It’s a good week for music. There is much vital jazz going on the Twin Cities, of which I’ve only listed a few things. Then there’s the blues and roots scene, which seems to birth a new band every week. We have some visiting artists, as well as a plentiful supply of resident artists to spark our imagination and lift our spirits. Have a great week.
Wednesday, April 13
Mary Louise Knutson @ Vieux Carré,, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Knutson is an inventive pianist with a lyrical touch who plays the dinner hour at the basement club pretty regularly. She also plays with Doc Severinson, various orchestras, accompanying vocalists such as Connie Evingson, and with her own trio. Have some gumbo, ribs, or a muffaletta and wonder at how lucky you are to hear such talent.
Chris Bates and Al Vorse @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Two well-regarded bassists about town play mostly acoustic solo material, some of which will be augmented with special effects. Bates promises it will be fantastic! Here he is doing a solo piece.
Thursday, April 14
Keiko Matsui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32 – $42), 9pm ($22 – $32) Keyboardist Matsui has been thrilling fans of smooth jazz, jazz fusion, jazz pop, and new age music over the course of four decades, melding genres, as well as Western and Eastern musical influences over the course of twenty albums. She was an invited performer at the second International jazz Day concert, held in Istanbul in 2013, and has worked alongside such luminaries as Miles Davis, Stevie Wonder, and Hugh Masakela, and is a starch supporter of a number of humanitarian programs.
Sarah M. Greer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Thursdays are vocal nights at Jazz Central, and tonight’s presentation is entitled The Sound of Her Own Voice. Ms Greer, who teaches as well as performs, will be accompanied by Anthony Cox, bass; and Dean Magraw, guitar. She’s celebrating the joy of singing, as well as a birthday. Here she is leading a spontaneous sing.
Friday, April 15
A Weaving of Traditions @ Hamiline University’s Sundlin Hall, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $20 Door) This is a tribute to jazz musicians with Native American roots.The concert will include music of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and other jazz musicians with Native roots arranged for Native American style flute by Bob Fantauzzo He’ll be joined by Lyz Jaakola, on traditional Anishinaabe vocals and percussion; Anthony Cox, bass; Javi Santiago, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums and percussion. Mr Smooth, saxophonist Irv Williams will make a special guest appearance. Here’s Bob with a cellist.
Jeremy Walker/Katia Cardenas @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Walker – No Cover) 9pm (Cardenas – $8) It’s another full evening of jazz, from the sometimes introspective piano playing of Jeremy Walker who creates stunning original music, to the strong vocals of Ms Cardenas, who can tackle a wide variety of songs with ease. She’s been recording an EP, and is coins some crowd funding to finish it up. Cardenas will be accompanied by Ted Godbout, piano; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt,drums.
Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz @ Parma 8200, Bloomington (No Cover) The former radio host and current voice talent Ms Sullivan displays her talent as a winning songstess of the Great American Songbook, with Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Trevor Haining, drums. Listen to her with a slightly different group.
Friday Night Jazz in Exile @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Donation) At 7:30pm, the evening starts with the Ancia Saxophone Quartet a group that received a standing ovation this past January at the Winter Jazz Fest. Then at 8:30pm or so, Rare Medium the jazz-funk outfit whose appeal crosses generations and genres, will perform. Her’s the Ancia Quartet.
Saturday, April 16
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This promises to be an outstanding night of music, though both groups are relatively new. At 7pm: D’Sievers Quartet, w/Steve Sawyer, bass; Jon Davis, piano; Alec Tackmann, drums; John Sievers, trombone, followed at 8:30pm by the debut performance of the Free Range Jazz Quartet: Jabari Powell, saxophones; Ryan nether, trumpet; Anthony Cox, upright bass; and Rodney Ruckus, drums.
Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré,, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Young swing dancers will be moving a table or two as they strut their stuff to the engaging sounds of bassist Ms Lynch and her group. Even if you don’t dance, you will enjoy Kate’s historical perspective on the songs she plays which range from the 30s to the 60s. I’ve posted this video before, but it’s worth seeing again.
Court’s in Session Jazz Ensemble with Courtney Burton @ Studio 2 Cafe, 818 West 46th St, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover – Tip jar?) Here we have a quintet of musicians from Beasley’s Big Band playing with Ms Burton in a Southside coffee shop. Her creamy voice is well suited to jazz with blues overtones, as found in many of the standards they perform.
Sunday, April 17
Connie Evingson: Gypsy in my Soul @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. ($25) Evingson has done three different albums of Gypsy Jazz. She’ll be drawing the evenings repertoire from those as well as adapting other songs to the style. She’s ably abetted by Patrick Harrison, accordion; Dean Harrington, guitar; Mark Kreitzger, guitar; Jopsh Granowski, bass; and Dave Karr, sax.
Monday, April 18
Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Cory Healey’s Beautiful Sunshine Band just released a new album featuring Healy’s thoroughly modern original compositions. Besides Healey on drums, the group includes some of the area’s top musicians: Erik Fratzke, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; and Zacc Harris, guitar. Listen to a cut from their album.
Tuesday, April 19
Steve Hobert/Mill City Hot Club @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Hobert – No Cover), 8pm (Hot Club – $5) An early-in-the-week two-fer of jazz. Pianist Steve Hobert’s compositions and improvisations are delightfully playful, while the Mill City Hot Club will provide some acoustic swing and Gypsy Jazz. Guitarist Dean Harrington leads the quintet, whose membership varies among a core group of players. Here are some of them.
Lizz Wright @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $55) As a preacher’s kid in Georgia, Ms Wright grew up singing gospel music, which, along with jazz, folk, and the blues, informs her singing. Her latest album, Freedom and Surrender, has been well received by critics and fans alike, as have her previous four.
Irv Williams @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Williams is 96 years old and still sounding great, with a tone so smooth and beautiful, that it’s coveted by sax players half his age. He’ll be joined by Dave Graf, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Gordy Johnson, drums in the intimate, 80-seat listening space.
For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, April 13
Zack Lozier Three on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) Trumpeter Lozier can be heard with brass bands, the Doc Severinson Orchestra, the Southside Aces, Davina & the Vagabonds and with this trio, which includes Steve Hobert on keys and Keith Boyles on bass. Expect some traditional New Orleans jazz as well as some untraditional, but nevertheless swinging, takes on some classics.
Spider John Koerner @ The Happy Gnome, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Saint Paulites are in for a treat, as Spider John sets up in the Fireside Room of this unique neighborhood beer hall – well it does have 89 taps and a plethora of bottled and canned beers, as well as 250 brands of scotch. Anyway, no one can play traditional American folk and blues like Koerner, and it’s always a pleasure to hear him. Spider John plays at 7pm, followed by the Cincinatti duo Dawg Yawp at 8:30. Here’s Koerner doing a classic folk song.
Thursday, April 14
Music in Movies @ MStP International Film Festival, Saint Anthony Main Theater, Minneapolis. Mad Tiger , a film about the breakup of the Asian rock group Peelander-Z, screens at the Uptown Theater at 10pm.
Big Fat Love: John Prine’s 1/2 Birthday @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Once again, Mother Banjo and Art Vandalay present an evening of the music of John Prine, with additional performances from Doug Otto, The Eddies, Katey Bellville, Nikki & The Ruemates, and more!
Lonesome Dan Kase/Pat Donahue with Daddy Squeeze Quartet @ Vieux Carré,, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lonesome Dan – No Cover), 9pm (Pat & Daddy Squeeze – $8) The Vieux does a nice job of pairing dinner hour performers with evening acts, such as this two-fer. I’ve long been a fan of Lonesome Dan’s plaintive singing and channeling of itinerant bluesmen from the 30s. Donahue is a versatile guitarist, whose championship finger-picking style is right at home with the accordion-based music of Dan Newton, aka Daddy Squeeze. Here’s Lonesome Dan.
Friday, April 15
KFAI Listener Appreciation Night @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) There will be three rooms of music, featuring regional artists that support the station, like Dan Newton and the Cafe Accordion Orchestra, the Swamp Poppas, Mark Joseph of Big Wu, Phil Heywood, Mother Banjo, Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold, Papa John Kolstad, and more.
Larry Campbell & Teresa Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $30) Soulful Americana from a couple who have backed Dylan (Campbell spent 8 years on the Never Ending Tour), Little Feat, Hot Tuna, Emmylou Harris, Mavis Staples and Levon Helm, among others. A special treat is the opening act, Donny Fritts an architect of the Muscle Shoals sound, whose songs have been recorded by The Box Tops, Dolly Parton, Charlie Rich, Waylon Jennings, and more. He’s also been Kris Krisofferson’s keyboard player for over 40 years.
Saturday, April 16
Johnny Clegg Band w/Jesse Clegg @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($40 Advance, $45 Door)Singer/guitarist Johnny Clegg was born in England and grew up in Zimbabwe. He joined with African artist Sipho Mchunu to form the mixed-race group Juluka in the late 70’s and went on to record two platinum and five gold albums. He also recorded a million-seller with the band Savuka in the 80s, and in 2010 celebrated his 30th anniversary as a performer with a solo album called Human. He recently became a member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE). His son Jesse, a platinum selling artist in his own right, opens. Here’s Clegg. The music begins at about 20 seconds.
KFAI Listener Appreciation Night #2 @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Night Two takes a turn toward more raucous music, with Charlie Parr, the April Fools, Kinda Kinky, The Bad Companions, Blurring Agent, and more, including an open jam.
Sunday, April 17
Phil Heywood @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) Late afternoon finger picking, with occasional singing, from Heywood, a master of the form.
The Residents Present Shadowland @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($40 Advance, $45 Door) Since their formation over 40 years ago, the membership of this experimental group has been cloaked in anonymity, as they always appear in masks (often their trademark eyeball helmet), and don’t talk. They don’t give interviews either. Nevertheless, the Residents have released over 60 albums, often deconstructing popular music, or creating conceptual pieces, such as Shadowland, being performed tonight. There will be music from the Resident’s extensive catalog, interspersed with short videos about birth, rebirth, reincarnation and near death experiences. The program kicks of the a film called The Theory of Obscurity.
Monday, April 18
Music in Movies @ MStP International Film Festival, Saint Anthony Main Theater, Minneapolis. Various prices, and times. It’s another night of music at Saint Anthony Main as The World Has No Eyedea, the film about the Twin Cities freestyle rapper screens at 7pm, and Mad Tiger, about the breakup of Peelander-Z, and Asian rock band, screens at 9:50pm.
Tuesday, April 19
Lil’Smokies, with Last Revel @ Dayblock Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7 advance/$10 Door) The Last Revel is a trio that uses three part harmonies and a rebellious attitude, along with a touch of traditional folk, to liven up a crowd. The Lil’ Smokies are from Missoula MT, and have been hard at work for six years, creating a progressive acoustic sound. Their hard work paid off when they recently won the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition.
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.