Favorites and More: 10.24 – 10.30

October 24, 2018

Though Halloween isn’t until next Wednesday, most celebrations will occur this weekend, ranging from bar crawls to haunted houses and mazes. I’ve noted a few, but you may have your own favorites. Speaking of favorites, we have a number of visiting artists, as well as resident artists, whose fans will surely turn out to see them, as well as some talented newcomers and rising stars performing who are worth your investigation.  Whoever you see, remember that Music Lifts Your Spirits!


Wednesday, October 24

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Vocalist Allyson is a fan favorite here in the Twin Cities, in part, I suspect, because she spent a few years here back in the 90s, before she gained national recognition. Whether singing Coltrane ballads, blues, bebop, bossas, or French chansons, her warm, expressive voice and occasional scatting, she delivers each song with panache. The five-time Grammy nominee will undoubtedly be singing some new songs with this show – originals that can be found on her latest album, Some of that Sunshine.

Ben Allison  & Think Free @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20, $25), 9pm ($15, $20) This is a bit of an under-the radar gig, since Allison, in spite of a career of almost 30 years, doesn’t exactly have name recognition among casual jazz fans. The bassist/composer draws upon the jazz tradition, as expected, but also uses a range of influences, including rock, folk, and new classical music, to create a seamless, often cinematic sound. He’ll be accompanied by Shane Endlsy, trumpet; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Rudy Royston drums.

Thursday, October 25

Lila Ammons @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7)  Lila Ammons is a classically trained vocalist with a family background in jazz (her uncle was saxophonist Gene Ammons) and blues (her grandfather was boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons). Listen to her take on jazz standards, bossa novas, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists: Tom West, piano; Matt Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums

Katia Cardenas Mexican Tour Kick-off @ El Burrito Mercado, Minneapolis.8:30pm (Free) Vocalist Cardenas is headed to Mexico’s central Bajio region for a tour with the Latin Jazz trio Jazzoneando, and invited guests. She sang with Jazzoneando when they were in town about two years ago. To kick-off this tour, The Katia Cardenas Quartet will play a free show at the Minneapolis location of El Burrito Mercado, at 4820 Chicago Ave, South, in the old Pepito’s location. If you haven’t seen her yet, here’s a video.

Roseanna Vitro @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Roseanna Vitrowas living in Houston during the 60s, where she was mentored by Arnett Cobb, jammed with Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans before moving to NYC in 1978, where she soon found collaborators in Fred Hersch and Kenny Werner.  After 13 albums, she recently released Tell Me The Truth, featuring songs by Allen Toussaint, Patsy Cline, Jon Hendricks, Mose Allison, and Fats Waller, among others. She’ll be accompanied by her long-time collaborator, pianist Mark Soskin, along with resident A-lister, bassist Gordy Johnson.

Friday, October 26

Open Story @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Dean Magraw, guitar; and Jay Epstein drums; are a couple of established artists who play together in Red Planet and other configurations. It’s a testament to the talent of young pianist Patrick Adkins that they’ve formed this trio with him.

Thomasina Petrus @ Calvary Baptist Church, 26th & Blaisdell, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This is part of a presentation called Jazz & Jamaican Jerk, and will feature some Jamaican food as well as the music of vocalist Petrus. She’ll undoubtedly sing a few of her Billie Holiday songs, as well as the songs of some of her other favorite female singers, i.e., Aretha, Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, and others.

Saturday, October 27

Saturday Night Jazzz @ The Blackdog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm, it’s the interesting JC Sanford’s Imminent Trio: Sanford, trombone; Chris Bates, bass; and Chris Lomheim, piano. Then at 8:30pm, it’s Central Standard Time: Steve Kenny, trumpet; Dave Brattain, Saxes; JC Sanford, trombone; Chris Lomheim, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Corey Healy, drums.

Elaine Dame Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 6pm ($15) This Chicago vocalist has headlined at the 2016 and 2017 Chicago Jazz Fest, and has performed at both The Rainbow Room and Michael Feinstein’s 54 Below in NYC. Dame has been called a jazz dynamo whose singing has musicality, intonation, and rhythm control that’s the envy of many singers.

Mama Digdown’s 25th Anniversary @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15, $20) The pride of Madison Wisconsin has been spreading the gospel of New Orleans Brass Band Music for 25 years now, mixing traditional tunes with originals and street-wise covers. Mama’s Digdown is good enough to play the Big Easy with regularity, as well as festivals and clubs around the nation.

Sunday, October 28

Clara Osowski & Jeremy Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($20) While this might be better listed as a classical concert featuring mezzo-soprano Clara Osowski, a 2018 McKnight Fellowship winner, the presence of pianist Jeremy Walker, who also composed the evening’s songs, as well as bassist Anthony Cox, has me listing it here. They’ll be playing music for the release of Haunted Blue, Osowski’s debut album. Walker’s compositions are inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Twin Cities writer Greg Foley. There will be a few duets with tenor Tesfa Wondemagegnehu, who collaborated with Walker on the debut of 7 Psalms at Orchestra Hall.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, October 24

Del Ray on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis.5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Del Ray has been called a virtuoso of finger picking prowess on guitar and ukulele. She plays blues, rags, and tunes of the early 20th century (think Memphis Minnie, Mississippi Sheiks, and the like) even as she writes new music to add to the tradition.  Del Rey also has fashion sense that would make Minnie Pearl smile. Listen in to get an idea of her talent, then head to the 331 to hear more.

Johnny Rawls @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s another in the fine weekly music series at the West 7th throwback lounge. Journeyman Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd. He’s often appealing to “the ladies in the audience” and will easily fill Mancini’s dance floor as he delivers a satisfying, sweat inducing show.

Thursday, October 25

New Orleans Suspects @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) The Suspects seem to be gathering a big following here, as they’ve been appearing in town about twice a year. You can expect second line beats, New Orleans funk, or any other danceable tunes you can imagine. After all, its members have played with The Neville Bros, James Brown, The Dirty Dozen, Bonerama, and Leo Nocentelli, among others.

Thursday – Sunday, October 25 – 28

Zeitgeists’s Halloween Festival 2018 @ Studio Z, Saint Paul.7pm Thurs-Sat, 6pm Sun ($15, $10 Seniors & Students, $40 Festival Pass) Titled “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” this is not a gore-fest, or a sudden-fright event, but rather one where the chills come from story-telling, haunting  sounds, and spine-tingling music, some of which is newly commissioned. Of special note is The Crocus Hill Ghost Story, a macabre tale of a possessed house, as created by composer/flutist Julie Johnson, writer Cheri Johnson, and filmmaker/actor D.J. Mendel. It will be performed at 8pm on Saturday and 7pm Sunday. FMI on performers and times, go here.

Friday, October 26

Hailu Mergia @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20, $25) Accordionist and keyboard player Hailiu Mergia was everywhere in the 1970s Ethiopian nightclub scene, in spite of the fact that the country was in the middle a civil war and revolution. He and his group, The Walias Band, would play 12-hour, all-night concerts at the Addis Ababa Hilton, as audiences sought refuge during the government curfew. The music ranged from Frank Sinatra to funkified Ethiopian jazz, and adaptations of American funk and soul. After a U.S.tour in the early 80s, he stayed settled in Washington DC where he drove a taxi while composing songs. He stopped performing in 1991, and only recently released his first album, Lala Belu, in over two decades. Opening is Yonathan’s Cultural Show.

Skalloween 2018 @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10, $12) Get you ska fix filled to the brmax tonight, as Space Monkey Mafia, The Prizefighters, and The Wicked Bees take the stage. You’ll also get a bit of rock and reggae, when RuDeGIRL, a female Clash tribute band, performs.

Vanessa Collier @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Collier is a vocalist, saxophonist, and songwriter who graduated from Berklee in 2013, and has already released three critically acclaimed albums and received a host of accolades and award nominations. She’s played with Annie Lennox and Willie Nelson, and toured with Joe Louis Walker for a year and a half after graduation until Walker encouraged her to go solo. Her music is bluesy, funky, and raucous, with occasional echos of early Bonnie Raitt.


Friday, Saturday, October 26, 27

Krewe of Dad’s Masquerade Ball XXXIII @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28, $33 Friday, $33, $38 Sat, $55 for both nights) The Krewe of Dad’s continues it’s tradition of bringing t Raw Oyster Cult, featuring members of the Radiators to play their New Orleans swamp-boogie sounds to the Twin Cities. Friday is a concert only, while Saturday is the Masquerade Ball. Local jammers Frogleg open.

Saturday, October 27

Joyann Parker @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) If positive reviews, blues award nominations, national exposure, and the number and variety of her bookings are any sign, Ms Parker is on her way up. Tonight you can catch her and her band in this North Loop speakeasy/playpen under NOLO.

Tuesday, October 30

Mary Leinfelder @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Leinfelder has often sat in with blues, soul, and brass bands around town. Tonight she’s stepping out with a solo gig, ably abetted by Dan Gaarder, guitar; Jon Rodine, keys and vocals; and Keith Boyle, bass.

Maria Muldaur @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($35, $40) It’s been 45 years since vocalist Muldaur came out with Midnight at the Oasis, that playfully saucy song that resulted in a multitude of pregnancies during the mid-70s. Since then she’s released 41 albums showing an affinity for a number of genres, including blues, jazz, and gospel. Despite the popularity of Midnight, another song from that album gets the most requests: Don’t You Feel My Leg, by Blue Lu Barker, which happens to be the title of her recently released tribute to Ms Barker’s Naughty, Bawdy Blues. I expect you’ll hear even more teasing and sass than usual tonight.

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.


Celebrations Galore: 4.5 – 4.11

April 5, 2017

We’ve now got April showers working to bring out the buds on trees and in gardens. We also have some fine visiting artists such as Stacy Kent, John Pizzarelli, Larry Fuller, and Elvin Bishop, as well as some unique events, such as the John Prine Celebration, Zeitgeist’s Early Music Festival, and a “Retirement Celebration” for Spider John Koerner. So…  once again we have many opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them.


Wednesday, April 5

Mississippi Hot Club on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harold’s guests are usually be listed under Roots & Blues, but this is different. The Mississippi Hot Club plays gypsy jazz, also known as Jazz Manouche, the style of music pioneered by Django Rheinhardt during the late 1930s and WWII. Though their configuration is classic, they leave room for a bit of a modern take on the genre, with songs that might come from the folk idiom, romantic ballads, or jazz standards. Members are: Joshua Parlanti, guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass.

Paul Harper’s Show & Tell Band @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 6:30pm -9:30pm (No Cover) The Hennepin Steam Room used to be Tangiers. They’ve redesigned the place and have committed to live music at least three nights a week. Tonight, saxophonist Paul Harper, who plays in the Illicit Sextet and other groups, leads his own band.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 5, 6

Stacy Kent, featuring Jim Tomlinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35) Vocalist Stacy Kent  ses her intimate, light voice very effectively, taking an elegant, minimalist approach to successfully convey the emotion behind songs from the Great American Songbook, France, and Brazil. Her latest album, 2015’sTenderly, is a collaboration with Roberto Menescal, the great Brazilian guitarist and composer, who wrote O Pato and other Bossa Nova hits. Her husband, Jim Tomlinson is a saxophonist whose playing evokes Stan Getz.

Thursday, April 6

Art & Jazz @ Casket Arts Building, 681 !7th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities own nationally published jazz photographer Andrea Canter will be showing a collection of (mostly) black and white jazz portraits as well as a special collection of jazz-focused note cards in Studio 116. Meanwhile, The Dakota Combo w/bassist Adam Linz will perform at the 4th Floor Atrium at 5:30 & 7:30; while Larry McDonough & Carol Berquist will perform on the first floor at 6:30pm. BTW, 10% of Canter’s sales will go to The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vicky Mountain has taught of number of Twin Cities vocalists, as well she should, given how good she is at interpreting jazz standards, baseball songs, hip pop and some originals. She’ll be accompanied by David Martin on guitar, and special guests.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header, featuring The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass; Blake Hubel, drums; and Javi Santiago, keys, followed at 10:30pm by the Alden Ikeda Group: Scott Newell, saxes; Alden Ikeda Drums; Steve Gnitka, guitar.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6, 8, 9, 10

earWorm Improvisation Ensemble mini-tour @ Khyber Pass & Other Area Venues. (Various Times) earWorm is a collective of composer-performers who present what they describe as “an immersive experience of electroacoustic improvisation, transporting listeners across a panoply of sonic landscapes.” They draw from many styles and experiences, including free-form jazz, blues, minimalism, electronica, dub-step, edm, hip-hop, funk, rock, classical, folk, and many musical traditions of the world. It’s experimental music, that’s for sure. Members are all multi-instrumentalists: James Holdman; Elliot McKinley; Peter Farmer; and Michael Ethan.  Thursday @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul (9pm, $5); Saturday @ The Underground Music Cafe, Falcon Heights (7-pm no cover); Sunday @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul (4-6pm, no cover); and Monday @ Honey, Minneapolis (7:30 – 9:30pm no cover) Listen to their music here.

Friday, April 7

Lila Ammons @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Lila Ammons is a classically trained vocalist with a family background in jazz (her uncle was saxophonist Gene Ammons) and blues (her grandfather was boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons). Listen to her take on jazz standards, bosses, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists.

Saturday, April 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) For the first time in over 130 weekly shows at the Black Dog, a vocalist will be performing. Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz begin the evening at 7pm, with Maryann Sullivan  vocals; Doug Haining, sax; Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the Steve Kenny Quartet, with Rodney Ruckus, drums (his last performance before moving out of the Cities); Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

JazzMN Big Band w/Guest Maria Schneider @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($35, $37, Students: $10, $20) For jazz fans, this will be a show not to miss. New York based composer Maria Schneider is the pride of Windom, MN, known around the world for her majestic compositions for large groups, including orchestras and symphonies. She’s won five Grammys, including two at the most recent awards for 2016. One was for Sue, her collaboration with David Bowie, and the other was for Thompson Fields, by her own orchestra. She’s been working with the JazzMN band all week, creating arrangements based on the band’s instrumentation.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Kate Lynch and the Fellows (bass, guitar, trombone, trumpet, drums) perform music from the 20s to the 50s, with an occasional 60s hit showing up once or twice an evening. Ms Lynch continues to provide historical perspective on songs, giving not only the year and composers, but other facts, such as what movies were playing downtown when the song was a hit, or where people would go shopping. Add to that the visuals of young swing dancers digging the music, and you have a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Sunday, April 9

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($25, $35) Vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli is warm and witty onstage, whether telling a story or performing. In many respects he’s an old school entertainer – There’s no artifice, no attempts to play “hip chords” or the like, just honest music that’s exceptionally well played by an artist who engages the audience and swings like mad. Note the slightly earlier times for this Sunday night performance.

Monday, April 10

Reichfest @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The April Reichfest celebrating the music of the late minimalist Steve Reich, continues. Tonight a host of musicians will play Reich’s composition 2X5, from 2008. The group includes: Chris Cunningham; Zacc Harris; Pete Hennig; Cody McKinney; Thomas Nordlund; Chris Olson; Doan Brian Roessler; Javier Santiago; Zach Schmidt; and Brian Ziemniak. (Whew!). Second set is by JT Bates and others.

Tuesday, April 11

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover); 8pm (Trio, $6) Start your evening out with the piano stylings of Chris Lomheim, and then get your fill of soulful grease from JT Bates’ organ trio, featuring Bates on drums, of course, with Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ.

Larry Fuller Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Fuller is a pianist who epitomizes the concept of swing, as well he should given his background. He got his start playing for classic vocalist Ernestine Anderson for five years, then went on to join the Jeff Hamilton Trio for six years, before joining the last edition of the Ray Brown Trio for a few years, and finally the John Pizzarelli Quartet for eight years. Along the way he’s also played with a pantheon of jazz illuminaries.

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 5

Radio Joe & The JazzBos @ Mancini’s Char House, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No cover) Given the old school Las Vegas vibe of the lounge at Mancini’s, Radio Joe and the JazzBos, with their vintage swing, jump blues, and romantic ballads, were made to fill the dance floor at the venerable Saint Paul institution.

Thursday, April 6

Verretta @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Original music performed with a big nod towards classic rock with a touch of punk. They say they’re an Outlaw Country Rock n’ Roll Revival Band, and listening to their songs, that seems about right, though perhaps more rock n’ roll than outlaw country.

9th Annual Big Fat Love @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Mother Banjo and Art Vandelay are at it for the 9th year in a row, celebrating the half birthday of John Prine. Each year they gather friends to sing the songs of Prine. This year’s participants include: Terry Walsh, of the Belfast Cowboys, The High 48s, The Gated Community, Kari Arnett, The Eddies, and many more.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6 – 10

Zeitgeists’s 7th Annual Early Music Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2pm Sunday ($15, $10 Students & Seniors, $40 festival pass) This year new music group zeitgeist is celebrating the music of composer Lou Harrison, described as ” true American maverick, Harrison’s integrations of non-Western musical traditions and his innovative use of just intonation embraced new artistic possibilities and made a lasting impact that continues to shape new music today.”  Find out more about the program for each performance and the guest artists here

Friday, April 7

Teague Alexy Band CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Friday series features a trio of Americana groups tonight. It’s  CD Release Party for Teague Alexy (of Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank). The Thirsty River String Band, Trevor James Americana Rebel (of Tin Can Gin), and Ian Alexy will also be appearing. Teague Alexy’s songwriting is clearly influenced by his home in Minnesota as well as his childhood in New Jersey, and life as a traveling hobo musician. His new album is Circuit Sessions, on which he uses a strong rhythm section: Eric Pollard, bass; Steve Garrington, drums; as well as Jake Hanson, guitar. Special guests include Trevor James, the Thirsty River String Band and Ian Alexy.

McNasty Brass Band Vinyl Release Dance Party @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The McNasty Brass Band has all the verve and outsized excitement that you might expect from a ten-piece band, including the use of contemporary and original songs. They released King Sized Life in January, and are now having another release party for the Vinyl Edition. You don’t have to know special steps to dance to this group, you only have to let your body react to their beats and the rhythm of the sousaphone.

Saturday, April 8

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Bishop is master blues guitarist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and went on to a successful solo career. While playing solo he also played onstage with The Gratefull Dead, Al Kooper, and The Allman Brothers, recorded with John Lee Hooker, Clifton Chenier, Bo Diddley, and others, and toured with BB King. The Big Fun Trio is an apt name for his group (Bob Welsh, piano/guitar; Willy Jordan, vocalist/percussion), as Bishop’s songs have often been delivered with a sly sense of humor.

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for a reserved table) Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd and deliver a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

The Magnolias @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) With twin guitars creating a buzz-saw attack, the Magnolias  urst on the Twin Cities music scene over 30 years ago, becoming known as “Minneapolis’ scruffy also-rans” compared to groups like the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Their fans knew better as the band recorded 3 albums by the end of the 80s, and two more in the 90s. After some fallow years, in the early 2000s, they issued some unrealesed tracks and demos in 2007, and toured Europe in 2008 and 2009. Opening act Johnny Rey has been a fixture of the vibrant Twin Cities music scene for four decades. The guitar player was an original member of Flamingo, playing the old Longhorn Bar in downtown Minneapolis. He led his own band for a few years, but stopped in 1985, not performing again until about four years ago.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Get your salsa dancing shoes out as this septet plays vintage and traditional Cuban rhumbas and mambos, along with salsas, the updated version of mambo.

Sunday, April 9

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($??) Here’s a chance for an afternoon delight, so to speak. Walker is an original soul man who recorded for Goldwax Records out of Memphis back in the 60s, but he’s been our own treasure for decades now, delivering heartfelt soul music in his slightly raspy voice. He’s just been on another international tour, and was recently named winner of Two Blues Music Awards for 2016 – Comeback Artist of the Year, and New Recordings/Southern Soul, for his album If Nothing Ever Changes.

Spider John Koerner “Retirement” Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Folk legend Spider John Koerner is being honored with a “retirement” party by a bunch of mostly younger artists “who appreciate my work and wanted me to have a show with them,” according to Koerner. Those younger artists include The Cactus Blossoms, Lonesome Dan Case, Jack Klatt, Dave Babb, and Grant Johnson. Long time compatriots Willy Murphy and Tony Glover will also take part, as well as Chip Taylor Smith and Paul Strother. For 50 years, Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, both as a solo artists and with a variety of partners, including Koerner, Ray, & Glover, and Willie Murphy. Along with his work with KRG, Koerner’s albums Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Been, from ’86, and Raised by Humans, from ’92 are classics of American folk music.

Monday, April 10

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Bros on Grand, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Fingers is a world-class finger-picking guitarist performing not-so-secretly under an alias. Get your fill of coffee and cool music.

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

Holidazed: Music: 12.18 – 12.24

December 18, 2013
Santa got hip

Santa got hip

Well, the holidays are certainly upon us as there are special performances throughout the week. I’ve listed seven, and I’m sure you can find many more. Along with holiday specials are a few unique performances from both visiting and resident artists that are worth your while.  Of course, there is the whole finding time conundrum, which is especially difficult for many this time of year. At any rate, have a good week, and if you’re overwhelmed, remember, live music can lift the spirit.


Wednesday, December 18

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Joe leads his group through swinging love songs, some jump blues, and a few holiday favorites for those of you who like dancing with your jazz.

Snowblind w/Dave Hagedorn @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Since its inception in 2005, Snowblind has become a formidable ensemble of relatively young players, in part because they rehearse so much, and in part because the AQ has provided them with regular gigs. Tonight they join forces with vibist Dave Hagedorn to perform the music of Dave Holland. Members of the group include: Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Shilad Sen, tenor; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums. Should be a memorable evening.

Thursday, December 19

Larry McDonough CD Release @ The Artists’ Quarter. 9pm ($5) Pianist McDonough has gathered some of his favorite holiday songs in a new CD entitled, “Angels, Kings, and My Favorite Things.” He uses a variety of band formats, as well as odd time signatures and always interesting harmonies to have the listener hear such songs as My Favorite Things, and Scarborough Fair with new ears.  Here he is with a quartet.

George Maurer’s Big Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Pianist/composer/producer Maurer brings 14 other musicians with him to play some music for the holidays.

Friday, December 20

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10pm (No Cover)  Though some readers may equate going to Bloomington with a road trip, it is definitely worthwhile to hear Vicky sing, made all the better by the fact that she’ll be accompanied by Chris Lomheim on piano and Matt Peterson on bass.

Heather Masse – Red House Live! @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($15) Masse isn’t necessarily known as a jazz singer. After all, she was part of the Wailing Jennys, a folk duo that made the Billboard charts. However, she grew up listening to the Great American Songbook (her mom was a pianist), and a collaboration with pianist Dick Hyman on Prairie Home Companion led to the two of them recording the CD “Lock My Heart,” which has been well received in the jazz press, thanks in large part to her warm voice. She’ll be performing songs from the album, and perhaps a holiday chestnut or two.  BTW, I’ll be hosting.  Here she is doing a song that is definitely not of this season.

Watch out for these oung cats!

Watch out for these young cats!

Young Beasts @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) Jazz is definitely not dead. It’s alive and well. The proof? This evening of music from three high school and college combos: The Farmington Quintessential Quintet; The Eau Claire Ice Bergh Combo; and The Will Kjeer Combo. Stick around for the jam that takes place during the second set.   

Friday, Saturday, December 20, 21

Eric Alexander & David Hazeltine @ the Artists’ Quarter, 9pm ($20) A couple of NYC stalwarts of the AQ return for one more performance before owner Kenny Horst calls it quits. Alexander has a big-toned, meaty sound on the sax and is a standard bearer for hard bop and post-bop jazz. Hazeltine‘s piano is a perfect match, as shown on a number of collaborations. They’ll be joined by Billy Peterson on bass and Kenny Horst on drums. Here’s an example of their playing from a few years ago.

Saturday, December 21

Let It Snow: Maud Hixson, the Wolverines Trio, & Dave Karr  @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, 1800 West Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($25) Maud, the Wolverines, and Dave visit classic carols and songs from vintage films, with the special help of film clips from the collection of Bob DeFlores.

Sunday, December 22

Doug Little Quartet @ Eat Street Social, Minneapolis. 8pm –  10:30pm (No Cover) A great way to end the weekend. Little is a reed player of immense talent, with a predilection for Latin rhythms. Listen while partaking of the room’s special cocktails.

Sunday, Monday, December 22, 23

The New CD

The New CD

Karrin Allyson’s Yuletide Hideaway @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($35) Ms Allyson has long had a large contingent of fans from the area, since she spent some of her formative singing years here. She has a warm voice and cool delivery, which she uses with equal aplomb on bossa novas, blues, and bop. The Wall Street Journal, in describing her newest, Yuletide Hideaway, said, “Even “Winter Wonderland” and “Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!” seem darker and moodier than ever before.” I’ll be doing a phone interview with her Saturday morning.

Monday, December 23

Jake Baldwin vs. B3 Organ @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Baldwin is a young trumpet player who has been making his mark around town in a number of group settings. Tonight promises a new adventure, as he is joined by two of the guiding lights of Jazz Central, Tanner Taylor on Hammond B3 (!) and Mac Santiago on drums.

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.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 18

Jeff Ray & the Stakes on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM) an 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Ray is a guitarist who can put a new spin on old traditions, whether playing a Chicago-style blues, Bob Dylan, or the Grateful Dead. He’ll be accompanied by Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckman, percussion, and Hurricane Harold, harmonica.

Thursday, December 19

images-2Louisiana Rhythms Christmas Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($? – probably $5, but maybe more) Okay, lots of Cajun, Zydeco, and New Orlean’s bands play the Eagles Club on Mondays and Thursdays. Louisiana Rhythms’ host Karl Smelker is gathering many of them to play Christmas tunes as well as other favorites. Of special note, Adam Kiesling of Pert Near Sandstone, Corpse Reviver, and the Tune Jerks among others, will do a reading of Christmas Eve on the Big Bayou.

Holiday Rhapsody @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free, but donations are welcome) Now for something completely different. This is a concert of two piano duets, featuring classical favorites such as An American in Paris, Rhapsody in Blue, the Nutcracker Suite, and Russian Rhapsody, all performed on two grand pianos. Featured artists are Denis Evstuhin, Anton Melnichenko & Ivan Konev, with special guests, The Partners in Praise Girls Choir and Soloists from the Academy of Russian Ballet.

Johnny Rawls @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($10?)  Rawls is a journeyman soul singer who deserves wider recognition. He knows how to work the crowd, teasing the ladies, getting the men to dance and altogether delivering a soul-satisfying show. No wonder: he’s played for ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before going solo.

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees and Alicia Kay & the Changeups @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($6) Larson, with her sweet voice, bittersweet country-ish lyrics, and highly supportive band, opens at 9pm sharp. The Changeups are scheduled at 10pm playing Americans with country and rock overtones.  Reservations are always a good idea at this cozy spot overlooking the river and downtown.

Friday, December 20

Winter Soulstice: Black Market Brass @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) It’s the shortest night of the year, and time for a soulful evening of music featuring: soul revivalists Black Diet; the Grolar Bears, large band film scorers; and Afrobeat champs Black Market Brass  Between set music provide by DJ Rambo Salinas.

Steve Clarke & Blue Book @ Thunder Valley Bar & Grille, 3809 Highway 13 West, Burnsville. Swinging saxophonist Clarke has a new band, at least for tonight, and he’s invited a number of musicians to sit in, including Maurice Jacox. So, without knowing any more than the fact that Clarke is leading the band and Jacox will be singing, you have more than enough reasons to venture to Burnsville.

Saturday, December 21

Ms Haus

Ms Haus

Brunch with the Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (Free) You’ve got tasty food, tasty libations, and the ever-so-tasty country blues of Ms Haus, singing about chickens, mechanics, and fools in power.

Hotpants 45RPM Record Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Get out those dancing shoes to celebrate the fact that days are gonna get longer. Deejays Brian Engel and Ben Mena party down with rare 45s, all of which will give you that itchy twitchy feeling.

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.

Young Lions, Veterans, and Festivals. Music: 6.12 – 6.18

June 12, 2013
Yes, even on Father's Day, someone has to pay for beer.

Yes, even on Father’s Day, someone has to pay for beer.

We have quite the week of music coming up here in the Twin Cities. Young jazz cats, veteran blues and rock musicians, beer festivals, Father’s Day celebrations and more are on the calendar. There is no lack of opportunities to hear music this coming week, including a number that are free. Have a good one.


Wednesday, June 12

Unknown-2Lee Engele & Joel Shapira @ Centennial Lakes Park Amphitheater, Edina. 7pm (Free) Here’s a chance to see Engele, a chanteuse with a slightly smoky voice, accompanied by the sensitive guitar stylings of Shapira.

Stewfrog @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Scott Fultz, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; Steve Goldstein, electronics. Fultz and Granros are superb improvisors. The presence of Goldstein on electronics bodes well for those with open ears and/or an appreciation of the unexpected in music.

LBS Trio (Lozier, Bates, & Suarez) @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Bassist Chris Bates curates the Wednesday nights at Jazz Central, and tonight has chosen to play with Zack Lozier on trumpet and Adrian Suarez on drums. Don’t know if this will be electric or acoustic, but either approach is exciting from this combination of musicians.

Hurtado, Santiago, & Courage @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Javier Santiago (piano) is back in town, and once again he’s playing with his pal drummer Miguel Hurtado. They’ve played together since their early teens, and as might be expected, have great communication. Brian Courage will be on bass. He’s a relative newcomer to the Twin Cities, yet has already established himself playing with a number of veterans about town.

Thursday, June 13

Lee Tomboullian Sextet @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10)  Tomboullian is a New York pianist who served as teacher and mentor to trumpeter Adam Meckler. He’s performed with Airto, Nat Adderley, Doc Cheatham, Larry Coryell, Pharoah Sanders, and others. Tomboullioan will be joined Adam Meckler, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Dave Milne, sax; Brian Courage, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. Some vocals by Tomboullian’s wife Betty. Here he is doing a bit of a mash-up of Rhapsody In Blue and Bohemian Rhapsody.

Friday, June 14

FireFly Forest and JelloSlave @ The Ice House, Minneapolis. 11pm ($6) Here’s an interesting match-up. FireFly Forest is pianist/accordionist Steve Hoberts’ whimsical project that’s poppy, with a hint of jazz. JelloSlave is the two-cello project of Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan, with Greg Schutte on drums and Gary Waryan on tablas. Their repertoire ranges from Bach and the Beatles to Leonard Cohen and Asto Piazolla. Here is a video of JelloSlave at the Dakota.

Roessler & Hanson

Roessler & Hanson

Hanson, Roessler, & Nichols @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; and Bryan Nichols, keyboards, play with sound, creating some wonderful music.

Friday, Saturday, June 14, 15

Atlantis Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) This critically acclaimed quartet is back at the AQ for another weekend of modern, bracing jazz. Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Saturday, June 15

Cabaret Artists’ Network @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 (Suggested Donation – $10) Ten different artists, including Dorothy Doring, Connie Dussl, Les Block, and Erin Duffy, singing and telling stories. Light refreshments will be available.

Pavel Jany Trio @ The Ivy Hotel, Minneapolis. 9pm. (Free) Actually, they are performing in the lower level lounge of Porter & Frye, the restaurant at the Ivy. It’s a fine place to hear music, with plenty of tables right in front of the band. There are cozy booths off to the side, though sightlines are limited. There’s even room for a bit of dancing to the mostly Brazilian sounds of Pavel Jany, guitar; Chris Lomheim, keyboards, and Andrew Foreman, bass. Presenting music is a new venture for the restaurant.

Sunday June 16

Unknown-1Sidewalk Cafe @ The Saint Paul Main Library, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free) This is part of the run-up to the Twin Cities Jazz Festival in a couple of weeks. Sidewalk Cafe plays gypsy jazz with verve and elan. The group features a trio of talented musicians: Gary Schulte on violin, Reynold Philipsek on guitar, and Jeff Brueske on bass.

Monday, June 17

Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Dean, the most versatile guitarist in the Twin Cities, is joined by Chris Bates on bass, and Mac Santiago on drums. Who knows what kind of music will transpire? I only know it will be improvised, and stellar.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, June 12

Unknown-2Bill Payne: Tracing Footsteps @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Payne is an in-demand rock n’ roll piano player, who has played on hundreds of albums, from Linda Rondstadt and Bonnie Raitt to Pink Floyd and John Cale, besides being a founding and current member of Little Feat. He’s also a photographer, and this particular show, in addition to featuring his solo piano playing, will have stories and photos of his rock n’ roll life and a Q&A with the audience.

The Ericksons @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) True sisterly harmonies deliver emotions of all sorts, buoyed acoustic instruments. This is part of a month long Wednesday residency at the ‘Dam. Tonight’s openers are The Grandchildren.

Thursday, June 13

Bruce Henry & Debbie Duncan @ Live on the Drive, 3401 Xerxes Avenue North, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm (Free) Victory Memorial Drive will come alive with R&B and Jazz as Bruce Henry and his band perform music ranging from Motown to Freddie Hubbard. Special guest Debbie Duncan is also a singer who can bridge jazz, R&B, and blues.

Friday, June 14

Jay Young’s Tribute to Earth Wind & Fire @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Bassist Young brings his quintet plus three female singers to perform the music of Earth, Wind, & Fire. The place will be crowded, so as usual, it will be difficult, at best, to find room to dance.

Johnny Rawls @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) You’d be hard pressed to find a more professional performer in the soul/blues circuit. Rawls can work the crowd and deliver a satisfying, sweat inducing show. he started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Here’s an example of him at work.

Unknown-4Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 14, 15, 16

Stone Arch Bridge Festival @ Saint Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 6pm – 10pm Friday, 11am – 10pm Saturday, 11am – 5pm Sunday.  Singer/Songwriters, Bluegrass, jamgrass, indie pop, folk, and rock abound as a soundtrack for wandering through and around booths filled with original art. There’s even a Father’s Day Car Show. See the complete music schedule here.

Saturday, June 15

Harriet Brewing’s Summer Picnic Brewdown @ Harriet Tap Room, Minneapolis. 2pm  ($5 after 5pm)  Blues, roots, beer, and a food truck. Quite the way to spend the day. 2pm: Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, 4pm: Frogleg, 6pm: Nathan Miller & the Unstoppables, 8pm: God Johnson.

Fifth Annual Saint Paul Summer Beer Festival @ State Fair Grounds, Saint Paul. 2pm – 6pm ($40 – Designated Drivers – $10) Another chance to spend an afternoon imbibing and listening to music, you can taste samples from over 100 breweries while listening to the likes of the Como Avenue Jug Band, Steve Sullivan and Factory, Boys “n the Barrels, and the Big Wu, among others.

Unknown-14th Annual Howlin’ Wolf Tribute @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Wolf, as he was sometimes called, was a pioneer of Chicago Blues. You would be hard pressed to find a fan of the blues who doesn’t have at least one Howlin’ Wolf recording or any blues artists that doesn’t have a song of Wolf’s in their repertoire. Sneaky Pete Bauer, 9pm; Fattenin’ Frogs, 10pm; Javier & the Innocent Sons, 11pm; Poverty Hash, midnight.

Sunday, June 16

The original Mill City Blues

The original Mill City Blues

Papa John Kolstad & Sorry Muthas CD Release @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) It’s the Sorry Muthas for Father’s Day as Mill City Blues, the legendary West Bank album from 1971, is released on CD for the first time. It’s old timey, thumpin’ country blues that transcend time and memories. For this performance, Papa John has gathered  original Muthas Judy Larson and Cal Hand, along with Bob Stelnicki, washtub bass; Rod Bellville, mandolin; Gary Schulte, violin, and Bill Smith, mouth harp. Also along for the ride are Amanda Hand, Cadillac Kolstad, Katey Bellville, and Marilynne Hand.

Tuesday, June 18

Bernhoft @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Okay, this Norwegian retro-soul singer is essentially a one-man band, using looping to texture his tunes. This approach has gotten him three million views on YouTube for the song “C’Mon Talk,” sales of over 250,000 copies of his second album, and an appearance on Ellen Degeneres. Here’s the video that has gotten all the attention.

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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