Close to Home, Part 2: 2.7 – 2.13

February 7, 2018

Once again, we are looking at mostly area artists for inspiration and lifting our spirits this week, though we have a few visitors in the Blues, Roots, & Other category. It’s good stuff, and worth your efforts to get out and hear. And remember, these are just my ideas about what’s out there. We have a plethora of talent in almost every artistic endeavor you can name. So.. with Mardis Gras approaching, get out and let music lift your Spirit!

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 7

Kevin Gastonguay, Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Gastonguay – No Cover), 8pm (Laurie – $6) Start the evening off with pianist Kevin Gastonguay, who is a member of JT Bates’ GRAIN Trio, and other groups, including New Sound Underground, and Nooky Jones, two of the hottest bands in town. Then at 8pm, vocalist Rhonda Laurie will keep things swingin, whether vocalizing on gypsy jazz, straight-ahead jazz, cabaret, or standards. She’ll be accompanied by Robert Bell, guitar, and Matt Peterson on bass.

Davu Seru/Noah Ophoven- Baldwin Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) The always inventive percussionist Davu Seru teams up with the exciting young trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin for an evening of originals.

Thursday, Feb 8

Adam Meckler Trio & MacPhail Student Combos @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($5) This evening features two MacPhail combos directed by trumpeter Adam Meckler, who is working with the groups even though MacPhail left both students and teachers in the lurch when it closed. Afterward, Meckler will be joined by Park Evans, guitar, and Reid Kennedy, drums, to finish off the evening with a program of jazz standards. Here is Meckler in a quintet setting.

Friday, Feb 9

JC Sanford Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Sanford, a Minnesota native and trombonist/composer recently moved back home after spending 16 years in NYC. He’s a long time student of the great Bob Brookmyer and has performed with Danilo Perez, Matt Wilson, and Danny McCaslin, in addition to conducting large groups including the Alice Coltrane Orchestra, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and the Frank Carllberg Large Ensemble. He’ll be joined by guitarist Zacc Harris and two other members of the Twin Cities jazz scene.  Here is Sanford with a different quartet.

Really Big Shoe @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Saxophonists Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl created this quartet in 2015 to play original compositions and modern interpretations of contemporary and relevant tunes. They are joined by Ted Olsen, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Saturday, Feb 10

MN Hard Bop Collective’s “Soul Station” Quartet @Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon really likes the music of Hank Mobley, as this is the third concert of Mobley’s music by the MN Hard Bop Collective, this time featuring Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; Ted Olsen, bass; and Simon on drums. Here’s a Mobley track.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start out with the John Devine Quartet, with Devine and Bill Lang on saxophones: Brock Thorson, bass; and Alden Ikeda, drums. At 8:30pm it’s a combination of seasoned veterans and Young Turks in the Jazz Bridge Project: Brian Handeland, sax; Rajiah Johybson, flute; Roger Johnson, guitar; Mark Vandemyde, piano; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, Feb 11

Mary Lou Williams’ Music for Peace: Re-Imagined @ Aquinas Chapel U of St Thomas, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free?)  Commonly known as “Mary Lou’s Mass,” this sacred jazz music of legendary composer/pianist Mary Lou Williams was her testimony to the healing power of music at the close of the Civil Rights Era. The work will be presented in new arrangements by Laura Caviani and Kari Musil, and performed by jazz vocalists with the Swing Sisterhood Big Band. Here is the wonderful Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in collaboration with Ms Williams.

Patty Peterson and the Jazz Women All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 5pm, 7:30pm (No Cover, $25 for Guaranteed Seat) This isn’t a group that’s guided by the novelty of being female, but rather a group of jazz musicians whose gender has little to do with their talent: Ginger Commodore, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass and guitar; Shelia Earley, drums; Kathy Jensen, sax; and, of course, Patty Peterson on vocals.

Monday, Tuesday, Feb 12, 13

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Note: Cocktail Service only on Monday. Drummer Dave King usually uses the trio format to explore the Great American Songbook. Tonight, however, in addition to bassist Billy Peterson, he has NYC pianist Matt Mitchell in the group, whose CV includes groups such as Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, The Dave Douglas Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, and other boundary-breaking groups, so look for the aforementioned standards to receive even more contemporary treatments than usual.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Mardis Gras w/South Side Aces and The All Souls Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Celebrate Fat Tuesday with the traditional New Orleans Jazz of the South Side Aces, and what appears to be a new brass band for this area.,

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, Feb 7

Gang of Mischief w/Richard Kriehn on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This band normally plays on the last Sunday afternoon of the month at Neumann’s in North Saint Paul, so here’s your chance to hear them on the radio and see them within the city limits. Harpmaster Harold Tremblay, along with Rena Haus, guitar & vocals; Dan Schwalbe, guitar; and Mark Rizzardi, bass; will be joined by mandolinist Richard Kriehn in the “hot seat,” the designation for their special guests’ place in the band.

Thursday, Feb 8

Poppy.Computer Tour 2018 @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($230 Advance, $25 Door) As an older person who nevertheless tries to stay somewhat abreast of culture, I’m completely perplexed by Poppy, a YouTube sensation whose 10 minute video, I’m Poppy, has been viewed over 14 million times. This waif-like female has numerous videos in which she asks obvious questions, eats things, and makes odd statements, generally delivered with an android-like voice, all of which has gained her followers on YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. She has many shorter videos as well, including 3:36. Importantly for this performance, Poppy also sings, and has an EP entitled Bubblebath with four catchy tunes.

Friday, Feb 9

The 70s Magic Sunshine Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) From Kung Fu Fighting and American Pie to Crocodile Rock, Lido Shuffle, and Love Train, this quintet just loves AM Radio hits of the 70s.

Saturday, Feb 10

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Blues from Harpist Steve Vonderharr and his band. Vonderharr was inducted into the MN Blues Hall of Fame in 2016. The Knockouts include fellow Hall of Fame member guitarist Dan Schwalbe. It will be a jumpin’ evening.

Mardis Gras @ The Hook & and Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Celebrate Mardis Gras (Fat Wednesday) with no worries about work in the morning. The Brass Messengers start things off with their joyous takes on brass music from New Orleans, Eastern Europe, and other far-flung places. The Butanes are no strangers to the music of Louisiana, having backed Earl King at the Jazz and Heritage Festival. What’s more, they’ll have special guest Camille Baudin of the Radiators sitting in. Scottie Miller’s take on New Orleans piano giants is just the thing to end the evening.

Terence Simien & the Zydeco Experience @ the Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27, $32) This two-time Grammy-winner has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 30 years in a row. He’s brought his infectious music to exuberant fans around the world, and will have you dancing in your seat, if not the aisles.

Sunday, Feb 11

Dusty Heart @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. (Free) Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are highly respected singer/songwriters who together, create music that blends roots, indie, and folk genres. The duo creates rich vocal harmonies that solidify their poetic lyrics. Get there early to find a seat and enjoy the humidity and greenery.

Sonny Landreth @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 Advance, $40 Door) Here’s a guitarist that should be better known. Landreth started out with Clifton Chenier, and since then the ace slide guitarist has collaborated with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Derek Trucks and others, and has recorded with artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. A must-see performer for guitar lovers.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Swamp Kings Annual Fat Tuesday Celebration @ Dixie’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) This trio can lay down Louisiana rhythms with style and much energy – apropos accompaniment for the Southern menu at Dixies.

Mardis Gras w/Davina and the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whether she’s singing Fats Domino, Etta James, or her originals, Davina and the guys are never far from the music of New Orleans, which makes her appearance at the New Orleans-themed basement club so right.

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.


Winter Music: 1.24 – 1.30

January 24, 2018

Ice Palace image from The Pioneer Press/TwinCities.com

Winter Carnival is upon us, and Super Bowl Week starts on Sunday, both of which bring a plethora of special events and concerts. A schedule of Winter Carnival events, including free concerts, can be found here. Super bowl concerts range from fee outdoor concerts to events with stratospheric prices, as you can find here. However, there are other musical events worth your while, as I’ve noted below. Remember: Music Lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, Jan 24

The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project @ the Black Dog, Saint Paul. Each month, Brad Bellows of the LKLP brings interviews conducted by the late broadcaster to the Black Dog, along with appropriate visuals. Tonight’s interviews include a bunch of “Greatest Hits” with jazz masters Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Bob Brookmeyer, Roy Haynes, Carmen McRae, Phil Woods, and more.

Thursday, Jan 25

Jiselle McCollem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Tonight’s edition of Vocal Jazz Night features Ms McCollum, a young actress who will be performing jazz standards with the help of Bob Beahen, Matthew Callope, Joe Twohy, and Shannon van der Reck.

Friday, Jan 26

Jeremy Siskind Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($15) Pianist, composer and educator Siskind is in town to lead a piano workshop for high school students, and thus is appearing tonight with brothers Chris Bates on bass and JT Bates on drums. Besides having three CDs of his own, Siskind has appeared as the pianist on Nancy Harms’ CD Ellington At Night, as well as with her a couple of times at area house concert. He’s a leader in the in-home concert movement, having played in over 100 homes in twenty-five states. He’s also the Artistic Director for the American Jazz Piano competition and currently teaches at Fullerton College in Southern California.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) One of the best jazz units in the Twin Cities, drummer Phil Hey and his group – Phil Aaron, piano; Dave Hadgedorn, vibes; and Tom Lewis, bass – revel in playing music by Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea and other masters of jazz.

Saturday, Jan 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening act at 7pm is the Pete Snell Trio: Pete Snell, tenor; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano. At 8:30pm a new version of the Bryan Nichols Quintet takes the stage: Bryan Nichols, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Jeff Bailey, bass; Davu Seru, drums.

Erin Livingston Duo @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Livingston is a vocalist who has appeared with the Parisota Hot Club and can sing jazz, blues, and R&B. She’ll be joined by Marc Ziegenhagen on piano.

Minnesota Hard Bop Collective: Hank Mobley, Part 2 @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (tip jar) Hard bop saxophonist Hank Mobley create over one hundred records during his lifetime, so this sextet is digging deep to interpret some of his music.

Prohibition Swing Night @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneaplis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The Mississippi Hot Club and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League will be presenting Prohibition-era Swing and Gypsy Jazz for your dancing pleasure. There will even be free swing dance lessons at 8:30, before the music starts at 9pm. The Mississippi Hot Club expands the boundaries of Gypsy Jazz, or Jazz Manouche as it’s also known, by incorporating music that ranges from European folk music, to Nintendo anthems and science fiction themes. The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperanhce League is a fun quartet that brings the hot rhythms of Prohibition into the 21st Century. Here they are.

Sunday, Jan 28

2018 Winter Jazz Fest @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 1pm – Closing ($40 General Admission, $125 VIP) This year’s Winter Jazz Fest is smaller than in the past, but much more intimate, taking place on only two stages. The Dunsmore Room will be emptied of tables to allow more seating for performances by Connie Evingson, the Jake Baldwin Quartet, and headliner Regina Carter with pianist Xavier Davis. Meanwhile, the lounge stage will feature the Travis Anderson Trio: Two Youth Groups from the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education; Judi Vinar; the ACME Jazz Company & Butch Miles; and a jam session. Complete schedule, line-up and more information can be found here. I did an interview with Ms Carter in 2015 which you can read here. Here’s she is being interviewed and doing a song from her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, Jan 30

Davu Seru’s Dead King Mother Listening Session @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) This is a preview and discussion of a new work by Davu Seru about a long forgotten event in Twin Cities Civil Rights history. Seru is an internationally known free-jazz drummer who regularly performs jazz, rock and free improvisational music in a variety of group settings, one of which is located in France, and some of which he leads. Dead King Mother will receive its premier at Studio Z in late February.

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, Jan 24

Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) California Blues from Harpist Mitch has been around for a few decades, delivering “Left Coast” blues influenced by Little Walter and William Clarke. Listen to his fleet fingering on Harold’s House Party, and then head to the 331 Club to hear him backed by the House Party All-Stars: Jeremy Johnson, Bill Black, and Tim Wick.

Al Jardine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Al Jardine, a founding member of the fabled Beach Boys, joins the trend of rock artists performing solo and in small groups while sharing stories about their careers. The Beach Boys had 80 charting hits around the world, 36 Top 40 hits in the US, and four number one hits. He’ll be accompanied by his son Matt, who does the Brian Wilson falsetto parts quite handily, and will tell the tale of “America’s Band,” from their first hit Surfin’ on through Don’t Worry Baby, Little Duece CoupeHelp Me RhondaGod Only Knows and more, to Jardine’s recent solo release, A Postcard from California. Jardine does an especially illuminating demonstration of how Wilson’s arrangement of Sloop John B took it from a folk song to a pop masterpiece. This is the first stop on this new approach to touring, so it’s a bit rough in presentation, but still plenty of fun, fun, fun.

Thursday, Jan 25

Mudbug Zydeco @ The Eagles Club, #34, Minneapolis 8pm ($7) I may be mistaken, but I believe this is a new group, created by accordionist Dan Newton after the demise of the Rockin ‘ Pinecones. They play swamp pop and music inspired by zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier. Other members of the group are: Eric Mohring, fiddle; Dehl Gallagher, drums; and Karl Smelker, bass.

Cadillac Kolstad & Friends @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Rockabilly, Boogie Woogie, and classic R&B music from rootsy Pianist Kolstad, who recently returned from another of his successful tours of Germany. The piano pounder will be joined by his Friends on upright bass, drums, and sax.

The Wailers @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) The legendary Wailers backed Bob Marley, selling over 250 million recordings world wide. Founder Aston “Familyman” Barrettt is joined by original Wailers guitars Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey, along with the son of co-founder Carlton Barrett’s nephew Aston Barrett Jr on drums. Lead vocals are by Joshua David Barrett, backed by Shemna McGregor, daughter of Judy Mowatt. Opening is LaCrosse Wisconsin’s Tugg, whose reggae/ska albums have debuted in the top 50 of the iuTunes Reggae Chart. It will be an Irie night.

Also: Butanes Anniversary Party @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Celebrating 8 years at Shaw’s.

 

Friday, Jan 26

Willie Murphy and Friends @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($7 Advance, $20 Door) Get ready to dance as guitarist/pianist/vocalist/composer Murphy brings his original songs and unique, danceable arrangements of classic R&B and Rock n’ Roll to the Hook’s dance floor. Opening are the up and coming roots duo Winona Forever, and The Jon Rodine Band playing groove-oriented Rock n’ Roll and country soul.

Friday, Saturday, Jan 26, 27

Drone Not Drones: 5th Annual 28 Hour Drone @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm Friday – 11pm Saturday ($20 Advance, $30 Door) A full 28 hours of non-stop music featuring a minimalist approach that emphasizes sustained and repeated sounds. Bring a pillow or blanket to make yourself comfortable and stay the night. Over 50 bands and musicians are taking part, with more to be announced. A few of the artists are: Nels Cline, Low (full band), Loscil, Ka Baird and Louise Bock (of Spires That In the Sunset Rise), Doug McCombs (Tortoise/Brokeback), Devil’s Flying Machine (Charlie Parr), Savage Aural Hotbed, International Novelty GamelanDeVon Dvrg Gray, and many, many, more. Also broadcast on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) and at dronenotdrones.com. Here’s Low, one of the performing artists,  at Rock the Garden.

Saturday, Jan 27

Fathom Lane & Jillian Rae @ The Aster Cafe River Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) With three critically acclaimed albums to their credit, Fathom Lane, led by Michael Ferrier, has created a sound that is at once familiar, but undefineable, with touches of Gram Parson, the Velvet Underground and Tom Petty, coursing through his songs. Though his musical touchstones are historical, the sound is contemporary. Members of Fathom Lane are: Ferrier, vocals, guitar, Rhodes, and percussion; Ashleigh Still, vocals and piano; Matt Patrick, electric guitar; Shane Akers, lap steel and dobro; Paul Boblett, bass; and Alex Young, drums and percussion. Opening is the always lively pop/rock violinist/singer songwriter Jillian Rae.

Eric Gales Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Left-handed guitarist Gales plays his axe upside down, which sometimes leads to comparisons with Jimi Hendrix. Gales is his own man, however, with a blues-rock sound that draws on Albert King as well as Eric Johnson. He’s been a well-regarded guitarist ever since being named Best New Talent by Guitar World Magazine, after his debut album in 1991 at the age of 16. He’s currently touring behind a new album Middle of the Road, featuring songs by Leon Russell, Raphel Saddiq, Lauryn Hill and his originals. Here’s a sample of that album.

Sunday, January 28

Jellybean Johnson w/Members of the Time @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (?), ($?) Super Bowl week has a number of Prince-themed events taking place, from Nicollet Mall to the Dakota, to the Minnesota Music Cafe, in which guitarist Jellybean Johnson will be joined by members of the Time. Opening is Freakjuice, whose FaceBook page states they are “pushing the boundaries of traditional rock music by infusing jazz, hip-hop, reggae, blues and the art of improvisation into a new, fresh and invigorating wall of sound.” Here’s Jellybean, playing in the low-lit confines of Shaws.

Monday, Tuesday, Jan 29, 30

Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm Pianist Crawford, who deserves more attention, is often called the Prince of New Orleans. He certainly comes from a royal musical background, as his grandfather was guitarist Sugarboy Crawford, the first artist to record Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko), and he is the godson of Roberta Flack. As a result, Crawford has absorbed traditional jazz, gospel, and New Orleans funk and R&B, essentially becoming the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition.

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.


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