Winter Music: 1.24 – 1.30

January 24, 2018

Ice Palace image from The Pioneer Press/

Winter Carnival is upon us, and Super Bowl Week starts on Sunday, both of which bring a plethora of special events and concerts. A schedule of Winter Carnival events, including free concerts, can be found here. Super bowl concerts range from fee outdoor concerts to events with stratospheric prices, as you can find here. However, there are other musical events worth your while, as I’ve noted below. Remember: Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, Jan 24

The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project @ the Black Dog, Saint Paul. Each month, Brad Bellows of the LKLP brings interviews conducted by the late broadcaster to the Black Dog, along with appropriate visuals. Tonight’s interviews include a bunch of “Greatest Hits” with jazz masters Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Bob Brookmeyer, Roy Haynes, Carmen McRae, Phil Woods, and more.

Thursday, Jan 25

Jiselle McCollem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Tonight’s edition of Vocal Jazz Night features Ms McCollum, a young actress who will be performing jazz standards with the help of Bob Beahen, Matthew Callope, Joe Twohy, and Shannon van der Reck.

Friday, Jan 26

Jeremy Siskind Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($15) Pianist, composer and educator Siskind is in town to lead a piano workshop for high school students, and thus is appearing tonight with brothers Chris Bates on bass and JT Bates on drums. Besides having three CDs of his own, Siskind has appeared as the pianist on Nancy Harms’ CD Ellington At Night, as well as with her a couple of times at area house concert. He’s a leader in the in-home concert movement, having played in over 100 homes in twenty-five states. He’s also the Artistic Director for the American Jazz Piano competition and currently teaches at Fullerton College in Southern California.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) One of the best jazz units in the Twin Cities, drummer Phil Hey and his group – Phil Aaron, piano; Dave Hadgedorn, vibes; and Tom Lewis, bass – revel in playing music by Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea and other masters of jazz.

Saturday, Jan 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening act at 7pm is the Pete Snell Trio: Pete Snell, tenor; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano. At 8:30pm a new version of the Bryan Nichols Quintet takes the stage: Bryan Nichols, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Jeff Bailey, bass; Davu Seru, drums.

Erin Livingston Duo @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Livingston is a vocalist who has appeared with the Parisota Hot Club and can sing jazz, blues, and R&B. She’ll be joined by Marc Ziegenhagen on piano.

Minnesota Hard Bop Collective: Hank Mobley, Part 2 @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (tip jar) Hard bop saxophonist Hank Mobley create over one hundred records during his lifetime, so this sextet is digging deep to interpret some of his music.

Prohibition Swing Night @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneaplis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The Mississippi Hot Club and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League will be presenting Prohibition-era Swing and Gypsy Jazz for your dancing pleasure. There will even be free swing dance lessons at 8:30, before the music starts at 9pm. The Mississippi Hot Club expands the boundaries of Gypsy Jazz, or Jazz Manouche as it’s also known, by incorporating music that ranges from European folk music, to Nintendo anthems and science fiction themes. The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperanhce League is a fun quartet that brings the hot rhythms of Prohibition into the 21st Century. Here they are.

Sunday, Jan 28

2018 Winter Jazz Fest @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 1pm – Closing ($40 General Admission, $125 VIP) This year’s Winter Jazz Fest is smaller than in the past, but much more intimate, taking place on only two stages. The Dunsmore Room will be emptied of tables to allow more seating for performances by Connie Evingson, the Jake Baldwin Quartet, and headliner Regina Carter with pianist Xavier Davis. Meanwhile, the lounge stage will feature the Travis Anderson Trio: Two Youth Groups from the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education; Judi Vinar; the ACME Jazz Company & Butch Miles; and a jam session. Complete schedule, line-up and more information can be found here. I did an interview with Ms Carter in 2015 which you can read here. Here’s she is being interviewed and doing a song from her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, Jan 30

Davu Seru’s Dead King Mother Listening Session @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) This is a preview and discussion of a new work by Davu Seru about a long forgotten event in Twin Cities Civil Rights history. Seru is an internationally known free-jazz drummer who regularly performs jazz, rock and free improvisational music in a variety of group settings, one of which is located in France, and some of which he leads. Dead King Mother will receive its premier at Studio Z in late February.

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 24

Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) California Blues from Harpist Mitch has been around for a few decades, delivering “Left Coast” blues influenced by Little Walter and William Clarke. Listen to his fleet fingering on Harold’s House Party, and then head to the 331 Club to hear him backed by the House Party All-Stars: Jeremy Johnson, Bill Black, and Tim Wick.

Al Jardine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Al Jardine, a founding member of the fabled Beach Boys, joins the trend of rock artists performing solo and in small groups while sharing stories about their careers. The Beach Boys had 80 charting hits around the world, 36 Top 40 hits in the US, and four number one hits. He’ll be accompanied by his son Matt, who does the Brian Wilson falsetto parts quite handily, and will tell the tale of “America’s Band,” from their first hit Surfin’ on through Don’t Worry Baby, Little Duece CoupeHelp Me RhondaGod Only Knows and more, to Jardine’s recent solo release, A Postcard from California. Jardine does an especially illuminating demonstration of how Wilson’s arrangement of Sloop John B took it from a folk song to a pop masterpiece. This is the first stop on this new approach to touring, so it’s a bit rough in presentation, but still plenty of fun, fun, fun.

Thursday, Jan 25

Mudbug Zydeco @ The Eagles Club, #34, Minneapolis 8pm ($7) I may be mistaken, but I believe this is a new group, created by accordionist Dan Newton after the demise of the Rockin ‘ Pinecones. They play swamp pop and music inspired by zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier. Other members of the group are: Eric Mohring, fiddle; Dehl Gallagher, drums; and Karl Smelker, bass.

Cadillac Kolstad & Friends @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Rockabilly, Boogie Woogie, and classic R&B music from rootsy Pianist Kolstad, who recently returned from another of his successful tours of Germany. The piano pounder will be joined by his Friends on upright bass, drums, and sax.

The Wailers @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) The legendary Wailers backed Bob Marley, selling over 250 million recordings world wide. Founder Aston “Familyman” Barrettt is joined by original Wailers guitars Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey, along with the son of co-founder Carlton Barrett’s nephew Aston Barrett Jr on drums. Lead vocals are by Joshua David Barrett, backed by Shemna McGregor, daughter of Judy Mowatt. Opening is LaCrosse Wisconsin’s Tugg, whose reggae/ska albums have debuted in the top 50 of the iuTunes Reggae Chart. It will be an Irie night.

Also: Butanes Anniversary Party @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Celebrating 8 years at Shaw’s.


Friday, Jan 26

Willie Murphy and Friends @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($7 Advance, $20 Door) Get ready to dance as guitarist/pianist/vocalist/composer Murphy brings his original songs and unique, danceable arrangements of classic R&B and Rock n’ Roll to the Hook’s dance floor. Opening are the up and coming roots duo Winona Forever, and The Jon Rodine Band playing groove-oriented Rock n’ Roll and country soul.

Friday, Saturday, Jan 26, 27

Drone Not Drones: 5th Annual 28 Hour Drone @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm Friday – 11pm Saturday ($20 Advance, $30 Door) A full 28 hours of non-stop music featuring a minimalist approach that emphasizes sustained and repeated sounds. Bring a pillow or blanket to make yourself comfortable and stay the night. Over 50 bands and musicians are taking part, with more to be announced. A few of the artists are: Nels Cline, Low (full band), Loscil, Ka Baird and Louise Bock (of Spires That In the Sunset Rise), Doug McCombs (Tortoise/Brokeback), Devil’s Flying Machine (Charlie Parr), Savage Aural Hotbed, International Novelty GamelanDeVon Dvrg Gray, and many, many, more. Also broadcast on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) and at Here’s Low, one of the performing artists,  at Rock the Garden.

Saturday, Jan 27

Fathom Lane & Jillian Rae @ The Aster Cafe River Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) With three critically acclaimed albums to their credit, Fathom Lane, led by Michael Ferrier, has created a sound that is at once familiar, but undefineable, with touches of Gram Parson, the Velvet Underground and Tom Petty, coursing through his songs. Though his musical touchstones are historical, the sound is contemporary. Members of Fathom Lane are: Ferrier, vocals, guitar, Rhodes, and percussion; Ashleigh Still, vocals and piano; Matt Patrick, electric guitar; Shane Akers, lap steel and dobro; Paul Boblett, bass; and Alex Young, drums and percussion. Opening is the always lively pop/rock violinist/singer songwriter Jillian Rae.

Eric Gales Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Left-handed guitarist Gales plays his axe upside down, which sometimes leads to comparisons with Jimi Hendrix. Gales is his own man, however, with a blues-rock sound that draws on Albert King as well as Eric Johnson. He’s been a well-regarded guitarist ever since being named Best New Talent by Guitar World Magazine, after his debut album in 1991 at the age of 16. He’s currently touring behind a new album Middle of the Road, featuring songs by Leon Russell, Raphel Saddiq, Lauryn Hill and his originals. Here’s a sample of that album.

Sunday, January 28

Jellybean Johnson w/Members of the Time @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (?), ($?) Super Bowl week has a number of Prince-themed events taking place, from Nicollet Mall to the Dakota, to the Minnesota Music Cafe, in which guitarist Jellybean Johnson will be joined by members of the Time. Opening is Freakjuice, whose FaceBook page states they are “pushing the boundaries of traditional rock music by infusing jazz, hip-hop, reggae, blues and the art of improvisation into a new, fresh and invigorating wall of sound.” Here’s Jellybean, playing in the low-lit confines of Shaws.

Monday, Tuesday, Jan 29, 30

Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm Pianist Crawford, who deserves more attention, is often called the Prince of New Orleans. He certainly comes from a royal musical background, as his grandfather was guitarist Sugarboy Crawford, the first artist to record Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko), and he is the godson of Roberta Flack. As a result, Crawford has absorbed traditional jazz, gospel, and New Orleans funk and R&B, essentially becoming the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition.

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.

Happy New Year! 12.27 – 1.2

December 27, 2017

I think I can safely say that most of us are looking forward to putting 2017 behind us. What with hurricanes, mass shootings, wildfires, “taking a knee,” sex abuse scandals, a political climate that could be called tumultuous at best, and locally, the unexpected closing of MacNally Smith Music College, we’re ready to start anew.

On a personal and positive note, my year was upended when I was diagnosed with significant health issues. Thankfully, I have responded very well, thanks to some excellent health professionals and, I believe, the good thoughts, vibes and prayers of family and a supportive community, including readers such as yourself. Thank you.

Another positive thing about the last year is the great talent that has performed in our Twin Cities, from both resident and visiting artists. We’re lucky to have a vital music scene, with high schools and regional colleges producing talented musicians to join a bevy of highly respected veterans. Evidence of emerging talent will be on display this week as a number of young jazz musicians are home on vacation and lining up to play. Roots and Blues groups continue to percolate up with brand new younger groups and realignments of veterans. Now… we’re in for a cold spell, but as hardy Minnesotans, I know that many of you will layer on the clothes and brave the weather to enjoy and support the talent in town. Here are some ideas for music that will lift your spirit.



Wednesday, Dec 27

Will Kjeer Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Talented pianist Will Kjeer is on a Christmas break from school in California, and will be joined by his uncle Kenny Horst on drums, and Billy Peterson on bass. Kjeer was already playing professionally while in high school, and since going to college has performed as a leader and sideman in Washington DC, Montreal; and at the fabled Lighthouse Cafe in Los Angeles. He is also a member of Steve Kenny’s Group 47. Tonight is truly a cross-generational meeting of musical minds. Arrive early to catch pianist Kevin Gastonguay from 6 – 7:30 (No cover)

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson, and Tom Lieberman create wonderful three-part harmonies on tunes from the 30s and 40s, as well as on their original compositions. They are just as beloved today as they were back in the 70s and 80s.

Connie Evingson: Holiday @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($22) It’s not hard to think you’re in a cozy country lodge as you take in the Dunsmore’s view of a snow-covered lake during. Ms Evingson’s cool, yet sultry voice celebrates the season, as she did on The Secret of Christmas, her wonderful Christmas album of some year’s back. She’ll be accompanied by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Dave Karr, sax & flute; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Here’s a version of a Christmas chestnut from The Secret of Christmas.

Thursday, Dec 28

Kendra Glenn and Jazz Fly @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Glenn is a powerful, soulful singer, while JazzFly’s members have played with a wide list of both resident and national artists, ranging from Tower of Power and Avishai Cohen, to Ginger Commodore, Ricky Peterson, and members of Sounds of Blackness. Such experience makes the band and Glenn equally adept at blues, jazz, soul, and R&B. Here’s Kendra, along with her daughter Jalela.

Friday, Dec 29

Young Lions @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – No Exit), 10pm  (Ben Erlich Trtio) ($10, $5 w/valid Student ID) It’s a night of talented young musicians as things start off at 8pm with the No Exit Sextet, led by drummer Luke Peterson, and including  Peter Goggin, alto; Jack Coutwright, Trombone; Levi Schwartzberg, Vibes; Adam Astrup, Guitar; and Charlie Lincoln, Bass. Then drummer Ben Erlich brings on his trio, including Will Kjeer on piano; and Charlie Lincoln, bass. Here’s a video from No Exit, from last summer.

Saturday, Dec 30

The Last Edition of Rhythm and Grooves @ KFAI, (90.3 and 106.7FM) 10:30AM – Noon. After 15.5 years in three different time slots, it’s time for me to move on. Note that I also hostedShake Up Southside for three years in the early 80s, and Streetlight Serenade for five years in the mid-80s. I’ll play a couple of songs from Shakeup, followed by their jazz versions, as well as a couple of vocal group harmony versions of standards from Streetlight, preceded by jazz versions of those songs. It’s not goodbye, just so long, as I’ll show up to help during pledge drives and hope to be called upon to sub for different shows, which is always a treat for me and hopefully for listeners. Tune in.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm DDT is composed of three veteran musicians: Dean Granros, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Tony Moreno, drums. At 8:30pm, a group of young and very talented musicians will perform. Hoaxer, which released their debut CD last summer, is Will Kjeer, piano; Peter Goggin, alto; Charlie Lincoln, bas; and Edmund Caitln, drums.

Sunday, Dec 31

Early & Late NYE @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5-8pm ($5 suggested donation), 9pm – ? ($20 Reserved on stage side, $5 non-stage) The Black Dog continues its tradition of a family-friendly early NYE celebration, this year featuring pianist Todd Harper’s Open Season Ensemble, with Aaron Kerr, electric cello, James Holdman, guitar; Chris Hagedorn, tenor; and Eric Couren on drums. After clearing the stage side, a jazz extravaganza will ensue, with a group of Twin Cities All-Stars featuring Dave Brattain, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums; PLUS special guests. It’s billed as safe and reasonably sane. This video features Steve Kenny’s Grou 47, with Will Kjeer, piano and composition.

Tuesday, Jan 2

Jon Weber’s History of the Piano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $25) Pianist Weber, who is now based in NYC, is a master of musical trivia, host of NPR’s Piano Jazz, and a regular visitor to the Twin Cities and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He’ll be performing in a number of piano styles to show how the piano has been used in music throughout history. Here’s a sample.

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 27

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This annual event is one of the few times that the Saint Paul-based Eddies cross the river to Minneapolis. Their appearances are even rarer now that guitarist Wyoming Brown (aka Paul) has moved out of town, so we’re lucky he’s visiting and we can hear their songs of life, work, and death, from traditional mountain songs to sea shanties and tunes by Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, and Billy Joe Shaver. If you’ve not heard them, tune in and head over to the 331 if you want to hear more. Listen to this example.

The Skruffians @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This septet will get you moving with their infectious blend of Ska, Reggae, Soul, & Jazz, featuring Todd Baer, trombone; Joe Mayo, tenor; Jared Jarvis, baritone sax; Brian Knox, keys and melodica; Park Evans, guitar; Tom Hutton, bass; and Rick Nair, drums. Hers’s a sampling of their music.

Dress Like Deano @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Have you got a plaid flannel shirt and colorful sneakers? Then you can dress like Deano – that’s Dean Mikkelson, a fine guitarist who always has equally talented sidemen when he plays in the the “Big Green Booth” at Dusty’s. Expect jazzy, bluesy tunes, with perhaps, some guests. Here he is with the Mill City Hot Club, playing rhythm guitar for most of the song and soloing at about 3:10minutes.

Thursday, Friday, Dec 28, 29

Lush Country @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No cover, but guaranteed seat for $15) Classic country sounds from Eddy Arnold to Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Floyd Cramer, from an all-star group of longtime Twin Cities headliners and A Prairie Home Companion veterans: Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, Richard Kriehn, Gary Raynor, Gary Rue, Pete Johnson, and Joe Savage.

Friday, Dec 29

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) More proof that the new owners of Dusty’s are sticking with what works (They’ve also added music on Wednesdays) So… singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Haus Is back, singing humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate, as well as an occasional classic rock song. Backed by her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar-meister Ed Petche, it’s an evening of highly entertaining performances.

Roots, Rock & Deep Blues 2018 Pre-Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/.$12 Door) What better time to get up for a summertime party than in the midst of a spell of below-zero temperatures? To entice you out, tonight the Hook features a group that’s been an RRDB staple since the annual event started – Left Lane Cruiser, the punk bluesmen from Fort Wayne, Ind. Another regular is Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, with their flat-out blues that would be a hot rod if it were a car. Joining in on the fun are Flatwater Mississippi and their psychedelic swamp blues, as well as Mutation playing metallic rock.

Saturday, Dec 30

Nooky Jones 4th Annual End of Year Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($15 Advance/$17 Door) 2017 was a big year for Nooky Jones as they sold out two consecutive nights at the Icehouse and co-headlined at the Fitzgerald Theater. They also released their debut album in July for fans who enjoy the band’s unique blend of soul, jazz, and undertones of hip-hop. Opening set by alternative should singer Jessica Manning, and between-sets music by DJ Keezy.

The “Committee” @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Maurice Jacox, Aisha Baker, and Deb Brown were all part of the Butanes Soul Review when it played at the Cabooze some 25-30 years ago, and recently for the 30th Anniversary of that group. They were also part of the Soul Tight Committee and the Lights Out Committee during much of the 90s. Tonight the three of them gather as “The Committee,” performing songs like Groove Me, Supernatural Thing, Rocking Chair, and other great soul songs of the 60s and 70s. Here they are performing in the Soul Tight Committee back when.

Sunday, Dec 31

Jaeden James & the Hunger @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. Doors at 9pm, music at 10:45pm ($20) This funk/soul ten-piece horn band has a high-energy attitude that’s almost punkish. They will surely ignite NYE revelers in celebration.

Joyann Parker Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 10:30pm ($30) Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Parker has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’ will ignite NYE partiers. She represented Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Additionally, her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society. Her versatility shows up in this duo setting.

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.

What is Hip? 11.15 – 11.21

November 15, 2017

What is Hip? Well, Tower of Power is here this week to answer that question, but you know that here in the Twin Cities, we’re blessed with a surfeit of hip music. This week we have a wide variety of music genres, from the funk of Tower of Power, to the grease of a couple of organ trios, to African music, Latin music, Grateful Dead music, and jazz with odd rhythms. It’s all quite invigorating, and as I’ve said many times before, Music Lifts Your Spirit. Get out and enjoy some.


Wednesday, Nov 15

Kandace Springs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Pianist and singer/songwriter Springs assimilates soul, jazz and pop while creating music that is distinctly her own. She started out in R&B/hip-hop, but found more comfort in jazz, citing folks like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, & Roberta Flack as inspirations. When Prince heard her interpretation of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, he invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th Anniversary of Purple Rain.

Also: Rick Carlson and Thompson & Magraw @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) followed by Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw at 8pm ($5)

Thursday, Nov 16

The Casualties: Bates, Castino, & Gastonguay @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) The band: JT Bates, drums; Chris Castino, guitar; Kevin Gastonguay, keys. Chris Castino has been writing songs for the Twin Cities jam band Big Wu. for 20 years. However, his latest songs have a folk bent. I assume we’ll hear some of them tonight.

Maryann Sullivan: The Music of Fats Waller @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Fats Waller had the ability to be joyful, irreverent, insightful, and slightly bawdy, which is why, some 80 or 90 years later, his songs are an integral part of the jazz standards repertoire. Tonight Maryann Suillivan takes on his songs, with the help of Ted Godbout, piano; Preston Haining, trumpet; Amy Golen, vocals; and Jim Chenoweth, bass.

Also: Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble @ Ives Auditorium, Burnsville. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($15) Jazz, Classical, and modern works from 24, yes 24 Trumpets!

Friday, Nov 17

Dorothy Doring & the Jazz Standards @The Undergound Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Ms Doring sings jazz standards accompanied by a quartet at this warm coffeehouse that serves beer and wine.

Nachito Herrera: Gershwin Meets Lacuona @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Herrera takes a mostly solo turn playing the music of George Gershwin and the “Cuban Gershwin,” Ernesto Lacuona, best known in the States for the song Malaguena. He’ll be assisted in a few songs by daughter Merdalys. I had him on my show this past Saturday to talk about the event. You can hear it at: The interview starts at about the 15 minute mark. Here’s what he sounds like with a trio.

Also: Bruce Henry and The Atlantis Quartet @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. Bruce Henry in the main lounge at 7:30 (No Cover) and the Atlantis Quartet in the Dunsmore Room at 9pm ($12, $15) Jazz for the 21st Century

Saturday, Nov 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm the JazzINK Youth Showcase presents the The Tamberwood Quartet: Charlie Menken, saxophones; Robert Dean, piano; Harry Menken, bass; Nick Adams, drums. They will be followed at 8:30pm with two sets by Chris Bates Red 5: Chris Bates, Bass; Davu Seru, Drums; Chris Thomson & Brandon Wozniak, Saxophones; JC Sanford, Trombone; Thomas Nordland, Guitar; and Steve Kenny, Trumpet. While the Red5 is expanded to 7 tonight, here’s a video of the group as a quintet.

Hecho en Cuba Opening Reception, with Charanga Tropical @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Avenue So, Minneapolis. 3pm – 11pm (Free) This opening reception for an exhibition of Cuban art is presented in parallel to the Walker Art Center who, and includes photography, posters, folk art painting, small sculptures ad more. Charanga Tropical will be playing music from 8-11pm and I will be spinning rare Cuban Vinyl before and between sets.

Sunday, Nov 19

Brubeck Brothers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 8pm  ($30, $35, $40) Dave Brubeck’s sons Dan, drums; and Chris; bass & trombone; join with bandmates Mike DeMicco, guitar; and Chuck Lamb, piano; for A Tribute to Dave Brubeck. Though the quartet’s style is “straight ahead,” they have the same ability to explore odd time signatures as the late pianist. All About Jazz wrote: There’s really nothing out there that comes close to their unique brand of inventiveness.”

Monday, Nov 20

Benny Benack @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) NYC-based Benack is a dual threat on trumpet and vocals. He’s played in the Christian McBride Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Sars, the Jimmy Heath Big Bandm, and Bobby Snabria’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. He’s also been the trumpet soloist on Josh Groban’s tour, and headlined Birdland alongside Anne Hampton Callaway, in addition to headlining at a number of the big apple’s prestigious jazz rooms.

GRAIN B3 Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Get your fill of soul jazz served up with a side of grease with JT Bates’ Trio: Kevin Gastonguay, B3, Zacc Harris, guitar, and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, Nov 21

Trapset @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Trapset w/Joe Wong feat. Eric Kamau Gravatt, Lori Barbero, Gordy Knudtson, Todd Trainer 7pm, no cover

Also: Harvey Diamond & Melissa Stoudt @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) See last week’s listing for Nov 12, or go to my blog.

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, Nov 15

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I bet many folks won’t wait to hear Parr on Hurricane Harold’s House Party, but will go to the 331early to get a seat. The place will be packed to hear Parr’s heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals.

Thursday, Nov 16

Sandra Bernhard @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45; $55 and $80 seats are sold out) This is a show that definitely falls under “Other” as the multi-talented Bernhard brings her observational comedy to the Cedar. The comedian/actress/singer calls this show Sandra Monica Boulevard: Coast to Coast. In its review of this show, Variety wrote, “…within every keenly observed pop-culture rant, there’s an element of piercing truth. Bernhard remains as brash and brazen as she was in the 1970s.” The following clip includes some words that are not suitable for work.

Friday, Nov 17

High 48s & Jillian Rae @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) The sprightly bluegrass rhythms of the High 48s will have you tapping your foot and nodding your head, as they sing of Bank Robbers, trains, and the vicissitudes of life. Jillian Rae’s fiddle playing and pop/folk approach to both classic rocks songs and her originals will leave you smiling at her talent and lyrics.

Grateful Dead Tribute @ Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7Advance/$10 Door) Deadheads unite! Dance and sway to Grateful Dead tunes and jams by JFLAD & Friends, Winterland, and headliner: The Shotgun Ragtime Band (w/Camile Baudoin of the Radiators)

Bobcat @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Bobcat is Bobby E, a great, but underappreciated guitarist, and Cathy Mosher, a fine singer well known for her Patsy Cline show

Also: New Riverside Ramblers @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) For all the Cajun Dancers out there.

Saturday, Nov 18

April Fools Album Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($9 Advance/$12 Door) This quartet plays a wide spectrum of music, from straight-up country to Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more. Besides Drake, the band includes Clay Williams, guitar; Scott Hreha, bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums. Tonight they’re celebrating the release of Colorwheel, their first release on Blackberry Way Records. Joining in the celebration are Rich Mattson & the Northstars, and The Magnolias, for a great evening of Minnesota music.


Saturday, Sunday, Nov 18, 19

Café Flamenco @ Park Square Theater’s Boss Stage, Saint Paul. 8pm Saturday, 5pm Sunday ($25) The basement stage at Park Square will become Flamenco Central, as the Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater Company presents a concert of traditional flamenco dance and music, featuring special guests including singer José Cortés Fernanez, guitarist Chuscles, and dancer Jesus Munoz.

Sunday, Nov 19

Blues Aid @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm – ? This fundraiser is for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, which are still in dire straits more than seven weeks after being completely battered by Hurricane Maria. This day is billed as an “Epic Blues Jam” with Armadillo Jump serving as the Jam Host Band. There will be a Silent Auction as well

Phil Heywood @ Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The Dubliner takes on an especially cozy ambience when finger-picking champion Phil Heywood takes the stage. In addition to his formidable talent as a guitarist, Heywood’s pleasant baritone will soothe your aches and revive your spirit.

Monday, Nov 20

Elage Diouf @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) Here’s a show for world music fans, as the Sengalese born singer/songwriter and master percussionist creates a blend of pop, world, blues, and asiko music, which has its roots in West African street drumming. He’s known for the warmth of his voice and his ability to engage audiences in his performance.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Nov 20, 21, 22

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $65, $70), 9pm ($40, $55, $60) This horn band has been delivering Oakland funk since the 70s, and no one does it better, whether they’re delivering a James Brown homage or their hits like What Is Hip, You’re Still a Young Man, or Down to the Nightclub (Bump City). Always great fun.

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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