Seasonal Music and More… 12.13 – 12.19

December 13, 2017

Greetings of the Season;

Lifting spirits through music and dance

Well, we have more holiday shows to get you into the spirit, including a couple that give a bit of a twist to the usual holiday song suspects. We also have some impressive visiting artists, and fun shows from resident artists. We’ve had a chance to get used to cold weather, and it’s going to stay relatively comfortable for the next week, so you’ll be able to get out and about to see my ideas for music, or your own. Either way, music lifts the spirit, and though many of us will be celebrating Hannukah, Christmas or Kwanza, some of us will be missing loved ones or have other reasons to need some uplifting this season



Wednesday, Dec 13

Gregory Generet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) After winning three Emmys as a post-production editor in TV, Generet decided to develop his singing abilities. Since then he’s done sold out shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, The Highline Ballroom, The Kitano, Feinsteins at the Lowes Regency in New York City and Smoke Jazz Club, where he held a residency for 3 years. He’s also performed at the 2015 Umbria Jazz edition of Ricomincio Da Tre jazz club and in Abu Dhabi, where he met pianist Richard Johnson, who was booking shows at a hotel there. The New York Times, said of his singing, “A voice that’s so sultry you might get burned.” Here’s a video with Johnson and his group performing the first song, followed by Generet.

Thursday, Dec 14

Songsister: Holiday in Harmony @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid student ID) ) Songsister consists of three fine vocalists: Dorothy Doring, Vicky Mountain, and Connie Dussl. They’ll be doing holiday songs both as soloists and as group singers. No alcohol at this basement place, but if you’re discreet, you can bring some of your own.  H

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15)  Pianist Johnson entertained us with his imaginative, soulful playing when he lived in the Twin Cities a few years back. . Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been played and booking jazz acts. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. See the video under Wednesday’s listing.

Larry McDonough Group: Twisted Holidays @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) You can expect McDonough to put his own mix of odd rhythms and meters to music from Bill Evans, Coltrane, Beethhovem Mr. McGoo, and more.

Friday, Dec 15

Steve Kimmel/Davina & the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Kimmel, No Cover),  9pm (Davina, $17 Advance/$20 Door) A veteran of the old West Bank Music Scene, multi-instrumentalist Steve Kimmel ran the Rainbow Gallery, booked the Loring Bar, played in the fabled fusion group Natural Life, and with the Lamont Cranston Blues Band. He’ll be followed at 9pm by the energetic and effervescent Davina and the Vagabonds with hot jazz, New Orleans R&B, and soulful originals.

Saturday, Dec 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar), 8:30pm ($10) Steve Kenny Trio in the bar at 7pm, followed at 8:30pm by the debut performance of the Inatnas Orchestra playing The Music of Asuka Kakitani and JC Sanford, playing in the dining room with a $10 admission, since it’s a 17-piece Big Band. Some of the musicians that will be playing include: JT Bates, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; JC Sanford, trombone, and a sax section of Pete Whitman, Dave Milne, and Aaron Hedenstrom. Plus trumpeter Russ Johnson will be a special guest. Here’s Sanford leading a previous orchestra.

Also: Larry McDonough Group @ The Warming House, 4001 Bryant Ave. South, Minneapolis. 7:30pm doors, 8pm performance. ($10) Just McDonough and saxophonist/poet Richard Terrill performing songs as noted above.

Saturday, Sunday, Dec 16, 17

Bobby Lyle Trio: Holiday Keys @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm Sat, 5pm, 7:30pm Sun, ($30) A Minneapolis native who was a member of Young-Holt Limited, Sly and the Family Stone, Al Jarreau’s touring band, and others, as well as serving as the musical director for Bette Midler. The man is talented, which he’ll show on piano and organ each night. Here he is at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Sunday, Dec 17

Kirk Whalum’s A Gospel According to Jazz @ Bethel University’s Benson Hall, 3900 Bethel Drive, Saint Paul. 6pm ($25, $35, $45, $60)  Grammy Award winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum brings his Sixth Annual Christmas concert tour to the Bethel University (off Snelling, north of Rosedale). The concert will feature South African singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler along with special guests John Stoddart, Sheléa, and Kevin Whalum.

Monday, Dec 18

Chris Speed Trio, feat Dave King & Christopher Tordini @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20), 9:30pm ($15) According to the NY Times, saxophonist Chris Speed is “one of the principal figures in a dynamic left-of-center jazz/improv scene in the city” He leads a number of bands and is currently working on projects with Craig Taborn’s Heroic Frenzies, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus, Dave King’s Trucking Company and others. He’ll be joined by NY-based Chris Tordini on bass, and our own über – drummer Dave King.

George Maurer Group Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) With an irreverent style and sly humor (The Drive My Car as Drive My Sleigh,, Santa Claus is coming to Town mashed up with Herbie Hancock’s Drifting and other rewordings of Christmas standards) the 8-piece George Maurer Group has been selling out Holiday Shows at the Dakota since 2000.

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, Dec 13

Ken Valdez Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Here’s what you’ll find if you go to the Valdez website: “From the Hill Country to Chicago, from the Delta down to Texas and every place between and far-flung, Valdez’s explosive fretwork coupled with his sweet, snarling vocals make for a treat for sounds of every corner of the blues world and beyond.” Check him out on the show and head over to the 331 Club afterwards.

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) As I wrote last week, Asher has been touring with various versions of his story for about 4 years now. Though some parts are the same, he keeps things interesting enough to go back a second time to hear about Paul McCartney as his roommate, his ownership of the gallery where John met Yoko, his discovery of James Taylor, work with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and more. Plus, you get him singing his Peter and Gordon hits (with Gordon on video – see below).

Thursday, Dec 14

Celtic Music Showcase @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Hear young musicians from the Center for Irish Music. They’ll be appearing in various ensembles under the direction of Norah Rendell. Listen to how this music is being passed on from one generation to another. You can also order sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, beer, and wine.

Friday, Dec 15

Mother Banjo & Ben Cook-Feltz Holiday Show @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) featuring songs from our holiday EP Christmas Came Early, highlighted on The Current and hailed as “a soul-healing collection of songs that put you in the spirit of the season” (Rift Magazine). Also: an all-star house band and special guest performances by Ben Kyle (Romantica), Jon RodineDan Gaarder (Roe Family Singers), and other surprise guests.

Darlene Love @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($47 – $111.50) The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer has been on dozens of hits, including He’s A Rebel, (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry, and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), the song she performed each Christmas season on the David Letterman show for almost 30 years, as well as other songs. Her last performance at the Ordway was strong, touching on all the hits and then some. It’s a rocking celebration of Christmas and then some.

Dosh & Friends @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12/$15) This is the 10th Annual Dosh & Friends show, which this year features: Mike Sopko, Al Church, and McKnight Composer Fellow DeVon Gray (dVRG) playing with Dosh; as well as Billy Martin (of Medeski Martin and Wood), playing with special guest Dave King; Jeremy Ylvisaker, teaming up with Mike Lewis and JT Bates; plus the mighty Guitarkestra of Minneapolis.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Dec 15, 16, 17

Magnum Chorum Christmas Concerts:

@ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm Friday ($25, $30)

@ Nativity Catholic Church, 1900 Wellesley Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm Saturday

@Church of the Annunciation, 509 West 54th Street, Minneapolis.  3pm Sunday

You will hear music from Russia, Sweden, and the Baltic Region, including Kopylov’s Heavenly Light, a soaring Hymn to the Virgin by Alexander Levine, Chesnokov’s Gabriel Appeared, music by Tchaikovsky and Gretchaninoff, and excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil. Additionally, there will be an electrifying Ave Maria by Polish composer Łukazewski, and the luminous music of Ešenvalds and Pärt.

Saturday, Dec 16 

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Oh’s burst on the scene back in 1980, led by frontman Robert Wilkinson, thrilling fans on early MTV, and hitting the Billboard charts with I Remember Romance. Whether or not you remember romance, their 2015 EP, Hear and Now, earned praise from the Star Tribune for their “Hard edged Stones-like rock’n’roll. East Coast street anthems coupled with Midwestern optimism and enthusiasm.”

Butanes Soul Revue 30th Anniversary @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Thirty years ago the Butanes Soul Revue began a weekly residency at the Cabooze that drew great crowds and lasted five years. Led by Curt Obeda on guitar; with Robb Stupka, drums; Dr. Virgil Nelson, organ, Jim Anton, bass; Sue Orfield, sax; Mike Nelson, trombone; and Adam Rossmiller on trumpet. Dab Brown and Aisha Baker on vocals, and featuring the fine, fine voice of Maurice Jacox as well. A dynamite show.

Sunday, Mon, Dec 17, 18

The Peterson Family’s Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($25) Minnesota’s First Family of Music takes to the stage to celebrate with the rest of us. Expect a jazz and R&B filled evening from Linda Peterson, piano and vocals; Billy Peterson, bass; Ricky Peterson, organ; Patty Peterson, vocals; Paul Peterson, bass, gutar, and keys; and Jason Peterson Delaire, pianist/saxophonist/vocals.

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.

Thanks for Music: 11.23 – 11.29

November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all;

Arlo Guthrie may have the most famous Thanksgiving Day story of all: Alice's Restaurant

Arlo Guthrie’s tale, Alice’s Restaurant, may be the most famous contemporary Thanksgiving Day story of all.

It will be a day of food consumption for many, and a weekend of leftovers and stuffed bellies. But don’t fear, there are opportunities to dance off your lethargy over the weekend, and others where just listening to music will help calm a stuffed stomach. Let music be something we’re all thankful to have in our lives. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, November 23

Dave King Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $55 dinner show) This is the second of a two night stand for drummer Dave King and this trio. King is best known for his work with The Bad Plus and Happy Apple,though he also seems to have a dozen or so other projects, many of which explore the outer edges and realms of jazz and rock. Tonight, though, he gathers the fine talents of bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to mine the richness of jazz standards and create some beautiful music. Here’s a longish video of a performance.

Dorado Schmitt & the Django Festival All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($20, $30) Guitarist Dorado Schmitt grew up in the same region where Django Rheinhardt lived. He was born of Roma parents and grew up surrounded by Gypsy Jazz, though, like other teenagers, he emulated Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix before turning to the music fo his heritage. Back in the mid-2000s, he appeared in town as part of the Minnesota Sur Seine Festival, and has become the star of New York’s annual Django Festival. He’ll be accompanied by his son, guitarist Amati Schmitt; as well as accordionist Ludovic Beier, and violinist Pierre Blanchard.

Thursday, November 24

Thanksgiving with Debbie Duncan @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. Noon – 3pm  (No Cover, but Dinner) If you don’t want to cook, and are looking for some music with your Thanksgiving Meal, then you’re in luck, as Ms Duncan sings jazz standards, the Great American Songbook, and some occasional R&B.

Thanksgiving with Robert Robertson @ The Dakota, Minnepaolis. 7pm ($30) Get righteous, and not in arguments with your crazy uncle, but by listening to the gospel sounds of the incredible Robert Robertson, as soulful a singer as you will ever find.

Friday, November 25

Zacc Harris/Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Harris – No Cover), 9pm (CAO – $10) Perhaps you’ve spent the day shopping. If so, relax with the dinner hour performance of guitarist Zacc Harris, followed at 9:00 by the Cafe Accordion Orchestra, whose album entitled Berets and Bongos pretty much sums up their approach to music.

Good Trouble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Good Trouble is a septet from Appleton, WI, which includes both past and present students at Lawrence University. Members of the band include: Ben Phillips – Trumpet; Will Fraser Alto Saxophone; Carson Caldart – Tenor Saxophone; Matt Blair – Piano; Sam Genualdi – Guitar; Jakob Heinemann – Bass; and Jack Lussenden – Drums. Listen to them here.

Friday, Saturday, November 25, 26

Third Annual Dave King Takeover @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($12) Drummer Dave King is busy this week. After two nights at Crooners early in the week, he’s taking over late night at the Icehouse to feature two more bands of which he’s a member. Friday night it’s the Dave King Trucking Company: Erik Fratzke, guitar; Chris Morrissey, bass; Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak on saxes; and King on drums. Then on Saturday night it’s Happy Apple, the trio named after a toy: Erik Fratzke, Fender bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and King on drums. This is the place to be for young jazz fans home for Thanksgiving, as well as older ones who can stay up late enough to dig these sounds.

Saturday, November 26

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Riley Swain Jazz Ensemble at 7pm, followed by the Atlantis Quartet at 8:30pm. The Riley Swain Ensemble is presented as part of the JazzInk Youth Showcase, which features talented high school students playing jazz. The Atlantis Quartet is Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. They’ve been around about 10 years now, spreading the gospel of 21st Century jazz.

Sunday, November 27

Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $35, $65 w/Dinner) Pianist Keezer is a native of Eau Claire, who spent his 20s working with Joshua Redman, Benny Golson, and Ray Brown. Now in his 40s, he’s performed and recorded in all sorts of musical combinations, and of late, has been doing solo gigs and recording. He’s performed with both Diana Krall and Diane Reeves, and now with singer Gillian Margot, who manages to avoid the usual cliches of jazz singers while delivering original interpretive delivery.

Monday, November 28

David Martin/Martin Doolin CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarists Martin and Doolinb are releasing Dark Star, their third collaboration. It’s a fusion fueled CD, with guitar sounds that range from fuzzed-out to crystalline, and acoustic, punctuated with some funky drumming. Tonight they’re joined by Jim Chenoweth, bass; Shai Hayo, percussion; and Pete Hennig, drums.  I’ll have David Martin, and perhaps Doolin, on my show Saturday morning the 26th (10:30am – Noon, KFAI: 90.3 and 106.7FM)

George Maurer Quartet feat Ann Michels @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($12) Pianist Maurer is a versatile performer, composer and collaborator, having worked with Eric Clapton, scored films, and creating compositions for his nine-piece band. He’s based in Saint Cloud, so doesn’t get to the Twin Cities very often, making this a special event, and doubly so, since he’ll have just a quartet, as well as vocalist Ann Michels. Here’s Maurer accompanying a different singer: Rachel Holder.

Monday, Tuesday, November 28, 29

Jennifer Grimm’s Christmas with Family & Friends @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm  – 8:30pm ($22, $47 Dinner Show) Ms Grimm is a talented singer who is equally at home on a theater stage or in a bar. Either way, she’s an engaging performer, and with her family and friends, provides a highly entertaining evening.

Tuesday, November 29

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Bennett’s Rail & Chop House, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) If it’s the last Tuesday of the month, then it’s time for a shot of early New Orleans jazz, with a rotating cast of musicians led by Bill Evans.

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, November 23

Nikki & the RueMates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become an annual tradition for Harold Tremblay to feature Nikki & the RueMates on the night before Thanksgiving. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour to hear them perform some blues, 60s style folk-rock, and originals, all featuring Nikki’s clarion voice and the deft guitar of Rich Rue.

The Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11:30pm. A cast of thousands, well maybe tens, brings you the finest in Swamp Pop entertainment. Rich Lewis, Dan Rowles, Lucinda Plaisance, Richard Kriehn, Bill and Ernie Batson, Jon Rodine, Dan Newton and the Rockin’ Pinecones, members of the New Riverside Ramblers, plus several other featured guests. All backed by the mellifluous noodlings of the Swamp Poppas Enhanced Big Band! All in a Benefit for Second Harvest Food Shelf.

Maurice Jacox Acoustic Trio @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Balladeer, bluesman, crooner, jazzman. All apply to vocalist Maurice Jacox, who will turn the slightly divey Schooner Tavern into a hip lounge tonight with the help of guitarists Bobby E and John Cravens.

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) The youngest son of Fela Kuti continues voicing the political and social concerns  of his father, adding traditions from various African cultures and reflecting on the struggles of peoples throughout the continent. Expect a floor filled with writhing, dancing bodies as Kuti and the band create rhythms that connect with your innermost being.

Thursday, November 24

Deano & the Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – Midnight. It’s the man in plaid with the colorful hi-tops keeping up Merlin’s tradition of Thanksgiving Night music: Dean (or Deano) Mikkelson on guitar, along with pals Dean Harrington, guitar; Tom Lewis, bass; and Del Gallagher, drums, will play jazzy acoustic music.

Butanes @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you don’t like Turkey. Head over to Shaw’s for some BBQ and Blues as the Butanes take to the stage. If you’re stuffed with turkey, you can surely find a little space to dance as well.

Socaholix @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Bunkers has a pretty good size dance floor for a bar, and it will undoubtedly be filled as the Socaholix play a lively mix of Soca (soul + Calypso) and other high-energy Caribbean rhythms.

Friday, November 25

Daisy Dillman Acoustic @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10:30pm ($15) This is the “unplugged” version of the band started in the late 70s by four guys from Excelsior. You’ll undoubtedly hear some of their hits from two nationally charting albums, as well as new material, all with three part harmonies.

The Pines @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) The cover of the Pines latest full release, Above the Prairie, features a star filled sky over a couple of ramshackle shacks set among open spaces. Their music evokes that openness, with both moments of stillness and moments of beauty, much like the plains of their native Iowa. They’ll be releasing a new EP tonight, entitled Pasture II, the second installment in a series of EPs that explore the timeless tradition and passage of the American folk songs. Frankie Lee opens.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Shake off your turkey-induced doldrums by dancing to rare funk and soul 45s.

Saturday, November 26

Feeling All Right: A Tribute to Joe Cocker @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Mick Sterling has gathered 13 musicians, including 4 drummer/percussionists for this tribute to the English white guy with the raspy voice of a Southern Soul singer. The late pianist/singer/composer Leon Russell led Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, so you can expect some of his tunes as well.

Luke Warm & the Cool Hands CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) It’s an evening of progressive string music and general pickin’ and grinnin’ as Luke Warm & the Cool Hands celebrate the release of What Makes You Happy? The evening begins at 8pm with The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League playing music of the Prohibition era, updated for the 21st Century, then at 9pm its Luke Warm and the guys, including Ryan Young of Trampled by Turtles, followed at 11pm by The Stringdingers

New Riverside Ramblers @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) High energy Cajun dance music, transplanted from the bayous of Louisiana to the frozen plain of Minnesota, though performed within the warm confines of the Hamm Building’s basement. There will be waltzes, two-steps, and blues galore.

Saturday, Sunday, November 26, 27

Ronnie Spector @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $65, $75) While the Ronettes may not have been the first girl group, or the most popular, they were the most iconic, thanks to beehive hairdos, eyeliner, and Ronnie Spector’s thrilling voice, at one child-like and wise. She was inspired by Frankie Lymon, and in turn, inspired Amy Winehouse. She’ll undoubtedly sing Sleigh Ride, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and Frosty the Snowman, given that her versions are always among the most played songs at Christmas time. We’ll also hear Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, and perhaps a few songs from her tribute to British Bands, which came out last year. Here’s an older video of her.

Sunday, November 27

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Make your way to North Saint Paul’s main street to catch the ever-changing line-up of the Gang of Mischief, acoustic players of the blues and related music. Though membership varies, there are a few members you can depend upon: Papa John Kolstad, guitar and vocals, Harold Tremblay, harmonica, and Doug Otto, guitar and vocals.

Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers @ Aster Cafe’s River Room, Minneapolis. ($12) Molly Maher is an excellent guitarist and songwriter who’s been called the Queen of Twin Cities Americana. Her songs ring true, as she uses country rock, with a bit of blues swagger, to support her soulful singing. She’s backed by The Disbelievers, and excellent band consisting of guitar ace Erik Koskinen; Paul Bergen on guitar; Steve Murray, bass; and Richard Medek, drums. This is in the River Room, where there is bar service only.

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.

Seasonal Music and Much, Much, More: 12.17 – 12.23

December 17, 2014

Unknown-2Greetings to one and all;

Though the music calendar for the coming week may contain many shows for the holiday season, there is enough music for those who don’t celebrate to have a great time as well. After all, one way or another, music lifts the spirit.



Wednesday, December 17

George Maurer Christmas Show @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Maurer is a pianist/composer who is well known outside of Minnesota as well as in the state. He’s composed movie scores, has collaborated with a number of artists, including Eric Clapton, leads his own groups, and is a desired accompanist for many vocalists. He’ll be leading a sextet with a vocalist for this holiday show.

Thursday, December 18

Fuzzy Math @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No cover) This fine four piece has been cooking up some new tunes to add to its mix of original jazz and creative arrangements of other tunes. With Mark Vanderhyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums.

Lee Engele & Reynold Philipsek @ Cupcake/Mason Jar, 1565 Cliff Road, Eagan. 7pm – 9pm (No cover) Engele (vocals) and Philipsek (guitar) go together like two straws in a coke, performing standards and occasionally dipping into gypsy jazz arrangements.

Mike Lewis Solo @ the Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Lewis is a first rate sax player, who can play inside or outside, depending on the situation. He’s best known perhaps, for his work with Happy Apple and Fat Kid Wednesdays, though his work with Bon Iver and his bass playing with pop/folk star Andrew Bird has also earned him kudos. Tonight he takes a solo turn, as shown in this video.

Friday, December 19

Dean Granros Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Granros is one of the elders of jazz guitar in this town, having inspired many other players in the past few decades. Bandmate and fellow guitarist Zacc Harris has proven to be a jazz entrepreneur and top-notch player since arriving in town some years ago. They’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Jingle Bell Doc @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $75) It’s become a tradition for Doc Severinson  of the Tonight Show Band, and former Pops Conductor at Orchestra Hall, to come to down with a holiday show. The ageless, colorfully dressed  trumpeter can still blow a mean horn. He’ll have a band that includes a number of Twin Cities musicians, and will also have the Minnesota Chorale and Twin Cities Bronze, a handbell ensemble, as part of the celebration. The band will likely sound like the one in this video.

The Power’s Project @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) If you’re looking for something that’s under the radar, this is it. Frankly, I don’t know too much about this group other than the fact that they feature a female singer and the price is right.

Saturday, December 20

JoAnn Funk: Deck The Halls @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 11pm, (No Cover) Pianist Funk & bassist Jeff Brueske celebrate the holidays with seasonal songs, abetted by special guests Gary Schulte, violin; and Steven Marking, baritone vocals.

Twin Cities Jazz Sampler CD Release Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Steve Kenny has put together a compilation CD that proves how much talent we have in the Twin Cities jazz community. There are tracks from the Zacc Harris Quartet, Chris Bates’ Red5, Jana Nyberg. Chris Lomheim, The Illicit Sextet, Bryan Nichols, Adam Meckler Orchestra and more. The evening’s celebration includes live performances by the Atlantis Quartet, Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio, and Steve Kenny’s Group 47. Steve will be a guest on my radio show, Rhythm and Grooves, Saturday morning about 10:45am. Here’s a video of the Good Vibes Trio.

Sunday, December 21

Jingle Bell Doc @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 2pm ($30 – $70) See Friday for a description.

Sunday, Monday, December 21, 22

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($40), 8pm ($25) Allyson, a one-time Twin Cities resident returns with her sublime voice and impeccable taste. She is a four-time Grammy nominee who will be singing selections from Yuletide Hideaway, her gorgeous CD from last year, featuring holiday favorites and originals. Listen to her do a favorite of Twin Cities audiences.

Monday, December 22

Javier Santiago @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Javi, as he is known, was a member of the Dakota Combo back in 2007. Since then he’s been part of an award-winning Brubeck Institute jazz Quintet and received his bachelor degree in performance (2011) from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC. He has been making his way in New York since, and returns home for the holiday. He is a virtuoso pianist, as well as a producer, educator, composer, and arranger.  I’m not sure if he’ll have a group with him or not, but if so, it will certainly contain his old running partner, Miguel Hurtado on drums. Here he is with fellow schoolmates, performing one of his tunes at his Senior Recital at the New School.

Regional Jazz Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Anthony Cox  bass; leads this trio, which includes Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates, drums. JT and Lewis are long-time mates from Fat Kid Wednesdays. Occasionally, they play with other bassists, and the result always takes an unexpected turn from their FKW work. Tonight, they join Cox, who made a national name for himself while living in NYC for years before returning to the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, December 23

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s the ticket if you’re looking for something other than holiday offerings, mainstream, or free jazz. The TCLJO, as the name suggests, is a big band with big rhythm. This event tends to be an open rehearsal, with the band sometimes repeating sections. It’s a fascinating peek into the arranging process, as well as an exciting listening experience.

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 PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 17

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90,3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s the 10th Anniversary of Harold Tremblay’s House Party on KFAI, and to celebrate, he’s bringing in the first artist to have appeared on his show, Duluth’s Charlie Parr a practitioner of Piedmont style blues who has garnered a national reputation. check him out.

Thursday, December 18

You don't have to go to the Bayous to celebrate a Louisiana Christmas

You don’t have to go to the Bayous to celebrate a Louisiana Christmas

A Louisiana Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) It’s a Christmas Party and Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland. Helping you celebrate will be the Rockin’ Pinecones, The Southside Aces, the Swamp Poppas, Rich Lewis, Lucinda Plaisance, and many more. Bring some food and/or money for the food shelf and don’t forget those dancing shoes!

Thursday, Friday, December 18, 19

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm (Thurs), 7pm, 9:30pm (Friday) ($20) It’s been a heckuva year for the comeback soulman of Minneapolis. After a weekly residency at the Eagle Club early in the year, Knight and his young band have coalesced into a tight funk/soul outfit, touring touring the world, from South by Southwest to Europe. They’ve been writing some new material and will be recording these sessions for a new record. Friday’s late show is at 9:30 to give the Dakota staff time to clear out tables so people can dance. Here they are putting their own stamp on a Beatles tune.

Friday, December 19

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue Holiday Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10?) Blues Harpist Hurricane Harold knows all the players in town, and when he puts together a revue, it’s always outstanding. You can hear Harold’s playing at:

Jackson’s Juke Joint Holiday Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Crankshaft at 7pm. Javier & the Innocent Sons at 9pm. I’m not sure if holiday songs will be included in this party, but you will have the chance to shake your money-maker as Crankshaft plays his high-energy, often funny blues and Javier & The Innocent Sons swing out.

Claudia Schmidt @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Schmidt has been an area favorite for about 40 years now, using her four octave range to present folk, blues and the occasional jazz number with her charming humor. She’s released 16 albums, the latest of which New Whirled Order, is on Red House Records.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbo’s @ Crooners, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is the old Shorewood on Central Avenue. I’m told the new owners have expanded the stage a bit, and judging by their calendar, will be featuring singers that fit the new name. Radio Joe Demko is perfect for this place, with songs that range from Tangos to swing, to belly grinders, all delivered with stylish élan.

Friday, Saturday, Tuesday, December 19, 20, 23

Trashy Little Christmas @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s time once again for Trailer Trash  purveyors of honky-tonk, traditional country, and swinging rock n’ roll to bring their trashy view of the holidays to Lee’s. It’s the 21st year for these Candy Cane hi-jinks, and if you haven’t attended for a while, this might just be the time. Saturday’s show is sold out, so you’ll have go on Friday, or stay up late on Christmas Eve’s Eve.

Saturday, December 20

Ukelele Alley Cartoon ExtravaGONZO @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. Noon – Doors at 11am ($8, $5 for kids 12 and under) Luke the Uke (aka Tom Lieberman) and Deejay Mr Gosh (of spinning 78s) have mined some cartoon archives to present classic animation with music, laughter, and more. Child-safe and family friendly.

Singer/Songwriter Showcase @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Four singer/songwriters gather to share their songs and stories, including Mother Banjo (aka Ellen Stanley), George Scot (Hookers $ Blos, Ipso Facto), Doug Otto (The Getaways, Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars, The No-Accounts), and Nikki Roux (Nikki & the Rue-Mates).

Maurice Jacox Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7 pm – 10pm (No Cover) Versatile vocalist Jacox will be joined by guitarists Bobby E and Dean Mikkelson for what promises to be a delightful evening of stripped down R&B, Motown, and songs from the Great American Songbook. The Normandy Kitchen is somewhat small, so reservations are always a good idea.

Sunday, December 21

The principals of BAIN

Jayanthi, Davis, & Erick

BAIN @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) BAIN is Davis Bain, vocals & production; Erick “Afrokeys”Anderson, keys; and Jayanthi Kyle, vocals. Tonight they celebrate the release of Love In Blue, an album (CD & LP) filled with groovy, hypnotic, often down-tempo music featuring both male and female vocals. The live band includes Matt Stevens, bass; Anslem Pierre, guitar; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Walter Chancellor Jr., sax; and Greg Schutte, drums. I’ve been playing tracks from Love in Blue on some of my DJ gigs and getting good response. Ashley Gold will open, and DJ Fourfeet will spin between sets.

Obviously a long tradition

The combination has been around for a long, long time

The Accordion/Banjo Xmas @ Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7pm – 9pm. Oh boy, this is an event that’s ripe for jokes about the two most maligned instruments in modern music. However, there is no joking about the skills of Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton on accordion or Mark Kreitzer on banjo, who will be duetting on some of your favorite holiday songs and more.

Tuesday, December 23

L.P. Music @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($10) L.P. Music plays funky, groove oriented music with a proclivity for improvisation, featuring Grammy winning saxophonist Eric Leeds; bassist (and multi-instrumentalist) Paul Peterson, pianist Peter Schimke, and drummer Stokely Williams. Given the resumes of these musicians (from Prince to Mark Murphy to Mint Condition), this should be a stellar performance.

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 U Wanna Dance Calendar.

%d bloggers like this: