Erin Go Music: 3.14 – 3.20

March 14, 2018

Actually, you don;’t need to wear green to dance

Saint Patrick’s Day is this weekend, and there are plenty of places to celebrate with Irish music, especially in Saint Paul. There are also opportunities to celebrate with blues and jazz, if that’s what gives you energy. After all, music lifts the spirit.



Wednesday, March 21

Jimmyapolis Trio @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9:30pm (Free) James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace is a veteran sax player who has been around since the 60s, playing in R&B and jazz bands. He’ll be joined by a pianist for this show, which is part of the Hook’s Piano Lounge series.

Jose James: Lean On Me @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40, $50) Soulful, elegant vocalist and Minneapolis native James is a rising star in the jazz firmament. He’s flexible enough to have performed with Chico Hamilton and the electronica artist Flying Lotus, and has released four well-received albums, including a tribute to Billie Holiday. For this show, he celebrates the music of Bill Withers (with Withers blessing) accompanied by his band: Brad Allen Williams, guitar; James Francis, keys; Rueben Rogers, bass, and Nate Smith, drums, all of whom have stellar resumes.

CCC Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Originals and standards from Chris Bates, bass; Chris Graham, guitar; and Corey Healy, drums.

Thursday, March 15

The Music & Activism of Julius Eastman @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) This is part of the Lowertown Listening Sessions, which tonight features percussionist/ composer, and historian, Davu Seru, leading a discussion of Eastman, an African American minimalist composer. After his death in 1990, Eastman’s compositions were ignored until recently. The program will include a performance of Eastman’s work Evil Nigger arranged for four mallet instruments and performed by Patti Cudd, Heather Barringer, Eri Isomura, and Bjorn Grina.

Blood Quantum @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Erik Fratzke of Zebulon Pike & Happy Apple, bass; and Tim Glenn, of Pentacene & Squid Fist, on drums. Their music is described as “fractal doom for strings and percussion.” Interpret that how you will.

Friday, March 16

Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Guitarist Renz graduated from Berklee summa cum laude, and has composed hundreds of songs, including jazz tunes, string quartets, TV commercials, a flute and cello suite, and more. Tonight, this resident musician is bring a quartet to the basement bar: Rose Rinder, flute; Jonathan Thomas, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums.

Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Percussionist Kogan’s band is adept in many of the sub-genres of jazz. It’s members are: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Nelson Devereaux, saxes; Dave Graf, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kogan on drums.

Saturday, March 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist Pat Moriarty is the band director at Roseville High School, and consistently draws out the best in his students. Tonight, the Roseville HS Jazz 1 Band is the opening act at 7pm – part of the monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase. At 8:30pm, it’s the Pat Moriarty / Ellen Lease Quartet, with Moriarty, saxes, Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Davu Seru on drums. Their music is composed on the spot, and just may break any pre-conceptions you may have about “free jazz.” Here’s Moriart and Lease with a different rhythm section. Here are Lease & Moriarty with a quintet.

Arne Fogel: September of My Years @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15) Vocalist and Crosby/Sinatra musicologist Fogel revisits Sinatra’s iconic album that celebrates aging. After all, Fogel has been in the music/broadcast business for 50 years or so, a good time to explore the reflective lyrics of the album. Fogel will be accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano & music director, Gary Schulte on violin, and Gordon Johnson on bass. His first performance of this show last fall sold out, so be forewarned. Here he is with another song identified with Sinatra, fronting the Acme Jazz Company.

Sunday, March 18

Jane Monheit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($25, $35) It’s been twenty years since Monheit’s gorgeous voice and vocal range brought her to a second place finish at the Thelonious Monk Competition, and consequently to the attention of the jazz world. Since then Monheit has released nine albums and has guested on a number of others. She’s now taken her gift and in 2016 released an album of songs associated with a main inspiration: The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. 

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, March 14

Fabulous Minnesota Barking Ducks Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The FNB Ducks have been delivering driving blues to audiences around the state for nigh unto 30 years. Tonight they’re a trio, led by original Duck and tasty guitarist Mic McCormick, with Ed Dunn on bass, and Kit Kildahl on guitar and occasional harp.

Omar Sosa & Sectou Keita Transparent Water Trio @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($28 Advance/$30 Door) Pianist/Composer Omart Sosa has been nominated for a Grammy 7 times. He’s partnered with U.K.-based Senegalese kora master and singer Seckou Keita, and  folkloric Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalleson on a new CD, Transparent Water Trio. This is the latest example of Sosa’s use of new combinations of instruments and cultures.

SPCO’s Liquid Music @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm ($20) Nathalie Joachim is a multi-genre performance artist, flutist, and composer who will be exploring Haitian song and the role of women’s voices in Haitian culture. The Wall Street Journal calls her performance “A unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, electronic programming, and soulful vocals reminiscent of neo-R&B stars like Erykah Badu.”

Thursday, March 15

DL Cajun Dance Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Get out those dancing shoes and two-step, twirl, and waltz your way around the commodious dance floor at the Eagles Club.

Friday, March 16

Irish Diplomacy @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Get a head start on Saint Patrick’s Day with this 9-piece Celtic band that dips into jazz.

Jonathan Richman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) Jonathon Richman has been charming audiences with his warm, conversational lyrics since the early 70s, when his band, The Modern Lovers, thrilled audiences looking for something more than corporate rock. He’s been working with drummer Tommy Larkins (Naked Prey) for many years now, bringing his insightful, and often humorous lyrics to fans.

Hot Pants 45 rpm Dance Party @ The Uptown VFW, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) The Lyn-Lake area is hoppin’ on Friday nights, thanks in part to this monthly event featuring rare soul & funk 45s that are highly danceable, whether you’re doing the bump, freestyling, or swing dancing.

Also: The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)

Saturday, March 17

Tinsley Ellis Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) After four decades in the blues, incendiary guitarist Ellis is releasing his 20th album, Red Clay Soul, celebrating the music of Georgia and its environs. While Ellis is often identified as a blues-rock guitarist, his ballads reveal his gutartistry is well founded in traditional blues.

Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Soul Survivor Willie Walker’s star is finally on the rise after being one of the best kept secrets in the Two Cities for decades. In 2016 he won two Blues Music Awards for his album, If Nothing Ever Changes, and this year he’s nominated in five categories for his album After A While. He’s had rave reviews for the album, been featured in Downbeat and on the cover of Blues Blast, and performed at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, as well as Europe and South America. Lucky for us, we can get to see him in the intimate basement speakeasy of the Hamm building.

Boiled in Lead and Sister Tree @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) This is the 35th Anniversary Concert for this high-energy Celtic/rock band, that plays dark, traditional folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes that may just cause the Cedar to levitate.

Also: Dee Miller Band featuring Craig Clark @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Belting out the blues, whether or not it’s a holiday.

Sunday, March 18

Dan Rein: Celebrate Spring & CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Long time host of KFAI’s Century Song, Dan Rein presents world music that truly lives up to the stations motto of Radio Without Boundaries. He’s released a CD, Just One Breath, singing the poetry of Omar Khyyam in Persian and English, playing Setar and Dutar, and will be celebrating the Persian New Year and the advent of Spring. Appetizers from Gandi Mahal, where Rein regularly performs, will be available.

Tuesday, March 20

Trench Size Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) This trio, consisting of Al Bergstrom, Bass; Joey Van Phillips, drums; and Tom Reichert, guitar; are enamored with the funk and second line sounds of New Orleans, particularly those of the Meters, so if you’re in a mood to get up and get funky on the dance floor, this is the place to be.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 20, 21

Graham Nash @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75, $100, $115) Well, for the price of nosebleed seats at some arena shows you can see Graham Nash up close and personal in a 250-seat club, telling stories and singing songs from his long career, as a member of the Hollies, with Crosby, Stills, & Nash and it’s permutations, and as a solo performer.

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.

More Daylight, More Music: 3.7 – 3.13

March 7, 2018

Well, in spite of the snowstorm of the last few days, Spring is approaching, days are getting longer, and Daylight Savings Time will begin this weekend. We have a good balance of visiting and resident artists appearing for our pleasure, a special Birthday residency by a jazz legend, and three nights of Latin Dancing on the calendar. Soo… get out and hear some music – it lifts our spirits.



Wednesday, March 7

Cecile McLoren Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $37) Vocalist Salvant sings unique and often little known songs, from the early 20s onward, to her own originals. Singing in English, French, and Spanish, she has an elastic voice and unerring improvisation, as well as a command of various styles, and seems to be in line to build on the legacies of Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn, and Ella Fitzgerald.

Red Planet w/Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $22) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in the UP of Michigan, close enough to perform at the Dunsmore Room every few months. Red Planet is a fusion trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre, thanks to members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. The four released an album late last summer that received four stars from Downbeat.

Thursday – Sunday

Charles Lloyd’s 80th Birthday Residency @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($55 – $125) This may be the hot ticket of the year, as sax master Charles Lloyd leads three different groups over the course of four nights. Britt Robson wrote an enlightening article in Tuesday’s Star Tribune describing the groups and how Lloyd chose the Dakota to celebrate his 80th birthday. You can read it here. Here is one of the groups – appearing Friday and Saturday.

Thursday, March 8

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Vocalist Livingston, who sometimes appears with the Parisota Hot Club, will be performing jazz standards accompanied by her music director Marc Ziegenhagen on piano.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Le Percheron is led by bassist Adam Linz, and features up and coming young lions Levi Schwartsberg on vibes; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on cornet, and Corey Healy on drums. They create music that is at once accessible and adventurous.

Friday, March 9

Wall Smashers Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This is a new trio led by the fine multi-keyboardist Steven Hobert, with Jax Ravel, bass; and LA Buckner, drums.

Saturday, March 10

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7:00pm Opening Set: Three Faces: Joe Mayo, saxes; Dave Graf, trombone; Michael Gold, bass, and Rick Nair on drums. Headlining at 8:30 pm: The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass: Joe Strachan, Piano; Nelson Devereaux, saxes, and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here’s Ravel with some bass soloing.

JazzMN Orchestra: The Commission Project @ Hopkins High School, 2400 Lindbergh Drive, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($31,$38) The JazzMN Orchestra is a 7- piece band, with a number of the area’s best musicians. Tonight’s program is The Commission Project, featuring the premier of new works by John Wasson – A Minnesota native and award-winning composer, conductor and performer, whose arrangement of “Caravan” was featured in the movie WhiplashDavid Berger – Conductor and arranger for the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in NYC; and resident artists Dean Sorenson, Director of Jazz Studies at the U of MNH; and Adam Meckler, a vibrant trumpeter, educator, and leader of the Adam Meckler Orchestra. The evening also includes guest vocalist Andrew Walesch. Here’s the Orchestra with a classic.


Tuesday, March 13

Maud Hixson: Moon River & Mercer @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) Once again, Ms Hixson has hit upon a perfect theme to showcase her warm, sophisticated vocals, this time celebrating the music of Johnny Mercer, lyricist and composer responsible for such songs as Fools Rush In, That Old Black Magic, the lyrics to Skylark, Satin Doll, Summer Wind, and of course, Moon River. She’ll be joined by her frequent pianist, the ever tasteful Rick Carlson. Here she is doing a song from early 20th Century.

Melissa Aldana @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) Tenor Saxophonist Aldana left her native Chile in 2007 to study at Berklee school of music. In 2009 she moved to New York, where she apprenticed with Greg Osby and George Coleman, among others. In 2013 she became the first female instrumentalist (and the first South American) to win the Thelonious Monk Competition. Her influences include Sonny Rollins, Don Byas, Gene Ammons, and Chris Potter. She’ll be appearing with her chordless trio – Pablo Menares, bass; and Jochen Ruekert, drums.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 12, 13

Jose James: Lean On Me @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $0, $5) Soulful, elegant vocalist, and Minneapolis native, James is a rising star in the jazz firmament. He’s flexible enough to have performed with performed with Chico Hamilton and the electronica artist Flying Lotus, and has released four well-received albums, including a tribute to Billie Holiday. For this show, he celebrates the music of Bill Withers (with Withers blessing) accompanied by his band: Brad Allen Williams, guitar; Sulllivan Fortner, keys; Ben Williams, bass, and Nate Smith, drums, all of whom have stellar resumes.

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, March 7

Pistol Whippin’ Part Penguins on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This 5-piece string band features 2 guitars, a mandolin, a bucket of fiddles, an upright bass, a banjo, and a 4 part vocal harmony. They’re preparing to record their fourth album of folk, rock, blues, and bluegrass. Listen in and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Thursday, March 8

Brazlian Night @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10, $15) The Dunsmore Room will be taken over by the sensuous rhythms of Brazilian music as performed by Lucia Newell, a vocalist who spent two years performing with Brazilian artists in Rio, accompanied by Clea Galhano, a renowned recorder player from Brazil, Joan Griffith on guitar, and Gordy Johnson on bass. A rare opportunity.

Joanne Shaw Taylor @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($40 Advance/$45 Door) The UK’s hot blues rock guitarist/singer finally makes her way to the U.S. and Twin Cities after touring world-wide and breaking out with appearances on Jools Holland’s TV show and rave reviews for her album Wild.

Friday, March 9

Salsa del Soul @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) I‘m not sure if this is in the tap room or upstairs in the ballroom, which seems a more appropriate place to handle the outpouring of dancers whenever this 9-piece band plays its repertoire of Latin rhythms.

Saturday, March 10

Chino Latino Jazz Project @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7-10pm ($12, $7w/Student ID) This 7 -piece Latin Jazz ensemble will turn the basement club into a dance studio, with a free latin dance lesson at the beginning of the evening, and a special dance demonstration by professionals from the Arthur Murray dance studio.

RRDB Fest Pre-Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($9 Advance, $12 door) It’s a night of blues-stompin’music as the Hook unveils the line-up for the 8th Annual Roots, Rock, and Deep Blues Festival taking place July 14th. Tonight’s line-up features alumni of past RRDB Festivals, including resident stalwarts Javier Matos, and Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, Colimbia MOs punk blues trio The Flood Brothers, and Kent Burnside, singer/songwriter and grandson and keeper of the flame of RL Burnside and his music.

Dee Miller Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Foot Stompin’ good time blues from Ms Miller and band, two time winners of the Minneapolis Battle of the Blues Bands.

Sunday, March 11

Heatwave & Landman @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Heawave is Chris “Heatwave” Holm, and Landman is Mark “Landman” Larson, both of whom were the original rhythm section for 4ontheFloor. Today they’ll fill the warm wonderfully humid confines of the conservatory with Delta blues, British invasion pop, and a bit of garage rock.

Tuesday, March 13

Charanga Tropical @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) This is the third Latin Dance gig in five days, this time featuring Cuban Danzones, as well as well as modern salsa, originals, and other Latin dance rhythms. The Icehouse usually removes tables to make room for the dancers that flock to this band.

Wednesday, March 14

D.O.A.: A Rite of Passage @ Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This  1980 Rockumentary about the beginning of punk follows the 1978 American tour of the Sex Pistols, (after which they broke up) and also includes fiery performances  by X-Ray Spex, Generation X with Billy Idol,  Sham 69, and the Dead Boys. It also includes one of the last interviews recorded with Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, three months before their deaths. Here’ the film’s trailer.

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.

Decisions, Decisions. Music: 1.14 – 1.20

January 14, 2015

Decisions-thanks-to-SubhanWell, with the weather breaking a bit, we’ve got a fine week of music ahead of us, with a couple of Billie Holiday tributes (one which also includes a tribute to Sinatra), a Carmen McRae tribute, some funky, funky, blues and a couple of African inspired projects. Lots of other good music as well. We are lucky to have such a rich musical community in our towns. Have a good week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, January 14

Triosé  @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Trirosé  is Vinnie Rose, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. They perform jazz standards, contemporary pop, and original compositions in a straightforward, yet dashing manner.

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Once a month Chris Bates brings in a group to play this basement space. Tonight the group includes Bates on bass, of course, with the wonderful Peter Schimke on keys and Cory Healy on drums.

Thursday, January 15

Beasley’s Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($8) Here’s a refreshing change of pace, as BBB plays for swing dancers young and old – especially young. The exhilaration of the young dancers – some still in high school – is certainly catching, and if you check out the side rooms, you may see them practicing their more acrobatic moves.

Chet-the Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker: Larry McDonough Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chet Baker was a 50s trumpeter with movie-star good looks, and a “cool” almost detached way of playing and singing. Drug addiction ruined his looks, but even after losing his teeth in a bad drug deal, he was able to perform in the 70s and 80s, producing a number of great CDs before he was found dead on the street below his Amsterdam hotel room. McDonough s singing is also quiet and cool, and has been favorably compared to Baker’s. He’s bringing in Steve Kenny for the trumpet parts, along with Richard Terrill on saxes; Greg Stinson bass; and Dean White on drums. The first set will be “all Chet,” while the second will feature some of McDonough’s songs sung in Chet’s style. It’s rare that anyone tackles Baker’s catalog, especially his singing, so if you’re a fan of jazz singing, you will want to make your way to Jazz Central. Here’s a video of Larry playing piano at Charles DeGaulle airport.

Donald Washington Solo @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Though Washington is mainly known as the “musical father” of the great James Carter, his musicality is a joy to behold. The founder (with wife Faye) of the The New Day Blues Band (with son Kevin Washington and the late pianist Sam Favors) will be flying solo tonight, exhibiting his imagination and deep love for music through completely free improvisation.

Friday, January 16

Joyce Lyons @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7:30pm ($20 – includes sandwiches or pizza) Lyons is an accomplished singer with fans all over the country. Tonight she’ll be spotlighting the songs of Carmen McRae in a show titled “An Intimate Conversation,” accompanied by Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zack Lozier,trumpet; & Jay Epstein, drums, all of whom will only elevate her already impressive singing. I haven’t been to this place lately, so the idea of a cover that includes some food is intriguing, to say the least. Here she is singing at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Thomas Bruce @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) You can count on quality vocalists every Friday night in the lounge of this Italian place, and Bruce is no exception, with a voice that ranges from baritone to tenor, and good taste in sidemen.

Far Cry @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Far Cry is Paul Metzger, guitar; JT Bates, drums; Josh Granowski, bass; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet. Given the presence of Metzger and Bates, this may be one of the more adventurous groups to play at the basement club.

Friday, Saturday, January 16, 17

Debbie Duncan in a Room With a Vieux – Part Deux @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) After a successful New Year’s Eve, the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray – the name of New Orleans French Quarter) will open again this weekend, this time featuring Debbie Duncan, vocalist supreme, with Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Joe Pulice, drums; Kenny Holmen, sax. The menu offering is hose made Muffaletta sandwiches.

Friday,Saturday, Sunday, January 16, 17, 18

Holiday for Frank: Arne Fogel & Maud Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  Fri, Sat; 2:00pm Sunday ($20/$18 Seniors/$15 25 & Under) 2015 marks the Centennial year of the birth of both Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson will be doing the songs of both for this show, with musical direction from Rick Carlson  Musical integrity and fine musicianship are just about guaranteed with this group.

Saturday, January 17

bottomless_pit__640x480_The Bottomless Pit @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is the debut performance of this group of veterans, which includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Tom Lewis, bass. Opening at 7pm is Jazz Front: Jeffrey Dunitz, drums; Eric Graham, bass; Ted Godbout, piano. BP this the stage at 8:30pm.

Monday, January 19

Real Bulls & the PBR Street Gang @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s a Mini-Minne-Monster night as some of the best jazz musicians in town take to the stage. The first set is a double drum extravaganza with JT Bates and Dave King performing as the Real Bulls. Second set in the PBR Street Gang: Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Dean Granros, guitar.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 20, 21

José James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) James is the Minneapolis native who made a name for himself singing jazz with his 2008 debut, The Dreamer. Since then he’s grown as an artist, integrating all forms of Black Music into his singing, and even using elements of indie rock and folk in a seamless manner. His latest project, due out later this Spring is While You Were Sleeping, the Music of Billie Holiday, which he’s previewing with this appearance.

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, January 14

Annie Mack on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) Mack is a blues singer who represented Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge last year, even though she was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It’s typical of her spirit and her ferocity. You know the drill by now. Listen in during the 5pm hour, and if you’re impressed, which I think you may be if you like the blues, gospel, and old school R&B, head over to the 331 to catch her act live.

Morgan James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) James is a classically trained singer who found her voice singing soul music on stage with Motown, the Musical, where she sang Teena Marie songs. Berry Gordy steered her to Epic Records, where her first release was from a live show at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, singing the songs of Nina Simone. Her first studio album came out last summer, and features her as a co-writer on 8 of 11 songs. The New York Times has praised her feel for classic soul music.

Thursday, January 15

Non-Prophets do Toots & the Maytals @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) I’ve to to give props to anyone who will attempt the soulful reggae of Toots and the Maytals. Opening is the ska band, Pretty Ugly.

Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s instrumental nirvana (no not the group) when this quartet takes the stage emulating the Southern sounds of Booker T & the MGs and the New Orleans funk of the Meters.

Friday, January 16

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5)  This event is sponsored by U Wanna Dance (see link to their calendar, below), so you can be assured that the large dance floor at Wilebski’s will be packed. You can also be assured that Armadillo Jump will be up to the task of keeping people on the dance floor.

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get your share of swampy, bluesy goodness from guitarist Tom Harkness and his mates in the Swamp Kings  CJ Vanderpool, percussion; Steve :Dancin” Hansen, bass & vocals; and Harry Pulver, accordion.

Hot Pants Dance Party & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?)  While the Hot Pants DJs have often been guests at concerts, this is the first time a band is guesting at a Hot Pants gig. Besides the rare funk n’ soul 45s that the Hot Pants crew will be spinning, you be treated to the Afro-funk sounds of the Chicago Afrobeat Project  a 10-piece group that pushes the boundaries of that genre. Should be a hot night, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Saturday, January 17

Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($13) Old timey sensibilities collide with rock n’ punk energy as Kaul, guitar; Mikkel Beckman, washboard; and Brad Ptek, on washboard bass play old blues, and Kaul’s originals, which are quite good. It’s a small space, with limited seating, so you may want to call and buy tickets in advance. Need I remind you that the Riverview has a great wine list?

People Brothers Band @ the Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) This 8 piece band from Madison is a rhythm n’ soul group with a debut CD that’s a solid slab of original songs set to mid-tempo rhythms and danceable beats that range from second line funk to reggae and more.

Sunday, January 18

Patty & The Buttons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Patty & the Buttons just released a fine album, Mercury Blues, which has received glowing reviews, including a mention as one of the best of 2014. This is a regular Sunday morning gig for them, which often finds them playing for some dancers. Members include Patrick Harrison – Button Accordion; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Bailuff, clarinet, and Mark Kreitzer, guitar.

Paul Mayasich & the RAMM Band@ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover) They call it the RAMM Band because they play Real American Made Music, which perfectly encapsulates the Motown, R&B, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues that they play. Paul is a soulful, emotional guitar player, ably complemented by John Iden on bass; and Hye Pockets Robertson on drums.

Tuesday, January 20

H’SAO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($25) H’SAO is a Montreal-based quintet is originally from Chad. They started out as an acapella group delivering rich, beautiful harmonies. They draw from gospel, R&B, reggae, and of course, Chadian music and other African influences. Since their beginning about 13 years ago, they’ve taken up a few instruments to add to their sound, but the harmonies remain at the center of their appeal. You can see and hear what I’m talking about in this video.

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 U Wanna Dance Calendar.

Warm Music for Cold Nights: 1.23 – 1.29

January 23, 2013

Ah, the third week in January in Minnesota, when you can always depend on it to be very, very cold. As always, there is way more music than I could possibly highlight this week, though I’ve got a few for you to consider, including visits by a giant of jazz and a pop star with more connections than Forest Gump.

Winter Carnival activities, back when sub-zero temps lasted more than a few days.

Winter Carnival activities, back when sub-zero temps lasted more than a few days.

If you plan on being in downtown Saint Paul this weekend, note that the Red Bull Crashed Ice craziness is taking place and the Winter Carnival is beginning. About 80,000 people or more are expected to attend the Crashed Ice event around the Cathedral Saturday, so you will have to plan your evening and parking accordingly. Even Friday will be crowded, though not as much. Don’t let it dissuade you from enjoying what Saint Paul has to offer. That said, the temperatures will be climbing by the weekend, and we won’t have this old-time sub-zero weather to complain and/or brag about. Get out and about. BTW, scroll down after this week’s previews and you can read my review of the 2nd show by Prince at the Dakota last week. Have a good week


Wednesday, January 23

Wolverines Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) The talented and versatile combination of Rick Carlson, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Jendeen Forberg, drums, keep you entertained with tasty licks and a firm foundation.

Miguel Hurtado Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Miguel is the recent grad of Manhattan School of Music who’s returned to town and has been drumming with a variety of veterans and leading his own group.

Thursday, January 24

DownloadedFileEmily Davis & Robert Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Vocalist Davis is a fan of standards as well as newer sounds from the likes of Madeline Peyroux and Diana Krall. Guitarist Bell is busy around town in bands like the Twin City Hot Club and Southside Aces, and accompanying vocalists. Sounds like a swinging combination.

Friday, January 25

Kenny at play. Photo by Howard Gitelson

The ever-youthful Kenny at play. Photo by Howard Gitelson

Kenny Horst Birthday Bash @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Kenny is 70. Who knew? He’s such a dynamo on the drums, and does such a good job at managing the AQ that it’s hard to believe. He’s been a major presence in town since he first picked up the sticks many years ago, and has formed long-time musical partnerships with folks like Jack McDuff, Irv Williams, Billy Peterson, and Bobby Lyle. He’s also toured with Al Hirt and Mose Allison, and has a long-time friendship with Roy Haynes. No word on who will appear, and what stories will be told, but expect a plethora of Twin Cities jazz artists to celebrate Kenny and his contributions to the Twin Cities music scene.

Friday, Saturday, January 25, 26

Baroque n’ Jazz @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 adults/$15 seniors/$5 students) Here’s an interesting presentation by the Bach Society of Minnesota. A quartet from the Bach Society, and a modern jazz trio are both performing. Baroque music from Paul Boehnke, harpsichord; Mary Burke, viola da gamba; Jin Kim, baroque violin; and Carrie Henneman Shaw, soprano. Framework, featuring Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, will provide the jazz. What an opportunity to compare and contrast styles of music.

Saturday, Sunday, January 26, 27

24th Annual Century College Jazz Festival, w/Ed Calle @ Century College, White Bear Lake. 8pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($20) This time the 17-piece Century Jazz Ensemble has brought in Venezuelan-born saxophonist Ed Calle to play with them. Calle has operated out of Miami for the past 25 years, appearing on thousands of recordings, including grammy winning records by  Sinatra, Arturo Sandoval, and Jon Secada, and adding his Latin/jazz sax to performances with Rhianna, Gloria Estefan, Julio Eglesias, and Bobby Caldwell, among others. Charmin & Shapira & Friends will perform at each event’s reception, from 6:45 – 7:45pm Saturday, and 1:45 – 2:45 Sunday.

Sunday, Monday, January 27, 28

DownloadedFile-1Dave Holland Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) Bassist Holland is one of the few players today who can rightfully be called a master of modern jazz. Starting in the 60s, when he played with Miles Davis on Davis’ electric projects, through stints with Anthony Braxton and Sam Rivers, and on to leading a variety of configurations of his own groups, Holland has been an exemplar of the curious, exploring jazz man. His outstanding quintet includes: Mark Turner, saxophones; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Steve Nelson, vibes, and Nate Smith, drums. Not to be missed.

Tuesday, January 29

Jose James @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Minneapolis-born James has been making quite the name for himself as a jazz singer, with a smooth baritone that sometimes brings to mind Kurt Elling and/or Bill Withers. Though he grew up with jazz in his household, he’s also a part of the hip-hop generation and uses hip-hop tools to broaden his palette, as on his latest album, No Beginning No End. DJ Brian Engel will warm up the crowd with his own blend of jazz, funk, and rare soul. Here’s James performing something from the new album on Letterman recently.

Dean Magraw & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) I’ve often spoken of the wizardry of guitarist Magraw in these missives. To say he’s versatile is an understatement, as he’s highly conversant in world music, Irish music, jazz, and blues. He’s played with many different artists in town, and it’s not known just who will show up. Even if it’s just Dean and a rhythm section, there will be music that’s both explosive and sublime.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Thursday, January 24

DownloadedFile-2Papa John Kolstad & Hurricane Harold @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) It’s another one of Papa John’s acoustic blues nights, this time featuring harpmaster Harold Tremblay as the foil to John’s singing and guitar playing. Great atmosphere, decent food, good beverage selection. Bring an ID if you want an adult beverage – everybody gets carded.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Get warmed up for Mardis Gras next month with the Cajun/Zydeco sounds of the Pinecones, led by uber-accordionist Dan Newton.

Dee Miller Band @ Narrows Blues Saloon, Navarre. 8pm (No Cover) Over in the West metro area, blues fans get to hear the Duchess of the Blues belt it out. Lately, Jimmy “Prime Time” Smith has been adding his incisive guitar licks to mix. He’s a good match for Dee’s authoritative singing.

Friday, January 25

Vicky Emerson & Mother Banjo dual CD Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Emerson is an Americana artist with a gift for writing passionate, poetic lyrics, influenced, no doubt, by the fact that she grew up on a farm. Check out her website for examples of her talent.  Mother Banjo’s new release is an Americana/gospel affair produced by Steve Kaul and showcasing her talented five piece band.

The Senders @ Sherwood Lounge, 1418 White Bear Avenue, Saint Paul. 9pm Looking for Jump Blues and 50s R&B – the stuff that inspires you to swing dance? Look no further. The Senders have been at it for over 20 years, and still sound fresh.

Joe & Vicki Price @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Everybody’s favorite Iowa Blues Duo is back in town, bringing their stripped-down, original blues to South Minneapolis.

Saturday, January 26

images-2Choro Borealis @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Before Bossa Nova, and before the Samba, Brazil had the Choro (pronounced SHOW-roo). Influenced by both Africa and Europe, this highly rhythmic music is still popular in Brzil and beyond. Choro Borealis is a trio of highly regarded musicians, all of whom have been active in the area for many years. Robert Everest plays 7-string guitar, vocals, and cavaquinho, Pat O’Keefe plays B-flat Clarinet, bass clarinet, and percussion, and Tim O’Keefe rounds out the group on mandolin, cavaquinho, and percussion.

Malamanya EP Release Party @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) The Cuban-Salsa dance band that could is releasing an EP and celebrating at the Junction, not exactly the place you’d expect, but it has a dance floor, lots of room, and a good selection of adult beverages.

Tuesday, January 29

A man who has spent his entire adult life in popdom

A man who has spent his entire adult life in popdom

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$45) This is not your usual concert. It’s more of a memoir, and includes lots of story-telling. Asher‘s sister had a boyfriend who happened to be Paul McCartney, who wrote World without Love for Asher’s group ,Peter and Gordon. The rest is history. He owned an art gallery that was showing the work of Yoko Ono, and introduced her to his pal John. He’s been at the nexus of a rarified atmosphere of rock n’ roll stars, and has produced folks such as  James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt, Diana Ross, Carole King, Bonnie Raitt,and 10,000 Maniacs. He’s written for movies and has been music director for a number of prestigious award shows.  Asher will be telling his story in song and images.

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.

Music Ideas for December 14 – 20

December 13, 2011

We have a weekend of adventurous jazz in the Lowertown portion of downtown Saint Paul, a bevy of vocalists appearing in the area, and some fine blues and roots music for your listening (and maybe dancing) pleasure. Not to forget a couple of holiday specials. The weather has been mild, so that’s not an excuse to stay home, though I understand that holiday activities can be tiring. Choose from this weeks artists to either relax or recharge. Fact is. it’s all good.


Wednesday, Dec 14

Jose James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm ($20) Now based in London, James returns home for the holidays and a chance to show why the jazz world has embraced his inventive vocals. He’s got a smooth baritone that can caress a ballad, yet he’s adventurous enough for some serious scatting, and fearless in taking on a John Coltrane tune.

Friday, Dec 16

Todd Clouser’s Love Electric @ Studio Z, 275 East 4th St. Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Former Minneapolitan Clouser and his band have been steadily touring the US, Spain, and Mexico, with occasional stops back here in the Twin Cities. His guitar playing draws on Hendrix and Curtis Mayfield, among others, and brings an electric intensity to classic jazz (i.e., Gillespie’s Manteca) as well as originals. Tonight’s performance includes live painting to the group’s music by Tim Nyberg. Clouser, guitar; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Jaxon Craft, B3, and Greg Schutte, drums.

Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Bellows on valve trombone, and Washington on sax, together with Brian Roessler, bass, and Pete Hennig, drums. This quartet is fearless in playing and faultless in technique. What with Clouser (above) and Nichols (below) appearing at Studio Z this weekend, Lowertown may well be the hippest couple of square blocks in the nation this weekend.

Friday, Saturday, Dec 16, 17

Debbie Duncan @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm The Twin Cities First Lady of Song is equally at home with a ballad, scat singing, or a slightly bawdy blues. She’s released five CDs, and has thrilled audiences from here to Italy, Russia, and back. On the slight chance you’ve not heard her, here’s a videio.

Saturday, Dec 17

Bryan Nichols’ We Are Many @ Studio Z, 275 Ease 4th St, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($10) Pianist Nichols leads a nine piece group, including Mike Lewis, Brandon Wozniak, Erik Fratzke, Jeremy Ylvisaker, JT Bates, and more. Wow. This is part of the Jazz at Studio Z series.

Sunday, December 18

Lee Engele Christmas CD Release @ The Aster Cafe at Saint Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 6pm ($tbd) The CD is called “A Hot Christmas.” As might be expected, it’s a swingin’ little affair, with help from Reynold Philipsek and Gary Shultte, among others.

A Peterson Family Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4pm & 7pm. ($23) Seven of the fabled music clan join matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson to present Christmas favorites and more.

Tuesday, December 20

Rhonda Laurie and Maryann Sullivan @ The Nicollet Cafe, Franklin & Nicollet, Minneapols. 7pm (tip jar) The two singers that are curating Tuesday Night Jazz at the Nicollet join forces. Given their lovely voices, and ability to tease the rhythm from a song, this should be a delightful evening.

Blues, Roots, Other….

Wednesday, Dec 14

Dean Harrington Hot Club and Jake Manders and Alyssa Bicking @ the 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (Harrington) 9:30 pm (Manders/Bicking). Guitarist Harrington has a new CD out, with a Hot Club Quintet performing acoustic swing. He’s got taste, technique, and verve, all of which are needed for the Django Rheinhardt-inspired music. He’ll be on the House Party (KFAI – 90.3 or 106.7FM) during the 5pm hour and start at the 331 at 7pm. Then, stick around for the folk/roots sound of Jake Manders and Alyssa Bicking. Jake is known for his work with the Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, and he’s found a complementary voice in Alyssa.

The Soulman & the Storytellerl

Paul Metsa & Willie Walker @ Nye’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm. Paul & Willie work well together, with Paul’s guitar providing sympathetic backing to the slightly raspy, urbane voice of soulman Willie Walker. They’re in the old bar tonight.

The Lucy & Charlie Show @ Barbette, Uptown Minneapolis. 10pm. Jazz and old country standards from Lucy Michelle, of the Velvet Lapelles, along with her friend Charlie and others. Lucy has an alto voice that’s perfectly suited to songs of loss and regret, many of which can be found in the genres she’s exploring tonight.

Thursday, Dec 15

Benefit for Lynwood Slim @ Whiskey Junction, West Bank, Minneapolis. 7pm – Close ($10). Blues harpist and former Twin Citizen Lynwood Slim needs help with medical expenses, and as per usual, the music community is closing ranks to help out. Pat Hayes, Cool Breeze, Big Walter Smith, Big Bob Scoggin, JImi “Prime Time” Smith and more will be on hand to play as a means of raising funds.

Friday, Dec 16

Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 8pm. ($10) For all the prominence of the saxophone as a symbol of the blues, there are very few of its players who have risen above anonymity as sidemen. Shaw is one of them. The Chicagoan played in Howlin’ Wolf’s last band, doing arranging and generally keeping things under control, and took over the band upon the Wolf’s passing. He’s become a star in his own right, with a sound on the saxophone that’s as raspy as his own voice. With the recent transition of Hubert Sumlin, Shaw remains among the few who go back to the fifties and sixties. If you want to hear what he sounds like, click here.

Singer/Songwriter Series @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Drew Peterson is serving as host tonight, with a sterling bunch of bluesy/rootsy folks as his guests, including legendary pianoman Cornbread Harris, Kim & Quillan Roe (of the Roe Family singers), Nick “The Feelin'” Mrozinski, and high-energy one-man band, Crankshaft.

Saturday, Dec 17

Papa John & the Cool Club @ Merlin’s Rest, East Lake St, Minneapolis. 8pm. (tip jar). Part of the charm of this fairly regular gig for Papa John is the semi-revolving cast of musicians that are part of the Cool Club. Sam Fiske on trumpet, and the guitar Deans – Mikkelson and Harrington, on guitars, of course. But then the bass player might be Tom Lewis, or Liz Draper, or someone of equal skill, and there may or may not be a drummer. Other musicians will sit in, or sing a song or two. Carrying it all is Papa John himself, a product of the West Bank 60s. John is equally at home with the blues as he is with the acoustic swing of the Cool Club. Then there’s his sly, politically oriented humor. And did I mention Merlins has a good beer selection and  no TVs?  It all makes for a fun evening. Listen to Papa John play some blues here.

Jennifer Markey & the Tennesee Snowpants @ The Driftwood Char Bar, 44th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip jar) If you have ever wondered what country music would be like today if it hadn’t been “cosmopolitaned” wonder no more. Check out Jennifer Markey, who creates perfect country/Americana tunes. She’s got a band, including tasteful guitar slinger  Clay Williams, that perfectly complements her style. Check out her MySpace to hear some of her music.

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