Well, the State Fair begins tomorrow, which means that Labor Day, the unofficial end of Summer, isn’t far behind. There is much music at the Fair, and I’ll post a separate, simple listing tomorrow, but there is also plenty of great music to enjoy outside of the fair. Here are a few examples. Have a great week. Music lifts your spirit.
Wednesday, August 26
Joe Strachan @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Strachan graduated from the U o MN a couple of years ago and has become a pianist-about-town, playing with The Adam Meckler Orchestra, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Jake Baldwin’s Quintet, Charanga Tropical, and in other groups. Always inventive. Though the film quality on this video isn’t great, the sound comes through quite nicely.
Wednesday, Thursday, August 26, 27
Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Sidran manages to live in Madison and keep up an international touring schedule and regular release of CDs. Tonight and Thursday he’s celebrating the release of Blue Camus. It’s a two family celebration with Ben on keys and vocals, son Leo on drums, Ricky Peterson on organ, and Billy Peterson on bass. The show is titled Jazz + Philosophy, which isn’t unusual for Sidran, who often interjects hipster rapping into his show, whether it’s about Dylan, the first caveman discovering a beat, or how commercial radio uses music to deliver potential customers to advertisers. Here’s something from the new album.
Thursday, August 27
Melody Mendis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Detroit native has been singing jazz, R&B, pop, and more around town in a variety of cover bands like High and Mighty, and Boogie Wonderland. She recently released her second album, Love & Madness, full of twisted arrangements and dramatic, dark covers.
Bryan Nichols Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7 :30 – 9:30pm ($10) Given that saxophonist Michael Lewis is now living on the west coast, tonight’s performance is a rare opportunity to see this particular combination of players addressing the original music of pianist Nichols. With Brandon Wozniak, sax; James Buckley, bass; and JT Bates on drums.
Javi Santiago & Lucia Sarmiento @ Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 10pm ($5) Here’s a double bill of young talent. The Javi Santiago Trio includes Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Lucia Sarmieto Quintet includes Sarmiento, still a student at McNally Smith on sax; Trevor Wiest, guitar; Will Kjeer, about to set off for CalArts on piano; Ry Dill, bass; and Blake Huebel, drums. Here’s an example of Lucia’s playing.
Friday, August 28
Javi Santiago & Proper-T Present: Murkury @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Javi Santiago and his long time running mate, drummer Miguel Hurtado, team up with vocalist/pianist Taylor Johnson, aka Proper T to create Murkury a group that performs improvisational music mining jazz and blues, while bringing pop and electronic innovations to the fore as well.
Charmin Michelle & Sam Miltich @ Third Place Gallery, 3730 Chicago Ave S, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($15 Suggested Donation) Songstress Michelle and guitarist Miltich address the Ella Fitzgerald/Joe Pass connection in this tribute to both of them.
Patty & The Buttons @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8:30pm – 11:30pm ($10) Some button accordion-driven swing from a group most often found at the Aster on Sunday mornings. The way the Vieux is set up, you’ll only have to shuffle a couple of tables aside to create a bit of a dance floor.
No Room for Squares @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) A group of veteran players get together to enjoy themselves playing originals and jazz standards. Jon Pemberton, trumpet; Jimmie Wallace, sax; Mikkel Romstad, keys; Adam Tucker, bass; and Bill Steiger, drums.
Saturday, August 29
Saturday Night Jazz @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. At 7pm, the U of M Combo opens, featuring current and former students: Ryan Christianson, Joe Strachan, Matt McIntyre, and Andres Crovetti, followed at 8:30pm by The Dean Sorenson Sextet CD Release party: Dean on trombone; Steve Kennym, flumpet; Dave Milne, sax; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Hey, drums.
Maurice Jacox Trio @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) I would normally list Jacox under Blues and Roots, but the versatile singer’s appearance tonight at Crooners is more likely to be filled with Nat Cole and jazz-inspired acoustic Motown than full-blown R&B. Even in a trio format, Jacox’s balladry is likely to coax a few couples onto the dance floor.
Sunday, August 30
Tootie Heath Trio, w/Ethan Iverson & Ben Street @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($22) Talk about an entertainment deal. The 79 year old Heath has been an active participant in the nation’s jazz scene since the 50s. The younger brother of Jimmy on sax and Percy on bass, Heath continues to be a force in jazz. His first recording was with John Coltrane in 1957, and his subsequent work encompassed most all of jazz royalty, such as The Modern Jazz Quartet, JJ Johnson, The Jazztet, Bobby Timmons, Thelonious Monk, and dozens of other artists. Now he’s teamed up with pianist Ethan Iverson, of the Bad Plus, and bassist Ben Street, who spent the 90s exploring free jazz, for three albums, the latest of which is Philadelphia, named for Heath’s home town. Here is the trio at theChicago Jazz Festival.
Monday, August 31
Terrence Blanchard E Collective @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) Trumpeter Blanchard has appeared a leader or co-leader on over 30 albums, including soundtracks for Spike Lee and his moving, post-Katrina masterpiece A Tale of God’s Will. He and his band are now receiving much praise from the likes of both Downbeat and Jazz Times for Breathless, his latest album. It’s an electrified fusion of R&B and fusion-influenced jazz. It’s has slow jams, deep grooves, a hip-hop/jazz fusion of Les McCann’s “Compared to What,” and a reworking of Hank Williams’ “I Aint Got Nothing But Time.”
James Buckley Trio + One @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Bassist James Buckley and his long-standing trio including Bryan Nichols, keys; and JT Bates, drums, are given the chance to provide new takes on their repertoire with the addition of Jacob Hanson on guitar. Hanson has long been a fixture in many bands around town, providing licks that are twangy, reverb-laden, and imaginative.
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 Police, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, August 26
John Till on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) Whether he’s playing bottleneck slide, banjo, or acoustic guitar, Till elivers country blues from the Great Plains to the Delta, with side trips to Appalachia and Chicago. Listen in and head to the 331 afterwards.
Gabby Z @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Gabby Z is a sixteen year old singer/songwriter who is about to release her debut album. Her soulful singing reveals influences of Joss Stone, Sara Bareilles, and Amos Lee.
Mother Banjo @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 8pm ($5) Get yourself some bluegrassy gospel and poetic lyrics as Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo brings her full band to the underground confines of the Vieux Carre.
Thursday, August 27
Flamin’ Ohs & The War Poets @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The Ohs had a strong following back in the day, and can still deliver their smart pop/punk/new wave sounds with vengeance. Openers The War Poets are a protest band for this generation, writing about homelessness, poverty, and other social issues of the day. Music will be followed by a screening of Dispatched, a comedy action thriller presented by the Twin Cities Film Festival. Here are the Ohs doing a cover of the Rolling Stones.
Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Here’s a double bill of Texas singer/songwriters with a punch to their music. Alejandro Escovedo left Texas for California in the 70s and played guitar with the Nuns and the punk-meets-country Rank & File. After returning to Texas, Escovedo began a steady but slow rise to prominence, working with producers like Chris Stamey and John Cale, and collaborating with Chuck Prophet. Nowadays, Escovedo says he just wants to write “cool pop rock songs.” Ely is a rockin’ troubadour, who has traveled the country singing about his travels in honky tonks, hook joints, and concert halls. Bruce Springsteen, Raul Malo, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore (with whom he worked in the Flatlanders) have all contributed vocals to his albums. Here’ Ely at work.
Friday, August 28
Willie Walker and the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Willie’s latest CD, If Nothing Ever Changes, was produced by bluesman/slyman Rick Estrin, of the Night Cats, and it’s terrific. Walker is still a soul master, able to evoke emotion with the slightest change in his gravely voice. He’s brought a good crowd to the Fridley lounge in the past and tonight should be no different. Here he is on a recent tour of South America.
Hipshaker 13th Anniversary @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out the talcum powder and your best dancing shoes. And get there early to claim a spot to rest and have a drink every once in a while. Brian, Greg, and George will be pulling out the best of their rare 45s tonight.
Saturday, August 29
Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($8) Jimmi & the Band of Souls use mandolins and banjos, as well as the usual guitars, slide guitars, and rhythm section found in a blues band. As a result, they have a unique sound which is strengthened by their winning blend of blues, R&B, and roots music. Here they are with a classic Memphis Minnie tune.
Sunday, August 30
RAMM Band @ Gasthaus Bavarian Hunter, Stillwater. 3 – 6pm (No Cover) Guitarist Paul Mayasich together with ace time-keepers John Iden, bass; and Hye Pockets, drums, deliver such blues-based favorites, including Motown, funk, R&B, and even some Rock n’ Roll and Americana. You get to hang out and avail yourself of the Hunter’s favorites, like goulash, all manner of sausages, spatzle, burgers, and more. Since this is an outdoor gig, all bets are off if the weather doesn’t permit.
Charlie Parr & Dave Moore @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This great two-fer is part of the Eclectic Electric series, and features two of Red House Records’ premiere artists in an intimate setting. Parr of course, is the Duluth bluesman who has captured the imagination of both young and old with his Duluth-meets-the Delta acoustic blues. Moore is the somewhat reclusive singer/songwriter from Iowa City who used to play with Greg Brown and has become a stellar writer and performer in his own right. You might want to get advance tickets for this one, since the Cabaret is a bit small. Here’s Moore at work.
Tuesday, September 1
Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Father Hennepin Bluff Park, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) The sad sounds of Doug Otto’s expressive voice backed by the rootsy/acoustic sounds of the Getaways will undoubtedly feel just right in an outdoor setting.
Halley DeVestern Band @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:00pm (No Cover) This five-piece from New York City delivers some rock/funk/blues with verve. Leader/vocalst DeVestern has a big voice, well supported by band members who’ve been members of Big Brother and the Holding Company, the Zen Tricksters, and the bands of Roger Waters and Shawn Mullins. Refriogerager opens at 9pmn, followed by DeVestern and company at 10:30pm.
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.