Close to Home: 1.31-2.6

January 31, 2018

“Prince Night” on Nicollet Mall. Photo by Star Tribune.

Well the months of anticipation are behind us and we get to enjoy (or survive) the Super Bowl and its crowds, some of which can be seen in the photo from the Star Tribune on the right. While there are lots of music events featuring visiting and resident artists around town, which you can learn about here, the abundance of musical talent in our area can also be enjoyed in other, less crowded locations. Whether you’re a fan of the event, or to paraphrase former Mpls Mayor RT Rybeck, you feel like a bartender at the wedding of your ex who dumped you, you can still have your spirits lifted by enjoying live music from musicians who are performing close to home.



Wednesday, Jan 31

Fake Accent @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid StudentI D) Erik Fratzke, guitar; Nathan Hanson, sax; Cooper Doten, bass; Cory Healey, drums. Given that Wednesdays at Jazz Central are given over to experimental music, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a new group. Fratzke plays bass with Happy Apple, as well as guitar in a heavy metal band, and for other jazz projects. Hanson is known for playing “outside” but has also appeared ion the horn section of bigger bands. Healy has his Beautiful Sunshine Band, and can be found as a sideman in numerous gigs. Doten is an unknown for me. Should be an interesting evening.

Thursday, Feb 1

Arne Fogel & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Here’s a group and vocalist that swings with the ease of a kid on a swing set and is as dependable as Big Ben.

Also: Davu Seru, Mankwe Ndosi, & Douglas Ewart @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul.9pm ($5)

Friday, Feb 2

Jake Baldwin Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Talented trumpeter Jake Baldwin seems to be playing everywhere these days, as a sideman and leading various groups, from a trio at the Lexington, to this quintet, which includes: Nelson Deveraux, sax; Joe Strachan, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here’s Baldwin at the 2013 National Trumpet Competition, where he took 2nd place in the jazz solos division.

Bottomless Pit @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  8pm ($10) What do you get when you bring four excellent veteran musicians together? Well, if that quartet includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, base, and the amazing Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums, you get a group with a virtuosic level of improvisation, making for an inspired evening of music.

Framework @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($10) Guitarist Chris Olsen, bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Jay Epstein were favorites at the old Artist’s Quarter, and no wonder, considering the high level of their playing.

Saturday, Feb 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Another in a long line of double bills that surprise and delight, starting at 7pm with the Steve Kenny Quartet: Kenny, trumpet; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Then, at 8:30pm it’s the chamber jazz of Lulu’s Playground: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; Cory Grossman, cello; and Ben Abrahamson, guitar. Here they arefron a few years ago.

Southside Aces, feat Butch Thompson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Toe-tapping traditional New Orleans jazz of the Aces, augmented by the piano and clarinet of Butch Thompson.

Also: Pete Whitman Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (TipJar)

Monday, Feb 5

Chris Bates’ Red5  @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Bassist Bates gathers up some musical compatriots to play his original compositions. The include: JT Bates ,drums and cymbals; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, saxophone; Chris Thomson, saxophone; Jake Baldwin,  trumpet; and JC Sanford, trombone.

Tuesday, Feb 6

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Check out the Amsterdam’s bar and Dutch-inspired food, while listening to accessible jazz, featuring original compositions and arrangements from: Mark Vandermyde (composer / keys), Andrew Schwandt (sax), Haralds Bondaris (drums), Matt Peterson / Eric Graham (bass).

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, Jan 31

Boxstore Bird on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana, bluegrass, and storytelling from veteran Americana artist Drew Peterson, guitar and songs; and Mandy Fassett, fiddle, cello, and mandolin.

Willie Murphy’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase w/Rena Haus @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10) Multi-instrumentalist and composer/vocalist Willie Murphy has moved his Singer/Songwriter series to the initimate confines of the Dunsmore Room, bringing in Rena Haus for the series debut in the listening room. Haus is a singer/songwriter with a strong bent for the blues, who writes songs that are funny, political (sometimes both), sensitive, and earthy. Here’s Rena with her trio.

Thursday, Feb 1

Nooky Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($15, $20, $25) If you can make it through the crowds, the swat teams, and the armored Humvees, you will be rewarded for your efforts with some modern R&B (with jazz influences) by this band which is making a name for itself throughout the Midwest,.

Javier Matos @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. (No Cover) If you haven’t been to the Basement Bar yet, tonight is a good time, as you’ll get to hear guitarist/vocalist Matos, an outstanding guitar-slinger who can swing the blues and plays searing slide guitar.

Also: The Surfer Bowl w/The Surf Riders @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis.9pm (No Cover) Get your fill of twang, reverb, and echo.

Friday, Feb 2

Pat Donahue & Richard Kriehn @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($20) Even if you don’t live in the western suburbs, it’s easily worth the drive to hear ace fingerpicker Donahue with his Prairie Home Companion band-mate, mandolinist Richard Kriehn in this very small, 40 seat venue.

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Stepping out from the dark stage of Shaw’s on Thursday nights, the Twin cities’ best blues band will light up the stage for the Friday night crowd in the lounge at Crooners.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 2, 3

26th Annual Songs of Freedom @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($18 Advance, $25 Door) The Songs of Bob Marley, with The International Reggae All Stars, with special guest Innocent. Here they are at the 2011 celebration.

Saturday, Feb 3

Maurice Jacox Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. (No Cover) Somewhat on the downton edge of Superbowl Madness, where there might, just might be some on-street parking, the Normandy Kitchen will provide respite in the form of Maurice Jacox, vocals, sax, & flute, Thomas West, keys; and in-demand drummer Rob Stupka. Unfortunately, free parking in the Normandale’s lot will not be available, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the soulful sounds of Jacox and his band-mates.

Bill Patten Trio @ Dusty’s, Minneapolis. 9:45pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzed-up rock’ roll versions of the Great American Songbook as well as originals.

Sunday, Feb 4

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3-5pm (Tip Jar) Before sitting down to see the big game, check out msongs from the Harry Smith Anthology of Music, as performed by Corpse Reviver: Mikkel Beckman, percussion, Jillian Rae, fiddle and vocals; and Adam Kiesling, guitar, banjo, and vocals.

Dan Chouinard w/Maria Jette @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($10, $15) Superbowl Sunday is often a good day for shopping if you aren’t a football fan, since Target and other big box stores are spookily empty during the game. If you don’t want to go shopping, however, you can catch pianist Dan Chouinard and vocalist Maria Jette as they perform songs written and/or performed by artists who have birthdays this month.

Also: The Combo @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Stop by after the game to celebrate, commiserate, or to simply enjoy great dance music.

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.

Cold Weather Music: 2.18 – 2.24

February 18, 2015

UnknownThough the weather report for the next week seems to call for alternating between bone-chilling and I’m-Freezing-My-Face-Off, there are plenty of opportunities to warm up from music and dancing.  Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 18

David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70) I mentioned this last week, but it bears repeating.  Sanborn is a rare saxophonist, one who can appeal to a dance-oriented R&B crowd, and a listening audience of jazz aficionados. He has won six Grammys, had eight gold albums, and one platinum, has hosted his own excellent TV show, and recorded with a host of artists, from Eric Clapton to Christian McBride and Bill Frisell. His appearance at the Zoo a couple of years back had the crowd roaring with delight.

Unknown-4Noah Ophoven-Baldwin Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpet player Ophoven-Baldwin has been playing around town in both pop groups and adventurous jazz groups since getting his degree from the UofM, receiving good reviews in the process. Tonight he’s joined by Joe Strachan, piano; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Thursday, February 19

Maud Hixson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Vocalist Hixson has received high praise from the likes of Rex Reed and Michael Feinstein, among others, for her warm voice and ability to get to the heart of classic pop and jazz songs of the twentieth century. This seems to be an ideal spot to hear her.

Cameron Kinghorn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kinghorn is a trumpeter/vocalist who has been playing (and singing) with the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Here’s a chance to see him solo.

Dean Granros @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Guitar master Granros is often heard playing in various combos around town. Tonight he performs two sets of solo guitar improvisations in the intimate space of the Cafe. For example:

Friday, February 20

Eastside CD Release @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Guitarist Reynold Philipsek and harmonica master Clint Hoover formed Eastside about six years ago with Michael Bisonnet on percussion and Matt Senjem on bass. The idea was to  take the “soul jazz” of the Blue Note era and combine it with their interpretation of Nuevo Tango. Though Hoover now lives in Pittsburg, they have managed to record their second album, Astoria, and will be having a release party at Hell’s Kitchen.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Lomheim’s strong yet sometimes dreamy melodies are buoyed by the impressive rhythm section of Gordy Johnson on bass and Jay Epstein on drums.

Maryann Sullivan & Corner Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) The engaging and delightful singer is joined by Reynold Phillipsek, guitar; Doug Haining, sax; Trevor Haining, drums; Jim Chenoweth, bass, for some swinging music.

Saturday, February 21

Winter Jazz Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 3pm – 9pm ($15) Presented by Jazz at Studio Z and Shifting Paradigm Records, which is celebrating the anniversary of their website  the Winter Jazz Fest will feature six of the area’s most exciting modern jazz groups: The Atlantis Quartet; Nichols, Bates & Bates; The Adam Meckler Orchestra; The Graydon Peterson Quartet, Endeavors; and Lars Larson’s Mancrush. Here’s the Adam Meckler Orchestra, in warmer times (watch for the gorilla).

Glen David Andrews @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) Andrews is a trombonist and vocalist is an electrifying performer who brings the history of New Orleans R&B, jazz, gospel, and blues to life with a jolt of energy that could light up the Superdome. He typically has the audience on its feet within seconds of hitting the stage, and they stay there throughout the performance.

Maurice Jacox Tribute to Nat King Cole @ Jazz at St. Barneys, 15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm ($10/$5 Students) From Willie & the Bees to Nachito Herrera and the Cuban National Symphony, Jacox is a vocalist who can deliver. Though he is well known in the Twin Cities, he should be wider known, but at least we get to claim him as our own. His Nat King Cole tribute is rarely done in this area, so it’s your chance to hear him use his smooth voice to sing such chestnuts as Mona Lisa, Too Young, and Paper Moon.

Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Bates on bass; Dave Hagedorn on vibes, and Phil Hey on drums perform music that is disciplined, yet flows freely from idea to idea. They have so much fun on stage that you will find yourself smiling with them.

Sunday, February 22

Lulu’s Playgound & The Paul Dietrich Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 3-5pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chamber jazz, often played with a bit of whimsy, from Lulu’s Playground  Adam Meckler, trumpet; Cory Grossman, cello; Ben Abrahamson, guitar; and Steve Hobert, accordion. They all attended Lawrence University in Wisconsin, as did trumpeter Paul Dietrich  whose Chicago-based quintet is on a short Midwest Tour. They recently released We Always Get There on the Blujazz label.

Monday, February 23

Chris Bates Red 5 & Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) It’s a double dose of quintets for late night listening. Chris Bates’ Red5: Bates  bass; Zach Lozier, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Thomson, sax; and JT Bates on drums. Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band: Healey  drums; Erick Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Brandon Wozniak, sax.

Tuesday, February 24

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Take the hot rhythms of salsa, mambos, and Afro-Cuban music and put them behind the sonic power of a big band and you’ve got music to move you out of your seats. These performances are essentially rehearsals, so you will get to hear the development of the band’s repertoire.

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, February 18

Randy Sabien on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Sabien’s website describes him as a jazz violinist, which would make him a somewhat unlikely choice for the bluesy/rootsy music heard on Harold’s House Party and at the 331. However, Sabien is a fan of the kind of music made by Bob Wills as well as the Grateful Dead, so his playing goes way beyond that expected of a jazz player. He’ll have Jim Ouska and Andy Dee on guitars and Jim Chenoweth on bass. Tune in and hear for yourself, then head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear. Here he is doing Stella Blue.

Willie Murphy & Rena Haus @ Schooners, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Murphy has been doing a soloist + guest night at the Schooner for a few months now, with he and a guest taking solo turns and then playing together. Tonight the gruff yet romantic bluesman is joined by ace songwriter and guitar picker Rena Haus, which should make for great music.

Friday, February 20

Hurricane Harold’s All Stars @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??)  It’s an early show for the ubiquitous harpist, who gathers another group of players from his vast rolodex for an evening of satisfying, danceable blues.

Firefly Forest @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (tip Jar) Jazz keyboardist Steven Hobert  as a mischievous streak, which comes out with this acoustic group that explores a variety of quiet world rhythms. You can hear the groups songs on this site.

Scottie Miller Trio @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10:30pm ($10) The Western burbs get a chance to hear Miller’s trio explore his rockin’ originals, as well as Miller’s New Orleans-inspired R&B piano playing. It’s a small, intimate room with about 40 seats, and a nice selection of beer, wine, and food. Here he is with a quartet.

Saturday, February 21

John Lee Hooker, from Black & White Blues, the photos of Marc Norberg

The cover of Black & White Blues,

Cold Snap Blues @ Icebox Gallery, 1500 Jackson St, #443, NE Minneapolis 6-9pm. If you’ve ever gone to the Dakota, you’ve undoubtedly seen the stunning photos of some the artists that have performed there. Those pictures were taken by Marc Norberg. This is the opening reception for an exhibit of thirty-three photos of blues musicians by Marc, taken during the 80s and 90s. This exhibit also marks the 20th Anniversary of the publishing of Marc’s book Black & White Blues, which contains a total of 78 images of blues artists. There will be music by bluesman/guitarist Javier Matos, while Miss Sara Oxton of KFAI’s Rockhouse, and Lolly Obeda, from KFAI’s Sugar Shop, will be spinning music by artists whose photos are on display.

Left Lane Cruiser @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This rockin’ blues duo have been regular visitors to this area since their appearance at the Deep Blues Festival some years back. Their sound is obviously inspired by the blues of the Mississippi Hill Country (think RL Burnside), though their hard-charging performances have the energy of punk rockers. Check this out.

Carnaval Brasilero 2015 Masquerade Ball @ International Market Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($30) The celebration of Mardis Gras, or Carnaval if you will, continues, this time with a Brazilian theme. This annual event has grown to encompass 3 performance stages, Brazilian guest artists, including Dandara and Samba Dancers Edilson Lima and Vanessa Luiz. Additionally, over 80 area musicians will perform including: Beira Mar Brasil; Batucada Do Norte, and Drumheart. There’s a family matinee from 3pm – 6pm for $15 at the door.

Batucada du Norte

Batucada du Norte

Sunday, February 22

Blues & BBQ @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul (Donation) This is a benefit for Johnson Como Peewee Youth Hockey, which has been invited to play in Australia. Naturally, they have to raise a bunch of $$$, so Ted Wilebski, with the help of the Blues Society, is bringing in Hurricane Harold, Dee Miller, Jimmi & the Band of Souls, Brother Sun Sister Moon, and some young folk. Here’s JImmi & the Band of Souls.

Not Done Yet: A Musical Celebration @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 4pm – 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Multi-instrumentalist Bruce Jackson has performed around the Twin Cities with Ipso Facto, Dr. Mambo’s Combo, Doug Maynard, Crossover, The New Primitives, and Willie Murphy, as well as his most recent gigs with the Moondogs88 band. He was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma in 2008 and has struggled since then but has not worked since last August. This is a benefit to celebrate his life and music and many of his long time musical friends will be performing, with Bruce sitting in. Among the performers will be Ipso Facto, The New Primitives, The Dreadlock Cowboys, and an all-star Finale.

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Como Zoo Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. (Free) Waltzes, French musettes, ballads, tangos, and other assorted rhythms, delivered with French flare by Dan Newton, master of the stomach Steinway, and his compatriots.

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.

Last Chances, New Opportunities. Music: 11.20 – 11.26

November 20, 2013
The lights will soon be on in Saint Paul's downtown parks.

The lights will soon be on in Saint Paul’s downtown parks.

The lights may be going up in Saint Paul’s Rice Park, but the days are dwindling down for the Artists’ Quarter. And so, jazz fans will have limited opportunities to see some of their favorites in the place, at least while it’s under the ownership of Kenny Horst, who should be feted for the time and effort he’s put into making the club such a special place. Things are moving nicely in Blues and Roots music, though there seems to be an emphasis on roots this week, at least from my perspective, with a couple of events that surely qualify as “Other.” All in all, this week there are many great opportunities for you to hear live music.


Wednesday, November 20

Miguel Hurtado & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Hurtado’s friends often include Brian Courage, bass; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Joe Strachan, on piano, who he’s been hangin’ with of late, but who really knows? Doesn’t matter, it will be an evening of invigorating jazz.

Maud Hixson and Robert Bell @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm. (No cover) After singing with the Wolverines Trio earlier in the evening at Hell’s Kitchen, Ms Hixson will be making her way to Barbette to sing with guitarist Bell. The late night happy-hour vibe is just right for Hixson’s smoldering, yet cool takes on standards, old and new.

Thursday, November 21

Phil Mattson Singers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Vocal jazz from a sextet directed by Grammy nominatied pianist Phil Mattson, who has done arrangements for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and other notable singing groups.

Pete and some of the X-Tet.  Photo by Andrea Canter

Pete and some of the X-Tet. Photo by Andrea Canter

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) I believe this is the last appearance of the X-Tet before the closing of the AQ on December 31. To paraphrase the title of an old Count Basie album, it’s Ten Men Swinging, which flows better than the reality of eight men and two women swinging. The two women are Laura Caviani, piano; and Kathy Jensen, baritone sax.

Friday, November 22

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10pm. With Chris Lomheim, piano, Brian Courage, bass. Intimate songs in an intimate setting. Vicky is an experienced singer who knows her way around a scatted melody, and isn’t afraid to include some non-standards in her repertoire.

Friday, Saturday, November 22, 23

UnknownLulu’s Playground @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) As we head towards the end of the year, artists will have their last chance to play the AQ. Lulu’s Playground, the accordion – cello -guitar – trumpet group is going out with a CD Release Party for The Side Show Suite, a collection of 17 short pieces based on 17 Side Show Characters created by artist Tim Nyberg. Part of the show will include the kind of verbal come-ons you hear from a carnival barker. It’s Chamber Jazz with an healthy dose of humor.

Saturday, November 23

Linda Peterson @ School II Bistro, Chanhassen. 5:30 – 8pm ($?) Since the passing of her mom, the Matriarch of the musical Peterson clan, Linda has been living in the Twin Cities. This evening, West Metro residents have a chance to hear Linda sing and play piano. I’m sure she’ll sing her well known composition, “It’s Too Late to Leave Early,” as well as other originals and standards.

Tuesday, November 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Meckler keeps churning out new music for this aggregation. The AQ is a fine setting for this 17 piece band. Here they are playing in Rice Park last summer.

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, November 20

Jon Rodine on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rodine sings Americana music, though his definition of Americana embraces a big tent with rock n’ roll, country soul, and a bit of funky grooves. His latest album with just original music is getting some nice print.

Thursday, November 21

imagesAmy Helm @ The Real-Phonic Hour, Central Library, 4th & Market, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) With Martha Scanlan, Erik Koskinen & the Real-Phonic Band, comedian Thom Middlebrook. Singer Helm was last seen here with her dad, the late Levon Helm. She impressed mightily at the time, and was a real asset to the show. Martha Scanlan will open, and the Real -Phonic band will entertain, as usual.

Papa John Kostad’s Acoustic Blues @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) Papa John will be joined Cal Hand on dobro, and by Judy Larson for a song or two. These Acoustic Blues Nights are a chance for Papa John to concentrate on the blues, and on his twelve-string. Be sure to bring an ID if you want adult beverages, which include a wide variety of British beer and some of Scotland’s finest distilled spirits.

Friday, November 22

Sangam @ Sundlin Hall, 1536 Hewitt Ave, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 9:30pm ($25/$20 Students) A musical journey, if you will through both Eastern and Western musical milieus. The evening will begin with performance of both the Indian Carnatic and Western Classical music and conclude with a collaboration among performers, who include Davu Seru, percussion; along with Nirmala Rajasekar, veena; Shri Thanjavur K. Murugabhoopathi, mridangam; and Michelle Kinney, on cello.

American Roots Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30) Four long time musicians combine their considerable talents to explore a wide variety of American music: Folk, Cajun, Gospel, R&B, Rock, Swing and Country. Robert Robinson’s voice can shake a room. Larry Long’s gifted storytelling will bring you into his songs. Tonia Hughes and JD Steele complete the quartet, which will be backed by a first class set of musicians: Cory Wong, guitar; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Johannes Tona, bass; and Michael Bland, drums.

Saturday, November 23

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) Hey la bas. The Dakota may be a bit classy for the insistent, soul shakin’ undulatin’ sounds of zydeco, but leave it to CJ to break down a Minnesotan’s reserve, just as his father did back in the day. Here’s an example of his live show.

Caprice Saxophone Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Now for something completely different. Well, different in that this quartet  will be playing new classical music, an inadequate term, from Minnesota composers Katherine Bergman, Justin E.A. Busch, Ian Cook, and Justin Rubin. The group is composed of sax players Sarah Minette, soprano; Ross Wolf, alto; Katherine Bergman, tenor; and Jessica Martin, baritone.

Tribute to Sue McLean @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Well, this is a gathering of friends of the much loved late concert promoter Sue McLean, as a way to raise funds for her daughter Lily. It’s an all-star gathering, including Patty & Ricky Peterson with Paul Metsa and band. Metsa will be performing his song Jack Ruby. Others appearing include Eric Hutchinson, Soul Asylum, The BoDeans, the X-Boys, Marc Perlman & Tim O’Reagan of the Jayhawks, The Witnesses, Rogue Valley, Molly Maher and Haley Bonar. Phew!

Armadillo Jump @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) The tiny dance floor at Manitou Station is sure to be filled as Armadillo Jump brings their unique combination of blues and jump tunes to the East Metro hot spot.

Daisy Dillman @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Childhood friends who combined four-part country harmonies with a rock drummer and electric fiddle back in 1978, the Dillmans won a couple of Minnesota Music Awards, garnered national airplay,  and then toured the country through the early 80s. They’ve played sporadically since reuniting in 2003. They’ll be a sextet tonight, with the addition of Kenny Wilson on pedal steel, banjo, and dobro.

Unknown-1Sunday, November 24

Benefit for Liz Cummings @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 suggested donation) Cummings is a singer/songwriter/pianist who was diagnosed with a particularly aggressive form of dementia in August of 2012, so members of the blues community are coming together to support her. Scheduled to appear: Willie Walker & Paul Metsa; High and Mighty, Prophets of Peace, Maurice Jacox & Friends, Who Nu, and the Dee Miller Band.


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 Memorial Weekend and more: 5.22 – 5.28

May 22, 2013

Unknown-2Well I hope that any of you with friends and family in Oklahoma have good news from them. We’ve had our own share of tornadoes here in the Twin Cities, and can understand the chaos and destruction that ensues. That said, music has the ability to help bring us together and raise our spirits. We have Memorial Day weekend coming up, and if you aren’t having a backyard BBQ, you have some great opportunities to listen to some talented musicians.


Wednesday, May 22

Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A quintet in the classic Blue Note style, this young group plays originals and mines the works of Monk and Ellington. Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Shilad Sen, tenor; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums. Snap your fingers and dig em’.

Lulu’s Playground on Live @ Studio Five, KFAI (90.3 & 106.7FM) 10pm – Midnight. Listen to the “chamber jazz” of Lulu’s Playground: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Cory Grossman, cello; Steve Hobart, accordion; and Evan Montgomery, guitar. Sit back in your own easy chair, have a late night beverage of choice and listen to the engaging music from this seemingly odd combination of instruments.

Thursday, May 23

Photo: Andrea Canter

Vicky: Photo by Andrea Canter

Vicky Mountain @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Vicki has sung in all kind of bands, from pop 40 to big bands, and is mighty fine at scatting. She’s so fine at her craft that she teaches jazz and pop vocals at MacPhail. Tonight, Vicki is being backed by the Chris Lomheim Trio. Expect music that ranges from sublime to exciting.

Enormous Quartet @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Joey Van Phillips, drums. Another project featuring bassist about town Bates. His colleagues in this musical outing are equally talented and adventurous. You can get some idea of what they sound like here.

Friday, May 24

Todd Harper’s Birthday Bash @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5-ish to 7-ish. (tip jar) Pianist Harper has been a regular feature on Friday nights, to the delight of regulars. He is often joined by friends on bass and/or drums, as he is tonight, when he’s joined by Andrew Foreman on bass and Peter Leggett on drums to help him celebrate. Wish him a happy.

The Rite of Spring: Charlie Christenson Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) I missed vocalist/pianist Christenson when he played at the Minnesota Music Cafe during last year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He is one of a handful of vocal graduate students from Manhattan School of Music and has performed in many clubs in NYC, including Birdland and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Nowadays he heads up the vocal department at McNally Smith and occasionally performs. Past trios have included Adam Meckler on trumpet, though I don’t know who will be in this group. Deadbeat opens.

Friday, Saturday, May 24, 25

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) JT Bates, drums; Mike Lewis & Brandon Wozniak, saxes; James Buckley, bass. Pianist/composer Nichols played with Chicago heavyweights like Hamid Drake and Ernest Dawkins, and received a McKnight Fellowship in 2010. For this weekend, he’s gathered a cohort of talented players to perform his original music and arrangements. Here’s a video released when Bryan released his debut CD a couple of years ago. It features some music as well as comments from Bryan and his band-mates.

Saturday, May 25

Unknown-1Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($12) Once again, Patty brings her top notch band to the Dakota, this time adding Steve Cole, tenor (Dave Koz, Sax Pack); and Ricky Peterson, B3 (David Sanborn, Stevie Nicks, John Mayer). R&B flavored jazz just right for Saturday Night.

Tuesday, May 28

Tuesday Night Band (Slight Return) @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. ($5) Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B3; and Kenny Horst, drums. They provide the party. You just have to show up.

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, May 22

Paul Metsa & Willie Walker on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. Singer, guitarist, songwriter, author, ranconteur. Paul Metsa is all of these, not to mention a perpetual seeker of musical experiences. During the last couple of years he’s been teaming up with soul man Willie Walker to provide intimate soul and blues. Here them on the House Party (90.3 & 106.7FM, which I’ll be hosting, BTW) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head to the 331 Club where they’ll be playing from 7pm – 9pm. Here they are.


Hot Club of Cowtown @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Hopped-up Bob Wills and cooking hot jazz from a trio of performers who’ve appeared on Praire Home Companion, at the Grand Ol’ Oprey, and opening for Bob Dylan. Music that will have you bouncing in your seats.

Thursday, May 23

Rory Block @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Blues guitarist Block has been making forays to the Twin Cities every few years since the old days at Wilebski’s in the 80s. She is stunning on slide guitar, and gets under the skin of classic country blues and her own originals. As an added treat, Spider John Koerner opens.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5-$10) Get out those dancin’ shoes, cuz the two step and Cajun Swing will be the order of the evening at the Eagles Club.

Martin Devaney @ the 318 Club, Excelsior. 8pm ($6) The “mayor of st. paul” is an accomplished singer-songwriter who is working on his sixth album. Tonight he brings his singular voice to the west suburban cafe with an excellent choice of beers and wines.

Friday, May 24

Walter, Russell, and Joe

Walter, Russell, and Joe

Joe Krown Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) B3 Music from New Orleans. Guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington was featured on the cover of OffBeat Magazine for New Orlean’s Jazz Fest. He used to back Johnny Adams, but has been laying down soulful licks and vocals for many, many years. Russell Batiste Jr brings that distinctive New Orleans drumming to the mix, while “leader” Joe Krown served as the piano player for Clarence Gatemouth Brown for many years. They’ve got a weekly gig at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans, and have been called “A killer collaboration” by Jan Ramsey, editor of the aforementioned OffBeat.

Saturday, May 25

Big Sandy & His Fly-rite Boys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This crack California band plays American Roots Music, including Western Swing, rockabilly, and traditional country music. All of it only a back beat or two removed from rock n’ roll. Elmer & the Thunderjets open. Miss Shannon’s Dance Class at 8:45pm, so get there early and bring dancing shoes if you really want to get in the swing of things. Check out this video.

Sunday, May 26

Curtiss A: A Tribute to Hank Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The “Dean of Scream” got a five star review in rolling Stone for his debut album in the early 80s. He’s since cemented his place in the Twin Cities pantheon of rock n’ rollers with an annual John Lennon tribute and various bands. Tonight he’s tackling the music of country legend Hank Williams, who will either spin in his grave, or more likely, be applauding and laughing from the great beyond.

Monday, Tuesday, May 27, 28

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, 55, 45), 9pm ($60, $50, $35) Cap off Memorial Day weekend with the defining funk of bassist Larry Graham. He added “the bottom, so that dancers just won’t hide” to Sly & the Family Stone’s Dance to the Music, then several years later had a mega-hit on his own with One in a Million You. He has also served as a mentor and friend to Prince, and was in Prince’s band from 1997 – 2000. Prince will probably be in the audience, though no one knows if he’ll join Graham on stage, as he did in this video;

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.

New Jazz, World Music and more for 9.12 – 9.18

September 12, 2012

Where to find some music.

In the  coming week we can look forward to a new release by the in-demand bassist Chris Bates and his three-horn group, as well as visits from some established artists from across the country and around the world.  Not to forget the work of Twin Cities area artists as well.


Wednesday, September 12

Lulu’s Playground @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) I’m excited to see this band, making their debut at the AQ tonight. Adam Meckler on trumpet, Evan Montgomery on guitar, Cory Grossman on cello, and Steven Hobert on accordion. They’re all terrific jazz players, but are comfortable in pop, rock, and even salsa. It’s an intriguing combination, made doubly so by the fact that all four have been playing together since college. Here they are doing a Dave Douglas tune.

Rhonda Laurie Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Rhonda has been playing a number of events outside the metro area, bringing her show about the Uplifting Songs of the Greatest Generation to the suburbs and rural areas, where she’s been warmly welcomed. No wonder. She gets inside the songs, and delivers them with enough swing to jog long ago memories and create new ones for younger listeners. Always worth your while. Plus, Barbette has great happy hour deals for weekday late nights.

Thursday, September 13

Lee Engele & Reynold Philipsek @ Centennial Lakes Farmers Market, 75th & France, Edina. 4pm – 6pm. (Free) Here’s a late afternoon treat for those of you living or working in the inner ring suburbs south of Minneapolis. vocalist Lee and guitarist Reynold are regular performing partners, with the ability to anticipate each other’s musical moves and the experience to make everything swing.

Black Heralds @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A relatively new group on the scene, with Sten Johnson, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, keys; Andy Schuster, bass; and Jay Augspurger on drums. Original music that melds 21st Century grooves and 20th Century influences.

Jack Brass Band @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm. ($5) Sure, it’s a late night gig on a school night, but if you’ve the energy to make it there, you’ll be energized for the ride home. JBB‘s ability to encompass the musical traditions of early jazz (no charts, improvised arrangements and singing) as well as modern era R&B (M. Gaye and R. Kelly) are the result of hard work and lots of talent.

Friday, September 14

Steven Hobert & Brian Courage @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (free) Though the ambient noise is quite loud during the dinner hour, this is a chance to see and appreciate Hobert’s thoughtful, inventive piano playing. He’s been playing with a wide variety of groups, and is always a positive contributor to whatever aggregation he’s in. I have to admit I don’t know bassist Brian Courage, but given Hobert’s taste, I’m sure the music will take flight. Just be sure to get a table near the stage.

Friday, Saturday, September 14, 15

Chris Bates Red 5 CD Release @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Then name of the CD is New Hope and the music is original, mostly penned by by bassist Chris Bates. The group features three horns: Zack Lozier, trumpet; Chris Thomson tenor and soprano sax; Brandon Wozniak, tenor and alto sax. Brother JT on drums rounds out the group. You’ll note there is no piano and no guitar. You can hear a couple of the tunes and my interview with Chris here. The music and interview start at about 20 minutes into the show.

Saturday, September 15

Mike Salovich Trio @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6-9pm (no cover) World beat guitarist Mike Salovich is joined by Marc Anderson, percussion, and Larry McDonough on piano performing some of Salovich’s originals and more.

Certain Standards: Arne Fogel & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz @ St. Barney’s, 15600 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) If you were lucky enough to be listening to KBEM at about 8:30am during the past year, your day was made brighter by a segment that featured Minnesota singers performing classic standards. Fogel conceived and produced the segments which included background on each song, while pianist Tanner Taylor provided subtle, knowing accompaniment. Tonight, Fogel will be singing those songs himself, and really, is there any other male vocalist in town that can deliver the same mix of romance and ruefulness.

Dan Musselman Trio @ Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (free) With Zach Schmidt and Andrew Foreman. Musselman is a talented, melodic pianist with an album in his own name and another with vocalist Rachel Holder. He also plays and records with Cory Wong, teaches at MacNally Smith, and is working on a doctorate in composition. Talented, indeed.

Tuesday, September 18

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm. (Suggested donation – $7) There’s been a change of plan, and Adam’s Orchestra, which usually plays the last Tuesday of the month, is playing tonight since he’ll be on the road. The talented trumpet player has been busy writing original compositions and charts for a band that’s about 18 members strong and includes a number of talented young artists. Jazz Central is located across the street from the Aveda Institute on Central, NE. Look for the glass doors at 407 Central, walk down the hall and turn left down some stairs. BYOB. To hear what they sound like, go here.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 12

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – tip jar) It is said that Crankshaft‘s approach to the blues and roots music wouldn’t be possible before punk music came along. That may be right, but don’t let the idea keep you from checking out this high-energy one-man band. You probably know the drill: tune in to KFAI during the 5:00 hour and listen, then head on down to the 331 Club to get a full blast of Crankshaft’s music.

Friday, September 14

Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm. Freshly brewed beer and freshly written tunes. It’s a 21st century version of classic blues along with a touch of folk-rock. A winning combination.

Friday, Saturday, September 14, 15

Joan Osborne @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45/$40) Inspired by Etta James and Tina Turner, Osborne has gone way past her 90s hit “(What if God Was) One of Us,” to embrace soul and R&B. She can burn through the Slim Harpo hit, “Shake Your Hips,” and turn around and kill “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted.” Should be an evening of foot stomping and hand clapping, at the very least.

Saturday, September 15

Cactus Blossoms @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($?) Classic country. Fiddle, acoustic guitars, and pedal steel. I’m talking the kind of stuff that made it to the pop charts in the 50s and 60s, with unforgettable brotherly harmonies (think of the Louvins, Delmores, or the Everlys), done up to encourage dancing. The Eagles Club features cheap drinks, just the thing for crying in your beer songs, and ruminations on modern life. For a review of their album from No Depression, click here.

Uke-Fest 2012 @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Well the ukelele keeps popping up in pop and folk music. It’s even got a superstar in Jake Shmabukuro, who’s appeared at both The Dakota and The Cedar Cultural Center. While he won’t be at the Aster tonight, a half-dozen or so players will be in attendance, including Katy Vernon, Kim Sueoka, Savanna Smith, the Meteor Boys, and the Broken Bicycles.

Sunday, September 16

Faux Playboys w/guest Eric Mohring @ The Half Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm. ($8) Show up by 7:30 and get a free lesson in Cajun dancing. The Playboys play all sorts of Louisiana music, but given that they have fiddler Mohring with them, I am sure that they’ll concentrate on Cajun and Zydeco tonight.

Saturday, Sunday, September 15,16

Namaste! Slalnte! @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm Sat, 2:30pm Sun ($15)  Here’s an intriguing change of pace. A concert of original music influenced by the Indian and Irish Traditions with Michelle Kinney (cello), Nirmala Rajasekar (veena), Thanjavur Murugaboopathi (Mridangam Drums), Graham O. Brien (Drums).

Tuesday, September 18

International Reggae All-Stars @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) Thought all reggae was the same? Check out this band. Its members hail from Trinidad, Ghana, Venezuela, and Jamaica. With Lival Jackson on vocals, and Tony Paul on percussion, the All-Stars deliver a wide range of reggae, from roots, to lovers rock and dance hall. Hear their songs on their MySpace page.

JPP & Trio Brasileiro @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) The Cedar kicks off it Global Roots Festival with a Finnish fiddle group and a Brazilian trio. Both heavily rely on strings: JPP has been playing their “Wave of Fiddles” for 30 years, and are on their 11th tour of the US. Trio Brasileiro is an acoustic group playing choro and other Brazilian music.

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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