Close to Home: 1.31-2.6

January 31, 2018

“Prince Night” on Nicollet Mall. Photo by Star Tribune.

Well the months of anticipation are behind us and we get to enjoy (or survive) the Super Bowl and its crowds, some of which can be seen in the photo from the Star Tribune on the right. While there are lots of music events featuring visiting and resident artists around town, which you can learn about here, the abundance of musical talent in our area can also be enjoyed in other, less crowded locations. Whether you’re a fan of the event, or to paraphrase former Mpls Mayor RT Rybeck, you feel like a bartender at the wedding of your ex who dumped you, you can still have your spirits lifted by enjoying live music from musicians who are performing close to home.



Wednesday, Jan 31

Fake Accent @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid StudentI D) Erik Fratzke, guitar; Nathan Hanson, sax; Cooper Doten, bass; Cory Healey, drums. Given that Wednesdays at Jazz Central are given over to experimental music, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a new group. Fratzke plays bass with Happy Apple, as well as guitar in a heavy metal band, and for other jazz projects. Hanson is known for playing “outside” but has also appeared ion the horn section of bigger bands. Healy has his Beautiful Sunshine Band, and can be found as a sideman in numerous gigs. Doten is an unknown for me. Should be an interesting evening.

Thursday, Feb 1

Arne Fogel & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Here’s a group and vocalist that swings with the ease of a kid on a swing set and is as dependable as Big Ben.

Also: Davu Seru, Mankwe Ndosi, & Douglas Ewart @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul.9pm ($5)

Friday, Feb 2

Jake Baldwin Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Talented trumpeter Jake Baldwin seems to be playing everywhere these days, as a sideman and leading various groups, from a trio at the Lexington, to this quintet, which includes: Nelson Deveraux, sax; Joe Strachan, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here’s Baldwin at the 2013 National Trumpet Competition, where he took 2nd place in the jazz solos division.

Bottomless Pit @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  8pm ($10) What do you get when you bring four excellent veteran musicians together? Well, if that quartet includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, base, and the amazing Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums, you get a group with a virtuosic level of improvisation, making for an inspired evening of music.

Framework @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($10) Guitarist Chris Olsen, bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Jay Epstein were favorites at the old Artist’s Quarter, and no wonder, considering the high level of their playing.

Saturday, Feb 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Another in a long line of double bills that surprise and delight, starting at 7pm with the Steve Kenny Quartet: Kenny, trumpet; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Then, at 8:30pm it’s the chamber jazz of Lulu’s Playground: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; Cory Grossman, cello; and Ben Abrahamson, guitar. Here they arefron a few years ago.

Southside Aces, feat Butch Thompson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Toe-tapping traditional New Orleans jazz of the Aces, augmented by the piano and clarinet of Butch Thompson.

Also: Pete Whitman Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (TipJar)

Monday, Feb 5

Chris Bates’ Red5  @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Bassist Bates gathers up some musical compatriots to play his original compositions. The include: JT Bates ,drums and cymbals; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, saxophone; Chris Thomson, saxophone; Jake Baldwin,  trumpet; and JC Sanford, trombone.

Tuesday, Feb 6

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Check out the Amsterdam’s bar and Dutch-inspired food, while listening to accessible jazz, featuring original compositions and arrangements from: Mark Vandermyde (composer / keys), Andrew Schwandt (sax), Haralds Bondaris (drums), Matt Peterson / Eric Graham (bass).

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, Jan 31

Boxstore Bird on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana, bluegrass, and storytelling from veteran Americana artist Drew Peterson, guitar and songs; and Mandy Fassett, fiddle, cello, and mandolin.

Willie Murphy’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase w/Rena Haus @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10) Multi-instrumentalist and composer/vocalist Willie Murphy has moved his Singer/Songwriter series to the initimate confines of the Dunsmore Room, bringing in Rena Haus for the series debut in the listening room. Haus is a singer/songwriter with a strong bent for the blues, who writes songs that are funny, political (sometimes both), sensitive, and earthy. Here’s Rena with her trio.

Thursday, Feb 1

Nooky Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($15, $20, $25) If you can make it through the crowds, the swat teams, and the armored Humvees, you will be rewarded for your efforts with some modern R&B (with jazz influences) by this band which is making a name for itself throughout the Midwest,.

Javier Matos @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. (No Cover) If you haven’t been to the Basement Bar yet, tonight is a good time, as you’ll get to hear guitarist/vocalist Matos, an outstanding guitar-slinger who can swing the blues and plays searing slide guitar.

Also: The Surfer Bowl w/The Surf Riders @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis.9pm (No Cover) Get your fill of twang, reverb, and echo.

Friday, Feb 2

Pat Donahue & Richard Kriehn @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($20) Even if you don’t live in the western suburbs, it’s easily worth the drive to hear ace fingerpicker Donahue with his Prairie Home Companion band-mate, mandolinist Richard Kriehn in this very small, 40 seat venue.

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Stepping out from the dark stage of Shaw’s on Thursday nights, the Twin cities’ best blues band will light up the stage for the Friday night crowd in the lounge at Crooners.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 2, 3

26th Annual Songs of Freedom @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($18 Advance, $25 Door) The Songs of Bob Marley, with The International Reggae All Stars, with special guest Innocent. Here they are at the 2011 celebration.

Saturday, Feb 3

Maurice Jacox Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. (No Cover) Somewhat on the downton edge of Superbowl Madness, where there might, just might be some on-street parking, the Normandy Kitchen will provide respite in the form of Maurice Jacox, vocals, sax, & flute, Thomas West, keys; and in-demand drummer Rob Stupka. Unfortunately, free parking in the Normandale’s lot will not be available, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the soulful sounds of Jacox and his band-mates.

Bill Patten Trio @ Dusty’s, Minneapolis. 9:45pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzed-up rock’ roll versions of the Great American Songbook as well as originals.

Sunday, Feb 4

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3-5pm (Tip Jar) Before sitting down to see the big game, check out msongs from the Harry Smith Anthology of Music, as performed by Corpse Reviver: Mikkel Beckman, percussion, Jillian Rae, fiddle and vocals; and Adam Kiesling, guitar, banjo, and vocals.

Dan Chouinard w/Maria Jette @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($10, $15) Superbowl Sunday is often a good day for shopping if you aren’t a football fan, since Target and other big box stores are spookily empty during the game. If you don’t want to go shopping, however, you can catch pianist Dan Chouinard and vocalist Maria Jette as they perform songs written and/or performed by artists who have birthdays this month.

Also: The Combo @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Stop by after the game to celebrate, commiserate, or to simply enjoy great dance music.

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

Lotsa Resident and Two Visiting Musicians: 1/10 – 1.16

January 10, 2018

If they can make it to a gig, so can you

Well, it’s another January week with few visiting artists, but that’s no problem for music lovers, as we have a deep pool of talent in the Twin Cities, no matter what the genre. We do have two visiting musicians in the Blues, Roots, and Other category, including a singer from Hawaii, and a bluesman from Texas. Whatever your taste, bundle up and get out to hear some wonderful music, whether it’s home-grown or from afar. Music lifts your Spirit.

Wednesday, January 10
BZ3 Organ Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6pm – 9pm  (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) If you’re looking for greasy soul jazz that keeps your feet tapping while improvising on jazz and soul tunes, this early evening show is the place to be as Brian Zimniak, Hammond B3; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington, drums will deliver the goods.
Framework @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentID) It’s the 20th Anniversary for this band: Chris Olsen, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Expect tight, interactive, and explosive musical conversations with originals and some surprising covers.

Thursday, January 11
Mary Louise Knutson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) I probably mention Ms Knutson quite a bit, but she’s such a great pianist, with national airplay, and I feel more folks should know about her. After all, she’s the first call pianist for Doc Severensen when he tours the Midwest, and often accompanies Connie Evingson, among other side(wo)man gigs. She’ll be joined by what might be the Midwest’s premier rhythm section: Gordy Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums. 

Aja Parham Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentID) Vocalist Aja Parham is a Twin Cities native who’s performed with the Minnesota Opera, Penumbra Theater, and the Ordway, and is equally adept at jazz R&B and Motown. She’ll be joined by Ben Boussieres, guitar; Steven Hobart, piano; and Kenneth Garner, bass.
Andrew Walesch Group @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Walesch has been steadily increasing both his fan base and his reputation as pianist, vocalist and band leader. Tonight he leads a band of highly respected band talented musicians from a slightly older musical generation: Brandon Wozniak, sax; James Buckley, bass; & Dave King, drums. This is a show worthy of staying up late.
Friday, January 12
Joel Shapira Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentID) Guitarist Shapira is joined by Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Smalenberger, drums – all talented veterans who are sure to bring excitement and imagination to the basement room. Here’s a track from the group’s album.

Saturday, January 13
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: No Room for Squares, with James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax;; Mikkel Romstad, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Bill Stieger, drums. 8:30pm: King-Cartwright-Granowski, with Dave King, drums; George Cartwright, saxophones; Josh Granowski, bass.
Saturday, Sunday, January 13, 14
Bryan Nichols & Brandon Wozniak Live Recording @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm Saturday, 7:30pmn Sunday ($10, $12) Two of the Twin Cities adventurous and imaginative musicians – Bryan Nichols, piano; and Brian Wozniak, sax – come together to record an album, and you can be part of the recording. Her is Nichols in a trio setting.

Monday, January 15
Charlie Lincoln @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentID) Another concert from talented college students home on vacation. This is the last appearance for  bassist Lincoln, who has been busy as a member and leader of a number of groups during this holiday season. Tonight he leads a completely new aggregation, with Zosha Warpeha, violin/vocals; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Lincoln’s Berklee School of Music classmates from out of town, Dan Elbert, alto; and Aksel Coe, drums.
Also: The Atlantis Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10)
Tuesday, January 16
Silverback Trio @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Palmer’s is having Tuesday night jazz featuring young bands. The Silverback Tio is David Hirsch, keyboards, electronics, & sax; Brent Wallace, bass; and Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. Their original songs fuse atmospheric electronics with high energy melodies to create 21st Century jazz.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 16, 17
Pat Donahue Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) the Grammy-winning champion finger-picker and alum of Prairie Home Companion brings Gary Raynor, another alum of PHC on bass, and Peter Johnson who toured with Manhattan Transfer for four years on drums, and is a percussionist for the Minnesota Sinfonia, to the Dunsmore Room for two nights. Here’s Donahue in a solo setting.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, January 10
Mother Banjo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Award-winning Bluegrassy and old-timey takes on gospel music, from Ellen Stanley & band. Listen in, and head over to th 331 if you like what you hear.

Eric Clapton: Life in Twelve Bars @ The Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) The film traces his career through The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and his solo years, telling the stories behind his hits  through archival footage and interviews with his grandmother, former wife Patti Boyd, George Harrison, and others. Since this is a small venue, its’ recommended to make reservations ahead of time.
Also: Wee Willie Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) DownBeat just published a great profile of Walker in its latest issue.
Hula Peppers w/Ukelelezaza @ Schooners Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) See last weeks entries for Ukelelezaza with the Cafe Accordion Orchestra.
Thursday, January 11
Craig Clark Band @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Tip Jar) Clark has added his searing guitar to performances with Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Mississippi Mass Choir, James Van Zandt, Big John Dickerson, and more recently, the Dee Miller Band.

Also: The Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar)
 Joyann Parker Duo @ The Green Lantern, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar)
Friday, January 12
Hamilton Loomis CD Release @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) At sixteen, guitar slinger Loomis met Bo Diddley, who invited him on stage a became his mentor. Loomis learned much from Diddley, and has developed a fine reputation as a blues guitarist. Tonight the Texas native is appearing as part of his tour celebrating his latest, stripped-down CD, Basics, which is his most personal and emotional album to date.

Happy Birthday Janis @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) A celebration of the music of Janis Joplin, featuring full, front-to-back performances of the albums I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama! and Pearl, plus other Janis gems. With guests Kind Country.
Also: Boom Boom Stevie B & The Knockouts @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. (9pm (Tip Jar)
Saturday, January 13
Astronomique @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free?) This is part of the Conservatory’s Music Under Glass series, taking part in the humid oasis of the conservatory. Astronomique is described as a quartet producing infectious electronic dance beats using psychedelic synths, fuzzed out guitars, and hypnotic vocals.
Larry Long’s American Roots Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) Singer/Songwriter/Troubador Larry Long once again brings a group of artists together to share a stage and each other’s songs. Tonight he has HALEY (Haley Bonar), amazing guitarist Cory Wong, who has been playing and touring nationally and internationally with Vulpeck, as well as his bandmate, bassist/vocalist Antewan Stanley, the Hornheads of Prince fame, and a backing band consisting of Petar Janic, drums; Kevin Gastonguay, keys; and Kevin Macintire, bass – members of Wong’s Green Screen band, and the perennial sideman for the Revue, Joe Savage.
The Badinovs CD Release Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) It’s a bit of a throwback night celebrating the rock n’ roll of the 80s, and bringing it into this century. The Badinovs were known as Smart Alex in a previous incarnation, producing one 45 that sells for ridiculous amounts of money on the internet, but now are celebrating a new round of rock n’ roll in their new CD The Big Picture. They’re proud rock n’ rollers who wear their pop rock influences with pride, and will perform a short set as Smart Alex. They are joined by Johnny Rey & the Reaction and Loons in the Attic. Here’s a cut from the new album.

Also: St. Dominic’s Trio @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Original songs from a subset of the Belfast Cowboys.
Monday, January 15
Kaumakaiwa Kanaka’ole W/Shawn Pimental @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) With five Hawaiian Grammys to her name, Kanaka’ole creates songs that are inspired by Hawaiian chant traditions. She has been called the voice of Hawaii’s new generation. Jon Pareles, of the NY Times, wrote, “[She] vaulted through various registers and timbres, from bass to witchy contralto rasp to sweet soprano ([her] “skinny girl’ voice,”[she] said) a traditionalist tour de force.” She’ll be backed by guitarist Shawn Pimental.

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

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