Summer Songs: 8.8 – 8.14

August 8, 2018

When you play blues in the Sahara Desert

This week’s music highlights include visiting artists from Italy, NYC, Memphis and Mali, as well as some relatively rare performances by some resident artists, and a couple of tributes. We are lucky to live in an area with so many talented artists. Music lifts the Spirit!

Jazz
Wednesday, August 8

World Jazz Collegium @ Minnehaha Falls Park, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) Here’s a group that doesn’t play in the Twin Cities very often, so it’s a treat to be able to hear their blend of various world musics and jazz, especially in such a nice outdoor setting. Members are: Pavel Jany, guitar; John Croarkin, sax & flute; Dan Weston, bass; and Beth Varela, drums.

Days of Wine & Roses @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15 – $20) Jennifer Eckes & Arne Fogel tackle Broadway, Hollywood, and Pop Music of the 60s, from artists such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Barbara Streisand, with musical direction by Rick Carlson.

Wednesday, Thursday, August 8,9

Victor Wooten Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40) 9:30pm ($25, $30, $35) Bassist Wooten is a five-time Grammy winner, known for his solo work and as a member of Bela Fleck &the Flecktones. He’ll be joined by Bob Franceschini, sax; and David Chambers, drums.

Thursday, August 9

SongSister Sampler @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/valid Student ID) Dorothy During, Connie Dussl, & Vicky Mountain will be performing their best songs from three different shows of theirs: “Gettin’ Sentimental,” ” Girl Groups to Golden Ladies,” and their “Holiday Show.” They’ll be recording and videotaping the show, and will be accompanied by pianist Jennifer Parker, who may join them on some numbers.

Friday, August 10

Jana Nyberg 5 @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ms Nyberg, a fine flautist and singer, will be accompanied by Adam Meckler, trumpet; Sean Turner, piano; Kenny Watson Jr, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums. Here she is with a different configuration.

Omar Abdulkarim Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Here’a a line-up of great talents: Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Anthony Cox, bass; and Rodney Ruckus, drums.

Friday, Saturday, August 10, 11

Bobby Lyle’s Summer Jam @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25, $30) Keyboard player Lyle is a native Minneapolitan, returning home once again after previously successful gigs at Crooners, though this time he’ll be in the big room. The award-winning, platinum-selling artist will be accompanied by Danny Kusz, sax; Billy Peterson, bass; and Lyle’s fellow Houstonian, Patrick Williams on drums.

Saturday, August 11

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) JazzINK Youth showcase at 7pm: The August McKinney Octet: McKinney, piano; Carter Pearson, drums; Rodney ruckus, bass; Jackson Wheeler, guitar; Eli Zukor-Zimmerman, tenor; Sophia Kickhofel, alto; Leighton Tuenge, trumpet; and Eric Thrane, trombone. Then it’s Central Standard Time at 8:30, with Special Guest Rodney Ruckus, drums, Will Kjeer, piano; Dave Brattain, saxes; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass.

Monday, August 13

Music of John Abercrombie @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Tyler Wagner, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; pay tribute to the great guitarist.

Tuesday, August 14

Music of Lester Young @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) Saxophonist Dave Karr and guitarist Sam Miltich, along with some of their friends, will explore the music of The Prez, whose work with Billie Holiday and the Count Basie Band resulted in his being called one of the most influential saxophonist of all time.

Chris Olsen @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30-9:30pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Olsen is the guy many guitar students take time to see and/or study with. He’s solo tonight.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and some roots music. Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 8

Harrison Street on KFAI’s House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer Erin McCawley has a strong, inviting voice that fits in well with the other members of Harrison Street: Tony Houle, guitar; Robb Stearns, bass; and Bill Whelan, drums. Tune into hear em’ and head to the 331 Club to see em’.

Hula Peppers @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Music from the 20s and 30s, along with some Hawaiian string band music, served up with a dash of humor and plenty of talent.

Thursday, August 9

Dany Franchi @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5 Advance, $8 Door) This emerging blues guitarist from Italy has already been playing in major festivals around the world. His chart-climbing new release, Problem Child, was produced by Anson Funderburgh, with help from members of both Robert Cray’s and Jimmie Vaughn’s bands.

Friday, August 10

Fathom Lane, Interlake, and Maple & Beech @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance/$12 door) With three critically acclaimed albums to their credit, Fathom Lane, led by Michael Ferrier, has created a sound with touches of Gram Parson, the Velvet Underground and Tom Petty coursing through Ferrier’s songs. 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 acts are Interlake, which “takes its sound from the rush of NYC, the open roads of the Midwest, and the sunny coast of LA” and Maple & Beech, a 7-piece art-pop band.

Jaedyn James & The Hunger, w/Planet Pooky @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9PM ($10) With a powerful voice, a take-no-prisoners attitude, and a tight, 8-piece band, Jaedyn James tears up a stage with contemporary R&B. Planet Pooky opens.

Saturday, August 11

Blues, Brew, & BBQs @ Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Plymouth. 3:30pm – 10pm ($12 Advance, $18 Door) Music starting at 4pm with the Mooseknuckle Brothers; Miss Myra & the Moonshiners; Harrison Street; and the Alex Rossi Band. FMI, go here.

Pacific Island Night @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The evening starts with the music of the Lau Hawaiian Collective performing traditional music of Hawaii, then at 8:30, the animated new classic Moana will be screened.

Katy Vernon Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The ukelelist/songwriter/singer is known as a “singer of sad songs on a happy instrument,” but after a couple of trips to England, where Vernon was born and grew up, a happier tone has crept into her music, tho she isn’t abandoning old fan favorites. She’ll be accompanied by her band: Clay Williams, guitar; Simon Husbands, keys; Reed Pagel, bass; and Chris McAtee, drums.

Sunday, August 12

William Bell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($45, $55, $60), 8:30pm ($35, $45, $50) Singer and songwriter Bell is an original soul man who wrote Born Under A Bad Sign for Albert King many years ago, as well as his own recordings of songs like You Don’t Miss Your Water, the top 20 Everybody Loves a WinnerI Forgot to Be Your Lover (later covered by Billy Idol), and the Christmastime favorite, Everyday Will Be Like a Holiday, among others. He won a 2017 Grammy for his fine album, This Is Where I Live.

Tuesday, August 14

Janiva Magness @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Roots singer and songwriter Janiva Magness has released 14 albums since the early 90s, earning kudos as the BB King Entertainer of the Year, seven Blues Music Awards, and a 2017 Grammy nomination. She’s been lauded by Betty LaVette and Mavis Staples, as well as The Chicago Sun-Times, the Wall Street Journal, and a host of blues magazines.

Tinariwen w/Astralblak @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 Advance, $40 Door) While these desert blues artists were busy criss-crossing the globe to over 160 concerts in the past few years, the borders of Mali, where they grew up amongst goat herds and camels, was closed. As a result, Tinariwen’s latest album, Elwan, was recorded in California with a bit of help from some rockers while still retaining their signature sound. Afro-futurist/acid-jazz group Astrlblak opens.

For more blues (and some roots), the MN Blues Society has a comprehensive calendar. For all things Cajun and Zydeco, check out the calendar of the Krewe de Walleye


Air: Conditioned or Fresh- 5.30-6.5

May 30, 2018

With the unofficial start of Summer behind us, we can take advantage of air conditioned clubs or fresh air when going out, or we can enjoy the fact that it’s still light outside after early shows, and often pleasant when we get out of late shows. Music lifts the Spirit!

Thomasina Petrus as Lady Day

Larry

Jazz

Now through June 24

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Tues – St, 2pm & 7:30pm Sundays ($37 – $47, depending on date) Thomasina Petrus does an uncanny job of giving voice to Billie Holiday as she sounded during the last months of her life. She portrays Holiday as vulnerable and frail, yet strong and defiant. The strong, emotional production is moved along with the help of ace musicians Thomas West on piano; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums. For More Info, go here.

Wednesday, May 30

Bill Carrothers Solo Piano @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15 – $20) Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who’s been praised in the New York Times. He grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, close enough to visit every few months. He normally plays with a number of the area’s fine musicians but tonight he plays solo in the listening room.

Nathan Hanson/Chris Bates Duets @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Chris on bass, and Nathan on sax have known each other for 25 years. Never having done an evening of duets before, they’re going to explore music of the moment.

Thursday, May 31

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30 (Tip Jar) Six-string guitar master Dean Mikkelson takes over the green booth at this tiny joint to play some fine jazz and standards. He’ll be joined by Dean Harrington, another wizard on guitar, as well as bassist Tom Lewis, and drummer Diehl Gallagher.

Le Voyage @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Music composed in and of the moment, by Donald Washington, saxes and flutes; Matt Trice, alto sax; Dick Studer, bass; and Steve Hirsh, drums. Here’s Washington in a trio setting.

Thursday, May 31, Friday, June 1

Vijay Iyer & Teju Cole: Blind Spot @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($24-$30) The Walker, as usual, is staying ahead of the curve when it comes to jazz. For these two evenings they’ve got forward thinking pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, who is collaborating with acclaimed Nigerian-American writer/photographer Teju Cole in some interdisciplinary works.

Friday, June 1 

Zacc Harris Group and Skinny Kid Fridays @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) So tonight’s bill features a new band in the opening set – Skinny Kid Fridays: Eli Zukor-Zimmerman, sax; Carter Pearson, drums; Lasse Korson, keys; and Jorgen Linne, bass. Then at 8:30pm it’s the veterans of the Zacc Harris Group; Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, keys; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Franklin’s Revival Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a new group ready to provide a modern twist to some classic jazz, whether from the 19-teens, 20s, 30,s or 40s. It’s Adam Meckler, trumpet;Paul Fonfara, clarinet; Ted Godbout, piano; Even Clark, tuba; and Trevor Haining, drums.

Saturday, June 2

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s 7pm slot will be Inventions & Dimensions, a group composed of Chris Bates, bass; Joe Strachan, keyboards; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Larry McDonough Quartet takes over at 8:30pm to present: Alice in Stonehenge & Other Acoustic Adventures, with Richard Terrill, saxes, poetry;  Greg Stinson, bass; Nathan Norman, drums; and special guest Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Jelloslave Open Eye Figure Theater, 506 E 24th Street, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Donation – $10 & Up) Jelloslave is premiering new music as the featured ensemble for the American Composers Foru/m Showcase. New works are by Larry McDonough, Robin Holcomb. of Seattle, and Harriet Steinke, of Detroit. They’ll also be performing a work composed for them by Mary Ellen Childs, as well as compositions by group members Michelle Kinney and Jaqueline Ultan, both of whom play cello. The other members of Jelloslave are Gary Waryan, tablas, and Greg Schutte, drums. Make reservations here.

Jelloslave

Monday, June 5

Maryann & The Money Makers @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Maryann Sullivan’s mellifluous voice was once heard on MPR, KBEM, and other jazz stations, and is still heard from time to time on voiceovers for commercials. That voice helps her shine as she and her band take a turn through numerous standards with a small aggregation that’s big on swing.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, May 30 

Rockin’Johnny Burgin on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Traditional Chicago Blues from the hard-touring Burgin, who started out with the Tail Draggers in the 90s and has since become a leading blues star around the world. He does 250 shows a year, and is also in demand as a session player. He’ll be accompanied by Jeremy Johnson and Joh Medek.

Al Jardine: A Postcard from California @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Jardine appeared at the Dakota on the first night of this “story-telling” tour. It was a charming evening as the co-founder of the Beach Boys shared stories and music. Now that the show has been road-tested, he’s back, with more videos and presumably, more stories.

Thursday, May 31

Cash and Carry Band @ Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) R&B, blues, jazz, and pop from a group of seasoned veterans, including Rodney Wilson on keys and vocals andJmes “Jimmyapolis” wallace on sax.

Viva Las Vegas & The Nashville Rebel @ The Heights Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm (Viva Las Vegas), 9:15 (Nashville Rebel) ($20 for both) Here’s an old fashioned double feature, with the King himself starring opposite the vivacious Ann Margret in Viva Las Vegas. As with most of Elvis’ movies, the plot is thin, but in this one in particular, the singing and dancing are hot. It’s followed by Nashville Rebel, featuring Waylon Jennings as a country singer trying to escape his contract with an evil lawyer. Performances by Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, and Tex Ritter.

Thursday – Sunday, June 1 – 3

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm, The-Sat, 6;30pm Sun  ($15 – $25) Davina and her mad mix of New Orleans R&B, classic blues, and fresh take on traditional jazz has filled the club so much in the past that their debut in the newly enlarged main room has been expanded to 4 nights!

Friday, June 1

Mr Ray, not Mr Ree

Jeff Ray & The Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Friday evenings at the Kitchen may be filled with TGIF revelers and diners, but it will be worth it to hear the way slide guitarist Jeff ray brings new arrangements to old bluesy Americana. He’ll be accompanied by Harold Tremblay on harmonica; Mikkel Beckmen; percussion, and an as-yet to be identified bass player.

 

Jaedyn James & The Hunger @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul.7pm (No Cover) Spring Cafe has now replaced the Como Dockside as a lakeside cafe in Como park, and they’ve upped the music game at the Pavillion by having Molly Maher do the booking.There are still community bands, but there’s also a fine mix of jazz, r&b, and Americana acts. Tonight it’s the funky, bad-ass attitude of Jaedyn James and her cohorts.

Saturday, June 2

Spider John Koerner Art Reception @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (Free) This is simply described as a visual collection from the west bank’s most famous world traveler. (He’s also Palmer’s most famous regular)

Sweet Colleens and the Hounds of Finn @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance/$18 Door) Two bands provide a full evening of Celtic-infused, fiddle & accordion driven Americana and folk rock.

Soul Tight Committee @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This ten -piece band, featuring two horns and three vocalists plays lots of 70s era songs and others that will have you dancing in your seats, alongside the bar, and the dance floor.

Sunday, June 3

Grand Old Days @ Dixie’s on Grand, Saint Paul. Noon ton5pm (Free) The Annual gathering of beer lovers and others has a number of stages featuring music. The best of them all is Dixie’s, starting with Crankshaft, and continuing with Boom Boom Stevie V & The Knockouts, The Church of Cash, and Viva Kneivel.

101 Years of Finnish Music @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free) Whether you’re a Finn from the North Country, or discovered Finnish Music at the Cedar Cultural Center, you can hear popular Finnish songs from the last 101 years, performed by Pasi Lautala, Oren Tikkanen, Bob Niltunen, and Tim Havens, with special guests Erik Koskinen, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, Diane Jarvi, and Ralph Tutilla.

 Monday, Tuesday, June 4,5

Peter Asher & Jeremy Clyde @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40, $45) Asher is a multi-talented artist who has been involved in some pivotal moments in rock history – rooming with Paul McCartney, introducing John to Yoko, discovering James Taylor, producing a host of artists and serving as music director for a bunch of award shows, not to forget his partnership in Peter &* Gordon. He’s returning to the Dakota for the 4th or 5th time, and once again will change things up, this time by partnering with Jeremy Clyde of Chad & Jeremy, another British duo with some hits, such as the one in the video below. Always entertaining.

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.

 


Dancing in the Streets: 5.16 – 5.22

May 16, 2018

Baseball season is in full swing, trees have sprouted leaves, and lilacs are beginning to bloom. Welcome to a great season in the Twin Cities. Warm sunny weather is ideal for outdoor festivals and street dancing, and we have Art-A-Whirl in Minneapolis this weekend to help us enjoy music outdoors. See more information below. We’re also beginning to see young musicians return from college for the summer, and of course, some great visiting musicians to complement our own resident musicians. Get out and hear some music – it lifts the spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, May 16

Terrence Blanchard & The E-Collective @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) The last time trumpeter Blanchard & the E Collective was in town, they were recording songs in cities where conflicts have arisen over police shootings of African Americans. They chose the Twin Cities after the death of Philando Castille. Now they’re touring on the April release of Live!, which features seven powerful songs from that tour. They stress that the project condemns all gun violence, whether against profiled persons of color or law enforcement.

Pete Whitman Presents: New Boundaries @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Wednesdays at Jazz Central are a laboratory for new groups and new compositions. Tonight, saxophonist Pete Whitman brings a new group to the basement club, with: Omid Huttar, guitars; Javi Santiago, keys; Yonsathan Bekure, bass; and LA Buckner, drums.

Thursday, May 17

Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Vocalist Cardenas is doing  video tonight to capture her emotive voice singing There Will Never Be Another You, from her debut CD I’ll Be Seeing You. Here she is with an Etta James nugget.

Tyler Wagner Group @ The Underground Cafe, Saint Paul 7pm (Tip Jar) This is a group of talented, college-age musicians, featuring Tyler Wagner, bass; Will Schmid, guitar; Peter Goggin, alto; and Ed Caitlin, drums.

Friday, May 18

Triocracy @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Horn lovers will enjoy this show which features JC Sanford, trombone; along with Brandon Wozniak and Bruce Thornton on saxophones. Here is Sanford leading an Orchestra.

Saturday, May 19

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start off at 7pm with The Constellation Band: Ross Nixon, sax; Kelly Blau, guitar; Sid Gasner, bass; and Derrin Pinto, drums. At 8:30 it’s Davu Seru’s No Territory Band: Seru on drums; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; JC Sanford, trombone; Nathan Hanson, saxes; Pat O’Keefe, Bass Clarinet; and Scott Fultz, baritone sax. This is a CD Release Party for the No Territory Band, so they’re bound to be more energized than usual, if that’s possible.

Saturday, Sunday, May 19, 20

Freddy Cole @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm Sat, 7:30pm Sun ($45, $65) We’re talking jazz royalty here, as Cole is the younger brother of Nat King Cole, and though you may hear some similarities in the timbre of Cole’s voice, his style as a singer and pianist is all his own.

Sunday, May 20

Get Jazzed! @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 4pm-7pm ($50) This fundraiser for The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education will feature music from five young bands. They include three DFJE-sponsored combos of young people who are learning how to communicate and work together in musical groups, as well as the Dakota Combo, featuring some of the best young players n the area, and a group from the high School of Recording Arts. DFJE is raising money to send jazz artists into eight Saint Paul schools, where the artists will spend four sessions with school bands, introducing them to jazz and helping them improve their skills.

 

 

Jazz at Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6pm (Free) The Chris Bates/Bryan Nichols Trio starts things off at 1pm at this Art-A-Whirl gig, while the adventurous Gang Font is on at 4pm and Happy Apple at 5pm. Dosh and Porcupine will also be performing during the afternoon. Here’s the Gang Font.

Monday, May 21

Wall Smashers Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Steven Hobert’s organ trio in its 2nd show, with Hobert on organ, LA Buckner on drums, and Jax Ravel on bass.

Red Planet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Jazz rock without the bombast from /dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Tuesday, May 22

Maud Hixson: What Would Doris Do? @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) The music of Doris Day, presented by Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson on piano.

Midnight Love @ Como Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Wow! Some cool jazz at the Pavilion, featuring the music of Lou Donaldson and various and sundry hard bop and R&B tunes with: Greg Schutte, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Matt Darling, trombones; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

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

 

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 16

Rich Lewis Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Members of the Rich Lewis Band have been inspiring folks to dance for over four decades in bands like the Explodo Boys, Dave Ray bands, and GB Leighton, among others. They’ve an affinity for New Orleans music, as well as classic soul, Van Morrison, and others, which comes out in their originals as well as their choice off songs by other artists.

Big George Jackson @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Basso profound blues and boogie from the big man and his band.

Thursday, May 17

The Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Curt Obeda is a fine composer and interpreter off the blues, as well as an outstanding guitarist. The rest of th Butanes are equally talented, which is why they’re so often named the Best Blues Band in the Twin Cities. These Thursday night affairs are often filled with guests who drop into the club fro time to time. as

Thursday, Friday, May 17, 18

Marvin Gaye Tribute @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($29, $39) Vocalist Julius Collins is well-regarded in the Twin Cities music community forms work with Black Julius, Greasy Meal, and in a number of musicals. For this show, he’ll be joined by members of the New Power Generation to perform many of the songs that the late Marvin Gaye brought to us.

Friday, May 18

Ranky Tanky @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $37, $42) This quintet is based out of South Carolina, and performs the music of the Gullah culture of the Southeastern Sea Island region of the US. It’s not a straight recreation of the music, but rather includes elements of jazz, gospel, and R&B, while still repeating the music’s tradition. Pamela Espeland had a nice article about the band in Tuesday’s Star Tribune  Read it to learn how the band managed to reach #1 on then jazz charts within few months of its debut release.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 18, 19, 20

Art-A-Whirl @ Various Sites throughout NE Minneapolis. Various times (Free) It’s the annual art studio open house, where you’ll have hundreds of opportunities to buy art from the creative types with studios in old warehouses and other buildings throughout Minneapolis. You’ll hear some music in some of the studios, butAnchor Fish & Chips, Bauhaus Brew Labs, Grumpy’s Northeast, Indeed Brewing, and Pscho Suzie’s. Check out individual websites for schedules.

Sunday, May 20

Stevie Ray Vaughn Tribute @ The Caboose, Minneapolis. 5pm ($15, $20) Here’s A whole host of players are gathering for this tribute, including Pau Mayasich, Brian Naughton, Renee Austin, Craig Clark, Ken Valdez, and many more.

An Evening of Songwriters @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) If you’re looking for something a bit more quiet than Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute, you can check out this evening of terrific songwriters, including the literate Dylan Hicks, and the Americana soulfulness of Molly Maher, as well as the prolific Mary Bue and the well-traveled-among-alt-rock groups Todd Beeson, aka Marvelty.

Jaedyn James & The Hunger @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis.8:30pm (Tip Jar) Funk n’ Roll, Rhythm & Soul from the always energizing 8-piece band. It takes about a minute on this video for music to start.

Monday, May 21

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Arrive early for a lesson in the fundamentals os swing dancing, then use your new-sound skills to dance to the rip-roaring sounds of taxman Clarke and his aggregation.

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.


Music Unites Us: 4.11 – 4.17

April 11, 2018

Whatever your political leanings, there’s no doubt that news of the day can cause some stress. Well, it’s surprising how music can bring people with different viewpoints and beliefs together. Admittedly some of us may not care for one form of music or another, but we can often find music that binds us rather than dividing us. Here are some ideas. Music Lifts the Spirit!

PS: Jazz fans will note I’ve listed coming events in jazz for the next two weeks. Let me  know if this works for you, or even if it’s needed.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 11

Bates, Nordland, & Johnson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates once again explore his music with a new group. Guitarist Thomas Nordland and drummer James Pete Johnson will be part of Bates’ next effort with the group Red5, so you can expect stripped-down versions of those songs as well as other originals by Bates.

Thursday, April 12

Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Zuther has a warm, engaging way with an audience, due in part, to her training in theater as well as her hears with the vocal jazz group 5 By Design. She’s a fan of the Great American Songbook, but also throws in songs from her youth growing up on the plains of South Dakota. She’ll be ably accompanied by guitarist Joel Shapira, whose been doing a great job with other vocalists, as well as leading his own groups and playing a regular solo gig at Vieux Carré.

Friday, April 13

Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Het, drums; create joyful, intricate music that often has them (and the audience) smiling throughout a show.

Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The members of this quintet say they’re almost a Lou Donaldson cover band. However, they also cover artists such as Eddie Harris, Ruby & the Romantics, and Leon Russell, among others. With that kind of repertoire you can expect toe-tappin’, crowd pleasing jazz from: Greg Schutte, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Matt Darling, trombones; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Though the Aster really doesn’t have a dance floor per se, a few couples always manage to find a space for some easy swing dancing when Ms Lynch and her Fellows take the stage with vintage jazz, a bit of R&B, and her contemporary vocals.

Saturday, April 14

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7:00 Opening Set is part of the monthly series JazzINK Youth Jazz Showcase, and will feature The Dakota Combo, a group studying under the tutelage of Adam Linz: Leighton Tuenge – trumpet; Victor Imbo – trombone; Sofia Kickhofel – alto sax; Owen Finch – piano; Jorgen Linne – bass; and Nick Adams – drums. The 8:30 set is a CD Release Party for INCENDIOS, the new CD by Firebell, featuring the talents of: ​Park Evans – Guitar; Graydon Peterson – Bass; and Jay Epstein – Drums. Here they are with a tune from their last album.

Bruce Henry @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $15 for Guaranteed Seat) This former Twin Cities-now-Chicago-based vocalist will appears at Orchestra Hall on Friday night, but you can see him tackling jazz and the occasional R&B song in the elegant confines of Crooner’s Lounge.

Monday, April 16

Steven Hobert Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $12) Another project from the creative mind of pianist Hobert, featuring Hobert on the 9-foot Steinway, Pete Whitman, sax; Yohannes Tona, bass; and L.A. Buckner, drums.

Abdullah Ibrahim @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) South African Abdullah Ibrahim is an elegant pianist and composer, whjose music reflects what he heard as a youngster: traditional African tunes; gospel music and spirituals; jazz; and classical music. He was known as Dollar Brand before his conversion to Islam. He left South Africa in 1962 because of its Aparthied policies, playing in Europe, where Duke Ellington heard him and arranged for Brand to record for Reprise Records witjh a debut disc entitled Duke Ellington Introduces Dollar Brand. Ibrahim has since toured the world, and returned to South Africa after Nelson Mandela’s release from prison. Toniught, he’ll be honoring one of his first bands, The Jazz Epistles, which included trumpeter Hugh Masakela.

Emerson Hunton Quartet and Andrew Green’s Notet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) The first set is a celebration of the release of Silent D by NYC-based guitarist Andrew Green’s Nonet. The drummer-less quartet includes trombonist JC Sandford, who recently moved back to Mpls after a number of years in NYC, where he and Green were roommates for a while. The other pseats in this version of the Nonet will be filled by Chris Thomson, sax; and Chris Bates on bass. Second set, from the Emerson Hunton Quartet, is led by Hunton, a former Twin Citizen now living in Chicago. He’ll be joined by Chicago band-mates Greg Ward, alto sax; Ben Cruz, guitar; and Charlie Kirchen, bass; playing songs from all members of the band.

Upcoming Jazz

April 18:  Rick Carlson/Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré

April 19:  Adam Larson & Bob Bowman @ Jazz Central for an instrumental Thursday

April 19:  PV Glob and Muck Luck @ Khyber Pass

April 19: Beasley’s Big Band @ Wabasha Caves

April 19: Zacc Harris early show @ Vieux Carré

April 20: Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Jazz Central

April 20: Jeremy Walker early show @ Vieux Carre

April 20: Chronic (aka Kronick Quartet) @ Green Lantern

April 21: Amethyst 3 & Chris Bates’ Red5 @ The Black Dog

April 21: Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Vieux Carré

April 23:  Jen Shyu/JT Bates @ the Icehouse

April 23: Greg Byers @ Jazz Central

April 24: John Scofield/Joe Lovao Quintet @ Hopkins Center for the Arts

 

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 11

Mississippi Hot Club on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This quintet is a traditional jazz manouche (gypsy jazz) ensemble with two la pompe rhythm guitars, upright bass, and the lively improvisations from solo guitar and violin. Tune in, and head to the 331 for more music.

Corky Siegal and Randy Sabien @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) Corky Siegal was a member of the seminal, fun-inducing Siegal-Schwall Blues Band back in the day, but has since moved on to collaborations and performances with highly regarded symphonic orchestras, leading a chamber music group, Chamber Blues, and continuing to appear from time to time with his long-time musical cohort Jim Schwall. Sabien is a funky, jazzy violinist who is a fan of the kind of music made by Bob Wills as well as the Grateful Dead, so his playing goes way beyond that expected of a jazz player.

Thursday, April 12

Siama’s CD Release Party @ Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis. 5-7pm (Free) Siama Matuzungidi has released a children’s album entitled The Land of Yangalele. (Yangalele means Happiness in the Kikongo language). It’s full of happy, live African music, and this celebration is especially for kids and families. There will be snacks, prizes, instrument-making & more! A second party will be held at the Hook & Ladder Sunday afternoon.

Bettye LaVette @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) LaVette is a soul singer who interprets a song like no other. The three-time Grammy nominee, who has won a number of Blues and R&B awards, recently released an album of mostly lesser-known Dylan tunes on Verve, her first major label recording since her 21st Century renaissance after years of toil in the record industry. Here she is with a classic by the Who.

Papa John Kolstad and the Perfect Phitts @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) I wrote about their appearance on KFAI’s House Party last week. See them in a larger, elegant room.

Friday, April 13

Joyann Parker CD Release @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) There’s a bit of a buzz surrounding Partker’s sophomore effort, Hard to Love, the release of which is being celebrated tonight. Parker is a talented multi-instrumentalist and powerful R&B vocalist, who is versatile enough to sell out a number of Patsy Cline tributes.

Jaedyn James & the Hunger with Purple Funk Metropolis @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Jaedyn and her funk ’n soul band have been holed up for the last four months, coming up with new songs, some new band members, and new horn arrangements. James reports that the changes have encouraged her to show more nuance in her delivery, though I’ve no doubt her fire and the band’s intensity will still result in ecstatic dancing.,

Saturday, April 14

Lojo Russo @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Roots music fans looking for some live music with their brunch will find much to enjoy in the music of guitarist/singer/songwriter Lojo Russo. Russo played in a wide variety of bands in the Twin Cities before moving to the Quad Cities of Iowa/Illinois in 2005. Her repertoire includes Americana, blues, and roots rock.

Delvon Lamarr OrganTrio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17-$25) This is a classic organ trio that draws from heavily from soul as well as jazz. The Seattle trio’s debut album, Close But No Cigar was first released in 2016 and recently released nationally by Colemine Records, a contemporary soul/funk label from Ohio. The album is a fine slab ‘o’ sound, with songs like Al Greenery and Little Booker T revealing their influence in the title. Make no mistake, though, this is contemporary music, and as it says in the liner notes: All killer. No filler.

Sunday, April 15 

Phil Heywood & Tim Sparks @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($20 Suggested donation) Here you have two, count em’ two ,national fingerpicking champions on stage and playing both together and singly. No wonder Minnesota is known as a hotbed of fingerpicking guitar. Their repertoire ranges from American folk and blues to early jazz roots and brilliant forays into world music and a few well-chosen pop obscurities.

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.

Larry

Jazz

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.


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.


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.


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