Resident Musicians and More: 1.3 – 1.9

January 3, 2018

Some of our resident musicians are appearing at this event

Given our winter weather, it’s no surprise that we don’t have many visiting artists this week, though we’ll be inundated in a couple of weeks when Super Bowl activities begin. We’re fortunate, however, that many of our resident musicians have experience on national tours and in national venues, so we don’t have to wait for visitors to have great music experiences. After all, Music Lifts the Spirit



Wednesday, January 3

Jason Richards & the Wolverines Jazz Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 Reserved seat) Vocalist Richards would seem to be a natural for this club, as he’s been influenced by Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. He’ll be accompanied by the Wolverines Trio, who are masters at providing excellent backing for vocalists.

Rose Lewis & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Trombonist Lewis is a graduate of Lawrence University, where she was a member of the school’s Downbeat Award winning Jazz Ensemble. She’s taught elementary and high school bands, and in the 90s, performed with groups like the Stan Bann Big Band, The Ringling Brothers Shrine Circus, the Jerry O’Hagan Big Band, The Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra, and a host of other ensembles. She was sidelined with illness for sixteen years and is now re-entering the music scene, creating and performing original compositions. She’ll be joined by Greg Lewis, trumpet; David Milne, sax; Nathan Hanson, sax; Will Schmid, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Edmund Catlin, drums.

Also: Travis Anderson Trio w/Connie Evingson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8)

Thursday, January 4

Southside Aces “Hall Brothers Night” w/Special Guest Charlie Devore @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $15 for a reserved seat) For 25 years cornetist Charlie Devore let the Hall Brothers Band as the house band for the Emporium of Jazz in Mendota. The Hall Brothers performed and celebrated the early jazz of New Orleans, which makes Devore the perfect guest for the Southside Aces, who also explore the genre with verve, élan, and joy.

Will Schmid Group @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Though guitarist Schmid is a relatively young musician, he has been gigging around the Twin Cities for the past five years, and with fellow guitarist Adam Astrup, has played at the Twin Cities Jazz Fest (winter and summer editions), and the Iowa City Jazz Festival. He’s currently in college in Cleveland, but we’re lucky enough to have him perform before returning to school. He’ll be accompanied by Jake Baldwin, tpt; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jesse Thorson, drums. Here’s Will with Adam Astrup at the Winter Jazz Fest.

Also: Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID)

Friday, January 5

Pete Whitman’s Mississippi @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Saxophonist Pete Whitman brings his quality quartet to the listening room at Crooners, where he’ll be accompanied by Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums. Here they are with the addition of Andres Prado on guitar.

Solomon Parham Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Tonight features the excellent trumpeter Solomon Parham, with a group of outstanding players, including: Eric Kamau Grávátt, drums; Ron Evaniuk bass: Andy Nelson, saxophones; and Phil Aaron, piano.

Friday, Saturday, Jan 5, 6

Rebirth Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9:30pm ($35) Once the Dirty Dozen Brass Band began redefining Brass band music back in the 80s, other, younger bands started up, incorporating contemporary music into their repertoire. Rebirth was one of the first to do so, and has been a part of New Orleans’ brass band revival for about 30 years now. They’ve been appearing at the Dakota once or twice a year for a few years now, where there always welcomed for bringing the energy and fun of New Orleans to our cold end of the Mississippi.

Saturday, January 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar – $10 Suggested Donation) The evening opens with a JazzINK Youth Showcase, this week featuring Liquid Vinyl: Nicholas Adams, drums; Ethan Bogle, piano; Bruce Acosta, guitar; Harry Menken, bass; Leighton Tuenge, trumpet; Thoger Boyum, alto; and Charley Menken, tenor. Then the featured group will perform at 8:30pm it’s Steve Kenny’s Group 47, and intergenerational group with Kenny, Flumpet; Thomas Strommen, tenor; Will Kjeer, piano; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.

Tuesday, January 9

Maud Hixson: She Said/She Said @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) Hixson’s cool-yet slightly sultry approach to singing brings to mind performers such as June Christy and Chris Conner, yet she always makes a song her own. She is also good at finding new ways to explore songs through special performances, as she’ll do tonight, exploring the songs of classic female songwriters. Here she is performing a song with words by Carolyn Leigh

JT Bates’ GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) If you are new in town, you may not know that drummer JT Bates has the ability to play jazz, Americana, and pop rock. He regularly performs with bands that range from Fat Kid Wednesdays to The Pines, Alpha Consumer, Andrew Bird, and the French Cellist Didier Petit. Tonight starts a January residency for his B3 organ trio, featuring Kevin Gastonguay on B3, and the ever-reliable Zacc Harris on guitar.

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 3

The Hula Peppers w/Special Guest Remco Houtman, aka Ukelelezaza on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Vintage Tin Pan Alley, Jazz, and Hawaiian music, from the Peppers, with guest Houtman, from Ghent, Belgium, one of the top ukelele instrumentalists in the world. Houtman is a well-known and much sought out workshop teacher and performer in Europe, Scandinavia, the U.K., Japan, Australia and beyond.

Siama Matuzingidi @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Siama Matuzingidi has lived in Uganda, Kenya, Dubai, and Japan, and has performed with some of the biggest names in Soukous, playing melodic, dance-inducing guitar on hundreds of recordings. In 2014 he received a McKnight Fellowship, which allowed him to launch a solo career here in Minnesota. He’ll be accompanied by his partner Dallas Johnson on additional vocals and percussion, and David Tullis, of Black Market Brass on drums

Also: Paul Metsa @ The Green Lantern, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) It appears that guitarist/raconteur Metsa will be playing a rare solo gig tonight.

Thursday, January 4

Bobby E and Friends @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Bobby Eckstrand is admired by many of the area’s other guitarists, whether they play jazz, country, or rock. He’s a first Thursday regular at Dusty’s, bringing friends from all genres together to play in the big booth in the small room.

Also: Lonesome Dan Case @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (Tip Jar?) Lonesome Dan’s blues from the 30s are as down and out as you can get

Friday, January 5

Davina & The Vagabonds @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10? $15?) Davina and her crew regularly fill the Dakota, but the Dakota lacks a proper dance floor, so here’s a chance to fill Wilebski’s commodious space with some terpsichorean moves and gyrations. Plus, it’s early, so those of us of a certain age can get home in time for nighttime news.

Saturday, January 6

Cafe Accordion Orchestra w/Special Guest Ukelelezaza @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) CAO’s annual January concert at the Cedar will feature music from their 10 recordings, including French Musettes, Gypsy Swing, Cumbias, Movie music, and more. Opening is Remco Houtman, aka Ukelelezaza (see Wednesday’s entry) who will be collaborating with CAO as well.

Also: Cajun Jam @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (tip jar

Sunday, January 7

Road to Memphis Fundraiser @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Help to send Javier Matos and the Ken Valdez Band to Memphis for the International Blues Challenge. A host of performers will help encourage you to take part in a bake sale and 50/50 Raffle. Performers include the two acts going to Memphis as well as past participants, including Mike Munson and Mikkel Beckmen, the Mark Cameron Band, Scottie Miller Jimmi Langemo, Annie Mack, Davina Lozier, Sugar Chuck Lacey and the IBC All Star Band.

Also: Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm ($7) Late afternoon salsas and charangas for your dancing pleasure.

Monday, January 8

Cactus Blossoms Residency @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15) The tight musicianship and brotherly harmonies of the Cactus Blossoms bloomed at the Turf Club during an 18 month residency back in the day. Folks of all ages would stop by to dance to the groups take on country music of the 50s and 60s. Since then they’ve toured with some of the bigger stars in today’s country music and released a well received album on Red House Records, which includes a track featured on the new Twin Peaks. Now they’re back at the Turf for the month of January.

Also: New Riverside Ramblers Cajun Dance @ The Eagles Club, #34, Minnapolis. 7:30pm ($8)

Monday, Tuesday, January 8, 9

We Can Be Heroes: David Bowie Tribute @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40) This tribute to the trail-blazing musician and champion of self-expression by a bevy of talented Twin Cities musicians features the excellent vocals of Julius Collins; as well as drummer Michael Bland; guitarists Jeremy Ylvisaker and Ryan Smith; Cory Eischen on keys; along with Katie Gearty and Rachel Holder on vocals.

Early Alert: Wednesday, January 10

Eric Clapton: Life in Twelve Bars @ The Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) The film traces his career through The Yardbirds, Cream, Blind Faith, Derek and the Dominos and his solo years, telling the stories behind his through archival footage and interviews with folks such as his grandmother, former wife Patti Boyd, George Harrison, and others. Since this is a small venue, its’ recommended to make reservations ahead of time. Here’s the trailer.

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.

The Music Never Stops: 5.17 – 5.23

May 17, 2017

Well, we’re making our way through May, and to paraphrase the Grateful Dead used to sing, The Music Never Stops. We’ve got it all, from neo-soul to brass bands, to great jazz artists and lots of dancing. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 17

Selby Avenue Brass Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Again, I’d normally be listing Harold’s guest on the House Party under blues and roots, but the Selby Avenue Brass Band, with its combination of traditional New Orleans tunes and more contemporary fare, need to brought to the attention of jazz fans. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour for a taste of their sound, and head to the 331 if you like what you hear.

Standards Night, with Andrew Walesch, featuring Daniel Glass @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Daniel Glass is an award-winning drummer who was a member of the Royal Crown Revue, popular during the swing revival of the 90s. He’s recorded and performed all over the world with many top artists, including Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli. Tonight he teams up with singer/pianist Andrew Walesch to present American standards, with the backing of Dave Karr on Sax, and Veikko Lepisto on bass.

Thursday, May 18

Special EFX @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37), 9pm ($30) Special EFX was founded in 1983 by New York guitarist Chieli Minucci, a virtuoso who has been first call for artists ranging from mark Anthony and Jessica Simpson, to Bobby Caldwell and Gerald Veasley, among others. In addition to Minucci, the band includes Nelson Rangell, who is adept at soprano, alto, and tenor sax, as  well as being a genuine virtuoso on flute and piccolo. He’s also worked with many outstanding artists, including The Rippingtons, Patti Austin, and others. Finally, keyboardist Lao Tizer is a rising star in the continuing development of world fusion music.

Lorri Dokken & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Dokken, aka Ms. Piano Bar, is a cabaret artist and general all-around entertainer who has appeared on stages throughout the Twin Cities and the world. She’ll be supported by the Wolverines Trio – the finest set of accompanists in the Twin Cities.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) In a bit of a change from normal dates, tonight features two groups. The first is Below Zero, w/Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochelle-Share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; Nick Adam, drums. At 10:30 it’s the Steve Kenny Trio: Ted Olsen bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Kristen Lee Sergeant, featuring Ted Nash and the Jeremy Walker Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 Bar seating, $18 Table seating) Vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant has been turning ears and heads since her recent emergence on the NYC jazz scene. Her debut CD, Inside Out, was chosen as DownBeat Magazine’s Editor’s Pick last fall, praising her “buttery to deliciously tart” vocals and “dramatically fresh arrangements.” Resident pianist-bandleader-composer Jeremy Walker has long been friends with NYC saxophonist Ted Nash, who just won 2017 Grammys for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition. This promises to be a special show. Here’s Sergeant with Ted Nash.

Friday, May 19

Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Renz is a fine guitarist who teaches more than he plays out, though as a composer and performer he always impresses with his melodic creativity and sheer craftmaship. In addition to teaching in town, Renz runs a summer jazz camp in Ontarios for adults, and has recruited Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer as a vocal teacher this year. He tours the East Coast at least once a year, and only occasionally plays in town, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) You can’t go wrong when drummer Phil Hey leads his long-standing quartet through a dazzling mix of jazz standards and a few more “difficult” pieces, so to speak, with Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Hagedorn, drums.

Saturday, May 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Pat Moriary is a saxophonist and the music director at Roseville High School, where he manages to bring in some heavyweight talent to work with the schools bands. This week he’s bringing in pianist-composer Angelica Sanchez, who has played with such figures as Paul Motian, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Berne, Ben Monder, and Rob Mazurek. She leads several groups, including a nonet with Roseville HS grad Michael Attias. Her music always offers the sound of surprise, whether she’s playing “free jazz with structure,” as the NY Times noted, or her own composed pieces, which always allow plenty of room for soloists. The evening will open with the Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease Quartet, an always surprising group: Moriarty, sax; Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. At 8:30pm Angelica Sanchez will take the stage with Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Zacc Harris’ American Reverie CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Harris and his group American Reverie have released a fine CD celebrating Americana music. Harris’ single note lines are particularly effective on songs by Woody Guthrie and Willie Nelson, among others.  Special guests for the evening include Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold and the Lesser Lakes Trio. I had him on my show on May 13, you can listen to the interview here.

Monday, May 22

Peter Kogan Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($10) In an unusual turn for the Icehouse, Peter Kogan and his quintet will present an early show before JT Jazz Implosion. As some of you may recall, Kogan is the former tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra who has been having much fun with jazz since he retired a few years ago. Tonight he brings in a multi-generational band: Kogan, drums; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman, Sax; Phil Aaron, keys; and Jeff Bailey, bass.

Tuesday, May 23

Maud Hixson: Judy Garland @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Vocalist Hixson, who recently received a glowing review in the Chicago Tribune, will celebrate the music of Judy Garland, accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson. Here’s what was said: “Hixson’s slightly gauzy tone and breezy phrasing evoked cool-school singers of the 1950s such as June Christy, Chris Connor and Anita O’Day. Yet there was nothing historic nor nostalgic about Hixson’s manner, her inherent swing sensibility driving the music unstoppably forward. She benefited significantly from the pianism of Rick Carlson, whose buoyant accompaniment referenced the stride-style wizardry of Waller and James P. Johnson.” Here she is at a Sylvia Sims Tribute.

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, May 17

Lisa Wenger and Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Blues-based American roots music, performed by Wenger, whose sweet/gritty vocals appeal to a wide swath of listeners, and whose band can rock the blues, New Orleans R&B, and reworked versions of rockabilly classics.

Danceland @ Utephils Brewing, 225 Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis. 7pm-9pm (No Cover) This is a new band, named for teenage dance palaces of yore, which gives a bit of a hint to their repertoire. The band is led by drummer William Thompson, and includes Karl Von Gorhen, keyboards; Tom Lewis, bass; Scot Ives, guitar; and features Maurice Jacox on vocals, sax, and flute. Their songs include Me and Mrs Jones; For Your Precious Love, Inner City Blues, and other old school favorites. Stop by, hear some great music, and if you’re hungry Potter’s Pasties food truck will be there.

Thursday, May 18

Mooseknuckle Brothers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Rockin’ blues for a Thursday night.

Friday, May 19

Paul Cebar @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) The dance-inducing sounds of Paul Cebar and his band always draws a crowd to the large dance floor at Wilebski’s. Using a combination of R&B, Caribbean, African, and other world rhythms, Cebar & company create a celebration of finger-pippin, hip-shakin sounds.

Taylor Hicks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Hicks popped into national consciousness on American Idol, where more than 200 million people tuned in to see him win the Season 5 Finale. His soulful voice reflects a Southern upbringing, where he was exposed to soul music, blues, and country music. Before Idol, played throughout the Southeast, sharing stages with folks like James Brown, Tom Petty, Robert Randoph, and Keb Mo, among others. Once he left Idol, his debut single, Do I Make You Proud, entered the charts at #1, while his self-titled debut album reached #2 a bit later.

Scottie Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 reserved seats are available up front) High energy blues, soul, and rock n’ roll from Miller, a pianist-singer-songwriter whose influences range from Professor Longhair and Dr. John to Bruce Springsteen and The Band.

Complicated Fun @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 door) This is a book release party for Cyn Collin’s Complicated Fun, which describes the influential Minneapolis music scent from 1974 – 1984. A number of bands from that era will be performing, some of whom are reuniting. They include: the Hypsterz; Gondwana; Flamin’ Oh’s; Flamingo; and Curtiss A & the Dark Click.

Saturday, May 20

Lonesome Dan Case/Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Lonesome Dan – No Cover), 9pm (Parker – ?$) A double bill of blues, starting with Lonesome Dan Case and his modern take on 30s blues, rags, and hollers for the dinner hour. Then vocalist Joyann Parker takes over, with her powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence.

Commander Cody @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Back in the late 60s, when the nascent country-rock scene was developing, Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen upended things a bit with satirical takes on classic country. Their first hit, the hi-test fueled Hot Rod Lincoln, was a throwback to the 50s, when it was a hit by Charlie Ryan. Then they followed it up with such subversive songs as (Down to) Seeds and Stems Again, Mama Hated Diesels, and The Kentucky Hills of Tennesee, among others. Commander Cody (George Frayne) disbanded the group in 1976, but returned to the studio in 2009 and has been touring ever since, bringing his foot-stompin’ mix of classic country, rockabilly, and swingin’ music to old and new fans alike.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you’re not interested in dropping a couple of sawbucks on a show, or maybe you just want to hear some basic sounds of the 60s. If that’s the case, the Silvertones, with their mix of garage hits, folk-rock, and girl group sounds, may be just the band you need to hear.

Sunday, May 21

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Founded in 2017, the Delphia Cello Quartet plays original arrangements of popular tunes. It’s members are: Rachelle Smith; Amanda Burgdorf; Katherine Canon; and Julia Floberg. All play in a variety of groups, from orchestras to pit bands, to folk groups.

Monday, May 22

PaviElle @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Vocalist PaviElle French grew up in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, and in the last couple of years has become an advocate of black soul music for the Millenial generation. She’ was voted Best R&B Vocalist of 2015 by City Pages, and has been featured on TPT’s Lowertown Line. You’ll hear her originals and a couple of surprising covers, all done with a contemporary outlook and echoes of 70’s R&B.

Jon Rodine @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Whether singing songs by Doug Sahm, Dan Penn, Bob Dylan, or his own originals, Jon Rodine creates groove-driven rock n’ roll, with a touch of soulful country to boot. He’s played and recorded with a who’s who of Midwest musicians, including Ray & Glover, Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen, Paul Cebar, and Benson Ramsey of the Pines, among others. He deserves wider recognition, even here in his home town.

Tuesday, May 23

Peter Himmelman @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Singer-songwriter and guitarist Himmelman is a metro-area native who started out in the reggae/calypso band Shangoya back in the early 80s and went on to form Sussman Lawrence. His career has blossomed to include TV and film composing, children’s entertaining and webcasting. Time Magazine said of him, “Himmelman writes songs with the same emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency that impelled the Lost Generation to write novels.” Opening is Dan Israel  who has won a number of awards as a songwriter, and released a string of critically acclaimed albums in the 90s and ‘00s.

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.

Mardis Gras and Music: 2.22 – 2.28

February 22, 2017

images-1Well, Mardis Gras season is now in full swing, with a number of events planned for the coming week, which actually ends on Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Lent begins. Whether you celebrate or not, there is still ample opportunity to enjoy music here at the north end of the Mississippi River, from both visiting and resident artists. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 22

Thomasina Petrus @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Thomasina Petrus has lit up local stages with her acting and singing talent, including a notable turn as the star of “Lady Day, Live at the Emerson Bar & Grille.” Tonight she takes the stage in the large room at Crooners to belt out jazz standards, along with a bit of blues and R&B, not to forget some songs of Billie Holiday.

Maud Hixson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Ms Hixson knows how to pick a song that’s just right for her warm, enchanting vocals, whether from the pre-Songbook era of her latest CD, or the music of the under-apprecieated composer Mickey Leonard, or classics from Cole Porter and the Gershwins. It will be an evening of intimate songs, as Hixson is accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano; and Chris Bates, bass. Here’s Maud at a Jazz at Lincoln Center event, with an introduction by Rex Reed.

Leigh Kamman’s Interviews with Eddie Berger @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7 pm (Donation) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project has stores and stores of Kammen’s interviews in their archive, and once a month will be sharing interviews and music at the Black Dog. Tonight, the subject is saxophonist Eddie Berger, a Twin Cities Bebop giant who passed in 2008. Read Berger’s obituary here.

Thursday, February 23

Joel Shapira, Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira – No Cover) 8pm (Midnight Love-$7) Guitarist Shapira starts things off during the dinner hour with his always tasteful licks. Then at 8, Midnight Love takes the stage to deliver classic hard bop as practiced by Blue Note artists of the 50s and 60s, throwing in some 60s and 70s pop ala hard bop along the way. The group consists of: Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Matt Darling, trombone; Patrick Nelson, bass; Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz: Zacc Harris’ American Reverie @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Zacc Harris is a versatile guitarist who always plays interesting lines, whether its 21st Century jazz with the Atlantis Quartet, soul jazz with Vital Organ, or in this case, a jazzy take on Americana. That’s what you’ll get with the American Reverie Trio, which is dedicated to classic tunes and songs like Shenendoah and Tennessee Waltz, as well as some oldies, and perhaps a contemporary tune or two. Joining him are Matt Peterson, bass, and Lars-Erik Larson, drums. Here is Harris with a different trio, performing a standard.

Friday, February 24

Jeremy Walker, Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Aces – $10) It’s another double header of jazz, this time featuring the often contemplative piano playing of Jeremy Walker to start the evening, and following that with the joyous sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz, as played by the six-piece Southside Aces.  Robert Bell, guitar; Dave Michael, drums; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Tony Baluff, clarinet; and Steve Sandburg, trombone, will help you celebrate Mardis Gras a few days early. Here are the Aces performing a classic.

St. Peter Street Stompers @ Bistro LaRoux, 9372 Lexington NE, Circle Pines. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Not only can you celebrate Mardis Gras a bit early by listening to the Stompers do traditional New Orleans music from Louis Armstrong, Kid Thomas Valentine, and others; but you can dine on New Orleans dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets. The Stompers include: Chuck DeVore on tenor, trumpet, and trombone; Eddie Sekula, bass; Dave Wilkeining guitar; and Jason Berg, drums.

Saturday, February 25

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Julian Manzara Quartet is a group of college age musicians performing Manzara’s original jazz and fusion compositions. They start at 7pm with Manzara on guitar, Drew Stinson, Bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; and Geo Randall on drums. With a name like the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective, it’s obvious that the 9pm group celebrates Hard Bop, that 50s style that leavened the technical ferocity and intellectuality of BeBop with the rhythms and emotions of gospel. The Collective features drummer Jesse Simon; and includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Ted Olsen, bass; Ted Godbout, piano; and Aaron Hedenstrom, sax. Here’s a slightly different line-up of the group.

Julian Lage and Chris Eldrige @ Hopkins Center fo the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm social hour, 8:30pm concert ($27) Two Grammy nominated guitarists get together to explore the intersection of jazz, folk and bluegrass. Lage was a child prodigy who at 20, has become a highly respected performer through both his solo efforts and work with Gary Burton’s New Quartet and gigs with folks like Pat Methany, Toots, Thielemans, Jim Hall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Fred Hersch, and others. He’s also played with mandolinist David Grisman and banjoist, Bela Fleck, so a duo with bluegrass guitarist Chris Eldridge is not as uncommon as it might seem. Eldrige was a member of the Punch Brothers, and has worked with Fiona Apple, Paul Simon, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury, and Elvis Costello.

John Scofield @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($35, $40, $45) 9pm ($25, $30, $35) When guitarist Scofield played the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years back, the area if front of the stage’ was completely filled with jam band fans and guitarists wanting to see how he composes his licks. They recognized his genius at unfolding guitar lines that fall somewhere between funky jazz, rock, and R&B. He genius was recognized at the Grammy’s, where his most recent album Country for Old Men, won two awards last week. The album is an homage to such greats as George Jones, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, and Hank Williams, among others. Scofield plays alongside accomplished colleagues Steve Swallow, Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart. Here’s a cut from the album.

Monday, February 27

Ted Olsen Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Olsen is a talented bassist who can be found in many groups around town. Tonight he leads his own quartet, which isn’t listed on the Jazz Central Calendar. However, a few weeks ago the group included pianist Javi Santiago; saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom; and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Here is Ted in a trio setting.

Tuesday, February 28

Mardis Gras w/Patty & the Buttons @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for reserved seat) It’s officially Fat Tuesday, and Patty and the Buttons will help you celebrate in style.

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, February 22

Andy Cohen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Andy Cohen is a country blues musician, musicologist, and folk and blues historian. Besides featuring dazzling guitar work, his shows are filled with stories about classic bluesmen, the folks he’s hung with, like Wiggins and Cephas, Elizabeth Cotton, Etta Baker, Ted Bogan, Honeyboy Edwards, and others. He lives in Memphis, and only gets up here every couple of years. Well worth tuning in to hear him, and heading over to the 331 to see him. He’ll be accompanied by Mary Dushane and another friend or two from the area.

Lev, Olga, and the Band @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) I have to admit I’ve not heard this band, but you have to be curious about a band that claims to play a mix of Russian, Ukrainian, and English retro rock and jazz music.

Thursday, February 23

SPCO @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6pm doors, 7pm showtime ($20, drink included) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Icehouse are teaming up to present chamber music, specialty cocktails and gourmet food at the bar/restaurant. Tonight’s program includes Mozart’s Divertimento in D; Villa-Lobos’ The Jet Whistle for Flute and Cello; Mozart’s Quartet in D for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello; and Strum by the emerging American Composer Jesse Montgomery.

Rockin Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get into the Mardis Gras Spirit as the Pinecones deliver New Orleans R&B from the 50s and 60s, along with a spicy helping of Cajun and Zydeco tunes.

Curtis Blake’s Birthday Party @ Holihan’s Pub, 2160 3rd Street, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake is having a birthday and he’s inviting all of us to celebrate with him as he plays the blues with Greazy Gravy.

Friday, February 24

Winter Blues Shakedown @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) Kent Burnside & New Generation, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, and the Rena Haus Trio will have the dance floor bouncing at the Hook. Headliner Kent Burnside is the grandson of the late, great master of Hill Country Blues, RL Burnside, and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders are the Twin Cities acolytes of stripped-down blues, while Rena Haus Trio can be equally compelling covering the Allman Brothers as performing her own compositions. This video may be dark, but you certainly get a taste of Burnside’s music.

Thursday, Friday, Sunday, February 23, 24, 26

Everett Smithson Band Mardis Gras Parties @ Famous Dave’s (Thursday 7pm), Wilebski’s (Friday 6pm), and Neumann’s (Sunday 4pm) Everett Smithson and his cohorts play swamp pop, Zydeco, and other music inspired by the Mississippi River, and they’re taking advantage of the Mardis Gras season to show off their skills at getting folks to dance.

Saturday, February 25

Bluegrass Saturday Morning 35th Anniversary Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 3pm – 8pm ($10) It’s now 35 years that Twin Citizens have had coffee, read the newspaper, and done their Saturday morning errands to the sound of Bluegrass Saturday morning and its genial, and knowledgeable host Phil Nussbaum. Host station KBEM is celebrating the event with a stellar line-up: The High 48s; Phil Nusbaum and Sherry Minnick; King Wilkie’s Dream; Adam Kiesling; The AJ Srubas Group; Chris and Ari Silver; and Sawtooth.

Kaiser’s Boogie Woogie Ball w/Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Germanic American Institute, 301 Summit Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5) The party-lovin’ folks at the Germanic American Institute are having a Ball featuring the ever-swinging Radio Joe & the Jazzbos, who have convinced them to let in non-members for this event. There will definitely be beer.

Sunday, February 26

Phil Heywood @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Acoustic guitar lovers can have brunch while enjoying ace fingerpicking from Heywood. His fine, plain-spoken baritone vocals are put to good use as well. Here is Heywood on Wisconsin TV about 25 years ago.

Church of Cash @ The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Today is the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s birth. What better way to celebrate than with this tribute band that goes deep into his repertoire. They’ll be taking requests all night long. Check them out.

One World Consort w/guest Laura  MacKenzie @ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 7pm ($16 Advance, $20 Door) One World Consort will be performing special arrangements of Celtic-inspired music, along with their usual diverse repertoire of musical traditions. The addition of Laura MacKenzie, makes it that much more special. If you aren’t aware of OWC, their musicians include: Dave Milne, sax & woodwinds; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Eric Graham, bass; Craig hare, drums and percussion, and the Four Voices String quartet. Here is MacKenzie on concertina.

Sunday, Monday, February 26, 27

Ana Popovic @ Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) While many cultures around the world have their unique form of the blues, the American style of blues has found adherents in all cultures. Case in point: Serbian born guitarist/vocalist Ana Popovic  who grew up listening to her dad’s jam sessions and records and picked up a guitar at 15. Twenty-five years later her blistering finger work and strong vocals have catapulted her to international stardom. She’s appeared at blues, jazz, and rock festivals, and in the process has received nominations for five Blues Music Awards, and regularly reaches the top five in Blues charts. She’s currently touring around her recently released Trilogy, a 3 volume set of music.

Tuesday, February 28

Swamp Kings @ Dixies on Grand, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) If you didn’t make it to any of the last week’s celebration of Mardis Gras you can still actually celebrate on Fat Tuesday (today!). The three members of the Swamp Kings will have you dancing in between tables, as customers enjoy Louisiana cuisine, King Cakes, a shrimp boil and hurricane cocktails.

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.

Summer Begins: 3.25 – 3.31

May 25, 2016

Unknown-1Well, the unofficial start of summer is upon us. As the touring season for musicians kicks into high gear, we have more choices for music events from both visiting and resident artists, only a few of which I list each week. Like an overflowing picnic basket, we have more than enough to satisfy us. Have a great week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 25

Larry McDonough: Born To Be Kind of Blue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Pianist McDonough has been doing shows about trumpeters Chet Baker and Miles Davis of late. Hollywood recently released films about both trumpeters, so it seems the next step for McDonough is to combine both shows. McDonough’s voice has the same “cool” quality as Baker, so he’s got that covered, and he’s brought in the talented Steve Kenny on trumpet. Other members of the group include Paul Peterson, tenor; Doug Haining, alto; Jim Bierna, bass; and Dean White, drums. Here’s McDonough doing a standard.

Bobby Lyle w/Billy Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 Dinner), 9pm ($20) The Minneapolis native started playing piano in clubs at the age of 15, and hit the road as a full time musician after two years at Macalester. In the more than three decades since then he’s acquired an impressive resume, recording for Capitol, Atlantic, Three Keys, and Heads Up, and serving as musical director for Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler. His 2005 album Straight and Smooth appeared on both the Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts for Billboard. He’ll be joined by bassist Billy Peterson, whose own musical career also knows few boundaries, having worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Les Paul, Ben Sidran, and Steve Miller, among others.

Thursday, May 26

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Lucia Sarmiento Group is tonight’s attraction, and attraction is certainly the right word. Sarmiento is a young sax player from Peru who has been studying at MacNally Smith and increasingly gigging around town. She’s a strong player and a creative improviser. Joining her are a number of other young and youngish players: Will Kjeer, piano; Ethan Elseth, guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. Here she is from a few years ago.

Paula Lammers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Vocalist Lammers and guitarist David Martin have been exploring the music of singer/songwriters of the 70s, when the form exploded on the radio and pop charts. Ex[pect to hear music from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Rickie Lee Jones, Carole King, and more. Here she is doing an Ellington tune.

Friday, May 27

Jeremy Walker & Ted Nash @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Wow! Walker is a fine pianist and composer, well worth a visit to the Vieux. He’s a long time friend of saxophonist Ted Nash, who is coming through town and will be sitting in with Walker. Nash is a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and co-founded the NYC based Jazz Composers Collective. He will soon be releasing Presidential Suite, based on great political speeches of the 20th Century.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a band that’s just made for the room, allowing you to enjoy gumbo, a po’ boy, or oysters while The Aces play traditional New Orleans jazz from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bix Beiderbecke, among others. The group includes: Tony Baluff, clarinet; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Robert Bell, guitar; and Dave Michael, drums. And what’s more New Orleans than Little Liza Jane?

Maud Hixson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30 (No Cover) Ms Hixson brings her elegant vocals to the lounge at the Italian eatery in the office warrens in the southeast corner of the 100/494 interchange. She’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Rick Carlson on piano, two musicians whose restraint and taste are a good fit for Ms Hixson. Her latest project is a CD with songs mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books, a series from the early 20th Century about life in Mankato. Here’s a sample.

Saturday, May 28

Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Hot jazz from early in the 20th Century, played by Tom Zosel, clarinet/tenor sax; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; Tom Lyseng, drums; and Jeffrey Dunitz, banjo/guitar. Here’s what they sound like.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The new kitchen is open at the Black Dog, so while you’re enjoying music in the expanded space, you can have a burger or banh mi sandwich, among other offerings. At 7pm it’s the Evan Benidt Trio: Benidt, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums. The Peter Vircks Quartet starts sometime between 8:30 and 9:: Vircks, sax; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Brian Ziemniak, piano

Sunday, May 29

Joel Shapira @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) So, you’re hanging around town for the weekend, and if the forecast of rain on Friday and Saturday is correct, by Sunday afternoon, you’ll be looking for some diversion. Guitarist Joel Shapira might do the trick. The garage doors to the tap room will be open, so you can enjoy being on the patio.


Sergio Mendes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm  ($60 – $80) While Stan Getz may have had the first “bossa nova” hit with Desafinado, it was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 that really brought Brazilian music to the world 50 years ago. He adapted songs like The Look of Love, Fool on the Hill, and Scarborough Fair to the sensuous rhythms of Brazil, and took Mas Que Nada, sung entirely in Portugese, to the pop charts. He’s released 55 albums, and continues to meld pop instrumentation with Brazilian rhythms, maintaining his cool factor all these years. Here’s an example of just how cool he is – playing with the Black Eyed Peas

Tuesday, May 31

Dave Karr Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Saxophonist Karr moved to the Twin Cities in the 50s and began gigging around. In the intervening years created an award winning jingle agency, continued to gig, and has become an elder statesman in jazz, with an ever-inventive ability to caress a sweet melody or improvise a bebop line. He’ll be playing with Chris Lomheim, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.

Southern Minnesota REAL Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Waseca-based group is made up of the region’s top jazz musicians. About half are band directors, while the others come from a variety of occupations. They’ve got standard, 18-piece instrumentation, and play music from Ellington, Basie, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gordon Goodwin and others.


Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This may be the first appearance at the Vieux for this group, though they originally started when the place was the Artists’ Quarter. Initially, all members would play as part of Kenny’s early evening Tuesday night jam, until they coalesced as a group, with Kenny as the veteran playing with young lions. Besides Kenny on Flumpet_, the group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Listen.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 25

Moonlight Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Moonlight Duo are Mary DuShane and Nick Jordan. DuShane is a fiddler with a long history in the Twin Cities folk and roots scene. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion as a member of the Powdermilk Biscuit Band, currently plays with the DL Cajun Band, and has been in a number of country, folk, and roots bands over the decades. Nick Jordan plays finger-picked guitar (he flat picks as well), mandolin, and flute/whistle, in addition to singing. It will be an evening of old time, Appalachian, and Irish songs.

The April Fools @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of rock n’ roll loving guys who know how to put the country in country rock. Each has played in a plethora of bands before this collaboration, which was supposed to be a one-off project. They enjoyed working together so much that they became a band. Brian Drake, vocals, guitars; Clay Williams, guitars, lap steel, and pedal steel; Ben Kaplan, drums & percussion; and Scott Hreha, bass.

Thursday, May 26

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Swing dancers and Cajun dancers unite! You have nothing to lose but calories from spinning, twirling, two-stepping, and generally dancing the night away to this seasoned group and their repertoire of New Orleans R&B, Cajun, & Zydeco music.


Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($20) There will be plenty of both young and old fans of funk n’ soul at the former bus depot tonight. Bradley spent years doing James Brown covers before he was discovered by the soul-loving folks at Daptone Records. He’s been given the sobriquet “Screamin’ Eagle of Soul” thanks to the intensity of his singing, which leans toward slow and medium tempos, though he explodes with passion on the occasional fast number.

Jaunito Pascual New Flamenco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Born in Minneapolis, Jaunito Pascual  as been recognized in both Spain and throughout the US for his creativity and virtuosity on the guitar. He’s been hailed by NPR and the Boston Globe, performed on a Prairie Home Companion Cruise, and appeared in Steve Martin’s Pink Panther 2.

Friday, May 27

JD Souther @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $52) Billed as an “Intimate Evening,” it will be just Souther on stage. The singer/songwriter was a critical source for songs during the flowering of California country/rock in the early 70s, having hits with Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and others. He had his own massive hit in 1979, with You’re Only Lonely, which hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Souther has admitted that his songs are often depressing, which may explain why they are popular with country stars like George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks and Dunn, and others. His latest album, Tenderness, finds him, like many other his age, exploring the Great American Songbook. Those of you of a certain age will remember this song, a hit for the Eagles.

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm ($20, $18 members) Doors at 6:30 and limited seating, in one of the nicest unexpected venues in town. Sit amongst stunning examples of 20th Century Realism, and listen to this extraordinary quartet, one of the few guitar ensembles in the country that performs its pieces from memory. You’ll hear music from J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Hiromi Uehara, Maria Kalaniemi, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Don’t think this is on the program, but it’s a fine version.

North Country Bandits @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The band was on hiatus for a while, so it’s good to have them back, performing  a heap of stompin’ blues, a bit of country, good ol’ rock n’ roll, and killer harmonies. The front line is Matt Pudas, Drew Druckery, and Doug Otto on guitars and vocals, along with Rich Casey bass; Chris Gray, drums, Joanna John, keys; and Nick “The Feelin’” Mrozinski on vocals and keys.

Riverside Swing Band EP Release @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though the lounge has a small dance floor, it will undoubtedly be jumping as this quartet celebrates the release of “Songs from the 30s,” a collection of six vintage swing tunes.

Saturday, May 28

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpman and vocalist Steve Vondehaar, aka Boom Boom Steve, plays the Mississippi Saxophone with considerable skill. He’s been at it ever since buying a Tony Glover instruction book as a teenager. He and the Knockouts will have Neumann’s jumping.

Urban Flavor @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Funk n’ soul from a band of seasoned musicians, a few of whom were instrumental in the MPLS Sound of the 70s and 80s. Ben Locke was Alexander O’Neal’s drummer, while Charles and Donald Berry were cofounders of Quiet Storm, featured in the book/CD Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Members of other bands from the era will be present, though it’s hard to say who may join the band for the evening.

Pat Hayes Band @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist/harpist/vocalist Pat Hayes isn’t exactly shedding his Lamont Cranston skin, just putting it aside for this gig, which will undoubtedly still feature an LC tune or two in a new configuration. I’m unsure of who he’ll have with him, except for Tim Wick, who will be playing organ.

Saturday, Sunday, May 28, 29

Memory Lanes Block Party @ Memory Lanes, 25th & 26th Ave So, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 2am Saturday, 3pm – 10 pm Sunday ($5/day) Deejays and bands galore, with Saturday featuring mostly (insert hyphenated genre here) rock bands, while on Sunday there are a few roots and blues bands of note, including: Jaedyn James & The Hunger at 4:30, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders at 8:20, the Legendary Shack Shakers at 9:30, and Davina & The Vagabonds indoors at 10:45.


Sunday, May 29

Ecuador Manta @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Based in Saint Paul since they began in 1992, Ecuador Manta is originally from the tiny village of Atahulapa, Ecuador. They combine traditional rhythms from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia with contemporary Latin and Caribbean rhythms to create a unique form of Andean music.


Tuesday, May 31

Siama: Rivers – From the Congo to the Mississippi CD Release @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) If the swaying rhythms of Congolese guitarist Siama Matuzungidi doesn’t make you want to move, you better check your pulse. Siama was a prolific studio musician during the golden era of soukous music (70s-’80s) and his distinctive guitar style is featured on over 100 hit songs, several of which he composed. He’s been a resident of the Twin Cities for a number of years now, slowly but steadily building a fan base and connections with other musicians in cross-genre projects. From the Congo to the Mississippi is one such project, featuring musicians such as Joe Savage, pedal steel; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; Tim O’Keefe, percussion; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, JD Steele, vocals, and others, all of whom will be on hand. You’re invited to contribute an instrument in the lobby for distribution by Vega Productions to aspiring young musicians.

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

Music for Lovers and More: 2.10 – 2.16

February 10, 2016
Making a mixtape - once very romantic in some circles

Making a mixtape – once very romantic in some circles

If you want to treat your Valentine to more than a mixtape, there are a plethora of Valentine’s Day events this week, including one or two that recognize anti-Valentine sentiments. Some of them feature dinners, which certainly ups the cost, but then, Valentine’s Day is special – just ask greeting card and candy companies. Additionally, there are certainly plenty of other opportunities to hear some great music around town. I’ve just scratched the surface with these ideas. Music lifts the spirit!


Wednesday, February 10

Mary Louise Knutson/New Shoes @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5 after 8pm) Sublime solo piano from Ms Knutson during the dinner hours, followed at 8pm by the former Guys All Star Shoe Band from Prairie Home Companion. They’ll be stretching out from their radio gig, as Richard Kriehn, fiddle and mandolin; Gary Raynor, bass; Joe Savage, pedal steel guitar; and Peter Johnson on drums present originals, Americana, and perhaps a few jazz tunes.

Chris Bates @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Bassist Bates is playing a series of monthly dates at Jazz Central with Joe Strachan, piano; and Matt Buckner, drums; in anticipation of recording their originals live and releasing them digitally within the next few months.

Thursday, February 11

Mack Avenue Super Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($35 – $45) Mack Avenue Records has been featuring a band of its recording artists at the Detroit Jazz Festival for the last few years. Now we get to hear them in our own town. Listen to this lineup. First off, you have the Christian McBride Trio with Christian Sands, piano; and Carl Allen, drums. Add in Gary Burton, vibes; Sean Jones, trumpet; and Tia Fuller, sax;  and you do indeed, have a Super Band.

Melody Mendis @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Mendis performs jazz, r&b, pop, blues, and international songs. She’ll be accompanied by Tom Lewis, bass; Jon de Vaal drums; and Tim Graham, piano.

Dean Magraw & Steven Hobert @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($12) Here’s a chance for folks in the western suburbs to hear the incredible artistry of guitarist Magraw and pianist Hobert. Between Hobert’s flights of fancy, and Magraws sonic improvisations, this should be a winning performance.

Lila Ammons @ The Bad Waitress, 2 East 26th Street, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) Andy Cohen, owner of the Bad Waitress, is also a guitarist, and he’s brought Ammons in once before. He’ll be accompanying the vocalist, along with Peter Schimke,keys; and Jim Chenowith, bass.

Friday, February 12

Friday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The old Nicollet Cafe has been relaunched as the Reverie, but it still features jazz on Friday nights. Tonight it’s No Room for Squares, with James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Bill Stieger, drums; Jon Pemberton, trumpet; Mikkel Romstad, piano; and Adam Tucker, bass.

Maud Hixson Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover) Sit in the lounge and enjoy the oh so cool, yet evocative vocals of Ms Hixson.

Peter Schimke Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Pianist Schimke has toured, performed, and/or recorded with artists such as Billy Preston, Art Farmer, Tom Harrell, Mark Murphy, Frank Morgan, and many, many, more. Here he is in a quartet setting.

Saturday, February 13

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Jazz Word Jazz is a different kind of show for this series, featuring musical improvisation and poetry, a combination that’s been around almost as long as jazz itself. The band consists of Chris Bates, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; Greg Schutte, drums; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Will Jensen. The poets are Jim Larson, Amy Nash and Richard Broderick. Starts at 7:00 with an instrumental set, and then the headliner sets will add the poets.

Saturday, Sunday, February 13, 14

The Crosby Clooney Story @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday,  3pm Sunday ($20) Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney were best of friends. They starred in White Christmas in 1954, did three duo albums together, and performed in concert together. She was a frequent guest on his TV shows, and they hosted the Crosby Clooney show in 1960 and ’61. Crooner Arne Fogel is a well respected authority on Crosby, and often performs with Maud Hixson. They’ve done this show before to appreciative audiences, and you have two chances to catch it.

Sunday, February 14

Debbie Duncan @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 5:30pm (Dinner Show), 7:30pm – 9:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners have put together a special show for Valentine’s Day. At 5:30, Debbie Duncan will appear in the Dunsmore Room. You’ll have to order dinner to hear her there. However, at 7:30pm she’ll move to the lounge, where there is no cover, and dancing will occur.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 5:30pm (3 Course Dinner Show: $50 – $55) Whether Nyberg is singing a pop ditty about buying romaine for her partner, or caressing a ballad like The Nearness of You, she imparts a youthful, and lively enthusiasm for romance, which makes her a perfect performer for couples wanting a special evening for Valentine’s Day.

Monday. February 15

Lucia Sarmiento @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Sarmiento is a saxophonist from Peru who has been studying at McNally Smith for the past couple of years and has been appearing around town in various groups. tonight, she’ll lead her own band. Here’s a promo video of her and her band.

The Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis.9:30pm ($8) First set: Witch Hunt: a Tribute to Wayne Shorter, with Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Ted Godbout, piano; Adam Harder Nussbaum, drums; Michael Shulte, sax. Second set: Deveraux/Bates Duo: Nelson Devereaux, sax; JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, February 16

Bill Carrothers @ The Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($20 Minimum) Call it coincidence if you will, but Carrothers  a wonderful, almost luminous pianist, is now playing this room for the third time since it opened a couple of months ago. The clarity of the room’s 9 foot Bosendorfer piano, and the attentive quiet of the listening room audience, are no doubt part of the room’s appeal.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, February 10

Jon Rodine with Paul Bergen and Friends @ KFAI and the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rodine is an under-appreciated singer of Blues, Americana, and R&B whose last album of originals, Last Star, has been getting some notice around the country. He’ll be joined by guitarist/vocalist Paul Bergen and his band. Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton will be join them along with Becky Kapell, and Max Ray on saxophone.

Thursday, February 11

Siama’s Afrobilly @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Once again, percussionist Mikkel Beckmen brings the singing guitar of Siama Matuzungidi to his Thursday afternoon acoustic gig. Matuzungidi’s guitar is featured on a number of soukous hits out of Africa. He’s played on four continents for a wide variety of audiences, all of whom have swayed to the sound of his evocative guitar. Dallas Johnson will join in on percussion and occasional vocals.

Friday, February 12

What’s Love Got To Do With it @ the University Club, 420 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free, Donations accepted) A Valentine revue, led by Richard Broderick, with a cast of actors, poets, singers, storytellers, and belly dancers, with guest appearances by such famous romantics as Lord Byron and Cleopatra.

Saturday, February 13

Maurice Jacox Valentine’s Event @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Reservations are always recommended for this intimate venue, which reminds me of a midtown Manhattan bar in the 60s. Tonight, the sterling vocalist will be accompanied by two excellent guitarists: Bobby E, who may add some backing vocals from time to time, and Deano Mikkelson.

14th Annual Carnaval Brasileiro @ International Market Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($30 Advance, $40 Door) It’s a masquerade ball, complete with Brazilian music, drummers, professional samba dancers from Sao Paulo, and artisans. New this year is the addition of Badi Assad, who will also be appearing at the Dakota tomorrow night (see below). Here’s an example of what you might encounter.

The Badinovs @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis.  10pm (No Cover) This Beatles-inspired group hasn’t played out in almost a year, and it’s taken a wedding reception (open to the public) for Larry & Rachel Becker to get them on stage. There will be two or three other bands during the evening, which starts at 7pm. Word is a very special guest will play before the Badinovs. Whether you know the Beckers or not, you can take part in the reception. No gifts are needed, and you sure won’t hear the Hoky Poky or the Cha Cha Slide.

Lady Heat - They know their way around turntables

Lady Heat – They know their way around turntables

Lady Heat’s “Love Me, Love Me Not” Dance Party @ Clubhouse Jaeger, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Three lady Deejays spinning vinyl. Though the evening will be rooted in soul and funk, they are conversant with other genres and are sure to mix up “love” and “anti-love” jams for your dancing pleasure.

Sunday, February 14

The Love Show: Deluxe Edition @ O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine’s, Saint Paul. 3pm ($28) Kevin Kling, Dan Chouinard, Bradley Greenwald, Prudence Johnson, Simone Perrin, Claudia Schmidt, and Dane Stauffer in a show that recalls the Saturday Night Variety shows from the early days of television. Here’s a recording of Chouinard and Prudence Johnson.

Willie Walker and We “R” at There Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No cover) Walker has been nominated for three Blues Awards for his outstanding album, If Nothing Ever Changes. His sandpaper voice gives a bit of oomph to the more romantic songs that he sings, like You Send Me. Word is, that Maurice Jacox will be joining on baritone sax for a few numbers.

Badi Assad @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm (4 Course Dinner Show: $102); 9pm (Cocktail Show: $42)  Assad is a Brazilian singer/songwriter as well as a brilliant guitarist, and percussionist, who was most recently in town at the Cedar Cultural Center las Fall. She blends pop, jazz, and world influences with traditional Brazilian music to create exciting performances, as she showed at the Dakota a couple of years ago. Her latest album, Hatched, features her take on songs by Lorde, Skillrex, and Mumford and Sons, among other contemporary artists. Twin Cities guitarist Robert Everest opens.

Music By Lovers 6th Annual Valentine’s Show @ Shaw’s Bar & Grill, NE Minneapolis. 6pm ($30/couple) Billy Larson & Lisa Wenger came up with this  concept of couples performing romantic tunes for couples. Featuring, Billy Larson & Lisa Wenger; Deb Brown & Brian Z; Peter Hennig & Rachel Holder-Hennig; and Tamara & Phil Barnett. The cover includes a sweet tasting and a glass of wine.

If I but knew the words that would unlock your heart

If I but knew the words that would unlock your heart

Victorian Poetry Slam @ James J. Hill House, 240 Summit, Saint Paul. 6pm, 7:30pm ($12) Classic 19th Century poetry performed in the drawing room of the mansion overlooking downtown Saint Paul. Actors Craig Johnson, Laura Salveson, and Ann Daly will be dressed in 1890s evening wear. Audience members are invited to bring along a Victorian poem to read aloud. Light refreshments and tours of the house will follow the performance.

Monday, February 15

Hot Club of Cowtown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm  ($30, $35) This trio plays Western Swing with original compositions that reflect both Django Rheinhardt and early jazz, as well as Bob Wills. They’ve toured with Bob Dylan and played the Grand Ol’ Opry, as well as having appeared on Praire Home Companion.

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.

Good Weather. Great Music: 12.10 – 12.16

December 10, 2014
Last year, we had this for weather during this week. This year we'll have no snow.

Thank goodness we don’t have this to look forward to, which was what we had last year at this time.

It seems we’re in for a warming trend this weekend, with temps in the 40s and 50s, so the weather should be no barrier to attending holiday parties and shows. Once again we’ve a few visiting artists worth your time and money, as well as our usual plethora of resident musicians who will help lift your spirits. Have a good week.


Wednesday, December 10

Lila Ammons @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) A classically trained vocalist, Ms Ammons tackles jazz and blues with authority and verve to spare at this warehouse district nitespot on North 1st Avenue.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is bassist Chris Bates’ once-a-month series at JC. Tonight, it’s all basses on deck for a Bass Summit, featuring, besides Chris, Casey O’Brian, Brian Roessler, Charles Fletcher, Chris Hunnicut, and more.

Thursday, December 11

Give Get Sistet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sara M. Greer gathers up some like-minded female vocalists to improvise holiday classics and wintry favorites a-capella style. With Aimee K. Bryant, Mankwe Ndosi, Libby Turner Opanga, & Alicia Steele.

Jack Brass Band @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Whether they’re playing traditional New Orleans jazz, The Temptation, or the more modern R&B of Keith Sweat & Bobby Brown, the JBB’s infectious rhythms and joie de vivre will have you bouncing in your seats or taking to the dance floor.

Friday, December 12

Connie Evingson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm The dulcet, swinging tones of Ms Evingson will waft through the lounge at this Italian restaurant. Whether singing gypsy jazz, The Beatles, or Peggy Lee, Evingson always bring a lush sound to her singing. Tonight, she’s joined by Rick Carlson, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and that bebopper with a way with ballads, Dave Karr on sax.

Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Versatile pianist Tanner Taylor is back in town for a bit, and will be joined by pals Graydon Peterson, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums, for an evening of holiday favorites, and, I’m sure, other tunes.

College Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm – 11:30pm (Donation) Here’s a chance to listen to the next generation of jazz players, as members of  North Central University’s Jazz Workshop show off their chops. The evening ends with a jam session.

Saturday, December 13

Chris Bates’ Red 5 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Saturday Night Jazz continues to draw the jazz faithful to the Black Dog, this time for Chris Bates’ quintet playing his original music. Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak & Chris Thomson, saxes. With an opening set by Dark Blue. Here’s the Red5 doing a tune from their CD.

PipJazz Live Holiday Program @ Maplewood Community Center Theater, 2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood. 7pm ($25, $5 for Students) Featured Youth Artist: Charlie Lincoln, bass. Pippi Ardennia presents her holiday show of jazz & R&B, with featured youth artist Charlie Lincoln, who is studying with Eric Kamau Gravatt, and already shows great talent and promise.

Sunday, December 14

Maud Hixson & the Wolverines Trio w/Dave Karr @ the Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm – 4pm. ($25, $15/Student, child, $20 Senior) It’s a musical excursion of holiday tunes through the years, featuring the delightful Ms Hixson, with firm support from the Wolverines Trio and the extraordinary Dave Karr on sax. Nationally recognized film collector Bob DeFlores will be showing rare films of holiday songs as performed by Big Crosby, Judy, Garland, Spike Jones, Gene Autry, and others.

Charles Lazarus All Brass Big Band: Merry & Bright @ St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Ave S. Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($?) Trumpeter Lazarus takes a break from his MN Orchestra duties to present a different take on holiday tunes, from Latin to loungem, groove to gospel. With Tommy Barbarella, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums, and the Lazarus Brass, as well as special guest vocalists Bruce Henry & Tonia Hughes.  This video isn’t holiday music, but it gives you a good idea of Lazarus at work.

Monday, December 15

Kevin Gastonguay B3 w/Clay Pufahl @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahh, the funky sounds of a B3 organ, responsible for bringing soulful jazz to the people in small clubs across the nation. Tonight Kevin Gastonguay will be at the keys and foot pedals, with accompaniment by saxophonist Clay Pufahl, and drummer Mac Santiago.

George Cartwright’s PAL @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s the always adventurous Jazz Implosion, tonight featuring Saxophonist Cartwright, together with multi-instrumentalist Andrew Broder, bassist Josh Granowski, and JT Bates.

Monday, Tuesday, December 15, 16

Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ms Gambarini is a highly talented singer who brings her great sense of swing and ability to scat to the Great American Songbook. Mentored by James Moody, Benny Carter, and Hank Jones, she’s received two Grammy nominations. Ms Gambarini is appearing with a seasoned band of all-stars, including Jimmy Cobb, drums (the only living member of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue recording; Ray Drummond, bass; Sullivan Fortner, piano; and Justin Robinson, sax. I did an interview with Ms Gambarini back in 2011, which you can read here. She explains her approach before singing in this video.

Tuesday, December 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Their recently released album is a winner, with original tunes and arrangements by Meckler. Read a review of the album here. As many of you may know, Jazz Central isn’t very big, so you’ll be able to see and hear this 16 piece band up close and personal.

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, December 10

Cooker John on the House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI-90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Cooker John learned fingerpicking from Artie Traum in Manhattan back in the early 60s. Afterwards he played in various bands around NYC, opening for folks like Chuck Berry, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Crazy Horse. Since 1990 or so, he’s been gigging around the Midwest, mostly working solo to bring his blues and folk music to the masses. Tonight he’ll be joined by Nick Salisbury on bass and Ben Kaplan on drums. Tune in, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 10,11

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60), 9pm ($40, $50) The last time she was in town, both shows sold out. This time Fischer is here for six shows (two occurred last night), and it may still be hard to get a good seat. Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. She’s been on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them.

Thursday, December 11

McNally Smith Emerging Artists @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear some young musicians strut their stuff. The McNally Smith staff has been doing a great job of teaching and mentoring the students at the school. Tonight you can hear Improv, Composition, Funky Blues, and two Modern Rock bands. And did I mention it’s free?

The Icicles @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Jake Hanson, guitar, Jeremy Hanson, drums, and Jim Anton, bass, play reverb instrumental music: surf music, dub, and pop instrumentals.

Friday, December 12

Basalt @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Okay, here’s a combination that you don’t see much. James W. Anton provides funky bass for The Droppers, and can be heard as a sideman in a number of jazz bands. Jeremy Ylvisaker plays his guitar as a member of Cloak Ox, Alpha Consumer, and Andrew Bird’s band, among others; while JT Bates is a drummer about town, playing with The Pines, Molly Maher & Erick Koskinen, and jazz projects like Fat Kid Wednesdays, and Chris Bates’ Red5, not to forget the fact that he curates the Jazz Implosion every Monday at the Icehouse. It appears this may be a jazz trio, but with such varied backgrounds, there’s no telling what they’ll play.

Africans in the Snow @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10) Members of the Cottman Jazz Family present storytelling, dance, and music to present stories connecting culture and art. Dancer Kenna Cottman serves as curator. Auntie Beverly is a griot who will share stories, and Roboday Drums will present music from Haitian Culture. Warm drinks and spicy food will also be available.

Curtiss A. and Dark Click @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Fresh off his 35th Annual John Lennon tribute, Curtiss A explores the blues with this particular group.

People Brothers Band @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm doors, 10pm show ($10) The People Brothers are an octet from Madison who lay down some might invigorating “rhythm and soul,” as they call it, with originals and covers from bands ranging from the Talking Heads to The Allmans. Twin Cities artists I Like You open, along with A Round of Horseshoes.

6th Annual Holiday Shindig Benefit for Kill Kancer @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($10)  Resident singer/songwriters (and newlyweds) Ben Cook-Feltz and Mother Banjo are teaming up to present this annual benefit featuring Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, who’s getting around a lot these days; Molly Dean, Jon Rodine, and Natalie Lovejoy. They’ll be taking turns singing seasonal originals and holiday favorites, with all proceeds going to Kill Kancer, started by Marty Beth Mueller after losing her husband Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum to esophageal cancer.

Saturday, December 13

Tribute to Doug Sahm @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 4-6pm (No Cover) Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton teams up with Jon Rodine, Rusty Jones, Tim Mauseth and other guests for a tribute to the music of Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender,and other great Texas stars!

The Eddies’ Seventh Annual Yulefest @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave N., Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15) Celtic Music, songs of love and death, food, wine, a silent auction and more from the Eddies, along with Barra, the Hi Bs, and Patsy O’Brien, raise money for th Food Group (formerly the Emergency Foodshelf Network).

Sunday, December 14

Medeski, Scofield, Martin, & Wood @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. ($30) This groove-steady combination of musicians features guitarist John Scofield, and the younger trio of MM&W. They’ve been joining up for gigs and recordings for about 17 years, and have just released their third studio recording together, a celebration of rhythms from Brazil, the Carribean, and Latin America, including that soul/Latin hybrid, the boogaloo.

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) Hm, Hm, Hm. Steady as the Mississippi, as fun as a Mardis Gras party, the rollicking, rocking Ms Ball always delivers her Texas/Louisiana brand of blues, R&B, Boogie Woogie, and Zydeco with verve and good humor. Her latest album, the danceable Tatooed Lady & the Alligator Man, has been receiving great reviews.

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.



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