Enjoy Live Music! 2.21-2.27

February 21, 2018

My jazz picks for this week all feature resident artists, which is a testament to the breadth and depth of our jazz scene. We have a few visiting artists in blues, roots, and other, as well as a surfeit of resident artists bringing original arrangements and songs for our pleasure. The weather is beginning to let up a bit, so get out and let the music lift your spirit.



Wednesday, Feb 21

Lila Ammons & Tom West @ Sociable Cider Works, 1500 Fillmore St, NE, Minneapolis. 6:30-7:30pm (No Cover) Enjoy some craft beers and listen to some bluesy jazz (or jazzy blues) from Ms Ammons and pianist Tom West.

Peter Schimke & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Pianist Schimke brings together some veterans and an up and coming trumpeter: Pete Whitman, sax; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Debbie Duncan Celebrates Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Twin Cities “First Lady of Song” celebrates the birthday of Nina Simone, the singer-pianist-songwriter who tackled folk, blues, jazz, Ellington, and Broadway tunes, in addition to writing a number of fiery songs of freedom.

Thursday, Feb 22

Beth and Adi Yeshaya @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This week vocalist Beth Yeshaya will be joined with her husband Adi for Thursday Vocal Night. Adi Yeshaya is a composer, arranger & pianist,whose credentials include creative collaborations with some of the world’s top artists, including three years as string arranger for Prince. Here’s an example of Beth’s singing. Adi on piano.

Friday, Feb 23

Cody Steinmann Sightless Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Guitarist Cody Steinmann recently moved here from Milwaukee, and he’s wasted no time putting a group together, with: Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Magraw, guitar; and Gravatt, drums; are two of the finest musicians around. They have a natural communication, which only adds to the musical magic. Her’s an example of their playing, from their album, Fire on the Nile.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 23, 24

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm 10, $15) With winning songs from the Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composer/percussionist Davu Seru, Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert celebrates the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. The program includes the world premiere of Seru’s new work Dead King Mother, which tells the story of a near-forgotten event in North Minneapolis and United States civil rights history that has been with Seru since early childhood. You may recall that I noted a read-through of the work a few weeks back.

Saturday, Feb 24

MN Hard Bop Collective’s Hope Sextet @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer/leader Jesse Simon once again brings a group of like-minded players together, this time to perform the music of pianist Elmo Hope. Featuring: Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Clay Puhfal, sax; Jeff Rinear, trombone; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. Her’s a slightly different version of the group.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set is by Ahmed & the Creators: Ahmed AbdulKarim, Trumpet; Doug Little, Saxophones;  Batume, Drums; Matt McIntyre, Bass. Headlining tonight at 8:30 is Twilight Sentinel: Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophones; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Sunday, Feb 25

Andrew Walesch Big Band; Sinatra! @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch has a good thing going with this big band and their Sinatra show. Be forewarned. They perform only a few times a year, guaranteeing lines out the door to see them.

Tuesday, Feb 27

Bryan Nichols’ Two Trios @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a unique evening, as tonight’s show will feature an acoustic piano, all the better to highlight pianist Nichols’ modern approach to playing. Nichols will be part of two trios: The James Buckley Trio with Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums, and The Bryan Nichols Trio with Chris and JT Bates on bass and drums.

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, Feb 21

Big Trees on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Big Trees is: Frank Boyle, Bill Smith, Doug Lohman, & Pat Lesney. They’ll be playing original songs and some of their favorites, including blues, jazz, country, western. They say their music is “whatever you want to call it.”

Thursday, Feb 22

Cate Fierro’s Tribute  To Sade @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Fierro has long been known as a powerful singer, thanks to her membership in a number of Mick Sterling’s horn-driven bands, leading her own band, and in others. Tonight she’ll be working with the sensual music of Sade.

SPCO @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Brooklyn-based composer Ljova goes back to his Klezmer roots as the opener to this chamber music performance at Icehouse. The program includes works by Zhurbin, Kodaly (Kodaly’s Serenade captures the folk music of Ljova’s native Hungary), and Beethoven.

Friday, Feb 23

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) This early evening gig is a bit different than usual, in that there is an opening act – Slim Willie & the Ride. Additionally, Harpmeister Barry and the Ace Tones will have a Special Guest: our very own Soul Man, Willie Walker.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($32 – $58) This nine person group from South Africa has been wowing audiences all over the world ever since Paul Simon used them on his Graceland album. Though some of the older members have retired since then, new, young members bring fresh energy to the group. The deep sonorities of their harmonies are simply thrilling.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minnepolis. 9pm ($15) Guitarist Allison has certainly grown into his own man since the passing of his dad 20 years ago. Let It Go, his latest album, was released on Feb 2, and has already reached #2 on Billboard’s Blues chart. Reviews credit his songwriting as well as his playing, which looks to the future while acknowledging the past. His very tight band certainly helps.

Saturday, Feb 24

Joyann Parker: The Music of Patsy Cline @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12, $20) Parker is a multi-talented performer, playing guitar, piano, and writing and singing her own songs, though she’s also capable of great interpretations of other’s songs. Tonight in the intimate Dunsmore Room, she leaves the blues and R&B that she’s noted for and heads in a slightly different, but often emotionally similar music – the classic country of Patsy Cline.

Roux & Rue/Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Roux & Rue – No Cover), 9pm (Walker – $12) Catch Nikki Roux & Rich Rue (of Nikki & the Rue-Mates) at 6:30, and stick around for an original soul singer, Willie Walker, whose most recent album, After A While, with The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, was nominated for 5 Blues Awards, and received a four-star review in Downbeat, which was followed a month later in the same magazine with a laudatory story.

Sunday, February 25

Harrison’s Jukebox @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm Doors (Free) Music written and inspired by George Harrison and his jukebox featuring The Basement Band, Kyx, and Curtiss A, with special guests.

Anders Osbourne Acoustic @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35, $40), 8pm ($25, $30,$35) Attention guitar lovers. You’ll want to see New Orleans guitarist Osborne, who has been honored numerous times by various and sundry periodicals and organizations in that music-savvy town. Tonight the electric bluesman is going acoustic. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said, “Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes.”

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) This all-cello quartet was begun last year, to play original arrangements of popular tunes. Members are: Rachelle Smith, Amanda Burgdorf, Catherine Canon, andJulia Floberg.

Also: Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free)

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm

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.

To Dance is to Live! Music: 2.5 – 2.11

February 5, 2014
To live is to dance!

To live is to dance!

Quite the mix of music this week, with bagpipes, slack key guitar, and South African acapella artists coming to town, as well as some outstanding jazz from resident artists, and at least three occasions to polish up your dancing shoes. Stay warm and let the music lift your spirit.


Wednesday, February 5
Joel Shapira Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (tip Jar) A quartet of Twin Cities Talent with a capital T. Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Gypsy Mania @ Barbette, Minnbeapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Some late night gypsy jazz from Glen Helgesen and Reynold Philipsek on guitars; Matt Senjem, bass; and Gary Shulte, violin. Just the right music for the French-inspired victuals at Barbette.

Young and old swing out at the Caves

Young and old swing out at the Caves

Thursday, February 6
Moonlight Serenaders @ The Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) Join the young folk in swing dancing to the sounds of a big band, featuring the vocals of Lee Engele.

 The Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Trumpeter Geoff Senn and percussionist Mac Santiago have gathered 18 of the area’s top musicians to form this new band. This is an open rehearsal and any donations will be used to get more music for the band. It will be a unique experience.

Friday, February 7

Winter Jazz Break @ the Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is presenting a special night of music. In addition to JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske in the hotel’s lobby bar, pianist John Weber will be playing in the promenade ballroom. It’s $5 to see John, and, if you wish, you can also donate to the Festival. As usual, the cost of seeing JoAnn and Jeff is dependent on what you order from the bar.

The Bridge @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm ($10 suggested donation) With the closing of the AQ folks are trying to fill the gap with a Friday night series (The Bridge) featuring many of the musicians that played the AQ. Each week will feature a different cast of musicians. Tonight it’s Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Cory Healey on drums. They’ll be followed at 8pm by the Southside Combo ($5 suggested) being presented as part of the Jazz Police Young Artist Series.
Photo by Andrfea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Courageous Endeavors @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Bassist Brian Courage and his group bring some young jazz to the late night scene at the Dakota. Besides Brian, the group includes Miguel Hurtado, drums; Joe Strachan, piano; and Nelson Devereaux on sax.

Friday, Saturday, February 7, 8
Bryan Nichols & James Buckley @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 9:30pm (No Cover) There’s no cover, but you be warned that you may need dinner reservations if you want to be close enough to appreciate the artistry of Nichols on piano and Buckley on bass.

Sunday, February 9
Fuzzy Math @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 4-6pm (Tip Jar) Spend a Sunday afternoon listening to original jazz from this quartet of Mark Venderhyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harold Bondaris, drums.

Monday, February 10
Regional Jazz Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Anthony Cox, bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates on drums  – three internationally known artists playing modern jazz. Here’s Cox playing with a couple of other outstanding resident musicians.

Paul Renz Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Paul is an exquisite guitarist who has recorded a half dozen or so well-recieved CDs. He regularly tours the East Coast, teaches as MacPhail, and is head of jazz studies at the West Bank School of Music.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar.  For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 5
George Kahumoku Jr. & Leward Kaapana @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) Ahhh, just what is needed for the dead of winter – a concert of Hawaiian slack key guitar and ukelel music, straight from the Islands. Get out those flowered shirts and dream.

Thursday, February 6
Paul Cebar @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Paul is celebrating the release of Fine Rude Thing, his new release that showcases his ability to mix R&$B, Caribbean, and New Orleans rhythms into an intoxicating blend of danceable music. His fans include folks like Nick Lowe, Bonnie Raitt, Joe Ely, and Los Lobos, not to mention the crowds that come out every time he’s in town. Here he is performing a song from the new CD.

Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 9pm – 11pm (No Cover) Javier and the Sons play the blues, featuring the haunting vocals and guitar of Javier Matos. There’s a bit of jump and swing to their music, though Washington Square lacks a dance floor. Still, there’s a nice selection of beers and some decent food. Helping things out will be Hurricane Harold on harp.

Friday, February 7
Jim Ruiz Set w/Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm ($7) Ruiz is a singer/songwriter with a voice that recalls a mellow Ray Davies of the Kinks. His songs tend to be mellow as well, in a jazzy loungy, folk-rock kind of way, with interesting lyrics. Bethany Larson has been called one of the Twin Cities Best Kept Secrets. Her country-ish songs of longing and heartbreak have garnered rave reviews and many fans. You may want to get a reservation, since the Aster is somewhat tiny.

Saturday, February 8

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:45pm ($10) Another opportunity to wear out the leather on your dancing shoes. Davina is a powerful singer and pianist, and together with her crack band, plays rompin’ stompin’ music. She and the boys are just back from Finland. If you’ve never heard this band, check out this video.

Sunday, February 9

Who Nu w/Dorothy Doring, Dee Miller, & Donald Thomas @ McCarron’s Pub & Grill, 1986 Rice Street, Saint Paul. 3pm – 7pm. I have to admit I’m not familiar with Who Nu, but judging by the caliber of the guest vocalists, I’ll bet it’s a funky R&B band. Dorothy Doring is equally at home in blues and jazz. Donald Thomas is a jazz singer/drummer with an R&B bent, and Dee Miller can belt the blues with the best of them, though I suspect she can also handle more sophisticated fare.  Sounds like a good way to while away a winter afternoon.

Carlos Núñez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) And now for something completely different – Gallician bagpipes. Núńez hails from Gallicia, in the Northern area of Spain, where they’ve been playing pipes for over a thousand years. He’s recorded and toured with the Chieftans and is very popular throughout Europe and Latin America.

LadySmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23) The deep sonorous voices of this all-male a cappella group from South Africa resonates with audiences throughout the world. Joseph Shambala started the group after having a dream one night, and worked to get just the right combination of voices. Hard to believe they’ll be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. Watch them perform their magic.

Monday, February 10
Pete Hennig and his Blue Grass Bandits @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8-10pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Pete Hennig is versatile: he’s in the Atlantis Quartet, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, and numerous other bands. He is also a banjo player and has put together a group to release his inner hillbilly: Shane Akers – dobro; Blair Krivanek, guitar & mandolin; and Neil Powell, upright bass.

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

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