Well, we’ve another week where there are more enticing music events than I could list, though I have managed to whittle the number down to a couple of dozen. Anyway, we’ve a plethora of marvelous visiting and resident artists, and with Saint Patrick’s Day falling on a Friday, there are many chances to drink green beer if you are so inclined, or you can find other events that aren’t celebrating the day. It’s all good, as the saying goes, with many opportunities to let music lift our spirits
PS: Friday marks the start of the Spring Pledge Drive at KFAI. Please pledge your support for my show by going to http://www.kfai.org and pledging on-line, or call 612-375-9030 during the hours of my show (10:30am – Noon, Saturday)
Wednesday, March 15
Sophia Shorai, Twin Cities Hot Club @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shorai-No Cover), 8pm (Hot Club-$7) It’s a double bill of easy-on-the-ears jazz at the Vieux tonight. Vocalist/pianist Sophia Shorai performs during the dinner hour. Her honey-sweet voice will undoubtedly help your digestion. Then the Twin Cities Hot Club takes the stage with acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, bossa novas, and the occasional musettes. Members are: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.
Gary Burton & Makoto Ozone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45, $40), 9pm ($20, $25, $30) Gary Burton is a jazz superstar, who revolutionized the playing of vibraphones by using a four-mallet technique, creating a pianistic approach to playing, as opposed to the prevailing two-mallet technique. After more than five decades in the business, the six-time Grammy winner recently announced his retirement, and that this March tour would be his last. He’ll be joined by a former student, Japan’s foremost jazz pianist Makoto Ozone who has been member of Burton’s quartet and recorded four albums with him.
Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Walesch is a very talented singer/pianist with a penchant for the Great American Songbook, and often has a nine-piece band to help him swing Sinatra standards. Tonight, however, Walesch is only working with two accompanists, but what a pair they are! Saxophonist Dave Karr may be in his 80s, but his sound is strong, and his improvisational abilities are bebop quick and buttery smooth. Dean Magraw is the genre-spanning guitarist who calls his approach “Heavy Meadow,” but puns aside, he’s a master of improvisation, whether working in a jazz fusion mode, or in a Celtic, acoustic mode.
Thursday, March 16
Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Illicit Sextet, Minnesota’s first jazz composers collective, has a new CD, Addendum, and are celebrating with a Minneapolis release party tonight. Members are: Chris Lomheim, piano; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Paul Harper, sax; Dave Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s a song from their album.
Friday, March 17
Jason & the Q @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jason Weissman is a fine saxophonist with the kind of smooth vocals just perfect for crooning overlooked standards and the occasional original.
Nick Syman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Versatile trombonist Nick Syman plays with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, and with The Nexus Ensemble, a band that fuses jazz with hip-hop and R&B, as well as with Latin jazz ensembles, West African drumming groups, and traditional New Orleans jazz bands. Tonight he leads his quartet, featuring Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson, bass; and Pete Johnson on drums.
Jeremy Walker, King Baron Hot Several @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker-No Cover), 9pm (King Baron Hot Several) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour, then King Baron Hot Several brings their traditional New Orleans jazz, leavened with some contemporary sensibilities, for a sound that’s part second line, part traditional jazz, and part something else entirely. Band members are: Superb vocalist and trumpeter Cameron Kinghorn, vocalist Abbie Mills; reedman Nelson Devereaux; trombonist Keith Hilson; tuba player Evan Clark; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.
Saturday, March 18
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – JazzInk Youth Showcase, featuring Liquid Vinyl, led by Nick Adams of Totino-Grace HS. 8:30 set is the Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet, with Hedenstrom sax; Bryan Nichols, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.
Sunday, March 19
Brian Lynch & the Emmet Cohen Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($25, $55 Dinner Show) Oh boy! Grammy winning trumpeter Brian Lynch is coming back to town again. His appearance last year with the Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at a Jazz Central fundraiser was energizing, which you might expect from someone who established his Latin bona fides with the Eddie Palmieri Orchestra. Tonight he’ll be playing with the Emmet Cohen Trio, led by pianist/organist Cohen who was a child prodigy and has regularly worked with such luminaries as Kurt Elling, Billy Hart, Jimmy Heath, Herlin Riley, Christian McBride, and as tonight, Brian Lynch. Cohen also is an avid teacher, visiting 50 schools a year through a Jazz at Lincoln Center program, and conducting workshops while touring (see below). Meanwhile, here is Lynch and Cohen in a duo.
Monday, March 20
Emmet Cohen B3 Organ Clinic @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm Here’s a chance to get Emmet Cohen’s insight into what it takes to play a Hammond B3 organ. The workshop is Included with the $20 ticket to any of four performances on Monday or Tuesday.
Monday, Tuesday, March 20, 21
Emmet Cohen Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) In a change from it’s usual presentation of resident artists, Jazz Central presents a well-resepected touring artist in four shows. Cohen’s trio includes Jamaican-born, Brooklyn based bassist Russell Hall, and drummer/percussionist Joe Saylor who you may recognize as the cowboy-hatted drummer for Jon Batiste and Stay Human, the band for Steven Colbert’s show.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, March 15
Mary Flower on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mary Flower is a Portand Oregon based finger-picking and lap slide guitarist, with a voice that’s equal parts honey smooth and graveled whiskey. She was a top three finalist tin the 2000 and 2002 National Fingerpicking Guitar Championship, was named “A world class finger-style guitarist and lap slide player.” by Downbeat. Flower has 10 albums to her credit, the last four with the Memphis-based Yellow Dog Records. Tune in to Harold’s House Party, which is being broadcast from Indeed Brewing, and then head off to the 331 to hear her in person.
Samite w/Aida Shahghasemi @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 door) Cancelled due to travel conditions out East Ugandan born Samite was taught how to play traditional flute by his grandfather, and then when he was twelve, was introduced to a western flute by a music teacher. He became renowned throughout East Africa for his flute playing, until 1982, when he was forced to flee to Kenya as a political refugee. Now he lives in Ithaca New York, using smooth vocals, as well as kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes in his performances. Aida Shahghasemi moved from Tehran to Minneapolis in 2000. She fell in love with Persian classical music, studying it and even writing a senior project at the U Anthropology department on the restrictions on the voices of female classical vocalists in Iran.
Thursday, March 16
Nicholas David w/Vic Volare, Ryan Young and Mike Cini, featuring Billy McLaughlin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) This is a benefit for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation, and will feature guitarist Billy McLaughlin. McLaughlin is the Minneapolis-born guitarist who is recognized for his innovative technique on acoustic guitar, which led to a number of appearances on the Top Ten charts in the 90s. In 2001 McLuaghlin was diagnosed with Focal Dystonia, an incurable neuromuscular disorder which left him unable to play. In 2006 he decided to relearn his own songs one note at a time, using his opposite hand. The other star attraction tonight is Nicholas David, who we used to know, before his appearance on The Voice, as Nick the Feelin’ and though his name has changed, the emotive power of his “alternate soul” hasn’t. The singer/songwriter has already recorded five albums, and tours constantly.
Boiled in Lead @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advnace, $15 Door) Avoid the Friday crowds and celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day with Boiled in Lead those purveyors of Celtic and world musics with a punk-rock attitude, or as they put it, Rock n’ Reel. They’ve been at it since 1983, and in 2016, core members Todd Menton, David Stenshoel, and Drew Miller added drummer and multi-ethnic percussionist Michael Bissonette to the mix. After an evening dancing and jumping to these guys, you may not have any energy left for tomorrow. Listen to them.
Friday, March 17
Smithereens & Martha & The Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm,10pm ($45, $50) It’s not a St Patrick’s Day party, but fans of 80s rock will be celebrating this show. New Jersey rockers the Smithereens were responsible for a string of moderate hits that stuck to power pop and evoked 1960s rock, including Only a Memory, A Girl Like You, and Blood and Roses, inspiring a number of alternative rockers, including Curt Cobain. The Motels rocketed to stardom on the basis of their smash single, Only the Lonely, which helped the album All Four One achieve gold status. Lead singer Martha Davis went solo in 1987, and reformed the band in 1997. With new management, the band spent 2014 doing more shows than in any year since 1985. They have a new anthology due out this month, and a new album coming out later in the year.
Annie Mack @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for reserved table) Big-voiced songwriter/singer Annie Mack uses the blues as the foundation for her work, but she’s just as likely to draw inspiration from gospel music, Motown, Americana, and country music.
Belfast Cowboys @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s fifteen years to the date that this nine-piece Van Morrison tribute band played their first gig, and what better way for rockers to celebrate the day than with the music of Van Morrison. The Belfast Cowboys have headlined at BB Kings Blues Club in New York, opened with a three hour set for Chicago before 15000 people, and have played in Ireland. They are also the parent group to St. Dominic’s Trio, and proved their road warrior status by playing over 400 gigs from 2012 to 2014.
Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) It’s a St. Paddy’s day party for blues lovers, as the raw, punkish, delta sounds of Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders fill Famous Daves.
Saint Patrick’s Day @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 11am – 10om (Tip Jar) This friendly bar is actually an Irish pub, as you may gather from its name. They regularly feature Irish music and dancing, as well as other roots music, but today is the day to celebrate with them. If you don’t want to take part in a parade, the Dubliner has a whole day of music starting at 11am with Todd Menton; 2pm Charlie Heymann; 5pm Tiller Black; 8pm Irish Brigade
Saturday, March 18
Saturday Salon, featuring Taggart Squared @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’’s chamber music session will feature a couple of young siblings who have already made a mark in classical. fourteen year-old Emma Taggart has already won several local and international competitions and has played with several orchestras. She also played at Orchestra Hall alongside Shelia E’s band. Her bother is ten year-old Jacob Taggart, another classically trained pianist. Jacob was a finalist in the 2013 State Fair Talent competition, and in 2014 played with members of the Milan Chamber Orchestra at a piano festival in Lovere, Italy. He also played with Sheila E’s band, performing a jazz piece.
Katy Vernon Band w/April Fools @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Katy Vernon is a delightful singer and ukelele player who has used her songs to deal with tough challenges, leading her to say she sings “sad songs on a happy instrument.” The Star Tribune has called her “one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved folky singer/songwriters,” to which I agree. Her band includes Simon Husbands, another Brit, on keys and Clay Williams on guitar. Opening act the April Fools led by Brian Drake, also features Williams on guitar. Ben Kaplan on drums, and Scott Hreha on bass round out the group, which performs straight-up country, Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more.
Feufollet @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Get out those dancing shoes and be prepared to spin, twirl, and two-step as the Twin Cities’ Krewe de Walleye presents a Mardis Gras party for all the Cajun/Zydeco fans in the area. They’re bringing up Feufollet from South Louisiana to provide music for the party. Feufollet takes Cajun, honky-tonk, and string-band music as a starting point and keep an open mind about where the music takes them, and ultimately, where it takes dancers. The band consists of Chris Stafford, vocal, accordion, guitars; Kelli Jones-Savoy, vocals, fiddle, guitar; Andrew Toups, keys; Mike Stafford, drums; and Philippe Billeaudeaux, bass.
Sunday, March 19
Jazz Brunch w/Nutria @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (Tip Jar) Nutria is a trio that was formed in New Orleans. They emphasize collective improvisation as they explore jazz, chamber music, and the musics of the African Diaspora and eastern Europe. The band is Byron Asher, tenor sax and clarinet; Trey Boudreaux, bass; and Shawn Myers, drums.
Tuesday, March 21
Dreamland Faces Record Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) If you’ve never heard Dreamland Faces their music may come as a surprise as no one else in the area does what they do, which is to compose and perform musical scores for silent films – over 50 at this point. The group was organized by Karen Majewicz, who plays two types of piano accordion, and multi-instrumentalist Andy McCormick, who is best know for his great ability on the musical saw. Together with a rotating cast of other musicians, they utilize accordion, musical saw, pump organ, pain, double bass on vocals on a repertoire that includes modern classical music, waltzes, tanks, and original compositions. Opening are the Poor Nobodys a seven-piece group that plays spaghetti western type instrumentals, along with Americana, and old country waltzes.
Tuesday, Wednesday, March 21, 22
Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes @ the Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($45-$60) Rowdy, passionate, bar band R&B from Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. Johnny is an alumni of bars on the Jersey Shore, where he and friends Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt came up before hitting the big time, a few decades back. He more than satisfied with his performance at the Dakota last year around this time.