The Song Remains the Same: 1.25 – 1.31

January 25, 2017
Music may be the one thing that unites us.

Music may be the one thing that unites us.

Well, the new administration in the White House may be talking about, and making, big changes, but one thing remains the same: the quality of the music here in the Twin Cities area. Whether you’re concerned about the current state of affairs, or looking forward to change, live music will give you some hours of enjoyment and a chance to commune with others who enjoy music as well. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 25

Yohanes Tona @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Ethiopian bassist Yohanes Tona will be celebrating there release of 13 Months of Sunshine as part of the American Composer’s Forum Landmark to Lowertown Series. Ethiopia is the only country that uses the 13-month Coptic Calendar, and the album celebrates the sound and the equatorial climate of that nation. Ethiopian food will be for sale.

Leigh Kamman Interviews w/Mose Allison @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project will present at least four interviews that Kamman had with Allison during the course of their careers. The interviews are taken from tapes of Kamman’s shows that are part of his archives accumulated during 70 years of broadcasting. Selections from Allison’s recordings will be played during the intervals between dialog.

Keston & McKinney @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Here’s an evening of what sounds like adventurous music. Cody McKinney  bass/composition; and Jon Keston, electronics and sound design; present Sound/simulacra: A monthly series they describe as a “fateful and intentionally distorted” representational process. Sound/simulacra will bring together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal.”

Thursday, January 26

Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Sullivan is celebrating a birthday, and helping her out are: Phil Aaron, piano; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. It will be a swingin’ birthday party.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Featuring the WISE quartet: Pete Whitman, saxes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. They’re a hard-charging group of some of the best musicians in the area.

Friday, January 27

Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Kogan has been having a ball with jazz since retiring as the Tympanist at the Minnesota Orchestra. His two recordings show a musician that’s conversant in bebop, hard bop, post-bop, and mainstream jazz. He’s joined by Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Phil Aaron, piano; and Gary Raynor, bass. He and the band will also be appearing at the Winter Jazz Fest Sunday afternoon (see below for link) Here’s what they sound like.

Steve Cole Superband @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Saxophonist Steve Cole has been celebrated for his catchy singles, earning him the respect and adulation of smooth jazz fans, though he far exceeds the limitations of that term. He’s worked with artists such as Junior Wells, Buddy guy, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Carlton, and Boz Scaggs, among others. In addition to his touring quartet, Cole will be joined by Patty Peterson on vocals, and Ricky Peterson on organ and keyboards.

Somi @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27 – $37) Somi is an American born vocalist whose parents came from Rwanda and Uganda. After spending 18 months in Lagos, Nigeria, she recorded The Lagos Music Salon, a CD that reached #1 on US Jazz Charts. The album includes guest artists Angelique Kidjo, Common, and Ambros Akinmusire, and integrates jazz, pop, R&B, and her own insightful lyrics. She’ll be performing music from the album and previewing new music from an upcoming album about Harlem.

Saturday, January 28

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This performance is part of the Winter Jazz Fest, and features the Tommy Bentz Quartet opening, with Bentz, guitar; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Jason McLean bass; and Alex Burgess on drums. at 8:30pm The Ruckus returns to the Twin Cities after a tour, featuring Greg Byers, Cello; Javier Santiago, piano; and Rodney Ruckus, drums.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Former Minneapolitan Bruce Henry now lives in Chicago, which is close enough that he can get up here every few months. He is a master vocalist, with a voice that floats over octaves, whether he’s invoking Nina Simone, Al Jarreau, or Stevie Wonder. His musical imagination has earned him fans throughout the United States and Europe. Backing him will be Jay Young, bass; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; Dean Magraw, guitar; Sean Turner, keys; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Jesse Simon’s B3Q @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Jesse Simon has put together a B3 Quartet, hence the moniker. It includes Evan Benidt, tenor; Cole Mahlum, guitar; and Abebi Stafford on the Hammond B3. Their repertoire includes rarely heard hard bop by the likes of Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon, and Hank Mobley.

Saturday, Sunday, January 28, 29

Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival @ Various Venues, Downtown Saint Paul.  5pm Saturday ($25); 1:30pm Sunday ($35) ($50 for both days) This year’s Winter Jazz Fest is headlined by New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton on Sunday night, with performances by Patty Peterson, Jon Weber, Andrew Walesch, John Penny, The Dakota Combo, and more. Saturday’s events start at the tpt Street Stage, where film archivist Bob DeFlores partners with the Leigh Kammen Legacy Project to present rare and historical films, as well as interviews by Leigh Kammen from throughout his career. Later on there will be music at Golden’s, Vieux Carré,  and the Black Dog. Sunday features shows at various performance spaces in the Saint Paul Hotel. For a complete schedule, go here.

Sunday, January 29

Tuck & Patti @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 8pm ($30, $35) This vocal/guitar duo has been creating magical musical moments for about four decades. The extraordinary voice of Patti and the virtuosic guitar playing of Tuck crosses genres, and creates breath-holding, spell-binding moments using complex guitar work within minimalist arrangements.

Monday, January 30

Matty Harris Double Septet CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Harris is a multi-instrumentalist (mostly reeds) and composer who grew up in Edina and went to school in Southern California, where he assembled a group of 13 other musicians to record his compositions. Tonight, I am assuming he’s recruited Twin Cities musicians to perform in this CD release party (Vinyl also available). He describes his music as “somewhat avant-garde jazz-rock fusion,” or “psychedelic chamber jazz.” You can hear examples of his work here.

Tuesday, January 31, 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 saxophonist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton, who wasn’t discovered to be a woman until his death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay. Here’s an example of her satire.

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 25

LukeWarm and the Cool Hands on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Pickin’ and Grinnin’ from a six-piece string band that’s been entertaining folks with bluegrass/folksy/jugband sounds since 2009.

Dieselfitters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm Rootsy rock, rockabilly, vintage country, and rhythm and blues, fired up by Clay Williams dazzling guitar work, and built on the sold foundation of Dan Peterson’s bass; and Mike Sandell on drums.

Thursday, January 26

FireFall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) With a musical history that spans four decades, FireFall has had three gold albums, two Platinum albums, and eleven chart-topping singles, bringing mellow rock and country rock to fans around the world.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) This quintet plays the highly infectious music of Southern Louisiana, from R&B to Cajun & Zydeco, delivered by Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Dick Danaher, sax & rub board; Dehl Gallagher, drums; Rusty Jones, bass; and Tim Mauseth, guitars; for dancers of varying stripes.

Friday, January 27

Jayanthi Kyle @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a real treat. Kyle is a terrific gospel and soul singer who has been heard around town in a number of bands, including Black Audience, and Gospel Machine, while also singing backup for Romantica and Ben Kyle. She and guitarist We Burdine composed a song entitled “Hand in Hand” for the Million Artist Movement that has since become the unofficial anthem of the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter movement.

The Dead of Winter @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($98 Advance/$10 Door) Deadheads Unite! It’s an evening of psychedelic and Grateful Dead music, featuring the Jef Cierniak Triptet. Cierniak spent 8 months working with Grateful Dead keyboard player Vince Welnick and also played on two tours with Melvin Seals and JGB (The Jerry Garcia Band). The show also features The Jones Gang  a GD Tribute band since 1996; and LazyLightning420  featuring Erik Berry of Trampled By Turtles, and March Gartman of Two Many Banjos and Glitteratti. They often perform entire Grateful Dead concerts.

Saturday, January 28

Malamanya and Siama Matuzungidi @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Here’s an evening of music that is anything but Minnesotan, though it is made by Minnesotans. Siama Mtuzungidi is a Congolese guitarist now living in the Twin Cities, who played on many Souskous hits in Africa. Malamanya features the highly danceable vintage sound of Cuban and Latin rhythms and melodies, delivered with verve and élan.

Charles Lawson w/John Beach & Mary Leinfelder @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson continues his monthly residency at the comfortable, Irish pub. Tonight, he and his band will have a couple of special guests: Twin Cities legend, pianist John Beach; and vocalist Mary Leinfelder, a strong performer who is happy just sitting in with area bands from time to time.

Samba Social Club @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10-pm ($5) Dance lesson, prizes, and the twelve-piece Samba Meu band playing Brazilian roots music. Squirrel Haus Arts isn’t a bar, so it’s BYOB (alcoholic or not). You can chill out or dance.

Inside straight Blues Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free drink) Inside Straight has been around for decades, bringing the blues to the metro area and occasionally beyond. Members include: Kurt Koehler on Guitar; Bill Swanson on Keys;’ Mark Zmuda on Bass; and Greg Mans on Drums. Tonight they’ll be joined by the Big Horns: Steve Clarke and Rand Evenson.

Monday, January 30

Tom Hunter @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Pianist Tom Hunter’s background includes recording and touring with Bernard Allison, as well as touring with Mary Cutrufello in support of an Allman Brothers Tour. A hard working musician, Hunter plays about 300 gigs a year, including a weekly church gig at United Methodist Church in Minnetonka. He’s versatile enough to play jazz or Billy Joel, but his forte is the blues. Hunter will be taking off on a weeklong tour of Alaska tomorrow, so stop by and wish him well.

Tuesday, January 31

Beijing Bamboo Orchestra @ Sundlin Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free, Reservations required) Here’s a very unique concert, being held in the music hall of Hamline University. Over twenty musicians will perform Chinese and western classical music on newly invented strings, winds, and percussion instruments all made of bamboo. For reservations: yyou@hamline.edu or call 651-523-2459. Here’s a video – it takes about a minute to get to the music.

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.


Resolved – More Music: 1.4 – 1.10

January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!

img4170-800x400While January 1 may not have been much different than December 31, the act of marking time gives us a chance to reflect and perhaps start anew. Whether you are embracing or resisting change, or resolving to make life better, music will always serve to lift your spirits. If you’ve resolved to go out and hear more music this year, there are some great options for the next week from visiting and resident artists alike. After all, music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 4

Dick Oatts Quartet @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45 Dinner) Iowa-born and raised, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts began his professional music career in the Twin Cities in 1972, and moved to NYC in 1977 where he became a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He has since worked with such big bands as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, as well as those led by Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, and Gunther Schuller. Oatts has also recorded and toured with small groups led by Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Mel Lewis, Jerry Bergonzi, Fred Hersch, and others, and has a dozen and a half albums as a leader. Oatts is being backed by a stellar line-up of Bill Carrothers, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Joe Pulice, drums.

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Ms Lynch has been a regular a Vieux Carré for a few months now, and just had a sold out dinner show there for New Years Eve. Tonight, those who rarely cross the river to the capitol can see the bassist and her estimable cohorts in Minneapolis, performing music from the 30s to the 50s. Some folks may even dance in the aisles.

Lincoln, Schwartzberg, & Healy @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Young bassist Charlie Lincoln still has a few days left before he returns to Berklee to continue his studies, and he’s squeezing in a few more gigs, including this one with fellow Dakota Combo alum Levi Schwartzberg on vibes, and drummer Cory Healy, who can be seen leading his own group, The Beautiful Sunshine Band (see Saturday listing) and playing in others around town.

Thursday, January 5

Moonlight Serenaders @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8 Cash) Start your new year swingin’ with a visit to the Wabasha Caves, where the 16-piece big band of the Moonlight Serenaders, featuring Lee Engele on vocals, will provide the rhythms for dancers of all ages in a venue with a haunted past, inexpensive drinks. Arrive early for some preliminary lessons, and don’t wear sneakers.

Sarah M. Greer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The estimable vocalist Ms Greer teams up with the very talented bassist Mr Cox, for an evening that’s sure to be filled with musical surprises.

Ruckus: Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Powerhouse drummer and multi-instrumentalist Rodney Ruckus presents two different sets of music. The first from an ensemble called Ruckus Hip-Hop Jazz, featuring: Arthur LA Buckner on drums; Russell Evans, piano; Rob Coleman, keyboards; Omid Huttar, guitar; Excel, MC; and CJ Pitts, on vocals. Then he presents a trio with Ruckus, drums; Greg Byers, electric cello; and Javier Santiago, piano.

Friday, January 6

Bass Camp Concert @ Walker West Academy, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 Suggested Donation) The Twin Cities Bass Camp is having a Winter Workshop through the weekend, and tonight they have an opening concert with resident bassist Doan Roessler performing his own compositions and improvisations both alone and with longtime musical partner Nathan Hanson on sax. The second set of the evening will feature bassist Etienne Lafrance  of Quebec, playing his own compositions, as well as music from Ravel, Fauré, Telemann and Rabbath, accompanied by Craig Randal Johnson on piano. Here’s Roessler & Hanson from a few years ago.

Judi Vinar & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but a guaranteed seat in the front lounge for $10) Vinar is a vocalist who can sing just about any style, believing that a good song is a good song, no matter what. She’s sung with the Wolverines Big band and other orchestras, was a member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, and led the voice department at McNally Smith for 15 years. She’ll be joined by Rick Carlson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jendeen Forberg, drums. Here she is a few years ago with the Wolverines Big Band.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Sourcecode @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) If you’re looking for the ultimate in post-bop, modern jazz, then head over to Jazz Central, where master drummer Gravatt will hold forth with his group Sourcecode. Gravatt has played with the absolute best in the business, from Pharaoh Sanders to Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus and Hank Mobley, to Roy Hargrove, Donny Hathaway, and Derrick Trucks.

Jack Courtwright Quartet @ Jazz Central, 10pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Stick around after hearing Eric Kamau Gravatt, or simply show up for the Jazz Central late show featuring emerging artists. Tonight, you can hear young trombonist Jack Courtwright, home for the holidays from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Courtwright was the winner of the 2016 Carl Fontana Trombone Competition held by the International Trombone Association, and spent last summer honing his chops on a cruise ship. He’ll be accompanied by Will Schmid, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Ben Erlich, drums.

Saturday, January 7

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kenny continues to bring in interesting combinations of groups each Saturday, often pairing experimenters and main stream groups, or, as he’s done tonight, young turks and veterans. Things start off at 7pm with the Will Schmid/Greg Lewis Quartet: Will Schmid, guitar; Greg Lewis, the veteran of the group, on trumpet; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Caitlin, drums. Then Paul Harper and his quartet of veterans take the stage, with: Harper on saxophones; Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Cory Healy’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop; 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Before moving to the Twin Cities about three years ago, drummer Cory Healy had worked and collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Dr. Lonnie Smith, John Abercrombie, and Fareed Haque’s Flat Earth Ensemble. Since moving here, he’s also worked with Dosh, Marijuana Deathsquads, Anthony Cox and a bevy of jazz aggregations. Healy and the Beautiful Sunshine Band released an album earlier this year that showcases their ability to go from bop to abstract jazz, with traces of metal, and a bit of contemporary rock. Healy leads the band: Erik Fratzke, bass; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; and Zacc Harris, guitar and effects. Arrive for the workshop on improvising with drums and electronics, and you get both the workshop and the concert for $10. Here’s a track from their album.

Sunday, January 8

Anthony Cox Trio @ Walker West Music Academy, Saint Paul. 3:30pm ($15 Suggested Donation) The final concert of the Twin Cities Bass Workshop feature our own resident artist Anthony Cox  who has gained much respect playing with Dewey Redman, John Scofield, Pat Methany, Ed Blackwell, Joe Lovano and other masters. Tonight the bassist is playing with Brandon Wozniak, sax, and the seemingly ubiquitous Dave King on drums.

Tuesday, January 10

Mary Louise Knutson/Phil Aaron Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Knutson, no cover), 8pm (Aaron, $5) It a treat for those who love jazz piano, as Mary Louise Knutson sits down and plays for the dinner hour. The award-winning pianist is Doc Severinson’s go-to pianist for many of his tours, and, with a warm, nimble, and imaginative touch, a formidable pianist in her own right. At 8pm it’s the Phil Aaron Trio, with Aaron, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. The ever tasteful Aaron is an Emmy winning composer who has created scores and soundtracks for films, television and advertising. He often has a light touch, and creates beautiful improvisatory lines while also excelling in hard-charging aggregations.  Here’s Phil with a different trio.

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 4

The Fiddle Heirs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) some people believe you can never have too many fiddles and this group is out to prove them right. Consider the band’s members, all of whom play varying types of fiddles: Justin Bruhn (Pert Near Sandstone, Pocahontas County); Jillian Rae (Brass Kings, Corpse Reviver, her own band); Ryan Young (Trampled by Turtles, Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, Pert Near Sandstone); and Chris Forberg (Kind Country, Boys in the Barrels). As a special added attraction, they will be joined by Nate Sipe, of Pert Near Sandstone, who relocated to California a few years ago and rarely makes it to the Twin Cities. Tune in to KFAI at 5 o’clock to hear them and then head over to the 331 Club to see and hear more.

Thursday, January 5

The Home Fires @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) Sarah Morris and Vicky Emerson are a couple of accomplished singer/songwriters who have worked together on double bills and have decided join forces on this project. They 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. I believe this is their first appearance as the Home Fires.  Here’s a ballad by Emerson.

Friday, January 6

Trailer Trash: It’s Still A Free Country @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 – $10) For the first Freewheelin’ Friday of the year, KFAI deejay Jackson Buck is bringing in these veteran musicians, who have been making rockin’ honky tonk, and putting a country spin on blues, R&B, and rock n’ roll, for 22 years. Trailer Trash attracts dancers of all types, and The Hook & Ladder has the requisite room to accommodate them as well as non-dancing fans.

Detroit Don King @ The Black Dog Bar & Restaurant, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Gritty, industrial strength blues, with a touch of soul, from King, guitar & vocals, Jeff Hester, guitar; Dan Emerson, bass; Dan Emerson, bass; Doug Hill, drums; and Tall Paul, sax.

Joyann Parker @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) If you didn’t catch her at the packed Vieux Carré for New Year’s, here’s your chance to catch the soulful Ms Parker in a more modest setting (some would call it a dive bar, but it’s much too clean for that).

Right Track Funky Soul Party @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) The funky yet warm environment of the Dubliner Pub is the setting for this vinyl dance party hosted by spinmeisters Brian Engel and Ben Mena.

Saturday, January 7

April Fools @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Guitarist Brian Drake had a bunch of songs he wanted to record, so he reached out to some players and lo and behold, The April Fools was born. This talented group plays a wide spectrum of music, from straight-up country to Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more. Besides Drake, the band includes Clay Williams, guitar; Scott Hreha, bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums.

Javier Matos @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Javier Matos is a solid bluesman who can play bottleneck slide with utmost authority, swing some blues when called for, and deliver soulful vocals with ease.

Sunday, January 8

Charlie Parr w/Mother Banjo @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bluesman Charlie Parr is starting a month long residency Sundays in January. Aside from bringing his unique perspective on the blues, Parr will have a special guest each week. Tonight it’s Mother Banjo, aka Ellen Stanley, who will be accompanied by her usual cohorts: Dan Gaardner on guitar, and Ben Cook-Feltz on piano. There will likely be some collaboration between Parr and Mother Banjo by the end of the evening

Sunday, Monday, January 8, 9

Peter Asher’s Musical Memoir @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35, $45) Asher is a regular Forrest Gump of the music industry: as a child he acted in a film with Claudette Colbert; as a teen he roomed with Paul McCartney, and then became a worldwide star as a member of Peter and Gordon; he owned the art gallery where John met Yoko; and went on to produce and manage James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, as well as produce albums by a number of superstars including the 2014 Grammy winning CD by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; and much, much more…  He tells his tale (and sings) in a charming multi-media presentation that includes film, video, and photos from his personal archive.

Monday, January 9

All-Purpose Cajun Band @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($8) Time to break out the dancing shoes, as Shawn Glidden, accordion; AJ Srubas, fiddle and steel; Marie Stier and Gary Powell, fiddles; Dehl Gallagher, drums; and Vaughn Asselstine, bass; play cajun favorites.

 

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.


Solstice Music and More: 12.14 – 12.20

December 14, 2016
Druids celebrating the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Druids celebrating the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

We are in the midst of the holiday season: Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mayans, Buddhists, Muslims, Native Americans Neopagans, and Zoroastrians all have some significant celebrations during this month. In fact, this coming Tuesday is Solstice, which has been celebrated in various ways since before the time of Christ. Whether or not you celebrate a holiday, anyone who appreciates the power of music has plenty to celebrate, as this sample of musical happenings demonstrates. Music lifts the Spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, December 14

BZ3 Organ Trio Holiday Show @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 door) Git down, Santa! You say you’re looking for a holiday show that’s a bit out of the ordinary? Well, Brian Ziemniak, B3 organ; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington, drums; have just the thing: funky, greasy, soul jazz versions of your favorite holiday tunes and even some that are unfamiliar, like a James Brown tune. To help them present this funk filled night they’ve enlisted vocalists Maurice Jacox, Deb Brown, and Jody Hanks.

Randy Sabien Holiday CD Release Party @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Renowned violinist Sabien can be bluesy, jazzy, swingin’ and funky. He’s got a new holiday CD entitled, Meet Me under the Misteltoe, and he’s celebrating its release tonight. Joining him will be Gary Raynor, bass; Greg Byers, cello; Andy Dee and Dan Caton, guitars; Ben Kroeger, violin; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; and special guest Erin Schwab on vocals! Here he is doing a Grateful Dead tune.

Joe Strachan Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) Pianist Joe Strachan is proving to be a versatile performer. He plays salsa and charangas with Charanga Tropical – even traveled to Cuba with them; has laid down some Afrobeats with area bands, and of course, plays some mighty fine jazz in groups like the Adam Meckler Orchestra and Pete Whitman’s X-tet. Tonight he’s got a trio with Ted Olson, bass; and Patrick Marshke, drums. Here’s Joe with a different trio.

Thursday, December 15

Thursday Night Jazz:Hip-Hop Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Young drum master, multi-instrumentalist, and fireplug Rodney Ruckus has put together a show featuring two bands led by fellow drummer LA Buckner and himself. I don’t know who is playing in which band, but the line-up includes CJ Pitts, vocals; Russell Evans, piano Rob Coleman, aux piano; Omid Huttur, guitar; Jax Reval, bass, Javier Santiago, piano; and Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet. Sound like an evening featuring new approaches to jazz. Here’s Buckner on drums, and Ruckus on piano.

The Holiday FUN Show w/Cardenas, Zuther, & Carey @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) It’s Vocal Night at Jazz Central, and Katia Cardenas,  Sheridan Zuther, and Nicole Carey have put together a special show featuring touching holiday stories, delightful sing-alongs, inspired solos, and exquisite harmonies. With accompaniment by pianist Ted Godbout and bassist Andrew Foreman, and the additional enticement of holiday treats and a hot cocoa “bar!” Light food and beverage will also be available for purchase from Vanessa.

Aaron, Cox, & Hey @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Three fine musicians gather for an evening of free improvisation. Phil Aaron  piano; Anthony Cox, bass; and Phil Hey, drums are masters of melodic improvisation.

Friday, December 16

Kronick Quintet @ Public Kitchen + Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm (tip Jar) Bassist Richard Kronick leads Aaron Tafoya, percussion; Tony Guscetti, drums; Scott Ives, guitar; and Dennis Landeen sax, through an evening of soulful jazz, in the basement lounge at Public.

Saturday, December 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The evening starts out at 7pm with a JazzINK youth showcase performance by Below Zero, a group from MacPhail Center for Music, featuring Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochell-share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; and Nick Adams, drums. Then at 8:30pm it’s The Ruckus, led by drummer Rodney Ruckus, and featuring Anthony Cox, bass; Javier Santiago, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Babatunde Lea Sextet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm (Masterclass – $10), 7pm (show $10Advance/$15 Door) This is part of the Jazz at Studio Z series. Attend the Masterclass, which will be podcast, and get the $10 price. Tonight, drummer/conguero Babatunde Lea premiers a new suite, “New Rituals of Unity,” co-composed by Lea and guitarist Zacc Harris. It’s based on a series of traditional West African chants. Joining them will be Brandon Wozniak, tenor; JC Sanford, trombone; Phil Aaron, piano; and Graydon Peterson, bass. Here he is with a quartet.

Sunday, December 18

The Peterson Family’s Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 2:30, 6pm, 8pm ($25) Santa must have a tough time figuring out gifts for the talented Peterson family, since the gift of their talent is so unforgettable. I don’t have room to list all their bonafides, but Patty, Linda, Billy, Ricky, Paul, and Linda’s son Jason will all be on stage, sharing their musical gifts with us lesser mortals.

Monday, December 19

Andrew Walesch & Debbie Duncan: It Must Be Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Here’s a combination of vocalists that’s sure to please even the grinches amongst us. Andrew Walesch is a pianist/crooner who can sing pop, jazz, and classic Sinatra. Vocalist Debbie Duncan can get down with some bluesy R&B, and turn around a kill on a jazz standard. They’ll be ably abetted by veteran saxophonist Dave Karr.

Zacc Harris Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarist Zacc Harris is a go-getter who plays in a number of bands and produces the Jazz at Studio Z series. The most prominent group that he plays with is the Atlantis Quartet, which has toured the upper Midwest, NYC, and even London. Tonight he’s joined by: Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, December 20

Winter Solstice: The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. ($10, $35 w/Dinner) With the advent of Solstice the days will once again be getting longer, if slowly so. You can celebrate without going outside by hearing pianist, and occasional vocalist Laura Caviani. She has two holiday CDs, so there will be plenty of seasonal songs as you sit overlooking Moore Lake. She’ll be accompanied by the masterful musicians Chris Bates on bass; and Phil Hey on drums. Here’s a recent interview and performance.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 20, 21

Nachito Herrera & The Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Even if you’ve seen the dazzling Cuban American pianist Nachito Herrera before, you likely haven’t seen him in this setting. He has gathered a number of world famous musicians for the Universals, including violinist Karen Briggs, who has worked for many years with Yanni, and can go from classical to gypsy jazz on a dime; Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Steve Wonder; while Cuban drummer Raul Pineda and Senegal bassist Cheikh Nkoye provide the groups’ thundering heartbeat. All have deep resumes, are supremely conversant in a number of styles, and will no doubt create exhilarating music.

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, December 14

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) this is the 12th year in a row that Parr has appeared on the House Party. In fact, he was on the very first show, so this is always a special event. Expect the 331 Club to be packed to hear Parr’s traditional blues and originals, often done in Piedmont style. Here’s a video that includes a humorous story.

Thursday, December 15

Mikkel Beckmen w/Siama @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The lilting, sensuous guitar lines of soukous guitarist Siama Matuzungidi is supported by the unerring rhythmic instincts of Mikkel Beckmen, percussionist and host of this weekly guest series at the ever comfortable Irish pub.

Louisiana Rhythms Swamp Pop Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis.  7lpm (Donations) It’s a Fais Do Do Ho-Ho-Ho, as this celebration of a Louisiana Christmas has become an annual tradition, with the proceeds going to Second Harvest Heartland. The Swamp Poppas will be playing, as well as backing Tom Leiberman, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine and Lucinda Plaisance. There will be readings and explanations of Louisiana traditions, such as how, in the bayou, Santa uses a pirogue pulled by alligators. Other special guests and readers still to be announced.

Friday, December 16

Davina & The Vagabonds @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) With a repertoire that encompasses originals, as well as Fats Domino, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tom Waits, and more, Davina & the Vagabonds create new fans wherever they play, whether its the stages of the Monterrey Jazz Festival, European concert halls, or bars and lounges around the world. It’s hard to beat the sheer musicianship, energy, and powerful vocals of this tight ensemble.

Ian Alexy & the Deserters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Guitarist and singer/songwriter Ian Alexy is known for his work with the folk troubadours Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. He has a new EP, inspired in part by the music of groups like The Pretenders, Tom Petty, and Thin Lizzy, with R n’ R grit delivered by the Deserters: Dave Mehling, from Minneapolis group The Fontanelles on Keyboards and guitars; while drummer Mike Cini and bassist Johnnie Timm are best known for their work with superstar vocalist Nicholas David. Also on the bill: The Federales, the Lowland Lakers, and Teague Alexy.

Friday, Saturday, December 16, 17

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The new album from Sonny Knight & the Lakers burns, seethes, and simmers, from the opening title track, Sooner or Later, to the closing Oh, Mary. The Lakers’ backing is spot on, with tight, melodic horn arrangements, and solid rhythm section. This annual spotlight gig always fills up the Dakota, so be forewarned.

Saturday, December 17

A Merry 50s Christmas with the Holy Rocka Rollaz @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Here is a show for those of a certain age, as well as younger folks who appreciate the unbounded energy of 50s rockabilly and rock n’ roll. This family-friendly show features a charming trio steeped in the music of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and other rockabilly and early rock n’ roll favorites. The Holy Rocka Rollaz will be backing Tommy Alsup, of Buddy Holly’s Crickets, at the Surf Ballroom this February, so you know they’ve got the right attitude, touch, and talent for this show. The band is: Mark Flora, hollow-body Gretsch guitar; Lisa Lynn, upright bass; and Matt Alexander, hard hitting snare drum. They’ll  be visiting such classics as Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Run, Rudolph Run, Jingle Bell Rock, and other jumpin’ songs of the era.

Smokey Robinson @ Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd, Prior Lake. 8pm ($69, $80, $109) I usually don’t list casino shows, but it’s Smokey Robinson! Poet Laureate of Motown, inspiration for Bob Dylan; beautiful singer, writer of hits for his own Miracles, the Temptations, Mary Wells, and others, including his own solo work. And let’s not forget the iconic Ooh, Baby, Baby. He recently received the well-deserved Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. There are still tickets left, and given our weather, there may be some cancellations, so check with the Casino before making the trip to Prior Lake. Here’s one of his solo hits.

Southside Desire @ The Hexagon Bar, Minneapolis. 10pm ($??) Southside Desire describe themselves as “Femme-Fronted Northern Soul, sprung from the littered alleyways of South Minneapolis,” which is a fairly accurate description. I’d add that touches of Stax and girl-group sounds also make their way into their sound. They’re releasing a seven-inch, which you can listen to here. Also on the bill: the minimal space funk of Moors Blackmon; the sugary grunge-pop of Ahem; and the city rock of Private Interests.

Sunday, December 18

Joe & Vicky Price @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11AM (No Cover) It’s a brunch gig for this couple, who play the Delta Blues by way of Northeast Iowa.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


Seasonal Songs and More: 12.7 – 12.13

December 7, 2016
Talk about a tough gig!

Talk about a tough gig!

Well, as the temperatures plummet, and we begin to have weather that really reflects the season, we’ve plenty of shows to warm your heart, whether they’re seasonal specials or just good music. We’ve got visiting artists in both jazz and country music, and resident artists to keep your feet tapping, or even headed to a dance floor. Additionally, we have some small-scale classical music and the 37th Annual John Lennon Tribute. Have a great week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 7

Erin Schwab Holiday Show @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (Nice: $15, $40w/Dinner), 9pm (Naughty: $10) Vocalist Schwab is a veteran of cabaret, theater, and jazz stages, where she sings with groups like the Wolverines Trio and Big Band, as well as The Twin Cities Hot Club. She’s also a member of both the Ensemble Dapartment and Voice Department Faculty at McNally Smith College of Music. The late show reveals a more naughty approach to the holidays.

Thursday, December 8

Tim Warfield’s Jazzy Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30) This is going to be a swingin’ affair, as saxophonist Warfield  who has played with Nicholas Payton, Terrell Stafford, and Christian McBride, among others, brings along pianist Cyrus Chestnut, who appeared at last year’s Winter Jazz Fest, and vibist Stefon Harris, last seen here with the SF Jazz Collective. You can expect holiday favorites including a few lesser-known gems such as Snowfall, and The Driedel Song.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Vocalist Livingston can often be heard singing with Robb Henry’s Parisota Hot Club, as well as solo in various venues around town. She’s currently working on an homage to Billie Holiday, so don’t be surprised if you hear a tune or two from that source, as well as jazz standards to warm you up. I’ll let her tell you about it. Then click on the inset video.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Granowski, Horton, Seru, and Gray. An exciting new group, which doesn’t have a name yet. Members are Josh Granowski, bass; Joe Horton, spoken word, Davu Seru, drums and percussion, and Devon Gray, keyboards. Horton’s spoken words have an instrument-like impact on the music, which is freely improvised, as passages veer from noisy funk to whispery soundscapes.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This is becoming a regular gig for this quartet led by bassist Adam Linz; along with vibist-about-town Levi Schwarztberg, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, cornet; and Corey Healey, drums.

Friday, December 9

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) It’s not very often you can see an artist as accomplished as drummer Gravatt for only ten bucks. He’s been in Weather Report and toured extensively with McCoy Tyner, and has gathered some of the area’s finest musicians to play with him.

Saturday, December 10

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight, it’s a celebration of the release of “The Twin Cities Jazz Sampler, Volume 2,” featuring three bands who are on the sampler. At 7pm it’s the Illicit Sextet, that six piece writer’s collaborative, followed at 8:30 by Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band, and at 10pm, Mississippi.

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12 Cash only) Stand up bassist and vocalist Lynch is settling in to a monthly residency at Vieux Carré, where the speakeasy vibe meshes well with her band’s repertoire: songs from the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Okay, so maybe she does a song or two from the 60s as well. Thing is, this is a group that reflects the instrumentation of 30s small groups, yet performs with an energy that’s completely contemporary. Bonus: swing dancers tend to show up, even if the dance floor won’t accommodate more than a few couples at a time. Here’s a sampling of their work.

Sunday, December 11

Capri Big Band @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) The Twin Cities’ Biggest Big Band, led by Faye Washington, boasts twenty-five members of various generations sex, and ethnicites. You have veterans sitting next to novices, passing along what they’ve learned to new generations of musicians. They’ll be performing classic big band arrangements, along with some holiday fare.

Tuesday, December 13

Judy Carmichael w/Chris Flory @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($30, $65 Dinner). 9pm ($20) Pianist/vocalist Carmichael was given the nickname Stride by no less than Count Basie, who recognized her mastery of the demanding piano style. She’s played the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice, as well as Carnegie Hall, and was the first jazz musician sponsored by the US government to tour China. She’s a fine singer as well, with the ability to sing of all of life’s vagaries with panache.

JT Bates’ Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Time was the old Artists Quarter had B3 night every Tuesday, with many folks dropping in just to join the trio for a song or two. Now drummer Bates brings his trio in once a month, and they deserve more attention. If you like soul jazz, or B3 music, this is the place to be as Bates is joined by Kevin Gastonguay on organ and Zacc Harris on guitar for some smoking’ music.

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, December 7

Sabyre Rae on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Sabyre Rae is a singer/songwriter who has fronted an original roots/blues/country/jazz band in the Minneapolis area since 2008. She’s also played ukelele with Jack Klatt and the Cat Swingers, and was on their album “Mississippi Roll,” and also performed with Dakota Dave Hull. She points to Memphis Minnie, Peggy Lee and Lil Green as inspirations, and is celebrating the release of her first EP tonight. Sabyre Rae: Acoustic Guitar and Semi Hollow Electric Guitar, Vocals, and songwriter; Jason Madieros, lead guitar; Michael Carvale, upright bass; and Chris Hepola, drums. Here’s a cut from the new EP.

Thursday, December 8

Curtiss A’s 37th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. ($16 Advance, $18 Door) 7pm Doors. It’s been thirty six years since John Lennon was killed. Curtiss A brought together some friends that night for what has become an annual tradition, sometimes with changing costumes to reflect the changing music of Lennon and the Beatles. If you like the early stuff you better get there early, as they’ll be playing the songs chronologically. Here’s a video from 5 years ago.

Friday, December 9

Rich Lewis Band & Guests @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Lewis is a long time player in the Twin Cities area, having played with the funky Explodo Boys of the 70s. You can expect New Orleans R&B, classic soul, and some soulful rock, ala Van Morrison. The band will be alternating with guests, as yet to be announced.

Maria Jette/Skeleton Crew @ Lowertown Classics, 255 Kellogg Blvd, East, 3rd Floor Atrium. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) As the Lowertown Classics newsletter writes, this is a show for “friends of classical music in obscure places,” though the regularity of these shows may make the the space less obscure. Tonight, the versatile lyric soprano Maria Jette will be joined by Dan Chouinard on keys, and Richard Kriehn on mandolin and violin. As those who have heard her on Prairie Home Companion know, Jette is as likely to sing contemporary music as well as excerpts from classic operas. Skeleton Crew is the second act on the bill. They are a mixed chamber ensemble, anchored by piano keyboards and drums/percussion, with additional artists, depending on availability, joining them on expected as well as surprising instruments.

Hannah Von der Hoff & Lucky Dutch @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Van der Hoff has a soulful voice, well suited to blues, roots, rock, and R&B. Tonight, she’s kicking off a Kickstarter campaign to record an album. Opening is Lucky Dutch, a roots/rock quartet from Chicago.

Hurricane Harold’s All Star Revue Annual Holiday Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10 pm ($6) Free Buffet, 5-7pm. Harold Tremblay brings together a bunch of his blues buddies for an annual holiday show. It’s a revue, where everybody takes turns fronting the band. Hurricane Harold Harmonica/Vocals; Allen Kirk Drums/ Vocals; Mark “Good Time Willy” Guitar/Vocals; Doug Otto Guitar/Vocals: Chris Johnson Bass/ Vocals; Tim Wick Keys/Vocals.

Saturday, December 10

Maurice Jacox @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Jacox can croon, swing, or belt the blues. He’s versatile enough to tackle Nat King Cole, Tyrone Davis, and the latinate songs of Doc Pomus, not to forget a few tunes for the season. He’ll be joined by award winning drummer, Robb Stupka; Thomas West on keys; and John Della Selva, guitar.  Saturday nights are usually packed, so get there early to get a seat at either the bar or a stage-side table.

Asleep at the Wheel @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main Street, Hopkins. 7pm Social Hour, 8pm show ($39) Grammy-winning Asleep at the Wheel has been keeping Western Swing, that 40s amalgamation of country and jazz in our minds since the early 70s. They revere Bob Wills, of course. In fact they’ve released three albums that pay homage to him. Along the way they’ve collaborated with Willie Nelson, Manhattan Transfer, Lyle Lovett, Merle Haggard, and Johnny Gimble, a member of Wills’ Texas Playboys. AATW has also released a few Christmas albums, from which they’ll be drawing some of their tunes tonight.

Dee Miller Band & Kendra Glenn @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 – includes a free drink) It’s being billed as Twin Cities Women of the Blues, a title that couldn’t be any more apt. Ms Miller’s powerful delivery and tight band will fill the dance floor. Kendra Glenn has been making a name for herself in town. The Chicago born singer started in church choir at the age of 10, and is the “real deal.” She’s worked with R-Factor, the Maxx band, Vic Volare and others.

Kinky Kristmas 6 with Kinda Kinky & Friends @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 with Food Donation. The music of the Kinks, and a benefit for a food charity.

Claudia Schmidt @ University Baptist Church,1219 University Avenue SE, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Long time Twin Cities favorite Claudia Schmidt is a folk (and sometimes jazz) singer with an engaging stage presence, a fine taste in songs, and a delivery that touches your heart.

Sunday, December 11

Mother Banjo & BenCook-Feltz Holiday EP Release @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo  and Ben Cook-Feltz are married singer/songwriters with their own band. They’ve recorded a holiday CD, and celebrating its release tonight. You can expect some traditional Christmas music, as well as some originals, with members of both bands participating, as well as special guests Jon Rodine and Vicky Emerson.

Tuesday, Wednesday

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40, $50), 9pm ($25, $30, $40) Skaggs is a 14-time Grammy Award winning country/bluegrass musician who got his first paycheck at the age of 7 for playing with Flatt & Scruggs on their TV Show. He’s been playing professionally since 1971, when he was only 17, when he played with Ralph Stanley. He was the youngest musician inducted into the Grand Old Opry in 1982, and dominated country charts in the 80s with 12 number 1 hits. A must see for fans of country and bluegrass.

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 Power of Music: 11.16 – 11.22

November 16, 2016

 

If serfs could find time to dance, so can we

If serfs could find time to dance, so can we

Life continues apace, and no matter what your political affiliation, it’s safe to say that things won’t be the same. Except for music. Music has the power to voice our fears, to call us to action, celebrate our commonalities, call out hypocrisy, inspire us, heal our spirit, lift us up, and perhaps, just perhaps, bring us together. While musicians undoubtedly enjoy playing, music is much more powerful when it is a shared experience. If you are part of the audience, you are part of the music, whether in a concert hall, a dive bar, or a church. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 16

Babatunde Lea Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Though he’s listed on the JC website as a drummer, Lea is much more, as he not only plays a trap set, but often plays congas or other percussion instruments at the same time, incorporating African, Caribbean, and Latin rhythms into the mix. He has an outstanding group of musicians in this band: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Chris Bates, bass.

Butch Thompson and Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Two music veterans from the old West Bank music era who have gone way beyond the music of that time. Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson is internationally known for his traditional jazz and ragtime stylings. Guitarist Dean Magraw has traveled the world playing acoustic and electric instruments to create fine jazz, fusion, and world music.

Thursday, November 17 

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Chris Lomheim Quartet, with Pete Whitman, saxes, Jay Young bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; led by Chris Lomheim on piano. Here is Chris in a trio setting.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Le Percheron is bassist Adam Linz’s group, and features Levi Schwartsberg on vibes; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on cornet, and Corey Healy on drums. While Khyber Pass specializes in music that’s a bit (or sometimes very) out there, this quartet creates music that is at once accessible and adventurous. Linz is a veteran, the other three are powerful young musicians still in their twenties.

Dorothy Doring and Marc Ziegenhagen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Doring is a warm, engaging vocalist who can sing classic R&B, jazz standards, cabaret, and scat. Versatile indeed.

Joel Shapira/Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Shapira, No Cover), 9pm (Midnight Love – $7) Guitarist Shapira  rings his jazz and classical chops to the dinner hour, followed at 9pm by Midnight Love  a band that plays funky soul jazz and rare grooves. They have a fondness for Lou Donaldson, but which will bring in music by Ruby & the Romantics, Leon Russell and Roberta Flack, among others. Midnight Loves is: Greg Schute, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, organ; Matt Darling, trombone; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

Friday, November 18

Bruce Henry @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is celebrating Founder’s Weekend – its second anniversary – and former Twin Cities vocalist Henry is in town to start things off with a combination of jazz, R&B, Motown and other swinging sounds.

Swing Sisterhood Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) There are many talented musicians in the area who happen to be female. A bunch of them have created the Swing Sisterhood Big Band, which is made its Jazz Central Debut last March. Afterwards, there will be a jazz jam for High School students.

Saturday, November 19

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar)  Ahmed & the Creators open at 7pm. The group includes, Ahmed Abdul Karim, trumpet; Batume, drums; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, tenor; Ron Evaniuk, bass. At 8:30pm it’s the The Steve Kenny Quartet Tour Conclusion performance, with Javiaer Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Rodney Ruckus, drums; and Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

JazzMN: New Orleans Night @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindbergh Dr., Minnetonka. 7:30pm $31-$33 Advance, $35-$37 Door, (Students, $10-$18 Advnce, $10-$20 Door) It’s a tribute to the Big Easy as the JazzMN Orchestra takes on traditional jazz, second line brass bands, New Orleans jazz standards, a bit of Cajun fun, and some blues, to create a fun night of music. Orchestra musicians include such outstanding stalwarts as Pete Whitman, Dave and Kathy Jensen, Dave Carr, Mary Louise Knutson, and many other talented musicians. Here they’re performing a Tito Puente tune.

Adam Meckler Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) It’s been a while since trumpeter Meckler has performed with a small group. He and his group  released a new album entitled Wander on Shifting Paradigm Records, but haven’t played much since.  Tonight he has a special guest in saxophonist Tony Barba from Madison. Also in tonight’s group: Zacc Harris, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Sunday, November 20

Firebell @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums all have extensive experience in multiple bands. Their music is both swinging and cerebral.

Tuesday, November 22

Dave King Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $55 dinner show) Uber drummer Dave King is best known for his work with The Bad Plus and Happy Apple,though he also seems to have a dozen or so other projects, many of which explore the outer edges and realms of jazz and rock. Tonight, though, he gathers the fine talents of bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to mine the richness of jazz standards as well as some moody work from the tunes of Bill Evans and Paul Bley. The last appearance of this trio had a number of beautiful moments. Here’s their complete performance at the Village Vanguard a few years ago.

Brian Gallagher Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 door) This project is a commemorative effort to honor the life and music of the late Twin Cities based saxophonist Brian Gallagher. The band features Brian Ziemniak on keyboards, Yohannes Tona on bass, Peter Hennig on drums and Brian’s longtime collaborator Julius Collins adding vocals to a few songs, the night before Brian’s 53rd birthday. In addition to the members of the quartet, special guests performances will include saxophonists David Eiland, Peter Vircks, Brandon Wozniak, trombonist Michael Nelson, vocalist Jody Hanks and many others to be announced.

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 16

Poor Howard Stith on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Poor Howard  s a 12 string blues guitarist who gave Papa John Kolstad his nickname. He’s influenced by Leadbelly, Blind Willy McTell, and Dave Ray, and tells delightful shaggy dog stories.

Flatlanders @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60) When the Flatlanders were formed and recorded in the early 70s, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock had each returned to Lubbock Texas after having spent time elsewhere. In 1973 they recorded an album with their unique take on traditional country music. Entitled Jimmie Dale & the Flatlanders, it was released only on 8-track, without a distribution deal, though truth be told, you could find it in Southern variety stores and truck stops. Naturally, it went nowhere and the group drifted apart. By the end of the 70s, Ely and Hancock had become cult symbols thanks to their solo albums, and Gilmore’s songwriting resulted in his being a hip name to drop by music critics and the like. They reunited on a few occasions and in the late 90s had a song in the film The Horse Whisperer. They released a second album in 2002 and have released four since then.

Pat Donahue & Dan Newton @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Guitarist Donahue was a National Fingerpicking Champion almost 40 years ago, and spent 20 years coming up with songs on a weekly basis for the Prairie Home Companion. He has a pleasant voice, and he can write some very witty lyrics, but his killer app, so to speak, is his fleet fingering, which has only gotten better since that long ago championship. He has a perfectly compatible partner in Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, the accordion ace who taught himself how to play and is equally at home with the blues, jazz, French Musettes, and Cumbias.

Thursday,November 17

Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) Wolf was the lead singer for the J. Geils Band, that raucous group that brought rockin’ rhythm and blues to the airways and many a house party in the 70s and early 80s, when they topped the singles charts with Freeze Frame, Love Stinks, and Centerfold. Wolf’s commanding presence on stage and record was a big reason for the group’s success.

Friday,November 18

Red House Live: Chastity Brown @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Chastity Brown began to turn heads and open ears as soon as she arrived in Minnesota from Tennessee where she grew up and was influenced by roots music from an early age. Her music encompasses roots, soul, rock, blues, and country. Much of her writing describes and talks of the experience of marginalized people in our society. At the invitation of Ani DiFranco, Brown spent much of 2016 on tour with DiFranco. She has signed with Red House Records and will be releasing a new album early in 2017. The show was close to selling out as of this writing, so you may have to call the Landmark Center to ascertain availability of tickets.

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($??) Wilebski’s continues its policy of having early evening shows on Friday night, so those of us of a certain age can get home and get some sleep after dancing their hearts out. Others will simply be energized by Ms Miller’s tough vocals and tight band and find someplace else to go at 10pm.

Saturday, November 19

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The Dakota continues to bring the music of Louisiana to the northern end of the Mississippi River. It’s hard to get any more rootsier than accordionist Chenier  the son of Clifton Chenier, the late King of Zydeco. CJ learned his art by being in his father’s band, and expanded the sound of zydeco by recording with Paul Simon as well as the Gin Blossoms.

Davina & The Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley (No Cover, $10 reserved seat) Get there early if you want a seat and didn’t reserve one. Davina  nd the Guys will pack the big room at the Lounge.

Sunday, November 20

Phil Heywood @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Heywood is another of what seems to be a plethora of National Fingerpicking Champions in town. He’s got a deep baritone voice that’s a nice foil to his precise, melodic playing.

Monday, November 21

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is the second installment of a Food Shelf Benefit that “Fingers” puts on each year. He is a former National Fingerpicking champion who used to perform as part of a highly popular radio variety show. He and some of his “So Called Friends” from that radio show are performing their Annual Food Shelf Benefit tonight, so bring a bit more $$ than you usually do for a tip jar show.

Tuesday, November 22

Midwest Paul Cook and Crankshaft @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) A couple of blues/roots performers who can mine the depths of despair with their own songs, and well as songs from the Great Depression. Listen to Cook here. Learn about Crankshaft here.

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 Lifts the Spirit: 11.9 – 11.15

November 9, 2016

unknown-2I’m sure that many of you are feeling like Casey, after his turn at the bat, but looking at the results of yesterday’s election, I’d wager that at least some of my readers are celebrating. I have no idea what kind of music our new President will bring to the White House, but whether you are celebrating or commiserating, music has the power to elevate your spirits, and this week we’ve got many opportunities to do so, from both visiting and resident artists, including the movies about music at the Sound Unseen Festival. Here’s a few ideas.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 9

Leigh Kamman Legacy Project Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant is donating all of the $10 cover to the Leigh Kamman Legacy Project. All of the musicians playing for free. They include: The Larry McDonough Quartet;  Patty Peterson; Doug Haining and the Twin Cities 7;  Steve Blons; The Santiago Trio; and more. Maryann Sullivan will serve as the emcee. Families and students are welcome.

Debbie Duncan sings Oscar Brown Jr. @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Oscar Brown Jr was a jazz singer and songwriter who not only wrote originals, but wrote words for tunes like Work Song, Dat Dere, and Afro Blue. Tonight, the award-winning Debbie Duncan honors the late vocalist by singing his songs.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates bring along Joe Srachan on piano and Miguel Hurtado on drums to play originals and improvise on jazz standards.

Thursday, November 10

Sarah M Greer with Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Greer teaches singers, including well established vocalists, how to scat and how to find their true voice. Additionally, she has collaborated with dancers and other artists, and works with four different groups, including Jay Young & the Lyric Factory. Here she is doing some gospel.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Nick Syman Quartet CD Release 9pm (Tip Jar) Trombonist Nick Syman leads this quartet, which includes Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olsen, bass, and Pete James Johnson, drums.

Friday, November 11

Brian Culbertson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) Keyboardist and multi-instrumentalist Culbertson is one of the most successful artists around who can cross between contemporary R&B, jazz, and funk. His 16th album, recently released, is entitled “Funk!” is a throwback to greasy horn licks, snaky bass lines, and funky drums.

Jana Nyberg & Sean Turner @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Nyberg in a different setting than usual, accompanied by pianist Sean Turner, rather than singing with her group, or husband Adam Meckler. Here she is with her band.

Mancrush Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Lars-Erik Larson, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Zacc Harris, guitar, are among the busiest musicians in town. This quartet applies their improvisational skills to a variety of genres, from folk to Bartok, not to mention the original tunes of bandleader Lars-Erik Larson.

Saturday, November 12

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitar master Chris Olson and cello master Greg Byers play duets at 7pm, followed at 8:30 by a CD release party for “Addendum” from the Illicit Sextet: Paul Harper, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; Chris Lomheim, piano; David Roos, guitar; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a video from some years back.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band CD Release @ The Parkway, Minneapolis. ($15 Advance, $17 Door) It’s the “Southside Shake Show” as the brass band from Madison, WI roars into town to preview the release of Brass Jackson, a CD full of Michael Jackson music. They’ll also have the Southside Aces along for the ride, so the party spirit of New Orleans will be in full flower.

Sunday, November 13

Dan Chouinard & Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner)  A couple of veteran musicians – Pianist Chouinard & vocalist Evingson – will be performing music of composers who were born during the month of November.

Monday, November 14

Catherine Russell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45) Vocalist Russell has worked with folks such as Steely Dan, David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon, Michael Feinstein, Al Kooper and others. Her dad, the late Luis Russell, was a long time music director for Louis Armstrong, and her mom, Carlene Ray, performed with the pioneering International Sweethearts of Rhythm, as well as with Mary Lou Williams and Sy Oliver. It’s no surprise then, that Russell prefers to reinvigorate older songs. Her latest album, “Harlem on My Mind” celebrates the golden era of African American song, with tunes from Billie Holiday, Etta James, Benny Carter, Fats Waller, and others. Previous appearances have always been delightful.

Tuesday, November 15

Joyce Lyons CD Release @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) Vocalist/actress Lyons has performed at venues around the country, including a special concert for the Supreme Court. Tonight she’s celebrating the release of “Song for You” with the help of Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

The Mill City Hot Club and Connie Evingson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Once a month Tuesdays at the Vieux are given over to Hot Jazz, the acoustic swing that includes elements of Gypsy Jazz, and reinterpretations of contemporary pop songs and the Great American Songbook. Tonight the Mill City Hot Club will start things off, with vocalist Connie Evingson joining the group for the second set.

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 9

Javier Matos on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) A solo gig by the outstanding guitarist/singer.

Sarah Morris/Galen Weston Band @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Morris – No Cover), 8pm (Weston – $8) Singer/Songwriter Morris has built a solid reputation gigging around town and in small tours around the area. After the dinner hour, we’ll be treated to a rare Vieux booking of someone from outside the Twin Cities. Canadian guitarist Weston and his band just completed two tours with the Gypsy Kings and Dave Sanborn. His band includes Cuban drummer Michel Medrano Brindis; Canadian saxophonist Richard Underhill, and Czech basis Lukas Kytna.

Thursday, November 10

Sue Orfield guests with the Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) While the four-piece Butanes always live up to their awards as the Best Blues Band in the Cities, the Thursday night gigs at Shaw’s are somewhat of an open-ended affair, with folks like Maurice Jacox, Willie Walker, and Jellybean Johnson sitting in whenever they’re visiting the club. Tonight, however, Wisconsin saxophonist Sue Orfield will be joining the band all night. Whether she’s improvising to the changes of I’ve Got Rhythm, or blowing a mean blues, Orfields’ command of her instrument adds depth and excitement to any group in which she participates. Here’s Sue with her own band.

Friday, November 11

Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Mack sings the blues, but not the 12 bar kind. You’re likely to hear roots-based gospel, Motown, or even a bit of alt country. Just the kind of music to go over with the TGIF customers at Crooners.

Nigel Egg, Tim Fast, and Dan Rumsey @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 7:00pm (Tip Jar) This is a “Songwriters in the Round” event with all three singer-songwriters on stage at the same time. They will each take turns to play while the others might harmonize, play some accompaniment and make cruel jokes in between songs.

Rich Lewis Band @ Erté, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar?) Lewis was a founding member of the fabled Explodo Boys back in the late 70s. The guitarist/singer leads the band through a mix of R&B, Motown and New Orleans. Given the venue, I suspect this will be the smaller version of the band, rather than the six-piece group, which plays for venues where dancing occurs.  Here’s the larger version of the band.

Saturday, November 12

Eddies @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar) Sea shanties, work songs, and murder ballads by four guys who only use an instrument or two. the warm, obviously Irish Dubliner is a perfect place to hear this quartet.

Black Market Brass @ Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Here’s a group of area musicians who have done a lot of listening to Fela Kuti, Tony Allenm, and Evo Taylor, using their inspiration to create original Afrobeat and Afrofunk tunes, as well as the occasional cover. Complex rhythms that are nevertheless easy to dance to, brash brass, and exciting guitar work make for compelling grooves that will have you moving your hips and all other parts of your body.

Paul Cebar @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Milwaukee native Cebar has been visiting the Twin Cities for nigh unto 30 years, always with a gaggle of excellent musicians. During that time his sound has evolved from classic danceable R&B to polyrhythmic celebrations incorporating Latin, Afro, and other world sounds, though it still remains unabashedly danceable, as both long time and brand new fans will attest.

Sunday, November 13

Sound Unseen @ Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 5pm, 7pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door at each show) The music cinema Festival screens two movies of interest to area R&B fans. At 5pm it’s Syl Johnson: Any Way the Wind Blows, about the Chicago guitarist/singer who used to make regular trips to the Twin Cities, and who has been a huge influence on Black music for the last 5 or 6 decades, from Blues, Soul, and Funk, to Hip-Hop, where the guitar lines and funky beats of his drummers were heavily sampled. The at 7pm it’s Bang! The Bert Berns Story, the founder of Bang! Records, writer of songs like Twist & Shout, Take A Piece of My Heart, Hang On Sloopy, I Want Candy, and more, and a guy who unwittingly made connections with the Mob in NYC.

Atlanta Rhythm Section @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($30 – $40) The ARS, as they are often known, were the house band at Studio 1 in Georgia. A couple of them had been in the Classics IV, and recruited the other three members from Roy Orbison’s backing band. They’ve recorded 15 albums since 1972, and were often looked to as a Southern band that would stand with the Allmans and Lynard Skynard. Though they never came close to the popularity of those bands, the group had a strong following in the South and charted a consistent string of hits such as “Doraville”, “I’m Not Gonna Let It Bother Me Tonight”, “Champagne Jam”, “So Into You”, “Imaginary Lover”, “Do It Or Die”, “Neon Nites” and a cover version of the Classics IV 1968 hit, “Spooky.”

Monday, November 14

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) “Fingers” is a former National Fingerpicking champion who used to perform as part of a highly popular radio variety show. He and some of his “So Called Friends” are performing their Annual Food Shelf Benefit tonight, so bring a bit more $$ than you usually do for a tip jar show.

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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