Happy Snowfall everyone!
With the advent of this past Monday’s snowfall, we learned once again, that Minnesotans tend to forget how to drive in snow once it’s stopped in the Spring (see photo at right). Maybe it’s because many of us have come here from warmer climates. Or, to be as charitable as possible, maybe the slowest going among us have been in accidents before, or have recently experienced traumatic events and losses. My own theory is that weather forecasters and news directors are from out of town, and don’t have a history of dealing with snow, and consequently treat every snowstorm as a major event. To be sure, we have to be careful in bad road conditions, but we certainly don’t need to be discouraged from going out in the winter to enjoy music. After all, as Minnesotans we should scoff at snow. Enough ranting. Go out. Listen to music. Get your spirits lifted. Here are some ideas for the week.
Wednesday, Dec 6
Joey DeFrancesco @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($20, $30) Hard bopping B3 player DeFrancesco may be the preeminent organist of the jazz world. He grew up in Philadelphia, where Don Patterson and Jimmy Smith were influences, and put out his debut album at 17, which resulted in working with Miles Davis and, a few years later, John McLaughlin. He’s been recording and touring for almost 30 years, and is at the top of his game, now touring with a quartet (including a vocalist) in supper of this recent release, Project Freedom.
Laura Caviani Trio CD Release @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) While recording her recent CD Mysterious Thelonious, Caviani’s bandmates, bassist Chris Bates and drummer Dave Schmalenberger noted that she had a lot of original material, so they decided to record that material as well. The CD, Confluences, includes a suite of five songs inspired by the work of Shakespeare. I had Laura on my show this past Saturday, to talk about the CD and play a couple of tracks. You can hear the interview and the songs at http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves. The interview starts about one hour into the show, after the Leigh Kammen 45 of the week.
Thursday, Dec 7
Jennifer Lund & Lori Bloomberg @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Here’s a chance to hear some newcomers on the jazz vocal scene as Lund & Bloomberg perform an evening of standards. To add to the evening’s merriment, they’ll be joined by Vicky Mountain for a few songs.
Music Formally Known As Jazz @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) An evening of adventurous jazz, featuring some masters of the genre: Pat O’Keefe, woodwinds; Douglas Ewart, wind instruments; & Steve Hirsh, drums. The event is subtitled A Continuing Coversation with J Otis Powell?! reflecting their past performances with the late poet, which leaves one to only guess what musical paths the group will travel.
Friday, Dec 8
Javier Santiago Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($10) Santiago is an imaginative pianist who has been on a bit of a roll, playing clubs in San Francisco lately. Tonight, he teams up with long-time friends and bandmates Ted Olsen on bass and Miguel Hurtado on drums for Friday Night Jazz in Crooners’ listening room.
Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) We’re so lucky to have drummer extraordinaire Gravatt living in the Twin Cities. He’s a veteran of Weather Report and numerous tours with McCoy Tyner, and deserving of our support any time he plays. Plus, it sounds like he’ll soon be moving East, so here’s a chance to see him before he leaves. Tonight Gravatt will be joined by long-time musical partner Ron Evanuik on stand up bass; as well as Aaron Kippola & Dean Brewington on alto saxophones, and Solomon Parham on trumpet, which will make for an exhilarating sonic experience. Here he is with some masterful jazz cats – McCoy Tyner, Bill Frisell, and Gary Bartz.
Saturday, Dec 9
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This weekly series has begun to occasionally feature vocalists for the opening act at 7pm. Tonight it’s the Lila Ammons Quartet, featuring Ammons, who, in addition to being a fine jazz interpreter, is classically trained, and a singer of classic blues (think Bessie Smith and Alberta Hunter). Such an approach seems natural when you consider her family heritage, which includes saxophonist Gene Ammons as an uncle and boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons as a grandfather. At 8:30 The Ruckus Touring Group will play. Talented drummer Rodney Ruckus lived in the Twin Cities for a couple of years and is now based out of San Francisco, where he’s regularly playing and backing visiting musicians. This group includes Javier Santiago on piano, who has been traveling to SF on a regular basis to play with Ruckus, along with Jonathan Greenstein, tenor sax; and Jax Ravel on bass.
Nachito Herrera & the Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $45) Cuban born, Twin Cities based Herrera is a force of nature on piano, with outstanding technique and an improvisational mind-set that incorporates the music of Cuba, as well as jazz, classical music, and world music. The Universals reflect those influences, with the outstanding Karen Briggs on violin; Raul Pineda, drums; Mile Phillips, sax; and Cheikh Ndoye, bass. Their resumes include work with Stanley Clarke, Diana Ross, Chucho Valdes, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Kazumi Watanabi, and Randy Brecker, among others.
Sunday, Monday, Dec 10, 11
Benny Green @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. Sunday: 5pm and 7:30pm ($30), Monday 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) This hard bopping pianist learned from the best, having played in the bands of Oscar Peterson, Art Blakey, Betty Carter, Freddie Hubbard, and Ray Brown. If you want to be conversant in the jazz of today, you need to be familiar with Green.
Tuesday, Dec 12
Andrew Walesch Big Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No Cover, but $15 for Guaranteed Seat) Walesch is a fine singer and piano stylist who has a particularly good way with the Great American Songbook. He’ll be celebrating the 102nd anniversary of Frank Sinatra’s birth tonight, backed by a dynamite 10 piece band. His shows with the band often sell out, so get there early, or go to Crooner’s website to reserve your seat. Here he is with a more contemporary standard.
Also: Chris Lomheim/Tony Balluff Big Three Play Fats Waller @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim – No Cover), 8pm (Balluff – $?)
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, Dec 6
Javier Matos on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Matos is a guitar ace who can swing the blues, play searing slide guitar, and generally make you feel good as he performs. As Hurricane Harold says on The House Party, “You know the drill.” Tune in to hear him play live, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331 to see him play in person.
No Tent w/Reina Del Cid @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free, 21+) No Tent is a bluegrass band formed by Reina del Cid featuring guitarist extraordinaire Toni Lindgren, who plays in del Cid’s main band, as well as a rotating cast of characters from the Minneapolis-St. Paul folk scene. Together, they play a mix of old-time traditionals, bluegrassified covers, and a few roots inspired originals.
Also: Curtiss A & Dark Click @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Blues from the “Dean of Scream
Thursday, Dec 7
Louisiana Rhythms Christmas Party & Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11pm (Donation of cash, check, or food ) Eric, Mo and Karl may no longer be on the air, but tonight they’re presenting all the fun of their late, well missed show, only this time they have a dance floor. They’ll be hosting an evening of seasonal music done Louisiana style, with The Swamp Poppas provide the backup for guest stars Rich Lewis, Lucinda Plaisance, Max Ray and others. A feature of the night will be French and English recitations of “Christmas Eve on the Big Bayou.”
Friday, Dec 8
Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) An evening of R&B and Blues from two singers that share a musical mindset. It appears that both are appearing without their respective bands, though they are strong singers, so the lack of a full band shouldn’t inhibit them. Parker opens at 9pm, and Mack takes the stage at 10pm. Here’s Mack with her band.
Otis Redding Tribute w/David James Carlson @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Carlson is an actor, musician, and songwriter with over 500 songs and five albums to his credit. He’s put together a tribute/play about Otis Redding, the great soul singer whose life ended in a plane crash in Madison 50 years ago. Tonight he’ll feature some actors performing excerpts from the play, along with a full band to perform some of Redding’s music.
Saturday, Dec 9
Tom Hunter’s Blue Christmas @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Pianist Hunter can often be found at Willie Murphy jam sessions. He’s played or recorded with folks like Bernard Allison, Big John Dickereson, and Little Sammy Davis, and has toured with Mary Cutrufello as the opening act for the Allman Brothers. He can bring a soulful outlook to songs by Billy Joel and Tom Waits, and has released three albums. No doubt it will be a soulful, blue Christmas. Here he is doing an old R&B/Rock n’ Roll classic.
Trailer Trash: A Trashy Little Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) It’s about 24 years since Trailer Trash, those purveyors of honky-tonk, traditional country, and swinging rock n’ roll began this annual tradition of bringing their trashy view of the holidays into our lives. If you haven’t attended for a while, this might just be the time to dance, frolic, and take part in Candy Cane hi-jinks.
Also: Jaedyn James & The Hunger @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Horn-driven funk n’ soul with an attitude
Sarah Morris & Her Sometimes Elves Holiday Show @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) An authentic, powerful singer/songwriter takes on the holidays.
Sunday, Dec 10
Dan Rein CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 door) Dan Rein is the long time host of Century’s Song on KFAI, a world music show that truly lives up to the stations motto of Radio Without Boundaries. He’s releasing a CD, Just One Breath, singing the poetry of Omar Khyyam in Persian and English, accompanied by special guests Mikkel Beckmen, washboard; Liz Draper, upright bass; Adam Kiesling, banjo; and Andy McCormick, musical saw(?).
Stokely Williams Sonic Healer Tour @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($37 – $67) As the lead singer and studio drummer of the highly popular Mint Condition, the Saint Paul native has played to sold out crowds both here and throughout the nation. Now, he’s released a solo album, Introducing Stokely, and has mounted this tour in support of the release. Though he’s already played successful shows in Chicago, NYC, and Washington DC, this is a homecoming for Williams, who has resisted the music industry’s siren call to relocate to either of the coasts.
Tuesday, Dec 12
Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Asher has been touring with various versions of his story for about 4 years now. Though some parts are the same, he keeps things interesting enough to go back a second time to hear about Paul McCartney as his roommate, his ownership of the gallery where John met Yoko, his discovery of James Taylor, work with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and more. Plus, you get him singing his Peter and Gordon hits (with Gordon on video).