Mayday and More: 5.3 – 5.9

May 3, 2017

The Tree of Life Ceremony at Powederhorn Park

It’s May and we have a weekend of Cinco de Mayo Festivals (Saturday on the West Side of Saint Paul and Sunday around 27th and East Lake) as well as the 43rd Annual Mayday Parade and Celebration in South Minneapolis (see below), all of which will feature music and performers. This week’s indoor events don’t necessarily coincide with the festivals, but provide other opportunities for uplifting experiences, with a number of visiting artists coming to town and a plethora of veteran and emerging Twin Cities artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 3

Regina Carter: Simply Ella @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40), 9pm ($25 – $35) April 25th marked the100th Anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald, and violinist Regina Carter is releasing an album entitled Ella: Accentuate the Positive. We are lucky enough to be a stop on her tour promoting the album. Carter is among the finest, if not the finest, jazz violinist practicing today. She’s tasteful, melodic, and swinging, whether she’s interpreting folk music of the South, Cajun fiddle music, the songs her mother loved, or something classical. Carter has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (The “Genius Grant”), and numerous awards. You can read an interview I did with her a couple of years ago by going here.

Michael O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Bassist O’Brien is in town visiting and he’s brought together some of the best Twin Cities musicians to join him for this gig, which will feature Latin music in addition to O’Brien’s facility on the bass: Pete Whitman, sax; Steven Hobert, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 3, 4

Randy Brecker Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $30, $60w/Dinner) 9pm ($15, $20) Brecker is a multiple Grammy Award winner, who got his start with the big bands of Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He was in the original version of Blood Sweat and Tears, leaving them to join the Horace Silver Quintet. Since then, he’s recorded with a wide range of musicians, from Frank Zappa, James Brown, and Parliament/Funkadelic to Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorious, and Frank Sinatra. If you need another reason to see him, consider the fact that his quartet will feature Tanner Taylor on piano, as well as the crack rhythm section of Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey.

Thursday, May 4

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Ruckus Hip Hop Jazz: Drummer Rodney Ruckus may have moved to the West Coast, but he’s got plenty of gigs bringing him back to town. Tonight’s show is a double billing with two drum sets on stage, while Ruckus and LA Buckner lead and co-lead different ensembles that fuse jazz and hip hop.

Joel Shapira/Bryan Nichols Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira, no cover), 8pm (Nichols, $5) the first of two nights of double jazz at the Vieux. Guitarist Joel Shapira will help you while away a pleasant dinner hour before pianist Bryan Nichols and his trio (Jeff Bailey, bass; JT Bates, drums) entertain you with originals and jazz standards.

Friday, May 5

Jon Pemberton/Debbie Duncan @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Pemberton, no cover), 9pm (Duncan, $12) Jon Pemberton kicks off the dinner hour with his inventive and melodic piano playing, after which vocalist Debbie Duncan will take the stage to deliver her sassy brand of jazz.

Fuzzy Math @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This quintet  eatures original, if eclectic jazz originals and creative renditions of pop songs. Back in 2012 they were named “the best jazz act for people bored with jazz” by the wags at City Pages. They are, after all, a fun group with the goal of creating “serious music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” This will be the Jazz Central debut for mark Vandermyde, keys/compositions; Curtis Lucky, trumpet; Scott Fultz, sax; Eric Graham, bass; and Haralds Bondaris, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening tonight are The D’Sievers, with John Sievers, trombone; Remi Moulder guitar; Steve Sawyer, bass; and Garrtett Kolb, drums. At 8:30 or so it’s the powerful Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code: Gravatt, drums; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Dave Graf, trombone. Here is Gravatt playing with McCoy Tyner and Bill Frisell.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15)  Mama Digdown has been around for about twenty years, spreading worldwide joy with the creativity of their streetwise brass band music. You can expect traditional New Orleans tunes like Jocomo, and Gloryland, as well as their own version of pop songs like the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back. Since the Madison, WI based group is sometimes supplemented with Twin Cities musicians, there may be guests during the course of the evening.

Sunday, May 7

Bob DeFlores Films: The Big Bands, 1923 – 1950s @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Even if you don’t live in the southern ‘burbs, it’s worth the drive to see films from the collection of Bob DeFlores, whose archive of music shorts and “soundies” encompasses all manner of jazz. Today he presents a rich palette of Big Bands, from Rudy Vallee and the Dorsey Brosters, to Woody Herman, Ozzie Nelson, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Ray Anthony, Artie Shaw, and much, much more.

Dan Chouinard and Lucia Newell @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist Chouinard and vocalist Newell get together for a special Birthday Club. Not only will they be celebrating the music of composers born during May, but all revenue will go to Global Rights for Women, an organization working to end violence against women worldwide! Here’s Newell performing a Brazilian song.

Dakota Combo Spring Concert @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Combo is a group of very talented high school students selected each September by open audition to study with bassist Adam Linz for the school year. It’s a program of MacPhail Center for music, supported by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. This year’s combo is a quintet: Adam Astrup, guitar; Ivan Cunningham, alto; Riley Swain, baritone; Max Voda, bass; and Simon Petrick, drums. They’ve been hard at it and have already performed at a couple of area schools. It’s safe to say you will likely be blown away by their talent. (Full disclosure: I’m on the board of the Dakota Foundation, which provides the support for this program.)

Monday, May 10

Glenn Zaleski @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Twenty-nine-year old pianist Zaleski has been a first-call sideman in NYC ever since moving there nine years ago. He’s performed and recorded with such stellar performers as Ravi Coltrane and trombonist Michael Dease, among others. He’s featured in the latest issue of DownBeat, where he’s described as someone who is not a traditionalist, but to whom “melody still matters.” The writer goes on to say, “His solos hinge on acute, often linear lines that find their counterweight in subsequent measures, cresting the tension and suspense of a well-wrought story.” This is a solo performance, so you’ve got a chance to see and hear his talent in the comfy, intimate confines of the Dunsmore Room.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) It’s an exciting double bill this evening the Levi Schwartzberg Quartet and Barnacle. Schwartzberg’s young group starts the evening: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Patrick Adkins, piano; Drew Stinson, bass; and Tarek Abdelqader, on drums. Then, it’s the return of Barnacle, a two guitar group that was around at the turn of the century, featuring guitarists Jason Goessl, now of Seattle, and Jacob Park Evans, backed by Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte drums.

Tuesday, May 9

Chris Lomheim/Sophia Shorai @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shorai, $5) Yet another double dose of jazz, with pianist Chris Lomheim supplying airy, melodic improvisation during the dinner hour, and vocalist Shorai singing in her distinctively vulnerable yet sweet voice.

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, May 3

Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) So today, Harold’s House Party features this string quartet (plus vocalist) that specializes in Prohibition-era swing. Tune in at 5pm to hear a sample of their music and go to the 331 for a two hour taste of their tunes. I’d say to bring dancing shoes, but it becomes quite crowded in between the tables of the small club.

Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Those of you of a certain age may remember Kinky Friedman as a legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter, satirist, novelist, and onetime gubernatorial candidate for Texas. He calls himself the Texas Jewboy, and is currently on the Resurrected Tour, as he calls it, in support of his latest CD, the Loneliest Man I Ever Met. Brian Molnar, of The Naked Hearts, opens. Here’s Kinky, but her aware, he’s not politically correct.

Thursday, May 4

Edgar Winter Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $65, $75) Since his debut album in 1970, pianist Edgar Winter has always received accolades for his playing, whether it was rock, jazz, blues, or pop. His 1971 album with his horn band White Trash had liner notes by poet/rocker Patti Smith, and enjoyed huge success, as did it’s live follow-up. He then formed the Edgar Winter Group which had the number one Frankenstein, and another chart buster, Free Ride. The album they appeared on, They Only Come Out at Night, peaked at number 3 and was on the charts for 80 weeks. He’s got over 20 albums and collaborative efforts to his credits, and still rocks out as hard as possible.

Paul Thorne @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Thorne is a former prizefighter, and quite literally, the son of a preacher man which, taken with his Southern upbringing, has given him a unique perspective on life. He’s lived a life that give him plenty of material for songs and often humorous stories, such as I Backslide on Friday, and Mediocrity is King, both of which can be found on his latest album, Too Blessed to Be Stressed.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) While the Poppas can always be depended upon to deliver smart, danceable renditions of songs from New Orleans and South Louisiana, tonight they’re bringing in vocalist Lucinda Plaisance to help deliver some new songs in the repertoire, including Clifton Chenier’s Zydeco Cha Cha, Gene Delafose’s Bou Pon Pon, Irma Thomas’ Ruler of My Heart, Lou Ann Barton’s version of Shake Your Hips, and more.

Friday, May 5

Eilen Jewell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell is a bit hard to categorize. She’s got a sweet voice, with smoky undertones, and an instinctive way with phrasing, which she uses well, whether celebrating the music of Loretta Lynn, rocking out with Shakin’ All Over, or putting a rockabilly twist to some of her own reflective originals.

Suicide Commandos Listening Party @ the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Back in 1975 a trio of lads decided they didn’t want to play in a cover band, which was what most of the area’s clubs were hiring. Chris Osgood, Dave Ahl, and Steve Almaas were itching with the raw energy of youth, and wanted to play short, loud, original songs. The old Blitz Bar was willing to hire them, and after that, things changed in the Twin Cities music scene. The Suicide Commandos, as the trio named themselves, laid the foundation for groups like the Suburbs, The Replacements, Husker Du, and other groups. Well, it’s forty-two years later. They had long broken up, developed other music and performing careers, and then started reuniting on a sporadic basis over the last couple of decades. Importantly, they recently recorded their second studio album, Time Bomb. The guys will be hosting this listening party, and selling and signing copies of the album. In addition, Cyn Collins will be selling and signing her new book, entitled Complicated Fun, named after a Commandos song. It’s an oral history of Minneapolis punk and indie rock from 1974 – 1984.

Erik Brandt and the Urban Hillbilly Quartet @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Free) Twenty-two years after forming, the Urban Hillbilly Quartet still delivers original Americana and roots rock inspired by folks like David Grisman, Bruce Cockburn, the Jayhawks and The Grateful Dead. The core of the band is Erik Brandt, guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals; Jeremy Szopinski, electric guitar; Dave Strahan, electric guitar, banjo, & vocals; Mike Schultz, bass; and Jim Orvis, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) This weeks program of chamber music in a cabaret setting is entitled Lonely Hearts: Music Made in Minnesota. It features two Saint Olaf grads who are active in the Twin Cities choral scene, but who also perform solo. Baritone Harrison Hintzsche and soprano Anna Christofaro will be joined by Matt Harikian on piano to perform acerbic, touching, and sometimes lustful songs by Libby Larsen, David Evans, among others. Small plates and bar service are available during the show, with full dinner available at 4:30pm, for those of us who may not want to go home and cook.

Fourth Annual Minnesota Salsa Fiesta @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) It will be an explosion of hip-shaking Latin rhythms as Charanga Tropical hosts guests from throughout the Twin Cities Latin Music scene. Charanga Tropical will play, of course, along with Cuban-style percussion ensemble Rumba del Norte. Then it will be La Gran Charanga, and 18-piece all star group featuring 6 horns, 5 violins, 4 singers, and a full Latin rhythm section. When doors open at 7pm DJ Prieto from Chicago will spin salsa hits mixed with rare videos. A salsa lesson from Cuban-born instructor Rene Thompson will follow, to help folks dance to the pulsating rhythms produced by the bands.

Denny Laine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Laine was an original member of the Moody Blues, and sang lead on their first hit, Go Now back in 1964. He left the Moody Blues to have his own band, joined Ginger Baker’s Air Force for a bit, and then, with Paul and Linda McCartney, was a founder of Wings, which had 24 hits on the charts in the 70s and received a Grammy for Band on the Run. He co-wrote Mull of McIntyre with Paul and it subsequently became the biggest selling hit of all time in the UK. Tonight he’ll play Band on the Run in its entirety, as well as some other tunes, I presume.

Sunday, May 7

Mayday Festival @ Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis. Noon – 7pm (Free) If you want to see a friend you haven’t seen in a while, they will probably be at the community celebration which is taking place for the 43rd year in a row. The day begins with a parade that travels south on Bloomington Avenue from 25th street and turns to Powderhorn Park on 34th Street. The parade features various community groups as well as giant puppets from Heart of the Beast, all marching to the 2017 MayDay theme: Imagine, Resist, Heal.  The Tree of Life Ceremony occurs at 3pm, when the Sun Flotilla paddles the Sun across the park’s lake. There will be music and dancing throughout the day, with entertainment ranging from Morris Dancers and a Women’s Drum Circle, to Savage Aural Hotbed, Prairie Fire Lady Choir and Machinery Hill. Food and merchandise will be available from a plethora of vendors.  Here’s a short clip of what you might see in the parade.

Tuesday, May 9

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Back in 1978, as the Punk movement was gaining steam around the country, a group of guys in Los Angeles named themselves the Blasters and combined that energy with rhythm and blues, early rock n’ roll, and rockabilly in an album called American Music. Funding members Phil Alvin, vocals, guitar; John Bass, bass; and Bill Bateman drums, along with guitarist Keith Wyatt, are still rocking audiences into gleeful pools of sweat.

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.


Hot August Nights: 8.10 – 8.16

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

Long before the Pavilion became a hot spot

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

Jazz

Wednesday, August 10

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

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

Thursday, August 11

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 12

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

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

Saturday, August 13

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

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

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

Sunday, August 14

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

Monday, August 15

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

Tuesday, August 16

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 10

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

Thursday, August 11

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

Friday, August 12

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

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

Saturday, August 13

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

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

Sunday, August 14

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

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

Monday, August 15

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

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


Music for Variable Weather: 4.16 – 4.22

April 16, 2014

UnknownThe title says all I want to say about the weather. Easter is this weekend, which may account for the lack of events on Sunday, but here are some ideas for the rest of the week.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 16

Pete Whitman @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. A cast with chops a-plenty, able to tackle the difficult with aplomb, and the sublime with beauty.

Thursday, April 17

Lucia Newell w/Phil Aaron @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Newell is an outstanding vocalist, one of the best, if not the best, in the area. Her singing owes a bit of a debt to Betty Carter, and she’s become a darn good songwriter as well. Here’s a video from a few years ago.

 

 

Hamilton, Thorson, & Tubbs @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 advance, $30 door) This is the inaugural concert of The Palace of Jazz Performance, a group headed by Robert “Pops” Montgomery, leader of the Senior Jazz Band of Minnesota. The performance will feature David Hamilton on piano; Brock Thorson on bass; and Kelli Rae Tubbs on drums.  More information can be found here.

Christopher McBride Quintet @ Eden Prairie HS, Eden Prairie. 7pm – 9:30pm ($15 adults/$10 Students) McBride is an alto sax player with an elegant sound. The parents at Eden Prairie HS are bringing he and his quartet in for a workshop with students and this fundraiser. In the evening, they’ll perform with the students and then conduct their own performance. All funds raised will go to the school’s band.

Friday, April 18

Maud Hixson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The chanteuse with the cool, yet smoldering voice will be accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano; and the ever-smiling Steve Pikal on bass. Listen to her.

 

 

Counterclockwise B3 Organ Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10 Suggested Donation) Tanner Taylor, B3; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jay Epstein, drums. This is a rare chance to hear Tanner Taylor, a terrific pianist, on organ. Should be a swingin’ evening.

Saturday, April 19

Corey Healey 4tet @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free), 7pm performance ($10) Healey is an Iowa raised drummer who has spent time in Chicago and NY, playing with the likes of Fareed Haque, Kenny Wheeler, David Berkman, and Dr. Lonnie Smith. Tonight he’ll be joined by Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc harris guitar; and Eric Fratske, bass; for an evening of Heley originals as well as songs from Charlie Parker, Tony Williams, Bob Dylan, and more.

Unknown-1Steve Kenny Quartet @ Sweet 317, Saint Paul. 9pm – 11:30pm ($10) Trumpeter Kenny has been ultra-busy of late, what with his upcoming release Straight To Vinyl, with Group 47, and his work with the Illicit Sextet, and other groups. Tonight, he brings Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Babatunde Lea, drums & percussion, to a house concert. It’s located in the Northern Warehouse at 308 Prince Street in, quite naturally, Suite 317. Tickets are available on-line at brownpapertickets.com, and at the door.

Monday, April 21

Preston Hainig @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Preston comes from a musical family. Father Doug is a well-traveled saxophonist and arranger around town. Mom Maryann Sullivan is a fine vocalist, and older brother Trevor has established himself as an on-call drummer in the area. Preston is in his final year of study at the prestigious University of North Texas, and will be joined by brother Trevor on drums, Tanner Taylor on piano, and Graydon Peterson on bass.

Joey Van Phillips @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Drummer Van Phillips can be found in various aggregations around town, playing with Zacc Harris, Sophia Shorai, Dessa, and Leisure Valley, among others. He’ll be leading a group that’s either a trio or quartet.

Monday, Tuesday, April 21, 22

Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($30) After four decades on the production and songwriting side of the music industry, vocalist Tyrell was featured singing “The Way You Look Tonight” in the movie Father of the Bride. All of a sudden he became a popular singer of classic standards. He’s got the perfect voice for interpreting the Great American Songbook, slightly raspy, with a hint of sophisticated R&B.

 

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

 

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Thursday, April 16, 17

Orquesta Aragon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Oh boy, this is a coup for the Dakota. Think of the importance of Duke Ellington’s band to American music. Well, that’s the same kind of impact that Orquesta Aragon has had on Cuban music. They were started in 1939, and in the 50s were signed to RCA. Many of it’s members are sons, nephews, and grandsons of original members. Since the late 90s, they’ve appeared at Carnegie Hall, Orchestra Hall in Chicago, and the Zellerbach Theatre in Berkeley.

Friday, April 18

Oh What A Night @ The Parkway Theater, 48th & Chicago, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Vocalist and bandleader Ronn Easton has brought together four additional soulful singers to celebrate the music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. And oh what a group! It includes Maurice Jacox, Willie Walker, Sonny Knight, and Maurice Young – veterans all, with distinctive voices and resumes too long to list. They’ll be harmonizing on songs by The Dells, The Drifters, The Stylistics, and the Temptations. Sure, it’s nostalgic for those of us of a certain age, but hearing voices this good sing such harmony is a treat for all ages.

Harold’s House Party @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Harold Tremblay, of KFAI’s House Party brings three outstanding artists to the Tap Room. Guitarist Bob Bingham (7pm) played electric guitar with Lamont Cranston and Aces, Straights, and Shuffles, before turning to acoustic. Hilary Thavis (8pm) is Italian – born of Minnesota parents, and sings the blues with a clear, soulful voice. Jeff Ray & the Stakes (9pm) play the originals of Jeff as well as some unexpected covers. It’s a bluesy Americana style, which isn’t surprising, given the support of the Stakes: Nick Salisbury, bass; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard; and Hurricane Harold, harp.

John Primer @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Guitarist/singer Primer plays traditional electric blues from Chicago. He’s talented enough to have had a number of nominations for Blues Artist of the Year in the traditional category. In fact he won the award in 2010. It’s the real deal, as they say.

 

Saturday, April 18

Mary Cutrufello & Greg Schutte @ Moe’s, 2400 Highway 10, Moundsview. 9:30pm (No cover?) It’s been a while since singer/songwriter/guitarist Cutrufello has played with some regularity in the area. She’s a rocker with a natural feel for classic country, and easily turns her original songs into relatable tales. Cutrufello is just finishing up and album with a full band, though for this appearance she’ll be accompanied by Greg Schutte, a drummer about town who has worked with Cuturfello for many years. Together they create some rockin’ country.

 

Saturday, Sunday, April 18, 19

Brian McKnight @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $65), 9pm ($50 – $60) Modern soul music from a multi-talented performer with 16 Grammy nominations and sales of over 20 million albums. For this show, he’ll be appearing with a bassist and guitarist, and playing both hits and B-sides. (Those of you of a certain age will recognize that term)

 

Monday, April 20

Joe Fingers @ Grand Avenue Dunn Brothers, Saint Paul 7:30pm (tip jar) Joe Fingers is a “nom de Dunn” for one of the many fingerpickin’ aces we have in town. Grab a cup o’ joe and a pastry and settle in for some

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.

 


Musical Warmth: 12.11 – 12.17

December 11, 2013
Frozen cherry, anyone?

Frozen cherry, anyone?

Now that hearty Minnesotans have had a few days to get used to sub-zero weather, it will be easy to get out and enjoy the myriad musical and art offerings of our fair cities, since the temps will jump all the way up into the teens this weekend. If you’re wearing yourself out from shopping and preparing for the holidays, not to forget work, treat yourself to some live music, which lifts the spirits. Until next week.

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 11

Gypsy Mania @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Late night gypsy jazz from Gypsy Mania, featuring the masterful violin of Gary Schulte, and the guitars of Reynold Philipsek and Gary Helgeson. And Barbette’s happy hour prices to boot. Tres chic!

Wednesday, Thursday, December 11, 12

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Really. Get out and see Dave. As an 80-something mulit-reed player he’s got chops galore, with a fluid style that he serves up particularly well on bebop chestnuts.

Friday, December 13

UnknownLaura Caviani CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Laura has a new CD, Holly, Jolly, & Jazzy, just in time for the Christmas season. She’s a thoughtful, elegant, and imaginative player piano player. Tonight she’ll have Gordy Johnson on bass, and Joe Pulice on drums. Expect Santa and some special guests as well.

Saturday, December 14

John Devine and JT Bates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Devine) 5pm (Bates) (Tip Jar) Here’s a way to take a break from shopping with some fresh brews. At 3pm John Devine, sax; will be joined by Jon Pemberton, keys & trumpet; and then drummer JT Bates will take the stage at 5pm. No word on whether JT will just be exercising his chops (which is not to say it won’t be thoroughly entertaining) or have other players along.

Jack Brass Band B-Day Party @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm (Tip Jar) JBB Leader Mike Olander is celebrating his 40th Birthday, with special guests The Stooges Brass Band, an outstanding aggregation from New Orleans. For brass band fans, this is not to be missed, as it will be a brass blowout of epic proportions. Here’s the Stooges doing some Michael Jackson songs for Second Liners.

Lucia Newell @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free) 7pm concert ($10) This is part of the monthly Jazz at Studio Z series. Lucia is a wonderful singer, inspired by Betty Carter, but with a “voice” of her own (in two languages!). She’s also turned into a first rate writer. She’ll be addressing singing and composing during the 6pm workshop, and then illustrate her ideas by singing at 7pm.  Here’s an example of her singing.

Tuesday Night Band @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ahh, it’s hard to beat the funky, funky grooves of B-3 Organ Night. Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B-3; and Kenny Horst, drums, return for one last stand on the AQ stage. They spent many a Tuesday night over the years laying down some soulful jazz. Oftentimes special guests, including visiting artists, would sit in for a song or two. Will that happen tonight? You’ll only know if you attend.

Monday, December 16

images-2Peter Kogan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Kogan is the principal Tympanist of the Minnesota Orchestra, which, as we know, has not exactly had a full schedule for a while. He’s filled his time writing and recording a jazz album entitled Cornucopia. He’s no stranger to genres outside of classical music, as he’s spent time performing the Larry Elgart Orchestra and the fusion band, Scratch n Sniff, as well as backing folks like Jimmy Witherspoon, Lightin Hopkins, Bo Diddley, the Drifters, and the Crystals. He’ll be joined tonight by Pete Whitman, saxophones; Keith Hilson, trombone, Adam Meckler, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Cory Wong, guitar. I had Peter on my show on Saturday, December 7. You can get the archived show here. The interview starts at about 20 minutes into the show.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Stellar trumpeter Kenny, a founding member of the Illicit Sextet, has surrounded himself with a group of young, hungry artists: pianist Will Kjeer is a high school senior who is a member of the Dakota Combo and free-lances around town; Thomas Strommen on sax is a former member of the Dakota Combo and no a sophomore at UW-River Falls, where he works with a number of ensembles; bassist Adam Tucker has been around for a number of years, playing in the Sextons and engineering albums for the heavy metal community, Jana Nyberg, and the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Finally, drummer Alex Burgess is another UW-River Falls student, studying drums with Craig Hara, composition with Dave Milne, and playing in Bad Habits Brass.

Tuesday, December 17

Bryan Nichols & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The Tuesday Night offerings at the AQ are not exactly an open jam, but a gathering of compatible musicians, who often surprise by trying out new tunes. Tonight the performance is led by pianist Nichols, who has established himself as an imaginative composer and interpreter.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 11

Everett Smithson Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (441 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a gumbo of music, drawing on Louisiana, roots, gospel and the occasional hillbilly hoedown. Besides his wife Cathy on vocals and squeezebox, Smithson’s cohorts include Phil Schmid on guitar, Jeremy Johnson on drums, and Bill Black on bass. Tune in to get a taste and then head over to the 331 Club for a full serving.

Wednesday, December 11 – Saturday, December 14

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm Wed, Sat. 8pm & 10pm Thurs, Fri. ($35 – $70) Well-oiled and precision-driven as a Ferrari, this 10-piece horn driven group has filled dance floors with its Bay-area funk since 1968. Fans of old school R&B will not want to miss this event. Check them out.

Friday, December 13

All Star Blues Revue @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Get new soles on your dancing shoes, because this band will prognosticate the pleasure in your brain and extrapolate the rhythm in your rump. Harpmeister Harold Tremblay has put together a stellar line-up, including, Dan Schwalbe and “Good Time Willy: Williams, guitars; Allen Kirk, drums; Bruce McCabe, keys; and Michael Caravale, bass. BTW, Michael is moving to Paris for a few months to work with some musicians there, so this will be your last chance to see him for a while.

Cafe Societe @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Pianist/composer Mark Chergosky is back at the Trick, with son Michael on mandolin and viola, and Amelia Rivera on vocals. Cafe Societe plays French Cafe music and bossa novas, along with some American pop and jazz, and Chergosky’s originals.

Saturday, December 14

Eddies Yulefest VI @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($15) Fundraiser for Emergency Foodshelf Network.  With Barra, the MN Ceili band, and the HiBs (instrumentalists). This is the sixth edition of the Eddies annual party, and it’s grown so much that a bigger venue is in order. And how appropriate to have it at the Celtic Junction, given the guest artists. It’s always an evening of warm music, made that much more enjoyable by the Eddies good-hearted hosting and singing.

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

Lowertown Santacon VI @ Lowertown Venues, Saint Paul. 6pm – late night (Free) This pubcrawl visits six venues in and around Lowertown, and is a true example of a community-organized event. Revelers dressed as Santas, Elves, Reindeers, or any imaginary person/creature of the season will start out at Golden’s Deli and trek to the Black Dog, Barrio & Bulldog, Mears Park, the Gopher Bar and Senor Wong’s. Expect the Brass Messengers to be parade leaders, a performance by fire-dancers at Mears Park, and an over-stuffed bag of other fun moments. A complete schedule and other information can be found here.

Jillian Rae CD Release Concert @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 7:30 ($15) The talented violinist/singer/songwriter first lit up the stage leading the Killer Hayseeds, and as a member of Two Many Banjos, and Steve Kaul’s Brass Kings. Since then she’s formed her own group to play her own compositions and occasionally defying audience expectations. Rae has released an album of heartache, titled Heartbeat and is celebrating its release tonight with opening acts by Gallupstar and The Honeydogs. Here she is with a surprising cover.

Sunday, December 15

The Roe Family Singers Bluegrass Brunch @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 1pm. Here’s a morning pick-me-up for breakfast that will set toes tapping and hearts laughing. The Roe Family Singers do bluegrass and old time music, while ringleader/poppa Quillan Roe lets loose with the occasional corny joke. It’s family friendly.

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


Music for Hot Summer Nights & Blistering Days: 8.28 – 9.3

August 28, 2013
One way to cool off at the Fair. Photo from Twin Cities.com

One way to cool off at the Fair. Photo from Twin Cities.com

Well, the late summer heat wave may be keeping some folks from the State Fair, but those who are going will still have plenty of opportunity to hear some terrific music. Blues lovers should check out the calendar of the Minnesota Blues Society (link below) to see the daily line-up of talent at the Fair. Jazz lovers may also find the occasional gig, though that may be a bit harder to find. Note Radio Joe, listed below. At any rate, once the sun and the temps go down, there are opportunities galore for music in the Twin Cities. Here are but a few.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 28

Mountain King @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Three bassists, Graydon Peterson, Brian Courage, and Jeremy Boettcher, play together, creating memorable music.

Lucia Newell @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) When Lucia wraps her voice around a song, you know your listening to a jazz singer. She’s showing some fine talent as a songwriter as well. This is a great chance to hear her in her natural habitat, as you can see in this video.

Thursday, August 29

Nichola Miller & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 pm (Donation) The vivacious vocalist and sophisticated piano player go together like two straws in a coke. Parenthood has made it a bit more difficult for them to perform together, so take advantage of this opportunity while you can.

Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) His latest CD, Don’t Cry for No Hipster, is full of Sidran‘s wry commentary, rhythmic playing, and groove-centered jazz. One cut, Back Nine, is getting lots of play on Sirius radio.  Here’s the video for the title tune of his latest CD.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) This quartet makes jazz look easy, even when they’re performing songs by Ornette Coleman or Charles Mingus. Of course, they’ve all been playing a long time, and playing together a long time as well. Phil Hey, drums; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano. If you haven’t seen them, go. If you have, go again. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, August 29, 30, 31

UnknownRadio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The State Fair, Saint Paul. (Free with Admission).  Guitarist Joe Demko brings his swinging little group to the AFL-CIO Pavillion from 4-6pm Thursday, and to the Ramberg Stage Friday at 10:30am, 11:45am, and 1:00pm, and Saturday at 3:15pm, 4:30pm, and 5:45pm. There will be swing dance demos at the Ramberg Stage performances.

Friday, August 30

Arne Fogel @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The swingin’ Mr. Fogel is an expert on both Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, and he wears their influences well when he sings. This intimate lounge in a large restaurant is just right for his interpretations of the Great American Songbook.

Kevin Washington Quintet @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Washington is a drummer who is master of a number of world rhythms. For instance, listen to him play with Nachito Herrera to see how well he handles a variety of Cuban rhythms. As for his jazz bonafides, well, he did study with Max Roach.

Friday, Saturday, Aug 30, 31

JazzMN Big Band @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) This is a rare opportunity to see this 17-piece big band in a club, since they usually appear in big auditoriums. It’s a stellar group of seasoned musicians from the area, and they’ll knock your socks off, as the saying goes, in the relatively small confines of the AQ.  Here they are with a James Bond Medley.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, August 28

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ KFAI and the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Otto’s melancholy voice is perfect for the blues and classic country of this group. Tune in to KFAI (90.3FM & 106.7FM) at 5pm to hear them and then head over to the 331 Club. Here they are doing a CCR tune at the Fine Line.

Thursday, August 29

Prophets of Peace @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) With the help of Hotpants Deejays, the folks at Secret Stash Records struck gold when they released a compilation of Twin Cities funk from the 60s and early 70s. Their Soul Revue has been playing to packed houses, and now the Prophets of Peace, one of the bands from the compilation, is back and playing with a vengeance. Hear them at one of the best dive bars in town, with Ben Mena and Dale Burback, two of the deejays that led the rediscovery of these guys, spinning between sets. Here’s an example of their old school sound.

Friday, August 30

Butanes 30th Anniversary @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Often named the Best Blues Band in the Cities, the Butanes have played at birthday parties, anniversaries, and other life-changing events for blues lovers in town. They’ve also backed Earl King at the Jazz Festival, played the Mother-in-law lounge, toured and recorded with Zydeco’s great Al Rapone, and currently hold down a weekly gig at Shaw’s, where folks like Davina Sowers, Jellybean Johnson, and others have dropped in. Led by the irascible, opinionated, and very funny Curt Obeda on guitar, the rest of the band includes Virgil Nelson on Hammond B-3, Rob Stupka on drums, and John Lindberg on bass.

Friday, Saturday, August 30, 31

Rosie Flores, Kenny Neal, Robert Randolph & the Family Band @ The State Fair Leinie Stage, Saint Paul. (Free w/Cover) It seems to be roots day at the Leinie Stage and if you can stand the heat, you can get to see the rockabilly and rockin’ country of Rosie Flores during the day, followed by guitarist Kenny Neal playing swamp blues. At night, Robert Randolph and the Family Band bring the sounds of sacred steel to the Fair. For times, etc., go here.

Saturday, August 31

Janiva Magness @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Magness has been cultivating a loyal fan base in the Twin Cities for a few years now. She’s had a turbulent life, and is Stronger For It, as her album from last year proved. “I Wont’ Cry,” from that album, was awarded Song of the Year and she also won her fourth award as Contemporary Female Blues Artist.  Check out her singing on this video.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm   Nemeth is an up and coming bluesman with a penchant for soul. This year he was nominated by Living Blues Magazine as Most Outstanding Blues Singer, and by Blues Blast for Male Blues Artist of the Year. He’s entertaining and definitely soulful on stage.

Sunday, September 1

Oliver Mtukudzi & The Black Spirits @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:20pm (Free, while tickets last)  Here’s a chance to broaden your appreciation of world music for free, or at least while tickets last. Mtukudzi is a guitarist, vocalist, and composer from Zimbabwe. His music is inspired by the rhythms of the thumb piano, and he uses South African, Zimbabwe pop, and traditional drumming in his performances, and he has a big fan in Bonnie Raitt, who recorded one of his songs.

Monday, September 2

15th Annual Laughing Waters Bluegrass Festival @ Minnehaha Falls, Minneapolis. 1pm – 6:30 pm (Free) Spend Labor Day enjoying the Falls and the music of The Pride of the Prairie, Copper Creek, The Middle Spunk Creek boys, Platte Valley Boys, Sawtooth Bluegrass, and Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands.

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


Music for the Holiday Season: 12.5 – 12.11

December 5, 2012

images-3This weeks music ideas include four holiday-themed shows, each of which takes holiday music in a different direction, and each of which arrives before you tire of the sounds that surround you when shopping. There are also six outstanding roots music shows and jazz that will please most anyone with an interest in music. Take some time out from shopping and enjoy some live music.

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 5

Cannonball Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Sax player Doug Haining is at it again, exploring different facets of jazz and his influences, this time the music of Cannonball Adderley. He’s joined by Zack Lozier, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Mac Santiago on drums.

images-2Sue Orfield Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Sue is a dynamic sax player who wowed folks at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a couple of summers ago. The Wisconsin based artist is a versatile player who can get down with the blues, or funk it up with the Butanes Soul Revue. Tonight Sue will bring her high energy to jazz, with Josh Gallagher on piano; Jeremy Boettcher on bass; and Mike Malone on drums.

Thursday, December 6

SAMSUNGMaryann Sullivan CD Release @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30  Sullivan’s new CD, Coffee Time, is a delightful recording of lesser known standards, well served by Ms Sullivan’s sweet voice and sense of swing. In fact, I expect a few swing dancers may show up at this new venue that features ten craft beers on tap, as well as wine and cocktails. With Doug Haining, sax; Reynold Philipsek, guitar; Denny Malmberg, accordion; Matt Peterson, bass; and Nathan Norman on drums.

Friday, December 7

images-4Connie Evingson @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Hear vocalist Evingson in Saint Paul’s intimate jazz club. With eight CDs to her credit, Evingson has appeared on Prairie Home Companion, NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and has performed around the world. She has a perfectly cool way with a melody, whether singing the songs of Django Rheinhardt, the Beatles, or Peggy Lee.

Friday, Saturday, December 7,8

images-3Manhattan Transfer’s Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75, $50), 9pm ($65, $40) These Grammy winners have always been omnivorous in exploring four-part harmonies, taking their cues from modern harmony, jazz, doo-wop, bebop, and latin melodies. Tonight I expect we’ll hear some holiday favorites.

Body Omara @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) Guitarist Joseph Damman, bassist Tom Reichert, and percussionist Davu Seru bring Damman’s original songs, a blend of desert blues of Mali and American jazz, to the downtown Cafe Maude.

Saturday, December 8

Lucia Newell & Zacc Harris @ Eat Street Social, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3:30pm Eat Street Social brings afternoon music to the Eat Street intersection of 26th & Nicollet. Lucia, of course, is one of the preeminent jazz singers in the area. Zacc Harris is the busiest jazz guitarist in town. A nice combination to go with a late brunch.

Sunday, December 9

Capri Big Band Holiday Concert @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 3pm (Free) With 29 members, the Capri Big Band is the “biggest big band” in the area. It’s an intergenerational band, with seasoned veterans like Dean Brewington, Jimmy Wallace, and emcee/saxophonist Donald Washington, younger generation musicians like Solomon Parham and Kevin Washington, as well as a 12 year old piano player and a couple of teenagers. This past Saturday (December 1) I interviewed Donald and Faye Washington, and we played a couple of tracks from the band. Hear the interview at: http://www.kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves

PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20)  Vocalist Pippi Ardennia has a special show planned for the holidays, with youth guest Freeman Ryan on cello and vocalist Jason Richards. Richards comes from the Sinatra/Martin/Bennett school of sophisticated Bel Canto singing, with mature phrasing and a great sense of swing.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 5

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I expect the 331 Club will be packed, as this self-taught guitarist has attracted hordes of fans with his original, authentic folk blues. He grew up without a TV, but with this dad’s records of Charley Patton, Woody Guthrie, and Leadbelly, among others. If you haven’t heard him, be sure to listen the Harold’s House Party at 90.3 and 106.7FM to hear what the fuss is all about.

Thursday, December 6

Elizabeth Cook @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Honky-tonk, Country rock, alt-country, outlaw rock. Whatever you call Cook’s music, it’s well crafted, often funny, and invigorating. She’s host of Elizabeth Cook’s Apron Strings on Sirius XM, and with her Southern drawl, and “naive” wit, has been utterly charming in interviews on David Letterman and Craig Ferguson.

Nikki & The Rue-mates @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This is the start of a monthly, Thursday night gig for Nikki and her band-mates. The Driftwood’s low-key ambience  – food, beer, wine – is just right for the original blues and folk stylings of the band.

Daddy Squeeze @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (no cover) Dan Newton brings his accordion and his facility in any number of styles to one of the best late night happy hours in town.

Saturday, December 8

Crankshaft’s Second Annual Food Drive @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 2pm – 6pm ($10 minimum donation) What a great line-up for a Saturday afternoon. Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, Davina & the Vagabonds, The Jack Brass Band, and Poverty Hash. All proceeds from the door go to Second Harvest Heartland.

The SoulJazz Orchestra w/Brass Messengers @ Triple Rock Social Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) The SoulJazz Orchestra is a six-piece multi-ethnic Canadian group with a repertoire that blends soul, jazz, and tropical styles. The result is funky, invigorating, and innovative, all at once, and sure to please fans of Afrobeat and other world musics. Opening is the Twin Cities own Brass Messengers, whose joyous embrace and expansion of brass traditions from around the world always leaves you in good spirits. Here’s a video of the SoulJazz Orchestra.

Sunday, December 9

DownloadedFileTrashy Little Xmas Family Matinee @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 12 Noon. ($12, $6 for kids 2-12, kids under 2 – free). It’s December and time for Trailer Trash to bring out their honky-tonkin’ Christmas songs. While their weekly show at Lee’s Liquor Lounge isn’t exactly X-rated, they have taken the most kid-friendly songs to create a family-friendly experience. Though it’s a seated show, there is room set aside for the little ones to jump and dance.

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Both are alums of Prairie Home Companion (Pat is still on the show), and both are highly respected musicians – Butch for his light touch and imagination when interpreting early jazz, and Pat as a Grammy winning, finger-picking guitarist. At the Saint Paul event celebrating the release of Vicksburg Blues, their Red House release, Butch & Pat were consummate entertainers, as they played with alacrity and verve, and their quiet humor added to the warmth of the evening. Now they’re having a Minneapolis release party in a space perfectly suited to their intimate show.

Monday, Tuesday, December 10, 11

images-2Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45)  A group that has gone through a number of permutations over 70 years, yet still rules the gospel charts, whether performing traditional gospel rave-ups or tunes by Eric Clapton, Tom Waits, or Prince (!). Their performances in The Gospel at Colonus were electrifying, and their recent collaborations with Allen Toussaint, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others have only added to their legend.

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


And the Days Grow Short. Music: 8.23 – 8.28

August 23, 2012

You may need umbrellas before the weekend.

It’s been a busy week, and so I’m a day behind in this post. We’ve got some much needed rain in the forecast, which will certainly put a damper on outdoor events. That won’t stop intrepid folks from going to the State Fair, where there’s some mighty fine music taking place on the free stages, as well as Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples in the grandstand on opening night.

Jazz

Thursday, August 23

Capri Big Band @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) The Capri Big Band is one of the  positive stories of Minneapolis’ North Side. It has proven to be a great training ground for young musicians as well as a place for older musicians to keep their chops up while mentoring students. You’ve got the lake, sailboats, cyclists riding by, grills, and picnic grounds. As long as the weather is good, it makes for a perfect summer evening.

Snowblind’s Tribute to Blue Note Records @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Blue Note has long been recognized for its stellar jazz recordings of the 50s and 60s which set the standard for jazz. In fact, much of what we consider mainstream jazz today is directly descended from the hard bop that was brought to the public’s attention by Blue Note. Tonight, Snowblind, a collective ensemble with a predilection for grooves, will perform some of the label’s hits, and perhaps a few misses. The group consists of Scott Agster, trombone; Shihad Sen, sax; Adam Rosmiller, trumpet, Graydon Peterson, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. Fine musicians all.

Friday, August 24

Boot Camp @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Pianist Jeremy Walker (aka Boot) moved to NYC for a couple of years to compose and play in the Big Apple. Since returning, he’s put together a number of projects to play his thoughtful music including this group: Walker, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, August 25

Lucia Newell @ the Lexington, Saint Paul 6:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover) Ada Ashaya, piano, and Jeff Bailey, bass. Around here, other singers come out to see Lucia perform. You should too, especially since the setting is so warm and clubby. There may be a minimum at some of the tables, but given the quality of the food and drinks at the Lex, it should be easy to meet.

Whitman, Schimke, Lewis & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Kenny Horst continues to feature new groupings of players at the AQ. This time we’ve got a swinging saxophonist/composer (Pete Whitman); a pianist who is equally at home with the swing, jazzy R&B, and Latin music (Peter Schimke), a journeyman bassist who can be depended upon for a firm foundation (Tom Lewis) and Kenny Horst himself on drums. Sounds like some great jazz is in the offing.

Culbertson, Sanborn

Dave Sanborn & Brian Culbertson @ Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Burnsville. 7:30pm ($48 ) Sanborn is one of the most influential successful sax players on the planet (take that, Kenny G), winning six Grammys, eight Gold Records, and one Platinum. He’s a passionate player, who tempers his commercial, danceable, R&B with improvisation and surprising forays into projects like a TV series where he played with guests ranging from Sonny Rollins and Sun Ra, as well as a recording project with Avant Gardist Tim Berne and a recent album with Joey DeFrancesco and Steve Gadd. Keyboardist & trombone player Culbertson has been called jazz lite, which is too bad, because his jazz is a funky as can be. It’s allowed him to amass a considerable fan base.Patty Peterson & Friends open. Check out a video of his below. I interviewed Patty on my show this past Friday. You can hear the interview here.

Monday, August 27

Gypsy Mania Trio w/special guest Patrick Harrison @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm – Midnight (No cover) Folks who like Gypsy jazz know  Glen Helgeson on guitar, Matt Senjem on bass, and Patrick Harrison on accordion can swing with taste and finesse. Those looking for food and drink late at night know that Barbette has a great late night happy hour. Sounds like a great combination.

From a European Tour a few years ago.

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 & 11:30pm. ($5) Mike Lewis (sax), Adam Linz (bass), and JT Bates (drums) have been so busy with numerous other projects that the three friends (since high school) haven’t played much in the last year or so. See why they’re popular in France and  hear them deconstruct ballads, bebop, and tunes from the likes of Ornette Coleman. The first show gets pretty crowded, and rowdy, but that’s part of the fun.

Tuesday, August 28

Cory Wong Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 7pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Wong’s recent release, Quartet/Quntet, has moved into the top ten on the CMJ Jazz Charts. He was recently featured on the Voice of America as well. Check out his guitar wizardry at this early show. It’s a weekly thing, but that doesn’t mean you should put off going. Besides, this performance is being recorded by KBEM for its series Saint Paul Live!, so head down and add to the atmosphere.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. They feature jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 22

Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts on KFAI , Minneapolis. 5pm on KFAI, and 7pm – 9pm at the 331. (Free – tip jar @ 331) Okay, you’ve missed this but it’s still available in archive. I was the host on Harold’s House Party this afternoon from 4pm – 6pm, so I invited Julie and the guys to be my in studio guests during the 5pm hour. They play historic folk songs from Minnesota and Wisconsin, with Julie playing flute and Doug Otto and Drew Druckery on guitar, mandolin, and vocals. They played three songs live in the studio, which you can listen to here.

Thursday, August 23

Brooklyn Rider with Bela Fleck @ The Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater. 7:30pm (Adults: $25, Students: $10) This is the final concert in the Stillwater Music Festival, organized by Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet from Brooklyn with Minnesota roots. They are certainly not your father’s string quartet, as they are unafraid of pushing the boundaries of the genre. If you didn’t see them at the Cedar or in other Stillwater Music Festival appearances earlier in the week, here’s your chance. Their special guest for this evening is virtuoso banjo player Bela Fleck, who has been known to cross a genre or two himself.

Deadstring Brothers @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) Deadstring Brothers bring to mind the Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street – a bit raw, a bit ragged, a bit country, and a lot of hard rock n’ roll. Dirt Road Ramblers start the evening, followed by Cannon’s North celebrating a CD release before Deadstring takes the stage to close off the evening.

Friday, August 24

Ronn Easton’s All Star Soul Revue @ Famous Dave’s, Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) If you want to hear some old school music from Motown, the O’Jays, Ohio Players and more check out Che nine-piece revue. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes.

Cool Disposition @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Dan Schwalbe’s guitar, Harold Tremblay’s harp, and Mickey’s vocals are just a few of the forces driving this band’s combination of jump, Chicago, and West Coast blues. There isn’t much room for dancing at the oldest continually operating bar in the state, but that just adds to the fun.

Saturday, August 25

Mother Banjo @ The Saint Paul Farmer’s Market, Saint Paul. 9AM (Free) Listen to the sounds of traditional folk, gospel, and alt-country from Ellen Stanley (aka Mother Banjo) as you roam the aisles of the market picking up fresh basil, fruit, and (if you are so inclined) some meat that was on the hoof a couple of days ago.

Maurice Jacox @ Hollihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Free) Jacox recently sang some gospel tunes for a church service. He’s equally at home with soul music (naturally), and jazz standards, including Nat King Cole’s songs. I suspect this gig will fine him in an R&B/Blues vein.

Jennifer Markey & the Tennesee Snowpants @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Markey sings country. Not the country of Nashville today, but country that sounds like it was written in little towns, hollers, and even on the plains. Plus, they’re originals.

Saturday, Sunday, August 25, 26

Robby Vee, Jeffrey Broussard, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds @ The Minnesota State Fair Leinie Stage, Saint Paul. (free with $12 Fair Admission) Get there early, fill up at the milk truck, take in some animal barns (you may want to avoid the swine barn) and check out Robby Vee and his Rock n’ Roll Caravan at 10:30 and 11:45am. Test your Zydeco and Cajun dance steps with Jeffrey Broussard & His Creole Cowboys at 3:30 or 4:45, and top your day off with the butt-rockin’ blues of the Fabulous Thunderbirds at 8:30. Grab some desert-on-a-stick and head home, tired and spent.

Monday, Tuesday, August 27, 28

Their first album.

Desert Rose Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Wow. Chris Hillman (guitar), founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, along with Herb Pederson (banjo.guitar) who played with both of those groups as well as Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, John Jorgenson (guitar), a wizard who can go from bluegrass to Beatles in the blink of an eye, and Bill Bryson (bass) who played with Ry Cooder. The Desert Rose Band combined Bakersfield honky-tonk with country rock to cause a sensation in country music during the late 80s and 90s. I’ve got two of their first albums on vinyl and play them a lot.

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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