The Heart of Winter: 2.1 – 2.7

February 1, 2017
It's Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

It’s Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

Happy February! Well, we seem to have gotten through what is normally the coldest week of the year without any adverse weather events. We now have a week featuring a winter carnival, the crazy (stupid?) Crashed Ice, and some great music. With temperatures above normal for this time of year, its easy to get out and find strength and inspiration in music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 1

Nellie McKay: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton @ The Dakota, Minnepolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $50) McKay is a vocalist/pianist whose charm, whimsy, and  satirical wit have earned her many fans among jazz, pop, and cabaret audiences. For this appearance she’ll be performing “A Girl Named Bill,” a “revue-with-dialogue” about a fairly successful pianist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton. Tipton was thought to be a man, and wasn’t discovered as a woman until her death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay.

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Talented trumpeter Zack Lozier has spent time in the Doc Severeinson Orchestra; The Jack brass Band, Havana Hi-Fi; Southside Aces, Davina & the Vagabonds and a number of other bands. He’s an in-demand kind of guy, who also has this great trio with Steve Pikal, bass; and Stephen Hobart, piano, the group explores some of Lozier’s favorite songs, including tunes by Louis Armstrong.

SPAT @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) A group of college age musicians that will likely be the next generation of star players in town: Sam Worthington, bs; Patrick Adkins, pno; Andrew Tomten, sax; Tarek Abdelqader, drums

Thursday, February 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features a great trio, Red Planet, a group that knows how to successfully create jazz fusion without bombarding listeners with overbearing drum beats. That’s because drummer Jay Epstein, whose background includes a stint with the rock band Gypsy, is one of the more tasteful drummers around. It certainly helps that his bandmates, Dean Magraw on guitar, and Chris Bates on bass, also have taste and chops galore.

Cox, Nichols, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Anthony Cox, bass; Bryan Nichols, keys; and Davu Seru, drums/percussion, have formed a group called Suffer the Children. They are three advanced musicians who can play it straight, or go out there. I suspect that tonight will lean towards going out there, which should prove to be exciting.

Friday, February 3

Davell Crawford’s B3 Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $40) New Orleans native and keyboard player Davell Crawford has become a favorite at the Dakota. He comes from a musical family, essentially absorbing traditional jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B in his veins to the point where he is the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition. Tonight, however, he’s heading for the Hammond B3, which should increase his music’s fun factor by several degrees.  Here he is on piano.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist/flutist Jana Nyberg has a unique take on music, effortlessly blending and integrating jazz and pop with panache and grace. She also happens to have a great band: husband Adam Meckler on trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as Sean Turner, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Rodney Ruckus on drums.

Friday, Saturday, February 3, 4

Todd Harper & Friends @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12/night, $20 for both) Pianist Todd Harper used to do an annual series with Carei Thomas and Paul Cantrell called Keys Please each year. This year, he’s doing something a bit different. These two evenings will be devoted to the compositions of Carei Thomas & Todd Harper.  Friday night will feature a quartet of Todd Harper, piano; Eric Coursen, drums; Aaron Kerr, electric cello; and Nathan Hanson, soprano and tenor saxophones. Saturday night will have two components: an exploratory/lyrical trio with Todd Harper, Eric Coursen, and bassist Keith Yanes, and the release of Harper’s solo piano CD, Metaphorsisis. Harper was my guest on this past Saturday’s Rhythm and Grooves. if you want to hear the interview, go to the link and click on the appropriate icon.

Saturday, February 4

Davell Crawford Deep in the Heart of New Orleans @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Crawford (see Friday, above) returns to the piano for this evening that will explore the music of the Big Easy.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Holy Shamoley, as cartoon characters sometimes say. Tonight we have The Atlantis Quartet, area leading lights of 21st Century jazz, as the opening act at 7pm. Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums, will have you alternately rockin’ and swingin’. Then at 8:30, The Ben Allison Trio, with Ben Allison  bass; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Allison Miller, drums take the stage. Allison has recorded eleven albums as a leader and has been a sideman on recording by folks like Ted Nash, Curtis Stigers, Frank Kimbrough, Lee Konitz and others. Earlier in the day, from 1pm – 2:30pm, the trio will conduct a free clinic on improvisation at the McNally Smith College of Music auditorium for high school and college-aged students and young professional musicians, and will include a live performance by Ben Allison’s Trio, and an interactive clinic with featured demonstration group, the Dakota Combo. Here is Allison with a different trio.

Monday, February 6

Bruce Barth Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner Show) Pianist Barth is a favorite of Tony Bennett and in fact, has accompanied him a number of times. Barth arrived in NYC in 1988 and soon joined Stanley Turrentine, with whom he played for over a decade. He toured with Nat Adderley, as well as Vincente Herring, and was a member of Terence Blanchard’s band, where he recorded six CDs and appeared as a piano player in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. He’s been recorded on about one hundred albums, including ten as a leader. The California born pianist has had extended collaborations with folks such as Tony Bennett,  Terell Stafford, Karrin Allyson, and David Sanchez. And he has performed with a host of other jazz giants, including James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and the Mingus Big Band.

Tuesday, February 7

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The always amazing duo of guitarist Dean Magraw and drummer/percussionist Davu Seru can be counted on to take you to unexpected, yet highly enjoyable music places.

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, February 1

Dan Rumsey on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  Dan Rumsey is a guitarist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist whose singing and playing evoke 70s rock and singer/songwriters. I’ll be hosting the House Party today, so tune in to KFAI and get over to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Erica West Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Take a soulful, sensuous singer, add in her guitarist husband to lead the band, and you have a tight unit that creates jazzy R&B and pop.

Thursday, February 2

Home Fires @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:00pm (No Cover)  Sarah Morris and Vicky Emerson are a couple of accomplished singer/songwriters who were scheduled to appear as the Home Fires last month, though Ms Emerson had to stay home to care for a sick child. The two singers have often appeared on the same bill and have a lot in common: both are excellent songsmiths; both have an affinity for Americana/alt country; and both can deliver heartfelt ballads and romping uptempo tunes with equal verve.

Jake Hanson Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Hanson is an inventive guitarist who makes good use of pedal effects to create surf sounds, Ventures music, blues, 50s rock, and more. He’s a sought after musician who has played with a variety of high-profile Minnesota artists, including Halloween Alaska, Mason Jennings, Solid Gold, Haley Bonar, The Pines and many more. It will be fun to see him playing for the Friday night crowd at Crooners. Here is Hanson in a duo setting.

Danny B. Harvey & His Cats @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7 Advnce/$10 Door) Here’s a night of rockabilly from Danny B. Harvey, best known as the guitarist for the super group HeadCat (a band he formed with Lemmy from Motorhead and Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats), he was also a founding member of the the original neo-rockabily band The Rockats. Danny has also produced, recorded and performed with Wanda Jackson, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Ramone, and Lee Rocker. Joining Danny on vocals is Annie Marie Lewis, niece of pioneering rock n’ roller Jerry Lee Lewis, and the daughter of Linda Gale Lewis, as well as a cousin of Mickey Gilley. They’ll be joined by special guests Noah Levy on drums and Tommy Vee, bass. I understand that Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland may join them for a few songs. The Bad Companions open.

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) This is a somewhat raw, but exciting 10 piece R&B/Soul band, with a leader/vocalist who brings on the energy with no restraint. They promote fun with a passion, and are certain to keep people from staring at their phones during a performance. They will, in fact, delight anyone who is into danceable R&B.

Friday, February 3

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) Ms Davina is a force of nature when it comes to singing, while the Vagabonds can match her note for note. With a repertoire that’s inspired by New Orleans, and a backbeat just made for swing dancers, I expect this will be a fun-filled show.

Ben Cook-Feltz and…  Friends? @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) This show will feature guest performances from some of the finest talent the Twin Cities has to offer, who happen also to be some of Ben’s best friends on the scene, including Jillian Rae, Sarah Morris, Mother Banjo, Doug Otto, Kari Arnett and Art Vandalay. Some will be sitting in with Cook-Feltz and the band, others will perform their own songs.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) R&B, Soul, Jazz, and standards from the under-recorded Maurice Jacox on vocals and occasional sax, as well as Thomas West, keys; Mike Cramer, guitar; and award winning drummer Robb Stupka.

Saturday, February 4

Saturday Salons @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The folks at Crooners are starting a new series for those who enjoy classical music, with the inimitable Marie Jette as host. This matinee series will feature a wide panoply of the world’s chamber music from early Renaissance and Baroque pieces to Mosart, Debussy, and music of the 21st Century. Today, performers will be presenting music from the Love Song Waltzes of Johannes Brahms in solos, duets, and quartets for four singers and two pianists. Today’s musicians are: Maria Jette, soprano; Victoria Vargas, mezzo-soprano; Dan Dressen, tenor; Michael Jorgensen, bass baritone; with pianists Mary Jo Gothmann and Tadeusz Majewski.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The State Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($29.50 – $49.50) Can it really be 50 years since South Africa’s Joseph Shabala had a dream about the music he would make with 8 other male singers? The deep sonority of their acapella voices, combined with their storytelling, dancing, and messages of peace, love, and harmony can still strike a chord deep within us. The membership of the group has changed over the years, as a younger generation replaces older singers, yet their message and sound remains the same.

Undervud @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 Members, $20 General, 4 or more/$15 per ticket) The wonderfully curated and laid-out Museum of Russian Art continues to bring in liver performers of all stripes. Tonight they’ve got the leaders of a popular Russian rock band called Undervud, formed in the late 90s by two medical students who quit school after a couple of hits and moved to Moscow. They’ve since recorded seven albums. This will be an acoustic performance by the founding members of the band. Opening is Roman Lugovykh, leader of the band Romario, which had a sold out performance at the museum in September.  Here’s Undrvud – the full band.

Mini Blues Fest @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 8pm ($??) It’s a midwinter blues respite, with an evening devoted to three different blues acts, Featuring harpist Paul Barry with his trio the Ace Tones with vocalist Lila Ammons at 8pm, octogenarian pianist (and father of Jimmy Jam) Cornbread Harris at 9:30pm and finishing up with The Cobras at 11pm, with Washtub James, aka Pat Dawson, bass; Elliot “Mojo: Harris, drums; Brian Duke, guitar & vocals; and Tom Ferring, vocals and harmonica.

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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Resident Talent Abounds: 1.11 – 1.18

January 11, 2017

musicians_paint_on_silenceWell there aren’t many visiting artists this week, but there are plenty of interesting gigs in both jazz and blues/roots, which isn’t that surprising, considering what an active music scene we have in the Twin Cites. There are new combinations of artists, special presentations, and even a retirement party for some blues musicians. Not that they’re leaving the blues, but they no longer have to worry about getting up to work after a late night gig. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 11

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Sometimes, all you need is a bit of swinging music to put some snap in your step. Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; can do that for you, whether they’re playing jazz standards or putting some swing to Chopin or video game music.

Jimmy Scott Documentary @ Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This 50 seat movie house is screening I Go Back Home, a documentary about the legendary, if under-appreciated Jimmy Scott, a jazz singer without peer.  Though he began recording in the 50s, he became a prisoner to a contract that kept him from recording for about 30 years. This film features appearances by Quincy Jones, Joe Pesci, David Sanborn, and others. Check with the Trylon website to see if tickets are still available. Here’s the official trailer.

Chris Bates Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever-busy bassist uses this monthly gig to spotlight one of his several groups, or to bring together new combinations of musicians to see what happens. Tonight Bates is joined by Thomas Nordlund, guitar; JC Sanford on trombone, and possibly his brother JT on drums.

Thursday, January 12

Andrew Walesch Big Band: Songs of Sinatra @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover, but you can reserve a seat in the stage area for $10) Walesch is a talented pianist and vocalist whose clear enunciation, and ability to swing certainly qualifies him as a crooner. His ten piece band features Bob Parsons, arrangements/alto sax; Dave Karr, tenor sax; Bruce Thornton, bari sax; Mark Bobnick and Steve Wagner, trumpets; Dave Graf, trombone; Geoff LeCrone, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein on drums. There’s often a line out the door for this show, so be forewarned that it will pay to get there early. Here’s a bit of what Walesch and the big band can do.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) First set is by the Julian Manzara Quartet: Manzara, guitar; Drew Stinson, bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; George Randall, drums. Second set by the Aaron Hedenstrom Trio: Hedenstrom, saxes; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars Erik-Larson, drums. Here’s Hedenstrom performing all parts for Dolphin Dance.

Friday, January 13

Jeremy Walker, Debbie Duncan Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Duncan – $10) Another double bill of jazz at VC. Opening the evening is pianist Walker, who is a prolific composer, having written over 70 pieces for the various small bands he leads, as well as a number of commissions and the evening-length work 7 Psalms for jazz combo and choir. Then at 9pm it’s Debbie Duncan, who has been entertaining audiences with her mix of jazz, R&B, and sass for decades.

Doug Haining Presents the Music of Horace Silver @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Back in the 50s pianist Horace Silver was one of the architects of Hard Bop, infusing the improvisational wizardry of bebop with the soulfulness of gospel. The result is now considered mainstream jazz, having outlasted and outgrown a lot of other jazz movements. Tonight, saxophonist Doug Haining is gathering musicians to pay homage to Silver’s music, which includes such jazz standards as: Song for My Father, Sister Sadie, and Señor Blues. Joining Haining are: Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Mac Santiago, drums.

Saturday, January 14

OUDYANO @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop ($10), 7pm concert ($15, or free with workshop admission) Oudyano is the duo of Issam Rafea, oud; and Steven Hobert, eclectic keyboardist. Rafea, a native of Syria, and Hobert, of Minneapolis, have discovered a deep musical connection that’s immediately apparent when they play. Those who have heard Hobert in different settings know that he’s always a sensitive improviser, and with Rafea, he has found a musical partner that shares that sensitivity. Their music explores all the potential that’s inherent in the pairing of Arabic classical tradition with American jazz & roots. The resulting music is delightful, and if there are any political overtones to their work, it is simply the desire for peace.

 

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) There is no opening act tonight, so the Solomon Parham Quintet will perform starting at 8:30, with a stellar line-up of musicians, including: Parham, trumpet; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Graf, trombone.

Monday, January 16

Paul McCandles & Charged Particles @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Back in the late 70s and early 80s, multi-instrumentalist/reed player Paul McCandles was a member of the original Paul Winter Consort and Oregon, both of which melded classical, jazz, and world music. McCandles still performs with Oregon, though he’s also managed a solo career, performing and recording with such stellar musicians as Jaco Pastorious, Wynton Marsalis, Steve Reich, Bruce Hornsby, the String Cheese Incident, and Bela Fleck.

Very Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) I may have missed it, but I’ve not seen this group listed before in any of the dozens of websites I check each week. They’re described as “an instrumental jazz, funk and pop trio” consisting of Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Monday, January 17

Butch Thompson @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm Solo on Monday ($12, $37 w/Dinner). This year marks the 100th anniversary of the first commercial jazz recording, so its only appropriate that the Dunsmore Room features Thompson, a pianist/historian, known for his elegant playing of early jazz pieces. This is the first of two nights at the Dunsmore Room for Thompson, who will be joined by Pat Donohue on Tuesday night. (See listing under Blues and Roots, below)

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 11

Mikkel’s Birthday Party featuring Jeff Ray on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Slide guitar master Jeff Ray has released 6 CDs and has made fans throughout North America andEurope. Tonight he’s joined by percussionist Mikkel Beckmen, who happens to be celebrating a birthday. Using just a djembe drum and washboard, Beckmen has managed to become a percussionist about town for a number of blues and roots performers, and as a result, is a frequent visitor to Harold’s House Party. Expect some of his many musical friends to be on hand at the 331, and, as he often does, host Harold Tremblay to sit in on harp for a few numbers.

Thursday,January 12

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This energetic, enthusiastic funk n’ soul band will turn the Dakota into party central. Vocalist Jaedyn James has a powerful voice and commanding stage presence, both of which are enhanced by the 8-piece horn band and two vocalists who provide the backing.

Dean Magraw & Dan Newton, w/guest Pat Donohue @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Guitarist Magraw and accordionist Newton could easily be placed under jazz listings, but the Aster’s website says this as a folk show, and the appearance of guitarist Pat Donohue certainly steers it in that direction. All three are master musicians, so no matter what they play, it will be inspiring and entertaining.

Friday, January 13

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The blues and R&B of the five-piece Armadillo Jump never fails to bring dancers to the floor. They’re a favorite at Wilebski’s and other watering holes in the area.

Captain Gravitone & the String Theory Orchestra @ Dulono’s, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) This Mankato-based sextet plays a combination of acoustic rock, gypsy jazz, tangos, and roots music, led by banjoist (is that the correct term?) Eli Hoehn, with a sure sense of both theater and a sense of humor.

Americana Showcase @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Not only is it Friday the 13th, but it’s a Full Moon tonight as well, so the Hook & Ladder has put together a quartet of roots music groups sure to make the evening memorable. They’ve got bluesman Bernie King & The Guilty Pleasures, the world-weary vocals and deft playing of  Doug Otto & The Getaways, singer/songwriter of old-timey sounding music of Jake Manders (of Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins), and those bluegrass funsters, the all female Beavers.

New Feral Cats @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This is the debut performance of this new group, which has arisen from the breakup of Sweet Tea. The New Feral Cats are a soulful blues outfit that includes veteran players with sterling music resumes, that include years with a variety of bands from across the musical specturm. Singer Sonna Olson sings with passion and grit.

Calientando El Bloque @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) This celebration of Afro-Latin rhythms will feature singer/songwriter/hip-hop artist Maria Isa, and Joga Bola, a new Brazilian project led by guitarist/songwriter Adam Levy, featuring Mina Moore and Karen Quiroz, vocals; Lucia Sarmiento, saxophone; Andrew Gillespie, percussion; Tim O’Keefe, reeds; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Charlie Peterson, keys Their sound is inspired by 1960’s & 1970’s samba, funk, soul, and psychedelia from Brazil.

Friday, Saturday, January 13, 14

Radiate! @ The Sheldon Theater, 443 West 3rd Street, Red Wing. 7:30pm ($18 – $30) It’s worth the hour or so it takes to drive to Red Wing simply to see the interior of the Sheldon Theater, a beautifully restored gem of architectural flourishes, ceiling paintings, and delicate plaster sculptures. It’s doubly worth it to see this unique show, described thusly by the New York Times, “RADIATE glows..making it hard to resist this sequined earth-mother’s soulful embrace.” It’s been a critic’s pick in the NY Times, Time Out New York, The New Yorker, and Time Out Chicago. The show itself is a musical about a mythical R&B expatriate diva, Jomama Jones, who returns to the states determined to awaken the ability in everyone to regenerate ourselves. Besides Jones, the production features a band and backup singers, as well as Red Wing High School’s Ovation Choir and the Red Wing Singers. The show’s creator Daniel Alexancer Jones, who performs as Jomama Jones, is a former member of Saint Paul’s Penumbra Theater.

Saturday, January 14

Westside Band Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25, $30 Advance, $35, $40 Door) During the 50s and 80s, EWF ruled the charts with their stunning R&B, selling hundreds of millions of albums, being inducted into the RnR Hall of Fame and eventually being one of the first bands to play at the Obama Whitehouse. With the passing of EWF founder Maurice White this year, Junior Trejo, leader of our own legendary band Westside, is gathering the band and some friends for this tribute to EWF and their positive message of hope and spirituality.

The Gated Community & the Skruffians @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Never mind that it’s the middle of January, the Skruffians will heat things up with the smoking’ sounds of classic ska from the 60s. The instrumental septet take their musical inspiration from the Skatalites, the band that backed The Wailers and other Jamaican groups. Then, at 10pm, a different kind of heat erupts from The Gated Community, an Americana septet that mixes country and bluegrass with a bit of rock. They recently released Country Hymn, their third album since coming together in 2006.

Sunday, January 15

Blues Retirement Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10) Though vocalist/bandleader Dee Miller has been retired for a while, she’s finally getting round to celebrating, and is doing so with a few other friends – Boom Boom Stevie Vonderhaar, Deb Frey, and Chris Bauer – who are now free to rest and/or do the things they enjoy. Of course, Dee Miller enjoys singing, so she and her band will be playing, with special guest harpist Vonderharr. They’ve also got the classic R&B of Who Nu on the bill, a band that Miller often sits in with. There will be a complimentary buffet, along with wine & keg beer during a 2pm – 4pm Happy Hour. Here’s an example of Vonderhaar at work.

Javier Matos @ The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. I mentioned Javier’s gig at Palmers last week, but this is such a different venue (and time) that it’s worth noting. Matos, an excellent slide guitarist and blues vocalist, will be performing in the Conservatory’s fabulous Sunken Garden. Though the Sunken Garden has few places to sit, the music will also be piped in to the Palm Dome and the North Garden. So… give your skin a break and take in the humid air of the Conservatory while hearing some great music.  BTW, Beer and wine will be available to purchase.

Tuesday, January 18

Butch Thompson and Pat Donohue @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner). Pianist Butch Thompson was solo on Monday night. Tonight he’s joined by guitarist Pat Donohue for an evening of classic blues, as found on their excellent album Vicksburg Blues. Don’t be surprised if Donohue sings a few songs and Thompson breaks out his clarinet.

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.


Much Music, Many Genres: 11.30 – 12.6

November 30, 2016

images-1The week ahead features music that runs a gamut of styles and genres, from jump blues to funk, straight ahead jazz, fusion, girl-group pop, and of course, some helpings of holiday music to celebrate the season. No matter what kind of music you prefer, there is no doubt that music can lift your spirit. Have a great week!

Jazz

Wednesday, November 30

Lorber, McLain, LaBelle, Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35), 9PM ($25, $30) It’s an evening of contemporary jazz and R&B, with Jeff Lorber  keyboards; Marlon McClain, guitar; Shaun LaBelle, guitar & keys; and Stokely Williams, drums & vocals. These happen to be four of the biggest stars in contemporary jazz & R&B. Lorber helped shape jazz fusion with the Jeff Lorber Fusion band. McLain was part of a successful West Coast group called Pleasure, which was discovered by Wayne Henderson of the Crusaders. McLain is also a successful songwriter whose tunes have been recorded by folks like the Dazz Band, Tower of Power, En Vogue, and others. Bassist LaBelle is proficient in various aspects of the music industry, from producing to songwriting, with a number of top ten songs to his credit. Finally, drummer Stokely Williams, a Twin Cities native, has been a member of Mint Condition for 20 years. Here are Lorber and LaBelle at the Dakota six years ago.

Sinne Eeg @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Eeg is a native of Denmark, where she is a preeminent vocalist. She’s also made waves in Japan, China, and throughout Europe. Her 2014 recording, Face the Music, earned her the Danish Grammy, along with the Ben Webster Prize, and the Prix du Jazz from France’s Academie du Jazz. She’s made a Twin Cities connection through the Peterson family, as both Patty and Billy have sung her praises.

Levi Schwartzberg Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The young vibist is studying physics at the U while maintaining a regular gig schedule with groups like Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, Sound Skirmish, The Charlie Lincoln Group and his own quintet. Tonight he leads a quartet with Drew Stinson, bass; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Tarek Abdelqader, drums.

Wednesday, November 30 – Friday, December 2

Martin & Doolin Twin Cities CD Release @ Various Venues ($ & Time Varies) Guitarists David Martin and Mike Doolin are releasing Dark Star, their third collaboration with five performances in five days. They started their “Twin Cities Tour” at the Icehouse and the Black Dog and continue with appearances at Vieux Carré (8pm Wednesday), Driftwood Char Bar (7pm Thursday), and Jazz Central (8pm Friday) The two guitarist/bassists produce guitar sounds that range from fuzzed-out to crystalline, punctuated with some funky drumming. Martin & Doolin will be joined by Jim Chenoweth, bass; Shai Hayo, percussion; and Pete Hennig, drums. Here’s the duo from their last CD release.

Thursday, December 1

Thursday Night Jazz: the Joe Mayo Quartet @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Joe Mayo has been steadily making a name for himself in town since he moved here a few years back. members of the quartet include: Mayo, saxes; Pete James Johnson, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar.

Horton, dVRG, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s another evening of adventurous music at the Khyber Pass Cafe, with  Joe Horton, emcee; Devon Gray, keys; and Davu Seru  drums & percussion. I don’t know Horton, who has emceed with various hip-hop groups and is on the faculty at McNally Smith, but both Gray and Seru are seasoned musicians who can play a variety of styles, including R&B, hip-hop, and jazz.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Cash only) Drummer Kogan’s 2015 album Some Monsterful Wonderthing, was a Top 10 Jazz album for the Star Tribune. The retired tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra has become a favorite at the Vieux, what with his mostly straight ahead jazz and a group of excellent musicians: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass.

Friday, December 2

Charles Lazarus: Merry and Bright @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 – $60) Trumpeter Charles Lazarus  of the Minnesota Orchestra, is a formidable jazz player. He’s bringing together a passel of professionals to inaugurate a new holiday tradition. They include Tonia Hughes and Bruce Henry on vocals; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; Davie Schmalenberger, drums; and the Lazarus Brass. As of this writing, the show is close to being sold out.

Saturday, December 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Yo Jimbo, with Jimbo Robson, drums; Jerry Shelton, trumpet; Steve Klein, alto; Jerry Benson, tenor; Brian Van Stavern, trombone; Ron Peterson, piano; and John Brown, bass. 8:30pm Steve Hobert 4 with Art “LA” Buckner, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano/keys. Here’s Hobert doing an improvisation.

Javi Santiago Trio: Jazz @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm master class, 7pm concert ($10 Advance or with workshop, $15 Door, 12 & under: Free) Pianist Javier Santiago  ill be joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums, to play the music of Ahmad Jamal, including songs from the albums One and The Awakening, as well as Jamal’s landmark album Live at the Pershing, for what promises to be a sweet evening of music.

Monday, December 5

John Raymond & Real Feels @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Minneapolis native and current NYC resident John Raymond  irst caught the ears of area jazz lovers when still in high school over a dozen years ago. The trumpeter studied with a number of area musicians before going to school at Eau Claire and moving to NYC upon graduation. Since then he’s performed with such significant artists as Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ethan Iverson, and Linda Oh among others. His latest CD, Real Feels, received a 4 and a half star review in Downbeat, and he was voted as Rising Star Trumpeter in that mag’s Critics Poll.

Monday, Tuesday, December 5,6

Christmas w/Joey DeFrancesco @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($35, $40, $75w/Dinner), 9pm ($25, $30) DeFrancesco  ad such a good time playing the Dunsmore Room a couple of months back that he asked to return. Jazz Times calls him the “Best B3 Player on the Planet,” which is hard to argue against.  The three-time Grammy nominee and multiple award winner will be bringing a funky, soul-jazz vibe to some of your favorite holiday tunes for this occasion. As in his last appearance, DeFrancesco will be joined by Dan Wilson on guitar, and Jason Brown on drums.

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 30

Lonesome Dan Kase on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) With his slightly crushed fedora, vintage suit and tie, fleet guitar work, and world-weary vocals, Lonesome Dan Kase embodies the blues of the 30s, though he’s in tune with contemporary times. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour, and head over to the 331 for more great music.

Darlene Love’s Christmas Show @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($57, $67) As lead singer for the Blossoms, Love  and her cohorts released a number of early singles, but mostly sang backup for a myriad of artists, ranging from Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley, to Cher and Aretha Franklin. She’s also the lead voice on such hits as He’s a Rebel, Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Heart, and on the Christmas favorites Marshmallow World and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) which she performed annually for almost 30 years on the David Letterman Show. She’s a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and is one of the subjects of the award-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” and has been an actor in the “Lethal Weapon” films and in such Broadway musicals as “Hairspray” and” Leader of the Pack.” Her voice is unmistakeable, and she has been rightly called one of the greatest singers of all time.

Thursday,December 1

Rena Haus @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) While the Twin Cities has a fair amount of very talented woman blues singers, few are as good at composing and playing guitar as Ms Haus, whose inspiration can come from daily life on her farm, outrage at politicians, or the need for companionship.

Pat Donohue’s Holiday Show @ The History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Fans of Prairie Home Companion’s former Guy’s All Star Shoe Band can once again hear the band while celebrating the season as guitarist Pat Donohue brings the band, now re-named Prairie All-Stars, along with Special Guest Butch Thompson  to the History Theater for one night. Joining Donohue are Gary Raynor, bass; Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Richard Kriehn, mandolin and fiddle, and Peter Johnson on drums. There’ll be some original Christmas tunes written by Donohue over the years, as well as some traditional music, and several songs from Donohues recent excellent CD Blue Yonder. Pianist Thompson will perform Silent Night in the style of Jimmy Yancey, as well as a couple of other songs. If you can pick up the latest edition of the Highland Villager, you can read a story I wrote about Donohue and the concert.

Friday, December 2

Erica West Band @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Soulful, sultry R&B, with occasional side trips into jazz and pop,  from vocalist West and her six piece band.

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) You’ve not heard old-time music sung and played this way before, with Guitarist Steve Kaul on metal bodied resonator guitars; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, djembe, and found percussion; Brad Ptacek on washtub bass; and the effervescent Jillian Rae on fiddle. Opening at 9pm are Kim and Quillen Roe of the Roe Family Singers, making this an especially fine evening of old time music.

Friday – Monday, December 3 – December 5

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (Fri, Sat, Mon $45 – $70), 9pm (Fri, Mon $35 – $60, Sat $45 – $60), 6pm (Sun $45 – $70), 8pm ($35 – $60) Tower of Power is one of the few acts that can fill 8 shows at the Dakota, and it’s no wonder. They are as tight an aggregation as you’ll ever see, bringing funky, soulful horn music to dancing masses since the 70s, with the leader and two of his original cohorts keeping things moving all night long.

Saturday, December 3

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Ohs started in 1977 as Flamingo, but the original Flamingos from the 50s took issue with the name, so the band became the Flamin’ Ohs, and became darlings of Twin Cities rock/punk/new wave fans. They were among the first bands to make a music video back in the early 80s, when it got played on this new cable channel called MTV. Since 1980 they put out a number of albums, split up at the end of the 80s, reunited at the end of the 90s, and have recorded and occasionally performed since then.

Hurricane Harold/Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Hurricane) 9pm ($12) Another great twofer night at the Vieux. Hurricane Harold plays harmonica, usually accompanied by Doug Otto or Jeff Ray on guitar during the dinner hour. Then at 9pm its a band that is getting increasingly glowing press for their funky renditions of originals and classic soul songs. Jaedyn James  s a powerhouse of a singer, and the 9 piece band and backup singers, are delightfully energetic, which they have to be, to match Jaedyns, energy.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($?) Saxophonist Clarke and his merry band of swinging musicians play jumpin’ jazz and R&B for dancers, with songs that range from Fats Waller and Count Basie to Fats Domino and Louis Jordan. Dancers will trip the light fantastic on one of the best dance floors in the area.

Papa John Kolstad & the Hot Club of East Lake @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Bluesman and swinging guitarist Papa John is in his natural habitat at Merlin’s, where he and the various members of the Hot Club bring some acoustic swing to the fore. Plus, you never know who will stop by and sit in. Bring an ID if you want alcohol, otherwise enjoy the TV-less environs, large selection of scotch and beers, and typical English fare at what many call the Best Neighborhood Bar in Minneapolis.

Yulefest IX @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 Donation) This is the 9th year for Yulefest, which The Eddies hosted at the Hat Trick in its early days and moved to the Celtic Junction a few years ago to have more room. It’s a musical fundraiser for The Food Group, with all proceeds (from entry donations and a silent auction) going to stock food shelves throughout Minnesota. Along with The Eddies, you’ll get to hear Patsy O’Brien, The HiBs and Barra for an evening of music and fun. The Celtic Junction is located north of University in the Midway area.

Sunday, December 4

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (No Cover) Sunday afternoon Charangas and salsas for aspiring and expert Latin dancers, delivered by a band that recorded their last album in Havana.

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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