What is Hip? 11.15 – 11.21

November 15, 2017

What is Hip? Well, Tower of Power is here this week to answer that question, but you know that here in the Twin Cities, we’re blessed with a surfeit of hip music. This week we have a wide variety of music genres, from the funk of Tower of Power, to the grease of a couple of organ trios, to African music, Latin music, Grateful Dead music, and jazz with odd rhythms. It’s all quite invigorating, and as I’ve said many times before, Music Lifts Your Spirit. Get out and enjoy some.

Jazz

Wednesday, Nov 15

Kandace Springs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Pianist and singer/songwriter Springs assimilates soul, jazz and pop while creating music that is distinctly her own. She started out in R&B/hip-hop, but found more comfort in jazz, citing folks like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, & Roberta Flack as inspirations. When Prince heard her interpretation of Sam Smith’s Stay With Me, he invited her to perform with him at Paisley Park for the 30th Anniversary of Purple Rain.

Also: Rick Carlson and Thompson & Magraw @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) followed by Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw at 8pm ($5)

Thursday, Nov 16

The Casualties: Bates, Castino, & Gastonguay @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) The band: JT Bates, drums; Chris Castino, guitar; Kevin Gastonguay, keys. Chris Castino has been writing songs for the Twin Cities jam band Big Wu. for 20 years. However, his latest songs have a folk bent. I assume we’ll hear some of them tonight.

Maryann Sullivan: The Music of Fats Waller @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Fats Waller had the ability to be joyful, irreverent, insightful, and slightly bawdy, which is why, some 80 or 90 years later, his songs are an integral part of the jazz standards repertoire. Tonight Maryann Suillivan takes on his songs, with the help of Ted Godbout, piano; Preston Haining, trumpet; Amy Golen, vocals; and Jim Chenoweth, bass.

Also: Twin Cities Trumpet Ensemble @ Ives Auditorium, Burnsville. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($15) Jazz, Classical, and modern works from 24, yes 24 Trumpets!

Friday, Nov 17

Dorothy Doring & the Jazz Standards @The Undergound Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Ms Doring sings jazz standards accompanied by a quartet at this warm coffeehouse that serves beer and wine.

Nachito Herrera: Gershwin Meets Lacuona @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Herrera takes a mostly solo turn playing the music of George Gershwin and the “Cuban Gershwin,” Ernesto Lacuona, best known in the States for the song Malaguena. He’ll be assisted in a few songs by daughter Merdalys. I had him on my show this past Saturday to talk about the event. You can hear it at: http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves. The interview starts at about the 15 minute mark. Here’s what he sounds like with a trio.

Also: Bruce Henry and The Atlantis Quartet @ Crooner’s Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. Bruce Henry in the main lounge at 7:30 (No Cover) and the Atlantis Quartet in the Dunsmore Room at 9pm ($12, $15) Jazz for the 21st Century

Saturday, Nov 18

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm the JazzINK Youth Showcase presents the The Tamberwood Quartet: Charlie Menken, saxophones; Robert Dean, piano; Harry Menken, bass; Nick Adams, drums. They will be followed at 8:30pm with two sets by Chris Bates Red 5: Chris Bates, Bass; Davu Seru, Drums; Chris Thomson & Brandon Wozniak, Saxophones; JC Sanford, Trombone; Thomas Nordland, Guitar; and Steve Kenny, Trumpet. While the Red5 is expanded to 7 tonight, here’s a video of the group as a quintet.

Hecho en Cuba Opening Reception, with Charanga Tropical @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Avenue So, Minneapolis. 3pm – 11pm (Free) This opening reception for an exhibition of Cuban art is presented in parallel to the Walker Art Center who, and includes photography, posters, folk art painting, small sculptures ad more. Charanga Tropical will be playing music from 8-11pm and I will be spinning rare Cuban Vinyl before and between sets.

Sunday, Nov 19

Brubeck Brothers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 8pm  ($30, $35, $40) Dave Brubeck’s sons Dan, drums; and Chris; bass & trombone; join with bandmates Mike DeMicco, guitar; and Chuck Lamb, piano; for A Tribute to Dave Brubeck. Though the quartet’s style is “straight ahead,” they have the same ability to explore odd time signatures as the late pianist. All About Jazz wrote: There’s really nothing out there that comes close to their unique brand of inventiveness.”

Monday, Nov 20

Benny Benack @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) NYC-based Benack is a dual threat on trumpet and vocals. He’s played in the Christian McBride Big Band, the Mingus Big Band, the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Sars, the Jimmy Heath Big Bandm, and Bobby Snabria’s Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. He’s also been the trumpet soloist on Josh Groban’s tour, and headlined Birdland alongside Anne Hampton Callaway, in addition to headlining at a number of the big apple’s prestigious jazz rooms.

GRAIN B3 Trio @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Get your fill of soul jazz served up with a side of grease with JT Bates’ Trio: Kevin Gastonguay, B3, Zacc Harris, guitar, and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, Nov 21

Trapset @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Trapset w/Joe Wong feat. Eric Kamau Gravatt, Lori Barbero, Gordy Knudtson, Todd Trainer 7pm, no cover

Also: Harvey Diamond & Melissa Stoudt @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) See last week’s listing for Nov 12, or go to my blog.

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, Nov 15

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I bet many folks won’t wait to hear Parr on Hurricane Harold’s House Party, but will go to the 331early to get a seat. The place will be packed to hear Parr’s heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals.

Thursday, Nov 16

Sandra Bernhard @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45; $55 and $80 seats are sold out) This is a show that definitely falls under “Other” as the multi-talented Bernhard brings her observational comedy to the Cedar. The comedian/actress/singer calls this show Sandra Monica Boulevard: Coast to Coast. In its review of this show, Variety wrote, “…within every keenly observed pop-culture rant, there’s an element of piercing truth. Bernhard remains as brash and brazen as she was in the 1970s.” The following clip includes some words that are not suitable for work.

Friday, Nov 17

High 48s & Jillian Rae @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) The sprightly bluegrass rhythms of the High 48s will have you tapping your foot and nodding your head, as they sing of Bank Robbers, trains, and the vicissitudes of life. Jillian Rae’s fiddle playing and pop/folk approach to both classic rocks songs and her originals will leave you smiling at her talent and lyrics.

Grateful Dead Tribute @ Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7Advance/$10 Door) Deadheads unite! Dance and sway to Grateful Dead tunes and jams by JFLAD & Friends, Winterland, and headliner: The Shotgun Ragtime Band (w/Camile Baudoin of the Radiators)

Bobcat @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Bobcat is Bobby E, a great, but underappreciated guitarist, and Cathy Mosher, a fine singer well known for her Patsy Cline show

Also: New Riverside Ramblers @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) For all the Cajun Dancers out there.

Saturday, Nov 18

April Fools Album Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($9 Advance/$12 Door) This quartet plays a wide spectrum of music, from straight-up country to Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more. Besides Drake, the band includes Clay Williams, guitar; Scott Hreha, bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums. Tonight they’re celebrating the release of Colorwheel, their first release on Blackberry Way Records. Joining in the celebration are Rich Mattson & the Northstars, and The Magnolias, for a great evening of Minnesota music.

 

Saturday, Sunday, Nov 18, 19

Café Flamenco @ Park Square Theater’s Boss Stage, Saint Paul. 8pm Saturday, 5pm Sunday ($25) The basement stage at Park Square will become Flamenco Central, as the Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theater Company presents a concert of traditional flamenco dance and music, featuring special guests including singer José Cortés Fernanez, guitarist Chuscles, and dancer Jesus Munoz.

Sunday, Nov 19

Blues Aid @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 1pm – ? This fundraiser is for hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, which are still in dire straits more than seven weeks after being completely battered by Hurricane Maria. This day is billed as an “Epic Blues Jam” with Armadillo Jump serving as the Jam Host Band. There will be a Silent Auction as well

Phil Heywood @ Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The Dubliner takes on an especially cozy ambience when finger-picking champion Phil Heywood takes the stage. In addition to his formidable talent as a guitarist, Heywood’s pleasant baritone will soothe your aches and revive your spirit.

Monday, Nov 20

Elage Diouf @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) Here’s a show for world music fans, as the Sengalese born singer/songwriter and master percussionist creates a blend of pop, world, blues, and asiko music, which has its roots in West African street drumming. He’s known for the warmth of his voice and his ability to engage audiences in his performance.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Nov 20, 21, 22

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $65, $70), 9pm ($40, $55, $60) This horn band has been delivering Oakland funk since the 70s, and no one does it better, whether they’re delivering a James Brown homage or their hits like What Is Hip, You’re Still a Young Man, or Down to the Nightclub (Bump City). Always great fun.

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.


Herald the Holidays: 12.21 – 21.27

December 21, 2016
Holiday lights in Rice Park

Holiday lights in Rice Park

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and a Joyous Kwanzaa. And a happy late December season to everyone else, whether you are people of faith, agnostics or atheists. The arrival of Christmas means there is little public music on Saturday and Sunday, but there are still some pre-Christmas holiday shows, as well as some first rate music for you to enjoy. Music lifts the Spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 21

Nachito Herrera & The Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) As I wrote last week, even if you’ve seen the dazzling Cuban American pianist Nachito Herrera before, you likely haven’t seen him in this setting, with a group of musicians that can match his energy and wide-ranging musical interests. Violinist Karen Briggs has worked for many years with Yanni, and can go from classical music to gypsy jazz on a dime; Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Steve Wonder; while Cuban drummer Raul Pineda and Senegal bassist Cheikh Nkoye provide the groups’ thundering heartbeat. All have deep resumes, are supremely conversant in a number of styles, and will no doubt create exhilarating music.  You can hear a phone interview I did with Nachito here, just click on the link for December 17. The interview occurs in the third (last) half hour of the show.

Retro Swing Sister’s Jingle Bell Ball @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Swing dancing is the order of the day as the charming and sophisticated vocal stylings of Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie bring dancers to the floor to help ring in the holidays with the help of Bob Byers, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; Robert Bell, guitar; and Trevor Haining, drums. They and the band will be swinging through some standards and some holiday music, and as an extra special attraction, they are encouraging folks to dress up in their best holiday duds, with prizes for the best outfits.

Thursday, December 22

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Though the Twin Cities seems to be teeming with great jazz groups, as evinced by the recent release of the 14 track Twin Cities Jazz Sampler Vol. 2, there are some up and coming musicians who are currently off in college and playing on their return for the holidays. Case in point: Hoaxer, with Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Catlin, drums.

Katia Cardenas @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8 Cash only) High energy vocalist Cardenas was recently in Colorado, where she sang as part of her mom’s CD release. Her father is also a musician, so she was surrounded by music growing up. For the last couple of years she’s been performing throughout the Twin Cities area, using a combination of R&B and Jazz to reach a wide audience. She’ll be celebrating the season with jazz, Latin, and holiday favorites.

Will Schmid Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) This is the debut of another group of up and coming  players on holiday leave from college, featuring Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; Jesse Thorson, drums.

Thursday, Friday, December 22, 23

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) It’s Christmas week, so the Bad Plus must be back at the Dakota, for what is now their 15th or 16th annual show, the first one occurring just before they broke on the worldwide jazz scene. Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Anderson, bass; and Dave King, drums are all from Minnesota and Wisconsin, though Iverson and Anderson make their homes in NYC. Their collective approach to performing crosses boundaries and genres in unexpected ways, whether doing originals, classical music, or new interpretations of tunes by artists such as Johnny Cash or Peter Gabriel. Rolling Stone calls them “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Friday, December 23

King Baron Hot Several @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Cash only) This band seems to be an outgrowth of the Jazzland Wonderband, with an additional singer and a new drummer. It’s a New Orleans inspired band, with a bit of second-line, a bit of trad jazz, and a contemporary sound of their own. You get powerful vocals from Cameron Kinghorn, who also plays trumpet; and Abbie Mills; with the versatile Nelson Devereaux on reeds; Keith Hilson trombone; Evan Clark, tuba; and Lars-Erik Larson on drums. Here they are in the older configuration.

Saturday, December 24

No jazz on Christmas Eve.

Sunday Monday, December 25, 26

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) This is the second part of a four night stand over Christmas for the Bad Plus  performing what is now their 15th or 16th annual show. Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Anderson, bass; and Dave King, drums are all from Minnesota and Wisconsin, though Iverson and Anderson make their homes in NYC. Their collective approach to performing crosses boundaries and genres in unexpected ways, whether doing originals, classical music, or new interpretations of tunes by artists such as Johnny Cash or Peter Gabriel. Rolling Stone calls them “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Monday, December 26

Andrew Schwandt @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Schwandt is a saxophonist with a big, warm sound, who can be heard with Fuzzy Math, the MN Hardbop Collective, and Steeling Dan, among others. As usual, Mondays at Jazz Central give musicians a chance to play new music, or whatever they want. In the past he’s appeared with Ted Godbout on piano, and Graydon Peterson on bass, though I’m not sure who’ll be with him tonight. Here he is with a group called Story City.

Tuesday, December 27

Nancy Harms & Jeremy Siskind @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($22, $47), 9pm ($15) After two sold-out shows in April, Ms Harms returns to the Dunsmore Room along with pianist Jeremy Siskind  The Clara City, MN born Harms lived in the Twin Cities at the beginning of her journey as a jazz singer, impressing jazz fans from throughout the area. Since moving to NYC in 2010, she’s appeared at a number of the Big Apple’s more famous nightclubs, but more importantly, has established herself in Europe, often spending weeks in Denmark, France, London, and elsewhere. She’s an expressive, yet reserved singer, who puts herself into every song, bringing knowing nuance to old chestnuts and new songs alike, as amply demonstrated on her album Ellington at Night. Famed jazz critic Walt Friedwald, writing in the Wall Street Journal, said, “…after hearing her just once, you’ll never want to let her go.” If you’ve any interest in vocal jazz, you will want to see Harms perform. Here she is at what I believe is a French radio station.

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This is more or less an open rehearsal, but don’t fear, there’s more rhythm and kicking’ horn lines than there is talking. Plus, you’re pretty much surrounded by the musicians, for an immersive listening experience.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 27, 28

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 Tues, Wed), 9pm ($25 Wed) A beloved trio, Rio Nido came out of the West Bank music scene of the late 70s, with their unique blend of voices and a repertoire of songs from the 30s and 40s. After a decades long hiatus, they started returning to performing a year or so ago, welcomed so much that a third show was added for this gig. Prudence JohnsonTom Lieberman  and Tim Sparks are successful performers in their own right:, Johnson as a singer with more than a dozen recordings to her credit, as well as extended appearances on Prairie Home Companion; Lieberman as a producer and songwriter, and Sparks as an award-winning guitarist who’s equally at home with folk, jazz, country blues, and gospel. You can hear an interview I did with Sparks and Lieberman here, just click on the link for December 17. The interview occurs in the first half hour of the show. Here they are many years ago/

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, December 21

Pat Donohue & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Pat Donohue won the 1983 National Fingerpicking Contest, and was part of the house band on Prairie Home Companion for about 20 years, a gig which had him bringing a new song to the show each week. He also got to play with folks like Doc Watson, Brad Paisley, and others, including Chet Atkins, who inspired his song, Stealing From Chet. Though Donohue considers himself a folk guitarist, his fingerpicking style encompasses old blues, swing, R&B, and often-witty originals, such as Rubs Me the Right Way, filled with playful puns about getting a massage. Tune in and then head over to the 331 Club to hear more.

Erica West Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) A tight band and soulful, strong vocals make for an entertaining evening of music. Erica West is a silky, sensuous, and powerful singer. Her husband Kevin Anderson is the guitarist and leader of the band, creating a band that’s in deep sync with West.

Thursday, December 22

Dumpstaphunk @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 Door) If the New Year is near, Mardis Gras season is not far behind, and Dumpstaphunk is bringing the New Orleans groove and funk to Minneapolis to help us prepare. This group has great lineage, being led by Ivan Neville on keys; with Ian Neville on guitar; the double bass attack of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels; and drums by Alvin Ford Jr. They started in 2003 with a one-off gig at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and since then have played at some of the world’s largest music festivals, including Bonnaroo. We no longer have The Meters, James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, and Booker T and the MGs, but we do have Dumpstaphunk, a group that’s as funky as you can get, as you can tell from this video.

Friday, December 23

Katie McMahon’s Celtic Christmas 2016 @ The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($28) Soprano Katie McMahon was the featured soloist with Riverdance, that worldwide touring hit of the 90s. Each year since 2000, when the Irish native settled in the Twin Cities, she has presented her family-friendly Celtic Christmas show of traditional Christmas songs, Gaelic Carols, English Carols, stories, and Irish dance. This year’s show features the Kantorei Choral Ensemble, singing German and Austrian music, as well as the Corda Mor Dancers, a troupe of about 20 young people, three backup singers, and her long time band: Karen Mueller, autoharp, guitar, and hurdy-gurdy; Zack Kline, fiddle; Marc Anderson, percussion: and new member Jane Cords O’Hara on cello. It’s often sold out, so call the auditorium at Saint Catherine University to check for seats.

Ronn Easton & Friends @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Ronn Easton is a musical entrepreneur and fine R&B singer who has been responsible for some great Revues at the Parkway. Tonight he’s joined by Deb Brown and Aisha Baker on vocals; Kenyari Jackson, drums; Will Glasper, bass, Deevo Dee, guitar; Brian Neilsen, keys; and Walter Chancellor Jr, saxophones. Expect some Funky Jazz & R&B Classics, along with plenty of room for dancing.

Patty & The Buttons Holiday Show @ The Aster Cafe River Room, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Patty & the Buttons play for brunch-minded swing dancers at the cafe every Sunday. Tonight they bring their hot rhythm, trad jazz, Western Swing, ragtime, and other rollicking music to the River Room. There are only 40 seats, but there is also standing room. So make a reservation or get there early if you aren’t dancing.  BTW, the River Room only has bar service.

Saturday, Sunday, December 24, 25

Deano & the Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30 – Midnight. (Tip Jar) This is certainly a comfortable gig for listeners and band members alike, with guitarist Dean Mikkelson leading a different group of musicians each evening. I’m not certain, but this may be the only music event on Christmas Eve, but it would be a great gig to see anytime. As for Sunday, it’s only one of two events that I’m aware of.

Sunday, Monday, December 25, 26

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Bring out your visiting relatives and friends to hear the Combo tear through R&B dance jams from the 70s, 80s, and now. If your friends and relatives need convincing, let them know that Prince used to show up, bringing potential band members to learn from watching the Combo, aka Mombo’s Combo. After all, they’ve been at it for decades, and yet the group is always exciting, and always fun. Added attraction: you never can tell who will show up to sit in.

Monday, December 26

Merry Cajun Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 10:30pm ($?) If you’ve been gathering calories over the weekend, here’s a chance to work them off, and still be home relatively early in case you have to work in the morning. The insistent, irresistible beat of Cajun music will have you up and dancing, as the twin fiddles of Eric Mohring and Gary Powell; along with the stomach steinway of Shawn Glidden; provide the impetus for moving, ably abetted by Karen Kleinspehn, guitar; Karl Smelker, bass; AJ Srubas, steel guitar; and Andre Mohring, drums.

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.


Solstice Music and More: 12.14 – 12.20

December 14, 2016
Druids celebrating the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

Druids celebrating the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

We are in the midst of the holiday season: Christians, Jews, Atheists, Mayans, Buddhists, Muslims, Native Americans Neopagans, and Zoroastrians all have some significant celebrations during this month. In fact, this coming Tuesday is Solstice, which has been celebrated in various ways since before the time of Christ. Whether or not you celebrate a holiday, anyone who appreciates the power of music has plenty to celebrate, as this sample of musical happenings demonstrates. Music lifts the Spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, December 14

BZ3 Organ Trio Holiday Show @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 door) Git down, Santa! You say you’re looking for a holiday show that’s a bit out of the ordinary? Well, Brian Ziemniak, B3 organ; Troy Norton, guitar; and Kevin Washington, drums; have just the thing: funky, greasy, soul jazz versions of your favorite holiday tunes and even some that are unfamiliar, like a James Brown tune. To help them present this funk filled night they’ve enlisted vocalists Maurice Jacox, Deb Brown, and Jody Hanks.

Randy Sabien Holiday CD Release Party @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Renowned violinist Sabien can be bluesy, jazzy, swingin’ and funky. He’s got a new holiday CD entitled, Meet Me under the Misteltoe, and he’s celebrating its release tonight. Joining him will be Gary Raynor, bass; Greg Byers, cello; Andy Dee and Dan Caton, guitars; Ben Kroeger, violin; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; and special guest Erin Schwab on vocals! Here he is doing a Grateful Dead tune.

Joe Strachan Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) Pianist Joe Strachan is proving to be a versatile performer. He plays salsa and charangas with Charanga Tropical – even traveled to Cuba with them; has laid down some Afrobeats with area bands, and of course, plays some mighty fine jazz in groups like the Adam Meckler Orchestra and Pete Whitman’s X-tet. Tonight he’s got a trio with Ted Olson, bass; and Patrick Marshke, drums. Here’s Joe with a different trio.

Thursday, December 15

Thursday Night Jazz:Hip-Hop Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Young drum master, multi-instrumentalist, and fireplug Rodney Ruckus has put together a show featuring two bands led by fellow drummer LA Buckner and himself. I don’t know who is playing in which band, but the line-up includes CJ Pitts, vocals; Russell Evans, piano Rob Coleman, aux piano; Omid Huttur, guitar; Jax Reval, bass, Javier Santiago, piano; and Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet. Sound like an evening featuring new approaches to jazz. Here’s Buckner on drums, and Ruckus on piano.

The Holiday FUN Show w/Cardenas, Zuther, & Carey @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) It’s Vocal Night at Jazz Central, and Katia Cardenas,  Sheridan Zuther, and Nicole Carey have put together a special show featuring touching holiday stories, delightful sing-alongs, inspired solos, and exquisite harmonies. With accompaniment by pianist Ted Godbout and bassist Andrew Foreman, and the additional enticement of holiday treats and a hot cocoa “bar!” Light food and beverage will also be available for purchase from Vanessa.

Aaron, Cox, & Hey @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Three fine musicians gather for an evening of free improvisation. Phil Aaron  piano; Anthony Cox, bass; and Phil Hey, drums are masters of melodic improvisation.

Friday, December 16

Kronick Quintet @ Public Kitchen + Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm (tip Jar) Bassist Richard Kronick leads Aaron Tafoya, percussion; Tony Guscetti, drums; Scott Ives, guitar; and Dennis Landeen sax, through an evening of soulful jazz, in the basement lounge at Public.

Saturday, December 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The evening starts out at 7pm with a JazzINK youth showcase performance by Below Zero, a group from MacPhail Center for Music, featuring Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochell-share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; and Nick Adams, drums. Then at 8:30pm it’s The Ruckus, led by drummer Rodney Ruckus, and featuring Anthony Cox, bass; Javier Santiago, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Babatunde Lea Sextet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm (Masterclass – $10), 7pm (show $10Advance/$15 Door) This is part of the Jazz at Studio Z series. Attend the Masterclass, which will be podcast, and get the $10 price. Tonight, drummer/conguero Babatunde Lea premiers a new suite, “New Rituals of Unity,” co-composed by Lea and guitarist Zacc Harris. It’s based on a series of traditional West African chants. Joining them will be Brandon Wozniak, tenor; JC Sanford, trombone; Phil Aaron, piano; and Graydon Peterson, bass. Here he is with a quartet.

Sunday, December 18

The Peterson Family’s Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 2:30, 6pm, 8pm ($25) Santa must have a tough time figuring out gifts for the talented Peterson family, since the gift of their talent is so unforgettable. I don’t have room to list all their bonafides, but Patty, Linda, Billy, Ricky, Paul, and Linda’s son Jason will all be on stage, sharing their musical gifts with us lesser mortals.

Monday, December 19

Andrew Walesch & Debbie Duncan: It Must Be Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Here’s a combination of vocalists that’s sure to please even the grinches amongst us. Andrew Walesch is a pianist/crooner who can sing pop, jazz, and classic Sinatra. Vocalist Debbie Duncan can get down with some bluesy R&B, and turn around a kill on a jazz standard. They’ll be ably abetted by veteran saxophonist Dave Karr.

Zacc Harris Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarist Zacc Harris is a go-getter who plays in a number of bands and produces the Jazz at Studio Z series. The most prominent group that he plays with is the Atlantis Quartet, which has toured the upper Midwest, NYC, and even London. Tonight he’s joined by: Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; and JT Bates, drums.

Tuesday, December 20

Winter Solstice: The Laura Caviani Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. ($10, $35 w/Dinner) With the advent of Solstice the days will once again be getting longer, if slowly so. You can celebrate without going outside by hearing pianist, and occasional vocalist Laura Caviani. She has two holiday CDs, so there will be plenty of seasonal songs as you sit overlooking Moore Lake. She’ll be accompanied by the masterful musicians Chris Bates on bass; and Phil Hey on drums. Here’s a recent interview and performance.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 20, 21

Nachito Herrera & The Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) Even if you’ve seen the dazzling Cuban American pianist Nachito Herrera before, you likely haven’t seen him in this setting. He has gathered a number of world famous musicians for the Universals, including violinist Karen Briggs, who has worked for many years with Yanni, and can go from classical to gypsy jazz on a dime; Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Steve Wonder; while Cuban drummer Raul Pineda and Senegal bassist Cheikh Nkoye provide the groups’ thundering heartbeat. All have deep resumes, are supremely conversant in a number of styles, and will no doubt create exhilarating music.

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, December 14

Charlie Parr on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) this is the 12th year in a row that Parr has appeared on the House Party. In fact, he was on the very first show, so this is always a special event. Expect the 331 Club to be packed to hear Parr’s traditional blues and originals, often done in Piedmont style. Here’s a video that includes a humorous story.

Thursday, December 15

Mikkel Beckmen w/Siama @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The lilting, sensuous guitar lines of soukous guitarist Siama Matuzungidi is supported by the unerring rhythmic instincts of Mikkel Beckmen, percussionist and host of this weekly guest series at the ever comfortable Irish pub.

Louisiana Rhythms Swamp Pop Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis.  7lpm (Donations) It’s a Fais Do Do Ho-Ho-Ho, as this celebration of a Louisiana Christmas has become an annual tradition, with the proceeds going to Second Harvest Heartland. The Swamp Poppas will be playing, as well as backing Tom Leiberman, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine and Lucinda Plaisance. There will be readings and explanations of Louisiana traditions, such as how, in the bayou, Santa uses a pirogue pulled by alligators. Other special guests and readers still to be announced.

Friday, December 16

Davina & The Vagabonds @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) With a repertoire that encompasses originals, as well as Fats Domino, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Tom Waits, and more, Davina & the Vagabonds create new fans wherever they play, whether its the stages of the Monterrey Jazz Festival, European concert halls, or bars and lounges around the world. It’s hard to beat the sheer musicianship, energy, and powerful vocals of this tight ensemble.

Ian Alexy & the Deserters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Guitarist and singer/songwriter Ian Alexy is known for his work with the folk troubadours Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. He has a new EP, inspired in part by the music of groups like The Pretenders, Tom Petty, and Thin Lizzy, with R n’ R grit delivered by the Deserters: Dave Mehling, from Minneapolis group The Fontanelles on Keyboards and guitars; while drummer Mike Cini and bassist Johnnie Timm are best known for their work with superstar vocalist Nicholas David. Also on the bill: The Federales, the Lowland Lakers, and Teague Alexy.

Friday, Saturday, December 16, 17

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The new album from Sonny Knight & the Lakers burns, seethes, and simmers, from the opening title track, Sooner or Later, to the closing Oh, Mary. The Lakers’ backing is spot on, with tight, melodic horn arrangements, and solid rhythm section. This annual spotlight gig always fills up the Dakota, so be forewarned.

Saturday, December 17

A Merry 50s Christmas with the Holy Rocka Rollaz @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Here is a show for those of a certain age, as well as younger folks who appreciate the unbounded energy of 50s rockabilly and rock n’ roll. This family-friendly show features a charming trio steeped in the music of Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and other rockabilly and early rock n’ roll favorites. The Holy Rocka Rollaz will be backing Tommy Alsup, of Buddy Holly’s Crickets, at the Surf Ballroom this February, so you know they’ve got the right attitude, touch, and talent for this show. The band is: Mark Flora, hollow-body Gretsch guitar; Lisa Lynn, upright bass; and Matt Alexander, hard hitting snare drum. They’ll  be visiting such classics as Rockin Around the Christmas Tree, Run, Rudolph Run, Jingle Bell Rock, and other jumpin’ songs of the era.

Smokey Robinson @ Mystic Lake Casino, 2400 Mystic Lake Blvd, Prior Lake. 8pm ($69, $80, $109) I usually don’t list casino shows, but it’s Smokey Robinson! Poet Laureate of Motown, inspiration for Bob Dylan; beautiful singer, writer of hits for his own Miracles, the Temptations, Mary Wells, and others, including his own solo work. And let’s not forget the iconic Ooh, Baby, Baby. He recently received the well-deserved Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. There are still tickets left, and given our weather, there may be some cancellations, so check with the Casino before making the trip to Prior Lake. Here’s one of his solo hits.

Southside Desire @ The Hexagon Bar, Minneapolis. 10pm ($??) Southside Desire describe themselves as “Femme-Fronted Northern Soul, sprung from the littered alleyways of South Minneapolis,” which is a fairly accurate description. I’d add that touches of Stax and girl-group sounds also make their way into their sound. They’re releasing a seven-inch, which you can listen to here. Also on the bill: the minimal space funk of Moors Blackmon; the sugary grunge-pop of Ahem; and the city rock of Private Interests.

Sunday, December 18

Joe & Vicky Price @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11AM (No Cover) It’s a brunch gig for this couple, who play the Delta Blues by way of Northeast Iowa.

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.


Long Nights for Music: 12.16 – 12.22

December 16, 2015

Greetings to one and all;

UnknownWe’re approaching the Winter Solstice, that time when the day is shortest and the night is longest. It’s part of our Mid-Winter holidays, and though we may have some cold days ahead, we’ll have increasing daylight. Meantime, we’re deep into holiday shows this week, with offerings from Larry McDonough, Laura Caviani, the Peterson Family, and the folks from Louisiana Rhythms, in addition to having performances that showcase young talent and veterans. Though I manage to avoid most of the stressful parts of this season, I admit to getting a warm feeling from wishing people well at this time of year. At any rate, whether you celebrate or not, you can certainly lift your spirits by going out to hear live music. Have a good week.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 16

Jake Baldwin Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, Students free w/valid ID) Baldwin is a relatively young trumpet player who has won a number of awards and plays around town in a variety of groups. It will be interesting to see who he taps to accompany him tonight, as he plays with both young lions and seasoned veterans.

McNally Smith Jazz Night @ The Amsterdam Bar + Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free) A showcase for the jazz talent of MacNally Smith. 8pm – The X-Tet Big Band, led by Pete Whitman; 8:45 – The Jazz III Combo, directed by Steve Jennings; 9:30 – The Jazz II Combo, directed by Chris Olson; 10:15 – Advanced Combo, directed by Peter Schimke; 11:00 – The Serbian Music ensemble, directed by Petar Janjic; and 11:45 – the Fusion Ensemble, directed by Adam Meckler.

Thursday, December 17

Larry McDonough Quartet: Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things” @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($5) See listing below for Tuesday, the 22nd.

Laura Caviani @ The Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm ($15 minimum) The folks at Crooners are taking their Lakeside Room and turning it into a listening room a couple of times a week. Instead of charging a cover charge, they’re asking for a $15 minimum purchase of food or drink, which would be covered by drink and appetizer. To enhance the audience’s listening experience, they’ve been lucky enough to obtain a 9-foot Bosendorfer piano for the room. Tonight Laura Caviani brings her holiday show to this pre-opening performance, undoubtedly playing selections from her lovely holiday album, Angels We Haven’t Heard. Reservations are recommended at: 763-571-9020.

Jennifer Grimm & Joe Cruz @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, Students free w/valid ID) Grimm is a vocalist who has performed at Carnegie Hall and shared the stage with Michael Buble and Martina McBride, among others. She has also appeared in a variety of musicals around town, and has proven adept at interpreting holiday favorites. She’ll be joined by guitarist Joe Cruz is a versatile, sought-after  guitarist who also plays the mandolin, Puerto Rican cuatro, Cuban tres, and dobro.

Friday, December 18

Dakebreoda featuring Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, Students free w/valid ID) This quartet is led by saxophonist Brattain, a 20 year veteran of the Cedar Avenue Big Band, who has played with a number of groups around town and currently teaches at Wayzata High School. He will be joined by Kevin Dale, guitar; Bruce “Pooch” Heine, bass; and Dave Stanoch, drums; to play most originals and a few obscure jazz standards.

Peter Vircks Quartet @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist Vircks leads this group of top-notch players:  Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; and Brian Zeimniak, piano.

Saturday, December 19

Deck the Halls @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11pm. (No Cover) Jo Ann Funk  piano; and Jeff Brueske, bass, expand their repertoire and bring in Gary Schulte, master of the violin; and baritone vocalist Steve Marking for an evening of holiday music fringing from O Holy Night sung in French, to Santa Baby, and the David Bowie/Bing Crosby version of Little Drummer Boy. Here’s JoAnn doing one of her more secular songs with some help from a different violin player.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This evening starts with HEADSPACE, featuring: Rob Dewey, piano; Aaron Rupar, drums; Matt Senjem, bass; and Steve Kenny on Flumpet. At 8:30 it’s Tall Tales, the two-guitar quartet led by Dean Granros  with Zacc Harris on 2nd guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Given how crowded it can get, reservations ($20) can be made by going here.

Sunday, December 20

Peterson Family Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 5pm, 7:30pm ($25) Globe-trotters, national players, and Twin Cities heroes, members of the Peterson clan have performed with Ben Sidran, Bob Dylan, David Sanborn, Bobby Lyle, Paula Abdul, Prince, Jonny Lang, and more. Linda, Billy, Ricky, Patty, and Paul, are joined by third generation musician Jason Peterson Delaire to share their music for the holidays. Here’s Patty, Ricky, and Jason, with some friends, a couple of whom are likely to be in the band.

Monday, December 21

Nachito Herrera and the Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35), 9pm ($20, $30) Dazzling pianist Nachito Herrera is joined by a quartet of equally fiery players. Karen Briggs  on violin, played for years with Yanni, and can switch genres as easily as Herrera. Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Stevie Wonder. Grammy nominated bassist Riccardo Fierabracci has toured with Chick Corea’s Electrik Band, Billy Cobham’s Spectrum, King Crimson, and others, while drummer Raul Pineda’s latin rhythms earned him a Grammy working with Chucho Valdes. Their appearance at the Dakota this past summer earned rave reviews.

Cherry Spoon Collective @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) With a roster that includes over 15 musicians, the Collective is a multi-generational group of improvising musicians whose members come from some of the most interesting scenes our music community, including Zeitgest, JelloSlave, Orange Mighty Trio, George Cartwright’s PAL, and more. The performance will feature newly commissioned and improvised music.

Phil Cook w/Lewis and Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarist Cook  along with saxophonist/bassist Mike Lewis and drummer JT Bates, were the rhythm section on an album by the Blind Boys of Alabama. This is the first time the three will play as a band. Opening is Joe Dunn, Demitri Rallis of Frogleg, a jam/reggae band that’s popular around town.

Tuesday, December 22

Larry McDonough Quartet @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($5) The East Metro appearance of pianist McDonough and his holiday show. McDonough, piano, vocals; Richard Terrill, saxes, poetry; Greg Stinson, bass; Dean White, drums. Will include music from Angels, Kings, My Favorite Things, as well as a McDonough arrangement of Le Marseillaise, a medley of two French tunes, and songs by Spinal Tap, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Dave Brubeck, and more. Of special note is a new arrangement of “It’s Love, It’s Christmas,” based on a copy of the original Bill Vans manuscript given to McDonough by Evan’s widow.

Dave King Trio @ The Dunsmore Room at Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum) This is the official opening of the Dunsmore Room, and it’s hard to think of a better band for the occasion, especially given that Bill Carrothers will be playing the room’s Bosedorfer piano. Dave King, drums, Billy Peterson, bass; and Bill Carrothers, piano, have received many plaudits for their album, “I’ve Been Ringing You” and their week-long appearance at the Village Vanguard a couple of years ago. Though King is known for his work with unique groups like the Bad Plus,  this trio sticks with standard fare, yet is anything but boring. Of note is that the national and NYC press characterized both Carrothers and Peterson as Upper Midwesterners with an underground reputation. One listen and you’ll likely be thinking that this group deserves wider recognition. Here’s a longish segment of one of their concerts.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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, December 16

The Fiddle Heirs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) The Fiddle Heirs are an all fiddle, all-star group, featuring members of Trampled by Turtles, Corpse Reviver, Pert Near Sandstone, Pocahontas County, and Boys ’N’ the Barrels. If you’re wondering what an all-fiddle band sounds like, tune in and check them out.

Willie Murphy & Dean Magraw @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Willie Murphy  blues singer, rock n’ roller, songwriter, and R&B maven, will be joined by the multi-genre guitarist extraordinaire Dean Magraw  Murphy says he’s hoping to keep up with Magraw.

Thursday, December 17

Louisiana Rhythms Annual Christmas Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Cash, check or food donation) This is an annual Benefit for Second Harvest Heartland. Tonight’s show features the Swamp Poppas, Dan Rowles, The Rockin’ Pinecones, Rich Lewis and more. Dance and do good at the same time. Here’s a video from the Swamp Poppas.

Thursday, Friday, December 17, 18

J2J

J2J

J2J @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Thursday, 8pm Friday ($15) Jacqueline Ultan  cello and effects pedals; and Julie Johnson  flute, bass flute, live looping pedals;  present a program of all original music, with compositions by each of them, as well as the premier of a new piece by both of them. Both have extensive experience in genre-crossing performances.

Friday,December 18

Kid Dakota and Hot Date @ Public Kitchen + Bar, 229 E. 6th St, Saint Paul 8pm (No Cover) Darren Jackson had a group called Kid Dakota and the Tumbleweeds while he was living in Rhode Island in 1998. Though the group disbanded, he kept the name Kid Dakota  recording four full-time albums as well as a Leonard Cohen tribute. Hot Date is the Lowertown duo of Eric Carranza and Nora O’Brien and specializes in songs “For Lovers” as their album is called. Hot Date comes on first, followed by Kid Dakota. Listen to this cut from one of his albums.

Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Mr Murphy makes a rare second appearance here on the same week. This time he has his full band with him, so you know the rhythms will be rockin’ the knees will be knockin’, hips will be shakin’ and the dance floor will be quaking’.

Friday, Saturday, December 18, 19

Sonny Knight & the Lakers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) After performing (and headlining) some international music festivals over the summer, R&B powerhouse Sonny Knight  nd the soul-stirring Lakers return to the stage where they recorded a live album last year. Though Knight recorded locally back in the 60s, this is not simply a retro-loving group, but rather a collection of creative musicians who bring new life to classic soul and funk, while Knight performs with the energy of performers half his age. They’ve been working up some new, exciting tunes which you can get to hear tonight.

Saturday, December 19

Javier and the Innocent Sons and Drew Druckry’s Dharma Hounds @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) KFAI’s Jackson Buck has put together a potent double bill for the Holiday edition of Jackson’s Juke Joint. Getting things started at 7pm is Drew Druckry’s Dharma Hounds, playing a mix of blues, New Orleans Funk, and Southern Rock. Then at 9pm Javier and the Innocent Sons rip it up with jumping blues.

Captain Gravitone & The String Theory Orchestra @ Dulano’s Pizza, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Not your usual string band, Captain Gravitone is a Mankato folk-rock quintet that can easily segue from tangos to Irish drinking songs to driving jam-grass.

Sunday, December 20

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Mikkel Beckmen, percussion; JIllian Rae, fiddle; and Adam Kiesling, guitar and banjo; will be joined by folk/Americana singer songwriter Amanda Standalone to explore music from the Anthology of American Folk Music.

The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($5) A string quartet that revisits classic swing tunes from Prohibition, bringing them into the 21st Century. The Aster can get crowded, so reservations are recommended.

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.


A New Venue, A Familiar Festival. Music: 7.15 – 7.21

July 15, 2015
One of the tents at the Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Festival

One of the tents at the Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Festival

This week starts the regular programming at the Vieux Carre, located in the old Artists’ Quarter space in the Hamm Building in downtown Saint Paul. They will be featuring resident talent, with jazz at least two nights a week and during early evening (5:30 – 7:30pm). This week also features what has become a favorite festival of Twin Citizens – the fifth edition of The Roots, Rock, and Deep Blues Festival, which has expanded to four stages this year. We are blessed with considerable resident talent and an ability to attract lots of visiting talent. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 15

Pete Whitman X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Oh boy, Whitman is bringing his ten-piece little big band out to play, something that’s been mighty rare in the last 18 months. the membership sometimes varies, but you’ll find some of the best players in town in this aggregation. 

 

Thursday, July 16

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($?) Even before its official opening this past Tuesday, The Vieux was named as one of the best Speakeasy Bars in town, a nod to it’s basement location, dark atmosphere and craft cocktails. But the real reason to go there tonight is to hear the wonderful piano playing of Chris Lomheim, who can transport you to wonderful places with his ethereal solos.

Charlie Christenson Standards Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Christensonis the head of the McNally Smith Vocal Department. He’ll be joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Matt Edlund, drums to take a new look at America’s standards.
 
Red Planet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul, 8pm ($10) Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Three first-call musicians, who would be on the A-list, no matter the town.

Friday, July 17
Todd Harper @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Whether freely improvising or taking off from a composed piece, pianist Harper provides perfect music to start the weekend. Tonight he’s join by saxophonist Chris Hagedorn.
 
Kjeer, Horst & Friends@ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip Jar) It’s a bit of a family affair as young Will Kjeer, a pianist who is about to enter CalArts after a year at Interlachen Center for the Arts in Michigan, is paired with his uncle, the ageless drummer Kenny Horst, and some of their friends, which is a mighty long list. Here’s Will with other students at his Interlachen recital. 

Dean Magraw and Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Take the imagination of guitarist Dean Magraw, and pair it with the whimsey and sensitivity of pianist Steven Hobert, and you have a fine formula for music that will engage your mind as well as your spirit.
 
Saturday, July 18
Saturday Night Jazz @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. ($10 Suggested Donation) Opening at 7pm: John Devine and Bill Lang. Headlining at 8:30pm Joe Mayo Quartet

Linda Peterson Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) The piano playing daughter of the Peterson clan has spent a lifetime successfully singing her way into the hearts of Southern Californians. Now Peterson is back in town and entertaining us.

The Jazz Bridge Project @ SW Craft Bar (Senor Wongs), Saint Paul. 8pm ($?) I haven’t heard of this group before, though they have been playing every once in a while for a couple of years or so. I’ve certainly heard of half of its players: Sten, Ron, and Ted. Given the quality of their playing alone, this group seems to be a worthwhile listen. Sten Johnson, sax; Roger Johnson, guitar; Ron Evaniuk, upright bass; Bill Paul, percussion, Ted Godbout, keys; and Rajiah Johnson, flute.

Monday, July 20
Brian Grivna @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Grivna is a strong sax player who can often be found in the pit orchestra’s of touring shows, as well as in the JazzMN Orchestra and Pete Whitman’s X-Tet. Tonight he plays what he wants to play, rather than the arrangements of others. 
 
Monday, Tuesday, July 20, 21
Nachito Herrera and the Universals @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($230, $35) On Monday, the Cuban flag will be raised above the Cuban embassy in Washington, and the U.S. flag will be raised above the American embassy in Havana. Cuban-born fiery pianistNachito Herrera is celebrating with special guests: Raul Pineda, a Cuban drummer who has had three Grammy Nominations and won a Grammy for his work with the Chuchu Valdez Quartet on the album Live at the Village Vanguard; Violinist Karen Brigg brings four decades of music across a wide variety of genres to the party. I interviewed Herrera on my show on Saturday, the 11th. You can hear the interview at: http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves.

Tuesday, July 21
Jeremy Walker Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) Pianist Walker is a thoughtful, imaginative composer, whether writing a long form piece for quartet and choir or improvising a solo. He works with a variety of resident and visiting musicians who are all high caliber players. Here’s a video with a couple of them.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGH7IsjeLm0

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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, July 15

Paul Seeba @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Though he now lives in Saint Paul, singer/songwriter Seeba is from the Iron Range, and his songs evoke the Midwest. In fact, one of his songs, Mitchell Yards is about the historic switching yards of Hibbing, and will be used in a PBS documentary about the site. 

New Shoes @ The Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7 pm ($5) Now that the Vieux Carre (voo ma-ray) is officially opened, the scheduling will begin. Tonight it’s New Shoes (Gary Raynor, Richard Kreihn, Joe Savage, Peter Johnson), all veterans of the Guys All Star Shoe band of Prairie Home Companion fame. They’re well-versed in all manners of music. 

Jimmy “Duck” Holmes on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3and 106.7FM), 7pm – 8pm (331 Club – tip Jar) If you like the style of Mississippi blues as practiced by Skip James, you’ll love this show, as “Duck’ Holmes is a proponent of the distinctive “Beltonia” style as practiced by James. Holmes runs the Blue Front in Bentonia, one of the oldest juke joints in Mississippi. After years of causal playing, he began performing in ernest in the 2000s, and has earned a number of awards and accolades since. He’ll be playing one show at the 331, followed by Jack Klatt from 8-9pm. He’ll also be playing at the Roots, Rock & Deep Blues Festival Saturday, and may show up at other venues around town (Hell’s Kitchen Brunch on Sunday).

Thursday, July 16LP Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10). Essentially, this is an all-star group of area players, performing improvised funk, including: Gram,my winnings Erik Leeds, sax, flute, vocals; multi-instrumentalist Paul Peterson, bass, guitar; Peter Schimke, keys; and Stokely Williams, drums, percussion, & vocals.

 

Friday, July 17

Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Pre-Party with Miss Tess & the Talkbacks and the Dieselfitters @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Fans of Eilen Jewell will find much to like inMiss Tess & the TalkbacksMiss Tess writes and performs songs that are part Honky-Tonk, part Americana, with a touch of Western Swing, and a pinch of old time jazz. The rockabilly/honkytonk Dieselfitters open at 7pm, and Miss Tess comes on at 9pm.

 

Como Avenue Jug Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8) Booking at the new Vieux Carre will center on resident talent, with at least two evenings a week dedicated to jazz and the other evenings featuring mostly acoustic acts. Tonight it’s those purveyors of happiness, The Como Avenue Jug Band.

Left Lane Cruiser @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Opening by Catl. Indiana’s gut-bucket blues trio has been a favorite of area fans since they first started showing up at the original Deep Blues Festival back in 2007. Opening is Toronto’s own punk-blues duo, Catl. 

Saturday, July 18

Roots, Rock and Deep Blues Festival at Harriet Brewing and Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. Noon – Midnight ($15 advance, $20 door) Four, count em’, four stages, overflowing with talent, from the home-grown – Spider John Koerner, Charlie Parr, Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters, Black Market Brass – to visitors such as Left-Lane Cruiser, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Kent Burnside and more. Complete with food trucks, deejays, and everything else that made this festival win several “Best of” awards last year.

 

Blind Boys of Alabama @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45 – $50) Soul stirring, rafter shaking gospel music from a group with a tradition that goes back 70 years, though they aren’t afraid of non-gospel songs with feeling, or in fact, pairing up with various pop/soul/jazz acts. 

Roots, Rock, and Deep Blues After Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($?) Just in case you didn’t get to the RRDB, or simply want more music. Poverty Hash, Gaslighters Union, and the Out of Controllers will be keeping the day’s vibe going. Here’s Poverty Hash.

Otto, Rae, and Porter @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($6) A trio of rootsy acts: Jeremy Porter & the Tucos, 9:30pm. Jillian Rae Band, 10:30pm, Doug Otto & the Getaways, 11:30pm

Sunday, July 19

Joe & Vicky Price @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11am (No Cover) Delta-inspired blues from Iowa. The Prices rightfully have a strong following in the area. Have some brunch and find out why.Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold @ Brookside Bar & Grill, Marine on Saint Croix. 3pm (No Cover) Take a road trip to the riverside town north of Stillwater to catch this guitar/blues harp duo taking on classic blues, Dylan, and even the Grateful Dead. Word is, they’ll have some friends along too, to enriched the music. 

Monday, July 20

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Grab a cuppa Joe and listen to a finger-picking champion.

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.


Choices, Choices, Choices. Music: 10.1 – 10.7

October 1, 2014

DSC00159.JPGThe leaves are changing as are the number of opportunities to get out and listen to music, with visiting jazz artists, a number of opportunities to dance, new chamber music and some honky-tonkin in a jazz club. Have fun. Music is good for the body and soul.

Jazz

Wednesday, October 1

Coryell, Bailey, & White @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) I mentioned this group last week since they played on Tuesday night. Three of the pioneers of jazz rock are gathering to prove that blistering improvisation and rock rhythms are not mutually exclusive. Larry Coryell on guitar has been called the inventor of the genre, though he can play delicate soothing lines, as well as fiery electric work. Victor Bailey took over the bass spot in Weather Report when Jaco Pasorius left the group. Drummer Lenny White played in Return to Forever and on the Miles Davis Bitches Brew recordings. Here’s a version of a song they did last night.

Anthony Cox Presents Downrange Telemetrics @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A bit more than jazz, this is a multimedia/poetry/musical presentation, featuring poet Becca Barniskis, visual artist Lori Brink, guitarist Nick Jaffe, and Cox. This may seem an odd pairing, but really, jazz musicians and poets have been sharing stages since the 1950s or earlier.

Thursday, October 2

Seru, Gillett, & Evans @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Another in the weekly series at Kyber Pass, this time featuring Davu Seru, percussion; Charles Gillett, lap guitar; and Elaine Evans, pocket trumpet.

Friday, October 3

Lee Ritenour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40) After a career spanning 50 years, guitarist Ritenour has earned a Grammy as well as 19 nominations, played on over 3,000 recording sessions, for artists ranging from the Mamas and Papas to Sonny Rollins and Frank Sinatra, and was a founding member of Fourplay, one of the most successful groups in jazz.

The siblings at play

The siblings at play

An Evening with Chris & JT @ Sweet 317, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10?/$20?) That’s brothers Chris & JT Bates, two of the finest musicians in town. Sweet 317 is an intimate space in Lowertown’s Northern Warehouse. They just received a Knight Arts Challenge Grant. Tonight, Chris on bass; and JT on drums, will be featured. For more information: info@sweet317.com

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Kamau is the amazing drummer who has recorded and performed with Weather Report and McCoy Tyner, among others. Tonight his friends include: Pete Whitman, sax; Zacc Harris guitar; and young Charlie Lincoln, bass.

College Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. ($10 Suggested Donation) The debut of a new series featuring combos from area colleges and universities. Tonight starts with combos from North Central University from Minneapolis.

Foreign Motion, Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric CD Release, and Stolyette @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($10) Foreign Motion and ALE both feature formidable guitarists. A Love Electric is a Mexico City-based trio led by Todd Clouser, who is originally from the Twin Cities. Stolyette is a Minneapolis duo with Russian vocals, a bass, and tape loops, shifters and other electronic musicianship. The frets will be burning tonight. Here’s a video from Clouser and his group with a guest trombone player.

Saturday, October 4

The Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Concert #2 in the Saturday Jazz at the Blackdog series. This time the Illicit Sextet will be garnering your attention. They play nothing but original compositions, with a line-up and sound that evokes the hard bop years and a freshness that’s true to the present.

Monday, October 6

Jake & Noah Baldwin @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Though they share the same last name and both play trumpet, these Baldwin’s are not brothers. They are, however, very good musicians, and when you add the drums and bass of Jazz Central, you have a hot quartet, indeed.

Ken Thomson’s Slow/Fast, w/Seru, Lewis, & Fratzke @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) It’s another evening of jazz on the edge at Icehouse. Ken Thomson and Slow/Fast are a NYC band touring around the very recent release of its second album, Settle. The group consists of Thomson, alto sax, bass clarinet, and compositions; Nir Felder, guitar; Russ Johnson, trumpet; Adam Armstrong, bass; and drummer Fred Kennedy. Their set will be followed by a performance from Daru Seru, percussion; Mike Lewis, sax; and Erik Fratzke, bass. Here’s an excerpt of a piece from Thomson.

Tuesday, October 7

davu-seru-dean-mcgrawMagraw & Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Dean Magraw, guitar; and Davu Seru, percussion get together on the first Tuesday of every month to deepen their musical communication and share it with appreciative audiences.

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, October 1

Bingham & Thorne on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3, 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Bob Bingham and Gordon Thorne are extraordinary players on both six and twelve string guitars. Thorne also plays mandolin. When they play, they invite you into their lives with both stories and song. Both are seasoned veterans of many bands, and together, of many festivals. They’ll be joined by a special guest, fiddler Randy Sabien. Tune in, and if you like them, check them out in person.

Neo-American Primitive Guitar Showcase @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Tip)  Folks, Blues, & Beyond, from guitarists Kyle Fosburgh, Steve Palmer, Matt Helgeson, and Nic Garcia. More guitar music for a Wednesday night.

Erik Koskinen @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) This is the debut of a monthly residency for Koskinen  who writes wry songs with a keen viewpoint on American life. He’s a heckuva guitar player as well.

Thursday, October 2

The Swamp Poppas @The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5?) Get out your dancing shoes and enjoy the  Cajun, Swamp Pop, and Zydeco sound of the Poppas – an unassuming band with a mission to get you out on the dance floor. Always a treat.

Friday, October 3

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10?) Tonight, the All-Stars feature Jason Lockwood, Dan Schwalbe, Victor Span, Keith Boyles, and Tim Wick. Harpist Harold has brought together a stellar group of musicians, featuring Kentucky guitarist Jason Lockwood, who has played at the International Blues Competition 16 years in a row. It’s an early show, so you can catch a set or two and still be home in time to get a good night’s sleep or watch some late night TV.

Big George Jackson CD Release @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) His deep voice will shake the rafters, while bandmates Jeremy Johnson and Phil Schmid will lay down a blues groove you won’t easily forget. Here’s a video from a few years back.

The Erickson’s Album Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18/$15 Advance) Sisters Bethany Balentini and Jenny Kapernick are releasing their fourth album, Bring Me Home. They use their sisterly harmonies to great effect, whether singing rootsy songs of sorrow, as in the past, or the playful and slightly electro/pop of My Love, the first single from the new album. Opening is BB Gun (Al Church, Neal Pervix, and Jeremy Hanson)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, October 3,4,5

Zeitgeist Plays New Discoveries and Old Favorites @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm Friday ($10), 7:30pm Saturday ($20, including post-concert reception), 2pm Sunday ($10)  The contemporary chamber music ensemble will feature the world premier of From Afar, the Dragon Calls, by Minnesota Composer Jeff Lambert, as well as other new works and a couple of favorites, not to forget the debut of the ensemble’s newest member, pianist Nicola Melville. For a complete rundown of the program, visit:  http://www.zeitgeistnewmusic.org/new-discoveries-old-favorites.php

Saturday, October 4

Soul Tight Committee @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) R&B and funk from a ten-piece band with a number of singers. This is a band to see when you want to dance to songs you know as well as a few new ones.

Sunday, October 5

Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) – It’s the Blues Society’s annual event. Jimi “Prime time” Smith will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, and he’ll perform with The Groove Merchants, Also on hand will be the Jeremy Johnson Blues Band (Jeremy is an honoree), Big George Jackson, The Butanes, and the Don King Blues Band.

Nachito Herrera & His Cuban Orchestra @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30 ($23 – $55) Since his arrival in Minnesota about 12 years ago, Cuban born pianist Nachito Herrera has been wowing audiences both here and around the world, whether playing Latin Jazz, traditional Cuban music, or with classical symphonies. Now, he’s put together a concert featuring members of the Youth Symphony, four singers from Cuba, and a host of others. Something like 70 or 80 musicians will be on stage. Plus, there will be a dance floor for folks inspired by Cuban son, cha cha chas, and other Latin rhythms. I interviewed Nachito on my show this past Saturday, which you can hear at: http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves. The interview starts soon after the show begins.

Junior Brown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Guitarist Brown is an American original – a throwback to the days when country music burned with the energy of high octane gas running through a four barrel carburetor, especially when he sings songs like Highway Patrol, and Hang Up and Drive. He invented the guit-steel guitar, which he places on a small stand, letting him switch between lap steel and lead guitar with ease. Expect some honky-tonk and western swing, with a bit of blues, Tex-Mex, and surf rock thrown in for good measure. He won the CMA Country Music Video of the Year award in 1996 for his song, “My Wife Thinks You’re Dead.” Here’s a live version of that song.

Tuesday, October 7

Fat Chance Jug Band – Jug Band Jam @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (Tip Jar) Here’s the ticket when you are longing for some simple music from mostly home-made instruments. Unpretentious music for an unpretentious bar.

Vinyl Voices @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) KFAI deejays Sara Oxton and Tarik Thonton will take turns spinning R&B, Soul, & Funk vinyl for your listening pleasure while sampling the beers of Harriet Brewing.

Tuesday, Wednesday, October 7,8

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) In 1979, British folk rocker Stewart was all over the airwaves with the million selling Year of the Cat and Time Passages. Some 20 odd albums later, he’s touring with musical partner Dave Nachmanoff, rather than the full band of those years. He’ll be doing acoustic versions of many of his old songs as well as some newer numbers. Here they are.

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.


Happy New Year. Music: 1.1 – 1.7

January 1, 2014

UnknownAnother day, another year. We have some fun things to look forward to as we start a new year. Maybe we can even carry out a resolution or two. An easy one would be to get out and see more music, supporting the musicians and venues that add so much to the vitality of our area. Remember that music lifts your spirits. Have a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 1

UnknownDebbie Duncan @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) If you’re one of those folks who didn’t stay out late to celebrate the New Year, you can welcome it in style with the inimitable Ms Duncan. No one is quite like Debbie. She can sing a lovely ballad, scat a jazz standard, and sass up a risque blues. Be sure to ask for a table close to the stage, as it can get noisy at the Kitchen.

Friday, January 3

Fuzzy Math @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) Imaginative contemporary jazz. Leader/composer Mark Vanderhyden shows a bit of Latin and world music influences in his compositions, swinging things quite nicely.

Saturday, January 4

Joel Shapira Trio @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) The quiet, unassuming guitar player can show off classical chops when the occasion calls for it, but it’s with acoustic jazz that he’s make his mark in town. This is another place where you’ll want to be close to the stage.

John Devine @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (No Cover) Saxophonist Devine has been active in the Twin Cities since the early 80s. Along with cellist Michelle Kinny, he formed Imp Ork in 1986. A large ensemble with anywhere from 10 to 30 members, they worked with guest artists like Butch Morris, Julius Hemphill, and Don Cherry. Devine has won awards, fellowships, and commissions from foundations, and has played with R&B bands and classical ensembles, but it’s as a jazz player that he shines. He’s well known for his twice weekly solo gigs at the Loring Pasta Bar, but you can never tell who will show up to play with Devine.

Sunday, January 5

UnknownLarry Coryell Power Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) Coryell’s resume includes founding the jazz fusion group 11th House as well as working with Gary Burton and Jack Bruce and sessions with Charles Mingus, Gary Burton, Billy Cobham, Chick Corea, and John McLaughlin. Tonight, he brings his considerable chops to town with the help of Paul Wertico on drums and Larry Gray on bass.

Monday, Tuesday January 6,7

Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Italian born, Ms Gambarini has been thrilling audiences with her singing since arriving in New York in 1998. She was befriended by artists like James Moody and Hank Jones, who called her the best singer to come along in 60 years. Gambarini has a supple voice, which she uses to scat with ease and swing like crazy. I didn an interview with her when she was last here almost three years ago. You can read it here. Here she is scattin’ away with the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and Roy Hargrove.

Monday, January 6

Dave Karr, Courageous Endeavors @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) On Monday nights, the exuberant Icehouse quiets down somewhat, as (mostly youngish) jazz fans gather to hear the acts curated by drummer JT Bates. The first Monday of the month always features elder saxman Dave Karr, though you wouldn’t guess his age from the vitality of his playing or the beauty of his tone. Tonight he’s playing with JT and bassman Adam Linz. They’ll be followed by Brian Courage, who has become an in-demand bassist since arriving in town, and his group of young players, including Miguel Hurtado, drums; Joe Strachan, piano; and Nelson Devereaux on sax. It’s a late night hang, but definitely worth it.

Tuesday, January 7

Bill Simonsen Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Trumpeter Simonsen has had a long career playing in all kinds of bands, backing visiting artists, composing, and collaborating with artists from around the world.  He’ll be bringing 17 musicians to the underground confines of Jazz Central to play his music and his arrangements. It’s exciting stuff.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 1

Eddies on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 – Tip Jar) The wags of the Eddies are calling it the “hair of the dog” show, which is appropriate. If you didn’t get enough frivolity last night, or perhaps want to recover from too much frivolity, then the almost-acapella quintet might be just what you need. Tune in to Harold’s House party at 90.3 or 106.7FM during the five o’clock hour to get a taste, then head to the 331 Club for a full serving of sea chanties, old folk songs, and occasional offerings of almost ancient rock n’ roll.

Curtiss A does Hank Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Today marks 60 years since Hank Williams died in a car accident on the way to a gig. Curtiss A first did a Hank Williams tribute back in May. It was so well received he’s reprising it to commemorate the anniversary, bringing in a number of musician friends that he’s accumulated over thirty-odd year career in Twin Cities rock n’ roll.

Thursday, January 2

The Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9pm ($5) R&B instrumentals (both originals and covers of Booker T, the Meters, etc.) from Chris Beaty, guitar; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jim Anton, bass; and noah Levy on drums.

Mr. Rowles @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5?) Swamp poppy, N’orleansy, cajunny music that will have you wishing you’re wearing dancing shoes instead of winter galoshes.

Friday, January 3

Hotpants East @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) It’s the East Metro version of the rare soul & funk 45 rpm dance party, held in the front bar of the Amsterdam, with fewer people, but the same joyous vibe.

imagesBarton’s Hallow @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) A young six-piece bluegrass, gospel, and acoustic music group. Though young is the operative word here (16 – 20 years old), they won the talent show at the 2011 MBOTMA music festival. Reservations are recommended, as the intimate room can fill up fast.

Stoked beyond Boredom w/The 99ers and The 221s @ The Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) A night of pop punk, power rockabilly, surf and more in the “Iron Range bar” in the heart of downtown Saint Paul. Listen to Godzilla’s a Punk, by the 99ers, which gives you an insight into their humor.

Friday, Saturday, January 3,4

Nachito Herrera Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) This is not your usual Nachito gig, as he’ll reportedly be bringing anywhere from ten to thirty musicians to the Dakota stage over the course of the evening. He’s been touring with the National Symphony of Cuba, and will be playing some classical pieces as well as the Cuban and Latin Jazz that’s made him such a favorite both here and throughout the country. Here’s a clip of Nachito with the symphony performing Rhapsody in Blue.

Saturday, January 4

Courtney Yasmineh @ the 318 Cafe, Wayzata. 8pm ($8) The talented, comely, and rockin’ Ms Yasmineh will be performing an evening of acoustic music featuring violin, mandolin, stripped-down percussion and Courtney herself on acoustic guitar.

Soul Tight Committee @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Old school R&B, Soul, n’ Funk, delivered by an eleven-piece band. Guaranteed to provide the kind of rhythms that will have you dancing, whether you’re in your chair or on the dance floor.

Sunday, January 5

Cactus Blossoms Brunch @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11AM – 1pm (No Cover) Brotherly harmonies doing classic country tunes and originals that fit right along side them. This gig is just the two of them. Here they are performing a fan favorite.

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


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