevo Dee, guitar; Daryl Boudreaux, perc; Bobby Commodore, drums.
Tuesday, February 2
Charles Lloyd & Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $70) The Jazz Master brings his saxophone back to the Dakota, this time with some esteemed friends: Bill Frisell,guitar; Reuben Rogers, bass; and Eric Harland. Both Frisell and Lloyd leave plenty of room in their playing, creating an almost meditative quality to their performance.

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, January 27
JT Bates & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) JT Bates is a versatile drummer. Some folks know him as the guy who often plays with the Pines and on Prairie Home Companion. Others know him as a jazz drummer about town, playing with Fat Kid Wednesdays, Zacc Harris, his brother Chris, and curating the Jazz Implosion on Monday nights. Some may have discovered him as the funky drummer in the soul jazz organ group GRAIN. Tonight he invites some friends to play the music of New Orleans with him. Those friends include: Joel Schaan, guitar & vocals; Jim Anton, bass; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ. Here he is with a different set of friends.

Wednesday, Thursday, January 27, 28
Eric Bibb and Corey Harris @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Modern acoustic blues that seems to have wafted up from the Delta from a couple of relatively young masters. Bibb is an intimate performer and fine story teller. With a foundation in traditional blues and an ear for contemporary blues, Harris received a MacArthur “Genius Grant” back in 2007.

Thursday, January 28
Swamp Kings @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5?) You’ll definitely feel the Louisiana vibe as this trio brings blues, swamp pop, and Cajun rhythms to the basement shrine to New Orleans.

Americana Showcase @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Rice County Records is a little label from Northfield. They’ve been holding weekly showcases of their talent and tonight will feature: The Holy Broke at 9; Matt Arthur & the Bratlanders at 10; and Golden Valley at 11.
International Novelty Gamelan @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Gamelan is a term used in Bali and Java to describe a number of instruments, including gongs, xylophones, and a variety of percussion instruments. What sets it apart is that the instruments are built and tuned to be played together. This local sextet has been playing together for over 13 years, composing their own music, which is drone-like in its approach. Beer, wine, and small plates are available for the Thurday night music series at Khyber Pass.
Friday, January 29
John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($30) Jorgenson is an amazingly versatile guitarist. He spent more than 5 years on the road with  Elton John, co-founded the Desert Rose Band, a stellar country rock outfit, with Chris Hillman; collaborated with Sting and Billy Joel; and was a pioneer of the America’s gypsy jazz revival the last couple of decades. Tonight he explores bluegrass.

Scottie Miller @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Pianist/vocalist Miller will be performing boogie-woogie, soul, funk, and blues. HIs rollicking playing, with it’s echoes of New Orleans and classic rock, will have the joint jumpin’. 
New Sound Underground and The Heard @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 advance, $12 door) Modern day horn-oriented funk from a couple of Twin Cities groups. New Sound Underground is a sextet with at least three players who are well respected in the Twin Cities jazz scene. The Heard is a seven piece group with a 3-person horn section.

Sunday, January 31
Pop Wagner @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Some might call Wagner a folkie, but those in the know would describe him as an old-time country singer, and by old time, I’m talking the 30s. He’s also mighty handy with a lasso. Here’s Pop with a very witty song.

Charlie Parrr @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Parr is playing out quite a bit these days. He has enough fans that most venues fill up. Tonight he’s joined by  Wild Hands, a North Dakota quartet who’s music covers the usual Americana bases.
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.

Art, Music. Music, Art. 5.13 – 5.19

May 13, 2015

UnknownThe lusty month of May, as it’s called in the musical Camelot, is busting with buds and greenery. All the better to get out and enjoy Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis, or some of the great music found in our Twin Cities. From a couple of former Minnesotans visiting once again, to a CD release and some mighty fine visiting artists, we have much to choose from. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 13

11205940_1401797490143620_650124457_nCasey O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) O’Brien is a talented bassist/guitarist/arranger who has been heard around town in both jazz and R&B groups, including PaviElle and a number of Secret Stash groups. He’s released a jazz CD with Nathan Hanson, sax; and Davu Seru, drums entitled Ghost Dance and tonight will be joined by the duo as well as Ted Gadbout on keys.

Nick Videen Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Videen is a NYC-based sax player who grew up in Cambridge, MN. He’s toured and/or recorded with Beyonce and a number of other high-profile R&B stars and leads the Superpower Horns, a grammy-winning horn section. I expect he’ll be drawing on Twin Cities Talent for tonight’s quartet.  He’s featured in this video:

Thursday, May 14

Dick and Janes Brass Band w/guest Thomasina Petrus @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 11:30pm (No Cover)  This five-piece brass band will have you parading around the dance floor at the Loring. Tonight they’re joined by vocalist Petrus, known for producing and staring in the Billie Holiday play Live at the Emerson Bar.

Le Percheron is named after a work horse

Le Percheron is named after a work horse

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz has put together a quintet of players who are strong on melodic improvisations: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; and Corey Healey, drums. The will be an opening set by Pandemonium Defender, whom I know nothing about, though, judging by the name, it just might be another Linz creation.

Friday, May 15

Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm. (Free) Irv Williams is proof that music can keep you young. The 92-year old saxophonist is joined today by the expressive pianist Ms. Knutson, a featured member of Doc Severinson’s midwest touring group when she isn’t playing around town.

Michael O’Brien Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist O’Brien is a former Twin Citizen who moved to NYC some years back where he has flourished. He’s played with a wide array of artists, ranging from Ruben Blades and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, to Gene Ptney, Matt Wilson, Sashal Vasandani, and Wessell Anderson. He’s been in town for a few gigs and tonight is joined by pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein for what will surely be some transcendent music.

JoAnn-JazzLobbyBar-coverMDJazz in the Lobby Bar CD Release @ the Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk and bassist Jeff Brueske have been holding down weekends at the Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar for seven years, building an audience that appreciates their arrangements of standards as well as unexpected gems from songwriters in many genres. They’ve finally released a CD and are celebrating by moving the party to the Hotel’s ballroom, and inviting guest artists Richard Kriehn, mandolin, violin; Pete Whitman, sax; Nathan Norman, drums; to join in the fun. I interviewed JoAnn on my show this past Saturday (May 9), which you can listen to, along with a couple of cuts from the new CD, by going here.

Saturday, May 16

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Talk about a dynamic duo! Guitarist Magraw and drummer Gravatt take you places you wouldn’t imagine. They can go inside, outside, and be funky as you wanna, while exploring all the sonic possibilities of their instruments.

Charlie Lincoln Group @ Elias Metal Studio, 1129 Van Buren Street, NE Minneapolis. 1pm. (Free) This is part of Art-A-Whirl, and features the “punk jazz” of Lincoln’s Physical Memory Dump featuring Peter Goggin, alto sax; Joey C. Hays, drums; and Charlie Lincoln, bass.

Fall of the House of Usher @ Elias Metal Studio, 1129 Van Buren Street, NE Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) This exciting band is led by Chris Bates, bass; and includes Chris Cunninham, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums and a four-pice horn section consisting of Nelson Devereaux; Adrean Larkin; Elliot Wachs; and Jon Davis.

Monday, May 18

Adam Rossmiller & Aaron Hedenstrom @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Rossmiller has played with Doc Severinson, Jason Marsalis, Natalie Cole, and Eric Alexander, among others. Aaron Hedenstrom is a composer/saxophonist with a recent fine CD, A Moment of Clarity, and his own big band. Tonight they’ll be playing what they want.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm. Though I recently featured bassist/vocalist Lynch at an afternoon gig, I’m once again listing her since she’ll have a new band and be playing in this relatively new nightclub. Kate’s repertoire ranges from the 20s and 30s to an occasional tune from the 60s, all delivered with a sly bit of sass. Her version of Tiptoe Thru the Tulips suggests way more than Tiny Tim could have imagined.

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, May 13

Siami plays guitar

Siami plays guitar

Mikkel & Siami on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip jar) Siami Matuzungidi is an internationally renowned guitarist from Zaire, whose liquid playing helped establish Soukous in the mid-70s. He now lives in Minneapolis, and has found, in Mikkel Beckman,  a simpatico percussionist for his hip-swaying sounds. Beckmen is well-known in the roots community for his work with Charlie Parr and Corpse Reviver, among others. Tune in at 5pm, and head over to the 331 Club to hear more.

Thursday, May 14

American Composers Forum 40th Anniversary @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 9:30pm, (Free) Through grants, commissions, and performance opportunities, the ACF supports composers of all stripes in developing audiences for their music. They are celebrating with National Composers Night Out, linking composers thought the nation via social media, and by presenting a number of groups including VocalEssence, the “maverick chamber music” of Orange Mighty Trio, the chamber jazz of JelloSlave, and more.

Eric Bibb @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 – $30) Bibb is a blues singing acoustic finger-picker, whose smooth voice, excellent guitar playing, and storytelling skills set him apart in the best possible way. Blues fans will not want to miss him.

Friday, May 15

Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($TBD) Though they didn’t win big at the International Blues Challenge this year, Jimmi & the Band of Souls won the heart of Miss Ella, a nationally known reviewer and one of the judges, who highly praised their album The Devil You Know. You can hear their high-energy original blues at tonight’s early show.

Hyentyte @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) They’ll have to move a few tables for the dancing that will surely take place when this six-piece jam/rock band takes the stage. If the doors are open, so much the better for dancers as well as those taking advantage of the beer offerings of the Tap Room.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday

Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis. Various hours (Free)   Lots of music throughout NE Minneapolis during these three days. Get a rundown of music here. A couple of bands of note on Saturday: Gospel Machine and Southside Desire at Anchor Fish & Chips starting at 6pm; Black Market Brass and Black Diet at Bauhaus Brew Labs starting at 7pm; Grant Hart and Cactus Blossoms at Grumpy’s NE starting at 7:15pm.

Saturday, May 16

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Crooners has been featuring jazz vocalists during the week and more R&B oriented acts on the weekends, when the small dance floor fill up, as it will surely do tonight with the soulful sounds of Walker.

Sub-Commandos @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. Doors at 7pm music at 9? ($15) It’s a Twin Cities Punk/New Wave Revival as aging rockers show that they still have what it takes to set First Avenue vibrating. The Sub-Commandos feature members of the Suburbs, Suicide Commandos, and Wallets. Also on hand: Yipes!, from Wisconsin; the New Spooks featuring Curtiss A; Hypstrz; and Flamingo

Sunday, May 17

Urban Pioneers @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) This duo (Liz Sloan, fiddles/vocals; and Jared McGovern, bass/vocals/clawhammer banjo) from San Francisco play rootsy, Appalachian style music, which actually should sound quite good at the Lakeside Pavillion. Opening is Beneath the Crow, a five-piece who describe their music as Southern Goth Folk.

Inti-Illimani and Los Llaneros @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) This evening of Latin American music is a benefit for a Chilean Music and Arts School called Sol Del Illimani. Inti-Illimani are a legendary Chilean group who has been thrilling audiences with a blend of poetic and political music for over 40 years. Their talent is staggering, as they deftly move among 30 or more instruments. Los Llaneros perform the music of the plains (Llanos) around the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela. Here’s Inti-Illimani.

Monday, May 18

Willie Murphy @ the Richfield American Legion, 6500 Portland Avenue, Richfield.  7pm (Tip Jar?) Murphy holds forth on this jam every Monday. Who knows who will stop by to participate. One thing is for sure. Willie will be the ringmaster, bringing out the best in everyone.

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.

Dancing, Romancing, and Singing. Music: 2.12 – 2.18

February 12, 2014

imagesValentine’s Day falls on a Friday this year, making for many an opportunity to hear great music while spending time with your sweetie. We also have some terrific jazz singers coming to town, as well as outstanding blues singers, and a retro/modern soul singer. Then we have some visiting jazz artists, the celebration of a new jazz record label, and a couple of vinyl nights, not to forget my own Valentine’s Day Funky Friday. Remember music can lift your spirit.


Wednesday, February 12

Chris Bates 1 year anniversary of Magica Improvisado @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11pm (Donation). 2nd Wed of each month. To celebrate, Chris has gathered a number of young musicians, including: Chris Bates – bass; Cory Healy – drums; Joe Strachan – piano; and Jake Baldwin – trumpet. They’ll be performing mostly original music.

Note: This gig has been postponed, since both artists are stranded in Atlanta as a result of the snowstorm there.  Dionne Farris and Russell Gunn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm ($32) Farris is known as a pop and soul singer, with a couple of Grammy nominations to her credit, as well as contributing vocals for Tennesse, the hit single from hip-hops Arrested Development. Gunn is a trumpeter/multi-instrumentalist who first gained attention playing on the Wynton marsalis album Blood on the Fields.  He’s also received a Grammy nomination for  the first album in his Ethnomusicology series. After Gunn and Farris worked together for a performance in Atlanta, the two recorded an album together, Dionne, Get Your Gunn, recasting the pop/soul songs of Farris as jazz numbers. The results have been well reviewed. Here’s a preview of what they will sound like.

Thursday, February 13

Kurt Elling @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) There wouldn’t be much of an argument among jazz fans that Elling may be the best male jazz singer out there at the moment. He’s got a rich baritone and is about as hip a singer as can be. Chek him out.

Valentine Eve’s Revue w/Retro Swing Sister @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 donation) Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie bring their sophisticated swing from the 30s through the 50s to the basement room for a pre-Valentine’s evening. They’ll have Doug gaining, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Kent Saunders, drums; to provide the music for their vocals.

Saturday, February 15

Shifting Paradigm Records Launch Party @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 5p-10p. ($10) It’s a mini-jazz-fest of sorts, featuring five powerhouse acts on this new label label, with sets by Fat Kid Wednesdays, Atlantis Quartet, Bryan Nichols Quartet, Graydon Peterson Quartet, & the Zacc Harris Group. That’s five top notch jazz groups in one evening, all for just $10. In addition, there will be special promotions on CDs at the show. It’s being hyped as the biggest night of Twin Cities Jazz this Winter, and that is very likely true.

Sunday, February 16

Gregory Porter @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42)  Porter is an up and coming jazz singer with a talent for writing groove laden, direct songs that go straight to the heart and the head. He’s been profiled in Jazz Times and the Wall Street Journal, nominated for a couple of Grammys, and will be at a number of jazz festivals this summer. Catch him on the way up.

Monday, February 17

Adam Meckler @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Trumpeter Meckler takes time out from his various projects for a turn as a soloist with the JC rhythm section. There’ll be some standards and originals, and a friendly jam at about 10pm.

Illicit Sextet @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8?) The always exciting Sextet brings their original music to the Jazz Implosion at the Icehouse. They’ll play one set, followed by a new ensemble from Adam Linz, which is another reason to attend.

Tuesday, February 18

Benje Daneman Quartet & the Jana Nyberg Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) In case you missed Adam Meckler last night, he’ll be performing with his wife Jana Nyberg tonight. He’ll also guest on a couple of tunes by his middle school buddy, trumpeter Benje Daneman, who is currently on a midwest tour with his quartet: Chicago-based pianist Rob Clearfield; drummer Christian Euman; and NYC bassist Sam Weber. Of course there are the sultry vocals of Ms Nyberg also calling to listeners.  Here’s a video for one of Daneman’s ethereal compositions.

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 Police, Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 12

Definitely Old School

Definitely Old School

Foghorn String Band & the Cactus Blossoms @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. ($15) Portland’s Foghorn String band plays the kind of music you would hear on Southern radio in the 1930s, playing in front of a single microphone. Of course, this being 2014, they play with lots of energy. The Twin Towns own Cactus Blossoms bring their traditional sounding original country music to the stage as openers. 

Thursday, February 13

Mayer Hawthorne @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) The Ann Arbor musician knows his way around Motown, Philly, and other Northern Soul genres, which are, at the very least, implied in his original compositions, making for highly danceable albums. Here’s an example.

The Valentine’s Day Heart and Soul Happening @ Clubhouse Jaeger, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am. ($?) Here’s a chance to slow dance the night away, and it isn’t a wedding. Deejays Rambo Salinas, Dale Burback, and Freddy Fresh will be spinning sweet soul 45s, along with some Chicano rolls. Special guest Bob Abrahamian will be coming up from Chicago where he hosts “Sitting in the Park” on WHPK.

Friday, February 14

Lucy Michelle’s Valentine Mixtape: C&W Edition @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($14 advance, $16 day of show) So the age of digital music on our phones and other tiny devices seems to have left the old idea of mix tapes behind, though the truly romantic music nerds among us will still come up with one from time to time. tonight songstress Lucy Michelle curates an evening of country & western music for Valentines day, featuring Frankie Lee and the Decade and Lucy singing with the Blackberry Brandy Boys. John Mark Nelson and the Cactus Blossoms will also make appearances. Whether you are with someone special or not, you are encouraged to bring your ideal Valentine’s Day Mixtape to swap with other attendees, or, who knows, you may find someone special who deserves your gift.

Worldwide Discoteque Afro Latin Valentine’s Dance @ Clubhouse Jaeger, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) Deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engel will be spinning vinyl artifacts from around the world to get you heart pumping, your feet jumping, and body moving. Bring a date, find a date, or simply groove the night away to sounds form Brazil, the Caribbean, Africa, and Central and South America.

The Ericksons @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) This late night showcase may be just the thing to round out a Valentine’s evening. The sisterly harmonies of the Ericksons can make the darkest subjects seem light. Rachel Reis opens.

Saturday, February 15

Dean Magraw & Peter Ostroushko @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm – doors @ 7:30  ($15) A Dynamic Duo if there ever was one. Magraw on guitar and Ostroushko on mandolin and fiddle will raise the roof on the small wine bar.

Unknown-1The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank @ the Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8 advance/$10 door) Teague and Ian Thomas Alexy have created a roots music project that features their distinctively MN outlook, even though their first CD was recorded in Brooklyn. They’ve been on the road and it’s good to have them back, now with a new album, Number lone Contender, recorded in the North Woods. This is part of a new Tap Room Concert Series, which tonight features Collen Myhre as an opening act,.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Nemeth is a singer and harp player who has been gaining lots of attention. His fans include RJ Mischo, Charlie Musselwhite and Junior Watson. He’s been nominated for a bunch of blues awards this year, including best Male Blues Artist, Best Soul blues Album (Soul Live), and Most Outstanding Blues Singer. Esquire magazine will be featuring a cut from his upcoming album Memphis Grease for their readers. If you missed Stevie Ray Vaughn when he played the old Union Bar, get out to hear Nemeth – he’s got the same potential for blowing you away.

Sunday, February 16
Cafe Accordion Orchestra at McNeely Conservatory, Como Park, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30 (Free) Soak in the humidity of the Conservatory and dance to the music of CAO, including French Musettes, Columbian Cumbias, and music from other exotic climes.

Eclectic Tuba @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm doors ($10) Here’s a new kind of tuba-based instrumental group, one that is psychedelic, funky, whose performance is described as “trippy lights, ripping synthesizers, funky tuba loops, latin percussion grooves, and soaring saxophone solos.” You can see a video with samples here. Opening acts are Surgery at the Hands of Machines, described as electronic instrumental Arabian Desert Pop, and Good Diction, a rhythm and blues-grass sextet!

Unknown-2Monday, February 17

Eric Bibb & Ruthie Foster @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37 – $42), 9pm ($30 – $40) What a great pairing. Two highly personable performers of folk-blues, both of whom are also great storytellers. From blues to soul to gospel, expect a spirited, joyful evening.

For a more comprehensive listing 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.

A Winter for dancing. Music: 2.20 – 2.26

February 20, 2013
Yeah, it's corny, but the message is true.

Yeah, it’s corny, but the message is true.

We’ve got more music for dancing this week, as well as a free concert from Bill Frisell, interesting roots music, and visiting artists from New Orleans and California. Get out and enjoy live music. And don’t forget to bring dancing shoes.


Thursday, February 21

Sue Oatts & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (donation) Back in 2006, vocalist Oatts released a fine CD entitled Back Home, though she was going by the name Sue Tucker at the time. She’s got a winning way with standards and lesser known tunes, and with Tanner Taylor on piano, should provide a delightful evening of song.

Friday, February 22

Bill Frisell @ Janet Wallace Auditorium, Macalester College, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free!) That’s right, the genre-crossing, inventive guitarist will be appearing at Macalester and it’s open to the public. Get there early. A parking lot is right next to the auditorium.

imagesSophia Shorai w/dVRG, Ben Kelly, + Alex Young @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm Shorai‘s being backed by Devon Gray, keyboard player for Hieruspecs, and a couple of other young musicians who will make your trip to the near NE worth your while. Of course Shorai’s honey-sweet vocals, would make it worth your while without any backing.

Friday, Saturday, February 22, 23

Estaire Godinez @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) It’s only a matter of time before some climate change storm of epic proportions is named after percussionist/vocalist Godinez.  Whether she’s singing a smoldering bossa or high-energy R&B, Ms Godinez can raise temperatures and create a whirlwind of sound. She’s recorded on over sixty albums and has held down stints with Prince, the Brothers Johnson, George Benson and Pete Escovedo.  Though this video shows her at the Dakota, you’ll have to go to Saint Paul to hear here this weekend.

Saturday, February 23

Arne Fogel, Maude Hixson, and the Rick Carlson Trio @ The Schneider Theater, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($22 Adults.$16 Students) Fred Astaire & the Songwriters. Fogel, Hixson and Carlson. More powerful than a legal team. More subtle than an accounting office. When combined with songs sung by Fred Astaire, the results will be sublime.

Sunday, February 24

Charmin MIchele w/Twin City Seven @ First Unitarian Society of Minnesota, 900 Mount Curve Ave, Minneapolis. 2-4pm (donations welcome) As part of Black History Month, the society is featuring Michele & the group highlighting the life and work of Billie Holiday. It’s nigh impossible to find a better interpreter than this group to present Ms Holiday’s work.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 20

Treehouse on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (kfai – 90.3, 106.7), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – tip jar) I’ll be subbing for Harold on the House Party this afternoon, and hosting this new trio of talented veterans. Chris Johnson is a first call bassist and vocalist for many of the blues bands in town. He’s also a first-rate whistler. Cathy Mosher sings, yodels, plays the tin whistle,  and is a caller for square and contra dances. Jim Ouska is a versatile guitarist who is equally at home in R&B, rock, folk, and jazz. He received a jazz composers grant from the Dayton Hudson Foundation in 1999, and has recorded three CDs of original music. Catch them live on KFAI and head over to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Blackberry Brandy Boys @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($6) A relatively new group featuring eight players and eight vocalists doing Cosmic Cowboy music, incorporating all kinds of music from the mid-twentieth century, and imbuing them with sometimes a pinch, and sometimes a ladle, of C&W seasoning. Think of what the Flying Burritto Brothers were doing.

Thursday, February 21

images-2Acoustic Hot Tuna @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. 7pm ($34) Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Cassady started playing together when they were teenagers, and were an integral part of Jefferson Airplane’s heyday in the late 60s and early 70s. They started Hot Tuna as a side project, releasing their first album in 1970. Twenty-five years later, they’re still at it, playing the blues they love.

Friday, February 22

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10?) When Davina sings, everybody listens, or dances, or shouts. You can’t ignore her, or the Vagabonds, and frankly, you’ll have no interest in doing so. Don’t try to cross the dance floor, you won’t make it.

Willie Walker Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 10pm ($?) Go through the closet and get out those dancing shoes, cause Willie Walker’s soulful singing will have you dancing slow, fast, and in-between on the MMC’s commodious dance floor.

Saturday, February 23

Firefly Forest @ The Beat Coffeehouse, 1414 West 28th Street, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Firefly Forest is a quartet led by keyboard player Steven Hobert. They create whimsical, and often ethereal tunes that perfectly fit their name. Other members of the band include Josh Granowski on upright bass, Nathan Burdick on guitar & keys, and Jeff Schraw on percussion. Opening act is Kalispell, a traditional group from Eau Claire that isn’t afraid to use brass or elements of electronic music in their tunes.

SlovCzech @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Hmm, here’s a group that brings you the sounds of eastern and central europe by taking traditional folk songs and reformulating them into modern high-energy melodic sounds. They play many Czech, Slovak, and gypsy flavored songs, including a few Celtic inspired tunes. Sounds like the kind of music that will have folks moving tables out of the way to dance.

images-3New Orleans Suspects @ Whiskey Junction, Minnapolis. 9pm ($20) This quintet is led by musicians who were an integral part of many bands you know and love from New Orleans. Drummer Mean Willie Green has played with the Nevilles since the 1980s; Reggie Scanlan played bass with the Radiators for thirty-three years; Jake Eckert played guitar with the Dirty Dozen; CR Gruver plays piano as inspired by James Booker and organ as inspired by Art Neville; and saxophonist Jeff Watkins led the James Brown band for a dozen years. Sounds like a good time to me.

Monday, February 25

Cactus Blossoms @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) Classic country with brotherly harmonies. All you need is saw-dust on the floor, though that generally doesn’t stop folks from waltzing or two-stepping on the Turfs dancefloor.

Tuesday, February 26

Eric Bibb & Habib Koite: Brothers in Bamako @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Bib has been to town before. He’s a fine acoustic bluesman, equal parts storyteller, singer, and fingerpicker. Koite is a superstar in Mali, and has been featured in Rolling Stone, People, the New York Times and Vanity Fair. Koite’s hypnotic guitar playing is perfectly paired with Bibb’s fingerpicking and singing. Check out a video of the two of them.

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.

Winter Music: Jan 25 – Jan 31

January 25, 2012

Back when it was cold enough for ice sculptures and even an ice castle.

It’s time for the Saint Paul Winter Carnival, featuring parades, pageants, an art show, a cat show, a beer tasting, and more. What more proof do we need that Winter doesn’t keep us from going out, especially when it’s been so mild we don’t even have ice sculptures?

For music lovers, this week holds an embarrassment of riches, From elegant jazz to elegant blues, with some joyful noise for all. We’ve got jazz with African influences, Brazilian music with jazz influences, new compositions, and traditional tunes. Music for dancing, and music for listening. These suggestions are but a few ways you can take part, one way or another.


Wednesday, Jan 25

Babatunde Lea, Adam Linz, & Zacc Harris @ Cafe Maude, 54th & Penn, Minneapolis. 7pm. Lea brings a sense of joy to his African percussion, Linz holds down the groove, and Harris supplies some tasty licks. As usual at Cafe Maude, it’s a good idea to get reservations for dinner, and tell them if you want to sit near the band.

Friday, Jan 27

Merciless Ghost @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar). More adventurous music at the Dog, from Merciless Ghost, a jazz trio dedicated to group improvisation: George Cartwright, sax; Josh Granowski, bass; and Davu Seru, drums.

Friday, Saturday, Jan 27, 28

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) I know I wrote about Nichols‘ performance of the music of Keith Jarrett a couple of weeks ago, but this time they’ll be doing his originals. And what a band. If you want to know the Young Turks of the Twin Cities music scene, these are the guys: MIke Lewis & Brandon Wozniak, saxes, James Buckley, bass, and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, Jan 28

Monk in Motian @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm. ($10) Bassist Matt Peterson will have his work cut out for him as he supports three drummers (Pete Hennig, Davu Seru, and JT Bates), two saxes (Scott Fultz, Brandon Wozniak), and two guitars (Zacc Harris, Park Evans). Inspired by drummer Paul Motian, they’re tackling the music of pianist Thelonious Monk, which is adventuresome to start with, and using a piano-less lineup to add their own doses of creativity to the mix. This is part of the Jazz @ Studio Z series. Here’s a video of an earlier version of the band.

Saturday, Sunday, Jan 28, 29

Great Guitars (Joan Griffith, Sam Miltich) w/ guest Connie Evingson @ Bloomington Center for Arts,  Bloomington. 7:30pm Saturday, 2pm Sunday ($18/$16)  Griffith is a master of Brazilian guitar styles.  Miltich is a fast rising star with an affinity for acoustic swing. They’ll be playing sambas, chorros, and other music from Brazil, with Griffith playing the mandolin and Brazilian cavaquinho as well. Throw in some tunes by Django Reinhardt and Cole Porter, an original or two, and Evingson on guest vocals and be prepared for a sublime evening of music

Monday, Jan 30

Moonlight Serenaders and Pippi Ardennia with Irv Williams on Saint Paul Live!, KBEM 88.5FM. 7pm – 8pm. The big band sound of the Serenaders at Wabasha Caves and Irv Williams delightedly playing with Pippi Ardennia at The Landmark Center. Both recorded live this past Summer and Fall.

Phil Aaron @ Jazz Central, 407 Central Av, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm. (Donation) Elegant piano playing from Aaron as the featured player this week while house pianist Tanner Taylor takes a break. The basement recording studio/rehearsal space “by cats, for cats” is always fun. It’s BYOB. You can hear some of Phil’s music here.

Tuesday, Jan 31

Brassin' at the Driftwood

Jack Brass Band @ Driftwood Char Bar, 44th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) Alway fun, this New Orleans style brass band can strut the traditional stuff, but will throw in songs by Marvin Gaye, Hugh Masakela, the Tempts, and Dizzy Gillespie. The Driftwood is a beer & wine joint, with pretty good bar food.

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

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wed, Jan 25

Nikki & The Rue-Mates @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (tip jar) I know a number of my readers are big fans of this group, and would want to know of this appearance, which is in a relatively new place for them.  A little bit of psychedelic folk, a little bit of country blues, and a whole lot of terrific playing and singing.

Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ the Eagles Club #34, 25th & 25th, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Guitarist and vocalist Joe Demko (Willie & the Bees, Bruce Henry) leads this quartet in and evening of swing, boogie-woogie, and jump blues for your listening and dancing pleasure. Other members of the band include Bruce Wintervold, vibes, Keith Boyles, bass, and Tony Gusetti, drums. Twirl, jump, and dip to your hearts delight.

Wed, Thursday, Jan 25, 26

Nellie McKay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35)  The always witty, always literate Ms McKay presents a new show, “I Want to Live” based on the story of Barbara Graham, the third woman to be executed in the gas chamber at San Quentin. Leave it to the irrepressible McKay to weave humor, pathos, and entertainment into such a story.

Friday, Jan 27

Lil’ Ed & Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) I wouldn’t be surprised if Calhoun Square begins to glow with the heat generated by this slide guitarist, who ably carries on the tradition of his uncle, JB Hutto.

Charlie Parr with The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport   A two-fer of songwriting excellence that exemplifies the roots explosion here in Minnesota. The Nephews chuggin, folk rock approach contrasts nicely with the stark acoustic blues of Charlie Parr. Plus, you’ve got some pretty good que.

Sunday, Jan 29

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm (tip jar)  It’s the last Sunday of the month, and harpmeister Hurricane Harold is gathering up a group of musical friends for an afternoon of playing. The Gang’s roster changes from time to time, but often includes folks like Papa John Kolstad, Mike Caravale, Dan Schwalbe, Good Time Willy, Steve Kaul… You get the idea.

Monday, Jan 30

Eric Bibb @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) If there is such a thing as elegant acoustic blues, then singer Bibb more than fits the bill. He’s a soulful performer and storyteller, and as a result has been nominated for a Grammy and five Blues Music awards.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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