The lusty month of May, as it’s called in the musical Camelot, is busting with buds and greenery. All the better to get out and enjoy Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis, or some of the great music found in our Twin Cities. From a couple of former Minnesotans visiting once again, to a CD release and some mighty fine visiting artists, we have much to choose from. Music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, May 13
Casey O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) O’Brien is a talented bassist/guitarist/arranger who has been heard around town in both jazz and R&B groups, including PaviElle and a number of Secret Stash groups. He’s released a jazz CD with Nathan Hanson, sax; and Davu Seru, drums entitled Ghost Dance and tonight will be joined by the duo as well as Ted Gadbout on keys.
Nick Videen Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Videen is a NYC-based sax player who grew up in Cambridge, MN. He’s toured and/or recorded with Beyonce and a number of other high-profile R&B stars and leads the Superpower Horns, a grammy-winning horn section. I expect he’ll be drawing on Twin Cities Talent for tonight’s quartet. He’s featured in this video:
Thursday, May 14
Dick and Janes Brass Band w/guest Thomasina Petrus @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 11:30pm (No Cover) This five-piece brass band will have you parading around the dance floor at the Loring. Tonight they’re joined by vocalist Petrus, known for producing and staring in the Billie Holiday play Live at the Emerson Bar.
Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Bassist Adam Linz has put together a quintet of players who are strong on melodic improvisations: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; and Corey Healey, drums. The will be an opening set by Pandemonium Defender, whom I know nothing about, though, judging by the name, it just might be another Linz creation.
Friday, May 15
Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm. (Free) Irv Williams is proof that music can keep you young. The 92-year old saxophonist is joined today by the expressive pianist Ms. Knutson, a featured member of Doc Severinson’s midwest touring group when she isn’t playing around town.
Michael O’Brien Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist O’Brien is a former Twin Citizen who moved to NYC some years back where he has flourished. He’s played with a wide array of artists, ranging from Ruben Blades and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, to Gene Ptney, Matt Wilson, Sashal Vasandani, and Wessell Anderson. He’s been in town for a few gigs and tonight is joined by pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein for what will surely be some transcendent music.
Jazz in the Lobby Bar CD Release @ the Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Pianist/vocalist JoAnn Funk and bassist Jeff Brueske have been holding down weekends at the Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar for seven years, building an audience that appreciates their arrangements of standards as well as unexpected gems from songwriters in many genres. They’ve finally released a CD and are celebrating by moving the party to the Hotel’s ballroom, and inviting guest artists Richard Kriehn, mandolin, violin; Pete Whitman, sax; Nathan Norman, drums; to join in the fun. I interviewed JoAnn on my show this past Saturday (May 9), which you can listen to, along with a couple of cuts from the new CD, by going here.
Saturday, May 16
Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Talk about a dynamic duo! Guitarist Magraw and drummer Gravatt take you places you wouldn’t imagine. They can go inside, outside, and be funky as you wanna, while exploring all the sonic possibilities of their instruments.
Charlie Lincoln Group @ Elias Metal Studio, 1129 Van Buren Street, NE Minneapolis. 1pm. (Free) This is part of Art-A-Whirl, and features the “punk jazz” of Lincoln’s Physical Memory Dump featuring Peter Goggin, alto sax; Joey C. Hays, drums; and Charlie Lincoln, bass.
Fall of the House of Usher @ Elias Metal Studio, 1129 Van Buren Street, NE Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) This exciting band is led by Chris Bates, bass; and includes Chris Cunninham, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums and a four-pice horn section consisting of Nelson Devereaux; Adrean Larkin; Elliot Wachs; and Jon Davis.
Monday, May 18
Adam Rossmiller & Aaron Hedenstrom @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Rossmiller has played with Doc Severinson, Jason Marsalis, Natalie Cole, and Eric Alexander, among others. Aaron Hedenstrom is a composer/saxophonist with a recent fine CD, A Moment of Clarity, and his own big band. Tonight they’ll be playing what they want.
Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm. Though I recently featured bassist/vocalist Lynch at an afternoon gig, I’m once again listing her since she’ll have a new band and be playing in this relatively new nightclub. Kate’s repertoire ranges from the 20s and 30s to an occasional tune from the 60s, all delivered with a sly bit of sass. Her version of Tiptoe Thru the Tulips suggests way more than Tiny Tim could have imagined.
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 Police, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.
Blues, Roots, Other….
Wednesday, May 13
Mikkel & Siami on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip jar) Siami Matuzungidi is an internationally renowned guitarist from Zaire, whose liquid playing helped establish Soukous in the mid-70s. He now lives in Minneapolis, and has found, in Mikkel Beckman, a simpatico percussionist for his hip-swaying sounds. Beckmen is well-known in the roots community for his work with Charlie Parr and Corpse Reviver, among others. Tune in at 5pm, and head over to the 331 Club to hear more.
Thursday, May 14
American Composers Forum 40th Anniversary @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 9:30pm, (Free) Through grants, commissions, and performance opportunities, the ACF supports composers of all stripes in developing audiences for their music. They are celebrating with National Composers Night Out, linking composers thought the nation via social media, and by presenting a number of groups including VocalEssence, the “maverick chamber music” of Orange Mighty Trio, the chamber jazz of JelloSlave, and more.
Eric Bibb @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 – $30) Bibb is a blues singing acoustic finger-picker, whose smooth voice, excellent guitar playing, and storytelling skills set him apart in the best possible way. Blues fans will not want to miss him.
Friday, May 15
Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($TBD) Though they didn’t win big at the International Blues Challenge this year, Jimmi & the Band of Souls won the heart of Miss Ella, a nationally known reviewer and one of the judges, who highly praised their album The Devil You Know. You can hear their high-energy original blues at tonight’s early show.
Hyentyte @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) They’ll have to move a few tables for the dancing that will surely take place when this six-piece jam/rock band takes the stage. If the doors are open, so much the better for dancers as well as those taking advantage of the beer offerings of the Tap Room.
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
Art-A-Whirl in NE Minneapolis. Various hours (Free) Lots of music throughout NE Minneapolis during these three days. Get a rundown of music here. A couple of bands of note on Saturday: Gospel Machine and Southside Desire at Anchor Fish & Chips starting at 6pm; Black Market Brass and Black Diet at Bauhaus Brew Labs starting at 7pm; Grant Hart and Cactus Blossoms at Grumpy’s NE starting at 7:15pm.
Saturday, May 16
Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Crooners has been featuring jazz vocalists during the week and more R&B oriented acts on the weekends, when the small dance floor fill up, as it will surely do tonight with the soulful sounds of Walker.
Sub-Commandos @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. Doors at 7pm music at 9? ($15) It’s a Twin Cities Punk/New Wave Revival as aging rockers show that they still have what it takes to set First Avenue vibrating. The Sub-Commandos feature members of the Suburbs, Suicide Commandos, and Wallets. Also on hand: Yipes!, from Wisconsin; the New Spooks featuring Curtiss A; Hypstrz; and Flamingo
Sunday, May 17
Urban Pioneers @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) This duo (Liz Sloan, fiddles/vocals; and Jared McGovern, bass/vocals/clawhammer banjo) from San Francisco play rootsy, Appalachian style music, which actually should sound quite good at the Lakeside Pavillion. Opening is Beneath the Crow, a five-piece who describe their music as Southern Goth Folk.
Inti-Illimani and Los Llaneros @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) This evening of Latin American music is a benefit for a Chilean Music and Arts School called Sol Del Illimani. Inti-Illimani are a legendary Chilean group who has been thrilling audiences with a blend of poetic and political music for over 40 years. Their talent is staggering, as they deftly move among 30 or more instruments. Los Llaneros perform the music of the plains (Llanos) around the Orinoco River in Colombia and Venezuela. Here’s Inti-Illimani.
Monday, May 18
Willie Murphy @ the Richfield American Legion, 6500 Portland Avenue, Richfield. 7pm (Tip Jar?) Murphy holds forth on this jam every Monday. Who knows who will stop by to participate. One thing is for sure. Willie will be the ringmaster, bringing out the best in everyone.
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.