Resolved – More Music: 1.4 – 1.10

January 4, 2017

Happy New Year!

img4170-800x400While January 1 may not have been much different than December 31, the act of marking time gives us a chance to reflect and perhaps start anew. Whether you are embracing or resisting change, or resolving to make life better, music will always serve to lift your spirits. If you’ve resolved to go out and hear more music this year, there are some great options for the next week from visiting and resident artists alike. After all, music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 4

Dick Oatts Quartet @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45 Dinner) Iowa-born and raised, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts began his professional music career in the Twin Cities in 1972, and moved to NYC in 1977 where he became a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He has since worked with such big bands as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, as well as those led by Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, and Gunther Schuller. Oatts has also recorded and toured with small groups led by Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Mel Lewis, Jerry Bergonzi, Fred Hersch, and others, and has a dozen and a half albums as a leader. Oatts is being backed by a stellar line-up of Bill Carrothers, piano; Billy Peterson, bass; and Joe Pulice, drums.

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Ms Lynch has been a regular a Vieux Carré for a few months now, and just had a sold out dinner show there for New Years Eve. Tonight, those who rarely cross the river to the capitol can see the bassist and her estimable cohorts in Minneapolis, performing music from the 30s to the 50s. Some folks may even dance in the aisles.

Lincoln, Schwartzberg, & Healy @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Young bassist Charlie Lincoln still has a few days left before he returns to Berklee to continue his studies, and he’s squeezing in a few more gigs, including this one with fellow Dakota Combo alum Levi Schwartzberg on vibes, and drummer Cory Healy, who can be seen leading his own group, The Beautiful Sunshine Band (see Saturday listing) and playing in others around town.

Thursday, January 5

Moonlight Serenaders @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8 Cash) Start your new year swingin’ with a visit to the Wabasha Caves, where the 16-piece big band of the Moonlight Serenaders, featuring Lee Engele on vocals, will provide the rhythms for dancers of all ages in a venue with a haunted past, inexpensive drinks. Arrive early for some preliminary lessons, and don’t wear sneakers.

Sarah M. Greer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The estimable vocalist Ms Greer teams up with the very talented bassist Mr Cox, for an evening that’s sure to be filled with musical surprises.

Ruckus: Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Powerhouse drummer and multi-instrumentalist Rodney Ruckus presents two different sets of music. The first from an ensemble called Ruckus Hip-Hop Jazz, featuring: Arthur LA Buckner on drums; Russell Evans, piano; Rob Coleman, keyboards; Omid Huttar, guitar; Excel, MC; and CJ Pitts, on vocals. Then he presents a trio with Ruckus, drums; Greg Byers, electric cello; and Javier Santiago, piano.

Friday, January 6

Bass Camp Concert @ Walker West Academy, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 Suggested Donation) The Twin Cities Bass Camp is having a Winter Workshop through the weekend, and tonight they have an opening concert with resident bassist Doan Roessler performing his own compositions and improvisations both alone and with longtime musical partner Nathan Hanson on sax. The second set of the evening will feature bassist Etienne Lafrance  of Quebec, playing his own compositions, as well as music from Ravel, Fauré, Telemann and Rabbath, accompanied by Craig Randal Johnson on piano. Here’s Roessler & Hanson from a few years ago.

Judi Vinar & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but a guaranteed seat in the front lounge for $10) Vinar is a vocalist who can sing just about any style, believing that a good song is a good song, no matter what. She’s sung with the Wolverines Big band and other orchestras, was a member of Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, and led the voice department at McNally Smith for 15 years. She’ll be joined by Rick Carlson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jendeen Forberg, drums. Here she is a few years ago with the Wolverines Big Band.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Sourcecode @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) If you’re looking for the ultimate in post-bop, modern jazz, then head over to Jazz Central, where master drummer Gravatt will hold forth with his group Sourcecode. Gravatt has played with the absolute best in the business, from Pharaoh Sanders to Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard, Albert Ayler, Charles Mingus and Hank Mobley, to Roy Hargrove, Donny Hathaway, and Derrick Trucks.

Jack Courtwright Quartet @ Jazz Central, 10pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Stick around after hearing Eric Kamau Gravatt, or simply show up for the Jazz Central late show featuring emerging artists. Tonight, you can hear young trombonist Jack Courtwright, home for the holidays from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY. Courtwright was the winner of the 2016 Carl Fontana Trombone Competition held by the International Trombone Association, and spent last summer honing his chops on a cruise ship. He’ll be accompanied by Will Schmid, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Ben Erlich, drums.

Saturday, January 7

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kenny continues to bring in interesting combinations of groups each Saturday, often pairing experimenters and main stream groups, or, as he’s done tonight, young turks and veterans. Things start off at 7pm with the Will Schmid/Greg Lewis Quartet: Will Schmid, guitar; Greg Lewis, the veteran of the group, on trumpet; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Caitlin, drums. Then Paul Harper and his quartet of veterans take the stage, with: Harper on saxophones; Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Cory Healy’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop; 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Before moving to the Twin Cities about three years ago, drummer Cory Healy had worked and collaborated with a wide variety of artists, including Kenny Wheeler, Dr. Lonnie Smith, John Abercrombie, and Fareed Haque’s Flat Earth Ensemble. Since moving here, he’s also worked with Dosh, Marijuana Deathsquads, Anthony Cox and a bevy of jazz aggregations. Healy and the Beautiful Sunshine Band released an album earlier this year that showcases their ability to go from bop to abstract jazz, with traces of metal, and a bit of contemporary rock. Healy leads the band: Erik Fratzke, bass; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; and Zacc Harris, guitar and effects. Arrive for the workshop on improvising with drums and electronics, and you get both the workshop and the concert for $10. Here’s a track from their album.

Sunday, January 8

Anthony Cox Trio @ Walker West Music Academy, Saint Paul. 3:30pm ($15 Suggested Donation) The final concert of the Twin Cities Bass Workshop feature our own resident artist Anthony Cox  who has gained much respect playing with Dewey Redman, John Scofield, Pat Methany, Ed Blackwell, Joe Lovano and other masters. Tonight the bassist is playing with Brandon Wozniak, sax, and the seemingly ubiquitous Dave King on drums.

Tuesday, January 10

Mary Louise Knutson/Phil Aaron Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Knutson, no cover), 8pm (Aaron, $5) It a treat for those who love jazz piano, as Mary Louise Knutson sits down and plays for the dinner hour. The award-winning pianist is Doc Severinson’s go-to pianist for many of his tours, and, with a warm, nimble, and imaginative touch, a formidable pianist in her own right. At 8pm it’s the Phil Aaron Trio, with Aaron, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. The ever tasteful Aaron is an Emmy winning composer who has created scores and soundtracks for films, television and advertising. He often has a light touch, and creates beautiful improvisatory lines while also excelling in hard-charging aggregations.  Here’s Phil with a different trio.

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, January 4

The Fiddle Heirs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) some people believe you can never have too many fiddles and this group is out to prove them right. Consider the band’s members, all of whom play varying types of fiddles: Justin Bruhn (Pert Near Sandstone, Pocahontas County); Jillian Rae (Brass Kings, Corpse Reviver, her own band); Ryan Young (Trampled by Turtles, Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, Pert Near Sandstone); and Chris Forberg (Kind Country, Boys in the Barrels). As a special added attraction, they will be joined by Nate Sipe, of Pert Near Sandstone, who relocated to California a few years ago and rarely makes it to the Twin Cities. Tune in to KFAI at 5 o’clock to hear them and then head over to the 331 Club to see and hear more.

Thursday, January 5

The Home Fires @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) Sarah Morris and Vicky Emerson are a couple of accomplished singer/songwriters who have worked together on double bills and have decided join forces on this project. They have a lot in common: both are excellent songsmiths; both have an affinity for Americana/alt country; and both can deliver heartfelt ballads and romping uptempo tunes with equal verve. I believe this is their first appearance as the Home Fires.  Here’s a ballad by Emerson.

Friday, January 6

Trailer Trash: It’s Still A Free Country @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 – $10) For the first Freewheelin’ Friday of the year, KFAI deejay Jackson Buck is bringing in these veteran musicians, who have been making rockin’ honky tonk, and putting a country spin on blues, R&B, and rock n’ roll, for 22 years. Trailer Trash attracts dancers of all types, and The Hook & Ladder has the requisite room to accommodate them as well as non-dancing fans.

Detroit Don King @ The Black Dog Bar & Restaurant, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Gritty, industrial strength blues, with a touch of soul, from King, guitar & vocals, Jeff Hester, guitar; Dan Emerson, bass; Dan Emerson, bass; Doug Hill, drums; and Tall Paul, sax.

Joyann Parker @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) If you didn’t catch her at the packed Vieux Carré for New Year’s, here’s your chance to catch the soulful Ms Parker in a more modest setting (some would call it a dive bar, but it’s much too clean for that).

Right Track Funky Soul Party @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) The funky yet warm environment of the Dubliner Pub is the setting for this vinyl dance party hosted by spinmeisters Brian Engel and Ben Mena.

Saturday, January 7

April Fools @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Guitarist Brian Drake had a bunch of songs he wanted to record, so he reached out to some players and lo and behold, The April Fools was born. This talented group plays a wide spectrum of music, from straight-up country to Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more. Besides Drake, the band includes Clay Williams, guitar; Scott Hreha, bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums.

Javier Matos @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Javier Matos is a solid bluesman who can play bottleneck slide with utmost authority, swing some blues when called for, and deliver soulful vocals with ease.

Sunday, January 8

Charlie Parr w/Mother Banjo @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bluesman Charlie Parr is starting a month long residency Sundays in January. Aside from bringing his unique perspective on the blues, Parr will have a special guest each week. Tonight it’s Mother Banjo, aka Ellen Stanley, who will be accompanied by her usual cohorts: Dan Gaardner on guitar, and Ben Cook-Feltz on piano. There will likely be some collaboration between Parr and Mother Banjo by the end of the evening

Sunday, Monday, January 8, 9

Peter Asher’s Musical Memoir @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35, $45) Asher is a regular Forrest Gump of the music industry: as a child he acted in a film with Claudette Colbert; as a teen he roomed with Paul McCartney, and then became a worldwide star as a member of Peter and Gordon; he owned the art gallery where John met Yoko; and went on to produce and manage James Taylor and Linda Ronstadt, as well as produce albums by a number of superstars including the 2014 Grammy winning CD by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell; and much, much more…  He tells his tale (and sings) in a charming multi-media presentation that includes film, video, and photos from his personal archive.

Monday, January 9

All-Purpose Cajun Band @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($8) Time to break out the dancing shoes, as Shawn Glidden, accordion; AJ Srubas, fiddle and steel; Marie Stier and Gary Powell, fiddles; Dehl Gallagher, drums; and Vaughn Asselstine, bass; play cajun favorites.

 

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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Hot August Nights: 8.10 – 8.16

August 10, 2016
Long before the Pavilion became a hot spot

Long before the Pavilion became a hot spot

There are more outdoor music events this week, including music at the Como Park Pavilion (see photo). We also have a number of intriguing events in bars and restaurants, with visiting artists from New Orleans, San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago, along with our own talented resident musicians. Music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 10

Jazzy Women Singer/Songwriters @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $35 Dinner) Lucia NewellJudi Vinar, and Vicky Mountain are three of the finest jazz singers around. Here’s a chance to hear them singing their original songs in the intimate Dunsmore Room, accompanied by a couple of fine instrumentalists, Phil Aaron on piano and Graydon Peterson on bass.

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Trumpeter Zack Lozier has the chops to pay proper respect to Louis Armstrong. Together with Steven Hobert on piano and Steve Pikal on bass, they play the music of Armstrong and other early jazz musicians, while changing things up with other jazz standards.

Thursday, August 11

MN Hardbop Collective @ The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis. 5:30pm – 9pm, ($10/free for members) Drummer Jesse Simon has put together this quintet to pay homage to the R&B.Gospel inspired music of the 50s and 60s. The group features promising trumpeter Omar Abdulkarim: Javier Santiago on piano; Daniel Carpel, bass; and Joe Mayo on sax.

Midnight Love @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) A new group formed by some veterans: Greg Schutte, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniack, piano and organ; Matt Darling, trombone; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s the semi-regular appearance of this forward thinking group led by bassist Adam Linz, and including young lions Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Corey Healy, drums; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet.

Jazzland Wonderband & Mississippi Hot Club @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 advance, $10 Door) These two bands have done a number of double-bill shows lately, as they complement each other quite well. The Mississippi Hot Club  plays acoustic swing and gypsy jazz, featuring: Joshua Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass. Jazzland Wonderband blends traditional New Orleans jazz and second line music with R&B of a more recent vintage. Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet and vocals; Nelson Deveraux, reeds; Keith Holson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; and Evan Clark, tuba.

Friday, August 12

Estaire Godinez w/Jose James Sr. @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Percussionist Godinez brings her Latin rhythms to Saint Paul’s downtown park for an evening of outdoor dancing. Lessons at 6, followed by music.

Glen David Andrews @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Trombonist Andrews in a force of nature, whose New Orleans heritage has taught him how to grab hold of an audience from the time he enters the stage until he leaves them spent at the end of a show.

Saturday, August 13

Jazz Alley @ Golden’s Deli, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (No Cover) Jazz Alley members are: vocalists Sarah M. GreerMaryann Sullivan  and Katia Cardenas  along with Ted Godbout on keys and Jim Chenoweth on bass. This group and brunch gig came about after this year’s “Singers’ Scatt Off” during the recent Twin Cities Jazz Festival. There will be two sets each Saturday through August.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The young guns take the stage as headliners tonight with Hoaxer: Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Edmund Caitlin, drums; and Peter Goggin on alto sax. This is a talented group of musicians, and in ten years or so, you’ll brag “I saw them when…” Opening is the Joel Shapira/Dean Granros duo, bringing you some exquisite guitar playing.

Rebirth Brass Band & Cha Wa @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 10pm ($35) Rebirth has been a part of New Orleans’ brass band revival for about 30 years now, and have been appearing at the Dakota once or twice a year for a few years now. They are upping the excitement level, if that’s possible, by bringing Cha Wa, a Mardis Gras Indian tribe, along for this trip. Bring some white handkerchiefs to wave as you second line around the club. Here’s Cha Wa.

Sunday, August 14

Bob DeFlores’ Legends of Jazz @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Film Historian Bob DeFlores unpacks some of his rare movie clips of artists such as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Fats Waller, and others.

Monday, August 15

Naomi & Her Handsome Devils @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Singer Naomi Uyama began her love affair with classic jazz as a 16 year old swing dancer. She’s won international awards for her dancing and taught, eventually taking up singing and putting together a band to play for other swing dancers.  Here’s hoping some tables are moved to make room for dancing.

Tuesday, August 16

Irv Williams’ 97th Birthday Celebration @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Saxophonist Irv Williams can outlast that Energizer bunny. He’s been performing in the Twin Cities since 1942. Before moving to the Twin Cities, Williams played in bands alongside such notable jazz stars as Ella Fitgerald, Fletcher Henderson, Mary Lou Williams, and Billy Eckstine.  He chose to stay in the Twin Cities despite invitations to join the orchestras of such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong. Not only will “Mr Smooth,” who still has a great sound, be celebrating his 97th Birthday, but he will be awarded as the first inductee into the newly formed Minnesota Jazz Hall of Fame.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 10

Nathan Miller & The Unstoppable Co. on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90,3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Miller plays a lap slide guitar, imbuing it and his voice with a soulful sound, whether redoing Stagger Lee as a ballad or rocking out.  It’s host Harold Tremblay’s birthday, so let the celebration begin!

Thursday, August 11

The New Standards @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) The Standards play rock songs from the 80s and beyond, recast in acoustic, jazzy settings by Chan Poling, piano; John Munson, bass; and Steve Roehm, vibes. John Swardson and Bad Blood open. Half dozen food trucks, beer from Tin Whiskers and Summit Brewing.

Friday, August 12

The Claudettes @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) The Claudettes perform a mash-up of Windy City Blues and the energy of rockabilly and punk, along with some echoes of the jazz age. Founder/pianist Johnny Iguana is a member of two Grammy-nominated groups: Chicago Blues – A Living History, and the Muddy Waters 100 Band. He’s joined by bassist/singer Zach Verdoorn, drummer Matt Torre, and singer Berit Ulseth, returning to her home town where she first sang as a teenager.

Lydia Pense & Cold Blood @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (??) Lydia Pense & Cold Blood were one of the high-flying R&B horn bands of the late 60s and early 70s, who, along with Tower of Power, exemplified East Bay Grease. After appearing at the Fillmore West, Bill Graham immediately signed them to his label, and they subsequently achieved national fame. Pense and the sextet are still performing and still releasing new music, the latest offering being Soul of the Gypsy from 2015. Twin Cities harpmeister Curtis Blake & Greazy Gravy opens.

Saturday, August 13

Lisa Wenger Band @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Wenger’s soulful, sweet, and gritty vocals have been belting the blues and blues-based roots music for years now, entertaining folks throughout the Twin Cities and the Midwest and as far afield as The Bitter End in NYC and BB Kings in Orlando. Here’s a chance to see her entertaining a crowd in Crooners’ lounge, with no cover, to boot.

No Limits the B-Side Band @ Lucky’s 13 Pub, 3000 Harbor Lane North, Plymouth. 9pm (No Cover) R&B grooves from yesterday and today, delivered by a sharp band and three different vocalists.

Sunday, August 14

Charanga Tropical Summer CD Release Party @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 7pm (Free) This is what Twin Cities summers are for: Hanging out by a lake, having a picnic, or picking up food from a lakeside restaurant, and listening to some very fine music. Charanga Tropical were in Cuba last year, and while there, recorded an album at the Aireto Studios, where countless classic Cuban musicians have recorded, as well as folks like Nat King Cole, Josephine Baker, and Frank Sinatra (before 1959, of course). In Cuba, as it’s called is a delightful album filled with lush Danzons, a Cha Cha or two, and music that will transport you to Cuba, even while watching sailboats in Minneapolis.

Renee Austin @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5:00pm – 8:15pm ($15, $40 Dinner)  Blues singer Austin lost her voice after thyroid surgery in 2005, a crushing blow for someone whose voice has been compared to Etta James. She couldn’t sing, and could only talk in a whisper until one day, eleven months later, her voice came back, though she still couldn’t sing until 2011, when she was asked to perform in her church. Now, she’s performing again, playing clubs and festivals, and singing in her five-octave voice. She’ll be accompanied by piano, guitar, and drums, for an intimate evening of originals, including some new songs.

Monday, August 15

Hula Peppers @ Como Dockside, Como Park, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) You can pick up some food and beverages in the restaurant and sit back and enjoy the breeze off Como Lake, while the Hula Peppers perform music from the 20s and 30s, with an Hawaiian melody thrown in every now and then for good measure. The Hula Peppers are: Dan Daddy Squeeze Newton, accordion; Gary Powell, Hawaiian guitar; Dave Furmiss, resonator guitar; Corey Mohan, ukeleles and musical saw. They are often joined by Lauren Asheim, a chanteuse with a Betty Boop quality that’s entirely endearing.

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 Music: 12.23 – 12.29

December 23, 2015

Greetings and salutations;

Swedish Pancakes: My own holiday tradition

Swedish Pancakes: My own holiday tradition

For many, this is a hectic, if joyful, time of year, as families and friends gather to celebrate various, but mostly, Christmas traditions. I’ve been informed by Santa, aka Davis Wilson, that many of the world’s 5000 religions have celebrations of one sort or another during this season, as we go from Winter Solstice to ever-increasing days of light. Whether your celebrations include worship services, lighting candles, special food, storytelling, feats of strength, gathering outside, helping at homeless shelters, or even toy trains, accept my wish for a happy and fulfilling holiday. There are plenty of opportunities to relax and/or rejuvenate with music, which of course, lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 23

Retro Swing Sister @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($5) Retro-Style Swing with a modern twist from Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie. There’ll be some dancing, oh yes, there will. Listen to some samples of their singing here.

George Maurer Group Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7 pm ($15) The Saint Cloud-based jazz pianist rightfully calls himself a collaborated, since he’s composed movie scores, and worked with Eric Clapton, and many Twin Cities vocalists, among others. His holiday show at the Dakota, which features a six piece band plus a second vocalist, is always a hit. Here’s some examples.

Cold Fusion @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation, students free with valid ID) This is a project from saxophonist Pete Whitman  who’s recruited Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Olson, guitars; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Reid Kennedy drums; to swing on originals and straight ahead compositions.

Thursday, December 24

Swingbeat Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm ($7 cash) There may not be much happening for music tonight, but don’t despair. If you’ve wrapped all your presents, prepped all your cooking, (even if you haven’t) and are ready to let off steam, the swing dance scene at Wabasha Caves has you covered, and the Swingbeat Big Band will set your toes tapping.

Friday – Monday, December 25 – 28

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) Though based in New York, this trio is originally from the Midwest. In fact, drummer Dave King still lives here in the Twin Cities. When they first did a show at the old Dakota, around the turn of the Century, King, along with pianist Ethan Iverson and bassist Reid Kennedy, had just recorded an album which subsequently received a rave review in the New York Times. Since that $5 show, booked because all three were home of the holidays, the Bad Plus has recorded ten CDs and traveled the world headlining major clubs and generally causing some jazz fans heads to explode while bringing a whole new audience to the genre. Two examples of what critics say. From Rolling Stone: “It’s about as badass as highbrow gets.” From The New York Times: “Better than anyone at mixing the sensibilities of post-60s jazz and indie rock…”

Saturday, December 26

Judi Vinar w/the Wolverines Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) So, you’re stuffed with food and don’t want to cook. And, perhaps, you’re in need of some time outside the house. Here’s the answer, Vocalist Judi Vinar (Judi Donaghy) will sing for you, with the help of Jundeen Forberg, drums; Steve Pikal, bass; Rick Carlson, piano; and Doug Haining, sax. Here she is with a big band.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set by Iron Chops: Jon Wood, guitar; Dave Brattain, saxes; Mac Santiago, drums; and Graydon Peterson, bass. Then a very special edition of FRAMEWORKChris Olson  guitar; Chris Bates  bass; Jay Epstein  drums, will be playing their originals and selected covers with special guest Steve Kenny on Flumpet.

Monday, December 28

Edmund Caitlin Trio, featuring Levi Schwartzberg and Charlie Lincoln @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s a trio of young players: Leader Edmund Caitlin, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; and Charlie Lincoln, bass. Despite (or due to) the fact that they aren’t old enough to drink yet, they can improvise, compose, and arrange with ease. Tonight they’re playing music from the universe of Thelonious Monk.

JT Bates Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) JT is releasing his long awaited solo project, “Open Relationships.” Though primarily a solo project, written and performed by JT, it has a few contributions from guitarist Jeremy Ylvisaker and electronic/noise artist Mark McGee. 1st Set: Mankwe Ndosi + Davu Seru. 2nd Set: JT Bates Open Relationships. 3rd Set: Padhandlers (Ryan Olson and James Buckley)

Tuesday, December 29

Jake Baldwin Quartet @ The Dunsmore Room in Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum p/p) The Dunsmore Room is proving to be an ideal place to listen to jazz. Baldwin is a young trumpet player who has been making a name for himself about town since graduating from the New England Conservatory of Music a couple of years ago. He plays in a variety of bands and combos, including R&B, Brass Bands, and the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra. It’s in jazz, though, where he shines. Joining him tonight are three musicians with whom he’s worked a lot: Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Andres Crovetti, drums. Here’s Jake in a recital when still in school.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 23

The Social Animals on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) This Portland quartet recently finished an album produced by Steve Berlin, of Los Lobos, a good choice for their indie/Americana sound. Their website bio abounds with funny sarcasm, though their lyrics more straight-forwardly address relationships and the vicissitudes of a relatively young life.

Katy Vernon’s Holiday Residency @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($8) Tonight the charming singer/songwriter will feature Jake Rowan on uke and vocals. I had the two of them on my show this past Saturday, which you can hear by going here. They’ll be joined by a couple of more friends to play Christmas music, as well as some non-seasonal music, and conduct an Ugly Sweater Contest with the audience. Check out Katy’s simple, yet effective version of a Beatles song.

A Trashy Little Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance) After so many years at Lee’s Liquor Lounge, the honky tonkin’ Trailer Trash has had to move it’s weekly X-mas shows to a variety of venues. The Eagles Club should provide plenty of room for dancing and commandeering the Candy Cane. Advance tickets are available on the website.

Friday, December 25

Deano and the Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Cool out at the end of a hectic day with the solid stylings of under-appreciated guitarist Dean Mikkelson, who will be joined by drummer Dehl Gallagher, bassist Josh Granowski, and fellow plectorist Dean Harrington for an evening of blues and perhaps a bit of jazz standards. Bring your ID if you want adult beverages.

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Dance off the food you’ve eaten early in the day with the solid Soul, Funk, and danceable rock from this long-lived band that always delivers, and always has guests get up and play.

Saturday, December 26

The Escape Claus @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The colorful-sneaker-wearing Dean Mikkelson returns to Merlin’s for a second night, this time with a different group of musical treasures. I’ve listed a possible name for the group, but it could change. Nevertheless, it includes guitarist Bobby E, as well as Cody McKinney, bass; and Pete Hennig, on drums. With this much talent, you’re sure to have a good time, especially considering the wide variety of beers and Irish Whiskeys that Merlin carries. Be sure to have your ID.

Mick Sterling and the Stud Brothers @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Mick Sterling and his ten-piece band present some blue-eyed soul that will have you dancing.

The Irish Brigade @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) It’s less than three months to Saint Patrick’s Day. Start appreciating Irish music now in a venue that couldn’t be better suited to the sound of this duo.

Saturday, Sunday, December 26, 27

Victorian Christmas Carols @ The JJ Hill House, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8:30pm ($12) Costumed singers explore the rise of Christmas Carols during the 19th Century. There’s light refreshments and tours following the one-hour concert. You can find more information here.

Sunday, December 27

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 4pm (tip jar) Papa John Kolstad, Harold Tremblay, and their bluesy, rootsy friends help you while away the afternoon at the oldest continually operating bar in the state.

Pat Donahue @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Donahue is a champion finger-picker whose tunes have been recorded by Chet Atkins, Suzy Boguss, and Kenny Rogers. He spent 20 years as the house guitarist on the Prairie Home Companion, and had Wynton Marsalis sit in with him and the Guys All Star Shoe Band in Berlin. More recently, he recorded a cool blues album with Butch Thompson. At any moment he might be playing blues, folk, or jazz, or some combination of the three.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 29,30

The New Standards @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30 – $40) This trio has really gained fans and raves since they debuted about ten years ago (their new CD is called Decade) and started playing acoustic/jazzy versions of hits from 80s, and now also breathe life into unexpectedly modern songs. Chan Poling, piano (Suburbs); John Munson,  bass (Semisonic, and Trip Shakespeare); and Steve Roehm, vibes (Billygoat, Electropolis); found a winning formula. Their annual holiday shows with guests from throughout the music industry sell out at local concert halls sell out.

Wednesday, December 30

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) Perhaps the last tradition of the year. Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to appear on Harold Tremblay’s House Party and then head over to the 331 Club to sing 5 part a cappella harmonies on sea chanties, and easy-to-sing-along favorites, from the Rolling Stones to Billy Joe Royal, and Bob Marley.

 

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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