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.


Blues, roots, and all that jazz: 9.27 – 10.3

September 27, 2017

Well, I have found that I’m missing something in my life by not writing about who is appearing in town. I receive so much energy from music, that even writing about it is helpful, as is the good thoughts and vibes of friends and readers of this blog. So… I’m going to try to go back to a weekly blog. As James Brown declared in Get Up Offa That Thing, I’m Back! I hope to keep my descriptions short, and perhaps list fewer events. I’m not including videos at this time. We’ll see how it all goes. In the meantime, here’s some ideas for the next week

Jazz

Thursday, Sept 28

Mary Louise Knutson & Gordy Johnson @ Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11:30pm (No Cover) Businessmen, politicians, and Saint Paul Socialites have been meeting at the Lex for years. It now features jazz duos and trios on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Knutson’s warm and inventive piano playing will be accompanied by Gordy Johnson on bass.

Mari Harris & Bruce A. Henry @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Mari Harris is an award-winning singer/songrwriter, actress, and Speaker who has been often been seen performing with Pippi Ardennia. Bruce Henry is the former Twin Citizen who now lives in Chicago and has performed on five continents.

Friday, Sept 29

Jazz Alley Ella-Bration @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Jazz Alley is the group name for three fine vocalists – Maryann Sullivan, Sarah Greer, and Katia Cardenas – who will join forces with pianist Lori Dokken to celebrate the music of Ella Fitzgerald, whose centennial anniversary is this year.

Saturday, Sept 30

No Room For Squares @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) This is the Boom Island debut of this quintet, which was a hit at this years Twin Cities Jazz Festival. It includes veterans of the Twin Cities jazz scene including Jimmie (Jimmyapolis) Wallace, sax; Jon Pemberton, trumpet; Mikkel Romstad, piano; and Adam Tucker, bass

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) The New Orleans-themed Vieux is the perfect place for this heavyweight Brass Band from Madison who have managed to gain acceptance in New Orleans while incorporating both traditional brass band music and contemporary tunes into their playlist.

Leigh Kammen Classic Originals @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project and Pianist/vocalist Larry McDonough have teamed up for this special presentation on Tony Bennett, Bill Evans, and Leigh Kamman. McDonough and his trio will perform a set of the music of Bennett & Evans, followed by audio interviews of Kamman with Bennett and Evans. Afterwards there will be a second set of originals by the trio. Joining McDonough are Richard Terrill, saxes and poetry; and bassist Greg Stinson

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tonights performances are by Trio 280: Joel Shapira, guitar; Erin Woods, drums; and Wes Roulle, organ, followed at 8:30 by the JC Sanford Quartet: Sanford, trombone; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, Sunday, Sept 30, Oct 1

Bacharach: All Saxed Up @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3PM Sunday ($25) Vocalist Patty Peterson and Cookie Coleman are joined by saxophonist Kathy Jensen, bassist Tony Axtell, and pianist Mary Louise Knutson to perform the music of Burt Bacarach.

Sunday, Oct 1

Zacc Harris Trio @ Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. Sundays, 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Zacc Harris, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums, have now been appearing at the Riverview on a weekly basis for 10 years. It’s  the longest running weekly jazz gig in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t mean you should put off going to hear the trio. During the month of October, the band is celebrating by giving away copies of a limited release CD recorded live at the Riverview in earlier this year to customers during the month. This is always a fun, enjoyable gig.

Tuesday, October 3

Pat Mallinger & Bill Carrothers @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15) Two musicians who grew up and starting playing in the Twin Cities many years ago return for this inspired outing. Mallinger on sax, and Carrothers on piano seem to be returning to the cities a bit more than they have in the past, inspired, I’m sure by the warm, enthusiastic reception they get at the Dunsmore Listening Room.

Larry McDonough Quartet CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The CD is entitled “Alice in Stonehenge and other AcoustElectric Adventures” and features the quartet: Larry McDonough, piano, compositions, and vocals; Richard Terrill, saxes and original poetry; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums, with special guest, Steve Kenny, flumpet. The title tracks of the 2 volume CD (one is acoustic, the other is electric) are mash-ups of McDonough’s take on Bill Evans’ “Alice in Wonderland” and his re-arrangement of Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge.”

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, as comprehensive calendar of jazz events as you’ll find

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Sept 27

Junior Watson and Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  “Left Coast” Blues from Harpist Mitch Kaschmar, who’s been around for a few decades, but didn’t make a splash until his 2005 debut, Nickels and Dimes, on Delta Groove Records. Since then he’s delivered a few more solid albums featuring his sometimes overdriven harp, courtesy of Little Walter’s influence, along with the fleet fingering and flexibility that he learned from William Clarke.  Junior Watson is a fine guitarist with whom Twin Citizens may be more familiar, as he’s visited us numerous times and in the past has played with the late Lynwood Slim. However, it’s ten years since the two have played in MN, so expect a hearty party. Tune in and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear. If you can’t make it tonight, you’ve got another chance on Friday (see below).

Salsa del Soul @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) This nine-piece band plays music from through the Latin regions of the Caribbean. With songs that range from Cha-Chas, to Timba, and of course, Salsa, they bring out lots and lots of dancers

Thursday, Sept 28

Black Uhuru @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 8pm ($25 Advance/$30 Door) Derrick “Duckie” Simpson the “Gong Gong Gullie” is the founder and leader for reggae’s Black Uhuru, and though other members of the trio have come and gone, he has managed to keep the group, and it’s distinctive sound, going for almost 50 years now. Aside from Bob Marley, Black Uhuru has the highest record sales in reggae, with14 full length albums, 7 instrumental dub albums, and 4 live albums

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) With Louisiana Rhythms no longer broadcasting on KFAI, local fans of Southwest Louisiana music have to depend on liver performances by resident and visiting artists. Tonight such fans can spin, twirl, and two-step to Twin Cities favorites, the DL Cajun Band, purveyors of traditional Cajun music: Dough Lohman, guitar; Shawn Glidden, accordion; Marie Stier, fiddle; and Dawn Doering, triangle & snare.

Friday, September 29

Mitch Kashmar & Junior Watson @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) As long as they’re here, Kashmar & Watson are playing a few other gigs in the area, including this one at Wilebski’s.  Opening is the Paul Barry Blues Band with Lila Ammons.

Saturday, Sept 30

Annie Mack @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Annie Mack has been tearing up the blues scene in town for a number of years, singing with other bands as well as her own. She is, however, more than a blues singer, as Living Blues Magazine put it, “In a blues world overrun with bad-mama posturing on one hand and hoochie-mama silliness on the other, it’s refreshing to hear a lyricist with deeper ideas on her mind.” Opening is the genre-bending duo The Salt Vine, featuring Jen Bluhm on vocals and ukelele; and Charles Jolly on guitar.

Mungion & Soap @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Chicago-based jam band Mungion plays highly danceable rock. Minneapolis’ own Soap melds psychedelic funk (is there such a thing?) with danceable rock. Think in terms of a combination of Led Zeppelin and P.Funk.

Silvertones @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) When I just want to dance to songs of the 60s, I go out to hear the Silvertones, who are equally at home playing the music of The Ronettes as they are the music of Steppenwolf.

Sunday, Oct 1

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) With the advent of Autumn, the members of Corpse Reviver once again take the afternoon stage at the 331 Club to play music from the classic Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. Members include: Mikkel Beckman, percussion; Jillian Rae, fiddle, and oftentimes, special guests.

Sunday, Monday, Oct 1,2

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Be prepared to dance as the Combo (aka Mambo’s Combo) brings the groove to the North Loop. They’ve been playing this weekly gig for 30 years, covering rhythmic rock and R&B tunes with panache and grit. Visiting and resident musicians will often sit in for a tune or two.

In the meantime you can find a fairly comprehensive list of links to venues that present Jazz, Blues, & Roots at this page on my website: https://rhythmandgrooves.net/twin-cities-music-venues/ Be aware that venues change their music policies often enough that it’s hard to stay current. For a quick look at what’s happening around town check out: The Minnesota Blues Society: http://www.mnbs.org/gigs.html and the City Pages Concert Calendar: http://www.citypages.com/concerts


World Sounds and Jazz: 3.1 – 3.7

March 1, 2017

 

imagesIt’s March 1st, which means the vernal equinox, with its promise of new growth, cannot be far behind. We even have a celebration of the month at the Amsterdam on Sunday, as I have listed below. We also have some unique jazz experiences to look forward to, including visiting artist Bob Dorough. With the weather being un-March like, it will be easy to get out and let music lift your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 1

Phil Hey/Pat Moriarity Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Phil Hey  drums; and Pat Moriarty  sax; put out a duo record back in 1977 that was striking in its originality and free improvisation. Their ability to communicate and respond to each other has only grown since then, thanks to collaboration with other artists, and the occasional duo gig, which doesn’t happen very often. In fact they’ve only played as a duo three times in the last ten years. If you’re at all curious about free improvisation, this is the gig to see. Here they are in a quartet setting.

Larry McDonough Quartet: “Bill Evans and Tony Bennett” @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Pianist Bill Evans rarely accompanied singers, but in Tony Bennett he found an extraordinary collaborator. The two albums they did together showed Evans’ skill in accompanying a vocalist while adding the complexities that he displayed in his solo and ensemble performances, and exhibited Bennett’s expressive range from bold and commanding to soft and delicate. Tonight, McDonough will take on both roles, often beginning with just voice and piano, and being joined by other members of his quartet: sax player and award-winning poet Richard Terrill; bassist Greg Stinson; and drummer Dean White. Here’s Larry with an impromptu version of a song recorded by Evans and Bennett.

Thursday, March 2

Thursday Night Jazz: Mancrush @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s attraction is Mancrush, a band with standard instrumentation for a jazz quartet, though their sound is leaner and more sparse than you might expect. Members are: Bryan Nichols, keys; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and leader Lars-Erik Larson on drums.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover or $10 Reserved Seat) Nyberg is a singer who uses her jazz chops on originasl, jazz, and pop songs to great effect. She and her tight-knit group swing mightily, with: Sean Turner, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Here she is with a different version of her group.

Carl Franzen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Singer/songwriter Franzen is making his debut appearance at Jazz Central. The former advertising copywriter is a gifted lyricist, with an ability to paint pictures and tell stories with skill and wit. He’ll be accompanied by guitarist Chris Beatty, a vet of many bands including the Droppers and Kate Lynch.

Friday, March 3

Patty Peterson Presents the Jazz Women All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20), 9pm ($20) While Patty Peterson’s shows are always filled with spirit and energy, her work with the Jazz Women All Stars, at least as demonstrated at the Winter Jazz Fest, seems to have given her a shot of new energy. This is a band of amazing musicians, each of whom has established their bona fides and creativity many times over. Members are: Peterson and Ginger Commodore, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass & guitar; Jendeen Forberg, drums; and Kathy Jensen, saxophone.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) If it seems I write about this gig once a month, I believe you may be correct. Here in the Twin Cities, Gravatt should be heralded from the rafters as the nationally recognized monster drummer he is, having played with Weather Report, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Pharaoh Sanders, and McCoy Tyner, among others, including early work with the legendary Twin Cities fusion band Natural Life.

North Central University @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10 pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Stick around after Source Code (above) or simply show up to hear the next generation of jazz players, as NCU’s Jazz Workshop performs. The Workshop was under the direction of pianist Bobby Peterson until his untimely death in 2002. Since then, one of Peterson’s protégés, Peter Shu, has helmed the group.

Saturday, March 4

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s opening set is by the piano-less Pete Snell Trio: Snell, who plays saxophone, has been jobbing around the Twin Cities for many years, as have his musical cohorts: Phil Aaron, piano; and Tom Lewis, bass.  8:30 Set by the JC Sanford QuartetSanford  is a trombonist/composer who was a protégé of the the great Bob Brookmeyer, and has worked with many high-profile artists. Tonight he is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Cedric Fuller & Global Sound @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Jazz Central doesn’t often have music on Saturdays, but this special event is deserving of your interest. Drummer Cedric Fuller has pulled together a group of talented musicians to perform his originals as well as songs in a variety of styles, from jazz, to soul, R&B, and Hip-Hop. Global Sounds includes: the amazing violinist Ernest Bisong; Steven Hobert, keys; Tomas Simpson, guitar; Kenneth P. Garnier, bass; and Caitlynn Daniels, vocals.

Sunday, March 5

The Great Tap Dancers @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Film Archivist Bob DeFlores presents films of some of the great tap dancers from 1929 through the 70s, including folks like Bill Bojangles Robinson; Sammy Davis, Jr; Eleanor Powell, Shirley Temple, the amazing Nicholas Brothers; Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers; Buddy Ebsen, Donald O’Conner, and many more.

JelloSlave @ The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. Chamber Jazz in the Conservatory’s fabulous Sunken Garden. Jelloslave is a highly original and interesting band consisting of Michelle Kinney and Jaqueline Ultan on cellos; Gary Waryan on tables; and Greg Schutte on drums. Their music will also be piped in to the Palm Dome and the North Garden. Beer and wine available to purchase.

JazzMN Orchestra: Next Gen Jazz @ Hopkins HS Auditorium, 2400 Lindberg Drive, Hopkins. 3pm ($31 – $35, $10-$20 for Students) Jazz is alive and well, especially here in the Twin Cities, as you’ll be able to tell by listening to The Dakota Combo and other youth bands that will be performing before the JazzMN Orchestra, which will have social guest artists form LA’s Urban Renewal Project, which melds jazz, pop, and hip-hop.

Monday, Tuesday, March 6,7

Bob Dorough @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm – 9pm ($25, $50 Dinner Show) Dorough is one of the hippest and wittiest singers around. He recorded two vocals with Miles Davis, including the wry Blue Xmas, set multiplication tables to music for Schoolhouse Rock, and played 22 workshops and concerts in 13 cities in 6 countries as a jazz ambassador for the State Department. Now in his 90s, Dorough continues to write and record, his latest being Eulalia, which among other great songs, features him singing the Webster’s Dictionary definition of love.

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, March 1

Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) West Coast Blues harmonica player Kashmar is in town for the Blues Harmonica Blast (see below), and is warming up with an appearance on Harold’s House Party and at the 331. He’s got a big fat sound that is equally at home invoking Chicago and Delta blues, developed in part through playing with folks like John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Turner, Lowell Fulsom, and other blues greats. He’ll be backed by the stellar line-up of the House Party All Stars: Jeremy Johnson guitar; Bill Black, bass; and Victor Span, drums.

Salif Keita @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Keita is an Afro-pop singer/songwriter from Mali who was cast out of his family at an early age because he’s albino, a sign of bad luck in Mali. Upon moving to Paris at 25 in 1985, he began combining traditional West African musical styles with American and European influences. He’s recorded about 20 albums, some of which have included guests like Joe Zawinal and Wayne Shorter, as well as Carlos Santana, and percussionist Bill Summers. His latest album is Talé, released in 2012, is dance-floor friendly, with appearances by Manu Dibango, Bobby McFerrin, and Esperanza Spalding. Opening for Keita is our own Siama, who helped to popularize Soukous with his sensuous guitar lines.

Thursday, March 2

Butanes’ Tardis Gras @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) The Butanes do a “late” Mardis Gras party as part of their Thursday night residency. There is always a surprise guest or two that sits in for a song with the Twin Cities Best Blues Band.

Friday, March 3

Blues Harmonica Blast @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) It’s a summit meeting of harp masters with West Coast guest Mitch Kashmar (see Wednesday, above), and resident harmonica players Paul Barry, Boom Boom Stevie V; Big George Jackson; Curtis Blake; and Hurricane Harold; all backed by an all-star group of Twin Cities musicians. Chicago Blues? Yep! Delta Blues? No Doubt! West Coast Blues? Most Certainly! Dancing? You Bet!

Joyann Parker Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Joyann Parker has been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, representing Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society, and has been nominated for Best Independent Blues Music Award. She has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’s just right for the TGIF crowd at Crooners.

Mbongwana Star w/ZuluZuluu @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28) Imagine, if you will, the punk/DIY ethos of 80s NYC, where anger, boredom, and the need to simply get by resulted in a burst of creativity as punk, gay, and whatnot bands would share a bill and more importantly, the ability to express themselves by subverting the music they knew. Now consider the city of Kinshasha, in the Republic of Congo, where war, corruption and chaos brought the citizenry down. It was in the streets of Kinshasah, where everybody was eking by, that Mbongwana Star was born, creating their own take on Afrobeat, soukous, and rumba. They’ve upped the rhythms, increased the energy, and created their own sound, which I’m at somewhat of a loss to describe. Check out their videos on their website. Opening is ZuluZuluu a Twin Cities Afro-futuristic hip-hop/funk/soul group that uses deep grooves to get across their uplifting message songs. The six member collaborative has been working with each other for years, but didn’t come together as a group until the last couple of years. Their debut disc, What’s the Price? was released last summer.

Lowertown Classics presents Claude Bolling’s Picnic Suite @ Lowertown Lofts, 225 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) If you’re looking for some high-class, low-cost classical music, this is the place to be. Eva Beneke, guitar; Ted Godbout, piano; Bethany Gonella, flute & piccolo; and Scott Horey, drums & percussion; will perform the 7 pieces in Bolling’s Suite, as well as some other pieces which, as they said, “we don’t even know about yet.” BTW, the entrance is in an alley between 4th Street and Kellogg Blvd.

Saturday, March 4

Freezer Jam @ Lake Calhoun’s Thomas Beach, Minneapolis. Noon – 7pm (No Cover) This is an outdoor concert as part of the Minneapolis Polar Plunge to benefit The Special Olympics. There will be beer, cider, and other beverages, as well as food and fireworks. Of course you’ll be able to watch folks plunge into cold water as part of the event, which features the Midwest rockers 4 on the Floor, the bluegrass/Americana of The Last Revel; the rockin’ cover band Viva Kneivel, and the hot country sounds of Maiden Dixie. There will be shuttles from Cowboy Slim’s in uptown and the Lake Calhoun Center.

Carnaval Brasiliero Masquerade Ball @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance/$30 Door) This is the 15th Annual Carnaval, presented by guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest and his ten-piece band Beira Mar Brasil. Joining them from Brazil is the extraordinary samba dancer Dandara Odara, as well as the percussion ensembles Batucada Do Norte and Drumheart, as well as professional samba dancers and Minnesota’s Brazilian martial arts group Omulu Capoeira. Authentic Brazilian Carnaval masks will be available for sale, and the adventurous can have their face and body painted. There will be food and drink as well. I’ll have Robert Everest on my show Saturday morning at about 10:45am.

Sunday, March 5

Benefit for Bronco @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxophonist Merlin “Bronco” Brunkow would take solos with Willie & the Bees that would explore the outer reaches of jazzy R&B. He’s also played with Lamont Cranston, and more recently, the Big Wu. Well, it seems he fell and broke his hip, and as a result, can’t play and make any money, so a bunch of his friends are getting together to play and raise funds – it’s what bands do here in the Twin Cities. Featuring: The Butanes; Willie Murphy; The Groove Merchants; Renee Austin; Lonnie Knight; Maurice Jacox; Jellybean Johnson, and more…..

Marenitsa @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 5-9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Marenistsa is not a band, but rather an annual Balkan celebration of Spring. Orkestar Bez Ime and the Mila Vocal Ensemble are presenting this Bulgarian Bacchanallia, as they call it, featuring music form Bulgaria, Macedonia, and surrounding areas. This year they’ll have as guests Traki, a Twin Cities based ensemble that features traditional and evolving  Bulgarian folk music. The Mila Vocal Ensemble consists of eleven women singing “chords that Lutherans do not have in them” as Garrison Keillor noted.  Rest assured, once Orkestar Bez Ime takes the stage, this will become a raucous dance party as their careening, infectious music makes it hard to stand still.

Monday, March 6

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Pianist Marcia Ball is the recipient of ten Blues Music Awards, nine Living Blues Awards, five Grammy nominations, and has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast and Louisiana Hall of Fame. Her rollicking blues and emotional ballads draw from New Orleans R&B, Swamp Pop, and Gulf Coast blues, with the occasional spiciness of Tex-Mex polkas and zydeco two-steps. I’ve seen her at least a half-dozen times over the years and have never been disappointed.

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) It’s swing night at Famous Dave’s and saxophonist Steve Clarke and the gang will deliver the goods: swing, jump blues, jazz, and jive.

Tom Paxton and the Don Juans @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance/$35 Door) Guitarist/vocalist/storyteller Tom Paxton has been singing folk songs and telling stories on stage since the flowering of the folk movement in 60s Greenwich Village. In the years since he has earned a Grammy Liferime Achievement Award. Tonight he teams up with the Don Juans  Don Henry, guitar/vocals, uke, and banjo; and Jon Vezner, piano, vocals, uke, guitar, and more. Between Paxton and the Juans, they’ve had songs recorded by Harry Belafonte, John Mellencamp, Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Nancy Griffith, Judy Collins, Blake Shelton, Bob Dylan and many, many more. Their appearance at Crooners about a year or so ago was a delight.

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.


%d bloggers like this: