Music Abounds: 9.26 – 10.2

September 26, 2018

This week’s music offerings include two highly accomplished jazz pianists – one is an NEA Jazz Master, while the other is undoubtedly on his way to earning that title. We also have a 70’s singer/songwriter icon, some swamp music, and chamber blues. We’re blessed to have so many opportunities to enjoy the uplifting power of music in many forms. Music Lifts the Spirit



Wednesday, September 26

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55, $65, $75) Vocalist Peyroux has come a long way since her days of busking in the streets of Paris. Her latest album, Anthem!, received a glowing review in DownBeat, which called it “…a finely polished production, each performance in crisp servitude to the song.” Here she is doing a Lee Dorsey song.

Cyrus Chestnut Trio feat: Buster Williams, Lenny White @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) Oh my! Pianist Chestnut is a draw all by himself, called “The best jazz pianist of his generation” by Time magazine, with a sound that reflects a gospel background, but tonight he’s joined by the master bassist Buster Williams and the formidable Grammy-winning drummer Lenny White.

Connie Evingson: Irving Berlin @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25) Ms Evingson continues to explore the Songbook series of Ella Fitzgerald. Tonight she tackles the songs of Irving Berlin.

Friday, September 28

Generic Vibes @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Despite their name, this group is anything but generic. Young musicians Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums will be performing originals and original arrangements.

Saturday, September 29

Harvey Diamond Quartet, feat Melissa Stoudt @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($15, $20) Boston pianist Harvey Diamond was one of the last students of the revered pianist Lennie Tristano. Diamond has performed in fabled clubs in both NYC and Boston, alongside NEA Jazz Masters and a multitude of jazz icons. Flutist/saxophonist Melissa Stoudt studied with Diamond as well as with the late Eddie Berger, with whom she also played. Stoudt currently plays with The Moonlight Serenaders, and the Maple Grove Big Band, in addition to composing for theatrical productions.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($20) Though vocalist Nyberghas been known to throw in the occasional pop and R&B song into her performance, she is backed by a group of outstanding jazz musicians: Sean Turner, piano; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kenny Watson, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Monday, October 1

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm ($8, $10 to guarantee seat) The sound of this 18-piece big band will fill the big lounge at Crooners, with vocal help from the Twin Cities preeminent crooner, Arne Fogel.

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30 ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Byron Johnson-Blanchard heads a few different trios, each of which features original music. Tonight he’s joined by Brad Holden, alto sax; and Keith Yanes, bass.

Jane Monheit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35, $40) Vocalist Monheit released her first album in 2000 to much acclaim for the beauty and purity of her voice. She recently released her tenth album, The Songbook Sessions, in which, with the producing and musical help of Nicholas Payton, she takes an updated approach to songs from Ella Fitzgerald.,

Kenny Barron Solo Piano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($30) Seventy-five year old pianist Kenny Barron is an NEA Jazz Master. At 19, he moved to NYC from his hometown of Philadelphia and began working with the likes of Roy Haynes, Lee Morgan, and James Moody. Since then he’s collaborated with a whole constellation of jazz luminaries, released dozens of albums, and has been nominated for a Grammy eleven times. His latest album, released earlier this year, is Concentric Circles, a quintet affair on Blue Note, though this evening you get to hear him in a solo setting.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and roots events, while the Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews ofnjazz in the Twin cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 26

Pat Donohue & the Prairie All-Stars on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I featured this group last week, playing at Crooners. Listen in if you didn’t get to hear them.  As I said – You heard them on Prairie Home Companion, or you may have seen them on local stages.  Either way, you know guitarist Donahue leads a talented band that can take on the blues, jazz, folk, and pop, and will leave you musically satisfied.

Thursday September 27

Rita Coolidge @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($40, $50) During the 70s and 80s, vocalist Coolidge was all over the charts. She won two Grammys for duet albums with then-husband Kris Kristofferson, backed-up Delaney & Bonnie and numerous other acts, had four consecutive top 25 hits, co-wrote the coda on Layla, and, during Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen Tour, became the inspiration for Leon Russell’s song Delta Lady. Her autobiography, Delta Lady: A Memoir, was published in 2016.

Jake Manders & Friends @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter/guitarist Manders  brings his folky bluegrass/Americana to Merlin’s every fourth Thursday. The Popdooksopen at 8, followed by Manders & his band at 9:30.

The Skruffians @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The Skruffians play a mix of ska, reggae, soul, and jazz, inspired by the Skatalites and other Jamaican musicians who happened to play jazz before they were recruited to play ska.

Thursday, Friday, September 27, 28

Nooky Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm Thursday ($20, $25, $30), 7pm  Friday ($20, $25, $30), 9pm  Friday ($15, $20, $25) This six piece neo-soul group includes a number of jazzers among its membership, making it easy for them to mix up a blend of jazz, R&B, and funk into a warm, inviting, groove-oriented sound using intricate horn arrangements and intimate vocals.

Friday, September 28

Back2School Cool @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul.7pm-11pm ($10, or $5w/New School Supplies) This is a fundraiser for Frogtown’s community radio station, WFNU 94.1, and Feeding Frogtown. Musical acts include Uncle T, The Nighthowlers, and Just Wulf, as well as a special guest, and DJ sets from the station’s deejays.

Saturday, September 29

Honey Island Swamp Band @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis 8pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) This New Orleans group play their own brand of swamp music encompassing classic country, New Orleans R&B, Delta blues, and artists ranging from the Band, to Taj Mahal and Gram Parsons. It’s been described as “Bayou Americana,” which is as good a description as any.

Hadden Sayers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) Red hot, high energy guitarist Sayers is a native Texan currently living in Columbus Ohio. He brings a modern touch to the blues without descending into blues-rock territory. His latest album, Dopamine Machine, was released earlier this month.

Sunday, September 30

Road to Memphis @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm – 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s once again time for a fundraiser to send some of Minnesota’s best blues acts to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis this coming January. Six acts will perform, including Harrison Street, Boom Boom Stevie V, and Annie Mack, as well as this year’s entrants, The C-Notes, Tony & Joe, and the Dee Miller Band. 

Corky Siegal & Randy Sabien @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm ($20) Chicago based harmonica player Corky Siegel first came to prominence in the late 60s and early 70s as part of the Seigel Schwall Blues Band. In ’73 they released Three Pieces for Blues Band and Symphony Orchestra, with the San Francisco Symphony. Since then Siegel has continued to explore the intersections of blues with classical music. Tonight he’s joined by versatile jazz violinist Randy Sabien, for an evening of “chamber blues.”

Monday, October 1

Bad Companions @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Get out your dancing shoes, practice up with some swing dance lessons at 7pm, and jump to the rockabilly sounds of Al Subola and The Bad Companions. 

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

Autumn is Here: 9.19 – 9.25

September 19, 2018

This Saturday The Autumnal Equinox occurs, when the sun will appear to cross the celestial equator, marking the first day of Autumn. The outdoor music season is winding down, though there will undoubtedly be some glorious days ahead. In the meantime, we’ve a passel of shows for you to consider, from celebrations of artists who have passed over, to genre-bending jazz, to a CD release party, and an outdoor concert in a sculpture park.  Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, September 19

Jazz Central Fundraiser  @ Indeed Brewing, 711 15th Avenue NE, Minneapolis. 3pm – 6pm (No Cover) All the proceeds from beer sales will benefit Jazz Central today, and starting at 6pm, 35 or 40 of the musicians that play at Jazz Central will perform in different combinations.

Kendra Shank @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Shank has released seven acclaimed CDs amid critical huzzahs from Time, Downbeat, and The Boston Globe. She’s a NYC jazz figure and has been featured n NPR, and has headlined the Blue Note, Birdland, the Jazz Standard, and the Iridum, in addition to festival appearances around the world. She’ll be accompanied by resident jazz stalwarts Phil Aaron, piano; and Graydon Peterson bass.

Thursday, September 20

Mary Louise Knutson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $20) Pianist Knutson is a bright light on theTwin Cities jazz scene, whether performing with a trio, accompanying a singer, touring with Doc Severinson, or playing with the MNJazz Orchestra and the Jazz Women All-Stars. She’ll be joined by bassist Chris Bates and drummer Greg Schulte.

Yasmeen Quintana @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This vocalist and native of Barcelona performs Latin Jazz and Neo Soul. Quintana will be backed by resident musicians Kevin Gastonguay, keys; David Feily, bass; and Arthur LA Buckner, drums.

Friday, September 21

Debbie Duncan @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Duncan is always entertaining, but more to the point, she’s a great singer who can croon ballads with great warmth, and be funky, funny, or sophisticated, as her songs require.

Saturday, September 22

Saturday Night Jazz @ the Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The17-piece Inatnas Orchestrais the brain child of the married couple composer/conducter Asuka Kakitani and trombonist/composer JC Sanford  After being an important part of the NYC large ensemble scene for years, the couple moved back to Sanford’s home town here in the Twin Cities and established Inatnas to showcase the couple’s compositions. The band includes many of the area’s A-list players, along with vocalist Kim Sueoka, joining the band for the first time. This show will be held in the large room at the Black Dog, which, based on previous shows, may still not be large enough to hold interested fans. Here is Kakitaniwith an orchestra she had in NYC aboutm6 years ago.

Larry McDonough Trio @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pn (Tip Jar) Pianist McDonough  and his trio will be presenting the Music of Bill Evans at this neighborhood pub that never has their TV on during a musical performance.

Monday, September 24

Dan Weiss Starebaby @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($20) NYC drummer Dan Weiss regularly performs with artists like Rudresh Mahanthappa, Chris Potter, and John Zorn, in addition to his own groups, one of which is Starebaby, conceived of as a group that combines jazz with the power of heavy metal and electronic new music. He’s created a group with some of the most talented and accomplished players in the current scene: Mpls native Craig Taborn and Matt Mitchell, keyboards, piano, and electronics; Ben Monder, guitar; and Trevor Dunn, bass.

Tuesday, September 25

Maud Hixson: The 1920s Songbook @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) Vocalist Maud Hixson and musical partner pianist Rick Carlson will present songs created in the 1920s, along with stories of th songwriters and singers and an explanation of the slang of the time.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 25, 26

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55, $65, $75) Vocalist Peyroux has come a long way since her days of busking in the streets of Paris. Her latest album,  Anthem!, received a glowing review in DownBeat, which called it “…a finely polished production, each performance in crisp servitude to the song.” Here’s a cut from the album.

Cyrus Chestnut Trio feat: Buster Williams, Lenny White @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) Oh my! Pianist Chestnut, called “The best jazz pianist of his generation” by Time magazine, is a draw all by himself with a sound that reflects a gospel background, but tonight he’s also joined by the master bassist Buster Williams and the formidable, Grammy-winning drummer Lenny White.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and roots events, while the Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews of jazz in the Twin Cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, September 19

Stephanie Niles on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Pianist and singer/songwriter Niles can play raucous juke joint blues, then turn around and barrel through the changes on a jazz tune. Chicago born, she spends her time in New Orleans when not on the road, which is about 150 nights a year.

John Oates @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50, $55) You may know Rock N’ Roll Hall of Famer John Oates as half of Hall & Oates, but you probably don’t know of his love for Americana music. He’ll demonstrate his approach the genre with songs from the recently released album Arkansas, backed by The Good Road Band: Russ Paul, pedal steel; Guthrie Trapp, guitar; Steve Mackey, bass; and Josh Day, drums.

Thursday, September 20

Gilded Palace Sinners @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis.7:30pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Eleven, count em, eleven talented musicians from various Americana bands in the area come together to celebrate the “Cosmic American Music” of Gram Parsons, who helped create country rock in the 70s playing in bands like The International Submarine Band, the Byrds circa Sweetheart of the Rodeo, and the Flying Burrito Brothers.

Miss Myra & the Moonshiners w/Special Guest Papa John Kolstad @ Vieux Carre, Satin Paul. 8pm ($7) Miss Myra and her band serve up a bracing dose of barrelhouse blues and jazz, with Miss Myra handling guitar and most vocals. They are joined tonight by Papa John Kolstad, who knows a thing or three about blues and swinging jazz himself.

Friday, September 21

Pat Donahue & the Prairie Home All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($12, $15 to guarantee your seat) You heard them on Prairie Home Companion, or you may have seen them on local stages.  Either way, you know guitarist Donahue leads a talented band that can take on the blues, jazz, folk, and pop, and will leave you musically satisfied.

Saturday, September 22

Annie Mack @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Mack isn’t your normal 12-bar blues singer. Her blues is tinged with gospel, a bit of classic Motown, and the occasional county twang. Come early to see the folk-blues of Nikki Roux & Rich Rue, who play from 6:30-8:30pm.

Built To Last Festival IV @ The Hook & Ladder and Moon Palace Courtyard, Minneapolis. 5pm ($15 Advance, $20 Door. GA plus Afterparty – $25 Advance, $30 door) Here’s a chance for Deadheads as well as more casual followers of The Grateful Dead to celebrate the legendary band’s music with headliner Peter Rowan, jam-grassers Kind Country, and a number of Grateful Dead tribute bands, including the Jones Gang, which will perform the Built to Last album.

22nd Annual Art & Artists Celebration @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St. Croix Trail, Fraconia. 11am – 7pm (Free, $5 Parking) If you’re up for a small road trip, this day of music and sculpture is a chance to see new sculptures, listen to five different bands, and take part in some family-friendly activities, including the creation of solar fountains and transforming stuffed animals into one-of-a-kind assemblages. There will also be guided tours showing off just-completed sculptures. Musical acts include Harper’s Jar, a youth band; Sharon is Karen, a trio performing grunge, and indie music of the 90s; the soulful sounds of Retro Soul & the Westside Horns; the soul & funk of Jaedyn James & The Hunger; and the blues, roots, and country of Corey Medina & Brothers. FMI, go here.

Sunday, September 23

Ben Cook-Feltz Album Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Pianist/singer/songwriter Feltz is celebrating the release of his EP, BCF. It’s a charming project, from the punk-rockish Intro, through the gospelish Holy Water, the country rocker Come On By, a cover, and the funny rave up of the outro. Feltz will have a number of guests, many of whom took part in the EP, including Jillian Rae, Kari Arnett, Mother Banjo, Ben Miller of the Federales, and Haley Rydell of the Lowland Lkers. Opening set by Sarah Morris and the Sometimes Guys. Here’s something from his previous work.

Tribute to Aretha w/Ginger Commodore  @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) While no one can replace Ms Franklin, Ginger Commodore, with an background in gospel and stints in The Sounds of Blacknessand Moore By Four, will have no trouble honoring the spirit of the late Queen of Soul.

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.

Resident and Visiting Artists: 4.29 – 5.5

April 29, 2015

Unknown-1Spring is finally busting out with buds on the trees, and grass getting greener. With the weather getting nicer, it will be easier to get out in the evenings to continue Spring Rejuvenation with some music. this week I’m highlighting eight visiting artists in both jazz and roots/blues, as well as a talented bunch of resident artists, including a few with national reputations. Have a good week. Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, April 29

Ben Abrahamson Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) With apologies to Paul Mayasich, Jazz Central seems to be having a Guitar-a-thon this evening as features two other guitarists in his trio: Nich Champeau and Jacob Park Evans. Abramason can be seen around town playing with Lulu’s Playground and the Thomas Nordlund Quintet.

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Today is the anniversary of Duke Ellington’s Birthday and is also Andrew Walesch’s birthday, so to celebrate, vocalist/pianist Walesch is performing the songs of Ellington. He’ll be ably supported by Dave Graf, trombone, Bob Parsons, woodwinds; Mac Santiago, drums, and Gary Raynor, bass. Here’s Walesch doing a solo number

Wednesday, Thursday, April 29, May 30

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $60), 9pm ($30 – $50) Hard to believe that it’s almost 20 years since this boho-jazz chanteuse released her first album in 1996. Peyroux retreated from her original success by returning to busking in the streets of Paris, nor releasing her second album until 2004. Now she’s touring behind a greatest hits collection on Saint Paul’s Red House Records, which includes the title song “Keep Me in Your Heart” includes the previously unreleased title track from the movie Union Square. Her somewhat small, Billie Holiday-like voice, combined with unique interpretations from songs across genres, makes her an audience favorite.

Thursday, April 30

Debbie Duncan: International Jazz Day @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahh, it’s a celebration of jazz that takes place all around the world, and Ms Duncan and the folks at Jazz Central are doing their part.

Friday, May 1

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra & the Anoka Ramsey College Jazz Ensemble @ the Performing Arts Center, Anoka Rmsey Comm College, Coon Rapids. 7pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear a hot big band that specializes in Latin Rhythms as well as a student ensemble. And it’s free!

Framework @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates  bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, are each worthy of leading their own groups, and they sometimes do, but tonight they collaborate, to create 21st Century jazz.

Saturday, May 2

Andrew Kolker w/Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kolker is a saxophonist/composer/arranger who has 7 CDs as a leader and has worked with Ray Barretto, Maria Schneider, Billy Hart and others. He’ll be playing with Chris Bates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes. Considering the close communication and interplay of the trio, this should be a killer of a show.

Jason Moran and Rober Glasper @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm (Sold Out), 10:30pm ($28) These two contemporary pianists are not only helping to define jazz piano for the 21st Century, but are friends from high school in Houston. They’ll be mixing classic boogie boogie, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, and hip-hop tunes in duets such as those that were ecstatically received at the 75th anniversary of Blue Note Records.

Unknown-2Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Dave Brattain Group w/Mac Santigo on drums opening at 7pm. Featured artist is Anthony Cox’s DD7, featuring Cox on bass, JT Bates on drums, Brandon Wozniak on sax, and Steve Kenny on trumpet/flumpet.

James Buckley Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5-$20 suggested Donation) Buckley is the bassist who works with a variety of jazz, indie-rock, and folk-rock groups. Working with Bryan Nichols on keys and JT Bates on drums, Buckley and his bandmates create modern, original, sometimes ethereal, and always accessible jazz. Here they are with the title song from their last CD.

Sunday, May 3

University of MN Jazz Ensemble I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Free) The ensembles will be playing the music of Woody Herman and Count Basie.

Monday, May 4

Scott Agster @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The trombone player cooks, whether he’s in a salsa band, or co-leading the Explosion Big Band. Thought the lighting is bad, here’s a video of a previous Jazz Central performance.

Tuesday, May 5

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Bennett’s Chops and Railhouse, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s the place to go when you’re looking for traditional New Orleans Jazz. Don’t be surprised if one of the older listeners starts a parade around the small chophouse.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 29

Jake Manders on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip jar) Singer/songwriter/guitarist Manders just released his second acoustic/rootsy album, Acousitc Frequency. Whether performing under his own name (often with fiddler Greta Huntstiger) or with the alt-blugerass Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, Manders’ songs reveal an undercurrent of hope even in the most mournful times. Tune in at 5pm and head over to the 331 Club at 7.

Charanga Tropical @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free, Donations Accepted) The Charanga is an elegant dance from Cuba, always played with a small violin section. This group  led by saxophonist Doug Little, also plays lively salsas. They are the first American group to be invited to the Danzon Festival in Cuba, which takes place at the end of June, and are now working to raise the money for the trip. They’ve got a Kickstarter program, and are performing a series of concerts to publicize the program and raise funds.

Thursday, April 30

American Pleasure Dome @ Grumpy’s NE, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This indie-rock quartet caught my attention in part because of the presence of guitarist Park Evans, who also plays with the New Primitives and a score of area jazz groups, and bassist/vocalist Brenda Shepard of the Rebel Queens. The group is led by songwriter Hans Schumacher, and also features Joel Arlpin on drums.

Friday, May 1

Charlie Parr Jumpstumper Release @ The Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($18) The unassuming, simple living Parr has amassed a great deal of fans over the course of 12 albums of old-sounding blues and roots music. Jumpstumper is his latest album, and his debut on Red House Records. It’s also the first solo album in which he has a backing band, and they serve him well, proving an effective foil to his declamatory songs and stories. Hear cuts from the new album here.

Joe Louis Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Bluesman Walker grew up in the Bay area and at a young age had already played with John Lee Hooker, Thelonious Monk, and Steve Miller. He was a roommate to Mike Bloomfield for a few years, whose death prompted Walker to change his lifestyle, enroll in college and perform with a gospel group. In 1985 he returned to the Blues, and has been hard at it ever since. The sharp guitar lines of this Blues Hall of Fame inductee (2013) can range from rockin’ to soulful.

Saturday, May 2

The Pines EP Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $30), 9pm ($20-$25) The Pines are another roots music act that has been steadily increasing their fan base through steady touring. Though David Huckfeldt and Benson Ramsey are both natives of Iowa, they met in a Mexican barrio in Arizona, relocated to Minneapolis, and released their first album in 2004. Since then they’ve managed to blend roots and blues with indie-rock proclivities to national acclaim while remaining true to an acoustic aesthetic. Here’s a performance from about 18 months ago.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover?) This is one of Davina’s dance gigs, and though the dance floor isn’t very big, it will undoubtedly be filled.

home-image-3High & Mighty @ Narrows Blues Saloon, Navarre. 9pm ($?) This ten-piece horn band has three vocalists and a repertoire that ranges from Lady Gaga and Mayer Hawthorne to the Ohio Players, Aretha Franklin, and Kool & the Gang. In other words, they’ve got your dancing jones covered.

Sunday, May 3

Paul Thorn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($36) Thorn is an entertaining roots-rock storyteller and songwriter whose life has had enough twists and turns to provide provide endless fodder for his songwriting. While previous albums have featured stories drawn from his life, his latest CD, Too Blessed to be Stressed is an intentional effort to write songs that not only have universal truths, but make people feel good. Once you get through the introduction to this video, you’ll get a taste of his outlook and his new music.

Tuesday, May 5

Salsabrosa and Alma Andina @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) It’s Cinco de Mayo and some salsa dancing is in order. Alma Andina opens with some Andean-inspired folkloric music, followed by a couple of dance lessons and the sounds of Salsabrosa with special guest Esti Price singing some Mexican classics.

Tuesday, Wednesday, May 5, 6

The English Beat @ The Dakota, Minneapolis ($35-$40) The English Beat were one of the pillars of the  British Two-Tone ska movement in the early eighties, with their message of love, unity, inclusion and dancing. After disbanding in ’83, members went on to form General Public, International Beat, and Fine Young Cannibals. A reunion in 2003 reinvigorated the group, and they’ve remastering their old albums and rereleasing them with bonus tracks and DVDs, the latex of which is Special Beat Service. I’d be might surprised if some Gen Xers don’t find room to dance.

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.

Friends, Families, and Celebrations. Music: 4.3 – 4.9

April 3, 2013
I often play vinyl on Rhythms and Grooves. Photo by Tom Trow

I often play vinyl on Rhythms and Grooves. Photo by Tom Trow

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that a couple of times a year I ask that you support KFAI Radio, where I broadcast my jazz show, Rhythm and Grooves, each Saturday morning from 10:30-Noon. Once again I will only have one chance to gather support for my show and ask that you phone in (this Saturday, April 6) at 612-375-9030 during those hours and pledge. You can also go online at: and pledge.

Enough of the commercial. This week’s shows include a couple of celebrations of contemporary music that stretches boundaries, as well as some rootsy genre-bending and some 21st Century examples of jazz, blues, and folk. Maybe you’ll be inspired to stretch your own musical boundaries. Have a good week.


Wednesday, April 3

Madeline Peyroux @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65), 9pm ($50) Peyroux’s latest album, “Blue Room” is an homage to Ray Charles and his “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.” Blue Room debuted at number one on ITunes and Amazon and has already received a number of accolades, and now is at the top of all jazz charts. Peyroux sheds new light on some of Charles’ reinventions, and adds a few new twists of her own to others. Tonight she has a string quartet with her to add just the right amount of sweetening. Here’s a video of her doing a Buddy Holly song from the new album.

Lila's Grandfather, the one and only Albert Ammons

Lila’s Grandfather, the one and only Albert Ammons

A Tribute to Albert Ammons: Butch Thompson, Lila Ammons, & Axel Zwingenberger @ Schmitt Music, 2906 W. 66th, Edina. 7pm – 8:30pm. ($10) Here’s a special show which advance reservations are needed. Lila Ammons is the granddaughter of the late boogie-woogie pianist Albert Ammons. Classically trained as an opera singer, she has nevertheless chosen to pursue jazz and blues, touring Europe extensively with renowned German pianist Axel Zwingenberger, who has over 30 albums to his credit. The inclusion of Butch Thompson to the evening provides some icing on the cake.  Call 612-238-9941 for reservations.

Evan Montgomery Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm. (Donation) Jazz Central expands its role as a place for musicians to hang and try out new material. Tonight, Guitarist Evan Montgomery is joined by second guitarist Park Evans; Matt Peterson, bass; Cory Grossman, cello; and Jay Epstein, drums. Sounds like a night of inventive music, played by imaginative musicians.

Thursday, April 4

Triosé +1 Live Recording @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Guitarist Vinnie Rose leads Triosé, which includes Jeremy Boettcher on bass and Adrian Suarez on drums. Tonight, they’re adding up and coming trumpeter John Raymond, back home for a visit from Brooklyn.

Friday, April 5

Two Trumpets, Two Vocals @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:30pm (Donation) Adam Meckler and Jana Nyberg are one trumpet and vocal. Benje Daneman and Ashley Gonzalez comprise the second set. Adam and Benje met in 1999 and have kept in touch though taking differing, but similar paths, marrying jazz vocalists, and ending up in The Twin Cites and NYC, respectively. These “jazz families” will each perform a set and then join together at the end of the evening. They’ll be backed by Brian Courage, bass; Evan Montgomery, guitar; and Zach Schmidt, drums.

Friday, Saturday, April 5,6

DownloadedFileBilly Holloman & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10? – $15?) Billy Holloman’s B-3 playing anchored the AQ’s Tuesday Night Organ Night for ten years, building a huge following here in the Twin Cities. Many of the Cities’ finest musicians would often sit in, and I expect you may see more than a few turn up for this gig. The place will be packed, so be forewarned and get there early if you want a seat.

Saturday, April 6

Vicky Mountain & Her Swingers @ Social Dance Studio, 3742 23rd Ave S, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 12:30am ($10/$8) Free dance lessons at 7:30. Music starts at 8:30. Vicky swings tunes from Ella to Van Morrison, with Chris Lomheim, piano; Doug Haining, sax; Bill Grenke, bass; and Bruce Wintervold, drums.

Sunday, April 5

John Zorn @ St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, 519 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis. 12am  – 1am (Free) Avant Garde composer, musician, and producer John Zorn is celebrating his 60th birthday by capping off a day of three concerts with six bands at the Walker Art Center with a free, solo organ concert across the street.

DownloadedFile-1Steve Davis @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Davis is a well-traveled trombonist who has worked as a sideman with Larry Willis, Freddie Hubbard and The New Jazz Composers Octet, Slide Hampton and The Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All­-Star Big Band, The Jimmy Heath Big Band, Cecil Payne, and Horace Silver, among others. He is a member of the One for All Collective withEric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, John Webber and Joe Farnsworth, which has released 12 critically acclaimed CDs since the late 90s. First set will be with the James Buckley Trio. Second set with Friends.

Monday, Tuesday, April 8, 9

John Scofield Hollowbody Band w/Mike Stern @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42) 9pm ($32) In spite of the name, both Scofield and Stern will be playing solid body guitars, but that really doesn’t matter. Both played with Miles Davis, and both have gone on to establish themselves as top-notch players. Scofield is seen as a bit of a guitar god with jam band fans as well as with jazz fans, due in no small part to his ability to seamlessly move between the genres. Stern, for his part, was named Best Jazz Guitarist of the Year in 1993 (Guitar Player Magazine) and was nominated for a Grammy for his 2009 Album, Big Neighborhood. Watch out for drooling guitar players in the audience.

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

Thursday, April 4

Rahsaan Patterson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) Head bobbing, dance-floor inducing neo-soul and contemporary R&B from a singer who who isn’t as well known as he should be. Here’s a video.

Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8pm – 11pm. (No cover)  East Metro denizens have a chance to check out some high powered, well delivered, rootsy, bluesy, and rockin’ sounds. The Innocent Sons will get an extra boost from Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harp.

Friday, April 5

Fattenin’ Frogs CD Release Party w/Awkward Sorrows @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Yes, it’s free, but the taproom only holds about 70 folks, so unless the weather is warm, and the loading door is open, get there early to get a seat. What you’ll hear are the Frogs performing rock n’ roll, blues, and country music from the first half of the 20th Century, using mostly acoustic instruments. They’re celebrating the release of a CD single, “Coming Home.” The Awkward Sorrows, who open, complement the Frogs, in that they use bluegrass instrumentation to play some classic country, a bit of rock n’ roll, and originals. This is part of Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Fridays series. Here are the Frogs (with the Lily Pads backup singers)

Gordon Bok @ Bethel Lutheran Church, 4120 17th Ave S, Minneapolis. ($20) Bok grew up in maritime Maine, where sea chanties, as well as classic country and traditional music from various European countries were part of his life’s soundtrack. Since his first album in 1965, he’s recorded a few dozen albums, with those songs, as well as originals that revolve around myths and truths about boat culture, life on sea, and the fisherman who make their living there.

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Though Larson has a voice that can do justice to standards, she keeps it in the Emmy Lou Harris/Patsy Cline range when she sings her original songs of heartbreak and determination.

DownloadedFile-2Galactic @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($27) With Nigel Hall Band. These jazz/funksters from New Orleans can serve up a second line and turn around and jam til the patchouli incense has dropped its last ash.


Friday, Saturday, Sunday, April 5, 6, 7

Zeitgeist Early Music Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm, Fri, Sat, 2pm Sun ($10) The members of Zeitgeist examine the impact of the electronic signal on music. They’ll perform minimalist works from Steve Reich, and the electronic/rock group The Silver Apples, as well as works from contemporary music pioneers such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen. For more information on each night’s program go here.

Saturday, April 6

Mother Banjo’s 6th Annual John Prine Tribute @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.  10pm – 1am (Tip jar) Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo, is once again celebrating John Prine’s 1/2 Birthday by bringing together a bevy of artists to sing his songs, including Dana Thompson, Baby Grant Johnson, Brianna Lane, Ben Cook-Felta, Art Vandalay, and of course, the Mother Banjo Band. There’ll be prizes and general hoo-ha galore.

Sunday, April 7

Tim Eriksen and the Trio de Pumpkintown @ Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. ($15) Love songs of the sea, fiddle tunes, ballads, shape-note and Afro/Celtic gospel! Tim is joined by Peter Irvine on percussion and Zoe Darrow on fiddle.


Blues Women International @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 1pm. ($10) This event is raising funds for Blues Women International, an organization that supports and encourages female blues musicians. What a line-up: Bluedog, Dee Miller Band, Annie Mack, Lisa Wenger Band, Liz Cummings, Davina & the Vagabonds & Rena Haus. If you can’t have a good time today, you may want to check your pulse.

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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