Twin Cities Music: 4.25-5.1

April 25, 2018

Nowadays the sun isn’t going down until after 8pm, and we’re all enjoying pleasant weather. While it’s certainly fun to enjoy the sun, much pleasure can be had from early evening shows as well, and we have plenty of them. They’re a boon for those of us who aren’t 35, unencumbered and don’t have to be at work til noon. We can choose from any number of early jazz, blues, and roots shows this week. Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, April 25

Leigh Kammen Legacy Project Presents: Larry McDonough Quartet and Local Damaging Winds @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (Donation) The rarely seen Locally Damaging Winds will be playing at this fundraiser for there Leigh Kammen Legacy Project. Locally Damaging Winds includes: Peter Enblom, Dave Graf, Brad Bellows, and Wade Clark, with the Larry McDonough Trio rhythm section. Pianist McDonough and his Quartet will open, playing the music of Bill Evans.

Christian Sands Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Pianist Sands is a rising star in jazz, having been mentored by Billy Taylor, served in Christian McBride’s trio for a number of years, and been nominated for five Grammys. His latest release, Reach, has been well received.

Thursday, April 26

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Whether she’s scatting be-bop lines or re-imagining rock n’ roll and jazz standards, vocalist Mountain exhibits sheer musicality. She’ll be accompanied by guitarist Martin, with whom she’s performed a number of times. The addition of Jim Chenoweth on bass adds to both music and fun factor.

Music Without Borders @ Calvary Lutheran Church, 3901 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Cash Donation at Door) Here’s an excellent example of how music transcends boundaries and generations. Students from the Urban Arts Academy, playing hand-made drums, will perform with Douglas R. Ewart, didgeroo, flutes; Bob Fantuzzo, Native American style flutes; Mankwe Ndosi, vocals; Davu Seru, percussion; and Jacqueline Ultan, cello.

Friday, April 27

No Room for Squares @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Another band of cross-generational musicians: Bill Steiger, drums; Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; andDale Alexander, piano.=

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) The talented trio of Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson,and Tom Lieberman first gained fans back in the late 70s with swingin’ songs from the Depression and WWII. After separating to each create a successful career, they reunited a few years back and have added new songs to their repertoire without losing their gorgeous three-part harmonies and sense of swing.

Saturday, April 28

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Starting at 7pm, it’s Chronic Ice Cream, which includes: Macalester Wilms, tenor; Matthew E. Tice, alto; Cody Leduc, trombone; Lee ran, saxes; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes & keys; Drew Stinson, bass; and Bobby T Rossen, drums. The Graydon Peterson Quartet headlines @8:30pm: Peterson, bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Monday, April 30

Silverback Trio & OKnice @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul.9:30pm (Free) Ok, I’m conflicted about where to place this notice, since the show combines a hip-hop rapper and a jazz trio. The Silverback Trio plays two sets beginning about 9:30. They play original songs, using atmospheric electronics and high-energy melodies to create jazz for the 21st Century. Its members are: David Hirsch, electronics and sax; Brent Wallace, bass; and Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. OKnice hits the stage about 11:15. He is described as performing rap that both die-hard fans and casual listeners can enjoy.

Jax Ravel’s Benefit & Birthday @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Drummer/percussionist Jax Ravel was one of the McNally Smith teachers left high and dry (along with students), when the school closed just before Christmas. Since it’s his birthday, musician friends are coming together to raise funds for him by playing tonight. They include the Graydon Peterson Quartet; the Yohannes Tona Band; the Steven Hobert Group, and Ravel’s own Jax Ravel Gang.

Eliane Elias @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $45), 9pm ($20, $24, $35) The Brazilian-born, multi Grammy-winning pianist is touring behind her just-released album, Music from Man of La Mancha, which was actually recorded some years ago and co-produced by Elias and the late Mitch Leigh, who composed the music for both stage and screen. Leigh commissioned the recording to specifically have Elias create an instrumental Latin Jazz album of his music. Here’s Elias singing and playing a Brazilian classic.

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, April 25

Bobcats on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Bobcats are Bobby E, a guitarist that should be known to more; Kathy Mosher, a vocalist that Bobby regularly accompanies; along with Tom Craven, bass; and Eron Woods, drums.

Issam Rafea and Gao Hong Album Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Rafea is a Syrian Oud Master who has been seen around town playing with a variety of partners, including pianist Steven Hobert. Gao Hong is a Chinese Pipa Master. They only play improvisations and are celebrating the release of Life As Is: The Blending of Ancient Souls fromSyria and China, on Innova Records. Both Issam’s instrument, the Arabic lute called the oud, and Gao Hong’s instrument, the Chinese four-stringed lute called the pipa, originated from the same ancient instrument – the Persian barbat.

Dusty Heart Vinyl Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Here’s a case where the whole is greater than the  sum of its parts. Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are two poetic singer/songwriters who are recognized for their own work , but discovered that together, they create a whole new, harmony-laden sound.  They’ll be accompanied by the ace musicians Jeremy Ylvisaker, guitar; Michael Lewis, bass & sax; and JT Bates, drums.

Thursday, April 26

Nick Moss Band Feat. Dennis Gruenling @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance $15 Door, $18 Reserved) Blues guitarist Nick Moss is riding high with his recent Alligator release, The High Cost of Low Living sitting at #1 on the Living Blues chart and #3 on Billboard. He’ll have superb harmonica player Dennis Gruenling along for this gig, making it a must-see for blues fans. Pianist Scottie “Bones” Miller opens.

Cadillac Kolstad @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Piano pounder Cadillac Kolstad’s rockabilly/R&B is very popular in Germany, where he seems to tour a couple of times a year. Hear him in the enlarged lounge at Crooner’s.

Phil Heywood @ Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery, Smith Ave, Saint Paul. 7:30-9:30pm (Tip Jar?) Fingerpicking champ & vocalist Phil Heywood makes his debut at this new brewery in one of the oldest buildings in Saint Paul. The brewery specializes in German-style beers and serves a variety of sausages and sides.

Also: Vicky Emerson Band with Mother Banjo @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis.8pm

Friday, April 27

Joe & Vicky Price, Ray & Hurricane @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a duo of blues duos tonight as Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold (guitar/vocals & harp, respectively) share the stage with Joe & Vicky Price, whose take on the blues is both traditional and unique. Just to make things even more interesting, there will be wood-fired pizza, craft beer, and a huge selection of craft whiskey.

Missy Andersen Duo @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm- 11:30pm (Tip Jar) Any blues fan that checks out the videos at the Black Dog entry for this duo will try to see them. Missy Andersen’s gospel-tinged vocals are complemented by husband Heine Andersen’s guitar work in which he plays lead, rhythm, and bass lines simultaneously.

Also: Nikki & The Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:45pm

Saturday, April 29

Charlie Parr @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 3pm-5pm (Tip Jar) No matter the weather, the 331 will be filled with fans of Parr, whose original folk-blues and spirituals reflect both the music of the Delta and his life.

Also: Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat)

Saturday, Sunday, April 28, 29

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60 Sat, $35, $45, $55 Sun) Fischer was a featured performer in 20 Feet from Stardom, the documentary about background singers. She’s an absolute pro, having spent over 20 years touring with the Stones. She also toured with Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Sting, and Nine Inch nails. She uses her experience, and her considerable pipes to recast well-known pop/rock songs and make them her own. Be forewarned – her shows often sell out.

Sunday, April 29

Honky-Tonk Jump @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) Western Swing and Texas Dance Hall music from this “Daddy Squeeze” aggregation, with: Dan Newton, accordion & vocals; Tom Schaefer, fiddle; Dan Lowinger, guitar; Vaughn Asseltine, bass; and Deal Gallagher, drums.

Tuesday, May 1

KFAI 40th Anniversary Live Broadcast at Walker Church and Concert @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm at the H&L (Donation) Can it really be 40 years since the Ten-Watt Big Shot (as it was sometimes called) went on the air? Now at 900 Watts (90.3 & 106.7FM), the station returns to its first home, Walker Methodist Church, for a day-long live broadcast before heading over to the Hook & Ladder, where Clockwerks Brewing will release KFAIBock and live music will commence from The Prizefighters, Trash Street,. Beebe Gallini, Theo, and thyself. I’ll be stopping by the Walker between 10AM and noon to chat with Jackson Buck about the station and spin some music from Streetlight Serenade and Shakeup Southside.

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.


Many Genres, Much Music: 11.2 – 11.8

November 2, 2016

unknown-1Lots of good music this week, from resident jazz artists doing special shows, to classical music being performed in rock clubs, to blues, African Soukous with a Minnesota twist, and a multimedia concert of music and dance from Central and South America. Don’t forget to vote, and remember: Music Lifts the Spirit.



Wednesday, November 2

An Evening with Wayne Anthony @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Anthony is a Classic Crooner who nevertheless has performed a variety of styles in collaboration with many Twin Cities artists, including Patty Peterson, Mick Sterling, Gwen Mathews, Aimee & Boyd Lee, and Prudence Johnson.  He’ll be singing from the Great American Songbook, with musical help from Adi Yeshaya, piano; Mark Weisberg, bass; and Bobby Vandell, drums.

Anthony Cox Continuum Series Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 – 10:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Cox always presents interesting, and often experimental groups. Tonight it’s the experimental George Marich Trio.

Thursday, November 3

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Whether she’s singing Bebop, Fats Waller, or shining a light on a 50s R&B classic, Mountain always delivers the goods.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band  Cory Healey, drums; Erik Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet.

Twin Cities Seven @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Saxophonist Doug Haining leads this always swinging “little big band” through music ala Count Basie’s Kansas City Seven and some of the smaller Ellington groups. Vocals by the always pleasing Maryann Sullivan.

Mercy Button @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) There are quite a few musicians in the area that stretch boundaries and play “outside.” Case in point is this group, featuring: Nathan Hanson, sax; Pat O’Keefe, Woodwinds; Bret Warthchow, electronics, composition, and sound design; Geoff West Senn, trumpet; Nick Zelinski, drums.

Friday, November 4

The Arkanauts @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) Li Anni Maravigliosi: the Musical! is a depiction of the travels of Marco Polo with the support of The Arkanauts:  Bill Gamble, Adam Linz, Lizz Windnagel and Cierra Hill; who will present songs and instrumental pieces by Bill Gamble, as well as some relevant traveling and sailor music.

Dan Newton/Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 6:30pm (Newton, No Cover); 9pm Aces ($10) The Southside Aces seem to be on regular rotation at Vieux Carre, which makes since, given that they play New Orleans Brass Band music. Tonight they’re preceded by Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton on the stomach Steinway during dinner hour.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, November 4,5,6 

What Judy Means to Jazz @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm (Friday, Saturday), 1pm (Sunday) $22) Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson present a show that explores Judy Garland’s performances of the great jazz standards–many written for her–and her relationship with the composers and musicians involved in her career.

Saturday, November 5

Boom Room Jazz @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) For this monthly informal gig, Brad Bellows calls on his rolodex full of musician friends and has four or five come by and riff on various jazz standards. It’s a blowing night, where everybody gets to solo, and we get to see musical communication in action.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set by Common Space: Erick Graham, organ/keys; Dylan Nelson, guitar; Thomas Strommen, tenor; Alex Burgess, drums. Headlining at 8:30pm is the Ted Olsen Group, with Javier Santiago, piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums; Aaron Hedenstrom saxes; and Ted Olsen, bass.

Sunday, November 6

Jazz Brunch feat: James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 11am (No Cover) The folks booking Saint Paul’s Turf Club have done a good job of packing the place lately, and are trying new things. Case in point: the SPCO will play on Thursday, November 3 (see below), and the monthly jazz brunches, with bassist James Buckley bringing in a couple of his cohorts to entertain while customers chow down on egg benedict, french toast, and other brunch time treats.

Monday, November 7

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Once a month, this big band fills up the stage in the big room at Crooners and blasts out your favorites, bringing Arne Fogel up to sing a few songs each set.

Hannah Epperson, JelloSlave, & Omhouse @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) JT’s Jazz Implosion has a triple bill tonight. Hannah Epperson uses violin, loop pedal and voice, to arrange musical landscapes. JelloSlave is Michelle Kinney and Jaquline Ultan on cellos, with Gary Waryan on tables, and Greg Schutte on trap set. They are fierce improvisers and arrangers, with a repertoire that fuses jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern, and Indian rhythms to both original compositions and surprising pop songs. Toronto’s Omhouse plays melodramatic progressive art-rock.

Tuesday, November 8

Chris Olson Project @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Chris Olson is well-respected around town and a player that young guns admire for his technique, imagination, and clarity of tone. Tonight he brings Peter Vircks, sax; and Reid Kennedy, drums along to explore originals and jazz standards. Here is Chris is a different setting.

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, November 2

Patty & the Buttons on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Ever wonder what a dance hall band of the 20s and 30s may have sounded like? Patty and the Buttons fill the bill with original music and a broad range of influences, including traditional New Orleans Jazz, Western Swing, Gypsy Melodies, Ragtime, and more.  Guitarist/singer Javier Matos continues the fun at 9pm

Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55) 9pm ($32, $42) Jones was only a teenager when he began hanging out at Stax Records and recorded Green Onions with the MGs, essentially serving as the house band during the subsequent explosion of soul music in the 60s. He’s a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and The American Musicians Hall of Fame, and has received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Whether you’re a baby boomer who grew up with his music, or a millennial who appreciates soul music, you will be thrilled by seeing him.

Thursday, November 3

Belka String Quartet @ The Landmark Center, Courtroom 317, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Beatrice Hsieh, violin; Charles Gleason, violin; Matthew Geise, viola; Daniel Blumhard, cello are all students at the Cleveland Institute of Music. This program, which is hosted by the Schubert Club, will feature Bartok’s String Quartet No. 3, and Ravel’s String Quartet. If you can’t make it to this performance, they’ll be at the Icehouse tomorrow (see below).

SPCO @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra likes to play in venues that are not concert halls, and they’ve chosen a doozy this time with the rock and Americana-centric Turf Club. It’s a seated show, and your admission will also get you a drink to enjoy while you listen to Mendelssohn’s String Octet.

Big Head Blues Club: Willie Dixon Tribute @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm   ($40 Advance, $45 Door) Big Head Todd and the Monsters, the Colorado band that had a platinum album in 1993 with Sister Sweetly, have long been fans of the blues. They even recorded a song with John Lee Hooker for their 1997 album Beautiful World. In 2011 they formed the Big Head Blues Club to record 100 Years of Robert Johnson, with help from BB King, Charlie Musselwhite, Hubert Sumlin, and other blues luminaries. For this show, a celebration of the music of Willie Dixon, they’re being helped out by Mud Morganfield, eldest son of Muddy Waters, Ronnie Baker Brooks, son of Lonnie Brooks, and Billy Branch, three time Grammy nominated harpist who played in Willie Dixon’s Chicago All-Star band.

Friday, November 4

Trailer Trash @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) The Blues Saloon on Rice Street will reverberate with twangy guitars and honky-tonk music, which isn’t that far removed from the blues. Watch out for all the folks on the dance floor.

The Belka String Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Well, for two nights in a row we have chamber music in rock clubs. Tonight Madeline Island Chamber Music presents the young Belka String Quartet. See Thursday’s entry.

Rich Mattson & the Northstars @ The Hook and Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 Advance, $12 Door) It’s a Freewheelin’ First Friday as Jackson Buck presents Rich Mattson, a veteran of the Americana/rock n’ roll bands The Glenrustles, Ol’ Yeller, and the Tisdales. In the year or two since forming the Northstars, Mattson and his group have garnered fans from throughout the area. They will be celebrating the release of Starmaps, and have invited classic roots rockers Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders to open.

Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11:45pm (Tip Jar) This four-piece blues band uses a variety of instruments – guitars, slide, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, bass, and drums – to create blues, roots and R&B. They had their first gig at the Black Dog about 5 or 6 years ago, and they’ve been on an upward path ever since, recording four well-received CDs in the process, and making it to the semi-finals at the 2015 International Blues Challenge.  Guitarist Jay LeClair is moving to Boston, so this will be the last gig of this configuration of the group.

Saturday, November 5

Jefferson: An American in Paris @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25, $15 Seniors and youth 6 – 18) This unique concert explores the musical tastes of our third President, Thomas Jefferson, and will feature actor Tyson Forbes as Jefferson, talking about his favorite composers and his impressions of the music he heard while in Paris. You’ll hear Arcangelo Corelli’s Lo Follia, perform on violin and harpsichord; Bach’s Sonata #2, Op. 5 on harpsichord; selected arias of Piccini and Gretry; and Haydn’s Symphony #85.

Wilkinson James CD Release, w/Jim Walsh @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Singer-songwriters Liz Wilkinson and Al Scheiber blend honky-tonkish vocals with classic sounding original songs to create what might be described as alt-country, alt-folk, though the addition of saxophone on some tracks adds a different, inviting vibe. They are celebrating the release of their second album Abandon, on House of Mercy Records. Author, columnist and former City Pages writer Jim Walsh, of The Mad Ripple Hootenanny will open, giving listeners a preview of his upcoming new CD.

The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The dance floor at Bunkers will be filled as this ten-piece horn band  rings in the funk n’ soul that is sure to get your hips moving.

Festival de Las Calaveras @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door, children 3-12, $8, under 3 – free) Okay, I’m not conversant enough with Latin Culture to know everything going on at the Cedar tonight, but it sure sounds like eye-opening multi-media fun. There will be a concert featuring Maria Isa and music from her new project Valley of the Dolls; as well as tenor Alejandro Magallon and bass-baritone Rodolfo Nieto singing melodies of the Mexican Revolution (both are classically trained singers and Minnesota Opera performers); Bomba Umoya will perform traditional Puerto Rican rhythms; the Ecuadorian-Mexican ballad rockers Vhaltta will play; and the psychedelic cumbia band Guayaba, led by Chavez, will end the evening with a dance party. Also on the schedule: the dance group Mexica Yoloti, the spoken word collective Palabristas Latin@ Wordslingers, soundscape artist DJ Dan Cuco, and multimedia animation and visual art by local Latinx artists. And if you’re still fired up, there’s an afterparty @ The Nomad

Saturday, Sunday, November 5,6

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40 – $65 Saturday, $35 – $65 Sunday) In 1991 Fischer had a Grammy Winning R&B hit with How Can I Ease the Pain. Both before and after that she served as a background singer for folks like Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, Nine-Inch Nails, and for almost two decades, the Rolling Stones, creating the spine-tingling backup vocals during Gimme Shelter. It took 2013’s Oscar winning music documentary Twenty Feet from Stardom, to bring her front and center stage, where her incredibly flexible voice and musical imagination can soar in a blend of soul, jazz, gospel, and rock. Reviewers have used words like mesmerizing, transcendental, and wondrous to describe her show. They’re not only correct, they may be understating the case.

Sunday,November 6

Siama’s Afrobilly  @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7:30pmpm (Tip Jar) Siama Matuzungidi is a Congolese guitarist and singer who was instrumental in the popularization of soukous music, a lilting and expressive dance music. Now he lives in the Twin Cities and has recently released a well-received album entitled “Rives: From the Congo to the Mississippi.” He’ll be joined by percussionists Dallas Johnson and Mikkel Beckmen.

Gilded Palace Sinners @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance) A 70th birth anniversary celebration of the music of Graham Parsons, including selections from the International Submarine Band, the Byrds, circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo; The Flying Burrito Brothers, and duets with Emmylou Harris. The all-star band includes members of the Platte Valley Boys, The Urban Hillbilly Quartet, Wilkinson James, Switched at Birth, and Miss Becky.

Monday, Tuesday, November 7,8

Suzanne Vega with Teddy Thompson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) Neo-folkie Vega has been credited with starting the folk revival of the 80s after growing up in the Upper West Side of New York. After being turned down twice by A&M records, she was signed after submitting a third demo and her debut album went platinum in the UK. Her next album, Solitude Standing, was both a critical and commercial success, yielding two iconic songs, Tom’s Diner and LukaTeddy Thompson is a singer/songwriter from England who has received acclaim from the New York Times. He’s the son of Linda and Richard Thompson and counts early rockers, such as Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, and the Everly Brothers among his influences.  Here’s what Vega sounds like these days.

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

Goosebump Music: 3.2 – 3.8

March 2, 2016
Who can resist a baby enjoying music?

Who can resist a baby enjoying music?

It’s promising to be another great week of music here in the Twin Cites. In fact, a number of both resident and visiting artists are likely to give you goosebumps, and if they don’t to that, they’ll get you on the dance floor. You may have a hard time deciding who to see, and that, my friends, is a good problem to have. Music lifts your spirits, just ask the baby at right.


Wednesday, March 2

The McNally Smith X-Tet and The Pete Whitman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10)  Here we have two groups for the price of one, both of which are worth seeing. Saxman Pete Whitman directs the McNally Smith X-Tet, a group of students, including a couple of grad students and advanced seniors who are already playing professionally around town. The Pete Whitman Quarte includes Chris Olson, guitar; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger on drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, March 2,3

Brian Blade Fellowship @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($22) Drummer/composer Blade is a multi-talented performer who has drummed for folks like  Wayne Shorter, Seal, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Bill Frisell. He and bandmate John Cowherd on piano studied and played with many New Orleans greats, including Ellis Marsalis, John Vidacovich, Germaine Bazzle, Alvin “Red” Tyler, and Tony Dagradi, among others. They, along with bassist Chris Thomson have played together for over 20 years, while fellow bandmates Myron Walden and Melvin Butler have played with the Fellowship since 2000. This is a tight band, playing as a bunch of friends, and we’re lucky to be able to enjoy a small part of their world for an evening.

Thursday, March 3

Love Is Here to Stay: Songwriting Teams of the Great American Songbook @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10)  Vocalists Paula Lammers and Reeves Cary perform songs by composers and lyricists such as Rogers & Hart, the Gershwin Brothers, Arlen and Mercer, Cahn & Van Heusen and more.

Thursday, Friday, March 3,4

Katia Cardenas and Javi Santiago @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club Happy Hour, Fridley. 4:30pm – 6:30pm. (No Cover) Their dads met in Junior High School in Los Angeles and later ended up on the road together. Pianist Javi grew up in town, left for school and NYC, and returned to become a respected performer. Vocalist Cardenas grew up on the West Coast, and came to the Twin Cities in 2006 to attend college. This is their first time playing together and it should be great fun, what with Cardenas’ ability to deliver jazz and R&B, and Santiago’s ability to play many styles.

Friday, March 4

Todd Harper & Nathan Hanson @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30 (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper plays lots of original music,m most oa good portion of which are in 3/4 time. He notes that “listening to music in 3/4 time actually extends your life and brings a high joy factor.”  Whether or not you agree, you should still catch his Friday night gigs at the ‘Dog, especially tonight, since he’ll be joined by the outside/inside saxophonist Nathan Hanson.  to listen to an interview Harper did with KBEM’s Phil Nussbaum, go to

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Drummer Gravatt is an alum of Weather Report, and stints with McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard and others, including the Twin Cities own Natural Life. Gravatt and bassist Ron Evaniuk form the foundation of Source Code which recently has also featured trumpeter Solomon Parham and guitarist Dean Magraw. Tonight they also had young sax player Lucia Sarmiento. Her he is with a different configuration.

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s show is Chet – The Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker, with the Larry McDonough Quintet: Larry McDonough, piano, vocals and arrangements; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Richard Terill, saxes; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums. Watch McDonough playing a  piano at Charles de Gaulle airport.

Saturday, March 5

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s a Birthday Celebration for Davis Wilson, the genial hipster.jazz emcee, with a show that starts at 7pm and lasts until closing, generally around 11pm, featuring Dean magraw, guitar; Dave Brattain, saxes; Kenny Horst, drums; Ted Olsen, bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, featuring Laura Caviani @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins. 8pm  ($26) Swagger, Swing, And Swoon, as ten swinging veterans play originals and jazz standards with original arrangements. David Milne, Pete Whitman,Dave Karr-saxophones; Adam Meckler, Adam Rossmiller-trumpets; Jeff Rinear-trombone; Dave Hagedorn-vibes; Laura Caviani-piano; Chris Bates-bass; Phil Hey-drums.

Carver & Clarke @ Mendoberri Cafe and Wine Bar, Mendota Heights. 7pm (No Cover) Jeff Carver, trumpet; and Steve Clarke, sax; play the music of Baker & Mulligan as well as selections from the Great American Songbook. Mendoberri has a nice selection of wines and eats, and reservations are recommended if you would like dinner.

Sunday, March 6

Jazz Brunch with the James Buckley Trio @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 10AM. (No Cover) Bassist James Buckley, who plays roots music as well as jazz brings jazz to the Turf Club, with pianist Bryan Nichols and drummer Cory Healey as his cohorts in the subversion of the Turf’s rock n’ roll reputation. Here is Buckley & Nichols playing with Jt Bates.

Monday, March 7

Vector Families @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Dean Granros, guitar; Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; and Brandon Wozniak, sax, deliver cutting edge modern jazz for late night jazz fans.

Tuesday, March 8

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dunsmore Room in Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($20 Minimum) The last time pianist/clarinetist Thompson and guitarist Donahue played Crooners together they were in the lounge. This time they’re in the club’s acoustically sensitive listening room. Thompson will take full advantage of the sonority of the room’s 9 foot Bosendorffer piano, and Donahue’s finger picking will be more easily appreciated. Reservations recommended. Listen to a cut featuring Thompson on clarinet, from their excellent album, Vicksburg Blues.

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 2

Jack Klatt on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) An award-winning singer, guitarist, and troubadour, Klatt has traveled enough highways here, in Canada and in Europe, to create and collect songs and stories that inform and entertain. Listen during the 5pm hour and head over to the 331 when you hear what you like.

Thursday, March 3

Jeff Ray w/ Mikell Beckman @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist Beckman hosts a Thursday night event every week. Tonight he’s got guitarist/singer Jeff Ray as his guest. The two work together in Jeff Ray and the Stakes, so I imagine they will be tight, to say the least. Here’s the two of them, along with Hurricane Harold Tremblay

Friday, March 4

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Roadhouse blues, delivered in a slighty tonier place. Miller packs em’ in, and since the dance floor is relatively small, there will be many folks vying for a spot as Dee and the band pump out some powerful blues. Listen to them here.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$10Door) They packed the Parkway Theater last time this Madison WI Band was in town. Here you’ll be able to show off your freestyle dance moves as the members of this band take on traditional brass band music, fortified with unique arrangements of contemporary tunes.

Purple Funk Metropolis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm – 11:30pm ($10) The Friday Late Night set at Jazz Central is always a student affair. This time it features an 9-piece funky jam band (including a vocalist) of students and recent grads that fuses hip hop and jazz into a danceable, modern sound.

Friday, Saturday, March 4,5

Aaron Neville @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75 – $100) If you’ve an appreciation for the R&B of New Orleans, and you’ve never heard the angelic voice of Aaron Neville, it would be worthwhile to shell out the money for this intimate show. He has been successful within the context of his family group, The Neville Brothers, as well as at a solo artist. In fact, his first hit, 1967’s Tell It Like It Is, was a solo number that stayed at the top of the charts for five weeks. He’s recorded duets with Linda Ronstadt, for which he won Grammys, had four platinum selling hits, and reached the country charts in ’93. A sweeter voice you’ve never heard, whether he’s singing pop, R&B, or doo-wop.

Saturday, March 5

SEOP Dance Company @ The Ordway, 345 Washington Street, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23 – $45) SEOP is a South Korean dance company that fuses Butoh, a form of Japanese dance theatre, with contemporary and traditional Korean dance techniques. Their celebrated piece, A Man’s Requiem, tells the story of a sinner’s judgement day. See for yourself.

Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. ($10 advance/$12 Door) The Saint Paul Hipster Club welcomes the Angel-Headed Hipsters, led by Murphy, a guy who has eschewed the hipster label for all of his 40 plus years of performing rock n’ roll, blues, and rhythm and blues. There’s a nice sized dance floor at the Turf, which will undoubtedly be filled by folks responding to Murphy’s arrangements of covers and originals.

Sunday, March 6



Nightingale Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Three women inspired by traditional music from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It’s earthy, sensual, and in the hands of these ladies, transformed.

Devil Music @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($6Advance/$8Door) A CD Release party for “Devil Music” produced by the House of Mercy folks, and featuring a host of performers, including John Hermanson, the House of Mercy Band, the Blood Washed Band, Mother Banjo, Daddy Squeeze, the Roe Family Singers, and more. Don’t worry, it’s not music that extols the Devil, but rather warns of his influence.

Beausoleil Avec Michael Doucet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Back in the mid 70s, Beausoleil was one of the defining forces that brought Cajun music to the masses of America. Since then, their insistent, irresistible rhythms and French lyrics have inspired thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, to take up Cajun dancing, while they’ve won Grammys along the way. The gentleman at Prairie Home Companion has dubbed them the “Best Cajun Band int he World,” though you’ll have to see them yourself to decide if that’s hyperbole.

Monday, March 7

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Last time Fischer was at the Dakota was when the Rolling Stones were in town, and Charlie Watts sat in on drums. Of course, Fischer has been singing backup and duetting with Jagger on Gimme Shelter for 26 years. She’s also sung backup for folks like Chaka Kahn, Aretha Franklin, Grover Washington, Bobby McFerrin, and Patti Labelle. This isn’t necessarily a rock or soul show, however, though a couple of songs will undoubtedly be familiar. Fisher blends a number of genres to create unique takes on all kinds of songs, and, with an incredible range, has the ability to send chills up your spine.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 8,9

Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. ($40 – $60) Coming out of the Jersey Shore along with friend and contemporary Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny played R&B with the horns of the 11-piece Jukes backing him up. It didn’t hurt that his first three albums were produced by Steve Van Zandt (of the E Street Band), and included songs by both Springsteen and Van Zandt, as well as guest appearances by the Drifters and Ronnie Spector as well. It’s rowdy, passionate R&B, designed for dancing and sweating.

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.

Notable Music from Visitors and Residents: 5.27 – 6.2

May 27, 2015

imagesAnother week, another seven days of juggling schedules to see, hear, and dance to the fine musicians of our area. We also have a few notable visitors, including members of the Rolling Stones’ tour, due in town next week. Get out and catch some live music: it lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 27

Lila Ammons Trio @ Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) The Tangiers has a luxe/decadent atmosphere, what with leather couches and banquettes with red walls. Just the place to hear the jazzy and jazzy blues of vocalist Ammons and her trio.

Pat Kuehn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Kuehn is an Eau Claire native who attended the New England Conservatory of Music with trumpeter Jake Baldwin. The versatile bassist has chosen to make the Twin Cities home, and is making his Jazz Central debut, accompanied by a trio of equally versatile young musicians: Nelson Devereaux, sax; Noah Ophoven Baldwin, trumpet; and Lars Erik Larson, drums.  Here’s Kuehn with a trio.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 27, 28

Rachelle Farrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9pm ($30-$40) With a range of more than six octaves, Farrell can certainly impress. More importantly, she puts her own individual stamp on both R&B and jazz tunes. Though her use of odd accents can be  idiosyncratic at times, Farrell connects with both R&B and Jazz fans – anyone who bought Luther Vandross, Anita Baker, or other proponents of “Quiet Storm” R&B.

Friday May 29

Cannonball Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) this tribute to Cannonball Adderley features Mac Santiago, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Doug Haining, sax. Cool music from a multi-generational bunch of cool musicians.

Maud Hixson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) First class singing and playing from Ms Hixson and her trio, in a small lounge with a fine bar menu. Worth a trip.

Heart of the Fall of the House of Usher & Physical Memory Dump @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Chris Cunningham, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums; with guests Michelle Kinney, cello; Nathan Hanson, sax; Ivan S. Cunningham, sax. Followed at 9pm by the “power-jazz hoodlums” of Physical Memory Dump: Charlie Lincoln, bass; Peter Goggin, alto; and Joey Hays, drums.

Bottomless Pit @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Joel Shapira has put together a new group, with Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums. They’ll draw on a post-bop, including compositions by Coltrane and Coleman, as well as originals.

Saturday, May 30

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm David Martin Trio. 8:30pm the Atlantis Quartet ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) The Saints are playing an away game, so there’s no need to worry quite so much about getting around Lowertown and finding a parking spot. At any rate, tonight’s bill is worth the effort. Martin is a talented guitarist who’ll be accompanied by Chris Bates on bass and Pete Hennig on drums. Bates and Hennig return as part of the Atlantis Quartet  with Zacc Harris, guitar; and Brandon Wozniak on sax. The Quartet is regularly lauded as the best modern jazz group in town, a point well taken. Here they are at Studio Z.

Parisota Hot Club @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners are surely finding their way in presenting jazz and R&B at what used to be the Shorewood. Tonight they’re presenting the Parisota Hot Club: Robb Henry, guitars; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Erin Livingston sits in on vocals. As might be expected from their name, they play many of the standards associated with Django Rheinhardt. What may come as a bit of a surprise, is the way they can adapt the music of the Beatles (and other rock n’ rollers) to that style as well.

Monday, June 1

Capri Big Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7 – 8:30pm (Free) Sit lakeside at the Como Park Pavillion and listen to the sounds of a true community band, albeit an intergenerational band with a number of working professional musicians.

Tall Tales CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Tall Tales is a new aggregation of familiar faces in the Twin Cities Jazz Community: Dean Granros and Zacc Harris on guitars; Chris Bates on bass; and Jay Epstein on drums. Their self-titiled CD is filled with jangly, sometimes discordant grooves.

Tuesday, June 2

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Bennett’s Rail & Chophouse, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Traditional jazz from the early days of New Orleans, with a faithful group of fans, occasionally inspiring a mini second line in the confines of this West 7th restaurant.

Band 2 Featuring Tim Ries & Bernard Fowler @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Tim Ries is a go-to sax player in NYC. In addition to leading his own band, he has performed with Maria Schneider, Donald Byrd, Maynard Ferguson, and other high-profile jazzers. He toured with the Stones in 1999, and while recording his second album, realized that many of the Stones’ songs had some jazz potential. the Rolling Stones Project  Volumes 1 & 2, resulted, being released in 2005. Bernard Fowler, another member of the Stones’ current tour, is a busy vocalist, whose credits include work with Bootsy Collins Herbie Hancock, Philip Glass, and hundreds of others.

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, May 27

Papa John Kolstad @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) The House Party is pre-empted on KFAI today, but Harold is still presenting music at the 331 Club: This time featuring Papa John, who will, hopefully, be doing some blues as well as the acoustic swing at which he excels.

Thursday, May 28

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 9am – 10:45am (Free) Even if you don’t have tickets to the morning performance of the Orchestra, you can stop by and catch some swinging musettes, a bit of bossa, and more as the CAO do a morning performance in the lobby of Orchestra Hall.

MIkkel Beckmen & Charlie Lawson @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson is resurfacing as a performer around town, and this gig kicks off his “Back from the Dead” tour (which includes a few more gigs)

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10pm ($5) It’s two gigs in one day for Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, as he switches from French musettes in the morning to rockin’ Cajun, Zydeco, and Swamp Pop tunes in the evening. The Dance floor at the Eagles is just about perfect for two steps, twirls, and other assorted moves.

Friday, May 29

Jillian Rae @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The multitalented violinist, vocalist, and music teacher is a favorite among the roots loving community, yet her hook-filled songs also catch the ear of fans of other genres (see, for instance, her 2014 release, Heartbeat). She plays originals, as well as the occasional folk and rock cover. Besides leading her own band, Rae plays with Corpse Reviver, Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, The Brian Just Band, and the Blackberry Brandy Boys. Rachel Sara Roberts opens at 7pm.  Here she is with her band doing a Led Zeppelin song.

Fifth Annual Heiruspecs Scholarship Fund Concert @ The Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12) This live hip-hop band came out of Saint Paul’s Central HS, and after experiencing some great success joined with the Saint paul Central High School Foundation to create a scholarship fund, giving out over $15K in scholarships since 2010. Tonight they’ll be joined by guests including trumpeter Solomon Parham, and E-Turn, a female MC from Orlando. 100% of the ticket sales go to the foundation.

Saturday, May 30

Dave Babb & Randall Webb @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport, 8pm ($5) The mainstays of the Liquor Pigs play guitars and sing for your BBQ pleasure.

Dee Miller Band w/Jimi “Prime Time” Smith @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Dee and the band just won a multi-week Battle of the Bands to appear at the Lowertown Blues Festival later this summer. See the energy and sass that won the day in the cozy confines of Shaw’s.

M.O.R.T. @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The Mystic Order of Reverb & Twang mines reverb-heavy tunes, careening from Country & Western tunes to Surf ditties at the turn of a knob. Lotsa dance-oriented tunes will get regulars and newcomers onto the small dance floor.

Turkuaz @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) This nine-piece funk army began in Boston but is now based out of Brooklyn. It’s obvious that members have records by James Brown, Sly Stone, and Parliament, among others in their collections, not to forget Motown or late era Talking Heads. With two female vocalists and two male vocalist/instrumentalists, not to mention three horns, they will help you get up, get down, and turn around while you dig their sound. According to The New Yorker magazine, they deliver “just about any genre that gets people dancing.”

Sunday, May 31

Scottie Miller @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 6-8pm (No Cover) Pianist/vocalist Miller will be performing boogie-woogie, soul, funk, and blues on the patio of this small boîte in the center of town. Here’s the quieter side of Miller.

Sunday, Monday, May 31, June 1

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $70) This marks the third time in about a year that Fischer has appeared at the Dakota. The star of Twenty Feet From Stardom is a terrific interpreter of song, whether singing standards or recasting classics from the Rolling Stones. She’s in town as a backup singer for the boys from Britain, a role she’s had for twenty years or so. I don’t know who is in her backup band, but I imagine they’ll be quite good, though I wouldn’t take a bet on Mick or Keef showing up.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.

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