Jazz, Roots, and More: 2.24 – 3.1

February 24, 2016

I’m off this week, and so there aren’t as many links or videos as usual. I do have links for a couple of videos, however. Once again, we have a virtual cornucopia of talent playing in the Twin Cities. There should be something here you might find interesting, at the least. Get out. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 24

Casey O’Brien Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Bassist O’Brien has been on over 60 recordings, and has performed in countries around the world. Tonight he’s joined by Ted Godbout on piano, and Peter Hennig on drums to perform O’Brien’s original music.

Fuzzy Math @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House. No wonder City Pages called them a jazz band for people who don’t like jazz.

Thursday, February 25

Bill Evans and Tony Bennett: 40 years Later @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) After doing the music of Chet Baker last year, Larry McDonough and his group are coming back to Jazz Central to revisit the songs of Bill Evans and Tony Bennett. Though McDonough, who will be playing piano as well as singing, will start off each song as Evans and Bennett did, he promises that where the songs go is not planned, so this is not so much a tribute as an homage. The group will also do songs recorded separately by Evans and Bennett.  He’ll be joined by Richard Terrill, sax; Greg Stinson, bass; Dean White Drums; and guest Rosie McDonough on African Drum.

Rez Abassi with Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28) You may have seen Brit Robson’s large piece in the Sunday Star Tribune on this Jazz Supergroup, which also includes Johannes Weidenmueiller, bass; Dan Weiss, drums; and Elizabeth Means, cello. Guitarist Abassi is Pakistan-born, with pianist Iyer and saxophonist Mahanthappa have Indian roots. Abassi has composed the music for the group, which “walks the line between the mathematic precision and discipline of South Asian music and the more freewheeling creativity of jazz,” as Robson put it. As an added attraction, Mahanthappa’s Indo-Pak Coalition will perform a short opening set.

Atrium Jazz Ensemble with Bryan Nichols @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Actually, this is a variation of the AJE – it’s the Idiosyncrats, a group of strong regional players – with Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Jeff Bailey, bass; and JT Bates, drums; led by pianist Bryan Nichols. They’ll be doing music that ranges from Charlie Parker and Bix Beiderbecke to Ornette Coleman.

Friday, February 26

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features a band that is so new it doesn’t have a formal name. It’s the New and Still Unnamed Davu Seru 4-Tet, with Pat O’Keefe, on clarinets; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; and Seru on drums and percussion. There are essentially four generations of musicians in this band, all of whom can swing, but also embrace adventurous music.

Bria Skonberg with the Augsburg College Jazz Ensemble @ Foss Center, Augsburg College, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Skonberg is a Canadian-born trumpet player, vocalist, and composer who moved to New York City in 2010. She’s received a number of awards, and has appeared at festival in North America, Europe, and China, playing traditional, hot jazz.

Emily Jane Davis Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) Davis is a vocalist who began performing in 2012, often in duos with guitarist Robert Bell. She also sits in with his Twin Cities Hot Club, and has an affinity for Swing, Bossa Nova, and the Great American Songbook.

Saturday, February 27

3rd Annual Winter Jazz Fest @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 4pm – 9pm ($15) Congratulations to both Jazz at Studio Z celebrating it’s 3rd Annual Winter Jazz Fest, and to  Shifting Paradigm Records, which is celebrating a 2nd Anniversary. Together, they’re providing a value packed show. Five acts for $15, and what great acts: Dean Magraw’s Red Planet, Bryan Nichols Solo, The Adam Meckler Quintet, JT Bates Solo, and Dean Granros’ Tall Tales. All of them have recordings on Shifting Paradigm Records, and which is also celebrating a 3rd Anniversary.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening act is Falls Five, with Mitch Rand, saxophones; Ben Coleman, trombone; Sam Mathias, guitar and piano; Tessa Bloch, electric bass; and Derek Westholm, drums. At 8:30, it’s time for Source Code, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Chris Thomson, sax; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Ron Evaniuk, bass.

Monday, February 29

Rick Carlson with Dennis Spears @ The Dunsmore Room,  Crooner’s, Fridley. 7pm ($ 25 Minimum) Pianist Rick Carlson in a Basie acolyte who is also a very good accompanist, which is great because tonight he’ll be accompanying the great vocalist Dennis Spears, who first came to prominence in town with Moore by Four. Whether Spears is channeling Nat King Cole, singing jazz standards, or singing something from the Great American Soul Book, Carlson will have the right touch.

Geoff LeCrone @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Guitarist LeCrone regularly plays with the Acme Jazz Company, the Andrew Walesch Big Band, the Yohannes Tona Band, and in theater productions around town. Tonight he’ll be joined by saxophonist Bob Parsons.

Tuesday, March 1

Tommy O’Donnell Tribute to Erroll Garner @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooner’s, Fridley. 7pm ($15 or $20 Minimum) Pianist O’Donnell has been a Twin Cities Jazz fixture since the 50s. Tonight, he’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums; to play the music of Erroll Garner in the gorgeous and quiet listening room at Crooners.

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, February 24

Andy Cohen & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm 331 Club (Tip Jar) Piedmont and Country blues from a virtuoso fingerpicking guitarist. Cohen is enamored of folks like Rev. Gary Davis, Skip James, Big Bill Broonzy, and more. He’s also a folklorist and funny storyteller.

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $40) If you’ve ever wondered about slack key music – that distinctive Hawaiian style of open tunings on guitar – now it the time to sate your curiosity. Three master musicians will take the stage tonight: Four-time Grammy winner George Kahumoku Jr.; Ledwar Kaapana, a National Heritage Fellow; and the award-winning Jeff Peterson. Wear a brightly colored shirt, order a rum drink, and relax.

Bonearama @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($13) As the name implies, this is a powerhouse trombone band. Bonerama is  based out of New Orleans, and play the brass band, New Orleans Jazz, funk, and R&B associated with The Big Easy. Opening are special guests The Cellar Kings and The Jack Brass Band

Thursday, February 25

George Harrison Birthday Party w/Joey Molland @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $50, $100) Molland is the sole survivor of the original Badfinger, the Beatles-discoverd band that appeared on Apple Records. He played on two George Harrison albums and with John Lennon on Imagine. Though this is a birthday tribute for Harrison, all proceeds will be going to support the Lowertown Blues Festival.

Friday, February 26

Winter Show of the Skeleton Crew Collective @ The Black Forest Inn, 26th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm (Suggested Donation $10 – $20) The Skeleton Crew is collective is a mixed chamber ensemble with a of creating an open-door family friendly environment to share and expose inventive music of the eclectic minimalist and post-minimalist composers of our time. They’ll be performing In C by Terry Riley as well as Demolition Dreaming by John Akre and selections from Seven Secrets of Snow by Paul FonFara. There will be some visuals, a photoplay, and special guests.

Saturday, February 27

Nikki Roux and Rich Rue@ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) You don’t have to pay a cover to hear the talented Nikki & Rich play blues, folk rock, and some Americana, though you’d certainly be tempted to order some of the New Orleans inspired food from the Vieux’s kitchen.

Hannah von der Hoff & the Dangertones @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ms von der Hoff has a soulful, often sensuous voice, making her equally adept at covers and originals. She’s backed by the 7-piece Dangertones, who give her a solid foundation.

Sunday, February 28

The Fattenin’ Frogs @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm. (Tip Jar) While away a late Sunday afternoon with some rockin’ Americana from the Frogs. They apply lots of energy to songs originally done in the 30s, and add some occasional electricity to their instruments.

Monday, Tuesday, February 29, March 1

Rickie Lee Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $60) She won two Grammys after hitting the pop charts with Chuck E’s in Love back in the late 70s. She also appeared on the cover of Rolling Stone twice in two years. Jones continues to surprise – something she’s done throughout her career – both as a songwriter and a vocalist.

Tuesday, March 1

Carrie Rodriguez @ Cedar Cultural Center, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 advance, $20 door) This singer/songwriter/fiddler from Austin, Texas has a contemporary spin on Tex Mex music. She’s recorded with Chip Taylor (composer of Wild Thing and Angel in the Morning), and our own Ben Kyle, and has toured and/or collaborated with the likes of Bill Frisell, Lucinda Williams, John Prine, and Rickie Lee Jones, among others. Rodriguez is currently touring to promote her latest album, Give me All You’ve Got, recorded with her own band. Opening are the Roe Family Singers.

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


Mid-December Music: 12.9 – 12.15

December 9, 2015
Drink to the reunion of Rio Nido

Here’s to the reunion of Rio Nido!

Hard to believe we’re approaching the middle of December and we haven’t been hit with either a major snowstorm or temps below 20 degrees. Not to complain, however, since such weather makes it easier to get out and about – we don’t need to plan for an extra 20 minutes just to get properly dressed. At any rate, we have some great music in store for this week, including a long awaited reunion of Rio Nido, a couple of outstanding visiting artists, and some more holiday celebrations. It’s all good. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 9

Gary LaRue Quartet @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) LaRue and his Rat Pack Band (a trio) will perform songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and others of that era and time. Throw in the layout and atmosphere of Mancini’s bar, and it shouldn’t be hard to feel transported to a lounge in on the Jersey Turnpike during the 60s.

Framework @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; are three veteran musicians with a vast wealth of experience between them. They mesh well as a unit, to create swirling sounds that range from Americana-like swing to aural soundscapes.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 9, 10

Ramsey Lewis: The Sound of Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50), 9pm ($30, $40) With over 80 albums and three Grammys  to his credit, pianist/composer Lewis knows how to connect with an audience. He’ll be applying his sprightly, swinging style to tunes of the season for this appearance.

Thursday, December 10

Vicky Mountain Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Mountain has a fairly extensive performing resume that includes touring South America with a show band many years ago. Nowadays, she’s a vocal teacher at MacPhail Center for Music and occasionally gets lets her talent shine on stage, where she sings originals as well as her own arrangements of hip pop tunes and standards. Tonight she’s accompanied by Chris Lomheim, piano; and Jim Chenoweth, bass. Here’s a video of her singing at a house concert.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler brings his 16 piece big band to the basement boîte. His compositions and arrangements take full advantage of the colors and palettes of the group’s instruments, as you can see and hear in this video.

Friday, December 11

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Perhaps you got to see the article about this group in Sunday’s Star Tribune. It’s been 35 years since they performed together at a commercial venue, and many folks are eagerly awaiting the return of this swinging trio. Back then, their tight harmonies on tunes from the thirties and forties provided a refreshing break from the Blues, Punk, R&B, and cover bands that were sprouting all over the Twin Cities. Here’s an example of why they had such great appeal.

Bill Simenson Quintet @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar)  Simenson, on trumpet, leads a big band in town. He’ll be joined by a talented mix of the areas best:  Nathan Hanson, sax; David Martin, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums. Preceded at 7pm by the Mac Wilms Quartet, a group of secondary students appearing as part of the monthly JazzInk Youth Showcase.

Saturday,December 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band: Frank Sinatra Centennial @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Lines were out the door last time Walesch presented his Frank Sinatra show at Crooners. Since today is the Centennial anniversary of Sinatra’s birth, I suspect the demand will be even greater, so be forewarned if you want a seat.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kenny continues to find both upcoming and veteran bands to play each Saturday night. Opening set by the Cadenza All Stars. At 8:30 it’s the King/Fletcher/Woods CD Release, with Jeff King, saxes; Charles Fletcher, bass; and Eron Woods, drums.

Peter Kogan Quartet @Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The tympanist from the Minnesota Orchestra takes out a smaller set of drums and is joined by Brian Grivna, sax and woodwinds; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass; to play songs from both Cornucopia and his latest, Some Monsterful Wonderthing. If you scroll down past this post, you’ll find a short review of the new album. Here’s one track from the album.

Sunday, December 13

Got any chips?

Got any chips?

Fuzzy Math CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Mark Vandermyde, keys; Eric Graham, bass; Andrew Schwandt, sax; and Haralds Bondaris, drums; celebrate the release of their second album, Pass the Guacamole. Their first, released in 2012, resulted in the band being named, “best jazz band for people who don’t like jazz,” or something to that effect.

Monday, December 14

George Cartwright’s PAL @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Drummer JT Bates has been exploring the use of electronics as part of his performing, which may be one of the reasons saxophonist George Cartwright, who is quite adventurous himself, tapped him for this group. They’ll be joined by Andrew Broder, guitar; and Josh Granowski, bass; for an evening of thrilling music.

Monday, Tuesday, December 14, 15

New York Voices @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) This vocal quartet  as been around for about 27 years now, and, with close harmonies and tight arrangements, seamlessly blend jazz, R&B, Brazilian, and classical sounds into their repertoire.  Check out this acapella version of a Beatle’s song.

Tuesday, December 15

Katia’s Holiday Special @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Here’s a chance to get some holiday cheer without attending a large hall. Katia Cardenas has the pipes to get over an R&B tune, but also has the instincts and subtlety to handle jazz standards. Tonight she’ll tackle some seasonal favorites as well.

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, December 9

The RAMM Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Twin Cities guitar hero Paul Mayasich leads this trio (Hye Pockets, drums; & John Iden, bass) through a program of R&B, Funk, and rock n’ roll.

Thursday, December 10

Mikkel Beckmen with Pop Wagner @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Wind down from work and prepare for the weekend with Beckmen’s weekly residency, this week featuring the esteemed Pop Wagne  on vocals, guitar, fiddle, and perhaps a lasso trick or two. Whether he’s singing cowboy songs, forgotten tin pan alley gems of the 30s and 40s, or telling stories, Wagner will set your toes to tapping and tickle a funny bone or two.

Ms Quiroz, leader of Samba Meu, and shaker of Shakeres

Ms Quiroz, leader of Samba Meu, and shaker of Shakeres

Samba Meu and Snap Frost! @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Acoustic Brazilian roots and pop music, performed by Karen Quiroz, vocals; David Martin, guitar; Tim O’Keefe, percussion, and special guest Pat O’Keefe, clarinet. There will be an intermission set by SnapFrost!, the sisterhood of the shakere, the dried gourd with beads that helps create unrelenting rhythms.

Friday, December 11

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue Holiday Part @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Harold Tremblay’s harp playing is so sharp he has no problem recruiting players for his All Star Blues Revue. Tonight he’ll be joined by Keith Boyles, bass; Bruce McCabe, piano; Doug Otto and Mark “Good Time Willy” Williams, gutars; and Allen “Captain” Kirk on drums. Besides celebrating the holidays, this show will be recorded for future release, so a noisy crowd is a welcome crowd. Here’s Harold with another version of the All-Stars.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Rockabilly, roots, and a bit of Western sound from a trio that’s been around in various groupings for a long, long time. Check out this example of their work.

Saturday, December 12

The Fattenin’ Frogs @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This sextet performs roots music – the stuff you would hear in juke joints, tent revivals, and medicine shows of years past years, upping the energy by using electrified instruments. The Bayport will soon be ending its presentation of music, so here’s one of your last chances to chow down on some mighty fine ‘Q while listening to live music.

JT at work

JT at work

JT Bates’ Grain Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15) The Jazz at Studio Z Series has started up once again. Since tonight’s group is an organ trio playing the genre’s hits from the 60s, I thought to put it under blues and roots. Tonight, drummer JT Bates  Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ; to the stately listening room. As usual, there’s a workshop at 6pm, followed by the group’s performance at 7pm.

Sunday, December 13

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm (No Cover) Charanga Tropical was the first American band to play at the Danzon Festival in Havana, held biannually in June, and also recorded in the fames EGREM studios while there. Look for the resulting album in early 2016. In the meantime, hear them live this afternoon.

Phil Heywood @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) With its wooden chairs and tables, The Dubliner is about a comfy a neighborhood bar as you can find, even if it is located along the Green Line LRT on University Avenue. It’s a perfect place to listen to the relaxed, warm vocals and mighty fine finger-picking of guitarist Heywood.

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($40) Rollicking swamp pop, Texas blues, and second line rhythms from the always entertaining Ms Ball  Whether singing about doomed relationships, life on the Mississippi, or backyard barbecues, Ms Ball delivers party music, plain and simple. While on her website, check out Marcia’s recipe for emergency chicken gumbo.

Monday, December 14

Doug Otto & Friends, featuring Nikki Roux and Rich Rue @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Admittedly, these are two of my favorite roots acts. Otto is an often mournful, evocative singer, while Nikki’s vocals are sprightly. All three are strong guitar players.

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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