Old Friends, New Favorites: 5.24 – 5.30

May 24, 2017

This week brings lots of old friends out to play and some new favorites as well. Note: I wrote this up before leaving on vacation, so you may want to check calendars and venues before heading out. Just go out and listen to some music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Wednesday, May 24

Jeremy Walker Songet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) The Songtet is dedicated to performing great songs, whether written by Ellington, Dylan, The Gershwins, Cole Porter, or pianist-composer-arranger Jeremy Walker himself. Tonight, Walker celebrates great songs by adding vocalist Jason Harms to his  trio with Tim Zhorne, drums; and Chris Bates, bass.

Thursday, May 25

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Pete Hennig Quartet: Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Cody McKinney, bass; Pete Hennig  drums.

Davu Seru & Douglas Ewart @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Dynamic percussionist Davu Seru and multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart (saxes, clarinets, bassoon, digerderoo, and more!), join forces for an evening of highly creative, often spontaneous music.

Friday, May 26

Greg Lewis/Will Schmid Ensemble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Last year this group was formed as the Greg Lewis/Will Schmid Quartet. This year they’ve expanded to become a multi-generaltional band performing two sets of original compositions. TC Jazz Veterans Greg Lewis, trumpet/woodwinds; and Rose Brzenzinski Lewis, trombone/woodwinds; will be joined by the college-aged musicians returning for the summer: Will Schmid, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Catlin, drums.

Saturday, May 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – The Selby Avenue Brass Band: Larry Sims, trumpet; Chris Fulton, trombone; Marilyn Parker, sax; Tonm Wells, Tuba; and Trenon Graham, drums. At 8:30pm: Park Evans Quintet, w.Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Greg Schutte, drums. Bass TBD

Jana Nyberg 5 @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) As is befitting of a vocalist of her talent, Ms Nyberg has gathered some A-List musicians to back her as she sings jazz, pop, and jazz pop at this gig: Sean Turner, piano; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Washington, drums; and Graydon Peterson, bass.

BDP @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7)  In which a group of forward thinking young musicians apply their many talents to create a fusion of soul and jazz music. Members of the group include: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals; Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Ted Godbout, Piano; Ted Olsen, Bass; and Andres Crovetti on Drums).

Sunday, May 28

Sam Miltich & Dave Karr Play Lester Young @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Sam Militich’s instinctive and fluid guitar playing has graced hundreds of stages, from his hometown in Northern Minnesota to New York’s Lincoln Center. He fronts the Clearwater Hot Club, but tonight is backing octogenarian saxophonist Dave Karr, a bebopper from way back, though he’s also an accomplished sideman for Connie Evingson, the Pete Whitman X-tet, MNJazz Orchestra, among others. Tonight they will be concentrating on the music of the great saxophonist Lester Young.

Regina Marie Williams Sings Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 – $22) Vocalist Williams is a terrific actor who has been seen around town in productions at The Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, and Park Square theaters, among others. She’s done Dinah Washington and Nina Simone in some of her roles, and tonight will sing the music of Nina Simone, a singer who wasn’t afraid to face the truth and tell it. In case you need any more, consider that actor Angela Basset called Williams “the best singer you never heard” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly

Tuesday, May 30

Erin Schwab @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($?) Schwab is a talented singer who is a member of both the Ensemble and Voice Departments at MacNally Smight. She is equally at home in cabaret, musical theater, and jazz settings. Tonight she’s celebrating the music of both Judy Garland and Bette Midler.

Washington/Studer/Hirsch @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist and educator Donald Washington is joined by Dick Studer, bass; and Steve Hirsh, drums, for an evening of improvised and spontaneous 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 Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 24

Katy Bellville & Those S.O.Bs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Bellville grew up with old timey and bluegrass music always playing in the background. Her own music reflects that, though she puts a modern sensibility into her songs, and occasionally will cover someone like Gillian Welch. Tune in and listen.

Shemekia Copeland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Two time Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland has opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined the Chicago Blues Festival (and others around the world), and performed at the White House for the Obamas. The daughter of bluesman Johnny Copeland, she’s carrying on the tradition of blues singers like Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Koko Taylor. Taylor’s daughter even gave her Taylor’s crown, and both the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have proclaimed Copeland “Queen of the Blues.”

Paul Bergen’s Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Led by Paul Bergen, this group features members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Molly Maher and Eric Koskinen’s band, Curtiss A’s band, Certain General and many other regional roots artists. You can expect to hear swamp blues, country classics, and other truck driving music. It’s a Wednesday residency through June for this group, which will set up in the cozy Hood and Ladder Lounge. Special guests will also be featured each week.

Thursday, May 25

Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The Butanes have been voted as the Twin Cities Best Blues Band numerous times. This weekly gig often feature guests like Jellybean Johnson or Maurice Jacox, who drop by and sit in. But the real attraction is the Butanes.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) If it’s Thursday night, you’re bound to see some folks dancing to Cajun and Zydeco at the Eagles Club. Tonight they also get a bit of New Orleans R&B to test out their dancing shoes. members of this quintet are: Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Dick Danaher, sax & rub board; Dehl Gallagher, drums; Rusty Jones, bass; and Tim Mauseth, guitars.

Friday,May 26

Pure Prairie League @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) These country-rock favorites were formed in 1969, named after a women’s temperance league in a 1939 movie. Pure Prairie League built up a following in their native Ohio before landing a contract with RCA a year later. During the 70s and 80s they had a number of top 40 hits before breaking up in the mid-80s only to reunite in 1998. Though none of the founding members remain, they still keep up the PPL sound.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for guaranteed seat in front) R&B/Jazz vocalist has become somewhat of a regular at Crooners, thanks to his smooth baritone and unerring taste in songs, whether acoustic versions of Motown hits, the under-appreciated songs of Doc Pomus, or Nat King Cole’s ballads.

Power of 10 @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) As might be inferred from it’s name, this is a ten-piece band  heavy on horns, which makes it the perfect group to play classic and contemporary soul, whether it’s the music of Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, or Bruno Mars. They are versatile enough to be a favorite for weddings and corporate events.

Pat Donohue & Richard Kriehn @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($20) Together, ace guitarist Pat Donohue and mandolinist Richard Kriehn have over 20 years experience working on A Prairie Home Companion, though they have played many other gigs in many other bands as well. Tonight you have a chance to see the two of them in the very intimate 318 Cafe, which only seats about 40. You may be wise to get a reservation.

Saturday, May 27

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’s intimate concert is entitled: MIGHTY UNDERDOGS! Mozart & Ewazen for clarinet, viola & piano. Here’s a chance to hear the under-appreciated flute and viola together, playing Mozart, and Eric Ewazen. Performers are: Karen Hansen, clarinet; Sue Ruby, piano; and Steve Staruch, viola.

New Sound Underground @ Surly Brewing, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6:30 (No Cover) This is a young, seriously funky horn band that uses funk, R&B, soul, and jazz to deliver original foot-stomping, hip-shaking music. Plus, it’s at the seriously beer-laden (and food laden) Surly Brewing in SE Minneapolis. What a way to wile away an afternoon.

Steamboat Bill, Jr, with Dreamland Faces @ The Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, Lake & Cedar, Minneapolis. 7pm Gates, Movie at dusk  – about 8:30pm ($10) Buster Keaton’s classic silent film comedy will be accompanied live by music from the Dreamland Faces  who feature accordion and musical saw, and regularly accompany silent films, including many by Keaton. Bring your own blankets or chairs. Refreshments will be on sale during the movie.

Nachito Herrera @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Dazzling piano work from Cuban-born Herrera  who’s been living in the Twin Cities since the turn of the century. He was music director at the famed Tropicana in Havana, toured with the Afrro-Cuban All-Stars, and has played with the Havana Symphony Orcestra, as well as Cubanissmo. One never knows what he’ll play – a classical piece, something from Earth, Wind, & Fire, or a rhythmic explosion of Cuban sounds.

Sunday, May 28

National Tap Dance Day @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 2-4pm (Free) If you’ve ever been astonished by some of the YouTube Videos of tap dancers, here’s the chance to see the real thing. Keane Sense of Rhythm is a tap dance school that specializes in training young dancers. See the results while enjoying the lakeside venue, and perhaps having food or drink from Como Dockside.

West Bank Reunion Show @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Many folks of a certain age will be making their way to Payne Avenue just of East 7th in Saint Paul for this show, which recalls the glory days of West Bank R&B during the 70s and early 80s. Willie Murphy will be there with his band, as will Curt Obeda and the Butanes, and in a nod toward younger West Bankers, Jack Knife & the Sharps. With a big dance floor, solid sound system, and fair priced drinks, the place will be jumpin.

Monday, May 29

Jack Brass Band @ Como Zoo, Saint Paul. 10:30am, 11:45am, & 12:40pm (No Cover) With the coming of Memorial Day, the Jack Brass Band will start up their weekly gig providing second line parades around the Como Zoo. Feed Sparky the Seal, check out the big cats, and ride the carousel. Just don’t jump the fence to get a better look, as a couple of doofusses did a few weeks ago at the giraffe exhibit.

 

Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50, $60), 9pm ($35, $40, $50) Here’s your chance to see a 60s legend in a club setting. Felix Cavaliere was a co-founder and leader of the Rascals, often thought of as the best blue-eyed soul group of the 60s, when they had a string of hits like Good Lovin, I’ve Been Lonely Too Long, the #1s Groovin, and People Got to be Free. In the early 70s they moved toward a more jazz-influenced sound before disbanding in 1972. Cavaliere then came out with a number of excellent solo albums, including 2008 and 2010 collaborations with Stax guitar legend Steve Cropper.

Como Town Hotshots @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) Cajun Dancing to start off your week, with Shawn Glidden, Accordion; Gary Powell and Marie Stier on Fiddles; Maurine McCort, Guitar; Tom Lewis, Bass; and Dehl Gallagher on Drums.

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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Spring in Your Step: 3.29 – 4.4

March 29, 2017

Greetings music lovers;

It’s another week with a wide variety of choices for those of us who like to go out and hear music. We have a number of visiting artists from NYC, Ukraine, and points in between, as well as a Brazilian dance night, a Latin music matinee, some chamber music, and more… Lots of opportunities to let music lift our spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 29

Jeremy Walker Songtet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Pianist/composer/arranger Jeremy Walker has a penchant for creating interesting musical projects, whether it’s the nine-piece NowNet, the choral/jazz combo piece 7 Psalms, or his own compositions for small groups. Now he has The Songtet, dedicated to performing great songs, whether written by Ellingotn, Dylan, The Gershwins, Cole Porter, or walker himself. Tonight, Walker is adding vocalist Jason Harms to his  trio with Tim Zhorne, drums; and Chris Bates, bass. Harms, incidentally, took part in the performances of 7 Psalms.

Vanessa Trouble w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm, 9pm ($20, $45 w/Dinner) NYC-based, Winona-raoised vocalist Vanessa Trouble is visiting, along with trumpeter Charlie Caranicas  another MN native now living in NYC. Trouble’s voice is airy and supple, just right for vintage swing and jazz, as she performs songs like I’m Beginning to See the Light, That Old Devil Moon, and Mambo Italiano. She and Caranicas, who plays with her regularly, will be joined by NYC guitarist Steve Salermo, and the Twin Cities’ own Graydon Peterson on bass.

Steven Hobert Solo Piano @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Pianist Hobert has really been coming into his own lately, finding like-minded musicians that complement his ethereal, often beautiful, spontaneous, and searching style. Tonight that style comes into full play as he performs solo, drawing on works by Mingus, Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, and Eddie Harris in addition to his own work.

Thursday, March 30

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonights show features a number of well-traveled Twin Cities musicians performing as Collosus: Park Evans  guitar; Clay Pufahl, saxes; Chris Bates, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Dorothy Doring @ The Mudd Room, 1352 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota Heights. 7pm (No Cover) The Mudd Room is a new venue for weekend music, located in the basement of Lucky 13. The soulful and engaging Ms Doring is there tonight.

Friday, March 31

Patty Peterson & Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) The most visible member of the Peterson Family musical clan brings her mix of jazz and R&B to the big room at Crooners, where Patty and her band be joined by special guest Andrew Walesch on piano and vocals.

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Bassist Peterson is an A-list player here in the Twin Cities, just as likely to be accompanying a vocalist as playing with a Latin Band, Big Band, or combo. Tonight he’ll be featuring his own compositions as he is joined by Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 31, April 1,2

Fogel, Eckes, & Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30 (Fri, Sat), 2pm (Sun) The Show is called Teamwork: Great Songwriting Teams of Broadway and Hollywood. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson  along with special guest Jennifer Eckes  explore the songs from Broadway and the movies, with an emphasis on legendary songwriting duos to guide them. Think Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cahn & Van Heusen, Sondheim and Styne, and more…

Saturday, April 1

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar)  7:00pm Opening Set : Common Space – Eric Graham Organ/keys, Dylan Nelson – Guitar, Thomas Strommen – Saxophone, Alex Burgess – Drums. 8:30pm ATLANTIS QUARTET – Zacc Harris – Guitar, Chris Bates – Bass, Brandon Wozniak – Saxophones, Pete Hennig – Drums

Monday, April 3

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooner’s Lounge & Restaurant, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved tables) Though it has a somewhat generic name, this 19-piece big band is anything but generic, with a big repertoire of original arrangements and songs, and crack musicians, including vocalist Arne Fogel.

Greg Ward Quintet + ReichFest @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) When Steve Reich, the 80 year old minimalist, died last October, quite a few celebrations of his music were held around the world. Now it’s time for the Twin Cities to celebrate. Cody McKinney and JT Bates have put together a program of Steve Reich’s music featuring Twin Cities musicians for every Monday night in April. Things will start off tonight with the Greg Ward Quintet, then Pete Hennig and Cody McKinney will perform Clapping Music, from 1972, followed by Pat O’Keefe performing New York Counterpoint from 1985.

Tuesday, April 4

Rio Nido @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Prudence Johnson, Tim Sparks, and Tom Lieberman first formed Rio Nido in the 70s, put out a few albums, and then developed their own separate careers. They recently reunited and are doing a few shows a year. I believe this might be their first time in the Dunsmore Room, a perfect place to hear their harmonies.

Freddy Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Having Nat King Cole as an older brother can make it difficult to escape his shadow, especially when voices have the same timbre. Nevertheless, Freddy Cole has found his own voice: elegant, but deeper, and with a rasp that sets him apart. Cole is a master vocalist and fine piano player, and among the top tier of male jazz singers in this country.

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, March 29

Dan Israel, Mikkel Beckmen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Dan Israel has been plying his craft for over two decades, using sharp, incisive writing to comment on his own foibles and insecurities, including the breakup of his 16 year marriage. His writing has wide appeal, with his albums gaining fans throughout the States and in Europe. Tonight he’s accompanied by that percussionist-about-town Mikkel Beckmen. Tune it at about 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club.

Loudon Wainwright III @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Younger readers may only know Wainwright as the father of acclaimed singer songwriters Rufus and Martha Wainright, but the older folk among us remember him as an early recipient of the title of “the next Bob Dylan.” He likely didn’t appreciate the title, which was somewhat misleading, as Wainwrights broad humor didn’t exactly fit that mold. His humor did win him a best selling song with Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road back in 1972. Since then he’s kept churning out well-received albums, and spread his wings to acting, with a recurring role in TVs Mash, and appearances in films and other TV shows. He’s also been writing for a number of film scores, including the hit movie Knocked Up.

Dieselfitters @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Get yer honky-tonk and rockabilly fix right here, with this group led by the imaginative and fleet fingered guitarist Clay Williams.

Thursday, March 30

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This week’s battle pits Paul Barry & the Acetones; The Blues Driver Band; The Assumptions; and the Harrison Street Band against each other. Listeners win.

Superfriends of Soul @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) Cate Fiero leads a varied cast of singers and musicians through the Great American Soulbook.

Nip n’ Tuck & the Sleepers @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Formed back in 1976, this trio was influenced by artists like Todd Rundgren and the Raspberries, gaining much love from area critics and fans. Gary Rue, guitar, vocals; Jeff Willkomm, bass, vocals; and Tilly, drums, vocals; have played with many original rock n’ rollers from the 50s and 60s from Gene Pitney and Lou Christy to the Coasters and Marvelettes. Nip n’ Tuck was among bands that were “this close” but didn’t close the deal for one music industry reason or another. Now they’ve dusted off old tunes and are back. The Sleepers play British Invasion music from the likes of the Animals, Zombies, and Yardbirds, as well as a few things from the Fab Four.

Claudettes @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10)  Pull Closer to Me: The Claudettes, Live in the Piano Room, is the first release documenting the band’s new lineup (pianist/founder Johnny Iguana, singer Berit Ulseth, drummer Matt Torre and bassist/singer Zach Verdoorn). You’ll hear material from the 7-song EP, as well as other tunes that reflect the bands absorption of piano based Chicago blues, burlesque, 60s pop-soul, and vaudeville.

Thursday – Sunday, March 30 – April 2

Merce Cunningham’s Common Time @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Thursday: 5:30 and 8pm, Fri-Sun: 1:30 and 4pm (Free) Here’s a unique dance experience, as Walker’s Perlman Gallery is filled with movement and sound as dancers from the final Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform Events. Cunningham’s unique choreographic form is made for performances in unconventional spaces. These 30-minute sequences provide the audience with a rare opportunity to see Cunningham’s choreography exploring space, time, and movement. Arranged and staged by former MCDC dancer Andrea Weber, these 30-minute sequences drawn from four decades of Cunningham’s work offer a rare chance to experience firsthand his signature explorations of space, time, and movement. Dancers from the Final Merce Cunningham Company will perform to music by a fantastic line up of local artists including folks like Douglas Ewart, Michelle Kinney, Joe Strachan and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin will perform their own compositions to accompany this program, based on John Cage’s improvisational parameters for Cunningham Events. Capacity is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday, March 31

Adam Levy’s Joga Bola & Friends @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Joga Bola is a new Brazilian project led by Adam Levy, featuring musicians from the Afro-Cuban, jazz, Brazilian, and R&B scenes in town:  Mina Moore, Karen Quiroz, Lucia Sarmiento, Andrew Gillespie, Tim O’Keefe, Jeff Bailey, Charlie Peterson. Their sound is inspired by 1960’s & 1970’s samba, funk, soul, and psychedelia from Brazil.Their debut at Cedar Cultural Center some weeks back was great fun. The Guayaba All Stars Orchestra was created and founded by Master Peruvian Percussionist/Drummer Chico Chavez. They are the first local band to perform psychedelic Peruvian cumbia (a.k.a. chicha). Guayaba is a totally fresh dancing music experience featuring authentic Latino Dance flavors – psychedelic cumbia chicha, salsa, cumbia, bachata, merengue, and tropical grooves from all LatinAmerica. Angie Citlali is a passionate singer-songwriter, often writing social and political lyrics. Being from Chicago and Mexico, she often fuses these two worlds into her empowering music.

Coco Montoya @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30), 9:30pm ($20, $25) The reviews for shows by Coco Montoya inevitably include adjectives like “blistering,” “hot,” “fiery,” “passionate,” and similar terms. The man is a monster player on the blues-rock scene, having learned to play from his mentor Albert Collins. Like Albert King, the southpaw plays left-handed and upside down. Five years with Collins was followed by ten years with John Mayall, after which Montoya went solo in 1993. He’s been a road warrior ever since, with numerous Blues Award nominations, and a strong following around the world.

Saturday, April 1

Saturday Salon: April Foolery @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) With an easygoing air and a quick wit, soprano Maria Jette hosts a different combination of performers and repertoire each Saturday afternoon in the Dunsmore Room, giving listeners a chance to hear chamber music in a delightful setting with only 80 seats. Today, to celebrate April 1st, she’s presenting James Ramlet, bass vocals; and Mary Jo Gothmann, piano; performing Songs for the Cruelest Month.

April Fools @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Of course, this band has to play on April 1st. 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.

Sunday, April 2

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (No Cover) Charanga Tropical is one of the few U.S., groups working in the danzon style, though they incorporate salsa and their own compositions as well. They are the only U.S. group to play at the Danzon festival in Havana. This matinee performance is just right for folks who want to practice their salsa dancing and charangas, while being early enough to get sufficient rest for working on Monday morning.

Dakhabraka @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) It is very difficult to describe the wonderful weirdness of this world music quartet from Ukraine. Yes, they sing in Ukrainian and Russian, but their songs at times sound like Frank Zappa, and at other times have hints of Smokey Robinson, using an accordion, cello, and variety of percussion instruments, not to forget their vocal harmonies, on-stage presence, and costumes,

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.


Visitors and Special Events: 2.15 – 2.21

February 15, 2017

unknown-1There are lots of interesting gigs this week, some of which required a long explanation, while I’ve covered others with just a few sentences. We’ve a couple of high-profile visitors and a few special events to pique our interests and bring us musical pleasure. Whatever you choose, just remember that music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 15

Ambrose Akinmusire and Kool A.D. @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($20) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra’s Liquid Music Series commissions new projects presented in unique venues. Such is the case tonight, when young jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire partners with rapper Kool A.D.to create a brand new chamber music work. Akinmusire won both the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competiton and the Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition back in 2007, when he was 25. He has since put out three albums and was a sideman on about 25 albums, including CDs by Vijay Iyer, Esperanza Spalding, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Jack DeJohnette, and Steve Coleman, among others. Kool A.D. is the nom de rap of Victor Vasquez. The rapper’s work was described by Mother Jones magazine as:  “a thoughtful effort to deconstruct and rearrange cultural objects in ways that challenge our deepest assumptions.” Special guests include The Mivos String Quartet along with pianist Sam Harris and drummer Justin Brown

Jeremy Walker Songtet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker is a musical explorer, who delves into musical styles and creates haunting compositions. This new group is about great songs. He’s enlisted Jason Harms, who was heard in Walker’s epic 7 Psalms, to work with the Songtet interpreting great songs, whether Walker originals, or from Dylan, Ellington, or the Great American Songbook. Joining Walker and Harms are two other frequent collaborators: Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums.

Thursday, February 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/MMEA Badge) Meckler is a trumpeter-about-town who is a gifted composer and teacher. He’ll be doing a workshop at the MMEA conference Friday afternoon, working with the band from Spring Lake Park High School. He’s bringing his 18 piece orchestra to the Dakota to provide MMEA participants and others with a preview of his work.

Maria Schneider Orchestra @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($35 – $65; Discounts for students, seniors, military, MPR) Five-time Grammy winner Maria Schneider grew up in Windom, attended the U and essentially redefined the sound of a jazz orchestra. Schneider is one of the leading lights of jazz these days, and was recently on the cover of Downbeat, when her album The Thompson Fields was named the best of the year in the magazine’s Readers Poll. The evocative, gorgeous album, named for the fields near her Windom home, won the 2016 Grammy for Best Large Jazz Ensemble. Students can get a 2-4-1 discount by using the code WWMA.

David Rempis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Rempis is a free jazz saxophonist who isn’t afraid to do solo performances. With a background that includes studying African music in Ghana, years with Chicago’s Vandermark Sound, numerous collaborations, and as an organizer of Chicago’s indie-rock Pitchfork Festival, Rempis will be performing one set solo tonight, as well as a set with Levi Schwartzberg, vibes and piano; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Ruckus Trio spent most of January touring, so tonight’s show should be quite tight, featuring Ruckus on drums; Javi Santiago on piano; and Greg Byers on bass and cello. Though this video from just a few weeks ago is dark, the sound is good.

Friday, February 17

The Jazz Bridge Project @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7 suggested donation) Here’s a relatively new project featuring the father-son team of Roger Johnson, guitar; and Rajah Johnson on flute; as well as Ron Evanuik, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Abebi Stafford, keys.

Jay Young & the Lyric Factory @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00[pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Jay Young brings his funky, jazzy R&B to the basement club, featuring music from Blondie, Tina Tuner, Steely Dan, and Bobby Brown. The band consists of Jay Young, piccolo bass; Ian Young, bass; Theo Harris, drums; Tom West, keys; Ernest Bisong, violin; Haylee Dee, vocals; and Caitlynn Daniels, vocals.

Saturday, February 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) JazzINK once again presents an young opening act for this series: Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams. Headliners are What Would Monk Do? with Peter Schimke, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Kenny Horst on drums.

Sunday, February 19

Kaki King @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42) It’s difficult to slot guitarist Kaki King into any genre, or even describe her music. She’s worked with bands like the Foo Fighters and Timbaland, contributed to film and TV soundtracks, and sometimes performs with a NYC-based string quartet ETHEL. She also performed a Carnegie Hall premiere of a classical pice commissioned by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang. Tonight, she’s presenting “The Neck is a Bridge to the Body” in a multi-media performance.

Patty Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Singer Patty Peterson is celebrating the anniversary of the aortic tear which almost ended her life about ten years ago. Thankfully, she’s still with us, and still sounding great, as she proved at the Winter Jazz Fest a couple of weeks ago. She’ll be performing songs that celebrate life and love. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Minneapolis Heart Institute.

Monday, February 20

MVP Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $30), 9pm ($25) Bobby Watson  sax; Donald Brown, piano; Ray Drummond, bass; and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums; are the MVP Quartet. They have played together in various combinations and bands since these veterans were young. Both Watson and Brown were in Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, though at different times. Drummond and Smith both have extensive resumes. Here’s Watson with a standard.

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) I suspect that I mention Mary Louise quite a bit, but she’s such a great pianist, I feel more folks should know about her. After all, she’s the first call pianist for Doc Severensen when he tours the Midwest. She’ll be joined by Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums, in Crooners’ listening room. Here’s what she sounds like.

Tuesday, February 21

UW Eau Claire Jazz Ensemble w/Michael Davis @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Jazz Studies program at UW Eau Claire has been doing a great job of turning out musicians. Tonight they’ve invited NYC-based trombonist Michael Davis to sit in with their Jazz Ensemble. The bone-man is widely known as the trombonist for the Rolling Stones since 1994. He toured and recorded with Frank Sinatra from 1988 to 1994, released 9 solo CDs, composed over 150 works, authored 10 books and appeared on over 500 CDs and motion picture soundtracks. He’s worked with scores of high-profile musicians, including Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, Aerosmith, Tony Bennett, Sarah Vaughan, Sting, Branford Marsalis, David Sanborn, Terence Blanchard and others.

MVP Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) After playing at the Dakota lat night (see above), this all-star quartet is moving over to the Vieux.

Tuesday, Wednesday, February 21, 22

Aaron Diehl Presents Jelly & George @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm  ($40 – $55), 9pm ($24 – $45) Pianist Aaron Diehl turns the spotlight on the music of rag time pianist Jelly Roll Morton, and popular composer George Gershwin. There is certainly plenty of wonderful material to explore, and Diehl has picked out both classic tunes as well as little-known gems for further exploration. He’ll be joined by  pianist Adam Birnmaum, who has played with Al Foster, Wallace Roney, Eddie Gomez, and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra as well as young contemporary artists. Vocalist Cecile McLorin Salvant is the icing on the cake, so to speak, with her ability to unearth new interpretations of standards and long-forgotten, yet worthwhile tunes.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 15

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Joe and Vicki have such a fan base here in the Twin Cities that they could almost move here from their Decorah, Iowa home. Listen in during the 5 o’clock hour to catch their spare, but effective blues.

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Here we have three masters of slack key guitar – a distinctly Hawaiian style of open tunings. George Kahumoku Jr, Kawika Kahiapo, & Nathan Aweau are masters of the instrument who have produced four Grammy-winning CDs.

Maurice Jacox @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Here’s a chance to hear a vocal master of R&B, soul, blues, and even some crooning in the comfy confines of this “dive-ish” bar with friendly staff.

Aaron Kerr’s Dissonant Creatures @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Original compositions from electric cellist Aaron Kerr  along with Jeff Crandall, guitar; Toni Tinetti, cello; Justin DeLeon, drums; Matt Kanive, bass; Mike Nordgy, mandolin & percussion; and Brett Hansen, guitar.

Thursday, February 16

International Novelty Gamelan @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A gamelan is a traditional music ensemble from Indonesia that typically uses bronze percussive instruments. The ING may not be Indonesian, but it’s six members have taken the music of that far-off land to heart, and learned to create their own songs as well. Their music is drone-like, and can be very abstract, which makes it perfect for the cauldron of progressive music presented at Khyber Pass.

Friday, February 17

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) The Duchess of the Blues, singing and playing for your early evening dancing pleasure.

Dobet Gnahoré @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) 9pm ($25, $30) This singer, dancer, and percussionist from the Ivory Coast is likely to stun you with the sheer physicality of her dancing, though her singing (in a variety of African languages) and time-keeping are nothing to sneeze at. Gnahoré has a warm, powerful voice, and a commanding stage presence, sure to hold you in wonder.

Slimabration @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, Donation at Door) It’s been five years since Bob “Slim” Dunlap experienced the stroke that sidelined him from playing music, and racked up some significant medical expenses. Slim’s friends and family decided to mark the occasion with a celebration of Bob and his music, featuring solo and band performances from the likes of Dan Baird, of the Georgia Satellites; John Eller & Friends; Curtiss A, Frankie Lee, Whale in the Thames, and many more. There will be craft food and beverages available.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free beverage) Primer served as bandleader and lead guitarist for Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim and the Teardrops. He’s received two Grammy nominations, including a 2017 nomination as Best Traditional Blues Artist (Male). In other words, when it comes to the blues, Primer is the real deal.

Saturday, February 18

Ling-Ju Lai: The Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Host Maria Jette has lined up an impressive array of artists to perform for the somewhat informal Saturday Salon series. Though Ms Jette’s commentary and quick wit keep things light, the audience is as rapt as possible in this listening room. Today features pianist Ling-Ju Lai  a native of Taiwan who has gained an international reputation for her creative interpretations of Baroque music. From the venue’s description: “Highlights of the 2016-17 season include appearances in notable concert series such as the Aula de Música at the University of Alcalá in Spain, the PianoForte Foundation Salon Series in Chicago, and Brookline Library Music Association Concert Series in Massachusetts presenting The Goldberg Variations by J. S. Bach.”

Freaker’s Ball 2017 @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Let your Freak Flag Fly as the White Iron BandKung Fu Hippies, and trumpeter Willie Waldman take you on a trip through various stomp-your-feet permutations of roots, jam band, psychedelic, and free form music.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Silvertones are a cover band that features rock and R&B from the sixties, for that evening when you just want to sing along and (for older folks) perhaps relive your youth.

Sunday, February 19

Bad Companions @ The Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Two guitars, a stand-up bass, and drums are just what is needed to play roots-rock that encompasses Rockabilly, R&B, Country, and the Blues. Al Subola (Vibro Champs), guitar; Dan Gaarder (Trailer Trash), guitar; W.E. Keefe (Vibro Champs), bass; and Hayden Grooms (Hillions) are the Bad Companions  providing the sounds in the Sunken Garden of the Margorie McNeely Conservatory. Beer and wine is available and the music is piped into the North Garden and Palm Dome so you can keep up with the music as you enjoy the plants and humidity of the Conservatory. Here they are with the addition of a saxophonist.

Tuesday, February 21

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Latin sounds by the first American Group to be invited and appear at the International Danzon Festival in Havana. Leader Doug Little will have just returned from Cuba, so I imagine he will be pumped.

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.

 


Summer Begins: 3.25 – 3.31

May 25, 2016

Unknown-1Well, the unofficial start of summer is upon us. As the touring season for musicians kicks into high gear, we have more choices for music events from both visiting and resident artists, only a few of which I list each week. Like an overflowing picnic basket, we have more than enough to satisfy us. Have a great week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 25

Larry McDonough: Born To Be Kind of Blue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Pianist McDonough has been doing shows about trumpeters Chet Baker and Miles Davis of late. Hollywood recently released films about both trumpeters, so it seems the next step for McDonough is to combine both shows. McDonough’s voice has the same “cool” quality as Baker, so he’s got that covered, and he’s brought in the talented Steve Kenny on trumpet. Other members of the group include Paul Peterson, tenor; Doug Haining, alto; Jim Bierna, bass; and Dean White, drums. Here’s McDonough doing a standard.

Bobby Lyle w/Billy Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 Dinner), 9pm ($20) The Minneapolis native started playing piano in clubs at the age of 15, and hit the road as a full time musician after two years at Macalester. In the more than three decades since then he’s acquired an impressive resume, recording for Capitol, Atlantic, Three Keys, and Heads Up, and serving as musical director for Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler. His 2005 album Straight and Smooth appeared on both the Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts for Billboard. He’ll be joined by bassist Billy Peterson, whose own musical career also knows few boundaries, having worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Les Paul, Ben Sidran, and Steve Miller, among others.

Thursday, May 26

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Lucia Sarmiento Group is tonight’s attraction, and attraction is certainly the right word. Sarmiento is a young sax player from Peru who has been studying at MacNally Smith and increasingly gigging around town. She’s a strong player and a creative improviser. Joining her are a number of other young and youngish players: Will Kjeer, piano; Ethan Elseth, guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. Here she is from a few years ago.

Paula Lammers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Vocalist Lammers and guitarist David Martin have been exploring the music of singer/songwriters of the 70s, when the form exploded on the radio and pop charts. Ex[pect to hear music from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Rickie Lee Jones, Carole King, and more. Here she is doing an Ellington tune.

Friday, May 27

Jeremy Walker & Ted Nash @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Wow! Walker is a fine pianist and composer, well worth a visit to the Vieux. He’s a long time friend of saxophonist Ted Nash, who is coming through town and will be sitting in with Walker. Nash is a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and co-founded the NYC based Jazz Composers Collective. He will soon be releasing Presidential Suite, based on great political speeches of the 20th Century.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a band that’s just made for the room, allowing you to enjoy gumbo, a po’ boy, or oysters while The Aces play traditional New Orleans jazz from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bix Beiderbecke, among others. The group includes: Tony Baluff, clarinet; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Robert Bell, guitar; and Dave Michael, drums. And what’s more New Orleans than Little Liza Jane?

Maud Hixson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30 (No Cover) Ms Hixson brings her elegant vocals to the lounge at the Italian eatery in the office warrens in the southeast corner of the 100/494 interchange. She’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Rick Carlson on piano, two musicians whose restraint and taste are a good fit for Ms Hixson. Her latest project is a CD with songs mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books, a series from the early 20th Century about life in Mankato. Here’s a sample.

Saturday, May 28

Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Hot jazz from early in the 20th Century, played by Tom Zosel, clarinet/tenor sax; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; Tom Lyseng, drums; and Jeffrey Dunitz, banjo/guitar. Here’s what they sound like.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The new kitchen is open at the Black Dog, so while you’re enjoying music in the expanded space, you can have a burger or banh mi sandwich, among other offerings. At 7pm it’s the Evan Benidt Trio: Benidt, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums. The Peter Vircks Quartet starts sometime between 8:30 and 9:: Vircks, sax; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Brian Ziemniak, piano

Sunday, May 29

Joel Shapira @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) So, you’re hanging around town for the weekend, and if the forecast of rain on Friday and Saturday is correct, by Sunday afternoon, you’ll be looking for some diversion. Guitarist Joel Shapira might do the trick. The garage doors to the tap room will be open, so you can enjoy being on the patio.

 

Sergio Mendes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm  ($60 – $80) While Stan Getz may have had the first “bossa nova” hit with Desafinado, it was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 that really brought Brazilian music to the world 50 years ago. He adapted songs like The Look of Love, Fool on the Hill, and Scarborough Fair to the sensuous rhythms of Brazil, and took Mas Que Nada, sung entirely in Portugese, to the pop charts. He’s released 55 albums, and continues to meld pop instrumentation with Brazilian rhythms, maintaining his cool factor all these years. Here’s an example of just how cool he is – playing with the Black Eyed Peas

Tuesday, May 31

Dave Karr Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Saxophonist Karr moved to the Twin Cities in the 50s and began gigging around. In the intervening years created an award winning jingle agency, continued to gig, and has become an elder statesman in jazz, with an ever-inventive ability to caress a sweet melody or improvise a bebop line. He’ll be playing with Chris Lomheim, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.

Southern Minnesota REAL Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Waseca-based group is made up of the region’s top jazz musicians. About half are band directors, while the others come from a variety of occupations. They’ve got standard, 18-piece instrumentation, and play music from Ellington, Basie, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gordon Goodwin and others.

 

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This may be the first appearance at the Vieux for this group, though they originally started when the place was the Artists’ Quarter. Initially, all members would play as part of Kenny’s early evening Tuesday night jam, until they coalesced as a group, with Kenny as the veteran playing with young lions. Besides Kenny on Flumpet_, the group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Listen.

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, May 25

Moonlight Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Moonlight Duo are Mary DuShane and Nick Jordan. DuShane is a fiddler with a long history in the Twin Cities folk and roots scene. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion as a member of the Powdermilk Biscuit Band, currently plays with the DL Cajun Band, and has been in a number of country, folk, and roots bands over the decades. Nick Jordan plays finger-picked guitar (he flat picks as well), mandolin, and flute/whistle, in addition to singing. It will be an evening of old time, Appalachian, and Irish songs.

The April Fools @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of rock n’ roll loving guys who know how to put the country in country rock. Each has played in a plethora of bands before this collaboration, which was supposed to be a one-off project. They enjoyed working together so much that they became a band. Brian Drake, vocals, guitars; Clay Williams, guitars, lap steel, and pedal steel; Ben Kaplan, drums & percussion; and Scott Hreha, bass.

Thursday, May 26

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Swing dancers and Cajun dancers unite! You have nothing to lose but calories from spinning, twirling, two-stepping, and generally dancing the night away to this seasoned group and their repertoire of New Orleans R&B, Cajun, & Zydeco music.

 

Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($20) There will be plenty of both young and old fans of funk n’ soul at the former bus depot tonight. Bradley spent years doing James Brown covers before he was discovered by the soul-loving folks at Daptone Records. He’s been given the sobriquet “Screamin’ Eagle of Soul” thanks to the intensity of his singing, which leans toward slow and medium tempos, though he explodes with passion on the occasional fast number.

Jaunito Pascual New Flamenco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Born in Minneapolis, Jaunito Pascual  as been recognized in both Spain and throughout the US for his creativity and virtuosity on the guitar. He’s been hailed by NPR and the Boston Globe, performed on a Prairie Home Companion Cruise, and appeared in Steve Martin’s Pink Panther 2.

Friday, May 27

JD Souther @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $52) Billed as an “Intimate Evening,” it will be just Souther on stage. The singer/songwriter was a critical source for songs during the flowering of California country/rock in the early 70s, having hits with Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and others. He had his own massive hit in 1979, with You’re Only Lonely, which hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Souther has admitted that his songs are often depressing, which may explain why they are popular with country stars like George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks and Dunn, and others. His latest album, Tenderness, finds him, like many other his age, exploring the Great American Songbook. Those of you of a certain age will remember this song, a hit for the Eagles.

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm ($20, $18 members) Doors at 6:30 and limited seating, in one of the nicest unexpected venues in town. Sit amongst stunning examples of 20th Century Realism, and listen to this extraordinary quartet, one of the few guitar ensembles in the country that performs its pieces from memory. You’ll hear music from J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Hiromi Uehara, Maria Kalaniemi, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Don’t think this is on the program, but it’s a fine version.

North Country Bandits @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The band was on hiatus for a while, so it’s good to have them back, performing  a heap of stompin’ blues, a bit of country, good ol’ rock n’ roll, and killer harmonies. The front line is Matt Pudas, Drew Druckery, and Doug Otto on guitars and vocals, along with Rich Casey bass; Chris Gray, drums, Joanna John, keys; and Nick “The Feelin’” Mrozinski on vocals and keys.

Riverside Swing Band EP Release @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though the lounge has a small dance floor, it will undoubtedly be jumping as this quartet celebrates the release of “Songs from the 30s,” a collection of six vintage swing tunes.

Saturday, May 28

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpman and vocalist Steve Vondehaar, aka Boom Boom Steve, plays the Mississippi Saxophone with considerable skill. He’s been at it ever since buying a Tony Glover instruction book as a teenager. He and the Knockouts will have Neumann’s jumping.

Urban Flavor @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Funk n’ soul from a band of seasoned musicians, a few of whom were instrumental in the MPLS Sound of the 70s and 80s. Ben Locke was Alexander O’Neal’s drummer, while Charles and Donald Berry were cofounders of Quiet Storm, featured in the book/CD Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Members of other bands from the era will be present, though it’s hard to say who may join the band for the evening.

Pat Hayes Band @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist/harpist/vocalist Pat Hayes isn’t exactly shedding his Lamont Cranston skin, just putting it aside for this gig, which will undoubtedly still feature an LC tune or two in a new configuration. I’m unsure of who he’ll have with him, except for Tim Wick, who will be playing organ.

Saturday, Sunday, May 28, 29

Memory Lanes Block Party @ Memory Lanes, 25th & 26th Ave So, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 2am Saturday, 3pm – 10 pm Sunday ($5/day) Deejays and bands galore, with Saturday featuring mostly (insert hyphenated genre here) rock bands, while on Sunday there are a few roots and blues bands of note, including: Jaedyn James & The Hunger at 4:30, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders at 8:20, the Legendary Shack Shakers at 9:30, and Davina & The Vagabonds indoors at 10:45.

 

Sunday, May 29

Ecuador Manta @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Based in Saint Paul since they began in 1992, Ecuador Manta is originally from the tiny village of Atahulapa, Ecuador. They combine traditional rhythms from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia with contemporary Latin and Caribbean rhythms to create a unique form of Andean music.

 

Tuesday, May 31

Siama: Rivers – From the Congo to the Mississippi CD Release @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) If the swaying rhythms of Congolese guitarist Siama Matuzungidi doesn’t make you want to move, you better check your pulse. Siama was a prolific studio musician during the golden era of soukous music (70s-’80s) and his distinctive guitar style is featured on over 100 hit songs, several of which he composed. He’s been a resident of the Twin Cities for a number of years now, slowly but steadily building a fan base and connections with other musicians in cross-genre projects. From the Congo to the Mississippi is one such project, featuring musicians such as Joe Savage, pedal steel; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; Tim O’Keefe, percussion; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, JD Steele, vocals, and others, all of whom will be on hand. You’re invited to contribute an instrument in the lobby for distribution by Vega Productions to aspiring young musicians.

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


Lotsa Music: 3.23 – 3.29

March 23, 2016
We've all had this experience

We’ve all had this experience

This is the third of three blog entries that will be somewhat less informative than usual, as I am returning from out of town today, and prepared this a couple of weeks ago. You may want to check with venues to ensure that a) I have the right information; and b) the bookings haven’t change. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 23

Geoffrey Keezer with Gillian Margot @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($35 Dinner Show Minimum) Two-time Grammy nominated pianist (and former member of the Ray Brown Trio) with an up and coming vocalist. Reservations recommended.

Thursday, March 24

Martha Alkins @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10). Vocalist Alkins will perform standards from the 20s to the 90s, accompanied by a quartet.

Joel Shapira; Corey Healy’s Beautiful Sunshine Band CD Release @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira: no cover) 9pm ( Healey: $10) Guitarist Shapira opens at 6pm. At 9pm it’s Healey, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Erik Fratzke, bass.

Friday, March 25

Jon Pemberton; Jeremy Walker’s Boot Camp @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Pemberton: No Cover), 9pm (Boot Camp: $8) Pemberton on piano opens. Boot Camp includes: Walker, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar)Tonight, the Jazz Power Trio “King Fletcher Woods” graces the stage, with Jeff King, Saxophones; Charles Fletcher, Electric Bass; and Eron Woods, Drums.

Marcus Wise & Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Tabla player Wise and genre-blending guitarist Magraw have been playing together for upwards of 30 years.

Saturday, March 26

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The John Devine/Bill Lang Duo will open at 7pm, followed at 8:30pm by the Steve Kenny Quartet, featuring Matt Buckner, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ted Olsen, bass; and Kenny on Flumpet.

Sunday, March 27

Dan Chouinard & Maria Jette in The Dunsmore Room @ Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($25 Minimum) This time, pianist Choinard recruits classical singer Maria Jette for his Birthday Club.

Tuesday, March 29

Chris Lomheim; Paul Renz Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim: No Cover), 8pm (Renz: $5) Pianist Lomheim opens. Guitarist Renz is at home with various styles of jazz.

Billy Peterson w/ A Special Guest in the Dunsmore Room @ Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($20 Minimum) Don’t know the guest, but bassist Peterson has some pretty heavy musicians as friends.

Zacc Harris & Friends @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The guitarist has many friends. Who know who will show up?

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, March 23

Urban Hillbilliy Quartet on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rockin’ pop/bluegrass.

Makana & Paula Fuga @ The Dakota, Miknneapolis. 7pm ($27 – $32) Experience the music of Hawaii from this acclaimed slack key guitarist (Makana) and vocalist Paula Fuga.

InTandem @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Recently formed acoustic duo from Cannon Valley, performing all kinds of roots music.

Thursday, March 24

Tim Cheesebrow & the Nomads CD Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis.  7:30pm ($15) Seasoned songwriter is releasing his 3rd album backed by the Nomads, which includes banjoist Phil Nussbaum. Opening sets by Adam Levy, and No Grass Limit

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, March 24,25, 26

Shawn Colvin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $50) Solo sessions from one of the singer/songwriters who ushered in the “new folk” movement of the 80s.

Friday, March 25

The Trashmen @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Not really, it’s Tony Adreason of the Trashmen with the Surf Dawgs, along with a Book signing for Everybody’s hHeard About the Bird, by Rick Shefchik

Friday, Saturday, March 25, 26

Rich Lewis Band @ Erte Restaurant, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Soulful mix of R&B, New Orleans, and Motown.

Saturday, March 26

Siama’s Afrobilly Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) African Soukous and Rhumbas to accompany your brunch.

Jonathan Richman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Warm, often humorous songs from this 70s punkish icon.

Secret Stash Soul Revue @ The Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 8pm ($17) The cool record company brings out Sonny Knight; Cameron Kinghorn, of Nooky Jones; Jayanthi Kyle of Gospel Machine, PaviElle, and Molly Maher.

Sunday, March 27

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Hurricane Harold, Papa John Kolstad, and friends provide an afternoon’s entertainment.

Robby Krieger: The Music of the Doors @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $75) Light My Fire.

Tuesday, March 29

Jeff Austin Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $32) Founder of the Yonder Mountain String Band plays mandolin with his own project.

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.


Culture, Heritage, Music: 9.7 – 9.13

October 7, 2015
The Jamaican National Dance Theater, performing at the Jamaica Expo on Sunday

The National Dance Theater of Jamaica, performing at the Jamaica Heritage Expo on Sunday

It’s another week of great music from resident and visiting artists alike, including Hawaiian music as performed by a chamber vocal ensemble, world jazz, reggae, and of course, the blues. Music lifts the spirit. Have fun!

Jazz

Wednesday, October 7

Katia Cardenas @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Cardenas is a vocalist who is versatile enough to sing jazz, soulful R&B, and the occasional pop song.

Vector Families (aka PBR Street Gang) @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Anthony Cox takes over Jazz Central one Wednesday a month. Tonight he’s joined by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; and Dave King, drums. It’s a stellar cast of musicians, capable of playing difficult rhythms while still swinging.

Thursday, October 8

Suzanne Paris @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and Ms Paris, who has been raising a family for the last 15 years, is returning to performing. She was mentored by Buddy Montgomery, and performed as both a soloist and as a background vocalist for major recording artists such as Dave Mason and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter of Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers. Her repertoire runs from pop to standards. Here she is doing a blues.

Atrium Jazz Ensemble: Confluence @ Target Atrium of Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?)  Pianist Jeremy Walker kicks off a new season of jazz in the atrium with the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Bob Dylan, and Walker’s suite “A River Like a Train” featuring Wes “Warmdaddy” Anderson from New Orleans, alto sax; Chris Thomson, tenor sax; Jeremy Walker, piano; Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums. Here is Anderson fronting his own band.

Trumpet Night @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s always an adventure at this small venue that features wine, beer, and a few food items for these late night soirees. First set is a duo with Steve Kenny and Adam Linz. Second set is a trumpet trio with Noah Baldwin, Jake Baldwin and Elaine Evans.

Friday, October 9

Bob Parsons Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) Parsons is a saxophonist/arranger who spent 15 years in the Big Apple, appearing on over 30 records for Blue Note, Verve, and Steeplechase Records. Since returning to the Twin Cities in 2008, he’s created arrangements for both the Acme Jazz Company and the Andrew Walesch project 100 Years of Sinatra. He’ll be join by Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Bottomless Pit and Live Painting @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm. Tim Nyberg will once again be painting to live music, this time performed by the A-list of Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass. Tim even has a video showing how he paints to music.

Saturday, October 10

Black Violin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42), 9pm ($35) Classically trained Will B and Kev Marcus play violin and viola, and use those instruments to deliver a blend of classical, hip-hop, and R&B, with a tip of the hat to bluegrass music once in a while. They’ve played the President’s Inaugural Ball, backed Alicia Keys at the 2004 Billboard Awards, and have collaborated with Kanye West, 50 Cent, Tom Petty, Aretha Franklin, and other legendary acts. Listen as they turn the Brandenburg Concerto into a hip-hop jam.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($Tip Jar) Central Standard Time takes the stage at 7pm, featuring Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ted Olson, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Matthew Buckner, drums. They’ll be followed at 8:30 by Low Blows, a trio consisting of Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Mauilotus: The Marilyn Allysum Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($15 advance/$20 Door) Global Jazz from the group formally known as Quintessence. Mauilotus uses a variety of Chinese, Indian, Tibetan, and Western instruments to weave the musical traditions of East and West into a unique soundscape. Allysum, piano, flute, Gu Zheng, and voice; Charles Fletcher, bass; guitars; Mike Hurley, drums and percussion; and David Wolfe, Persian harp.

Monday, October 12

Charmin and Shapira and Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Charmin Michelle’s voice is sweet and smooth as whipping cream, while Joel Shapira’s guitar provides a light, yet swinging accompaniment. They’ll be joined by friends Paul Harper on sax; Tom Lewis on bass; and Nathan Norman on drums.

Tuesday, October 13

Phil Hey Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This might be the best jazz group in the Twin Cities, and that’s saying something, given the talent in town. This is their debut at Crooners, and the dance floor will be filled with tables for a listening audience. Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Phil Hey, drums; play the music of Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Don Cherry, and others.

Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Born and bred in New York City, vocalist Laurie  started out as a Manhattan cabaret singer and studied jazz with Judy Niemack, Sheila Jordan and others. Whether singing gypsy jazz, straight-ahead, or cabaret, Laurie always satisfies.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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, October 7

Bingham & Thorne on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.  5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – tip Jar) These veteran guitarists (Thorn also plays mandolin) deliver anecdotes, humor, and philosophy as well as the blues. They’re equally at home playing on a porch, in a club, or at a festival. They’ll be joined by fiddle master Randy Sabien, and no doubt harpist/host will join in on a tune or two. Tune in at 5pm, and if you like what you hear, which is likely, catch them live at the 331 Club.

Mark Lickteig’s Original Soul Revue @ The Pourhouse, 10 South 5th St, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Mark Lickteig and the Vicious Licks (horns and Hammond B-3), with special guest Ali Washington. You probably know vocalist/intsrumentalist Lickteig from his work with bands like Mick Sterling and the Stud Brothers, the R Factor, Free and Easy, and his weekly appearances with Mambo’s Combo (The Combo) at Bunker’s. He’s got a powerful voice that holds it own against horn bands and communicates soulful emotion. He’s finally released a CD of his own, Workin’ , backed by the cream of Twin Cities jazz and R&B players.

Thursday, October 8

Portland Cello Project @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Chamber music that stretches boundaries and appeals to all demographics. The group can range in size from a quartet to a 12 piece accompanied by chorus and orchestras. They’ve collaborated with folks like the Dandy Warhols and Trampled by Turtles, and have played symphony halls, NYC loading docks, and Prairie Home Companion.

Thursday, Friday, October 8, 9

Dave and Phil Alvin and the Guilty Ones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $40) Back together again, after the success of Common Ground, their album of Big Bill Broonzy Songs, the brothers Alvin  of The Blasters, celebrate the music of James Brown, Leadbelly, Willie Dixon, Big Joe Turner, and other inspirations on their latest, Lost Time. Here they are performing a Big Bill Broonzy song.

Friday, October 9

Unknown-2Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5) Get jumpin’ with this unassuming rockin’ R&B quintet  They just want folks to dance, and are very successful at doing that. Guitarist Johnny Coburn leads the group and provides some original songs, but their playlist includes songs by Larry Garner, Susan Tedeschi, J Geils, ZZ Top, and even Norah Jones. Monica Louise provides powerful vocals, Mike Brisson, bass; and Nick Zwak drums; provide the foundation, while Rose Duffy provides both sweetening and strength on sax.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Primer’s is a classic blues story: as a Mississippi born child he created a homemade guitar by nailing broom wire to the wall of a house; inspired by Muddy Waters, Little Milton, and BB King songs he heard on the radio; migrated to Chicago and played West side clubs, and became a member of the house band at Theresa’s on the South Side, playing with the likes of Jr Well,s Buddy Guy, and Lonnie Brooks; and working in the bands of Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, and Magic Slim. I’ve said it of others, but there is not doubt that he’s the real deal.

The Rose Ensemble: The Last Queen of Hawaii @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15 – $37) Here in the Midwest we rarely learn much about Hawaii’s heritage and history, so this performance gives us a peek at Hawaii’s music and dance heritage as this vocal chamber group performs an ancient chant, Victorian Parlor tunes, missionary hymns, and cowboy tunes. It ends with the imprisonment of Queen Lilli’uokalani, composer of the famous Aloha ‘Oe. Listen.

Friday, Saturday, October 9, 10

UkeFest @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) The oft-maligned ukelele is celebrated at this Fourth Annual Ukefest, which now takes up two evenings, and features members of the Hula Peppers, the Meteor Bos, and The Lau Hawaiian Collective, as well as the festivals’ founder Katy Vernon, and Lynn O’Brien, Jake Rowan, and many more. Ukeleles are welcome for the sing-along at the end of the night.

Saturday, October 10

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities best blues band makes its debut at the northern suburb lounge (about a mile north of 694 on Central) with a dance floor. Here they are with an instrumental.

Roundhouse on Tap, featuring Davina & The Vagabonds @ The Jackson Street Roundhouse, 193 Pennsylvania Avenue East, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20) Rowdy music at the Roundhouse, with a tour of the museum, some history, and beer thrown in for good measure. Learn more, including how to take part in an optional vintage bus tour and beer tasting at Urban Growler, by going here.

Jeff Ray & Stakes CD Release Party @ Golden’s Deli, 275 4th Street East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Golden’s Deli is a Lowertown spot that features occasional music and poetry to go with its soups, salads, beer, and wine. Jeff Ray and the Stakes (Hurricane Harold Tremblay, harmonica; Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckmen, percussion) have a new CD, entitled Valhalla, brimming with lively acoustic blues, including Ray originals and tunes from the Grateful Dead, Bobby Blue Bland, and Mississippi Fred McDowell. As an added bonus, they have the great guitarist Pat Donahue as a special guest. Here’s Jeff, Harold, and Mikkel.

Sunday, October 11

MN Blues Hall of Fame Celebration @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 12:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This annual event celebrates the best of Minnesota Blues. Today’s inductees include Big George Jackson, John Beach, and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson. There will be speeches and lots of blues music.

Jamaica Heritage Expo feat. Marcia Griffiths @ The Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($40) Expo begins at 4pm, featuring special performances by National Dance Theater of Jamaica. At 8:30pm Marcia Griffiths (The Empress of Reggae) takes the stage. Here’s a chance to learn more about true culture and heritage of this Caribbean nation. Then, at 8:30, thrill to music from Ms Griffiths, who started her career with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, went out to perform as a member of the I-Threes (backing Bob Marley), recorded and performed with Bob Andy as Bob and Marcia, and has had her own successful solo career. Her version of Electric Boogie started the Electric Slide dance craze (you’ve seen it at weddings), becoming the highest selling single of any female reggae singer.

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.


Summer Days, Summer Nights. Music:8.5 – 8.11

August 5, 2015
The Lowertown Guitar Festival

The Lowertown Guitar Festival

It’s been a great summer for music so far. This weekend, those of you who aren’t attending the Bayfront Blues Festival will have a chance to hear hot guitars at the Lowertown Guitar Festival, which features guitarists from a number of genres. We also have a jazz artist celebrating his 96th birthday and music and movies in the parks at Como Dockside on Friday, and at Loring Park on Monday (see below). Though I didn’t list them, the Powderhorn Art Fair, the Uptown Art Fair, and the Loring Park Art Festival will all have performance stages as well. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 5

Gypsy Mania Hot Club @ Wolf Park, Saint Louis Park. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) Pack a picnic and head to this close-in Western suburb of Minneapolis to catch Gypsy Mania: Greg Helgeson, guitar; Greg Schulte, violin; Reynold Philipsek, guitar; and Matt Senjem, bass, and the play hot club swing music that seems fitting for a warm summer night.

Elephant Crossing @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is a new band, led by medical resident Ari  Nahum on piano. He’s joined by Adam Meckler, trumpet; Gus Sandberg, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; and Zack Schmidt, drums.

Thursday, August 6

George Brooks Bombay Jazz w/Larry Coryell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Saxophonist George Brooks gathers forces with guitar legend Larry Coryell  Ronu Majumdar, a master of the Indian bamboo flute; and tabla virtuoso Aditya Kayanpur to create a blend of Indian classical music and American jazz. Given that the classical music of India features improvisation, rich melodies, and dynamic rhythms in non-American time signatures, this should make for a very interesting and  solid evening of jazz. Here’s Brooks and Coryell.

Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Cardenas recently impressed many at the opening of Vieux Carre. Now she’s back at Jazz Central, where she and Andrew Foreman, bass; Ted Godbout, piano; and Zach Schmidt, keys will be trying new things with songs by Amy Winehouse, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin and others.

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bassist Peterson started this quartet a few years back with Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; and Adrian Suarez, drums, and finally released a very well received CD last year. Tonight they’ll be performing Peterson’s original compositions as part of the Jazz Original Series at Studio Z.

Friday, August 7

Atlantis Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($8) The Atlantis Quartet returns to the space where they recorded their 2011 release, Lines in the Sand and where they last played about two years ago, though now, there’ve been a few changes, including ownership and the name.  What isn’t changed is the quartet’s ability to improvise and perform the thoroughly modern jazz that is their hallmark.

Public Music for Friday @ Public Kitchen + Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (No Cover) The Public is a relatively new restaurant and lounge facing Mears Park in Saint Paul. They’ve slowly been adding music to their late nights in the downstairs lounge/bar. Tonight, starting at 8pm, it’s Donald Washington, sax; Doan Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax, and Tim Duroche, drums. Then at 10pm it’s the Orchestra for Ants, a three guitar outfit with a humorous bent. 

Saturday, August 8

Jeremy Walker Trio & the Ted Olsen Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s Saturday Night Jazz at the Black Dog, featuring two trios. The first is the Ted Olsen Trio at 7pm: Olsen, bass; Javi Santiago, keys; and Miguel Hurtado, drums; followed by Walker’s trio at 8:30pm: Jeremy Walker, keys; Jeff Brueske, bass, and Tim Zhorne, drums.

Sunday, August 9

Irv Williams 96th Birthday Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Like the Energizer Bunny, “Mr Smooth” just keeps going and going. Unlike the drumming Bunny, Williams is a superb saxophonist, who doesn’t seem to have lost his ability to create romantic music. May we all be able to create such great, happy moments at his age. Here’s a video from earlier this year.

Monday, August 10

Sound Skirmish and Drift @ The Acadia Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Sound Skirmish is a young group, some of whose members have yet to reach 21, yet their talent is undeniable. Members include Patrick Adkins, piano; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes, Ben Ehrlich, drums; and Drew Stinson, bass. The Acadia only features artists who play original compositions. While Sound Skirmish will be playing jazz, Drift is a singer/songwriter duo consisting of Ryan Hedblom and Madelyn Hirschuber.

Will Kjeer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s been a year since young Mr. Kjeer, a fabulously talented pianist, graduated from high school, during with time he studied (mostly classical) piano at Interlachen School for the Arts in Michigan. He’s been playing around town this summer, but will soon be heading out to Cal Arts in Southern California, so catch while you can and hear his original compositions.

Tuesday, August 11

Javier Santiago Trio @ Vieux Carre Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) Pianist Santiago has been playing a lot around town, in groups that range from neo R&B to salsa, to straight ahead jazz. Tonight he’s joined by Miguel Hurtado on drums, and bassist Ted Olson, two other talented players in their early 20s.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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, August 5

Indeed Brewing Fundraiser for KFAI @ Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 3pm – 11pm. Okay, I don’t normally publicize a fundraiser without a band, but this has a live broadcast and a singer for part of a show, and the proceeds of all sales for the day will go to KFAI, where I have my radio show. Both Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ and Harold Tremblay’s House Party will be broadcasting live, with Harold featuring barrelhouse pianist & vocalist Stephanie Nilles during the 5 o’clock hour, so you can watch broadcasting and a live performance while enjoying the beverages of Indeed Brewing. She’ll then head over to the 331 Club to perform from 7pm – 9pm.

Jillian Rae Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) The acoustic music fiddler and vocalist with a bent for rock n’ pop will be performing at the Vieux for the first time. Opening will be talented singer/songwriter Brianna Lane, whom Jim Walsh, of the STRIB, called a “star in the making.”

Thursday, August 6

MNSKA Presents @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar?)  The neighborhood bar on Nicollet & 44th will be jumping to the sounds of three ska bands tonight, with the Skruffians, and Rat Rod Ruckus, and from Rochester, New York, Mrs Skannotto. Here is Mrs. Skannotto.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Get your fill of Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop tunes from our very own Swamp Poppas. Bring Dancing Shoes, cuz the Eagles Club has one of the best wooden dance floors around.

Friday, August 7

Patio Party featuring IDK @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 4pm – 9pm (No Cover) Taps and music on the Black Dog Patio on a summer night. Oh, and food available from inside. IDK is a band led by Ukelelest (?) Keldon Ancheta, and includes drummer Aaron Tafoya.

Right Track Vinyl Dance Party Anniversary @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) DJs Benjamin Mena, Mike Elias, and Brian Engel have been hosting this First Friday Vinyl dance party for a year now, spinning soul, blues, R&B, and more.

Saturday, August 8

Lowertown Guitar Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 2pm – 10pm. (Free) McNally Smith College of Music is presenting the 3rd Annual Festival, today featuring bluesman Greg Koch, jazz rocker Johnny A., Nashville session guys JD Simo and Guthrei Trapp, and two National Fingerstyle Guitar Champions: Muriel Anderson and our own Tim Sparks. That’s on the Main Stage. On the Sixth Street stage there will be sets by Park Evans, Toni Lingren, Jerry Kosak, and more. There’s an after party at the Vieux Carré, featuring the Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound, and very likely, some jamming.

Summer of Love @ Harriet BrewingTap Room, Minneapolis. 3:30 – 5pm:  Recall those days of yesteryear, when pot was way illegal and much less potent, folks were discovering meditation, Indian gurus, LSD, and peace, love, and harmony, beginning with a split set of 60s folk songs by Roady Tate and Dan Israel; 5:15: Steve West and the Northern Stars perform 60s folk, pop, and rock. 6pm British and America Rock, Garage, Animals, Steve West and Friends; 7:15: 60s British and Amierican Pop and Rock by the Lanes; and finally, at 9pm: 60s Psych and Rock by the Tommy Bentz Band.

Sunday, August 9

Support Live Music Summer Jam @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm – 10pm ($10) Here’s an event that’s easy to get behind. MMC is featuring a whole day of many of it’s regular performers, including Mary Elias, The School of Rock, Willie Walker and We R, w/guest Maurice Jacox, The Chris Lawrence Band, JayBee and the Routine, Boogie Wonderland, and who knows who else. The MMC has been highly supportive of Twin Cities musicians for years, providing a space for fundraisers many times each year. The club, and its owner Karen Palm, are even talked about in the book Invisible Prey, by John Sandford, copies of which are always on sale at the club along with lots of other merchandise. Check out Jaybee & the Routine.

Monday, August 10

All Tomorrow’s Petty & Batman @ Loring Park, MInneapolis. 7pm (Free) Holy Moley! Pack a picnic, grab a blanket, and head to Loring Park for Movies and Music in the Park. Tonight it’s All Tomorrow’s Petty, a loose-knit group of musicians from a number of Twin Cities bands see their FaceBook page) who give a 21st Century spin on Tom Petty songs. They’ll be followed at about 8:45 by the very first Batman movie from the 60s, wherein Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) take on your favorite bad guys: The Penguin, Catwoman, the Joker, and the Riddler.

Mystic Order of Reverb & Twang @ Schooners, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Get your surf/rockabilly/R&B fix for the week with this very twangy trio, aka M.O.R.T, with special guest Shannon McDonough on vocals.

Tuesday, August 11

Javier Matos & Bill Bateman @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 6pm ($15 includes dinner) Here’s a very rootsy gig for an early week dinner. Blues guitarist Matos takes a night off from his band Javier & the Innocent Sons to bring his bottleneck playing and more to the Bayport BBQ. Bateman was the original drummer for the Blasters. They met while Matos was in Los Angeles early this century and performed together in the Blue Shadows.

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. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.


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