Well, we’ve another busy week here in the Twin Cities. While one can talk about the quality of the shows you’ve seen, a measure of the music here is the quality of the shows you don’t get to see, simply because you’re at another venue. For all the shows I list, there is usually an equal number that are worthwhile attending. We are lucky.
Now, for a short commercial break. Many of you have already received e-mails about Give to the Max Day, which is tomorrow. I’d like to ask that you support two non-profits in particular. The first is the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education (DFJE), which is dedicated to inspiring young audiences about jazz, and helping aspiring young jazz musicians in their studies. We have a match for the first $2500, so you can essentially double your money if you donate early. To donate, got to DFJE’s GiveMN site. The second non-profit I’m particularly jazzed about is KFAI Fresh Air Radio, where I have had a weekly jazz radio show called Rhythm and Grooves for the past 11 years. Find their site here. Now, back to our regular program.
Wednesday, November 13
Valve Meets Slide @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Recall the days of JJ Johnson & Kai Winding, as two fine trombonists – Brad Bellows on valve, and Dave Graf on slide bring us some swingin’ tunes, ably backed by Peter Schimke, piano, Gordy Johnson, bass, and Mac Santiago, drums. Late night club goers get two-for-one admission after 11pm. Here’s an example of their work.
Thursday, November 14
Gershwin in Paris: Bruce Henry, Irv Williams, & Others @ the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, 3675 Arboretum Dr, Chaska. 7pm ($35) A celebration of a true American original – George Gershwin. First, you get his Rhapsody in Blue plus An American in Paris done as Gershwin arranged them, with two pianos and four hands. Then, you get other Gershwin tunes, such as I’ve Got Rhythm, and Embraceable You, as done by vocalist Bruce Henry, saxophonist Irv Williams, accordionist Dan Newton, and others. Tickets were selling briskly, so you be advised to call for a reservation at (952) 443-1400, or reserve on-line here.
Five By Design @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis 8:30 – 9:30pm ($10?) This Minnesota vocal quintet is well known outside our borders, but rarely appears in town. There close harmonies and well-rehearsed stage presence make them favorites in halls around the country.
The Jesters @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The Jesters are another all-star combination of Twin Cities musicians. Pete Whitman, sax; Chris Olson, guitar; Laura Caviani, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.
Friday, November 15
Brad Bellows and Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This time out, Brad Bellows is playing his valve trombone in a “freer” environment, with sax master Donald Washington goosing the music along. Their music is sometimes challenging, but always surprising.
Friday, Saturday, November 15, 16
Lew Tabackin Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) A long-time friend of the AQ, Tabackin returns for one last time before the end of the year and the AQ’s closing. An outstanding artists on flute and tenor sax, Tabackin knows his musical history, yet has a sound that’s all his own. Here he is.
Saturday November 16
Charmin & Shapira @ Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis. 12:30 – 2:30pm. (Free) You’ve got the honeyed tones of Charmin Michelle backed by the subtle, elegant guitar of Joel Shapira. A calming break from shopping at the market.
Laura Caviani & Pete Whitman @ Jazz @ St. Barney’s, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) This saintly jazz series at St. Barnabas Lutheran Church turns to duo who each have impressive resumes. More importantly, they are inventive, imaginative musicians. Pianist Caviani has received numerous accolades for her sparkling work at the keyboards, as a leader, as a member of groups such as JazzMN, Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, Karryn Allison’s band, and for her own CDs, of which there are four. Pete Whitman’s sax can be soothing or fiery. His X-Tet CD received four stars in Downbeat, and he has performed with folks like Jack McDuff, Curtis Fuller, and the Woody Herman Orchestra. They’ve worked together many times, developing a musical relationship that is akin to mental telepathy.
Musical Tribute to Oscar Peterson @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Tanner Taylor and Richard Johnson, two sublime piano players, will each bring a trio to Studio Z to pay hommage to the late Oscar Peterson. Each trio will do a set and then there will be a two-piano finale. Johnson will be backed by bassist Jeremy Boettcher, and drummer Adrian Suarez. Taylor will have Adam Linz on bass, and Trevor Hainig on drums.
Steve Cole CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm. Saxophonist Cole has been recording as a leader for about 15 years now. Along the way he’s garnered a few radio hits, thanks to his R&B-meets-jazz approach. He’s also worked with Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Boz Scaggs, Larry Carlton, Jeff Lorber, Freddie Cole, and Cyrus Chestnut among others. He’ll be backed by a number of friends from the Peterson Family – Patty, Ricky, Paul and Jason Peterson DeLaire, along with Bobby Vandell and Billy Franze.
Tuesday, November 19
Dave Brattain & Friends @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Saxophonist Brattain takes over the Tuesday night slot for a change. The friends on Tuesday nights change from week to week.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, November 13
Jonathan Richman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($16) Conversational lyrics, often about mundane matters, but with a slightly skewed outlook, have endeared Richman to many. Though he first made a splash in the late 70s and early 80s, he’ll likely concentrate on newer material.
Women’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – Midnight. (No Cover) Wow, here is a chance to see a dozen singer-songwriters (who happen to be women) in action. Half-hour sets form the likes of Courtney Yasmineh, Katy Vernon, Liz Squires, and more. Jessie Rae Armstrong starts at 6:30 and the fun continues all night long. The Driftwood’s low key atmosphere is just right for this evening.
Thursday, November 14
Jimmy Webb @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45-$40) A master songwriter, Webb wrote some of the biggest hits of the 60s and 70s for folks like The Fifth Dimension, Glen Cambell, and Isaac Hayes, among others. He received several Grammys and his songs continue to be recorded. Opening is Robin Spielberg, a pianist/composer and storyteller who has sold a million CDs, and is touring in support of a new memoir.
Jacox, Della Selva, Craft, & DuBois @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8pm – 11pm (No Cover) The East Metro area gets to hear a bevy of highly skilled musicians do their thing. Maurice Jacox, vocals, flute, and sax; John Della Selva, guitar; Jason Craft, keys; and Mike DuBois, drums.
Flatt Foot Rollers @ A Benefit for Wesley Center, 1st & Grant, Minneapolis. 7pm (Donation) The Rollers are a seven-piece band that serves up old school R&B and Funk in a dance-o-licious way.They’re playing this benefit for the Wesley Center, home to a Meals program which serves hundreds of hot meals to the poor and needy each Saturday. The 122 year-old pink granite church located next to the Minneapolis Convention Center has been designated a historic site.
Friday, November 15
Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Reed player Doug Little heads up this septet, brining us Cuban sons, guajiras, and other Latin sounds.
Garland Jeffreys @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35) This passionate rock n’ roller shows influences of R&B, Reggae, blues and dance music in his performances. Brooklyn-born Jeffreys has been recording since the 70s, when his single of Wild in the Streets first brought him success. Along the way he’s earned the respect of peers like Lou Reed and Bruce Springsteen, and David Johansen, and has an international following. Jake Clemmons, nephew of the E-Street saxman Clarence Clemmons, opens. Here’s Garland doing a song from his latest album.
Saturday, September 16
Freedy Johnston & Darden Smith @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15/$20) Two singer-songwriters performing round-robin style. Johnston has been recording for some 25 years, having been named Best Songwriter of 1994 by Rolling Stone. BTW, Kurt Cobain and Sam Philips came in 2nd and 3rd. In 2009 Johnston released the well-received Rain on the City, and in 2012 recorded and toured with the Hobar Brothers Lil’ Sis. His current tour is a preview and warm-up for his upcoming CD, Neon Repairman.
Willie Murphy’s 70th Birthday Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis ($?) Ahh, just like the rest of us, Willie Murphy is getting older. His actual birthday is Sunday the 17th, but this will serve as a fine blow-out to celebrate all those years on this mortal coil. Murphy’s dance-friendly R&B and Rock n’ Roll will fill the wooden floor at the Eagles, and while many celebrants are sure to share an affinity for grey hair, you can bet that some younger folk will be bustin’ some moves as well. Here he is in one of his mellower, though not necessarily romantic, moments.
Sunday November 17
Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Okay, we’ve got two national finger-picking guitarists at work tonight. Together, their styles encompass blues, jazz, classical, and world music. In writing of Tim Sparks, Guitar Player Magazine called his music “Fresh, exotic and totally cool.” Heywood, who also sings in a warm baritone, was hand-picked by Leo Kottke to tour with him. Expect an evening of sublime music when these two get on stage together. Here’s an example of how they work together.
Monday, November 16
Joe Fingers & His So-Called Friends @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30 pm (Donation) This is the first of two Monday night shows that will benefit Second Harvest Heartland. Joe Fingers is a national finger-picking champion. Don’t know Joe? He and his So-Called Friends have spent some time on Prairie Home Companion.