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.


Much Music, Many Genres: 11.30 – 12.6

November 30, 2016

images-1The week ahead features music that runs a gamut of styles and genres, from jump blues to funk, straight ahead jazz, fusion, girl-group pop, and of course, some helpings of holiday music to celebrate the season. No matter what kind of music you prefer, there is no doubt that music can lift your spirit. Have a great week!

Jazz

Wednesday, November 30

Lorber, McLain, LaBelle, Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35), 9PM ($25, $30) It’s an evening of contemporary jazz and R&B, with Jeff Lorber  keyboards; Marlon McClain, guitar; Shaun LaBelle, guitar & keys; and Stokely Williams, drums & vocals. These happen to be four of the biggest stars in contemporary jazz & R&B. Lorber helped shape jazz fusion with the Jeff Lorber Fusion band. McLain was part of a successful West Coast group called Pleasure, which was discovered by Wayne Henderson of the Crusaders. McLain is also a successful songwriter whose tunes have been recorded by folks like the Dazz Band, Tower of Power, En Vogue, and others. Bassist LaBelle is proficient in various aspects of the music industry, from producing to songwriting, with a number of top ten songs to his credit. Finally, drummer Stokely Williams, a Twin Cities native, has been a member of Mint Condition for 20 years. Here are Lorber and LaBelle at the Dakota six years ago.

Sinne Eeg @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Eeg is a native of Denmark, where she is a preeminent vocalist. She’s also made waves in Japan, China, and throughout Europe. Her 2014 recording, Face the Music, earned her the Danish Grammy, along with the Ben Webster Prize, and the Prix du Jazz from France’s Academie du Jazz. She’s made a Twin Cities connection through the Peterson family, as both Patty and Billy have sung her praises.

Levi Schwartzberg Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The young vibist is studying physics at the U while maintaining a regular gig schedule with groups like Adam Linz’s Le Percheron, Sound Skirmish, The Charlie Lincoln Group and his own quintet. Tonight he leads a quartet with Drew Stinson, bass; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Tarek Abdelqader, drums.

Wednesday, November 30 – Friday, December 2

Martin & Doolin Twin Cities CD Release @ Various Venues ($ & Time Varies) Guitarists David Martin and Mike Doolin are releasing Dark Star, their third collaboration with five performances in five days. They started their “Twin Cities Tour” at the Icehouse and the Black Dog and continue with appearances at Vieux Carré (8pm Wednesday), Driftwood Char Bar (7pm Thursday), and Jazz Central (8pm Friday) The two guitarist/bassists produce guitar sounds that range from fuzzed-out to crystalline, punctuated with some funky drumming. Martin & Doolin will be joined by Jim Chenoweth, bass; Shai Hayo, percussion; and Pete Hennig, drums. Here’s the duo from their last CD release.

Thursday, December 1

Thursday Night Jazz: the Joe Mayo Quartet @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Joe Mayo has been steadily making a name for himself in town since he moved here a few years back. members of the quartet include: Mayo, saxes; Pete James Johnson, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar.

Horton, dVRG, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s another evening of adventurous music at the Khyber Pass Cafe, with  Joe Horton, emcee; Devon Gray, keys; and Davu Seru  drums & percussion. I don’t know Horton, who has emceed with various hip-hop groups and is on the faculty at McNally Smith, but both Gray and Seru are seasoned musicians who can play a variety of styles, including R&B, hip-hop, and jazz.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Cash only) Drummer Kogan’s 2015 album Some Monsterful Wonderthing, was a Top 10 Jazz album for the Star Tribune. The retired tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra has become a favorite at the Vieux, what with his mostly straight ahead jazz and a group of excellent musicians: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass.

Friday, December 2

Charles Lazarus: Merry and Bright @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 – $60) Trumpeter Charles Lazarus  of the Minnesota Orchestra, is a formidable jazz player. He’s bringing together a passel of professionals to inaugurate a new holiday tradition. They include Tonia Hughes and Bruce Henry on vocals; Tommy Barbarella, keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; Davie Schmalenberger, drums; and the Lazarus Brass. As of this writing, the show is close to being sold out.

Saturday, December 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Yo Jimbo, with Jimbo Robson, drums; Jerry Shelton, trumpet; Steve Klein, alto; Jerry Benson, tenor; Brian Van Stavern, trombone; Ron Peterson, piano; and John Brown, bass. 8:30pm Steve Hobert 4 with Art “LA” Buckner, drums; Dean Magraw, guitar; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano/keys. Here’s Hobert doing an improvisation.

Javi Santiago Trio: Jazz @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm master class, 7pm concert ($10 Advance or with workshop, $15 Door, 12 & under: Free) Pianist Javier Santiago  ill be joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums, to play the music of Ahmad Jamal, including songs from the albums One and The Awakening, as well as Jamal’s landmark album Live at the Pershing, for what promises to be a sweet evening of music.

Monday, December 5

John Raymond & Real Feels @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Minneapolis native and current NYC resident John Raymond  irst caught the ears of area jazz lovers when still in high school over a dozen years ago. The trumpeter studied with a number of area musicians before going to school at Eau Claire and moving to NYC upon graduation. Since then he’s performed with such significant artists as Billy Hart, Orrin Evans, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ethan Iverson, and Linda Oh among others. His latest CD, Real Feels, received a 4 and a half star review in Downbeat, and he was voted as Rising Star Trumpeter in that mag’s Critics Poll.

Monday, Tuesday, December 5,6

Christmas w/Joey DeFrancesco @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($35, $40, $75w/Dinner), 9pm ($25, $30) DeFrancesco  ad such a good time playing the Dunsmore Room a couple of months back that he asked to return. Jazz Times calls him the “Best B3 Player on the Planet,” which is hard to argue against.  The three-time Grammy nominee and multiple award winner will be bringing a funky, soul-jazz vibe to some of your favorite holiday tunes for this occasion. As in his last appearance, DeFrancesco will be joined by Dan Wilson on guitar, and Jason Brown on drums.

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, November 30

Lonesome Dan Kase on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) With his slightly crushed fedora, vintage suit and tie, fleet guitar work, and world-weary vocals, Lonesome Dan Kase embodies the blues of the 30s, though he’s in tune with contemporary times. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour, and head over to the 331 for more great music.

Darlene Love’s Christmas Show @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($57, $67) As lead singer for the Blossoms, Love  and her cohorts released a number of early singles, but mostly sang backup for a myriad of artists, ranging from Sam Cooke and Elvis Presley, to Cher and Aretha Franklin. She’s also the lead voice on such hits as He’s a Rebel, Why Do Lovers Break Each Others Heart, and on the Christmas favorites Marshmallow World and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) which she performed annually for almost 30 years on the David Letterman Show. She’s a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and is one of the subjects of the award-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom,” and has been an actor in the “Lethal Weapon” films and in such Broadway musicals as “Hairspray” and” Leader of the Pack.” Her voice is unmistakeable, and she has been rightly called one of the greatest singers of all time.

Thursday,December 1

Rena Haus @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) While the Twin Cities has a fair amount of very talented woman blues singers, few are as good at composing and playing guitar as Ms Haus, whose inspiration can come from daily life on her farm, outrage at politicians, or the need for companionship.

Pat Donohue’s Holiday Show @ The History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Fans of Prairie Home Companion’s former Guy’s All Star Shoe Band can once again hear the band while celebrating the season as guitarist Pat Donohue brings the band, now re-named Prairie All-Stars, along with Special Guest Butch Thompson  to the History Theater for one night. Joining Donohue are Gary Raynor, bass; Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Richard Kriehn, mandolin and fiddle, and Peter Johnson on drums. There’ll be some original Christmas tunes written by Donohue over the years, as well as some traditional music, and several songs from Donohues recent excellent CD Blue Yonder. Pianist Thompson will perform Silent Night in the style of Jimmy Yancey, as well as a couple of other songs. If you can pick up the latest edition of the Highland Villager, you can read a story I wrote about Donohue and the concert.

Friday, December 2

Erica West Band @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Soulful, sultry R&B, with occasional side trips into jazz and pop,  from vocalist West and her six piece band.

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) You’ve not heard old-time music sung and played this way before, with Guitarist Steve Kaul on metal bodied resonator guitars; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, djembe, and found percussion; Brad Ptacek on washtub bass; and the effervescent Jillian Rae on fiddle. Opening at 9pm are Kim and Quillen Roe of the Roe Family Singers, making this an especially fine evening of old time music.

Friday – Monday, December 3 – December 5

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (Fri, Sat, Mon $45 – $70), 9pm (Fri, Mon $35 – $60, Sat $45 – $60), 6pm (Sun $45 – $70), 8pm ($35 – $60) Tower of Power is one of the few acts that can fill 8 shows at the Dakota, and it’s no wonder. They are as tight an aggregation as you’ll ever see, bringing funky, soulful horn music to dancing masses since the 70s, with the leader and two of his original cohorts keeping things moving all night long.

Saturday, December 3

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Ohs started in 1977 as Flamingo, but the original Flamingos from the 50s took issue with the name, so the band became the Flamin’ Ohs, and became darlings of Twin Cities rock/punk/new wave fans. They were among the first bands to make a music video back in the early 80s, when it got played on this new cable channel called MTV. Since 1980 they put out a number of albums, split up at the end of the 80s, reunited at the end of the 90s, and have recorded and occasionally performed since then.

Hurricane Harold/Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ The Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Hurricane) 9pm ($12) Another great twofer night at the Vieux. Hurricane Harold plays harmonica, usually accompanied by Doug Otto or Jeff Ray on guitar during the dinner hour. Then at 9pm its a band that is getting increasingly glowing press for their funky renditions of originals and classic soul songs. Jaedyn James  s a powerhouse of a singer, and the 9 piece band and backup singers, are delightfully energetic, which they have to be, to match Jaedyns, energy.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($?) Saxophonist Clarke and his merry band of swinging musicians play jumpin’ jazz and R&B for dancers, with songs that range from Fats Waller and Count Basie to Fats Domino and Louis Jordan. Dancers will trip the light fantastic on one of the best dance floors in the area.

Papa John Kolstad & the Hot Club of East Lake @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Bluesman and swinging guitarist Papa John is in his natural habitat at Merlin’s, where he and the various members of the Hot Club bring some acoustic swing to the fore. Plus, you never know who will stop by and sit in. Bring an ID if you want alcohol, otherwise enjoy the TV-less environs, large selection of scotch and beers, and typical English fare at what many call the Best Neighborhood Bar in Minneapolis.

Yulefest IX @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm ($15 Donation) This is the 9th year for Yulefest, which The Eddies hosted at the Hat Trick in its early days and moved to the Celtic Junction a few years ago to have more room. It’s a musical fundraiser for The Food Group, with all proceeds (from entry donations and a silent auction) going to stock food shelves throughout Minnesota. Along with The Eddies, you’ll get to hear Patsy O’Brien, The HiBs and Barra for an evening of music and fun. The Celtic Junction is located north of University in the Midway area.

Sunday, December 4

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (No Cover) Sunday afternoon Charangas and salsas for aspiring and expert Latin dancers, delivered by a band that recorded their last album in Havana.

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


The Power of Music: 11.16 – 11.22

November 16, 2016

 

If serfs could find time to dance, so can we

If serfs could find time to dance, so can we

Life continues apace, and no matter what your political affiliation, it’s safe to say that things won’t be the same. Except for music. Music has the power to voice our fears, to call us to action, celebrate our commonalities, call out hypocrisy, inspire us, heal our spirit, lift us up, and perhaps, just perhaps, bring us together. While musicians undoubtedly enjoy playing, music is much more powerful when it is a shared experience. If you are part of the audience, you are part of the music, whether in a concert hall, a dive bar, or a church. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 16

Babatunde Lea Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Though he’s listed on the JC website as a drummer, Lea is much more, as he not only plays a trap set, but often plays congas or other percussion instruments at the same time, incorporating African, Caribbean, and Latin rhythms into the mix. He has an outstanding group of musicians in this band: Solomon Parham, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Chris Bates, bass.

Butch Thompson and Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Two music veterans from the old West Bank music era who have gone way beyond the music of that time. Pianist and clarinetist Butch Thompson is internationally known for his traditional jazz and ragtime stylings. Guitarist Dean Magraw has traveled the world playing acoustic and electric instruments to create fine jazz, fusion, and world music.

Thursday, November 17 

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Chris Lomheim Quartet, with Pete Whitman, saxes, Jay Young bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums; led by Chris Lomheim on piano. Here is Chris in a trio setting.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Le Percheron is bassist Adam Linz’s group, and features Levi Schwartsberg on vibes; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin on cornet, and Corey Healy on drums. While Khyber Pass specializes in music that’s a bit (or sometimes very) out there, this quartet creates music that is at once accessible and adventurous. Linz is a veteran, the other three are powerful young musicians still in their twenties.

Dorothy Doring and Marc Ziegenhagen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Doring is a warm, engaging vocalist who can sing classic R&B, jazz standards, cabaret, and scat. Versatile indeed.

Joel Shapira/Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Shapira, No Cover), 9pm (Midnight Love – $7) Guitarist Shapira  rings his jazz and classical chops to the dinner hour, followed at 9pm by Midnight Love  a band that plays funky soul jazz and rare grooves. They have a fondness for Lou Donaldson, but which will bring in music by Ruby & the Romantics, Leon Russell and Roberta Flack, among others. Midnight Loves is: Greg Schute, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, organ; Matt Darling, trombone; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

Friday, November 18

Bruce Henry @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Crooners is celebrating Founder’s Weekend – its second anniversary – and former Twin Cities vocalist Henry is in town to start things off with a combination of jazz, R&B, Motown and other swinging sounds.

Swing Sisterhood Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) There are many talented musicians in the area who happen to be female. A bunch of them have created the Swing Sisterhood Big Band, which is made its Jazz Central Debut last March. Afterwards, there will be a jazz jam for High School students.

Saturday, November 19

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar)  Ahmed & the Creators open at 7pm. The group includes, Ahmed Abdul Karim, trumpet; Batume, drums; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, tenor; Ron Evaniuk, bass. At 8:30pm it’s the The Steve Kenny Quartet Tour Conclusion performance, with Javiaer Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; Rodney Ruckus, drums; and Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

JazzMN: New Orleans Night @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindbergh Dr., Minnetonka. 7:30pm $31-$33 Advance, $35-$37 Door, (Students, $10-$18 Advnce, $10-$20 Door) It’s a tribute to the Big Easy as the JazzMN Orchestra takes on traditional jazz, second line brass bands, New Orleans jazz standards, a bit of Cajun fun, and some blues, to create a fun night of music. Orchestra musicians include such outstanding stalwarts as Pete Whitman, Dave and Kathy Jensen, Dave Carr, Mary Louise Knutson, and many other talented musicians. Here they’re performing a Tito Puente tune.

Adam Meckler Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) It’s been a while since trumpeter Meckler has performed with a small group. He and his group  released a new album entitled Wander on Shifting Paradigm Records, but haven’t played much since.  Tonight he has a special guest in saxophonist Tony Barba from Madison. Also in tonight’s group: Zacc Harris, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Sunday, November 20

Firebell @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums all have extensive experience in multiple bands. Their music is both swinging and cerebral.

Tuesday, November 22

Dave King Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $55 dinner show) Uber drummer Dave King is best known for his work with The Bad Plus and Happy Apple,though he also seems to have a dozen or so other projects, many of which explore the outer edges and realms of jazz and rock. Tonight, though, he gathers the fine talents of bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to mine the richness of jazz standards as well as some moody work from the tunes of Bill Evans and Paul Bley. The last appearance of this trio had a number of beautiful moments. Here’s their complete performance at the Village Vanguard a few years ago.

Brian Gallagher Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 door) This project is a commemorative effort to honor the life and music of the late Twin Cities based saxophonist Brian Gallagher. The band features Brian Ziemniak on keyboards, Yohannes Tona on bass, Peter Hennig on drums and Brian’s longtime collaborator Julius Collins adding vocals to a few songs, the night before Brian’s 53rd birthday. In addition to the members of the quartet, special guests performances will include saxophonists David Eiland, Peter Vircks, Brandon Wozniak, trombonist Michael Nelson, vocalist Jody Hanks and many others to be announced.

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, November 16

Poor Howard Stith on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Poor Howard  s a 12 string blues guitarist who gave Papa John Kolstad his nickname. He’s influenced by Leadbelly, Blind Willy McTell, and Dave Ray, and tells delightful shaggy dog stories.

Flatlanders @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60) When the Flatlanders were formed and recorded in the early 70s, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, and Butch Hancock had each returned to Lubbock Texas after having spent time elsewhere. In 1973 they recorded an album with their unique take on traditional country music. Entitled Jimmie Dale & the Flatlanders, it was released only on 8-track, without a distribution deal, though truth be told, you could find it in Southern variety stores and truck stops. Naturally, it went nowhere and the group drifted apart. By the end of the 70s, Ely and Hancock had become cult symbols thanks to their solo albums, and Gilmore’s songwriting resulted in his being a hip name to drop by music critics and the like. They reunited on a few occasions and in the late 90s had a song in the film The Horse Whisperer. They released a second album in 2002 and have released four since then.

Pat Donahue & Dan Newton @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Guitarist Donahue was a National Fingerpicking Champion almost 40 years ago, and spent 20 years coming up with songs on a weekly basis for the Prairie Home Companion. He has a pleasant voice, and he can write some very witty lyrics, but his killer app, so to speak, is his fleet fingering, which has only gotten better since that long ago championship. He has a perfectly compatible partner in Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, the accordion ace who taught himself how to play and is equally at home with the blues, jazz, French Musettes, and Cumbias.

Thursday,November 17

Peter Wolf & the Midnight Travelers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55, $65) Wolf was the lead singer for the J. Geils Band, that raucous group that brought rockin’ rhythm and blues to the airways and many a house party in the 70s and early 80s, when they topped the singles charts with Freeze Frame, Love Stinks, and Centerfold. Wolf’s commanding presence on stage and record was a big reason for the group’s success.

Friday,November 18

Red House Live: Chastity Brown @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Chastity Brown began to turn heads and open ears as soon as she arrived in Minnesota from Tennessee where she grew up and was influenced by roots music from an early age. Her music encompasses roots, soul, rock, blues, and country. Much of her writing describes and talks of the experience of marginalized people in our society. At the invitation of Ani DiFranco, Brown spent much of 2016 on tour with DiFranco. She has signed with Red House Records and will be releasing a new album early in 2017. The show was close to selling out as of this writing, so you may have to call the Landmark Center to ascertain availability of tickets.

Dee Miller Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($??) Wilebski’s continues its policy of having early evening shows on Friday night, so those of us of a certain age can get home and get some sleep after dancing their hearts out. Others will simply be energized by Ms Miller’s tough vocals and tight band and find someplace else to go at 10pm.

Saturday, November 19

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) The Dakota continues to bring the music of Louisiana to the northern end of the Mississippi River. It’s hard to get any more rootsier than accordionist Chenier  the son of Clifton Chenier, the late King of Zydeco. CJ learned his art by being in his father’s band, and expanded the sound of zydeco by recording with Paul Simon as well as the Gin Blossoms.

Davina & The Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley (No Cover, $10 reserved seat) Get there early if you want a seat and didn’t reserve one. Davina  nd the Guys will pack the big room at the Lounge.

Sunday, November 20

Phil Heywood @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Heywood is another of what seems to be a plethora of National Fingerpicking Champions in town. He’s got a deep baritone voice that’s a nice foil to his precise, melodic playing.

Monday, November 21

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Brothers on Grand, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is the second installment of a Food Shelf Benefit that “Fingers” puts on each year. He is a former National Fingerpicking champion who used to perform as part of a highly popular radio variety show. He and some of his “So Called Friends” from that radio show are performing their Annual Food Shelf Benefit tonight, so bring a bit more $$ than you usually do for a tip jar show.

Tuesday, November 22

Midwest Paul Cook and Crankshaft @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) A couple of blues/roots performers who can mine the depths of despair with their own songs, and well as songs from the Great Depression. Listen to Cook here. Learn about Crankshaft here.

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


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