Another week with plenty of opportunities to picnic while listening to bands. Take advantage of these opportunities while you can. Speaking of opportunities, though the closing of the Artist Quarter closed off performance opportunities for many area bands, artists are taking a do-it-yourself attitude and finding new venues or in some cases creating a whole series of jazz events. It’s another sign of the abundance of talent here in the Twin Cities. Get out, picnic to music or hang out in new, non-traditional venues. Wherever you listen, music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, July 23
Tyler Anderson Trio @ Joey Nova’s Pizza, Excelsior. (No Cover) Here’s a chance for those of you who live in the Western ‘burbs to have some jazz with your pizza. Tyler Anderson, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; Adrian Suarez, drums; playing a mix of jazz standards.
Charmin, Shapira & Friends, @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Charmin Michell’s voice is a thing of understated beauty. She’s can put an intense, yet slow burn on a torch song and in the next song turn around a spit out some fast lyrics with clarity. Joel Shapira’s nylon-stringed guitar provides just the right accompaniment, as does the various friends who step onto the stage.
Framework @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Original music from a trio that’s been playing together for 18 years or so: Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and the ever-dapper Jay Epstein, drums.
Thursday, July 24
Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) The Ordway outdoor dance series ends with O’Hagan’s big band. Dance instructors from the Cinema Ballroom will be on hand to help you learn or brush up on your swing dance and foxtrot moves.
World Jazz Collegium @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7-9pm (Tip Jar) Dan Weston, bass/percussion; Pavel Jany, guitar; Josue Alfaro, percussion & vocals. I’ll admit I don’t know much about this particular group, but any group with Pavel Jany in it deserves our attention.
Sarah M. Greer & Blu-7 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sarah is a vocal improviser who sings with a number of groups, including Jay Young’s Lyric Factory. She will be paying tribute to Nina Simone in one set and singing standards in a second set. Blu-7 includes John Iden, bass; Jim Ouska, guitar; Doug Rohde, piano; and Dean White on drums.
Rebirth Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) Rebirth is celebrating 30 years of re-imagining R&B tunes for a funky brass band, though, of course, they’re completely familiar with the traditional oeuvre as well. A couple of years ago they became the first brass band to win a Grammy. Not bad for a group that started out playing on the street corners of New Orleans.
Zacc Harris Group @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is the third of a ten-week long weekly series of original music by area groups. The fact that we have so many that can perform two sets of original music is a testament to our area’s talent. Tonight Zacc Harris, who has been gaining much praise for his guitar work, both locally and nationally, brings his group to Studio Z. Besides harris, the group (at least on the album) includes the brothers Bates – Chris on bass, and JT on drums; as well as Brandon Wozniak on sax and Bryan Nichols on keyboards.
Friday, July 25
Laura Caviani Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Caviani is a high quality pianist/composer and educator who can also sing when the moment moves her. We don’t get to see her trio often enough, so treat this as a relatively rare opportunity, especially given the intimate setting of Jazz Central.
Kronick Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Bassist/vocalist Richard Kronick leads this group, which plays tightly arranged jazz, including bop, swing, soul-jazz, and Kronick’s own compositions.
Saturday, July 26
Irv Williams’ CD Release Party @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($25, members, $30, non-members) Williams is about to turn 95 and still sounds wonderful. He’s celebrating by coming out with a new CD, Then was Then, Now is Now, in which he’s joined by Steve Blons, guitar, and Billy Peterson on bass. I’ve heard the title track, and all I can say is, what a gorgeous sound! The museum is delight as well, with exhibits that are consistently high quality, much like William’s music.
Monday, July 28
Steve Kenny’s Group 47 Vinyl Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) This band features four college-age musicians whose talent belies their youth, and their leader/facilitator, veteran trumpeter Kenny. Will Kjeer, piano; Alex Burgess, drums; Thomas Strommen, sax; and Adam Tucker, bass; bring passion, talent, and compositions to the group. The new release, Straight to Vinyl, was recorded to tape old school style, with the musicians all facing each other and no overdubbing or “creative editing” of the result. And, just like the jazz records of the 60s and 70s, the album even has a potential “hit single” in iFlower, a hard-boppish tune that can inspire dancing.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, July 23
Cafe Melange @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm. (Free) The husband and wife duo of Brian and Sheralyn Barnes perform a mixture of music: French Musettes, Gypsy Waltzes, Latin Tangos, Jazz standards… Well you get the idea. Bring a lunch or buy one in the cafe, and sit in the light-filled cortile of the Landmark Center for a thoroughly relaxing lunchtime experience.
Southside Desire @ The Como Zoo & Conservatory Courtyard, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm. (Free) Girl Group Harmonies meet Garage Rock energy with this sextet. It’s a sound that will resonate with the young, and those of us who, umm, remember the groups that inspired this sound. KFAI deejay Miguel Vargas will be spinning sounds before and between sets.
Rich Lewis Band @ Minnehaha Falls Bandstand, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) Rich Lewis was a founding member of the legendary Explodo Boys, and has been playing music for 35 years. The band plays a mix of classic rock n’ roll, soul music, New Orleans R&B, country, and standards, with some originals thrown in for good measure. Bring a picnic, or get there very early and stand in line for some food from the Sea Salt Eatery.
Thursday, July 24
Beatles Show @ Marketfest 3rd Street Stage, White Bear Lake. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Well it’s 50 years since the Beatles first performed on American Soil and The Silver Hammer Quartet is going celebrate with an evening of Beatle songs. Mike Ryan, vocals, guitar, harmonica; Andy Richards, vocals, bass; Mike Nilles, vocals, guitar; Doug Salmela drums, percussion, bass guitar. With special guest Matthew Richards on drums.
Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10pm ($5?) Get ready to spin, twirl, and two-step on the dance floor as the Pinecones bring another night of infectious Cajun and Zydeco music to the Eagles Club.
Friday, July 25
Black Diet @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) If you missed them at the Roots, Rock Festival, or Como Zoo in the past week, you’ve got a chance to catch them at the Bandshell. Their sound strikes me as being based in Memphis soul of the late 60s and 70s, with a bit more rock to the backing. At any rate, they are a great accompaniment for a summer picnic in the park.
Hookers $ Blow @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm They claim to play your favorites from “a more permissive era.” They’re talking about the 70s and the great soul, funk, and dance music of that time.
Hipshaker 45 RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Still going strong, the Hipshaker DJs play rare soul and funk 45s for your dancing pleasure.
Saturday, July 26
Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 3pm – 10pm (Free) The wonderful Mears Park provides a great setting for a festival, and this time it’s the blues. We have hard rockin’ Sena Ehrhardt at 3pm; veterans Lamont Cranston at 4:30pm; Hamilton Loomis at 6:30pm; newly crowned Queen of Chicago Blues Shemekia Copeland rounding out the day at 8:30pm.
Davina & the Vagabonds and More @ Christ the King Lutheran Church Music Festival, 8600 Fremont Ave So, Bloomington. 4pm – 9pm (Free) This family-friendly music festival features three outstanding performers from the area. Starting at 4pm is a group led by pianist Will Kjeer, just out of high school and already leading his own groups and playing with others such as Steve Kenny’s Group 47. At 5:30, it’s Salsa Del Soul, with their hot Latin sounds that are sure to bring out dancers. Davina & the Vagabonds take the stage at 7:30, showcasing Davina’s high energy modern interpretations of classic blues and jazz. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. Food is available from Famous Dave’s, and Fat Lorenzo’s, with ice cream from Culver’s.
Saturday, Sunday, July 26, 27
Palmfest @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 1pm – 1am Sat, 2pm – 1am Sun (Free) Recently listed as one of the best bars in the United States by Esquire, Palmer’s annual weekend festival celebrates the music, drinks, and general downscale bonhomie of the West Bank institution. Saturday’s line-up includes: Corpse Reviver, Spider John Koerner, Poverty Hash, and others, with Cadillac Kolstad closing out the night. Sunday look for The Farmhouse Band, McNasty Brass Band, Southside Desire, and more.
Sunday, July 27
Hula Peppers @ Boyd Park, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Free) Boyd Park is just a couple of blocks east of the Saint Paul Cathedral, on Selby Avenue. The Peppers will delight with their mix of classic tunes from the 20s and 30s, and the occasional Hawaiian tune, just cause they can. Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion, Gary Powell, Hawaiian guitar; Dave Furniss, resonator guitar; and Corey Mohan, ukuleles and musical saw. Vocalist Lauren Asheim joins in on some tunes. Her operatic training belies her 20s-style delivery (think Betty Boop), which perfectly fits the songs.
Monday, July 28
Other Country Ensemble @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Here in the U.S.A., we have our own brand of country music. This ensemble, however, plays music from other countries, infusing various music from around the world with some improvisatory jazz. It’s quite the group, with Mark Black and Stephen Spaise on percussion; Steve Clarke, reeds; Greg Herriges and Scott Nieman, bouzoukis; Louis “Rundio” Sinclair, chapman stick; David Stenshoel, violin, sax; and Laurie Knutson, flutes, clarinet, and sax.
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Stuart toured with Lester Flatt as a teenager in the 70s, followed that with six years playing with Johnny Cash, and then became a Grammy winning solo artist in the 90s, garnering five to date. He is the kind of country artist that can appeal to young hipsters, since he loves and plays the roots of the genre: bluegrass, gospel, and especially honky-tonkin’ rockin’ hillbilly music. When he and his fleet-fingered guitarist Kenny Vaughn get to twin-playing, other guitarists look on in complete delight. Check them out in this video.
Tuesday, July 29
Secret Sisters, with Jillian Rae @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) The Secret Sisters are really sisters, a fact which is not so secret. They were discovered in 2010 and released their second album, Put Your Needle Down, in April. They sing traditional country music, and originals. Resident fiddler Jillian Rae opens. The title song & video from her album Heartbeat perfectly express the rush of infatuation and the fantasies it inspires.