The Song Remains the Same: 1.25 – 1.31

January 25, 2017
Music may be the one thing that unites us.

Music may be the one thing that unites us.

Well, the new administration in the White House may be talking about, and making, big changes, but one thing remains the same: the quality of the music here in the Twin Cities area. Whether you’re concerned about the current state of affairs, or looking forward to change, live music will give you some hours of enjoyment and a chance to commune with others who enjoy music as well. After all, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, January 25

Yohanes Tona @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Ethiopian bassist Yohanes Tona will be celebrating there release of 13 Months of Sunshine as part of the American Composer’s Forum Landmark to Lowertown Series. Ethiopia is the only country that uses the 13-month Coptic Calendar, and the album celebrates the sound and the equatorial climate of that nation. Ethiopian food will be for sale.

Leigh Kamman Interviews w/Mose Allison @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project will present at least four interviews that Kamman had with Allison during the course of their careers. The interviews are taken from tapes of Kamman’s shows that are part of his archives accumulated during 70 years of broadcasting. Selections from Allison’s recordings will be played during the intervals between dialog.

Keston & McKinney @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Here’s an evening of what sounds like adventurous music. Cody McKinney  bass/composition; and Jon Keston, electronics and sound design; present Sound/simulacra: A monthly series they describe as a “fateful and intentionally distorted” representational process. Sound/simulacra will bring together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal.”

Thursday, January 26

Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Sullivan is celebrating a birthday, and helping her out are: Phil Aaron, piano; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. It will be a swingin’ birthday party.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Featuring the WISE quartet: Pete Whitman, saxes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. They’re a hard-charging group of some of the best musicians in the area.

Friday, January 27

Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Kogan has been having a ball with jazz since retiring as the Tympanist at the Minnesota Orchestra. His two recordings show a musician that’s conversant in bebop, hard bop, post-bop, and mainstream jazz. He’s joined by Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Phil Aaron, piano; and Gary Raynor, bass. He and the band will also be appearing at the Winter Jazz Fest Sunday afternoon (see below for link) Here’s what they sound like.

Steve Cole Superband @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Saxophonist Steve Cole has been celebrated for his catchy singles, earning him the respect and adulation of smooth jazz fans, though he far exceeds the limitations of that term. He’s worked with artists such as Junior Wells, Buddy guy, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Carlton, and Boz Scaggs, among others. In addition to his touring quartet, Cole will be joined by Patty Peterson on vocals, and Ricky Peterson on organ and keyboards.

Somi @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27 – $37) Somi is an American born vocalist whose parents came from Rwanda and Uganda. After spending 18 months in Lagos, Nigeria, she recorded The Lagos Music Salon, a CD that reached #1 on US Jazz Charts. The album includes guest artists Angelique Kidjo, Common, and Ambros Akinmusire, and integrates jazz, pop, R&B, and her own insightful lyrics. She’ll be performing music from the album and previewing new music from an upcoming album about Harlem.

Saturday, January 28

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This performance is part of the Winter Jazz Fest, and features the Tommy Bentz Quartet opening, with Bentz, guitar; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Jason McLean bass; and Alex Burgess on drums. at 8:30pm The Ruckus returns to the Twin Cities after a tour, featuring Greg Byers, Cello; Javier Santiago, piano; and Rodney Ruckus, drums.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Former Minneapolitan Bruce Henry now lives in Chicago, which is close enough that he can get up here every few months. He is a master vocalist, with a voice that floats over octaves, whether he’s invoking Nina Simone, Al Jarreau, or Stevie Wonder. His musical imagination has earned him fans throughout the United States and Europe. Backing him will be Jay Young, bass; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; Dean Magraw, guitar; Sean Turner, keys; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Jesse Simon’s B3Q @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Jesse Simon has put together a B3 Quartet, hence the moniker. It includes Evan Benidt, tenor; Cole Mahlum, guitar; and Abebi Stafford on the Hammond B3. Their repertoire includes rarely heard hard bop by the likes of Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon, and Hank Mobley.

Saturday, Sunday, January 28, 29

Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival @ Various Venues, Downtown Saint Paul.  5pm Saturday ($25); 1:30pm Sunday ($35) ($50 for both days) This year’s Winter Jazz Fest is headlined by New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton on Sunday night, with performances by Patty Peterson, Jon Weber, Andrew Walesch, John Penny, The Dakota Combo, and more. Saturday’s events start at the tpt Street Stage, where film archivist Bob DeFlores partners with the Leigh Kammen Legacy Project to present rare and historical films, as well as interviews by Leigh Kammen from throughout his career. Later on there will be music at Golden’s, Vieux Carré,  and the Black Dog. Sunday features shows at various performance spaces in the Saint Paul Hotel. For a complete schedule, go here.

Sunday, January 29

Tuck & Patti @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 8pm ($30, $35) This vocal/guitar duo has been creating magical musical moments for about four decades. The extraordinary voice of Patti and the virtuosic guitar playing of Tuck crosses genres, and creates breath-holding, spell-binding moments using complex guitar work within minimalist arrangements.

Monday, January 30

Matty Harris Double Septet CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Harris is a multi-instrumentalist (mostly reeds) and composer who grew up in Edina and went to school in Southern California, where he assembled a group of 13 other musicians to record his compositions. Tonight, I am assuming he’s recruited Twin Cities musicians to perform in this CD release party (Vinyl also available). He describes his music as “somewhat avant-garde jazz-rock fusion,” or “psychedelic chamber jazz.” You can hear examples of his work here.

Tuesday, January 31, Wednesday, February 1

Nellie McKay: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton @ The Dakota, Minnepolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $50) McKay is a vocalist/pianist whose charm, whimsy, and  satirical wit have earned her many fans among jazz, pop, and cabaret audiences. For this appearance she’ll be performing “A Girl Named Bill,” a “revue-with-dialogue” about a fairly successful saxophonist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton, who wasn’t discovered to be a woman until his death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay. Here’s an example of her satire.

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, January 25

LukeWarm and the Cool Hands on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Pickin’ and Grinnin’ from a six-piece string band that’s been entertaining folks with bluegrass/folksy/jugband sounds since 2009.

Dieselfitters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm Rootsy rock, rockabilly, vintage country, and rhythm and blues, fired up by Clay Williams dazzling guitar work, and built on the sold foundation of Dan Peterson’s bass; and Mike Sandell on drums.

Thursday, January 26

FireFall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) With a musical history that spans four decades, FireFall has had three gold albums, two Platinum albums, and eleven chart-topping singles, bringing mellow rock and country rock to fans around the world.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) This quintet plays the highly infectious music of Southern Louisiana, from R&B to Cajun & Zydeco, delivered by Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Dick Danaher, sax & rub board; Dehl Gallagher, drums; Rusty Jones, bass; and Tim Mauseth, guitars; for dancers of varying stripes.

Friday, January 27

Jayanthi Kyle @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a real treat. Kyle is a terrific gospel and soul singer who has been heard around town in a number of bands, including Black Audience, and Gospel Machine, while also singing backup for Romantica and Ben Kyle. She and guitarist We Burdine composed a song entitled “Hand in Hand” for the Million Artist Movement that has since become the unofficial anthem of the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter movement.

The Dead of Winter @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($98 Advance/$10 Door) Deadheads Unite! It’s an evening of psychedelic and Grateful Dead music, featuring the Jef Cierniak Triptet. Cierniak spent 8 months working with Grateful Dead keyboard player Vince Welnick and also played on two tours with Melvin Seals and JGB (The Jerry Garcia Band). The show also features The Jones Gang  a GD Tribute band since 1996; and LazyLightning420  featuring Erik Berry of Trampled By Turtles, and March Gartman of Two Many Banjos and Glitteratti. They often perform entire Grateful Dead concerts.

Saturday, January 28

Malamanya and Siama Matuzungidi @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Here’s an evening of music that is anything but Minnesotan, though it is made by Minnesotans. Siama Mtuzungidi is a Congolese guitarist now living in the Twin Cities, who played on many Souskous hits in Africa. Malamanya features the highly danceable vintage sound of Cuban and Latin rhythms and melodies, delivered with verve and élan.

Charles Lawson w/John Beach & Mary Leinfelder @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson continues his monthly residency at the comfortable, Irish pub. Tonight, he and his band will have a couple of special guests: Twin Cities legend, pianist John Beach; and vocalist Mary Leinfelder, a strong performer who is happy just sitting in with area bands from time to time.

Samba Social Club @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10-pm ($5) Dance lesson, prizes, and the twelve-piece Samba Meu band playing Brazilian roots music. Squirrel Haus Arts isn’t a bar, so it’s BYOB (alcoholic or not). You can chill out or dance.

Inside straight Blues Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free drink) Inside Straight has been around for decades, bringing the blues to the metro area and occasionally beyond. Members include: Kurt Koehler on Guitar; Bill Swanson on Keys;’ Mark Zmuda on Bass; and Greg Mans on Drums. Tonight they’ll be joined by the Big Horns: Steve Clarke and Rand Evenson.

Monday, January 30

Tom Hunter @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Pianist Tom Hunter’s background includes recording and touring with Bernard Allison, as well as touring with Mary Cutrufello in support of an Allman Brothers Tour. A hard working musician, Hunter plays about 300 gigs a year, including a weekly church gig at United Methodist Church in Minnetonka. He’s versatile enough to play jazz or Billy Joel, but his forte is the blues. Hunter will be taking off on a weeklong tour of Alaska tomorrow, so stop by and wish him well.

Tuesday, January 31

Beijing Bamboo Orchestra @ Sundlin Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free, Reservations required) Here’s a very unique concert, being held in the music hall of Hamline University. Over twenty musicians will perform Chinese and western classical music on newly invented strings, winds, and percussion instruments all made of bamboo. For reservations: or call 651-523-2459. Here’s a video – it takes about a minute to get to the 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.

More Winter, More Music: 1.21 – 1.27

January 21, 2015
Are we getting hazardous pay for this gig?

Are we getting hazardous pay for this gig?

The weather is warming and Saint Paul is about to celebrate Winter Carnival, with all the hoopla and shenanigans that entails, including a downhill ice-skating event (don’t ask). Whether you attend the Carnival festivities or not, there is still plenty of music for your enjoyment and participation this week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, January 21

McNally Smith College of Music Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman directs this collection of about 16 musicians who are studying at McNally Smith. It’s an explosive group with outstanding musicians, including an African violinist, Brazilian bass player and some graduate level students. A very exciting group.

Thursday, January 22

David Berkman @ Jazz in the Target Atrium, Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($25)  The Jazz in The Target Atrium is a new series by Orchestra Hall, pairing visiting musicians with an ensemble of resident musicians: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Anthony Cox, bass; and JT Bats, drums. Pianist/composer/bandleader Berkman is an award-winning musician whose recordings often end up on the best-of critics lists in Downbeat, The Village Voice and the NY Times.

Pavel Jany & Gary Schulte @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested donation) A special appearance by two members of the Talking Strings Trio  Jany is an exceptional guitarist with a bent for Brazilian rhythms (he leads Ticket to Brasil) and international jazz. Schulte is a violinist who brilliantly plays in a number of genres, from Gypsy Jazz, to classical improvisation to poetry-jazz and Black Gospel music.

Friday, January 23

null-1 Unknown-2Maryann Sullivan & Andrea Canter Photo Reception @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Reception), 8pm – 11pm (Music – Tip Jar). The Black Dog is featuring the wonderful photography of Andrea Canter this week. Andrea is a constant presence on the jazz scene and has had a number of her jazz photos featured in Downbeat. This exhibit features photos of both resident and visiting musicians as well as some of Andrea’s landscapes and urban images. After the reception, vocalist Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz take the stage to deliver some swinging music. Don’t be surprised if some of the tables are moved to accommodate dancers.

Atlantis Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) 21st Century Jazz from a group that is slowly expanding its fan base beyond the Twin Cities, having recently performed in Chicago and points around the Midwest. They’ll be appearing at the Iowa City Jazz Festival in July.

Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) If you haven’t had a chance to travel south this winter, here’s an opportunity to experience the warmth of Latin America music with this band led by multi-reedman Doug Little, and including artists from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean and North America. Expect salsas, rumbas, and bolero rhythms to get your heart pumping.

Saturday, January 24

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm. Opening at 7 by the Dark Blue Quartet: Thomas Strommen, Dylan Nelson, Jason McLean, Alex Burges. Illicit Sextet: Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, sax; Nathan Norman, drums; David Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; Steve Kenny, trumpet.

Coloring Time with guest Steve Davis @ the Dakota Late Night, Minnepolis. 11:30pm ($5) Coloring Time is a group of Twin Cities musicians that come from Jazz and hip-hop backgrounds: Casey O’Brien, bass; Graham O’Brien drums; John Keston, keys; Robert Mulrennen, guitar; Jon Davis, reeds; and Zach Bagaason, sampler & keys, with Joe Horton, Kristoff Krane, and Adam Svec as vocalists/MCs. Special guest trombonist Steve Davis is playing couple of other gigs this weekend (see below), Here’s a Coloring Time video with a slightly different makeup.

Saturday, Sunday, January 24, 25

Century Jazz Ensemble w/Steve Davis @ Century College, White Bear Lake. 8pm Sat, 3pm Sun. ($?) The Century College Jazz Ensemble invites a guest every year. This year trombonist Steve Davis is on tap. He’s world in the bands of Art Blakey and Jackie McLean, as well as in two of Chick Corea’s sextets. He leads a quartet featuring pianist Larry Willis, and is a member of the collective One For All, with Eric Alexander, Jim Rotondi, David Hazeltine, John Webber, and Joe Farnsworth. In other words, Davis is a heavy hitter in the jazz world. Jana Nyberg plays the Pre-Concert Reception at 7pm Saturday and 2pm Sunday.

Sunday, January 24

Leigh Kammen Tribute @ The Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($20 Suggested Donation) Many area musicians, including Dean Magraw, Patty Peterson, Kenny Horst, Irv Williams, Conning Evingson and Butch Thompson, among others, will be performing at this tribute to a man who enriched the lives of many of us with his descriptions of places and events from so long ago. He was a jazz broadcaster for 60 years, starting in the Twin Cities, and moving to Duluth, Denver, and New York City before returning here in 1956. The jazz world is an emptier space without the voice of Leigh Kammen.

Monday, January 26

Fireside Five Jazz Quintet @ U of M Ultan Recital Hall, Minneapolis. 3:30pm – 5:00pm. ($?) If you can get the afternoon off, you can treat yourself to the sounds of a new quintet featuring Tom Ashworth, trombone & euphonious; Brian Grivna, flute & reeds; Phil Aaron, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. A top-notch group of musicians.

Fireside Five Quintet @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 10pm. Well, if you couldn’t get the afternoon off, you still have a chance to see this group.

Steve Davis @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Trombonist Davis is in town as a guest of the Century Jazz Ensemble (see above) and has picked up a completely different kind of gig at the Icehouse. The first set will feature Davis with Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, drums. For the second set, Steve and his cousin John Davis have a group called Bonkers Electrorchestra, which which sets up a groove while other players drop in and out.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 27, 28

Diane Reeves @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $65), 9pm ($35 – $50) A headliner at last June’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival, vocalist Reeves was rained out of the main stage and played the Hall at the Amsterdam, where her exciting performance brought the packed house down.  She’s a skilled interpreter of lyrics and a scat singer as well, with an attractive voice and personable on-stage presence. Her latest album, Beautiful Life, has been nominated for a 2015 Grammy.

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, January 21

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nye’s Polonaise Room, Minneapolis. The side bar at Nye’s has been hosting Wednesday night roots music for quite a while. Doug and his compatriots have been there a few years now, and often welcome guests onto the tiny, tiny stage. Doug has a voice that sounds lived in beyond his years. It’s perfect for 20s & 30s style blues, classic country, and their original tunes as well as some early rock n’ roll.

Steve Sullivan & The Factory @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Sullivan plays guitar and sings rhythm & blues, dirty swing, and other roots music, while the Factory, which includes a 3-piece horn section, provides the muscle and rhythm to get dancers on the floor.

Thursday, January 22

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. ($5) Let les Bons Temps Rouler! If you’re familiar with Clarence Garlow, Dave Bartholemew, Professor Longhair, and Boozoo Chavis, then you’ll want to be hear as Dan Newton and his quintet play Southern Louisiana music designed to fill dance floors.

Friday, January 23

UnknownDee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. ($5) The folks at U Wanna Dance are putting on another dance-focused event, and they have the right band to help them out. Miller  as leader of the band, is a powerhouse vocalist, which is what you need when you’re performing barrelhouse blues. Paul Mejia on harp, also takes lead on a tune or two. Jimi Primetime Smith provides scorching guitar, and everybody in the audience dances. 

Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs & the Dead Pigeons @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. (Tip Jar)  Here’s a couple of long time denizen’s of the somewhat infamous bar. The Liquor Pigs have been holding down the 7pm Friday spot ever since the Viking closed down in 2006. You never know quite who will show up, but it will be fun as they mine a rootsy repertoire that ranges from Roger Miller to Elvis to originals. The Dead Pigeons come on at 10pm. They came together during a five year residency at Palmers, and feature Drew Peterson, on guitar, banjo, & vocals; Ryan Douglas Canyon on mandolin and backing vocals; Gretta Hunstiger, fiddle and backing vocals; Andy Caroll or John Reinhart, bass; and Daryn Christensen, drums.  They can whip up a fast-paced banjo tune (see below) or sing a sweet ballad, and are just about ready to release a new album this spring.

The Dollys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) This group features Joanna Joahn, Kari Shaw, and Megan Shaw doing the music of The Trio: EmmyLou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt, as well as other female country artists of the 70s through the 90s. They’er backed by a quartet of quality musicians whose collective resume runs from the Rocket Club, Honeydogs and Ashleigh Still to Mick Sterling, Percy Strother, and Chuck Suchy.

Mighty Diamonds @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Sweet, sweet harmonies from a vocal trio that was formed in Trenchtown Jamaica back in 1969, and inspired by Motown vocal groups. The Mighty Diamonds had a number of hits in Jamaica in the early 70s, but when Virgin Records signed them and released Right Time in 1975, they achieved international fame. Pass the Kouchie was a big hit for them in 1982, and once the drug references were expunged, became a hit for Musical Youth as Pass the Dutchie. Expect a crowd.

Saturday, January 24

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Half Time Rec, Saint Paul. 8pm (No Cover) Wow! A new venue for Davina and the guys  with a commodious dance floor. And, they’ve got a new kitchen, so you can fortify yourself for the energy you’ll need to dance to Davina. The Paddy Shack, features Fish & Chips, sandwiches, a variety of hot dogs, and the Butcher and The Boar’s Bangers and Mash.

Gospel Machine & Voice of Culture @ A Room With a Vieux, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) The pop-up events at what will become the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray) are being billed as A Room With A Vieux. Tonight features Gospel Machine, a quintet that does some “garage gospel” as well as original material in the vein of Sam Cooke, Nina Simone, and Otis Redding. Judging by the below video from their debut album, Gospel Machine will gain fans across generations. Vocals are handled by Jayanthi Kyle, of Black Audience, while group founder Wes Burdine is on guitars; Jimmy Osterholt, bass; Scott Munson, keys; and David Osborn, drums. Voice of Culture, a drumming and dance group led by Kenna Cottman., opens at 9pm.

Singer Songwriter XTRAV 10 @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) This is the finale of 10 events during the past year featuring Twin Cities artists, giving attendees a chance to hear a wide variety of genres and artists. There are 10 acts tonight, including fiddler Jillian Rae, Jenny Dalton, battery boy, Phanton Tails, Courtney Yasmineh w/JJ Benson, and more.

Monday, January 26

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) So, here you have five midwestern musicians who have developed a love for Cajun music, specifically the kind that was played before electricity came to the Bayous, when Saturday night dances were the main form of entertainment each week. Doug Lohman, guitar; John Terr, accordion; Mary DuShane, fiddle; Dawn Doering, triangle and snare; and Eric Paulson, bass. Each is a veteran of various bands, and can play in numerous acoustic genres, though the infectious rhythms of Cajun music have proven to be a uniting force.

Tuesday, January 27

Nikki & the RueMates @ Day Block Brewing, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Day Block Brewing is celebrating their one year anniversary with a week of events, and tonight they have Nikki & the RueMates  You have Nikki’s marvelous voice, Rich Rue’s inventive guitar work, discounts on their brews, raffles, and food. What’s not to like?

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 U Wanna Dance Calendar.


State Fair Fair Music and More: 8.20 – 8.26

August 20, 2014

DSC01997This week brings many opportunities for hearing music, including the Minnesota State Fair, where, in addition to food-on-a-stick, you’ll have a number of opportunities to see, and dance to, visiting and resident musicians.


Wednesday, August 20

Mountain King @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is the last appearance of this bass trio, since Brian Courage is moving to New York. Catch em’ While you can. Jeremy Boettcher, Graydon Peterson, Brian Courage. Who says people don’t listen during a bass solo?

Thursday, August 21

Unknown-3Maryann Sullivan @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sullivan is usually curating this vocal series, but tonight she’s stepping out front. She’s a singer who knows how to swing Peggy Lee, Blossom Dearie, and more. With Doug Haining, on reeds, and David Martin on guitar.

Group 47 @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) I’ve written a bit about this band in the past few months, given their new album, Straight To Vinyl. Like the other bands in this Thursday night series, Group 47 play original compositions, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they throw in a jazz standard or two. Led by trumpeter Steve Kenny, the group includes some young lions: Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.

Topher Dunlap Jazz Trio @ Mattie’s on Main, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Mattie’s is a new venue located in St. Anthony Main. It seems a bit strange as a venue for jazz – a self-styled “modern day saloon” with 16 beers on tap, an eclectic bar menu, TVs with sports, and a fine stage. They also feature karaoke, as well as other types of bands. I know little about this group, except that Topher helps out at Jazz Central, but it’s certainly worth checking out.

Friday, August 22

Phil Hey Quartet and Stefan Kac’s Band of No Return @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Phil Hey Quartet is a known entity here in the Twin Cities: marvelous, well-played jazz. They’ll be starting at 7:30pm. Along about 9:30 or 10pm, Stefan Kac’ Band of No Return will take the stage. Kac is a tuba player and composer who is originally from the area and currently based in Los Angeles. The award-winning composer will be joined by Geoff Senn, trumpet; Shilad Sen, tenor; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Saturday, August 23

They actually face the audience when they play

They actually face the audience when they play

Lulu’s Playground @ FunArt Studio, Stillwater. 2pm – 4pm (Free – entrance at 9030 Fairy Falls Road, Stillwater) Chamber jazz performed on the patio of Tim Nyberg’s studio overlooking the Saint Croix River. Lulu’s Playground has not played much this past year since guitarist Evan Montgomery has been studying in Los Angeles. He’s back for a short while and taking advantage of the opportunity to play with his mates: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; and Cory Grossman, cello. Bring a beverage and a lawn chair and watch as Nyberg draws inspiration from the music as he paints. In case of rain, the concert (and painting) will move indoors

Sunday, August 24

Pavel Jany & the Talking Strings @ Alexis Bailly Vineyard, 18200 Kirby Ave S, Hastings. 1pm – 4pm (Free) Take in a wine tasting, have a little picnic on the Vineyard’s patio, and listen to East European Gypsy music, French jazz, and Brazilian bossa novas, as well as other world music and originals from this group. Pavel Jany, guitar; Gary Shulte, violin, and Dan Weston, bass.

Monday, August 25

Jazz Central All-Stars @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tanner Taylor, piano; Dave Graf, trombone; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zach Lozier, trumpet; Doug Haining, reeds; and Mac Santiago on drums. Tanner returns for an evening with this group that’s been bringing it’s music to parks and auditoriums around the state.

Mike, left, and Dave

Mike, left, and Dave

Dave Martin/Mike Doolin Group and Courageous Endeavors @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) It’s a two-fer night as Twin Cities guitarist Dave Martin and Portland, Oregon guitarist Mike Doolin celebrate the release of their CD Tough Commute. They’ll be joined by Chris Bates on bass and Pete Hennig on drums. Then Courageous Endeavors will perform what I believe is their last gig before Brian Courage leaves for New York. Joe Strachan, piano; Nelson Deveraux, sax; Miguel Hurtado, drums. Brian Courage, bass;

Tuesday, August 26

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) They wowed at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, with a big, big, rhythmic sound. It’s more or less an open rehearsal, so you may get some insight into how a song is arranged.

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, August 20

Stephanie Nilles @ KFAI and The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 1206.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Nilles is a classically trained barrelhouse piano player from New Orleans, who has sung with Bobby McFerrin at Carnegie Hall and has performed at official showcases at SXSW and the International Folk Alliance. As Hurricane Harold would say, “You know the drill,” tune in and get to the 331.

Thursday, August 21

Rich Lewis Band @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) What a great way to spend a summer evening. Lewis and the band play New Orleans R&B,vintage rock n’ roll, soul music, and even standards, not to forget their own originals. Always a good time, especially if you like to dance.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Raucous Balkan party music, for movers and shakers, whether you’re in your chair or on a dance floor.

Thursday, Friday, August 21, 22

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Schell’s Stage, MN State Fair. 2pm, 3pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Lots of good music at the Fair this year, including the sweat-inducing Cajun and Zydeco of the Pinecones.

Blood, Sweat, & Tears @ the Leine Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Guilty pleasure of the week. Even though none of the current members of the band were in the original configuration of the 70s, all play in a myriad of other rock, soul, and jazz bands when not on the road with BS&T. They’re professional through and through and though David Clayton-Thomas may not be singing lead, Bo Bice, runner-up in the fourth season of American Idol, is sure to handle the chore with aplomb.

Friday, August 22

Aretha Franklin & The Four Tops @ the Grandstand, MN State Fair. 7:30pm ($45 + $13 Fair admission) The Queen of Soul returns to Minnesota after an absence that’s lasted far too long. Though the hit-making Four Tops had its original line-up for 44 years, death has reduced the band to original member Duke Fakir, along with three other singers.

Don Scott & Curtis Blake @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($6) Guitar/harp blues duo with interesting arrangements of songs you know and even more interesting originals.

The Original Wailers @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 advance/$25Door) It doesn’t get much heavier in reggae than the sound of the group that backed Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all those years ago.

Friday, Saturday, August 22, 23

Hipshaker 12th Anniversary Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Rare soul and funk 45s from Brian, George, and Greg, along with special guests, shaking the dance floor at the Kitty Kat.

Saturday, August 23

Alejandro Escovedo & Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50) If you’re looking for literate songwriting, this is the place tonight. Escovedo and Ely are a couple of Texas music legends getting together for an evening of music. Both have long careers spanning genres from country to punk. Ely appeared at the Dakota in May, putting on an engaging performance.

Cedar’s 25th Anniversary Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm (Free)  It’s a Latin night at the Cedar, with Making Movies (Kansas City);  De La Buena (Milwaukee);  and deejays from Worldwide Discotheque (Minneapolis).

Prophets of Peace @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Funk & Soul from this tight ensemble that reformed after the success of the Twin Cities Funk & Soul record compilation.

Saturday, Sunday, August 23, 24

Paul Cebar and Tomorrow Sound @ The Leine Bandshell, MN State Fair. 8:30pm (Free w/$13 Fair admission) Cebar is moving up to the larger stage and two night, bringing along his talented band and highly literate originals as calypsos, R&B, and soul music just right for dancing.

Monday, August 25

Happy Together Tour 2014 @ The Grandstand, MN State Fair ($21 + $13 Fair Admission) It’s a nostalgic night for boomers, with the under-rated Turtles (w/Flo & Eddie), as well as Chuck Netron of # Dog Night, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Mark Farner of Grand Funk Railroad, and the explosive Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels.

Tuesday, August 26

Vinyl Voices @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) A group of vinyl junkies from KFAI have started this weekly gig, which generally features two KFAI volunteers spinning LPs and 45s. This week it’s DJ Steely from Kinda Cloudy and Miguel Vargas from Radio Pocho spinning a mix of international records, including Latin, soul, and other genres. The O’Cheeze food truck will be on hand.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 26, 27

DakhaBrahka @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $32) This Ukrainian quartet dubs their music “ethnic chaos.” It’s a highly theatrical troupe using costumes, a variety of instrumentation and uncompromising vocals to create a mesmerizing music and a circus-like atmosphere. LOTT opens.

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 U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Music for an Icy Spring: 3.20 – 3.26

March 20, 2013

images-2It’s been a busy day and a busy week, and like many of you I’m gobsmacked by having single digit weather on the first day of Spring. But… Hope is eternal, and Spring will arrive eventually, though not soon enough for most of us. Nevertheless, put on those heavy coats and get out to hear some great music this week.


Wednesday, March 20

Pete Whitman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  (Donation) Master saxophonist Whitman is combining forces with Chris Olson, guitar; Bruce Heine, bass, and Dave Schmalenberger, drums to perform original compositions by Whitman and Olson.

You don't have to dance like Fred & Ginger, just enjoy yourself.

You don’t have to dance like Fred & Ginger, just enjoy yourself.

Sister Swing @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($7/$5 students & seniors)  Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie are two singers about town who have an affinity for swing music, so they’re combining forces and performing at the Eagles, a place with a dance floor just perfect for any kind of dancing you want to do. Even if you don’t dance, it’s still a great place to visit with friends old and new while listening to some sweet harmonies and solo pieces. Backing them are Kent Saunders, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; Doug Haining, sax.

Brian Courage Quartet @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Brian is a relatively new bassist in town, and has already managed to corral Park Evans, guitar; Bryan Nichols, pianol; and Jay Epstein, drums into playing music by Thelonious Monk and Paul Motian. Sounds like a very interesting evening.

Thursday, March 21

Phil Mattson Singers with Richie Cole @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) This should be quite the musical experience. Cole, the bebop alto player, could headline all by himself. This pairing, in which Cole is a guest playing with the Singers, makes sense in that Cole often played with Eddie Jefferson, one of the progenitors of vocalese, as well as with the Manhattan Transfer. Then there’s the fact that Cole and Mattson have worked together over the years since 1979.

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) The Barbette’s late night happy hour is a good reason to visit. A great reason to visit is pianist/trumpeter/composer Jon Pemberton, who creates some mighty fine music, whether composing or improvising. This video gives you a taste of his talent, even though he’ll be using a keyboard at Barbette.

Friday, Saturday, March 22, 23

images-4Atlantis Quartet @ Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Their last album, Lines in the Sand, was recorded at the AQ, so it’s always a bit of a homecoming when the Atlantis Quartet perform there. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums, are all talented improvisers and completely in communication with each other, which makes for thrilling playing, and accounts for their growing fan base.

Sunday, March 24

Nova Jazz Orchestra @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($10) The 19 piece big band will be premiering WA Matheiu’s six-movement suite, Concerto for Big Band. Matheiu wrote and arranged for Stan Kenton, Duke Ellington, Maynard Ferguson, and others. Mathieu previously collaborated with Nova on the CD “Double Feature,” featuring 14 previously unrecorded orginals by Matheiu.

Tuesday, March 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Meckler is turning into a terrific composer as well as trumpet player. He’s assembled seventeen musicians to play his creations. Check them out.

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, March 20

Paul Geremia on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 – tip jar) If you didn’t get to see him at the Bayport BBQ this past week, you still have a chance to both hear and see him today.

Thursday, March 21

DownloadedFile-2Ronnie Baker Brooks @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm. Brooks is the son of Lonnie Brooks, and like his dad in the past, brings a contemporary Chicago Blues. After playing with his dad for twelve years, RBB, as he’s known, struck out on his own with the award-winning “Golddigger” in 1998. Whether adding some funky beats to a song, or a blistering solo on a blues-rock number, RBB will excite a crowd.

Friday, March 22

Blues Harmonica Blowout @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Wouldn’t be surprised to see a number of the area’s harp men turning out to see Mark Hummel, Corky Siegel, and Billy Boy Arnold play in this harp extravaganza. West coaster Hummel started up this series in 1991 and has drawn a who’s who of the mouth organ to play each year. Corky Siegel earned a fierce reputation as a member of the Siegel-Schwall Blues Band in the 70s. Billy Boy Arnold got his start helping Bo Diddley define his signature sound by playing on “I’m A Man.” Arnold had his own good sized hit with “I Wish You Would.”

Saturday, March 23

Big George Jackson @ Holihan’s, White Bear Lake. 7pm. Jackson has the deepest blues voice in town, and he knows how to use it, whether he’s giving an extra kick to a John Lee Hooker-like boogie or getting low down. Always has sterling players with him as well.

The Duchess of the blues

The Duchess of the blues

Dee Miller Band w/Jimi Prime Time Smith @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) The cozy, boozy space at Shaw’s will reverberate to the sound of Dee Miller’s vocals accompanied by  Prime Time Smith’s guitar playing. Dee follows in a long tradition of take-no-bull women who sing, growl, and have their way with the blues.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, March 26, 27, 28

Nanci Griffith @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60/$50) Grammy-winning Texan native Griffith is a literate folk/country singer who can tell a satisfying story within a three or four minute song. Whether they are stories about families, loves, or economic conditions, her insightfulness rings true. Here she is singing one of her classic tales of lifelong love.

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

Music for the Holiday Season: 12.5 – 12.11

December 5, 2012

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


Wednesday, December 5

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

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

Thursday, December 6

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

Friday, December 7

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

Friday, Saturday, December 7,8

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

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

Saturday, December 8

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

Sunday, December 9

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

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 5

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

Thursday, December 6

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

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

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

Saturday, December 8

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

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

Sunday, December 9

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

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

Monday, Tuesday, December 10, 11

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

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

Post-Election Music: 11.7 – 11.13

November 7, 2012
It’s a big week here in the Twin Cities, what with Bob Dylan (tonight) and Bruce Springsteen (Sunday and Monday) performing at Xcel and Bettye Lavette at the Dakota. You don’t need me to tell you about the Boss and the Bard. Bettye LaVette is covered below. At any rate, if you aren’t staying at home to enjoy regular (rather than political) commercials on TV, you can find some mighty fine music around town.


Wednesday, November 7

Snowblind @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It may seem that I often list this group, but that’s because they only place about once every six weeks or so. Six fine musicians playing original music with a few jazz standards thrown in for good measure. They work as equals, creating music inspired by Ellington, Mingus, and Blakey, among others, and including grooves into their horn-based sound. Scott Agster (trombone), Reid Kennedy (drums), Graydon Peterson (bass), Adam Rosmiller (trumpet) and Shilad Sen (sax). 

Friday, November 9

Vital Organ @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Thought Hell’s Kitchen can be noisy, this organ trio led by Zacc Harris has the goods to catch your attention: funky sounds, head boppin’ grooves, and occasional vocals from Katy Gearty.

Friday, Saturday, November 9, 10

Patty Peterson CD Release & Birthday Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, 9pm ($12) Patty brings her CD Release to the East Metro and manages to make it a Birthday Party as well. The new CD, “The Very Thought of You,” reflects Patty’s ability to go from standards to jazz to R&B. Bobby Vandell, drums; Billy Franze, guitar; Paul Peterson, bass; and Jason Peterson DeLaire, piano. Given Patty’s longevity and stature in the Twin Cities music scene, there will undoubtedly be surprise guests.

Saturday, November 10

Dave Karr Quartet: Jazz @ Studio Z, Saint Paul.  5pm (Workshop – Free), 7pm (Performance – $10) The second in the Jazz at Studio Z series for this year. At the 5pm workshop, saxophonist Karr will talk about “Developing a Bebop Sound & Vocabulary.” It will be followed at 7pm by a performance featuring Karr, Dave Graf, trombone; Adam Linz, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Plus, if you attend the workshop, you get $2 off the performance. Learn about one of the basic streams of jazz and then listen to a performance that helps you understand what you learned.

Anat Cohen with Special Guest Evan Christopher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) It’s a two clarinet night at the Dakota. Cohen was originally scheduled to appear at Orchestra Hall. She’s a clarinetist and rising star, appearing recently on the cover of Jazz Times. With a lyrical approach and deep, warmly wooden tones, Cohen is bringing a new understanding and appreciation for clarinet in jazz. Special guest Evan Christopher explores the ins and outs of classic New Orleans jazz, bringing his own stamp to the result. Here’s a video of Anat that showcases her style.

Sunday, November 11

PipJazz Sunday: Youth All-Star Night @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20) Pippi Ardennia has made a point of having a talented young person perform at each of her monthly shows. Tonight she brings fifteen of them together to perform. Some have their own bands, others have performed with the Dakota Combo, and still others are simply talented musicians studying at Walker West or other schools around town.

Dearie & O’Day @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 6pm ($5) Vicky Mountain will be singing the songs of Anita O’Day, and Maryann Sullivan will be doing the songs of Blossom Dearie. They’ll be backed by Chris Lomheim, piano; Doug Haining, sax; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums.  Swing and sweetness. Vicky and Maryann will be appearing on my show Saturday (90.3 and 106.7 FM)

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, November 7

Secret Stash Presents Pena @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Minnesota Monthly dubbed them the Best Record Label in the Twin Cities. In fact, there are folks all over the world that appreciate the effort these guys put into unearthing and releasing funk, soul, and worldbeat records. They recorded the award-winning Pena on a trip to Peru, followed it up with a second release and a remix. Tonight they’ll be presenting Pena’s music, with Secret Stash Deejays providing music before and between sets.

Thursday, November 8

Eilen Jewell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) It’s about two years since Eilen appeared at the 331 Club and gained a whole bunch of fans of her blend of Americana, classic country, blues, and folk. There’s nothing old fashioned about her songs, though. She’s originally from Idaho, but spent a number of years in the Boston area, and has been building a fan base touring the country and internationally. Wednesday afternoon she appeared on Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin on KFAI, which you can listen to here, starting about an hour and ten minutes into the show.

Friday, November 9

Hurricane Harold’s Blues Revue @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5) An early show for those of a certain age, this is nevertheless a chance to see a bevy of excellent blues players. Hurricane Harold Trembley on harp leads the charge, with Dave “Cool Breeze” Brown and Mark “Good Time Willy” Williams on guitars; Allen Kirk, drums; and Chris Johnson, bass.

Minnesota Salsa Fiesta, feat. Malamanya and La Gran Charanga @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm  ($15) Merengues, danzones, boleros and lotsa salsa dancing. Dozens of top  local  Latin music and dancers will come together to entertain for your dancing pleasure, including musicians from Charanga Tropical,  Malamanya,  Salsa Del Soul, Sensacion Latina, and Salsabrosa. Dance lessons, showcases, a live Cuban cigar roller and more

Saturday, November 10

Jennifer Markey & the Tennessee Snowpants and the Crown Vics @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($5?) Modern bands doing originals that often sound like classic country. Check out this video of Jennifer.

Monday, Tuesday, November 12, 13

Bettye LaVette @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) A strong contender for displacing Aretha as the preeminent soul singer,  Bettye didn’t hold back for the crowd at the Leinie Lodge stage during this year’s state fair. This is her 50th year in the music business, and she’s released a new CD, Thankful n’ Thoughtful, and an autobiography, “A Woman Like Me.” No one else gets inside a song like she does and no one can wring out you as a listener either.

Tuesday, November 13

Paul Thorn @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($22) His 2010 album is titled Pimps and Preachers, and is full of semi-autographical stories about characters from his Southern upbringing, including one about his short-lived boxing career. On stage, Thorn is a charming, often humorous storyteller and effective singer, whose songs will appeal to fans of both John Hiatt and John Prine.

Menahan Street Band @ Seventh Street Entry, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) The funk faithful will be out in force for this. One of Brooklyn’s new horn-driven funk bands, the Menahan Street Band creates sinuous instrumental hooks in both originals and surprising covers. Members come from Antibalas, The Budos Band, El Michaels Affair, and the Dap-Kings.

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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