Close to Home, Part 2: 2.7 – 2.13

February 7, 2018

Once again, we are looking at mostly area artists for inspiration and lifting our spirits this week, though we have a few visitors in the Blues, Roots, & Other category. It’s good stuff, and worth your efforts to get out and hear. And remember, these are just my ideas about what’s out there. We have a plethora of talent in almost every artistic endeavor you can name. So.. with Mardis Gras approaching, get out and let music lift your Spirit!

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 7

Kevin Gastonguay, Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Gastonguay – No Cover), 8pm (Laurie – $6) Start the evening off with pianist Kevin Gastonguay, who is a member of JT Bates’ GRAIN Trio, and other groups, including New Sound Underground, and Nooky Jones, two of the hottest bands in town. Then at 8pm, vocalist Rhonda Laurie will keep things swingin, whether vocalizing on gypsy jazz, straight-ahead jazz, cabaret, or standards. She’ll be accompanied by Robert Bell, guitar, and Matt Peterson on bass.

Davu Seru/Noah Ophoven- Baldwin Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) The always inventive percussionist Davu Seru teams up with the exciting young trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin for an evening of originals.

Thursday, Feb 8

Adam Meckler Trio & MacPhail Student Combos @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($5) This evening features two MacPhail combos directed by trumpeter Adam Meckler, who is working with the groups even though MacPhail left both students and teachers in the lurch when it closed. Afterward, Meckler will be joined by Park Evans, guitar, and Reid Kennedy, drums, to finish off the evening with a program of jazz standards. Here is Meckler in a quintet setting.

Friday, Feb 9

JC Sanford Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Sanford, a Minnesota native and trombonist/composer recently moved back home after spending 16 years in NYC. He’s a long time student of the great Bob Brookmyer and has performed with Danilo Perez, Matt Wilson, and Danny McCaslin, in addition to conducting large groups including the Alice Coltrane Orchestra, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and the Frank Carllberg Large Ensemble. He’ll be joined by guitarist Zacc Harris and two other members of the Twin Cities jazz scene.  Here is Sanford with a different quartet.

Really Big Shoe @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Saxophonists Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl created this quartet in 2015 to play original compositions and modern interpretations of contemporary and relevant tunes. They are joined by Ted Olsen, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Saturday, Feb 10

MN Hard Bop Collective’s “Soul Station” Quartet @Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon really likes the music of Hank Mobley, as this is the third concert of Mobley’s music by the MN Hard Bop Collective, this time featuring Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; Ted Olsen, bass; and Simon on drums. Here’s a Mobley track.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start out with the John Devine Quartet, with Devine and Bill Lang on saxophones: Brock Thorson, bass; and Alden Ikeda, drums. At 8:30pm it’s a combination of seasoned veterans and Young Turks in the Jazz Bridge Project: Brian Handeland, sax; Rajiah Johybson, flute; Roger Johnson, guitar; Mark Vandemyde, piano; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, Feb 11

Mary Lou Williams’ Music for Peace: Re-Imagined @ Aquinas Chapel U of St Thomas, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free?)  Commonly known as “Mary Lou’s Mass,” this sacred jazz music of legendary composer/pianist Mary Lou Williams was her testimony to the healing power of music at the close of the Civil Rights Era. The work will be presented in new arrangements by Laura Caviani and Kari Musil, and performed by jazz vocalists with the Swing Sisterhood Big Band. Here is the wonderful Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in collaboration with Ms Williams.

Patty Peterson and the Jazz Women All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 5pm, 7:30pm (No Cover, $25 for Guaranteed Seat) This isn’t a group that’s guided by the novelty of being female, but rather a group of jazz musicians whose gender has little to do with their talent: Ginger Commodore, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass and guitar; Shelia Earley, drums; Kathy Jensen, sax; and, of course, Patty Peterson on vocals.

Monday, Tuesday, Feb 12, 13

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Note: Cocktail Service only on Monday. Drummer Dave King usually uses the trio format to explore the Great American Songbook. Tonight, however, in addition to bassist Billy Peterson, he has NYC pianist Matt Mitchell in the group, whose CV includes groups such as Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, The Dave Douglas Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, and other boundary-breaking groups, so look for the aforementioned standards to receive even more contemporary treatments than usual.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Mardis Gras w/South Side Aces and The All Souls Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Celebrate Fat Tuesday with the traditional New Orleans Jazz of the South Side Aces, and what appears to be a new brass band for this area.,

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, Feb 7

Gang of Mischief w/Richard Kriehn on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This band normally plays on the last Sunday afternoon of the month at Neumann’s in North Saint Paul, so here’s your chance to hear them on the radio and see them within the city limits. Harpmaster Harold Tremblay, along with Rena Haus, guitar & vocals; Dan Schwalbe, guitar; and Mark Rizzardi, bass; will be joined by mandolinist Richard Kriehn in the “hot seat,” the designation for their special guests’ place in the band.

Thursday, Feb 8

Poppy.Computer Tour 2018 @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($230 Advance, $25 Door) As an older person who nevertheless tries to stay somewhat abreast of culture, I’m completely perplexed by Poppy, a YouTube sensation whose 10 minute video, I’m Poppy, has been viewed over 14 million times. This waif-like female has numerous videos in which she asks obvious questions, eats things, and makes odd statements, generally delivered with an android-like voice, all of which has gained her followers on YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. She has many shorter videos as well, including 3:36. Importantly for this performance, Poppy also sings, and has an EP entitled Bubblebath with four catchy tunes.

Friday, Feb 9

The 70s Magic Sunshine Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) From Kung Fu Fighting and American Pie to Crocodile Rock, Lido Shuffle, and Love Train, this quintet just loves AM Radio hits of the 70s.

Saturday, Feb 10

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Blues from Harpist Steve Vonderharr and his band. Vonderharr was inducted into the MN Blues Hall of Fame in 2016. The Knockouts include fellow Hall of Fame member guitarist Dan Schwalbe. It will be a jumpin’ evening.

Mardis Gras @ The Hook & and Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Celebrate Mardis Gras (Fat Wednesday) with no worries about work in the morning. The Brass Messengers start things off with their joyous takes on brass music from New Orleans, Eastern Europe, and other far-flung places. The Butanes are no strangers to the music of Louisiana, having backed Earl King at the Jazz and Heritage Festival. What’s more, they’ll have special guest Camille Baudin of the Radiators sitting in. Scottie Miller’s take on New Orleans piano giants is just the thing to end the evening.

Terence Simien & the Zydeco Experience @ the Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27, $32) This two-time Grammy-winner has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 30 years in a row. He’s brought his infectious music to exuberant fans around the world, and will have you dancing in your seat, if not the aisles.

Sunday, Feb 11

Dusty Heart @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. (Free) Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are highly respected singer/songwriters who together, create music that blends roots, indie, and folk genres. The duo creates rich vocal harmonies that solidify their poetic lyrics. Get there early to find a seat and enjoy the humidity and greenery.

Sonny Landreth @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 Advance, $40 Door) Here’s a guitarist that should be better known. Landreth started out with Clifton Chenier, and since then the ace slide guitarist has collaborated with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Derek Trucks and others, and has recorded with artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. A must-see performer for guitar lovers.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Swamp Kings Annual Fat Tuesday Celebration @ Dixie’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) This trio can lay down Louisiana rhythms with style and much energy – apropos accompaniment for the Southern menu at Dixies.

Mardis Gras w/Davina and the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whether she’s singing Fats Domino, Etta James, or her originals, Davina and the guys are never far from the music of New Orleans, which makes her appearance at the New Orleans-themed basement club so right.

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.


Holiday Music: 12.23 – 12.29

December 23, 2015

Greetings and salutations;

Swedish Pancakes: My own holiday tradition

Swedish Pancakes: My own holiday tradition

For many, this is a hectic, if joyful, time of year, as families and friends gather to celebrate various, but mostly, Christmas traditions. I’ve been informed by Santa, aka Davis Wilson, that many of the world’s 5000 religions have celebrations of one sort or another during this season, as we go from Winter Solstice to ever-increasing days of light. Whether your celebrations include worship services, lighting candles, special food, storytelling, feats of strength, gathering outside, helping at homeless shelters, or even toy trains, accept my wish for a happy and fulfilling holiday. There are plenty of opportunities to relax and/or rejuvenate with music, which of course, lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 23

Retro Swing Sister @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($5) Retro-Style Swing with a modern twist from Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie. There’ll be some dancing, oh yes, there will. Listen to some samples of their singing here.

George Maurer Group Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7 pm ($15) The Saint Cloud-based jazz pianist rightfully calls himself a collaborated, since he’s composed movie scores, and worked with Eric Clapton, and many Twin Cities vocalists, among others. His holiday show at the Dakota, which features a six piece band plus a second vocalist, is always a hit. Here’s some examples.

Cold Fusion @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation, students free with valid ID) This is a project from saxophonist Pete Whitman  who’s recruited Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Olson, guitars; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Reid Kennedy drums; to swing on originals and straight ahead compositions.

Thursday, December 24

Swingbeat Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm ($7 cash) There may not be much happening for music tonight, but don’t despair. If you’ve wrapped all your presents, prepped all your cooking, (even if you haven’t) and are ready to let off steam, the swing dance scene at Wabasha Caves has you covered, and the Swingbeat Big Band will set your toes tapping.

Friday – Monday, December 25 – 28

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) Though based in New York, this trio is originally from the Midwest. In fact, drummer Dave King still lives here in the Twin Cities. When they first did a show at the old Dakota, around the turn of the Century, King, along with pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Kennedy, had just recorded an album which subsequently received a rave review in the New York Times. Since that $5 show, booked because all three were home of the holidays, the Bad Plus has recorded ten CDs and traveled the world headlining major clubs and generally causing some jazz fans heads to explode while bringing a whole new audience to the genre. Two examples of what critics say. From Rolling Stone: “It’s about as badass as highbrow gets.” From The New York Times: “Better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-60s jazz and indie rock…”

Saturday, December 26

Judi Vinar w/the Wolverines Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) So, you’re stuffed with food and don’t want to cook. And, perhaps, you’re in need of some time outside the house. Here’s the answer, Vocalist Judi Vinar (Judi Donaghy) will sing for you, with the help of Jundeen Forberg, drums; Steve Pikal, bass; Rick Carlson, piano; and Doug Haining, sax. Here she is with a big band.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set by Iron Chops: Jon Wood, guitar; Dave Brattain, saxes; Mac Santiago, drums; and Graydon Peterson, bass. Then a very special edition of FRAMEWORKChris Olson  guitar; Chris Bates  bass; Jay Epstein  drums, will be playing their originals and selected covers with special guest Steve Kenny on Flumpet.

Monday, December 28

Edmund Caitlin Trio, featuring Levi Schwartzberg and Charlie Lincoln @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s a trio of young players: Leader Edmund Caitlin, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; and Charlie Lincoln, bass. Despite (or due to) the fact that they aren’t old enough to drink yet, they can improvise, compose, and arrange with ease. Tonight they’re playing music from the universe of Thelonious Monk.

JT Bates Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) JT is releasing his long awaited solo project, “Open Relationships.” Though primarily a solo project, written and performed by JT, it has a few contributions from guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and electronic/noise artist Mark McGee. 1st Set: Mankwe Ndosi + Davu Seru. 2nd Set: JT Bates Open Relationships. 3rd Set: Padhandlers (Ryan Olson and James Buckley)

Tuesday, December 29

Jake Baldwin Quartet @ The Dunsmore Room in Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum p/p) The Dunsmore Room is proving to be an ideal place to listen to jazz. Baldwin is a young trumpet player who has been making a name for himself about town since graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music a couple of years ago. He plays in a variety of bands and combos, including R&B, Brass Bands, and the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra. It’s in jazz, though, where he shines. Joining him tonight are three musicians with whom he’s worked a lot: Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Andres Crovetti, drums. Here’s Jake in a recital when still in school.

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 23

The Social Animals on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) This Portland quartet recently finished an album produced by Steve Berlin, of Los Lobos, a good choice for their indie/Americana sound. Their website bio abounds with funny sarcasm, though their lyrics more straight-forwardly address relationships and the vicissitudes of a relatively young life.

Katy Vernon’s Holiday Residency @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($8) Tonight the charming singer/songwriter will feature Jake Rowan on uke and vocals. I had the two of them on my show this past Saturday, which you can hear by going here. They’ll be joined by a couple of more friends to play Christmas music, as well as some non-seasonal music, and conduct an Ugly Sweater Contest with the audience. Check out Katy’s simple, yet effective version of a Beatles song.

A Trashy Little Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance) After so many years at Lee’s Liquor Lounge, the honky tonkin’ Trailer Trash has had to move it’s weekly X-mas shows to a variety of venues. The Eagles Club should provide plenty of room for dancing and commandeering the Candy Cane. Advance tickets are available on the website.

Friday, December 25

Deano and the Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Cool out at the end of a hectic day with the solid stylings of under-appreciated guitarist Dean Mikkelson, who will be joined by drummer Dehl Gallagher, bassist Josh Granowski, and fellow plectorist Dean Harrington for an evening of blues and perhaps a bit of jazz standards. Bring your ID if you want adult beverages.

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Dance off the food you’ve eaten early in the day with the solid Soul, Funk, and danceable rock from this long-lived band that always delivers, and always has guests get up and play.

Saturday, December 26

The Escape Claus @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The colorful-sneaker-wearing Dean Mikkelson returns to Merlin’s for a second night, this time with a different group of musical treasures. I’ve listed a possible name for the group, but it could change. Nevertheless, it includes guitarist Bobby E, as well as Cody McKinney, bass; and Pete Hennig, on drums. With this much talent, you’re sure to have a good time, especially considering the wide variety of beers and Irish Whiskeys that Merlin carries. Be sure to have your ID.

Mick Sterling and the Stud Brothers @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Mick Sterling and his ten-piece band present some blue-eyed soul that will have you dancing.

The Irish Brigade @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s less than three months to Saint Patrick’s Day. Start appreciating Irish music now in a venue that couldn’t be better suited to the sound of this duo.

Saturday, Sunday, December 26, 27

Victorian Christmas Carols @ The JJ Hill House, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8:30pm ($12) Costumed singers explore the rise of Christmas Carols during the 19th Century. There’s light refreshments and tours following the one-hour concert. You can find more information here.

Sunday, December 27

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 4pm (tip jar) Papa John Kolstad, Harold Tremblay, and their bluesy, rootsy friends help you while away the afternoon at the oldest continually operating bar in the state.

Pat Donahue @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Donahue is a champion finger-picker whose tunes have been recorded by Chet Atkins, Suzy Boguss, and Kenny Rogers. He spent 20 years as the house guitarist on the Prairie Home Companion, and had Wynton Marsalis sit in with him and the Guys All Star Shoe Band in Berlin. More recently, he recorded a cool blues album with Butch Thompson. At any moment he might be playing blues, folk, or jazz, or some combination of the three.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 29,30

The New Standards @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30 – $40) This trio has really gained fans and raves since they debuted about ten years ago (their new CD is called Decade) and started playing acoustic/jazzy versions of hits from 80s, and now also breathe life into unexpectedly modern songs. Chan Poling, piano (Suburbs); John Munson,  bass (Semisonic, and Trip Shakespeare); and Steve Roehm, vibes (Billygoat, Electropolis); found a winning formula. Their annual holiday shows with guests from throughout the music industry sell out at local concert halls sell out.

Wednesday, December 30

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) Perhaps the last tradition of the year. Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to appear on Harold Tremblay’s House Party and then head over to the 331 Club to sing 5 part a cappella harmonies on sea chanties, and easy-to-sing-along favorites, from the Rolling Stones to Billy Joe Royal, and Bob Marley.

 

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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