Summer Music: 6.28 – 7.4

June 28, 2017

Photo from Mill City Times

Well, one thing that last weekend’s Jazz Fest proved is that we have a wealth of jazz here in the Twin Cities. We also have a wealth of roots, blues, R&B, bluegrass, Cajun, classical music, and worldbeats, so there’s no reason that you cannot see music that you like. The 4th of July is just about upon us, and though I don’t have any music listings for that day, I’m sure that some celebrations will feature live music. Whether you are joining others in outdoor celebrations, staying home and grilling, or go out, remember: Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 28

Southside Aces Celebrate F. Scott Fitzgerald @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) The 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference is taking place in Saint Paul, and the Southside Aces are going to be playing a lot of Fitzgerald-era  tunes to help the celebrants.

Richard Johnson & Debbie Duncan @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45w/Dinner) As I mentioned in last weeks newsletter, Pianist Johnson has been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. Vocalist Debbie Duncan is our own “best-kept secret,” equally conversant in straight ahead and soulful jazz. Here’s Debbie.

Thursday, June 29

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Steven Hobert is a pianist who’s playing is often ethereal and impressionistic is joined by Yohannes Tona, bass; Pete Whitman, sax; and LA Buckner, drums.

Niny Salem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) With SouthEast Asian roots and life experiences from four different continents, Ms Salem will be singing the songs of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, and other female artists in a number of different languages.

Friday, June 30

Silverback Trio CD Release Party @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) David Hirsch, keyboards, electronics, & sax; Brent Wallace,m bass; and Byron Johnson-Blancahrd, drums comprise this trio, which fuses atmospheric electronics with high energy melodies. They’re celebrating their debut CD. Here they introduce themselves before a clip of them playing.

Saturday, July 1

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) After curating and hosting an incredible array of talent during the Jazz Festival, Steve Kenny returns to his normal programming of Saturday night jazz at the Black Dog. Tonight’s headliner is drummer/percussionist Babatunde Lea, with a new quartet: Mathew Trice, alto; Will Kjeer, keys; and Jax Ravel, bass. Opening is the Drew Stinson Trio w/Stinson bass; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Dan May, drums. Here’s Lea with a different quartet.

Andrew Walesch Trio @ Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The talented pianist/vocalist steps out from some of his normal haunts to entertain at the newly remodeled Normandy Kitchen. Get a reservation if you want a hi-top table. Otherwise, the bar has been extended, so there are more seats there.

Minnesota Hard Bop Collective Organ Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, 2014 Washington Ave, N, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon has been putting together groups of various sizes to play classic hard bop of the 50s and 60s, together with a few originals in that format. He’ll be accompanied by Javi Santiago on keys and Mike Wolter on guitar.

Mauilotus: The Marilyn Allysum Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) This group of award-winning musicians takes a global approach to music, transcending jazz and worldbeats to make their statement. Marilyn Allysum, composer, flute, piano, gu zheng, and vocals; Charles Fletcher, bass; Mike Hurley, drums & percussion; David Wolfe, Persian Harp & Tibetan Singing Bowls. Their last concert at Jazz Central sold out.

Sunday, July 2

Oudyano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist/Accordionist Steven Hobert has found a kindred spirit in Issam Rafea, a Syrian who plays Oud. Their music is uplifting.

Monday, June 3

Geoffrey Keezer @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $45 w/Dinner) Pianist Keezer was a member of Art Blakey’s group at 18, and toured with folks like Joshua Redman, Benny Golson, and Ray Brown while in his 20s. More recently he’s recorded with Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves, and has toured with Christian McBride and collabored with Sting and Wayne Shorter. He’s been nominated for three Grammys.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

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, June 28

Mary Sue Englund @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Mary Sue Englund (no relation to me, btw) is a Minnesota-born, Nashville-based country songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author and graphic designer who tours with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan as a musician and backup singer. Bring a lunch or get one at Anita’s Cafe at Landmark.

The Hambone Wilson Band w/Billy Stoops on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/Songwriter Billy Stoops has been living in the Pacific Northwest for over two decades, performing all the music that comes under Americana. He’ll be performing with the Hambone Wilson Band from Virginia. This quartet plays roots, Americana, Old Time Rock n’ Roll, and more. Tune in to get a sense of what they sound like and head to the 331 Club if you want to hear more. Here’s the Hambone Wilson Band.

Wailing Souls @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This legendary reggae roots group dates back to the 60s, when they worked with reggae icon Joe Higgs. They fused the sound of Motown and close harmonies with roots reggae and dancehall, with a number of heir songs appearing in the 90s film Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team. Dred I Dred opens.

Thursday, June 29

Steeling Dan @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (7) The music of Steely Dan can’t be done by a four-piece, or even a five-piece band. If you’re going to cover all of their music you’ll need a 13-piece band, at least that’s what Steeling Dan has been working with since 2002. Here’s a promo video that shows what they can do.

Tinsley Ellis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) When talking about Southern blues-rocker Ellis critics and fans often use the words, fiery, searing, and incendiary when describing the guitarists’ playing. But then, he was born in Atlanta, grew up in Southern Florida, and was inspired by a BB King performance as a teenager.

Friday, June 30

Katy Vernon Band @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Anyone who follows Katy on FaceBook knows that she’s been on an incredible journey, touring Great Britain for about six weeks, and playing her ukelele at festivals, hospices, hospitals, pubs, and other places. There is no doubt that the journey has been inspirational for her, and we get to see the results tonight.

Albert Cummings @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $38) Cummings is a blues-rock virtuoso on guitar who has played with BB King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rhythm section liked his playing so much they played on and produced his solo debut, 2003’s From the Heart. He’s been recording wand touring on stop since then.

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble @ Cedar Cutlural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$20 Door) This Barcelona, Spain band actually got started in Chicago, but it wasn’t until founder Aaron Feder moved to Spain 101years ago and met some Nigerian musicians that it began to gel and take off, and have since released three albums. I believe this is the second appearance at The Cedar this year. Opening by Somali percussionist Harbi, who will debut his work “Heartbeat of Durbaanka,” a new work funded by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership program.

Saturday, July 1

Saddle Sores @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($? – Cheap?) Classic country music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as done by the the is five-piece  who are obviously fans of the genre: Jenny Russ, vocals; Jimmy Kennedy, guitar & vocals; Randy Venaas, bass; Mo Engel, drums; and Clay Williams, pedal steel and guitar. Songs include: You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, and Who’s Going to Take Your Garbage Out.

Karl B & the Soul Surgeons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This funk-fusion band recently released their debut full-length album, Electrosurgery. Members: Karl Brueggemann, drums; Andrew McManimon, guitar; Elliot Keyes, bass; and Fran Merchiewitz, keys.

Nooky Jones Album Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door)  Nooky Jones has been around the Cities for a couple of years now, spreading smooth neo-soul with hearty elements of jazz and R&B, and undertones of hip-hop. Now they are ready to release their self-titled debut album. Nooky Jones is: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals/trumpet; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, keys: Reid Kennedy, drums; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Ryan Christianson, trombone. With Pho and DJ Sarah White.

Sunday, July 2

Bevery McClellan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) McClellan is the soulful singer with the huge sound who was a finalist in The Voice, a few years back, in which she did a rousing version of The Thrill is Gone. She’s a talented lady capable of playing a number of instruments and singing in a variety of styles. Here she is from a 2011 performance at the Dakota.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

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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Saint Pat’s and Much More: 3.15 – 3.21

March 15, 2017

Well, we’ve another week where there are more enticing music events than I could list, though I have managed to whittle the number down to a couple of dozen. Anyway, we’ve a plethora of marvelous visiting and resident artists, and with Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, there are many chances to drink green beer if you are so inclined, or you can find other events that aren’t celebrating the day. It’s all good, as the saying goes, with many opportunities to let music lift our spirits

Larry

PS: Friday marks the start of the Spring Pledge Drive at KFAI. Please pledge your support for my show by going to http://www.kfai.org and pledging on-line, or call 612-375-9030 during the hours of my show (10:30am – Noon, Saturday)

Jazz

Wednesday, March 15

Sophia Shorai, Twin Cities Hot Club @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai-No Cover), 8pm (Hot Club-$7) It’s a double bill of easy-on-the-ears jazz at the Vieux tonight. Vocalist/pianist Sophia Shorai performs during the dinner hour. Her honey-sweet voice will undoubtedly help your digestion. Then the Twin Cities Hot Club takes the stage with acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, bossa novas, and the occasional musettes. Members are: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45, $40), 9pm ($20, $25, $30) Gary Burton is a jazz superstar, who revolutionized the playing of vibraphones by using a four-mallet technique, creating a pianistic approach to playing, as opposed to the prevailing two-mallet technique. After more than five decades in the business, the six-time Grammy winner recently announced his retirement, and that this March tour would be his last. He’ll be joined by a former student, Japan’s foremost jazz pianist Makoto Ozone  who has been member of Burton’s quartet and recorded four albums with him.

Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Walesch is a very talented singer/pianist with a penchant for the Great American Songbook, and often has a nine-piece band to help him swing Sinatra standards. Tonight, however, Walesch is only working with two accompanists, but what a pair they are! Saxophonist Dave Karr may be in his 80s, but his sound is strong, and his improvisational abilities are bebop quick and buttery smooth. Dean Magraw is the genre-spanning guitarist who calls his approach “Heavy Meadow,” but puns aside, he’s a master of improvisation, whether working in a jazz fusion mode, or in a Celtic, acoustic mode.

Thursday, March 16

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Illicit Sextet, Minnesota’s first jazz composers collective, has a new CD, Addendum, and are celebrating with a Minneapolis release party tonight. Members are: Chris Lomheim, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Paul Harper, sax; Dave Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a song from their album.

Friday, March 17

Jason & the Q @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jason Weissman is a fine saxophonist with the kind of smooth vocals just perfect for crooning overlooked standards and the occasional original.

Nick Syman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Versatile trombonist Nick Syman plays with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, and with The Nexus Ensemble, a band that fuses jazz with hip-hop and R&B, as well as with Latin jazz ensembles, West African drumming groups, and traditional New Orleans jazz bands. Tonight he leads his quartet, featuring Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; and Pete Johnson on drums.

Jeremy Walker, King Baron Hot Several @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker-No Cover), 9pm (King Baron Hot Several) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour, then King Baron Hot Several brings their traditional New Orleans jazz, leavened with some contemporary sensibilities, for a sound that’s part second line, part traditional jazz, and part something else entirely. Band members are: Superb vocalist and trumpeter Cameron Kinghorn, vocalist Abbie Mills; reedman Nelson Devereaux; trombonist Keith Hilson; tuba player Evan Clark; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Saturday, March 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – JazzInk Youth Showcase, featuring Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams of Totino-Grace HS. 8:30 set is the Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet, with Hedenstrom  sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, March 19

Brian Lynch & the Emmet Cohen Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($25, $55 Dinner Show) Oh boy! Grammy winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is coming back to town again. His appearance last year with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at a Jazz Central fundraiser was energizing, which you might expect from someone who established his Latin bona fides with the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra. Tonight he’ll be playing with the Emmet Cohen Trio, led by pianist/organist Cohen  who was a child prodigy and has regularly worked with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Herlin Riley, Christian McBride, and as tonight, Brian Lynch. Cohen also is an avid teacher, visiting 50 schools a year through a Jazz at Lincoln Center program, and conducting workshops while touring (see below). Meanwhile, here is Lynch and Cohen in a duo.

Monday, March 20

Emmet Cohen B3 Organ Clinic @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm Here’s a chance to get Emmet Cohen’s insight into what it takes to play a Hammond B3 organ. The workshop is Included with the $20 ticket to any of four performances on Monday or Tuesday.

Monday, Tuesday, March 20, 21

Emmet Cohen Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) In a change from it’s usual presentation of resident artists, Jazz Central presents a well-resepected touring artist in four shows. Cohen’s trio includes Jamaican-born, Brooklyn based bassist Russell Hall, and drummer/percussionist Joe Saylor  who you may recognize as the cowboy-hatted drummer for Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the band for Steven Colbert’s show.

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 15

Mary Flower on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mary Flower is a Portand Oregon based finger-picking and lap slide guitarist, with a voice that’s equal parts honey smooth and graveled whiskey. She was a top three finalist tin the 2000 and 2002 National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship, was named “A world class finger-style guitarist and lap slide player.” by Downbeat. Flower has 10 albums to her credit, the last four with the Memphis-based Yellow Dog Records. Tune in to Harold’s House Party, which is being broadcast from Indeed Brewing, and then head off to the 331 to hear her in person.

Samite w/Aida Shahghasemi @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 door) Cancelled due to travel conditions out East Ugandan born Samite was taught how to play traditional flute by his grandfather, and then when he was twelve, was introduced to a western flute by a music teacher. He became renowned throughout East Africa for his flute playing, until 1982, when he was forced to flee to Kenya as a political refugee. Now he lives in Ithaca New York, using smooth vocals, as well as kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes in his performances. Aida Shahghasemi moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in 2000. She fell in love with Persian classical music, studying it and even writing a senior project at the U Anthropology department on the restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran.

Thursday, March 16

Nicholas David w/Vic Volare, Ryan Young and Mike Cini, featuring Billy McLaughlin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) This is a benefit for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and will feature guitarist Billy McLaughlin.  McLaughlin is the Minneapolis-born guitarist who is recognized for his innovative technique on acoustic guitar, which led to a number of appearances on the Top Ten charts in the 90s. In 2001 McLuaghlin was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia, an incurable neuromuscular disorder which left him unable to play. In 2006 he decided to relearn his own songs one note at a time, using his opposite hand. The other star attraction tonight is Nicholas David, who we used to know, before his appearance on The Voice, as Nick the Feelin’ and though his name has changed, the emotive power of his “alternate soul” hasn’t. The singer/songwriter has already recorded five albums, and tours constantly.

Boiled in Lead @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advnace, $15 Door) Avoid the Friday crowds and celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with Boiled in Lead  those purveyors of Celtic and world musics with a punk-rock attitude, or as they put it, Rock n’ Reel. They’ve been at it since 1983, and in 2016, core members Todd Menton, David Stenshoel, and Drew Miller added drummer and multi-ethnic percussionist Michael Bissonette to the mix. After an evening dancing and jumping to these guys, you may not have any energy left for tomorrow. Listen to them.

Friday, March 17

Smithereens & Martha & The Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm,10pm ($45, $50) It’s not a St Patrick’s Day party, but fans of 80s rock will be celebrating this show. New Jersey rockers the Smithereens were responsible for a string of moderate hits that stuck to power pop and evoked 1960s rock, including Only a Memory, A Girl Like You, and Blood and Roses, inspiring a number of alternative rockers, including Curt Cobain. The Motels rocketed to stardom on the basis of their smash single, Only the Lonely, which helped the album All Four One achieve gold status. Lead singer Martha Davis went solo in 1987, and reformed the band in 1997. With new management, the band spent 2014 doing more shows than in any year since 1985. They have a new anthology due out this month, and a new album coming out later in the year.

Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Big-voiced songwriter/singer Annie Mack uses the blues as the foundation for her work, but she’s just as likely to draw inspiration from gospel music, Motown, Americana, and country music.

Belfast Cowboys @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s fifteen years to the date that this nine-piece Van Morrison tribute band played their first gig, and what better way for rockers to celebrate the day than with the music of Van Morrison. The Belfast Cowboys have headlined at BB Kings Blues Club in New York, opened with a three hour set for Chicago before 15000 people, and have played in Ireland. They are also the parent group to St. Dominic’s Trio, and proved their road warrior status by playing over 400 gigs from 2012 to 2014.

Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) It’s a St. Paddy’s day party for blues lovers, as the raw, punkish, delta sounds of Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders fill Famous Daves.

Saint Patrick’s Day @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 11am – 10om (Tip Jar) This friendly bar is actually an Irish pub, as you may gather from its name. They regularly feature Irish music and dancing, as well as other roots music, but today is the day to celebrate with them. If you don’t want to take part in a parade, the Dubliner has a whole day of music starting at 11am with Todd Menton; 2pm Charlie Heymann; 5pm Tiller Black; 8pm Irish Brigade

Saturday, March 18

Saturday Salon, featuring Taggart Squared @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’’s chamber music session will feature a couple of young siblings who have already made a mark in classical. fourteen year-old Emma Taggart has already won several local and international competitions and has played with several orchestras. She also played at Orchestra Hall alongside Shelia E’s band. Her bother is ten year-old Jacob Taggart, another classically trained pianist. Jacob was a finalist in the 2013 State Fair Talent competition, and in 2014 played with members of the Milan Chamber Orchestra at a piano festival in Lovere, Italy. He also played with Sheila E’s band, performing a jazz piece.

Katy Vernon Band w/April Fools @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Katy Vernon is a delightful singer and ukelele player who has used her songs to deal with tough challenges, leading her to say she sings “sad songs on a happy instrument.” The Star Tribune has called her “one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved folky singer/songwriters,” to which I agree. Her band includes Simon Husbands, another Brit, on keys and Clay Williams on guitar. Opening act the April Fools  led by Brian Drake, also features Williams on guitar. Ben Kaplan on drums, and Scott Hreha on bass round out the group, which performs  straight-up country, Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more.

Feufollet @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Get out those dancing shoes and be prepared to spin, twirl, and two-step as the Twin Cities’ Krewe de Walleye presents a Mardis Gras party for all the Cajun/Zydeco fans in the area. They’re bringing up Feufollet from South Louisiana to provide music for the party. Feufollet takes Cajun, honky-tonk, and string-band music as a starting point and keep an open mind about where the music takes them, and ultimately, where it takes dancers. The band consists of Chris Stafford, vocal, accordion, guitars; Kelli Jones-Savoy, vocals, fiddle, guitar; Andrew Toups, keys; Mike Stafford, drums; and Philippe Billeaudeaux, bass.

Sunday, March 19

Jazz Brunch w/Nutria @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (Tip Jar) Nutria is a trio that was formed in New Orleans. They emphasize collective improvisation as they explore jazz, chamber music, and the musics of the African Diaspora and eastern Europe.  The band is Byron Asher, tenor sax and clarinet; Trey Boudreaux, bass; and Shawn Myers, drums.

Tuesday, March 21

Dreamland Faces Record Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) If you’ve never heard Dreamland Faces  their music may come as a surprise as no one else in the area does what they do, which is to compose and perform musical scores for silent films – over 50 at this point. The group was organized by Karen Majewicz, who plays two types of piano accordion, and multi-instrumentalist Andy McCormick, who is best know for his great ability on the musical saw. Together with a rotating cast of other musicians, they utilize accordion, musical saw, pump organ, pain, double bass on vocals on a repertoire that includes modern classical music, waltzes, tanks, and original compositions. Opening are the Poor Nobodys  a seven-piece group that plays spaghetti western type instrumentals, along with Americana, and old country waltzes.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 21, 22

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ the Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($45-$60) Rowdy, passionate, bar band R&B from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Johnny is an alumni of bars on the Jersey Shore, where he and friends Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt came up before hitting the big time, a few decades back. He more than satisfied with his performance at the Dakota last year around this time.

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.


Autumn Music: 10.12 – 10.18

October 12, 2016

unknown-1We’ve a busy Fall weekend coming up, what with the Prince Memorial concert on Thursday (it’s also being proclaimed Prince Day by Mayor Chris Coleman); the Saint Paul Art Crawl in Lowertown and elsewhere, the MN Blues Society Hall of Fame Awards, and just a lot of good music all around. Enjoy the change of seasons and get out to hear music – it lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, October 12

Sophia Shorai/Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai – No Cover), 8:30pm (Thompson & Magraw – $5) The Vieux presents yet another two-fer of jazz tonight. Sophia Shorai’s piano-playing and honey-laced vocals take the spotlight during the dinner hour. Then it’s the wonderful combination of Butch Thompson on piano and clarinet and Dean Magraw on guitar. They’ve been playing somewhat regularly lately, and the long time vets of the West Bank music scene seem to delight in their music.

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bassist Chris Bates joins up with a couple of younger players: Joe Strachan, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drums, for a night of originals and original arrangements.

Thursday, October 13

Emily Jane Davis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central and Emily Jane Davis is bringing in a trio + special guest to accompany her. Here she is with just a guitar accompaniment.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight, bassist Adam Booker brings his band Hip-Gnosis to the Reverie. Members are: Zacc Harris, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxes; and Jay Epstein, drums. Here’s Booker with a different band.

Issam Rafea and Chris Cunningham @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Rafea is a Kuwaiti-born oud player now based in Chicago. He is the Chair of the Arabic Music Department at High Institute of Music in Damascus and the principal conductor of Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. Twelve String guitarist Chris Cunningham has collaborated on stages and in studios with artists such as: including Marianne Faithfull, John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, The Contortions, Gavin Friday, Boukman Eksperyans, Marshall Crenshaw, Richie Havens, John Zorn, and others. In the Twin Cities he currently leads the group Fall of the House of Usher (FOTHOU), as well as composing for and improvising with The Cherry Spoon Collective and Coloring Time. There will be solo sets by each, culminating in a set of duos by the pair.

 

Friday, October 14

Katia Cardenas @ Public Kitchen & Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm – Midnight (Tip Jar) With its big couches and limestone walls, the basement at Public feels a bit like a secret place, all the better to hear songbird Cardenas go through her repertoire of standards, jazz, and pop/jazz tunes. She’ll be aided by Chris Lomheim, piano; and Matt Senjem, bass, to complete the intimate feel, though admittedly, it’s always a good idea to sit close to the band, since the stone walls help create a loud environment.

Saturday, October 15

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Two very interesting bands are on tap for this evening, starting off with The Jazz Bridge Project: Roger Johnson, guitar; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Javi Santiago, keys; Ron Evaniuk bass; and Rajiah Johnson, flute. Headlining is the dynamic drummer/conguero Babatunde Lea  with Solom Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron piano, and others. Lea always brings top-notch talent to his groups, so don’t worry if only two members are identified. Here’s an example.

Sunday, October 16

Laura Caviani/Lux String Quartet @ Lowertown Classics, 255 Kellogg Blvd E, 3rd Floor Atrium. 5pm ($10 Suggested Donation) After a weekend of the Art Crawl, enjoy a bit of jazz and classical music at this low-key event. You’ll hear the music of pianist Laura Caviani as well as the Lux String Quartet in this Artists Loft. To further entice you there will be a complementary wine tasting from Revival Wine, Beer, and Spirits. Regular readers probably know the music of Caviani, so here’s the Lux String Quartet with a song for the season.

Painting Joni Mitchell @ The Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul. 5pm ($33 – $53) It’s a celebration of Joni Mitchell’s music, courtesy of four excellent singers and an equally excellent rhythm section. Vocalists Judi Donaghy Vinar  Lori Dokken (also on piano); Jacey Pelstring; and Rachel Holder Hennig  ill bring out new meanings in Mitchell’s music, with the help of Dan Caton, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums. The acoustics of the Concert Hall are perfect for this kind of show.

Huntertones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Funky jazz from a Brooklyn-based sextet that, like many young bands, is melding a number of genres to create exciting music. You’re as likely to hear elements of Afrobeat, rock, and funk as you are new takes on jazz standards. At times during a performance, they break down to a trio of sax; sousaphone; and beatbox! To get an idea of their music, watch this.

Monday, October 17

Mississippi Album Release @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($15) Mississippi is a group centered on Peruvian guitarist Andres Prado  who graced the Twin Cities for a  few years and became a highly respected member of our music scene. The group includes Kevin Washington, drums; Jeff Bailey, bass; Peter Schimkie, piano; and Pete Whitman, sax. Bassist Jeff Bailey described their sound, “Much of Andres’ recorded material is centered in the traditional Peruvian styles of Festejo, Lando, etc. Our collective sound tries to allow for more interweaving of traditions: Jazz, Neo-soul, Peruvian Festejo, R&B, and more.” Here’s an example.

Miguel Hurtado @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Hurtado brings in a quintet to play the music of Wayne Shorter: Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; Park Evans,  guitar; Joe Strachan, piano; and Dan Carpel on bass.

Tuesday, October 18

Basement Society @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm ($8, $35 w/Dinner) Javi Santiago will be playing the new, 9 foot Steinway, while Dan Carpel plays the bass and Pete James Johnson plays drums.

Harold Lopez-Nussa @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($22) This Cuban-born pianist received a musical education from his French grandparents, starting, as many pianists do, with classical music. At age 20 Lopez-Nussa shifted to Cuban jazz and then toured with the Buena Vista Social Club as well as with singer Omara Portuondo. His most recent album, El Viaje, received 4 stars from Downbeat, adding to the accolades he’s received while performing at festivals around the world. He’ll be accompanied by his brother Ruy Adrian Lopez-Nussa on drums and percussion and Sengalese vocalist and bassist Alune Wade.

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, October 12

Mark Cameron Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mark Cameron and his band-mates are the winners of the Road to Memphis competition, and will be representing Minnesota in the band category of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this winter. You get to hear them on the radio and in person to discover why they’ve been chosen by the Minnesota Blues Society to represent us in Memphis.

Hula Peppers @ Schooners, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) When these guys (and occasional gal) play old-timey music, it’s not tunes of Appalachia, but rather pop tunes from the 20s and 30s, with some Hawaiian tunes thrown in for good measure. The combination of swing, blues, and novelty tunes makes for an enjoyable, comfortable show, especially in the low-key environs of Schooners.

Thursday, October 13

Mikkel Beckmen with Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Beckmen’s weekly showcase has been going on for a couple of years now. Today, you can sit down in the unassuming Irish bar, order up a beverage, and enjoy the fantastic, often bluesy guitar playing of Jeff Ray as Beckmen does his thing on various percussion instruments.  This video takes a minute or two for the music to get started.

Prince Tribute @ The Xcel Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($Lots) I normally wouldn’t talk about a show where some tickets are over $300, but it’s the Prince Tribute, with Stevie Wonder, Morris Day and The Time, Chaka Khan, Mint Condition, Anita Baker, Liv Warfield, and many more. There are a few lower priced single seats left as of this writing, as well as some of the high buck seats, but expect to have a wad of cash on hand if you end up buying from scalpers. Things start off with a free, preshow party at 4pm, so you can enjoy that even if you don’t go to the concert.

Friday, October 14

Uke Fest Five @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Singer/Songwriter and ukelele player Katy Vernon has put together a “really big shew” as a benefit for ARC and the Minnesota Music Coalition. This year she’s gathered over 16 acts who play ukeleles in a number of styles to entertain you, including Jake Rowan, Dean Johnson, The Hula Peppers, Niki Becker, Hot Date, and more.

Samba Meu @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($5) The Brazilian music band returns to performing, this time with a 9-piece band, all the better to create the sensuous rhythms of Brazil: chorros, forks, sambas, and more. There will even be dance lessons in case you want to learn how to swivel your hips like Samba Dancers. Squirrel Haus is not a bar, so BYOB.

Saturday, October 15

Harriet Brewing October Blues Fest @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 5pm. (No Cover?) Prepare for the Blues Hall of Fame ceremony tomorrow by checking out these bands at the Tap Room: the Cobras, Cornbread Harris, Paul Barry and the Acetones featuring Lila Ammons, and Flatwater Mississippi.  

Papa John Kolstad and the Phits @ The Roots Cellar Concert Series at University Baptist Church, 1219 University Ave SE. 7pm ($15, $10 Seniors & Students) You’ll have to go down to the basement for this concert, featuring Papa John Kolstad  master of the 12-string guitar. The Byrds made the 12-string popular, though nowadays, you just don’t see too many guitarists playing the difficulty instrument. Well here’s your chance as Papa John is joined by “Wailin’ Willie” Bill Smith on harmonica and vocals, and Gary Powell on lap steel guitar. There will likely be a bass player as well. They’ll perform Blues, and folk songs from pre-WWII, as well as some more contemporary songs covering swing,  standards,  and even some humorous topics, which will fit in well with Papa John’s story telling and wry political humor.

Sunday, October 16

MN Blues Hall of Fame Ceremony @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the 10th Annual Blues Hall of Fame Ceremony, and once again, some of the talented musicians of our community are being honored. Today will honor: Paul Mayasich (Performer), Steve “Boom Boom” Vanderharr (Sideman), Wilbur Cole (Legend), Gary Eckhart (Arts, Literature, Media), RJ Mischo (Composition), Mike Shaw (Supportive of the Blues), Bobby Johnson and his sister Lavern “Lady Blue” Johnson (Legacy Honors). Arrive early and partake of Pepito’s Brunch for an additional cost (and hear Maurice Jacox while you’re there). There will be live music all day, from the winners and others.

Captain Gravitone and His String Theory Orchestra @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Take a break from politics, or even football, and dig the fun sounds of this acoustic/rootsy sextet, capable of turning a Pink Floyd song into a bluegrass rave-up.

Tuesday – Sunday, October 18 – 25

STOMP! @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($44 – $74) This groundbreaking show has been showing the world how anything can be used as an instrument for 25 years now, using brooms, barrels, garbage can covers, and more in an invigorating display of physical stamina, resourcefulness, and creativity.

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.


Lotsa Choices. Music: 7.6 – 7.12

July 6, 2016
Where to go? What to hear?

Where to go? What to hear?

Another week and more visiting artists, more interesting combinations of resident artists, some new bands, a CD release, and a couple of outdoor events. All in all, another good week for music lovers. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 6

Unknown-2Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Where else can you hear two such stellar musicians for a fin, to use an old term. Guitarist Magraw can play acoustically, bring a bit of Hendrix to Coltrane on electric guitar, and turn around and effortlessly play Irish music and the blues. Thompson, who is at home on piano and clarinet, has spent 45 years studying and playing early jazz around the world.

The Exceptional Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Bassist Anthony Cox continues to bring surprising combinations of musicians to his monthly Wednesday night gig at Jazz Central. Tonight he’s joined by tabla master Marcus Wise and violinist Laura Hirada.

Thursday, July 7

Surprise Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This quintet tackles the music of such rock n’ pop stars as The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and more, restructuring them into jazz, funk, Latin, and other types of music. Rachelle Smith, vocals; Evan Bendt, sax; Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Phil Hey Quartet is the main attraction tonight, back in town after a successful appearance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend: Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Hey on drums. The opening act is the Julian Manzara Quartet: Drew Stinson, bass; Geo Randall, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, drums, and Manzara, guitar.

Friday, July 8

Todd Harper’s CD Release Party @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper celebrates the release of 9th Stream Music, a delightful collection of Harper’s compositions, which seem somewhat familiar, yet always hold a surprise or two, such as the use of Aaron Kerr’s cello, and the playful sound of Nathan Hanson’s soprano saxophone. Others on the CD include drummer Eric Coursen, and Keith Yanes on bass viol.

Hoaxer @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Charlie Lincoln, bass; with Peter Goggin, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Each of the band members have contributed an original to tonight’s playlist.

Paul Harper Bardo Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Harper has been in the Illicit Sextet since its beginning two decades ago, and regularly appears with Charmin & Shapira, Spirit Jazz, Roos & Harper, and with his own ensembles: Show & Tell, and the Chordless Quartet. Tonight he assembles a band of first listers: Joel Shapira, guitar; Nathan Norman, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Drummer Kogan recently retired as principal tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and set to work putting together two well-recieved albums, both of which teem with energy and imagination, covering hard bop, bebop, and postbop sounds. He’s recruited a stellar quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s something from his second album.

Saturday, July 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm it’s the Pete Snell Trio, with Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Snell on drums. At 8:30, it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, July 10

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzy Math is Mark Vandermyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; Matt Peterson, bass. Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House.

Monday, July 11

Bruce Henry @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 with Dinner) Even though vocalist Henry moved to Chicago a few years ago, he regularly returns to the Twin Cities to perform. He’s an imaginative singer and arranger, and always has a band of fine musicians to accompany him.

Tuesday, July 12

Vanessa Trouble, w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Trumpeter Charlie Caranicas is originally from Minnesota, and studied at the UofMN before heading to the Big Apple after graduation. He’s performed with folks like Karryn Allison, the Chico  O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Orchestra. He and his quartet will perform at 7pm, and then at 9pm he and vocalist Vanessa Trouble will perform. Trouble has an affinity for traditional jazz. In addition to songs from her two CDs, you can expect songs that are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings with Louis Armstrong. Here’s the two of them.

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, July 6

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke on KFAI and @ The 331Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) KFAI is broadcasting live from Indeed Brewing in NE Minneapolis this afternoon, starting with Jackson Buck’s Freewheeling Show at 2pm. Harold’s House Party continues at 4pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke appearing during the 5pm hour. He then heads to the 331 Club for a 7pm show. Luedtke has been performing in the upper Midwest for over 40 years, gaining some international experience along the way. He’ll be playing acoustic and solo, showing off some of his fine flatpicking as he regales us with the blues.

Katy Vernon Band @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Vernon’s melancholy and very British acoustic pop (with overtones of Americana) has endeared her to Twin Citizens of all stripes. Her album, Present, was one of the year’s Top 10 for the Pioneer Press and Album of the Year in the Country/Folk category for L’Etoile Magazine. Bring a picnic, lay back, and enjoy her charming patter and learn how she’s become known as a singer of sad songs using a happy instrument – her ukelele.

XIXA @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) This Tucson band plays Chicha music, that Peruvian combination of Cumbias and rock n’ roll, using swirling, psychedelic guitars, a skittering farfisa, and infectious, dance-inducing Latin rhythms. Matt Jennings, who knows a thing or two about cross-cultural musical influences himself, opens.

Thursday, July 7

Blues U Social Hour @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition and Blues U, which is bringing talented teens from across the country to play together and learn from professionals, are sponsoring this free event, which features music from Colin Campbell & the Shackletones and Tres Leches.

Pines @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Benson Ramsey, and David Huckfelt are native Iowans who met in Arizona and proceeded to make music together, moving to the Twin Cities and releasing their first album in 2004. Since then, the Pines have crossed the country, bringing their blend of indie-folk/Americana roots to new fans wherever they appear. They add a rhythm section for some dates, but it appears that Benson’s brother Alex is performing with them for this tour. Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola opens.

Friday, July 8

Ipso Facto @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) It’s an evening of outdoor Reggae at Rice! Ipso Facto has been playing a blend of reggae, funk, and even a bit of jazz since the early 80s, and has been called “the best reggae band ever to emerge from Minnesota’s Tundra” by City Pages. Ryan Liestman’s Reggae Revival opens.

Debo Band @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This is the opening concert in a summer of African music at the Cedar, and features an 11-piece band, with instrumentation reminiscent of Easter European brass bands, playing Ethiopian pop. They are led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, and use traditional Ethiopian scales and vocal styles, integrating them with American soul and funk rhythms.

Drew Druckery & the Dharma Hounds @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Members of this quartet have played in various rock and roots bands around town for over a decade. Together, their sound encompasses blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock, making for a combustible combination. Drew Druckery, vocals, guitar; Paul Mikolich, keys/B3; Joshua Walton, bass; Brett Behrens, drums.

Saturday, July 9

Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a band that can vary in size from 5 to 16 pieces, depending on the occasion. The Pan Handlers may have a full rhythm section, or simply be a collection of differently tuned steel drums. No matter the size, their repertoire ranges from Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to Bob Marly, and calypso favorites Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get yourself some rockabilly and Western Swing from this trio, formed in 1984 by ace guitarist Rick Hollister. He’s joined by Jack Erickson on bass; and Patricia Halverson on drums.

Sunday, July 10

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover)  Spend Sunday afternoon and early evening grooving and dancing to the soulful sounds of Mr Walker  whose soulful singing goes back to the 60s when he recorded a few singles for Goldwax and Chess. His latest album, Nothing Ever Changes, was nominated for three Blues Music Awards.

Tuesday, July 12

Rockin’ Rondo with Bruce Henry and Friends @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 8:30pm. Though he might have sung jazz last night at the Dunsmore Room, Henry will undoubtedly take a turn towards danceable R&B tonight to celebrate the community that was Rondo. Saint Paul Welcome Hat will have a ceremony during the evening to introduce newcomers to the city to its businesses, music and culture. Weather permitting, this will be outdoors on the History Center’s plaza. Bring a picnic or buy food and drinks on-site.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12,13

Sarah Jarosz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $35) Jarosz is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has just released her fourth album, Undercurrent. though she’s a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, she has already received Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations with her first two records. Jarosz is from the Austin Texas area and has appeared on Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC, and have garnered highly positive reviews in publications ranging from Mojo and Paste, to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The Brother Brothers open.

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.


Close to Spring: 3.9 – 3.15

March 9, 2016
A hint as to where I am

A hint as to where I am

This is the first of three weekly blog entries that will be somewhat less informative than usual, as I will be out of town for a couple of weeks, with sporadic access to the interweb. You may want to check with venues to ensure that a) I have the right information; and b) the bookings haven’t change. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 9

Dean Harrington @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 9:30 (No Cover) Superb guitar playing. Will probably have a trio.

Parisota Hot Club @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) A little acoustic jazz and swing, with some pop/Beatles thrown in for good measure.

Tuba Skinny @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30 door, 8:00 show ($16) Old-time Brass Band from New Orleans playing Depression-era blues, ragtime, and traditional jazz..

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm Bates, bass; Joe Strachan, piano; Matt Buckner, drums. A monthly meeting of this trio, preparing for a recording with new music.

Thursday, March 10

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) One of the masters of vocal singing in town, whether drawing from the 50s, 60s, or the Great American songbook.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Five-piece, including the young vibist Levi Swartzberg, led by bassist Adam Linz

Friday, March 11

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar)  Featured artist: The Steve Hobert Dean Magraw Duo, with Hobert on keys, and Magraw on guitar. At 7:00, the JazzINK Youth Jazz Showcase will feature the  MacPhail  Student Jazz Ensemble, directed by Greg Keel

U of M Morris Jazz Ensemble with the Chris Bates Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) I’m guessing the 18 piece band from Morris will do a set, and the Chris Bates, Bryan Nichols, and JT Bates take the stage.

Saturday, March 12

Tierney Sutton Master Class @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10:30AM – 1:30PM ($50 Adults, $25 Students) Sutton has a gorgeous way with vocals. She’ll be appearing with the JazzMN orchestra on Sunday.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening is the Byron Johnson-Blanchard Trio, with Byron Johnson-Blanchard on drums; Park Evans, guitar; and Josh Granowski on bass; at 8:30pm it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, March 13

Tierney Sutton with the JazzMN Orchestra @ Hopkins High School, Hopkins. 3pm ($18 – $33) Tierney has been nominated for a Grammy seven times as both a vocalist and arranger.

FuzzyMath @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) The quartet has a new CD, Pass the Guacamole. It’s another winner.

Dan Chouinard and Ann Reed @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($25 Minimum) Dan does his Birthday Club, performing songs by composers whose birthdays are this month, with folkie Ann Reed in the listening room at Crooners. Reservations always recommended.

Sunday, Monday, March 13, 14

Dee Dee Bridgewater & Irvin Mayfield @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. Vocalist Bridgewater’s latest album is an homage to New Orleans, recorded with trumpeter Mayfield’s New Orleans Jazz Orchestra.

Monday, March 14

Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) This dynamic young drummer was well received when he played with the Steve Kenny Solomon Parham Quintet at the Winter Jazz Fest.

Tuesday, March 15

Laura Caviani @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($20 Minimum) Caviani is a pianist whose compositions and arrangements are graceful and swinging.

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, March 9

Maurice Jacox & Bobby E on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Soulful vocals with very tasty supporting guitar from Bobby E.

New Sound Underground Tour Kick-off @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) Funk Jazz outfit gets ready to tour, with supporting artists Mike Daum, Nimo The Hooligan, and DJ Elsewhere. Plus, you can play the “jamstick at the interactive guitar booth.

Thursday, March 10

Argent Blue @ the JJ Hill Center, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Funk, Rock, Jazz, and Hmong classics from this 5-piece band.

Friday, March 11

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free beverage) Nemeth can sing soul, blues, and soul-bloues with verve and élan.

Del McCoury Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $55), 9pm ($25 – $45) Grammy winning bluegrass legend.

Worldwide Discoteque Dance Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Afro-Latin-Caribbean all-vinyl dance party

Soul Tight Committee @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($?) This largish horn band is celebrating St Patrick’s Day a bit early, by playing R&%B, funk, and other highly danceable tunes.

Saturday, March 12

Ky Ngo Band, Charanga Tropical, Ryan Daniel Band @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Drummer Ky Ngo is 9 years old, yet he’s already played the 7th Street Entry at 8, the Mall of America Rotunda at 4, and has backed South American, Latin, and Cuban musicians. He’ll be featured tonight with his own band, as well as with Charanga Tropical, the reggae/hip hop Ryan Daniel Band, Kevin Washington, and others.

R&B Cadets @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm Boy, I’m sorry I’m missing these guys. John Sieger, Paul Cebar, Robyn Pleur and friend used to fill dance floors throughout the Twin Cities. Nice to have them back after what, 20 years?

Willie Walker @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Twin Cities own soul legend, singing his heart out.

Sunday, March 13

Mary Dushane @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Spend a Sunday afternoon with this fine fiddler, who has been a vital part of the West Bank music scene since way before there was a West Bank Music Scene.

Katy Vernon @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 7pm ($10) The sweet folk pop of Ms Vernon will fill the Icehouse. Opening is Tim Houlihan

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) National finger picking champ, taking a busman’s vacation of sorts.

Monday, March 14

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Jump blues, Swing, and more from the saxman and his cohorts.

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.


Mardis Gras and More: 2.3 – 2.10

February 3, 2016

UnknownWe’re back to real winter weather, and both the Super Bowl and Mardis Gras are upon us, but neither of those occurrences need distract you from hearing excellent live music this weekend. In fact, Mardis Gras serves as an inspiration for a number of events around town. So let the Bon Ton Roulet, and rmember live music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 3

The Reverse of Sam and Dave Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) What an intriguing group name! One Wednesday each month, bassist Anthony Cox brings an interesting group to Jazz Central, and often involves the audience in discussions around the music. Tonight he’ll also be playing cello, and will be joined by bassist and saxophonist Mike Lewis, of Happy Apple, Andrew Bird, and numerous other jazz, pop, and roots groups. I have no idea what the reverse of the 60s soul duo just might be, and like you, I’ll have to attend to find out, but I”m sure it will be interesting.

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) JoAnn travels across town from her usual haunt at the Saint Paul Hotel, and adds drummer Nathan Norman to the mix for an evening of jazz standards and a few surprises, from the pens of Leonard Cohen, Dan Penn, and other composers not usually associated with jazz.

Thursday, February 4

Joey Babay & Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Babay is a vocalist who jumps and swings. Hobert is a pianist who can sensitively accompany all sorts of vocalists. This will be fun.

Hanson, Buckley, & Marich @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Every Thursday, the kind folks at the Kyber Pass serve up beer wine, and a few small plates to accompany some extraordinary improvisational jazz. Tonight they have three musicians who are very comfortable pushing boundaries: Nathan Hanson, sax; James Buckley, bass; and George Marich, drums.

Friday, February 5

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis 8pm ($10) Here’s some jazz that will stand up to any touring act that comes through town. Gravatt is the explosive drummer who has toured and recorded with Weather Report back in the day, and has regularly toured with McCoy Tyner. The members of  Source Code vary from time to time, but are always up to the challenge of Gravatt’s musical expressions. Here’s one version of the group.

Steve Hobert/Yohannes Tona Quartet @ Reverie (formerly Nicollet Cafe), Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Hobert, keys; Tona, bass; Kip Jones, violin; Arthur LA Buckner, drums.

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a chance to warm up for Mardis Gras, as this group of veteran players explore the traditional side of New Orleans music. You can expect plenty of clarinet, trombone, and trumpet playing. Don’t be surprised if a little second line parade winds it way through the club.

Saturday, February 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It seems to be trombone night at the Black Dog, as both groups feature the slide trombone as the leader’s choice of instrument.  Nick Syman Quartet @ 7pm: Syman, trombone;  Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; Pete James Johnson, drums. Followed at 8:30pm by the Dean Sorenson Sextet: Sorenson, trombone; David Milne, saxes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Leis Bass; Phil Hey, drums.  Though there are no videos of Sorenson’s group live, you can still listen to something from their recently released album, the Colors of Soul.

Monday. February 8

Irv Williams @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) The 90-something continues to have a wonderful tone on saxophone. Early on, he played behind folks like Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Eckstine, and Mary Lou Williams. After serving in the Navy band, he settled in the Twin Cities and turned down offers from Count Basie and Duke Ellington. You can catch him in duo settings during Friday happy hour at the Dakota, but this is a special chance to hear him with Billy Peterson, bass; Steve Blons, guitar; and Dave Graf on trombone. It will be sublime, as you can tell from this video, taken a year ago or so.

Monday, Tuesday, February 8, 9

Joe Lovano & John Scofield Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($30) Here’s a duo that will bring out all sorts of music lovers. Guitarist John Scofield has played with Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker, Charles Mingus, Billy Hancock, and Miles Davis, and more recently has gained fans among the jam band crowd by playing with Mediski, Martin & Wood, Bill Frisell, and Phil Lesh, of the Grateful Dead. He’s an amazing improviser with a distinctive sound. Grammy winning saxophonist Joe Lovano has played with SF Jazz, The Mel Lewis Orchestra, and Paul Motian, in addition to leading a number of groups, including Us5, the two drummer band. Check them out.

Dirty Dozen Brass Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($30 – $35) What better way to celebrate Fat Tuesday than with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They revolutionized the Brass Band concept some 35 years ago when they added bebop, pop, and even the Flinstones Theme to their repertoire. They’ve recorded with David Bowie, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, The Black Crowes, and more. Tickets are going fast, so be warned, and if you get in, you can party hearty.

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, February 3

Jeff Ray & The Stakes on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Jeff Ray is a talented songwriter who isn’t afraid to rework classic rock n’ roll tunes to fit his playing on resonator and acoustic guitars. He’s joined by harp master “Hurricane Harold” Tremblay, along with percussionist Mikkel Beckman on Djembe, Scruboard and foot stomps, and Nick Salisbury, of Sonny Knight & the Lakers, and Ashliegh Still, on bass. Here’s a track from their Valhalla, their recent album.

Thursday, February 4

Rockin Pinecones @ The Eagles Club, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get an early start on Mardis Gras celebrations and Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and friends serve up some Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop tunes for your dancing pleasure.

Gilded Palace Sinners @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($8) Throughout a career in the International Submarine Band, The Byrds, The Flying Burrito Brothers, duets with Emmylou Harris, and solo excursions, Gram Parsons kickstarted country rock and created an extraordinary body of work. This 8-piece group was formed in 2015 to perform his music. Member come from the Urban Hillbilly Quartet, the Platte Valley Boys, The Middle Spunk Creek Boys, and more.

Friday, February 5

Butanes @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Though the dance floor at Crooners isn’t particularly large, it’s bigger than the one at Shaw’s, where the award-winning Butanes have a weekly gig. Additionally, music starts early, so those of us of a certain age can kick up our heels to the Buantes’ Blues and still get home in time to get sufficient rest.

Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Sometimes you just want some basic blues and rock n’ roll. Pianist/guitarist Murphy delivers, and though his originals are actually far from basic, they deliver a punch that isn’t subtle, even if the harmonies are.  Here he is with a full band.

OboeBassFluteGuitar @ Lowertown Lofts, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This concert is” for fans of classical music in obscure spaces.”  A collaboration of the four performers of OboeBass! and Duo Ancora as OboeBassFluteGuitar! For this concert they will perform several pieces as a quartet, and mix and match their instrumental combinations in a variety of genres from baroque to tango to jazz. Carrie Vecchione, oboe, and Rolf Erdahl, double bass created and perform in OboeBass!, the world’s only professional oboe/bass duo. Catherine Ramirez is flute professor at St. Olaf College and internationally known soloist and teacher of flute. A native of East Berlin, guitarist and Lowertown Classics founder Eva Benekeperforms, records, and teaches around the world in addition to serving on the guitar faculty at McNally Smith College of Music in St. Paul.

Friday, Saturday, February 5, 6

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $50) Motown Soul from the singer of Heat Wave, Nowhere to Run, Come and Get These Memories, and Dancing in the Street. Martha & The Vandellas were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame back in 1995, and have two songs in the Grammy Hall of Fame. Nowadays the Vandellas are Martha’s sisters. Together, they’ll take you back to the pinnacle of 60s Motown, whether you were around then or not.

Saturday, February 6

Wine, Women & Song @ The Parkway Theater, 4814 Chicago Avenue South, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Three outstanding musicians gather for an evening of pop, country, and rock. Rocker Tina Schlieske will explore songs she recorded with the B-sides from her latest work, Barricade. That band formed out of the edgy new wave rock scene that was Minneapolis in the late ’80’s. Katy Vernon will perform her pop/rock/country songs from her newest, critically acclaimed album, Present, named Album of the Year by E’Toile Magazine, and a #6 album of the year by the Pioneer Press. Sarah Morris has released two albums, and has been praised for her intimate songwriting and Norah Jones-like approach to singing alt-country. Here’s a video from each of them.

Buddy Holly Tribute @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm ($5) This is a benefit for Doctors Without Borders, but also celebrates the “Day the Music Died,” when Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and The Big Bopper died in a plane crash near Clear Lake Iowa. Performers include: Nikki & the Ruemates, Larry Havluck, Roady Tate, Don & Leo, Steve West and the Northern Stars.

Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Grimm’s Sunday night gig at The Station in White Bear Lake are legendary for their fun factor. Expect the same at Crooners, with the addition of talented family and friends.

Sunday, February 7

Phil Heywood @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10am – 2pm (No Cover) You can catch Heywood, his acoustic guitar, and his pleasant baritone while having brunch and still have plenty of time to prepare for the Super Bowl later today. He’ll be debuting his 12 string for added interest. Well worth the time for aspiring guitarists who want to see a champion of finger picking at work.

Tuesday, February 9

Mardis Gras Party with Patty & The Buttons @ Dayblock Brewing, 1105 Washington Avenue South, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Patty’s button accordion playing is just the thing for Cajun tunes, though this group can swing out with some jump blues and jazz as well. It’s a masquerade party, with featured cocktails,  and Dayblock’s usual selection of food, not to forget their IPAs, Stouts, and Ales.

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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