Solstice, Festivus, and Christmas: 12.19 – 12.25

December 19, 2018

The Winter Solstice, when we have the shortest amount of daylight is Friday, while Festivus, the made-up holiday from Seinfeld, is Sunday. Christmas, with its message of hope and good will to mankind, is Tuesday. So… there are gigs celebrating each this week, as well as gigs from area musicians who are home for the holidays. This gives you an opportunity to bring guests to some great gigs, or to take some time for yourself in this super-busy season. After all, Music Lifts Your Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 19

Winter Solstice with The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm Caviani is a pianist whose compositions and arrangements are graceful and swinging. Tonight, in anticipation of Friday’s Solstice, she’ll undoubtedly be updating songs from her 1999 holiday CD, Angels We Haven’t Heard, and her 2007 release, Holly, Jolly and Jazzy, with Chris bates, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, Dec 20

Stone Arch Jazz Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm Traditional, New Orleans style jazz from a seven-piece, horn-heavy group – often danceable, always energizing.

Ylvisaker, Lewis, & Bates @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5) Drummer JT Bates may have stopped booking the Jazz Implosion, but he continues to deliver a satisfying foundation, and occasional lead, formal manner of groups, including this one with versatile guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker, and bassist, saxophonist Michael Lewis.

Friday, Dec 21

Debbie Duncan & Andrew Walesch: It Must be Christmas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm The Twin Cities jazz maven and piano-playing crooner join up to celebrate the holiday.

John Raymond/Chris Thompson Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10) Not only do the holidays mark the return of college students, but of area musicians who now live elsewhere. Case in point – trumpeter John Raymond, now a Professor of Jazz Trumpet at Indiana University. He’ll be joined by Chris Thomson, sax; Thomas Nordland, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Pete James Johnson, drums.

Saturday, Dec 22

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Owen Finch Group. 8:30pm: John Raymond Feels Trio – Raymond, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; Phil Hey, drums.

Anderson, Lincoln, & Epstein @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) Boom Island Brewing makes Belgian style beers, Pianist Jordan Anderson, bassist Charlie Lincoln, and drummer Jay Epstein create some fine music.

Sunday, Dec 23

Festivus & Other Twisted Holidays @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet host a Festivus for the Rest of Us. Expect an Airing of Grievances, along with music for Festivus Miracle and Feats of Strength, as well as McDonough’s odd takes on holiday music. .

Monday, Dec 24

No jazz shows as far as I can tell, though you might want to check out Deano & the Dinosaurs at Merlin’s Rest (listed below), whose music often veers into jazz territory.

Tuesday – Friday, Dec 25 – 28

Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus have been having a Christmas stand at the Dakota. Last year marked the last appearance of pianist Ethan Iverson. Orin Evans now holds the piano chair, andhas become an integral part of the band. Rolling Stone called their album “Never Stop II” the number one jazz album of 2018.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 19

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Charlie Parr just may be the most authentic roots/blues musician four time. He grew up without a TV, but made up fort by listening to his dad’s collection of records by Charley Patton, Woody Guthrie, Lightnin’ Hopkins, and other artists who form the foundation of America’s music. His truly authentic sound, which evokes the music of itinerant musicians of the 1930s, strikes a major chord with today’s young audiences.

Thursday, Dec 20

Les Nubians @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30, $35) This Franco-African duo blends music from around the world with the rhythms and songs of Africa o create a performance that is both musically and visually stunning.

Friday, Dec 21

Blue Yodel No. 8 @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) John Whitehead, guitar, mandolin, banjo, vocals; John Her, bass, vocals; and Ross Johnson, guitar, harmonica, & vocals: play an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, blues, and swing, from artists ranging from Hank Williams and the Delmore Bros to Jimmy Reed and Bob Wills

Tracy Grammer @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Americana/folk artist Tracy Grammer has a pure voice, plays a deft guitar and violin, and excels at storytelling. She’s recorded and performed with Joan Baez and Mary Chapin Carpenter, and enjoyed 12 consecutive years as one of folk radio’s 50 top-played artists, both solo and in a duo with the late Dave Carter. Her eleventh CD, Low Tide, was released earlier this year, and is the first ever to feature her original songs. Opening act Dennis Warner may live in Minnesota but he’s a regular road warrior, performing in over 100 cities a year.

Saturday, Dec 22

Wee Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $15) I don’t know if Walker, an original soul man, will be doing any seasonal songs, though I wouldn’t be surprised to hear Back Door Santa along with his usual mix of classic and modern soul.

10th Annual Yuletide Sweater Ball @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Whether you were un-ironically given a Christmas Sweater, or found an ugly one for events such as this, enjoy an evening of progressive bluegrass and old-times music courtesy of The Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins; Barbero; and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League.

Sunday, Dec 23

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Paul Mayasich is in the hot seat, Michael Caravale on upright bass, along with Rena Haus, and Papa John Kolstad.

Dee Miller Band: Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ MN Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 2pm ($10?, Donation) Help the Dee Miller Band  et out of town and down to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge in January. To entice your attendance and donations, they’ll be joined by Armadillo Jump; Squishy Mud, & Mark Cameron

Monday, December 24

Jewbilee 2018 @ 7th Street Entry, Minneapolis. 7pm door, 7:30 music ($5 advance, $7 Door) There’s an old saying that for Jews, Christmas means Chinese takeout and a trip to the movies. Well, for 14 years now, Deejay Danny Sigelman has created another Christmas Eve tradition for Jews and non-Jews alike who are looking to attend something non-Christmasy – Jewbilee. This year’s edition features the bands Planet Pookey, Challo, The Rivkinz (Revolution drummer Bobby Z & sons), and Andy Cook, as well as Fancy Ray McClooney and other comedians. You don’t have to be a member of the Twelve Tribes of Israel to enjoy this show. All are welcome

Monday, Tuesday, December 24, 25

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Not everyone wants (or gets) to spend a whole evening with relatives from near and afar. If you need a break, or simply don’t want to hear any more Christmas music, you’ve got these gigs to attend. Guitarist Deano Mikkelson does his annual show again this year, with two different sets of Dinosaurs. Christmas Eve it’s Joel Shapira, guitar; George Marich, drums; and James Buckley, bass. Christmas night Deano will be joined by Dean Harrington, guitar; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dehl Gallagher, drums. Harmonica master Clint Hoover is expected stop in one or both nights and join in the fun. Note: if you want to order adult beverages, be sure to bring an ID.

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.

 


Holiday Party Time: 12.12 – 12.18

December 12, 2018

Lots of interesting shows from resident artists yhis week, including young musicians home from college for the holidays; an all-star tribute to the recently passed Roy Hargrove, some garage rock holiday celebrations, a bluegrass Christmas, and a dance celebration of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Something I don’t have listed is the musical Marie & Rosetta at Park SquareTheater through December 30. It’s about gospel/swing guitarist Rosetta Tharpe, the Rock n’Roll Hall of Famer who was an early adopter of electric guitar and an inspiration to the Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and most of the early British Blues scene. I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in rock history and the guitar. Music Lifts Your Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 12

Chris Bates Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates‘ original compositions, as performed by: Bates; Bill Bergmann, guitar; Joe Mayo, sax; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, Dec 12, 13

Paris Chansons @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) While one might expect that this group would perform romantic French songs, they draw from a wider, international repertoire, some of which is quite fast. Julia Kantor, a sultry Ukranian songstress, together with her husband Jacob, from Russia, and Max Cohen, from Morocco, perform jazz standards and other classics in French, Russian, Italian, and other languages.

Thursday, Dec 13

Vocal Night Holiday Celebration @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Vocal night curator Sarah M. Greer, along with pianist Ted Godbout, hosts this informal holiday celebration that’s part open mic, part jam session, part caroling (by all), some circle singing, and general good tidings. With food by Vanessa.

Friday, Dec 14

Maud Hixson & Jason Richards: Let It Snow! @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6pm ($15) Holiday classics and a few song of Steve Lawrence & Edie Gormé, with Rick Carlson on piano.

Jackson Potter & Adam Asturp Double Guitar Quartet @ The Underground Music Cafe, 408 N. 3rd Street, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) The winter holidays bring college musicians back to town, as with this group appearing at the UMC’s Mpls location. Adam Astrup & Jackson Potter, guitars; Matt McIntyre, bass; and Simon Petrick drums.

Saturday, Dec 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm Constellation Band: Ross Nixon, sax; Kelly Blau, guitar; Sid Gasner, bass; Derrin Pinto, drums. At 8:30pm: CD Release for Steve Kenny “Quartets” featuring Steve Kenny Quartet: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Te Olsen, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and Kenny, Flumpet. Additionally, What Would Monk Do: Billy Peterson, bass; Peter Schimke, piano; Rodney Ruckus, drums, Kenny, Flumpet; with special Guest Brandon Wozniak.

Fat Kid Wednesdays w/ The Dakota Combo @ Barely Bros Records, 783 Raymond Ave, Saint Paul. 4pm – 7pm (Free) You’ll have to stand, but you can peruse the records for gifts to yourself or others. The Dakota Combo is a group of HS students chosen each year by open audition to study with Adam Linz, bassist for the Fat Kids. It will be tight, both in terms of available room and the music.

Sunday, Dec 16

Capri Big Band’s Jazzy Christmas Concert @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) Holiday sounds from a big, 25-member, brassy, intergenerational band.

Rhythm’s Mama & Le Voyage @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 4pm ($20) Rhythm’s Mama, led by Babatunde Lea explores the African roots of Cuban Music.Members are: Lea, drums and congas; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Grayson Peterson, bass; Kevin Washington drums; and Taji Malik Hill, percussion. Le Voyage is a Donald Washington project that creates music for the moment – adventurous and satisfying. Members are : Washington, reeds; with Steve Hirsh, drums; Matt Trice, sax; and Richard Studer, bass.

Monday, Dec 17

Jordan Anderson Trio/Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) It’s been a few years since pianist Anderson graduated from high school and The Dakota Combo. He’ll do two sets with two groups. Apparently one group isn’t enough to express his creativity.

JC Sanford Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) This is the last edition of Jazz Implosion. After 20 years of bursting great jazz with this series, JT Bates, perhaps the most versatile drummer in towns calling it quits. Given the success of the series, it’s hard to believe the Icehouse won’t continue to book jazz fro time to time. So, tonight farewell Bates hast the JC Sanford Quartet playin mostly originals from Sanford: Sanford, trombone; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, Dec 18

All-Star TC Tribute to Roy Hargrove @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, $25) Trumpeter Roy Hargrove recently left town. He was a fairly regular visitor to the Dakota so it makes sense that they’d have a show honoring him. Hargrove’s music encompassed many genres: Afro-Cuban Jazz; Hard Bop; R&B, Hip-Hop, and even Afrobeat. Many of the Twin cities finest artists, including trumpeters Omar Abdulkarim; Adam Meckler; and Solomon Parham, are gathering to celebrate Hargrove and his music. They’ll be joined by Justin Robinson, from the Roy Hargrove Quintet.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 12

Matt Arthur & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana and country rock to finish out “hump-day.”

Hula Peppers @ The Schooner, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Experience the charm, low-key humor, and the fine technique of the Peppers as they play music from 78s of the 20s and 30s.

Thursday, Dec 13

Monroe Crossing: A Bluegrass Christmas @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) With 15 CDs to their name, including two Christmas missives, a passel of honors and awards, and a repertoire that includes traditional bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, classic country, and even a few songs completely outside the genre, Monroe Crossing delivers a Christmas show for bluegrass fans.

Deb Brown & Brian Ziemniak @ 925 Landing, Wayzata. 6-9pm (No Cover) Bluesman Deb Brown & keyboardist Brian Ziemnieak bring the blues yo Wayzata.

Friday, Dec 14

The Castaways @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) it’s a Garagey Lil’ Holiday Festival @, featuring the fabled Castaways of the big hit Liar Liar and the lesser known Goodbye Babe fame, as well as The Sex Rays, Fret Rattles, Black Widows and more, including Dr. Bob’s Puppet Show, free food from Gandhi Mahal, and beer tastings from Fulton Beer for early arrivals.

Kinda Kinky Holiday Concert & Food Raiser @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($??, 1/2 price w/non-perishable food item) I believe this may be the 7th year that the Kinks tribute band has put together a benefit to raise food – this year for The Food Group. As in the past, it will feature vocalists galore including: Curtiss A, Sabrina Crews, Carol Cunnington, Gini Dodds, Alma Engebretson,  Baby Grant Johnson, Cindy Lawson, Molly Maher, Carla Tollefsrud, members of Prairie Fire Lady Choir, and many, many more.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Dec 14, 15, 16

A Charlie Brown Christmas Played Live and Danced! @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6:30pm Friday; 1:30 & 4:30pm Saturday; 4:30pm Sunday ($16 Advance/$18 Door, 12 & Under – Free) The animated cartoons of Charles Schultz wouldn’t be half so successful without the playful jazz of Vince Guaraldi. This intriguing project by Rhythmically Speaking Artistic director Erin Liebhard takes the music of A Charlie Brown Christmas, as performed by jazz/surf quartet GST, and adds nine dancers to bring life to the soundtrack. This could be the start of a new Christmas tradition in the Twin Cities.

Saturday, Dec 15

KFAI’s MinneCulture Mixtape Show @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The little station that could has been broadcasting live concerts as part of its MinneCulture project for about ten years. Now, they’ve created a cassette mix-tape –  The Live from Minnesota Mixtape cassette tape represents all-star selections from these sets with acts like Chastity Brown, Charlie Parr, Kitten Forever, The Jayhawks, The Suburbs, Dalmar Yare, Heiruspecs and more. To celebrate the release, a number of acts are performing tonight, including Minneapolis Synth-pop band Pornonono, gospel-soul singer and local Black Lives Matter anthem author Jayanthi Kyle (formerly of Gospel Machine), MC-poet See More Perspective, and others

Sunday, Dec 16

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm. ($5) It’s an afternoon Latin Dance Party, as saxophonist/flutist Doug Little leads the band through salsa, rumbas, son, and of course, charangos.

Tim Sparks & Phil Heywood @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Minnesota, and the Twin cities are known as a nexus of acoustic, finger style guitarists, in part because of these two players. Both have earned National Fingerpicking Championships in the past, and together play duets and solo pieces from Americana, jazz, folk, & blues repertoires.

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


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