Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays: 12.20 – 12.26

December 20, 2017

Toy Trains at Christmas

Or to put it more humorously and inclusively, Happy Chriskwanzacuh – and don’t forget the celebration of Winter Solstice, since we can look forward to increasing daytime light after Thursday. This is a time of year when a number of faiths and cultures have special celebrations, and if you don’t practice those faiths, you can nevertheless appreciate and even enjoy some of their traditions (including setting up toy trains). You still have the opportunity to hear great music throughout our area, though admittedly, you might have to settle for watching Netflix and getting Chinese takeout on December 25. Besides a couple of holiday shows, we can choose from the last appearance in town by the original Bad Plus, a couple of dance-oriented bands, and some roots music. Whatever your traditions at this time of year, enjoy the season, and remember, music lifts the spirit


Wednesday, Dec 20

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Pianist Chris Lomheim gathers Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums; for an evening of swinging tunes and subtle ballads. Here is what Lomheim sound like in a trio setting.

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 10pm (Free) Original eclectic jazz and creative covers from pianist/composer Mark Vandermyde, with Jason Parvey, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums.

Wednesday, Dec 20 – Saturday, Dec 23

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) Since the turn of this century, Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Kennedy, bass; and Dave King, drums; have been making annual visits to the Dakota to present their iconoclastic jazz, reimagining rock hits and jazz standards while creating songs that are often as quirky as their titles (i.e., 1979 Semi Finalist, Epistolary Echoes). This is the last gig featuring pianist Iverson, who is leaving the group after their New Year’s Eve appearance at the Village Vanguard. His droll wit will be missed, but he’ll be ably replaced by Orrin Evans. Stay tuned….

Thursday, Dec 21

Holiday Piano Bar @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) The “Piano Bar” isn’t really such, since Jazz Central isn’t a bar. Nevertheless curator Sarah M. Greer describes the evening as part open mic, part jam session, and part caroling singalong. Ms Greer will host the evening, aided by pianist Jon de Vall. Bring instruments, charts, your lyric sheets and requests.

Belle Amour Holiday Show @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Looking at their website, it appears that this four-piece group – vocalist, keys, bass, drums – seems to specialize in wedding and corporate gigs. It appears that Graydon Peterson is on bass, though I don’t recognize the other performers. Listening to their songs reveals a tight, jumping outfit that plays vintage jazz, including songs from Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, The Andrew Sisters, and other performers from the 1930s and 40s. Their music is bright, breezy, and fun.

Aerosol Pike @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Acoustic-based spontaneous composition from Philip Mann, Ryan Reber, and Rick Ness on horns (and other instruments?).

Friday, Dec 22

Peter Schimke Trio @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) The Lexington’s Williamsburg Room can be a bit noisy to fully appreciate the playing of pianist Schimke, who always has A-list players with him. Just sit close, enjoy a cocktail, and relax after doing your holiday shopping.

John Raymond’s Standards Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) Minneapolis native Raymond is a trumpeter/flugelhorn player who was called a “Rising Star” by no less than DownBeat Magazine. His four albums have all been well received by the NY Times, Downbeat, and Jazz Times. He’s currently Professor of Trumpet at Indiana University. His trip home provides us with a chance to hear him, accompanied by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here he is with his New York group.

Saturday, Dec 23

Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15, $20) Carrothers, a pianist whose imagination is always inventive and far-ranging, seems to have fallen in love with the Dunsmore Room, as the Saint Paul native makes the trip from Michigan quite frequently to appear in various groups. He’s recorded 26 albums as a leader and has appeared as a sideman with a wide range of jazzers including Buddy DeFranco, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Konitz, Dewey Redmanm, Toots Thielman, and more. He’ll be appearing solo to play on the 9-foot Steinway at the intimate listening room.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Cole Mahlum opens at 7pm, leading his own group. At 8:30pm bassist Ted Olsen appears with frequent collaborators Javi Santiago on piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom.

Sunday, Monday, Dec 24, 25

Merry Christmas! Enjoy a technicolor Christmas at the movies, or a Chinese meal for those who don’t practice the Christian faith.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Dec 26, 27

Connie Evingson: Holiday @ Dunsmore Lodge, Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($22) With its view of a snow-covered lake, the Dunsmore will easily bring to mind a cozy country lodge as Ms Evingson, of the cool, yet sultry voice, celebrates the season, accompanied by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Dave Karr, sax & flute; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Here’s a cut from her gorgeous Christmas album.

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, Dec 20

Ben Eaton on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Roots/Americana songwriter/guitarist Eaton is a native of Des Moines who now lives in Minneapolis. He’s working on a 5-song EP with drummer Dwight Dario, who used to live around here, and Matt Woods. Tonight he’ll have a 4-piece band with him, featuring guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson.

Thursday, Dec 21

Draper-Beckmen-Kiesling @ The Dubliner Pub & Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The Twin Cities hardest-working washboard player teams up with bassist-around-town Liz Draper and Adam Kielsing (of Pert Near Sandstone) to play old-time music, country blues, early jazz, and maybe a holiday tune or two for your happy hour pleasure.

Friday, Dec 22

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?, $10?) Blues, swing, jump, jive, & jazz for dancing in the Ernie Mattson Ballroom at the commodious Eagles Club.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:45pm (Tip Jar) Though Dusty’s is under new ownership, they remain committed to providing the rootsy groups that have been appearing there for years. Example number 1: Nikki & the Rue-mates, whose folk-blue-rock has long been a Dusty’s favorite, often packing the place while they play in the “big green booth.” Nikki’s clarion voice and Rich Rue’s terrific fretwork are always a treat, with the added delight of guitarist Dean Mikkelson often sitting in to accompany Nikki on a jazz standard or two.

Saturday, Dec 23

Steeling Dan @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) You say you want to hear some heady, sometimes inscrutable lyrics, performed with cool, jazzy pop? Then this Steely Dan Tribute Band may deliver just what you need.

Joyann Parker Band @ Crooners’ Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover, but $10 guaranteed seat) Vocalist/pianist/guitarist Parker has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’s just right for the Pre-Christmas Saturday night crowd at Crooners. She’s been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, and represented Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society.

Sunday, Dec 24

Enjoy Christmas Eve!

Monday, Dec 25

Christmas With Robert Robinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) Get your gospel groove on with the highly popular and one-of-a-kind Robinson, who gets rave reviews wherever he appears. Some examples: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal called him “a volcanic talent,” while the Salt Lake City Desert New called his performance “glorious,” and the Star Tribune described him as a “soaring presence.”

Tuesday, Dec 26

Willie West @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Louisiana-born Willie West is a classic soul singer who recorded for Allen Toussaint with the score for the blaxploiotation film Black Samson, and later worked with The Meters in the late 70s and early 80s. He then worked all over Bourbon Street until Hurricane Katrina, after which he moved to Saint Cloud, where he currently lives. In the last few years he’s recorded with some Finnish funk/soul groups (see video), and still has the vocal prowess and emotional power that makes a soul singer a soul 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.

Purple Reigns: 4.19 – 4.25

April 19, 2017

Unless you’ve been living in a cave this past week, you’ve undoubtedly been reminded that it’s been a year since Prince joined the majority, as they used to say in Victorian times. There are many shows this week that will be celebrating his memory, including deejayed dance parties, Paisley Park productions, and shows with various of his associates. I’ve listed a few, but Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune captured them all in an article this past Monday. Many of the VIP tickets for shows are sold out, but as he notes, there are less expensive tickets available for numerous shows. At any rate, whether or not you’re a Prince fan, there is plenty of music to lift your spirits and soothe your soul this week, including those below.



Wednesday, April 19

Steven Hobert Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ruminative piano style of Steven Hobert joins forces with the imaginative playing of saxman Pete Whitman, and a solid foundation from Johannes Tona, bass; and LA Buckner, drums.  Here’s Hobert in a slightly different setting.

Red Planet & Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who has drawn raves from New York City to Europe for his highly inventive ways with a melody. He grew up in Saint Paul but lives in the UP of Michigan. That’s close enough that he comes to town every few months to perform, lately at the Dunsmore Room.  Red Planet is a jazz-rock trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre. Members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; have collaborated with Carrothers on a new album, and are celebrating its release these two evenings. Carrothers and each of the members of jazz Red Planet will undoubtedly bring new colors and sonorities to jazz standards and originals.

Thursday, April 20

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header of jazz, with Fermentation at 9pm: Dave Atchison – Guitar, Ryan Billig – Drums, William Melton – Bass/Trombone, Armond Reginald Neal – Flute/misc.. Then at 10:30pm it’s Large Marge: Chris Hepola, drums, and Josh Granowski, bass.

Lizz Wright @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60) Vocalist Wrigh  is a preacher’s kid from a small town in Georgia, where she often sang during Sunday services. It’s against that background that she can weave jazz, pop, and the blues into a personal perspective that resonates with audiences around the world. She particularly asked to perform here this week, given that Prince stopped by to see & visit with her the last time she was in town, two nights before he passed.

Friday, April 22

Ashen Fir and Below Zero @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID). Friday nights are given over to Jazz Masters and emerging Artistsd at Jazz Central. First up tonight is Ashen Fir, a quartet led by Greg Byers, cello; along with Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums. Followed by Below Zero, a HS-aged combo directed by Greg Keel. Here is Ashen Fir.

Paula Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) It is twenty years since vocalist Paula Cole released her breakthrough album This Fire, which contained two Billboard-charting singles, and was nominated for seven Grammys, including the first Grammy for Producer of the Year for a female. Cole won as Best New Artist of the Year. Since then she has worked with a wide variety of artists, from Peter Gabriel and Dolly Parton to Herbie Hancock and Burt Bacharach. She has sold over three million albums and has had her songs recorded by folks like Hancock, Annie Lennox, and Jo Jo.

Saturday, April 22

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The evening starts out with the Abebi Stafford Experience, with Stafford, piano, and Joel Pruitt, drums. Then it’s on to Chris Bates  Red5, affectionately named after the call sign from an X-Wing fighter in Star Wars. The band includes: Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Aaron Hedenstrom & Pete Whitman, saxes; and JC Sanford, trombone. Here’s the group in a slightly different configuration.

Sunday, April 23

Bowdog @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) KC Bassist Bob Bowman used to play in town with Karrin Allyson when she was based out of Kansas City. Back in the day he was a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, as well as the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Big Band. He’s also toured with Carmen McCrae, and has toured with Freddie Hubbard and other notables. Bowman leads this quartet, with Hermon Mehari; Peter Schlamb; Johan Kizilamut.

Sheila Jordan @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm, 8pm ($25, $50w/Dinner)  Octogenerian Sheila Jordan is a jazz singer without peer whose main influences have always been instrumentalists, beginning with Charlie Parker. In the early 50s she moved to NYC, hung out in that fertile music scene, married Parker’s pianist Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano, but didn’t begin recording until the 60s. Her 2015 album, Sheila’s Back in Town, reveals her to be in full control of her voice, with thoughtful, yet often unexpected changes in pitch, vocalizations of classic instrumental solos, and highly musical scatting.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band 40th Anniversary @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35), 8pm ($25, $30) Forty years ago a group of talented New Orleans musicians decided to try a different approach to Brass Band music. While still acknowledging a classic repertoire, they added contemporary funk and R&B to their playlist, as well as classic bebop and other jazz that went way beyond traditional brass band music. DDDB’s high energy renditions of tunes like the Moose the Mooch, Blue Monk, and the Flintstones theme earned them fans around the world. They’re still at it, recording music by Rhianna, as well as their own version of Marvin Gaye’s landmark album What’s Going On.

Monday, April 24

Ernest Bisong @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Ever since he enrolled at McNally Smith a few years back, Nigerian violinist has been pleasing ears and turning heads with playing. Now a grad student, Bisong plays around town in various groups and teaches at a few different schools. Tonight he explores his own compositions and arrangements.

John Raymond @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. $15, $40w/Dinner) John Raymond is a NYC-based, Minneapolis born trumpeter who has recently received rave reviews in both Downbeat and Jazz Times for his most recent album, Real Feels, Vol. 1. He was recently selected as a Rising Star in Trumpet by Downbeat’s Critics Poll, and is recognized as a sterling educator, conducting workshops around the country.

Monday, Tuesday, April 24, 25

SF Jazz Collective Plays Miles Davis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30) The SF Jazz Collective  consists of eight outstanding musicians. Though the group changes some personnel every year or so, their mission remains the same – to create new arrangements of songs by a selected artist each year and create new compositions inspired by that composer. Past years have seen the celebration of music by Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson, among others. This year they celebrate the music of Miles Davis. This year’s octet has an international flavor, with Miguel Zenon, alto; David Sanchez, tenor; Warrn Wolf, vibes; Sean Jones, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penman, bass; and Obed Calvaire, drums.

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, April 19

Alicia Kay & the ChangeUps on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana – country, rock, and blues from Ms Kay and the ChangeUps: Alicia Kay, Singer/Songwriter/Acoustic Guitar; Jimmy Baker, Electric guitar/Songwriter/Banjo; Aaron Rosener, Drums/Percussion; Jeff Ellington/Gerran, Bass; and Wendy Tangen-Foster, Violin/Fiddle. Tune in, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331, where the show will end in plenty of time to get home and get enough rest for work the next day.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 19, 20

Shelby J Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10pm ($40, $50, $60) Shelby J is a Prince protege who auditioned for, and got a spot in the New Power Generation Band back in 2006. She then took part in the Purple One’s 2007 Super Bowl half-time performance  and has since toured with Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Santana, Roy Hargrove, and Larry Graham. Her March appearance at the Dakota with Judith Hill and Liv Warfield received rave reviews. She’ll undoubtedly be singing songs from her brand new album.

Thursday, April 20

The 4/20 (Rock n’) Roll Show @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm )$6 Advance/$9 Door) April 20 is something of a counterculture holiday, commemorating 4:20 as an ideal time to light up a doobie, I guess, and celebrated in places like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Boulder, and Montreal. Fulton Brewing is sponsoring this rock-oriented show where, instead of Grateful Dead covers, you’ll get an evening of punk-metal and garage blues., with The Dead Man Boy’s Choir, 20 Watt Tombstone, and Jesse D. Revel. Don’t expect to be lighting up on the dance floor, however.

Friday, April 21

Lush Country @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No Cover, but $10 guaranteed seat) Here you have a line-up of Twin Cities all-stars recreating classic country tunes from the 50s. The group includes Dan ChouinardPrudence Johnson  Gary Rue, Richard Kriehn, Gary Raynor, Pete Johnson, and Joe Savage.

PaviElle @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($10) PaviElle is a powerful R&B singer who, with her six-piece band, was named as one of First Avenue’s best new bands of 2015. She’s received other honors as well, including an Upper Midwest Emmy, and a Sage Award. PaviElle French, which is her full name, grew up in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, and in the last couple of years has become an advocate of black soul music for the Millenial generation. Along with her band, she’s crafted some fine songs and performs intriguing arrangements of surprising covers.

Saturday, April 22

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 3pm ($20) Here’s a chance to hear chamber music in a cabaret setting as soprano Maria Jette hosts a different combination of performers and repertoire at this delightful weekly event. Today, Clara Osowski  mezzo; and Casey Farn, piano; perform selections from Barok, Poulenc, Sebelius, Grieg and more in a presentation with the theme The Ways of the World.

Cornbread Harris’ 90th Birthday Party & CD Release @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Pianist Cornbread Harris opened for Elvis, appeared on MN’s first recorded rock & roll record with Augie Garcia, and has received numerous awards. And yes, he’s Jimmy Jam’s dad. Thing is, at 90, Cornbread still holds down regular gigs across the Twin Cities, while also playing weddings, churches, and old folks homes. He’s a special character in our artist-rich community and is not only celebrating his birthday, but the release of a CD recorded over two nights at the Hook.

Rich Lewis Band @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6)Guitarist/singer Lewis has a fondness for R&B, Motown, and the music of New Orleans, all delivered with “a good beat – you can dance to it.” He was a founding member of the fabled Explodo Boys back in the late 70s, and nowadays appears with some regularity at the Eagle’s dance hall. Always a treat.

Sunday, April 23

Road to Memphis Blues Band Challenge @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s a chance to hear a number of area blues bands while also supporting the Minnesota Blues Society and their efforts to send someone to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. The band’s vying for that honor today include: Slim Willie & The Ride; Bluedog; Ken Valdez; Harrison Street; Jim Stairs & Squishy Mud; and Paul Barry & The Ace Tones. The order of playing will be determined immediately prior to the event, so show up early to ensure you hear your favorite band.

Monday, April 24

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) Here at the north end of the Mississippi River, many residents seem to have a bit of a connection to the music of South Louisiana. In fact, you can find Cajun dances with some regularity, especially at this Southside club and dance hall. The DL Cajun Band, as the name suggests, performs traditional Cajun music, including 2-steps, waltzes, blues, and other staples of the genre. Band members are Doug Lohman, guitar; Shawn Glidden,Cajun accordion; and Marie Stier, fiddle; Dawn Doering, triangle & snare. Oh, and their vocals are often in Cajun French.

Peter Mawanga and The Amaravi Movement @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 door) Fusing the rock outfit of drums-bass-guitar with the traditional sounds of Malawi’s marimba, thumb piano, and percussion, Mawanga’s Afro-vibes is a modern African sound that is intrinsically Malawian. He has the premier band in Malawi to boot who has been making headlines ever since their debut release Paphiri ndi Padambo (2009). Traditional melodies and rhythms form the backbone of original songs orchestrated with modern and traditional instruments, a sound Mawanga terms Afro-vibes.

Kasano & the Vybes @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) Kasano has been on Twin Cities’ stages as an actor and dancer, but is also a singer, songwriter, and recording artist who performs funk, soul, and contemporary rhythm & blues. He was born in Lusaka, Zambia, where his father was a guitarist, and was mostly raised in Minnesota. He’s backed by The Vybes: Sweets, guitar; Aaron Rosell, drums; Seth Lienard, bass; and Becky Shaheen, keys.

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.

Much Music, Many Genres: 11.30 – 12.6

November 30, 2016

images-1The week ahead features music that runs a gamut of styles and genres, from jump blues to funk, straight ahead jazz, fusion, girl-group pop, and of course, some helpings of holiday music to celebrate the season. No matter what kind of music you prefer, there is no doubt that music can lift your spirit. Have a great week!


Wednesday, November 30

Lorber, McLain, LaBelle, Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35), 9PM ($25, $30) It’s an evening of contemporary jazz and R&B, with Jeff Lorber  keyboards; Marlon McClain, guitar; Shaun LaBelle, guitar & keys; and Stokely Williams, drums & vocals. These happen to be four of the biggest stars in contemporary jazz & R&B. Lorber helped shape jazz fusion with the Jeff Lorber Fusion band. McLain was part of a successful West Coast group called Pleasure, which was discovered by Wayne Henderson of the Crusaders. McLain is also a successful songwriter whose tunes have been recorded by folks like the Dazz Band, Tower of Power, En Vogue, and others. Bassist LaBelle is proficient in various aspects of the music industry, from producing to songwriting, with a number of top ten songs to his credit. Finally, drummer Stokely Williams, a Twin Cities native, has been a member of Mint Condition for 20 years. Here are Lorber and LaBelle at the Dakota six years ago.

Sinne Eeg @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Eeg is a native of Denmark, where she is a preeminent vocalist. She’s also made waves in Japan, China, and throughout Europe. Her 2014 recording, Face the Music, earned her the Danish Grammy, along with the Ben Webster Prize, and the Prix du Jazz from France’s Academie du Jazz. She’s made a Twin Cities connection through the Peterson family, as both Patty and Billy have sung her praises.

Levi Schwartzberg Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The young vibist is studying physics at the U while maintaining a regular gig schedule with groups like Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, Sound Skirmish, The Charlie Lincoln Group and his own quintet. Tonight he leads a quartet with Drew Stinson, bass; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Tarek Abdelqader, drums.

Wednesday, November 30 – Friday, December 2

Martin & Doolin Twin Cities CD Release @ Various Venues ($ & Time Varies) Guitarists David Martin and Mike Doolin are releasing Dark Star, their third collaboration with five performances in five days. They started their “Twin Cities Tour” at the Icehouse and the Black Dog and continue with appearances at Vieux Carré (8pm Wednesday), Driftwood Char Bar (7pm Thursday), and Jazz Central (8pm Friday) The two guitarist/bassists produce guitar sounds that range from fuzzed-out to crystalline, punctuated with some funky drumming. Martin & Doolin will be joined by Jim Chenoweth, bass; Shai Hayo, percussion; and Pete Hennig, drums. Here’s the duo from their last CD release.

Thursday, December 1

Thursday Night Jazz: the Joe Mayo Quartet @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Joe Mayo has been steadily making a name for himself in town since he moved here a few years back. members of the quartet include: Mayo, saxes; Pete James Johnson, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar.

Horton, dVRG, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s another evening of adventurous music at the Khyber Pass Cafe, with  Joe Horton, emcee; Devon Gray, keys; and Davu Seru  drums & percussion. I don’t know Horton, who has emceed with various hip-hop groups and is on the faculty at McNally Smith, but both Gray and Seru are seasoned musicians who can play a variety of styles, including R&B, hip-hop, and jazz.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Cash only) Drummer Kogan’s 2015 album Some Monsterful Wonderthing, was a Top 10 Jazz album for the Star Tribune. The retired tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra has become a favorite at the Vieux, what with his mostly straight ahead jazz and a group of excellent musicians: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass.

Friday, December 2

Charles Lazarus: Merry and Bright @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 – $60) Trumpeter Charles Lazarus  of the Minnesota Orchestra, is a formidable jazz player. He’s bringing together a passel of professionals to inaugurate a new holiday tradition. They include Tonia Hughes and Bruce Henry on vocals; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; Davie Schmalenberger, drums; and the Lazarus Brass. As of this writing, the show is close to being sold out.

Saturday, December 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Yo Jimbo, with Jimbo Robson, drums; Jerry Shelton, trumpet; Steve Klein, alto; Jerry Benson, tenor; Brian Van Stavern, trombone; Ron Peterson, piano; and John Brown, bass. 8:30pm Steve Hobert 4 with Art “LA” Buckner, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano/keys. Here’s Hobert doing an improvisation.

Javi Santiago Trio: Jazz @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm master class, 7pm concert ($10 Advance or with workshop, $15 Door, 12 & under: Free) Pianist Javier Santiago  ill be joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums, to play the music of Ahmad Jamal, including songs from the albums One and The Awakening, as well as Jamal’s landmark album Live at the Pershing, for what promises to be a sweet evening of music.

Monday, December 5

John Raymond & Real Feels @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Minneapolis native and current NYC resident John Raymond  irst caught the ears of area jazz lovers when still in high school over a dozen years ago. The trumpeter studied with a number of area musicians before going to school at Eau Claire and moving to NYC upon graduation. Since then he’s performed with such significant artists as Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ethan Iverson, and Linda Oh among others. His latest CD, Real Feels, received a 4 and a half star review in Downbeat, and he was voted as Rising Star Trumpeter in that mag’s Critics Poll.

Monday, Tuesday, December 5,6

Christmas w/Joey DeFrancesco @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($35, $40, $75w/Dinner), 9pm ($25, $30) DeFrancesco  ad such a good time playing the Dunsmore Room a couple of months back that he asked to return. Jazz Times calls him the “Best B3 Player on the Planet,” which is hard to argue against.  The three-time Grammy nominee and multiple award winner will be bringing a funky, soul-jazz vibe to some of your favorite holiday tunes for this occasion. As in his last appearance, DeFrancesco will be joined by Dan Wilson on guitar, and Jason Brown on drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 30

Lonesome Dan Kase on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) With his slightly crushed fedora, vintage suit and tie, fleet guitar work, and world-weary vocals, Lonesome Dan Kase embodies the blues of the 30s, though he’s in tune with contemporary times. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour, and head over to the 331 for more great music.

Darlene Love’s Christmas Show @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($57, $67) As lead singer for the Blossoms, Love  and her cohorts released a number of early singles, but mostly sang backup for a myriad of artists, ranging from Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley, to Cher and Aretha Franklin. She’s also the lead voice on such hits as He’s a Rebel, Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Heart, and on the Christmas favorites Marshmallow World and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) which she performed annually for almost 30 years on the David Letterman Show. She’s a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and is one of the subjects of the award-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” and has been an actor in the “Lethal Weapon” films and in such Broadway musicals as “Hairspray” and” Leader of the Pack.” Her voice is unmistakeable, and she has been rightly called one of the greatest singers of all time.

Thursday,December 1

Rena Haus @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) While the Twin Cities has a fair amount of very talented woman blues singers, few are as good at composing and playing guitar as Ms Haus, whose inspiration can come from daily life on her farm, outrage at politicians, or the need for companionship.

Pat Donohue’s Holiday Show @ The History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Fans of Prairie Home Companion’s former Guy’s All Star Shoe Band can once again hear the band while celebrating the season as guitarist Pat Donohue brings the band, now re-named Prairie All-Stars, along with Special Guest Butch Thompson  to the History Theater for one night. Joining Donohue are Gary Raynor, bass; Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Richard Kriehn, mandolin and fiddle, and Peter Johnson on drums. There’ll be some original Christmas tunes written by Donohue over the years, as well as some traditional music, and several songs from Donohues recent excellent CD Blue Yonder. Pianist Thompson will perform Silent Night in the style of Jimmy Yancey, as well as a couple of other songs. If you can pick up the latest edition of the Highland Villager, you can read a story I wrote about Donohue and the concert.

Friday, December 2

Erica West Band @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Soulful, sultry R&B, with occasional side trips into jazz and pop,  from vocalist West and her six piece band.

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) You’ve not heard old-time music sung and played this way before, with Guitarist Steve Kaul on metal bodied resonator guitars; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, djembe, and found percussion; Brad Ptacek on washtub bass; and the effervescent Jillian Rae on fiddle. Opening at 9pm are Kim and Quillen Roe of the Roe Family Singers, making this an especially fine evening of old time music.

Friday – Monday, December 3 – December 5

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (Fri, Sat, Mon $45 – $70), 9pm (Fri, Mon $35 – $60, Sat $45 – $60), 6pm (Sun $45 – $70), 8pm ($35 – $60) Tower of Power is one of the few acts that can fill 8 shows at the Dakota, and it’s no wonder. They are as tight an aggregation as you’ll ever see, bringing funky, soulful horn music to dancing masses since the 70s, with the leader and two of his original cohorts keeping things moving all night long.

Saturday, December 3

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Ohs started in 1977 as Flamingo, but the original Flamingos from the 50s took issue with the name, so the band became the Flamin’ Ohs, and became darlings of Twin Cities rock/punk/new wave fans. They were among the first bands to make a music video back in the early 80s, when it got played on this new cable channel called MTV. Since 1980 they put out a number of albums, split up at the end of the 80s, reunited at the end of the 90s, and have recorded and occasionally performed since then.

Hurricane Harold/Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Hurricane) 9pm ($12) Another great twofer night at the Vieux. Hurricane Harold plays harmonica, usually accompanied by Doug Otto or Jeff Ray on guitar during the dinner hour. Then at 9pm its a band that is getting increasingly glowing press for their funky renditions of originals and classic soul songs. Jaedyn James  s a powerhouse of a singer, and the 9 piece band and backup singers, are delightfully energetic, which they have to be, to match Jaedyns, energy.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($?) Saxophonist Clarke and his merry band of swinging musicians play jumpin’ jazz and R&B for dancers, with songs that range from Fats Waller and Count Basie to Fats Domino and Louis Jordan. Dancers will trip the light fantastic on one of the best dance floors in the area.

Papa John Kolstad & the Hot Club of East Lake @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Bluesman and swinging guitarist Papa John is in his natural habitat at Merlin’s, where he and the various members of the Hot Club bring some acoustic swing to the fore. Plus, you never know who will stop by and sit in. Bring an ID if you want alcohol, otherwise enjoy the TV-less environs, large selection of scotch and beers, and typical English fare at what many call the Best Neighborhood Bar in Minneapolis.

Yulefest IX @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 Donation) This is the 9th year for Yulefest, which The Eddies hosted at the Hat Trick in its early days and moved to the Celtic Junction a few years ago to have more room. It’s a musical fundraiser for The Food Group, with all proceeds (from entry donations and a silent auction) going to stock food shelves throughout Minnesota. Along with The Eddies, you’ll get to hear Patsy O’Brien, The HiBs and Barra for an evening of music and fun. The Celtic Junction is located north of University in the Midway area.

Sunday, December 4

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (No Cover) Sunday afternoon Charangas and salsas for aspiring and expert Latin dancers, delivered by a band that recorded their last album in Havana.

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.

A Week in Summer: 8.3 – 8.9

August 3, 2016
A summer tradition: Movies and Music in the Park. Photo:

A summer tradition: Movies and Music in the Park. Photo:

Holy Shamoley, have we got a week filled with outdoor fun, from a metal pour to a guitar festival, Afrobeat in a museum patio, a couple of block parties, and movies and music at Loring Park. Is summer in the Twin Cities great, or what! There is plenty of indoor entertainment as well, notably during the week, including some visiting Jazz artists, local veterans of many music genres, and a fairly indescribable group from the Ukraine. Music lifts your spirit.


Wednesday, August 3

Wolverines Jazz Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) It seems the Wolverines show up often in these newsletters, either in their own right, or accompanying some of the outstanding vocalists of the area. Rick Carlson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jendeen Forberg, drums; are the ultimate pros in this area, able to hold the attention of the noisy, and sometimes rowdy crowd (Bachelorette parties anyone?) of Hell’s Kitchen, no matter what the occasion.

Sasha Masakowski @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 – $22) In 2009, vocalist Masakowski earned the Best Emerging Artist Award of the Big Easy Association. The daughter of Steve Masakowski, guitarist for New Orlean’s fabled Astral Project, she has played all around the nation and abroad. She’s earned kudos from both Vanity Fair and Downbeat, and currently leads three bands, performing music that  ranges from traditional New Orleans jazz, to contemporary jazz, world music, and experimental art-rock. Here she is with Irvin Mayfield’s Big Band.

Reuben Ristrom & Dan Ristrom @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7pm (No Cover) Guitarist/banjo player Reuben Ristrom has been contributing his talents to swinging aggregations for five decades now. Tonight he and son Dan  who is a fine vocalist and bassist, will  be playing for folks in the lounge at Crooners.

Thursday, August 4

Sheridan Zuther & Jordan Anderson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Vocalist Zuther has an engaging way with songs and with her audiences. Expect songs from the Great American Songbook as well as some favorites of Zuther from her youth on the Central Plains of North Dakota. She’ll be accompanied by the talented young pianist Jordan Anderson, who has been active with a number of young combos as well as with some veterans, and will be heading off to college this Fall. Here’s Sheridan with a quartet.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s Steve Kenny’s Group 47 tonight, wherein veteran trumpet and Flumpet player Steve Kenny surrounds himself with some young musicians: Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Under Kenny’s aegis, they contribute tunes, energy, and imagination. Here’s a number by Will Kjeer that shows some hard bop influence.

Katia Cardenas @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($6) The talented Ms Cardenas returns to the Vieux, where her excellent pipes, as well as her excellent band, continues to gain fans for both her and the club.

Friday, August 5

Joel Shapira @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm There’s no cover at Parma 8200’s lounge, but you’re sure to be tempted by their drinks and their Italian menu. Guitarist Joel Shapira will be supplying tasty licks and more to entertain you while you sit at the bar or on the comfy couches.

Eric Kamau Gravatt and Sourcode @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Gravatt certainly deserves wider attention here in town. The drummer is an alumni of Weather Report as well as the bands of McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and others. This band features a cross-generational mix of musicians: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Lucia Sarmiento, sax; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Ron Evniuk, bass. This. Is. Jazz. Here is Gravatt with a slightly different configuration of the group.

Saturday, August 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Trap Tube opens as part of JazzINK’s Youth Jazz Showcase: Gerhardt Robinson, saxes; Jordan Anderson, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; and Simon Petrick on drums. 9pm: John Raymond Group: Trumpeter Raymond visits his hometown from NYC once again, and is joined by Bryan Nichols, piano; and Cory Healey, drums. Here’s Raymond with his New York group.

Monday, August 8

Marcus Miller @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $47), 9pm ($35 – $42) Though he’s a multi-instrumentalist, adept on keyboards and clarinet, he’s primarily known as an electric bassist, and genial stage presence. Miller is a two time Grammy winner, and composer/producer of ten albums. He also has over 500 recording credits as a sideman for folks such as Eric Clapton, George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Roberta Flack, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin, Snoop Dogg, and many, many more. Here’s a bass workout of Miller’s from the North Sea Jazz Festival last year.

Tuesday, August 9

Tim Patrick & His Blue Eyes Band @ Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 8:30pm (Free) Crooner Tim Patrick didn’t start singing in public until late in life, but over the last decade has certainly made up for that. He’s bringing the songs of Sinatra, Dean Martin, et al; to the Center’s outdoor patio, where a dance floor will undoubtedly be filled, as happens when he appears at the Eagles, Club, the Medina Ballroom, and other ballrooms in the area. Dance instruction from 6:30 – 7pm, and performance afterwards. Bring a picnic or buy food and beverages from a limited menu on the patio. In case it rains, the performance moves indoors, where seating is somewhat limited.

Sam Miltich @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Militich is a guitarist born and raised in the North Woods of Minnesota and currently lives in Grand Rapids. After seeing Woody Allen’s movie “Sweet and Lowdown” he was inspired to study and perform the music of Django Rheinhardt. Over the last decade or so Militich has built a well-earned reputation as an excellent interpreter of Gypsy Jazz, Brazilian Choro, French Musettes and other traditional music, both with his band The Clearwater Hot Club, and in other groups with some of the area’s best musicians.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 9, 10

Estaire Godinez & Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Percussionist/vocalist Ms Godinez has played with Prince, Coke Escovedo, The Brothers Johnson, and George Benson. She brings her Latin rhythms to town for two nights and brings out all the folks who played with her while she lived here some years ago, including: Peter Schimke, piano; Eric Leeds, sax; Mike Scott, guitar; Stokely Williams, drums; and Serge Akou, bass. There will be a couple of special guests as well: JD Steele on vocals, and Enrique Toussaint on bass.

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, August 3

Acoustic Big Wu on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) An acoustic version of the band  hose influences include the Grateful Dead, The Band, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, and Otis Redding. Expect lots of flowing improvisation and vocal harmonies. Their Annual Family Reunion is coming up and will feature folks like Leon Russell, Dean Magraw, and Peter Rowan, among others.

Black Market Brass @ the Mill City Museum, Minneapolis. 6pm ($5) Our very own purveyors of Afrobeat  will be laying down searing rhythms and exhilarating horn lines in the courtyard of the Mill City Museum. The ticket includes admission to the museum before and after the show. Food and drink will be available.

Thursday, August 4

Maurice Jacox @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) This classic NE bar, home of a sausage with a name that was an ethnic pejorative where I grew up, once again hosts the talented vocalist Maurice Jacox, this time with cohorts Bobby E, unsung guitar whiz of the Twin Cities, and Tom Cravens, another guitarist worth watching. Jacox is equally at home with the Blues, R&B, Soul, Jazz, and Gospel music, so the set list for the evening could be full of surprises.

Bettye Lavette @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42 – $47) Nowadays, it takes a strong personality to be an interpreter of other people’s songs.  Bettye Lavette is such a person. She not only makes a song her own, but she gets so inside a song that she can make grown men cry, whether doing a song by British rockers, female composers, or a classic from the Great American Soul Book. To prove the point, here she is doing a Who song.

Friday, August 5

Klezmerica w/Robayat @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) It’s an evening of dance music with Middle Eastern origins. Klezmerica specializes in highly infectious klezmer music as well as the music of Jewish composers, including Gershwin and beboppers, with aplomb and energy. Their energy and skill entice folks, no matter what their religion, to dance. Robayat performs the indigenous music of Persia, Turkey and Central Asia.

Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Rock n’ Roll, and Rhythm and Blues, served up with the kind of fierce energy that will have the TGIF drinkers gettin’ down on the small dance floor in the lounge.

Charlie Parr @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) It doesn’t get much better, or much more rootsy than guitarist/singer Parr, who creates his Delta style blues up North, but nevertheless has garnered enough attention to support tours throughout the United States and Europe. As an added bonus, Nikki Roux and Rich Rue open.

Friday, Saturday, August 5,6

Dakhabraka @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45) It’s quite difficult to accurately describe this highly original Ukranian group  which comes off as part Folk, part rebellious rock, and always unexpected. Their music is based on Ukrainian folk melodies, but from there goes into a number of directions and tangents, using Indian, Arabic, Africa, Russian and Australian instruments, as well as vocal harmonies that at times, bring to mind Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, among others.

Saturday, August 6

Hot Metal Pour & Savage Aural Hotbed @ Franconia Scultpure Park, 29836 Saint Croix Trail, Franconia. Noon – 8pm ($5 parking) No, Hot Metal Pour is not the name of a heavy metal band, it’s an actual art event, in which recycled iron is heated to 2700° F, and poured into molds created by both experienced artists and community members. The results are cast iron sculpture. Sand molds are available for purchase and there’’s a public workshop from 10am – 2pm for those who want to learn about the process and create their own artwork. Savage Aural Hotbed, the found-object percussion group, will provide the soundtrack for the day. For more information, go to:

Pizza Luce Block Party@ Pizza Luce, 119 N 4th St,  Minneapolis. Noon –  (Free) Featuring the School of Rock; Marah in the Mainsail; Megan Hamilton; everybody’s favorite bluesman Charlie Parr; Sean Anonymous; young garage punks Bruise Violet; Are You Local? champs Holidae; psych-rock faves from the 80s and 90s, Run Westy Run; Carnage the Executioner; and the exploding young star Lizzo. Also: Pizza, beer, and ice-cream from Izzy’s.

Lowertown Guitar Festival @ 7th Place West, Saint Paul. 1pm – 11pm (Free) At Vieux Carre, Wild Tymes, and Outdoor Palace Stage. Guitars, guitars, guitars, from different genres, and different styles. With Bo Ramsey, David Grier (bluegrass), Siama Matuzungidi (Soukous from Africa), Peter Lang, Molly Maher, and Zacc Harris’ American Reverie Trio

Blues, Brews n’ BBQs @ Mt Olivet Lutheran Church, 12235 Old Rockford Road, Plymouth . 4pm – 10pm ($12 – $18) Benefit for PRISM and Twin Cities Habitat, featuring live music from the Jimmys, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys, Lisa Wenger, and Cole Allen, with food, drinks, and family events

Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Here’s a gig that’s been a long time coming. For the first time in years and years, the full Front Port Swingning’ Liquor Pigs will be playing at full force. They’re back at the Viking, where up until the closure ten years ago, they held down the Friday evening spot for years. Songs about drinking, rock n’ roll, and carrying on. Welcome back!

Sunday, August 7 

Borough Block Party @ Borough, 730 Washington Ave N, Minneapolis. Noon – 8pm DJ Steez; Dig DeepPrivate OatesViva Knievel; The International Reggae All-Stars; and headliners  Chase and Ovation, billed as the world’s premier Prince tribute band.

Mosquito Bluegrass Jam @ Roseville Central Park, Roseville. 3pm – 8pm (Free) Start off with a beginner’s jam hosted by Bill Cagley at 3pm, followed by Porcupine Creek at 5pm and Sarah Mae and the Birkeland Boys at 6:30pm.

Ticket to Brasil @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 5:30pm (Free) Bring a picnic or grab something from the food stand and listen to the swaying, infectious sounds of Ticket to Brasil  while the sounds of children frolicking in the lake and nearby provide additional ambience. You may be tempted to dance.

Allison Scott @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 7pm ($15) Vocalist/pianist Scott has gained a large following over the last eleven years as an independent artist, eschewing any attempt to reach hipsters old or young, and simply singing. She has released six albums, sells out the Dakota, and fills 500 seat auditoriums. The secret is her soulful voice and her personal music. The Pioneer Press likened her to Dusty Springfield circa Dusty in Memphis. Here’s a chance to hear her in a small room.

Monday, August 8

The Pines and Hairspray @ Loring Park, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Stark Americana/Roots music from the nationally recognized Pines  along with John Water’s classic film that brought Riki Lake into the public’s eye. Hairspray is about a “pleasantly plump” teenager in 1962, who fights for integration when she lands a spot on a local TV dance show. It features Sonny Bono, Ruth Brown, Debby Harry, and of course, Divine. The Los Angels Times called it “A film that combines nostalgic spoof with a social consciousness that’s as unexpected as it is smashingly effective.”

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.

Outdoors. Indoors. Music: 7.22 – 7.28

July 22, 2015
Lowertown Blues Festival. One opportunity for outdoor music

Lowertown Blues Festival. One opportunity for outdoor music

It’s Summertime, and there are many outdoor events featuring great music. I’ve included a few here. But don’t forget some of the indoor venues as well. We abound with opportunities to lift our spirits through music. Take advantage of them. And if you’re going to an outdoor event, take a picnic.


Wednesday, July 22

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) Trumpeter Kenny has assembled a group of excellent young players to play with him. The result is invigorating jazz. Thomas Strommen, sax, is in his third year of studies at UW River Falls; pianist Will Kjeer was a member of the Dakota Combo and led his own groups before graduating high school and going off to study at Interlachen in Michigan for a year; Adam Tucker, bass, slightly older, but still in his 20s, and has worked with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, and the Jana Nyberg Group, in addition to being a producer; Drummer Alex Burgess is also a student at UW-river Falls. this is what they sound like.

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7-m (No Cover) This is becoming a regular gig for young Mr. Walesch  and he deserves it. The singer/pianist always has stellar accompanists who help him swing so well that couples are inspired to dance.

APE:Adrian Peterson Ensemble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Adrian Suarez, drums; Joe Strachan, keys; and Graydon Peterson, bass will present some surprising versions of unlikely songs. It’s bound to be a playful evening of jazz.

Thursday, July 23

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 5:30pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) Lozier  on trumpet and vocals; Steve Pikal, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano provide a bunch of Louis Armstrong and New Orleans jazz for the dinner hour at the new Saint Paul venue.

John Raymond’s New York Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) It’s been about 10 years since Raymond  a Minneapolis native, left to study at Eau Claire, and six years since he relocated to NYC, where the young trumpeter has successfully integrated himself into the music scene. He plays with Orrin Evans Big Band at Smoke, as well as with Ethan Iverson and Linda Oh, leads his own quartet, and was recently profiled in Downbeat. Tonight he’s celebrating his second CD, Foreign Territory, an album of mostly originals. He’ll be accompanied by Dan Tepfer, piano; Chris Tordini, bass; and Jay Sawyer, drums. I did a phone interview with him this past Saturday (the 18th) which you can hear at The interview starts at about 23 minutes into the show.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Livingston is equally at home with gypsy jazz, the blues, the Great American Songbook, or the Beatles. She’s been singing a lot with the Parisota Hot Club.

Nichols/Bates/Bates @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bryan Nichols  piano; Chris Bates  bass; and JT Bates, drums. They’ve been friends and musical collaborators for many years. Expect originals and very interesting takes on jazz standards.

Friday, July 24

Zacc Harris & Javi Santiago @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 5:30pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Vieux Carré are wisely featuring early evening music for those who want to sample their New Orleans – inspired food, as well as early evening music fans. Tonight its pianist Javi Santiago, whose becoming a mainstay in the area, along with guitarist Zacc Harris.

Jon Pemberton’s Tribute to Lee Morgan @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Pemberton is a composer, pianist, and trumpeter. It’s the last artistry that he’ll be employing tonight as he and his cohorts present an evening of music by and dedicated to trumpeter Lee Morgan. He’ll be joined by Dave Brattain, tenor sax’ Mikkel Romstad, piano; Tom Lewis, bass, and Jay Epstein, drums.

Friday Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The fun begins with Mississippi, a quartet of intense players whose interests range from modern jazz to Peruvian festijos, to hip hop. Members are: Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Pete Whitman, saxes; and Kevin Washington, drums. Then at 9:30 Six Families Presents: Piss Lasso will take over. It’s a large experimental group whose music includes minimalist drones. Members include: JT Bates, Cory Healey, Jake Baldwin, Andrew Thoreen, Adam Zahller, Cole Pulice, Joseph Strachan, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Nelson Devereaux, and Michelle Kinney, among other

Atrium Jazz Trio @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 10pm – 11pm (Free) This group is led by Jeremy Walker on piano, and often includes JT Bates on drums, and Anthony Cox on bass. It’s an after-concert performance, presented as part of Orchestra Hall’s Sommerfest

Saturday, July 25

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sit close to hear the sweet vocals of Ms. Shorai.

Corey Healey Beautiful Sushine Band @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Rather than going with two different bands, tonight’s band will do two sets. The band is led by Corey Healey, drums; and includes Erik Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax. Two sets

Jazz @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. (Free) More Sommerfest Jazz in the Atrium:  JT Bates Trio performs from 6pm – 7:45pm, and the Chris Lomheim Trio performs from 10pm – 11pm.

Monday, July 27

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Vocalist Pedalty doesn’t play out enough, as far as I’m concerned, though I’m sure she’s inhibited by her day job. At any rate, she’s got a fresh sound, a great sense of rhythm, and impeccable backing from her dad, pianist Bruce Pedalty, who has long played jazz and blues around town. His song If Nothing Ever Changes, was chosen as the title track for the new Willie Walker album.

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, July 22

Lynn O’Brien and Steven Hobert @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Lynn O’Brien is a singer/songwriter with a charming way with words and music. Steven Hobert is a jazz pianist around town, though he occasionally takes side trips into other genres. Together, they’re a promising duo that will surprise.

I Like You on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This six-piece band creates Sunshine Pop for the 21st Century, incorporating bits of world music into their upbeat sounds.

James Cotton Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) The 80 year old Grammy winning blues harpist is among the last of the original Chicago Blues legends of the 50s and 60s. Though Cotton has been playing since he was 9, and his voice is just a hoarse croak, and he leaves the singing to Darell Nullisch, a fine blues singer in his own right, as evidenced from his time with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. Hoars or not, Cotton still blows a mighty strong harp.

Thursday, July 23

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Old Fashioned BBQ, University & Dale, Saint Paul. 3pm – 6pm (No Cover) While away the afternoon with Big Daddy’s Blues on the Patio series, today featuring Big George  a singer/harpist whose booming voice will shake the ground on which you’re standing.

Papa John Kolstad @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm. (Tip Jar) Papa John returns to his neighborhood haunt, aka, Best Neighborhood Bar in Mpls, to entertain with his dry wit, excellent guitar playing, and vast repertoire of blues and acoustic swing.

Womenfolk Live @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) This benefit for KFAI features Vicky emerson, Mother Banjo, Katy Vernon, and Sarah Morris, a quartet of talented singer/songwriters having fun with the proceeds going to KFAI, where Mother Banjo (Ellen Stanley) hosts Womenfolk.

Friday, July 24

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders & Zoo Animal @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6pm. (Free) The annual Thursday night series ion Lowertown’s park continues with the minimalist grunge of Zoo Animal (opening) and Crankshaft’s “pork net” style of stripped down, raucous blues at about 7:15 or 7:30. Followed by a film.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Next month will be a big blowout as the Hipshaker deejays celebrate another anniversary of this long-running 45rpm dance party. Rare and not often heard funk and soul for your dancing pleasure from Greg, Brian, and George, though there may be a guest deejay.

Friday, Saturday, July 24, 25

Palmfest @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm Friday, 2pm Saturday. This annual event at the “Best Dive Bar in the US” (Esquire) always features a wide variety of roots, rock, and blues and this year is no different, with Friday bands ranging from the Liquor Pigs and duet of Spider John Koerner and Charlie Parr to Wain McFarlane, while Saturday’s line up starts with the Palmerceuticals, and features The Changeups,  Rising Side, Cadillac Kolstad, McNasty Brass Band, Eleganza, Sister Claypso, and more.

Saturday, July 25

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. Noon – 10pm (Free) Main Stage: McNally Smith FunkHeads; Dee Miller Band; Lisa Wenger & Her Mean Mean Men; Jimmi & the Band of Souls; Walter Trout; Elvin Bishop. Juke Joint Stage & Food Court: Jimi Prime Time Smith and Big George Jackson. At 10pm head to the after-parties at various clubs around Lowertown, including Willie Murphy @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar.

Butanes @ Big Daddy’s BBQ, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 7:30pm (No Cover) Meanwhile, you don’t have to go to downtown Saint Paul to catch some blues, as Big Daddy’s continues their Blues on the Patio events with Curt Obeda and his talented cohorts.

Battle of the Garages! @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) Rock your socks off to the sounds of headlining garage band legends the Pandoras, and all-female band from LA, and the Lyres of Boston. Of course our own Mighty Mofos, L’Assasins, and Beebe Gallini, will get the evening started right. Here are the Pandoras in the 80s.

Sunday, July 26

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Roseville Central Park, Roseville. 6:30pm (Free) Bring a picnic and recall (or imagine) time in Paris as Dan Newton and his pals play musettes, tangos, and French favorites in the outdoors

Eleni Mandell @ Treehouse Records, Minneapolis, and The Turf Club, Saint Paul Noon (Treehouse – Free) 7pm (Turf Club – $12) Mandell is a successful indie singer/songwriter who peppers her songs with hints of jazz and country, and who writes smart lyrics, whether about motherhood or wanting to be a mistress. She’s currently touring behind Dark Lights Up, a brand new release on Yep Roc Records She’s played more in-stores at Treehouse than any other artist. Then in the evening she’ll appear at the Turf Club, with Courtney Marie Andrews opening.

Tuesday, July 28

Scottie Miller @ Lowell Park, Stillwater. 6pm (Free) Another outdoor event for music lovers, this one featuring Scottie Miller  that singing piano player whose music has touches of New Orleans, rock n’ roll, and Americana. Don’t forget your picnic.

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

Twin Cities Music: 4.15 – 4.22

April 15, 2015
I'm pretty sure they're not filing taxes.

I’m pretty sure they’re not filing taxes.

Well, it’s April 15, time for the annual wringing of hands as taxes are due. There’s no wringing of hands over the lack of music in the Twin Cities, as evidenced by the sample of offerings for the next week. However, since it is tax day, I thought I’d give you a bonus: A video of George Harrison and Eric Clapton doing Taxman.


Wednesday, April 15

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Shorai is often described as honey-voiced with good reason, as her sunny personality comes sweetly through, but she can also create just the right catch in her voice to convey a sense of loss and despair. She’s also an excellent pianist and is fast becoming a good songwriter.

MacNally Smith X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman leads this big band, and with 17 players, it is a big band of very talented students. Great charts as well.

Century College Big Band @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like this Century College aggregation is getting out and playing a bit. This organization has been around for decades and has hosted some of the nation’s top talent as guest artists.

Thursday, April 16

Rage Of Achilles @ Orchestra Hall Atrium, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Part of the Jazz in the Target Atrium Series, tonight Jeremy Walker, piano; Anthony Cox, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums, are joined by three vocalists for an original vocal drama composed by Walker and Cox wherein ancient poetry meets classical voice and jazz instrumentation.

Charlie Hunter Trio @ JJ Hill Event Center (Library), Saint Paul. 8pm ($25) This monthly event is usually listed under blues and roots, but tonight they are featuring guitarist Hunter  whose stunning ability on 7 and 8 string guitar let’s him take bass parts as well as rhythm and lead. His career over the last 17 years has resulted in almost 20 albums, recorded for Blue Note, Ropeadope, Concord, and others and he’s worked with folks like Norah Jones and Mos Def. Here’s Hunter in a duo setting, doing Royals.

Friday, April 17

Corey Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Healey  a well -respected educator, surrounds himself with some of Twin Cities finest: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Erik Fratzke, bass.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Another one of Washington’s monthly appearances at the Black Dog, this time the sax/reedman is accompanied by son Kevin on drums, as well as Brian Roessler, bass; and Eric Jackobson, tuba. It’s often unstructured music, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t engaging.

Javi Santiago Quartet @ Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) So, the curators of Friday nights at Jazz Central and Friday nights at the Nicollet tweaked starting times, so after checking out Corey Healy at jazz Central, patrons can cross the river and take in this young quartet, led by pianist Santiago, for a full evening of jazz.

Saturday, April 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Curator Steve Kenny continues to draw upon young and/or new bands as opening acts for Saturday nights. Tonight he has the Lucia Sarmiento Ensemble opening at 7pm. Sarmiento is a sax player from Peru, who is studying at MacNally Smith. Her group was quite impressive at last years Jazz Festival. Then at 8:30 or so, Dean Granros  guitar; Alden Akeda, drums; Ron Evaniuk bass; and Steve Kenny, trumpet take the headline spot for the evening.

Gypsy Mania @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) The Plymouth Church continues its music series with an evening of acoustic swing, or gypsy jazz, if you will. Returning for the third time is Gypsy Mania  with Gary Schulte, violin; Reynold Philipsek, guitar; Matt Senjem, bass; and Glen Helgeson, guitar, play as if a well-oiled machine. Each has extensive experience with various groups, with each other, and with the genre. Here they are doing an original.

Jay Young’s Lyric Factory @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Bassist Jay Young has done tribute shows to Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. Tonight, however, he’s paying tribute to Herbie Hancock and Earth, Wind, & Fire. He’ll be helped by Thom West, piano; Ian Young, bass; Kevin Washington,m drums; Ernest Bisong, violin, and vocalists Sarah Greer, Libby Turner Opanga, and Michelle Denise Michaels. I do believe it’s  gonna get funky.

Sunday, April 19

Emily Bear Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $35) This young pianist isn’t even 14, yet Bear was invited to perform at the White House when she was 6 and maser her orchestral debut at 7. She’s more than just a natural talent on the piano, however, as she can easily move from bebop to classical music, and is showing signs of becoming a heavy duty composer as well. Her first album was released in 2013. It was produced by her mentor, Quincy Jones, and peaked at #3 on Billboard’s traditional jazz charts.

Monday, April 20

Peter Shu & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Shu was a classically trained prodigy who once he got through college, studied jazz piano with Mary Louise Knutson, Bobby Peterson, and Nachito Herrera. Tonight he’s joined by Gary Arley Denbow II, sax; Kevin Mills, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Tuesday, April 21

John Raymond Quartet @ Eden Prairie High School, Eden Praire. 7pm – 9pm Minnesota native and current New York trumpeter Raymond comes home to conduct clinics during the day at Eden Prairie High School and perform with the school’s jazz ensembles as well as his own quartet.

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, April 15

RJ Mischo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. f5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mischo is a former Minnesotan who is in town for his annual visit and a few performances. He’s a powerhouse on blues harp, having received glowing praises for his work throughout the country and in Europe. His latest CD, Everything I Need, features Jeremy Johnson on guitar, and Bruce McCabe on piano. He’ll also be appearing at Holihan’s Thursday, The Schooner Pub on Friday, and at Famous Dave’s brunch on Sunday. Check him out.

Willie Murphy & Dean Magraw @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis.7:30pm (Tip Jar) Murphy does a monthly gig at the Schooner where he brings in a guest and they play together. Tonight it’s Dean Magraw, one of the most versatile guitarists you’ll ever find. Though Magraw doesn’t sing, his guitar work will bring out the best in Murphy.

Exotik-A-Go-Go Record Release @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out the sarongs and the flower print shirts! Exotik-A-Go-Go has been bringing their faux island sounds to Psycho Suzie’s Tiki Bar every Friday for a couple of years now, vibes, jungle drums, theremin and birdcalls included. If you remember Quiet Village by Martin Denny, you know what I’m talking about. Anyway, they’ve gone a released a record, that’s right a record, not a CD, and they’re celebrating tonight.

Thursday, April 16

Bettye Lavette @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) The 69 year old soul singer toiled in the trenches for many years, held back by bad management decisions, and let’s face it, an ability to stand up for herself that came across as prickly, at best. However, in the years since the turn of the 21st Century, she has been rejuvenated, releasing a spate of albums that establish her as one of the premier song interpreters of our time. This year’s CD, Worthy, contains songs by Dylan, Lennon & McCartney, Savoy Brown, and Mickey Newbury, among others. Though she celebrated its release at the Cafe Carlye in New York City, she’s come back to the Dakota every year since her first appearance at the club about 10 years ago. Here she is singing something from the album.

Three Band Night @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) 9pm New Shoes – PHC vets Richard Kriehn, mandolin/guitar; Joe Savage, pedal steel; Gary Raynor, bass; Peterson, drums. 10pm Randy Sabien with Triple Fiddles, 11pm the Subterraneans play down home blues, boogie and roots, Randy Sabien, fiddle, Jim Ouska, guitar; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and Andy Dee, slide.

Friday, April 17

Roots/Americana Benefit for KFAI @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm doors, 7:30pm music ($10 or more, suggested Donation) It’s a benefit for the little station that could, featuring New Riverside Ramblers, Steve Kaul, the Swamp Poppas, Patty & the buttons, Dave Babb, Tom Lieberman, Jon Rodine, square dancing and much more.

Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Big Sandy is the L.A. based rockabillly/roots singer and guitarist who includes a bit of Western Swing and Doowop in his repertoire. The dancers will be out for the veteran of 25 years, and always attracts dancers, as well he should. Always a satisfying evening. Opening is Fab Tab, featuring Katy Vernon.

Jimmy Thackery @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The rockin road warrior is back, bending strings and fingers flying down the frets. Thackery spent 15 years with the Nighthawks (and occasionally does reunion shows with them), but since the early 90s has mostly been touring with his trio, the Drivers. Though much of what he plays is blues-rock, he can still deliver the goods on classic blues.

Saturday, April 18

Rock Benefit for KFAI @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm Doors, 7:30pm Music ($10 or more, suggested donation) It’s an evening that ranges from 60s rock to punk to electronic and experimental, with The Silverteens, Scaphe, Kinda Kinky, Beebe Gallini and much much more.

Corey Stevens @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Corey Stevens brings his blues-based rock guitar to the Uptown BBQ. He scored a rock radio hit off his 19956 debut with Blue Drops of Rain, and followed that with another hit, One More Time, in 1997, and is a frequent performer in these parts.

Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) “Q” and the blues always go together, and like that duo, Hurricane Harold’s harp work and guitarist Otto’s mournful vocals are a natural fit.

Monday, April 20

A Dub/Dead Night @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) JT Bates has come up with a change of pace from the exploratory jazz groups that he often presents for the Jazz Implosion. The first set tonight is Entertainment Rhythm featuring Jacob Hansen, guitar; James Buckley, bass; and JT on drums. They’ll be playing live dub music, followed by Steal Your Face, a band that does covers of the Grateful Dead.

Monday, Tuesday, April 20, 21

Dakhabrakha @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32 – $42) This Ukrainian group is, in many ways, indescribable. Part circus, part street theater, with ethereal, four-part harmonies creating music that has it’s basis in Ukrainian folk music, but with a delivery that can seem to go from Smokey Robinson to Sun Ra in a heartbeat. Though you may not know the words (they’re in Ukrainian after all), the passion of Dakhabrakha comes through.

Wednesday, April 22

A Night at the Opera @ The Museum of Russian Art, 5500 Stevens Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($30) If you have any inclinations toward classical compositions and opera, this will be a treat, as Russian baritone Vladislav Sulimsky will be joined by pianist Denis Evsthin to perform popular operatic arias and art songs by Verdi, Puccini, Tchaikovsky, and Rachmaninoff. The museum itself is a lovely place with good acoustics, not to mention extraordinary art. Advance registration required, so I’m including it in this week’s notices.

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.

Out and About: Music for March 28 – April 3

March 28, 2012

Another good week to be out and about in the Twin Cities. We’ve got some fine visiting artists, including the legendary Van Dyke Parks, JaLaLa, a trio of female jazz vocalists, and a Grammy-winning zydeco performer. Plus, we have a number of very interesting resident artists at work this week.


Wednesday, March 28

Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm. ($5) Joe Demko on vocals & guitar, Bruce Wintervold, vibes; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Guscetti, drums. This is an all-ages swing dance party, though the club has a bar, for which of course, you will need an ID. Bonus: Nice dance floor!

Brian Grivna Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A rare club appearance by Grivna, whose alto playing is melodic, imaginative, and swinging. He’s played with Buddy Rich, and has played in the orchestras of many local performing venues, such as the Guthrie, the MN Orchestra and others.

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm. (No Cover) Clouser has discovered that the sound of his group, featuring electric guitar and trumpet, has lots of appeal, especially to a younger audience. His latest CD, “20th Century Folk Songs” has a broad interpretation of folk songs, so don’t let the title fool you. This is energetic jazz.

Thursday, March 29

John Raymond Quintet CD Release @ The Dakota, Minnneapolis. 7pm ($10) Even as a high school student, trumpeter Raymond had a great sound and played in interesting bands. He left the Twin Cities for New York a few years ago after graduating from the music program at Eau Claire. Now, after gigging in New York, Raymond’s released an album entitled “Strength and Song,” co-produced by trumpet great Jon Faddis. It’s a contemporary, accessible, and filled with strong songs, if you’ll pardon the puny pun.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul.  9pm ($5) If it’s the last Thursday of the month, than saxman Whitman and nine of his talented musician friends are holding court at the AQ. Just because it’s a monthly gig don’t ignore it and say you’ll go another time. The power and artistry of this group is one to behold.

Friday, March 30

Merciless Ghost @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 8pm (Tip Jar) The ‘Dog continues its booking of all kinds of music. Tonight they feature George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, and Davu Seru listening intently to each other as they improvise original music.

Friday, Saturday, March 30, 31

Good Life @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The name is new, but the players are among the best of Twin City jazzers. What we have is two (or maybe two and a half) generations of players: Brandon Wozniak, alto; Peter Schimke, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums.

Saturday, March 31

Ticket to Brasil @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (No cover) Are your hips twitching? Do they want to sway? Are you longing for some sensuous music? Ticket to Brasil will meet your needs, at least til about 9pm. At 10pm a Salsa Deejay takes over and the crowds spill out onto the street.

Sophia Shorai @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No cover – $20 minimum per person at a table) Though Shorai has been effective in any room where I’ve seen her, the wood-paneled walls and clubby atmosphere of the Lex’s Williambridge Room seem perfectly suited to the sweet seductiveness of her voice. Taking a table is worth the minimum, as the bar area gets a bit chatty at times. Hear Sophia on her MySpace page.

JazZen @ The Hat Trick Lounge
, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A group built around the flute work of Bob Fantauzzo, who works with various wooden flutes from Native American cultures and around the world. Though the sound of wooden flutes can inspire meditative and soothing moments, JazZen inserts twists and turns via percussion, and electric cello.

Sunday, April 1

JaLaLa @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse, and Lauren Kinham in close harmony. Siegel is a member of Manhattan Transfer. Masse was a founding member of the group. Kinham is a member of New York Voices. Sounds heavenly. The video hardly begins to show their talent.

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

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other

Wednesday, March 28

Tou Saiko Lee & his O.G. (Original Grandma) @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm. The Saint Paul Almanac presents an event for those interested in the spoken work and in cross-cultural understanding. Tou Saiko Lee is a Hmong Rap/Spoken Word artist. His grandmother noted that his rapping has similarities to traditional Hmong poetry, and so for the last year or two, they have occasionally collaborated. Tonight they headline the Lowertown Reading Jam, curated by Lee, entitled “Stories from the OGs: Honoring the Original Generation.” Other participants include b-girl Chilli, black/Anishinabe poet Louis Alemayehu, and Somali artist Abdifatah Farah Ali.

Thursday, Friday, March 29, 30

Claudia Schmidt CD Release Party @ Open Eye Figure Theater, 506 East 24th St, Minneapolis. 7:30 pm ($20) Red House Records is releasing  “Bend in the River” a collection of music culled from five of Schmidt’s albums for the label. Dean Magraw (guitar) and Marc Anderson (percussion) will be on hand to help out. Though she started out as a folk singer (I recall interviewing her in 1987), Schmidt is equally effective singing jazz and blues.

Friday, March 30

Chubby Carrier @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 9pm ($15/$20) Do ya have any zydeco shoes? You’ll need ’em to keep up with the insistent, chugging sounds of Carrier, a Grammy-Winning, third generation purveyor of two-steps, waltzes, and funky zydeco.

STAX Tribute @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($12 – $40) A night of music featuring a six-piece horn-driven band led by Jimi “Prime Time” Smith, and some of the best soul singers in the Twin Cities area. If you’re a fan of Booker T, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, The Staples, et al, this is right up your alley.

Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul.  8pm ($10) Swaggerin’ straight-up blues from the Reverend, featuring his stinging guitar, along with some smokin’ sax, and hot harp. The Swamp Kings bring some Louisiana sounds to the opening.

Saturday, March 31

L’Assassins Record Release and Pajama Party @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Get yer pomade out, those pointy dancin’ shoes, and your cat clothes, cuz KFAI’s Freewheelin’ is presenting  a night of red hot music from this female rockabilly band and more. With the Reckless Ones and Violent Shifters.

This ain't Frankie & Annette's Pajama Party.

Pajamas have been called for, which should make this a very colorful evening, and perhaps reveal more tatoos than usual. Tatters, the retro/vintage clothing store will have some pjs available for those whose wardrobe isn’t sufficiently colorful for the event.

Hookers $ Blow @ Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Yeah, it’s a cover band, but that’s the point. Dance grooves from the 60s and 70s R&B, performed by a veritable who’s who of performers from bands around town.

dVRG @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) R&B and soul flavored songs from dVRG on keys and vocals, Jacob Hanson on guitar, and Joey Van Phillips on drums. Devon Gray (dVRG) is the pianist for Heiruspecs, does jazz gigs, and collaborates with folks from throughout the Twin Cities music community, so you’ll never no who will drop by.

Monday, April 2

Robb Henry Trio @ The Red Stag,NE Minneapolis.  9pm. (No Cover) Henry, guitar; Jim Chenoweth bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums, play a blend of instrumental originals with a melange of influences, from psychedelic Brit-rock, to Henry Mancini, Jimi Hendrix, and more.

Monday, Tuesday, April 2, 3

Ruthie Foster and Paul Thorn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Gospel-infused blues, folk and R&B from this pair. Foster will be appearing with a band, as she has in the past. Thorn will be solo. Both come from a Gospel tradition, though they aren’t bound by it, and both and are great storytellers. A pretty special evening.

Tuesday, April 3

Parks and the head Beach Boy, many years ago.

Van Dyke Parks @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Parks has been a composer, arranger, producer, musician, author and actor for about 50 years. He is best known as Brian Wilson’s co-conspirator, writing lyrics for the Beach Boys’ “Smile,” and for his landmark solo albums “Song Cycle” and “Discover America.” Younger fans may know him from his orchestral arrangements on Joanna Newsom’s “Ys” LP, though he’s also worked with artists ranging from Toad the Wet Sprocket, to Silverchair, to Phil Ochs, the Byrds, and Bonnie Raitt. From 6pm to 7:30pm he’ll do an in-store appearance at Treehouse Records on 26th & Lyndale, where he’ll talk a bit and sign records, etc., before heading to the Cedar to perform.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

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