Autumn’s Arrival. Music: 9.23 – 9.29

September 23, 2015
And so it begins...

And so it begins…

Welcome to Autumn and another week of music to lift your spirit, from new jazz bands, to visiting blues, folk, and Finnish musicians. Autumn also brings the Fall Pledge Drive for KFAI, the community radio station where I volunteer and produce a weekly jazz show (Saturday mornings, 10:30 – Noon). I would much appreciate your support, which you can show by pledging Saturday morning during my show. You can call 612-375-9030 between 10:30am and Noon. You can also go to and follow the instructions there. KFAI has always been a big supporter of area musicians, including about 99.9% of the musicians whose performances I list each week. Thank you for your support.


Wednesday, September 23

Rootie Tootie @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) An evening of music inspired by Monk, Ornette, and Hank, presented by Pete Whitman, sax; Nathan Hanson, sax; Steve Hobert, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.

Thursday, September 24

Southside Aces @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Some traditional brass band dancehall music from New Orleans. Since they play all over the midwest, the Aces can rightfully be called a “territory band.”  Members are: Robert Bell, guitar; Tony Balluf, clarinet; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; and Dave Michel drums.

Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vocalist Zuther spent seven years touring the U.S. andCanada as a member of Five By Design, and now the opera trained singer is concentrating on her solo career. Her approach to singing is always uplifting and inviting.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 cash only) Trumpeter Adam Meckler is fairly prolific, composing and arranging songs for various groups, student bands, and his own 17 piece Orchestra. This should be a great venue in which to hear these very talented musicians. Though the lighting isn’t particularly good on this video, the music is just fine.

Friday, September 25

Anthony Cox: Riotous N @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Another musical brainchild of the talented bassist, who is joined by deVon Gray, keys; Sarah M. Greer, vocals; John Penny, guitar; and Davu Seru, percussion.

Javi Santiago Sextet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 cash only) Santiago is a relatively young pianist who easily attracts other talent, both emerging and veteran, to play with him. Tonight he’s joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Ted Olson, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, September 26

Saturday Night Jazz CD Release @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. ($10 Suggested Donation) John Penny Trio opens at 7pm with Penny guitar; Charlie Riddle, bass; and Davu Seru, drums. Then the CD release of A Night Together, with original arrangements by Adam Meckler of songs by Ellinton, Bechet, Reinhardt, Hart, Desmond and others performed by a band of Twin Cities Jazz Stars – Petrer Schimke, piano; Kenny Horst, drums, Billy Peterson, bass; Steve Kenny, flumpet; and Brandon Wozniack saxophones.

Monday, September 28

Larry McDonough’s 60th Birthday @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) McDonough is a sensitive piano player with a voice that reminds many of Chet Baker. To celebrate his birthday, McDonough has been asking fans to send him requests from his repertoire of eight CD releases. Joining him will be his regular quartet with Richard Terrill, saxes; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums; as well as special guest including Steve Kenny, trumpet/flumpet; Jeff King, saxes, and Phil Holm, trumpet.

Jazzland Wonderband @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This relatively new quintet features some young lions tackling music from the Traditional and Swing eras. Members are: Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet and vocals; Nelson Deveraux, reeds; Keith Hilson, trombone; Evan Clark, tuba; and Andres Crovetti, drums.

Gastonguay, Harris & Bates @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Soul jazz with a modern twist comes to the Icehouse stange with this classic B3 Organ band featuring Kevin Gastonguay, organ; Zacc Harris, guitar; and JT Bates, drums; performing deep cut classics and originals.

Tuesday, September 29

Dave Graf Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Graf is one of the most versatile trombone players in the Twin Cities, leading his own band on CD, playing with folks like Slide Hampton, Jack McDuff, or the Woody Herman Orchestra, playing in pit bands for touring musicals, and backing folks like Natalie Cole, Harry Connick, Jr., and Juli Andrews. He’ll be joined tonight by Daniel Leahy, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. Here he is with a slightly different quartet.

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, September 23

Patty & The Buttons on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Button accordion maestro Patrick “Patty” Harrison leads this quartet through an eclectic menu of trad jazz, Western Swing, blues, Jug band music, and 1930s pop songs. Other members include Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Balluff, clarinet; and Mark Kreitzer, guitar. Tune into Fresh Air Radio, where they’ll play live during the 5pm hour, and then head over to the 331 to catch them in person.

Thursday, September 24

Shemekia Copeland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $38) This blues-singing daughter of the late guitar ace Johnny Copeland has toured with the Rolling Stones, headlined the Chicago Blues Festival, and earned parade from Robert Plant, Carlos Santana, ZZ Tops, Billy Gibbons, and Maya Angelou.

A bunch of sharp dressed dudes

A bunch of sharp dressed dudes

Irie Sol @ The Commodore Hotel, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25 includes drink ticket and “tasty treats”) A reggae band at the one-time home of F. Scott Fitzgerald? Makes perfect sense when you realize Irie Sol is celebrating the release of Dred Scott Fitzgerald, with music themed around the life of Fitzgerald. This is part of a birthday celebration of the Saint Paul author, with proceeds going to support a non-profit called Fitzgerald in Saint Paul. 1920s attire is encouraged.


Thursday – Sunday, September 24 – 27

Barbershop harmony of a different kind

Barbershop harmony of a different kind

Always and Forever @ Illusion Theater, Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 8pm Thursday, Friday, 4:30pm Saturday, 7:30pm Sunday ($25 – $40) This popular musical is returning to the Illusion to celebrate the close of its 40th year of operation. It stars Julius C. Collins III, Dennis Spears, Gevonee Ford, and Isaiah Cummings who sing songs by Stevie Wonder, the Jackson 5, Percy Sledge, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, and Earth, Wind, and Fire, as they reveal the ups and downs of their love lives. Set in a 1970s barbershop, the musical played to standing room only crowds for three months when it opened in 1996, and in later revivals in 2010 and 2011.

Friday, September 25

Tom Rush @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Another survivor of the urban folk revival of the 60s comes to town. Singer/songwriter Rush has been an major influence on both James Taylor and Garth Brooks. Rush is a gifted writer and a fine interpreter of other people’s songs as well, first recording the work of folks like Jackson Brown and Joni Mitchell. He’s more recently introduced the world to the work of Nanci Griffith and Shawn Colvin.

SlovCzech @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Don’t know much about this group, but they sound intriguing – a six piece playing modernized folk music from Czech and Slovakia.

The Northerly Gales @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) This folk quartet draws on Irish, Scottish, Canadian,  and American folk traditions, using fiddle, guitar, pipes, and whatever else is available.

Nikki & the RueMates w/Deano Mikkelson @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Nikki’s bell-like voice, Rich Rue’s stellar guitar work, and the tight rhythm section of Jon Olson on bass and Jimmy “T” Tollesfrud provide some intimate, 60s style folk-rock. Special guest, guitarist Deano Mikkelson, adds a jazzy vibe to the proceedings. Here they are in trio format.

Saturday, September 26

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm. (No Cover) Line up for brunch at this popular weekend morning eatery and enjoy the folk blues of Ms Haus and her trio, singing songs about rural life, big business, and the little guy.

Galactic Cowboy Orchestra @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 9pm (Tip Jar?) This small room will fill with big music as the 4 piece GCO brings their fusion of bluegrass, metal, and jazz to the restaurant. Using guitar, fiddle, bass, and drums, they are just as likely to play an extreme Indian raga as a traditional bluegrass tune.

Tuesday, September 29

The Pluto Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Original music encompassing post-rouck, soul, new wave, and synth pop.

Kardemimmit @ The Cedar Cultural Center, MInneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) Holy Alliteration! This is a Finnish four-piece female folk group. Besides singing, Kardemimmit plays the Finnish national instrument, a cantle, in obit its 15 string and 38 string forms. Their music covers folk traditions throughout Finland. Opening is the fine young vocalist Lynn O’Brien, who will be joined by cellist Jessica Cheadle.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 29, 30

Jeffrey Osborne @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm each night ($65), 9pm (Wed only – $50) Ooh, some smooth, seductive, soul love power is happening at the Dakota. Vocalist Osbourne started out with the popular funk group L.T.D. back in the 70s, and then went solo in the 80s, becoming a fixture on the R&B charts. He’s received five gold and platinum albums, and recorded an album of duets with James Ingram. His 2013 album A Time For Love features a passel of standard love songs, accompanied by musicians like bassist Christian McBride, pianist George Duke, trumpeter Rick Braun, and saxophonist Kamasai Washington.

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.

Decisions, Decisions. Music: 1.14 – 1.20

January 14, 2015

Decisions-thanks-to-SubhanWell, with the weather breaking a bit, we’ve got a fine week of music ahead of us, with a couple of Billie Holiday tributes (one which also includes a tribute to Sinatra), a Carmen McRae tribute, some funky, funky, blues and a couple of African inspired projects. Lots of other good music as well. We are lucky to have such a rich musical community in our towns. Have a good week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, January 14

Triosé  @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Trirosé  is Vinnie Rose, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. They perform jazz standards, contemporary pop, and original compositions in a straightforward, yet dashing manner.

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Once a month Chris Bates brings in a group to play this basement space. Tonight the group includes Bates on bass, of course, with the wonderful Peter Schimke on keys and Cory Healy on drums.

Thursday, January 15

Beasley’s Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($8) Here’s a refreshing change of pace, as BBB plays for swing dancers young and old – especially young. The exhilaration of the young dancers – some still in high school – is certainly catching, and if you check out the side rooms, you may see them practicing their more acrobatic moves.

Chet-the Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker: Larry McDonough Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chet Baker was a 50s trumpeter with movie-star good looks, and a “cool” almost detached way of playing and singing. Drug addiction ruined his looks, but even after losing his teeth in a bad drug deal, he was able to perform in the 70s and 80s, producing a number of great CDs before he was found dead on the street below his Amsterdam hotel room. McDonough s singing is also quiet and cool, and has been favorably compared to Baker’s. He’s bringing in Steve Kenny for the trumpet parts, along with Richard Terrill on saxes; Greg Stinson bass; and Dean White on drums. The first set will be “all Chet,” while the second will feature some of McDonough’s songs sung in Chet’s style. It’s rare that anyone tackles Baker’s catalog, especially his singing, so if you’re a fan of jazz singing, you will want to make your way to Jazz Central. Here’s a video of Larry playing piano at Charles DeGaulle airport.

Donald Washington Solo @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Though Washington is mainly known as the “musical father” of the great James Carter, his musicality is a joy to behold. The founder (with wife Faye) of the The New Day Blues Band (with son Kevin Washington and the late pianist Sam Favors) will be flying solo tonight, exhibiting his imagination and deep love for music through completely free improvisation.

Friday, January 16

Joyce Lyons @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7:30pm ($20 – includes sandwiches or pizza) Lyons is an accomplished singer with fans all over the country. Tonight she’ll be spotlighting the songs of Carmen McRae in a show titled “An Intimate Conversation,” accompanied by Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zack Lozier,trumpet; & Jay Epstein, drums, all of whom will only elevate her already impressive singing. I haven’t been to this place lately, so the idea of a cover that includes some food is intriguing, to say the least. Here she is singing at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Thomas Bruce @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) You can count on quality vocalists every Friday night in the lounge of this Italian place, and Bruce is no exception, with a voice that ranges from baritone to tenor, and good taste in sidemen.

Far Cry @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Far Cry is Paul Metzger, guitar; JT Bates, drums; Josh Granowski, bass; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet. Given the presence of Metzger and Bates, this may be one of the more adventurous groups to play at the basement club.

Friday, Saturday, January 16, 17

Debbie Duncan in a Room With a Vieux – Part Deux @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) After a successful New Year’s Eve, the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray – the name of New Orleans French Quarter) will open again this weekend, this time featuring Debbie Duncan, vocalist supreme, with Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Joe Pulice, drums; Kenny Holmen, sax. The menu offering is hose made Muffaletta sandwiches.

Friday,Saturday, Sunday, January 16, 17, 18

Holiday for Frank: Arne Fogel & Maud Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  Fri, Sat; 2:00pm Sunday ($20/$18 Seniors/$15 25 & Under) 2015 marks the Centennial year of the birth of both Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson will be doing the songs of both for this show, with musical direction from Rick Carlson  Musical integrity and fine musicianship are just about guaranteed with this group.

Saturday, January 17

bottomless_pit__640x480_The Bottomless Pit @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is the debut performance of this group of veterans, which includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Tom Lewis, bass. Opening at 7pm is Jazz Front: Jeffrey Dunitz, drums; Eric Graham, bass; Ted Godbout, piano. BP this the stage at 8:30pm.

Monday, January 19

Real Bulls & the PBR Street Gang @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s a Mini-Minne-Monster night as some of the best jazz musicians in town take to the stage. The first set is a double drum extravaganza with JT Bates and Dave King performing as the Real Bulls. Second set in the PBR Street Gang: Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Dean Granros, guitar.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 20, 21

José James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) James is the Minneapolis native who made a name for himself singing jazz with his 2008 debut, The Dreamer. Since then he’s grown as an artist, integrating all forms of Black Music into his singing, and even using elements of indie rock and folk in a seamless manner. His latest project, due out later this Spring is While You Were Sleeping, the Music of Billie Holiday, which he’s previewing with this appearance.

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 14

Annie Mack on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) Mack is a blues singer who represented Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge last year, even though she was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It’s typical of her spirit and her ferocity. You know the drill by now. Listen in during the 5pm hour, and if you’re impressed, which I think you may be if you like the blues, gospel, and old school R&B, head over to the 331 to catch her act live.

Morgan James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) James is a classically trained singer who found her voice singing soul music on stage with Motown, the Musical, where she sang Teena Marie songs. Berry Gordy steered her to Epic Records, where her first release was from a live show at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, singing the songs of Nina Simone. Her first studio album came out last summer, and features her as a co-writer on 8 of 11 songs. The New York Times has praised her feel for classic soul music.

Thursday, January 15

Non-Prophets do Toots & the Maytals @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) I’ve to to give props to anyone who will attempt the soulful reggae of Toots and the Maytals. Opening is the ska band, Pretty Ugly.

Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s instrumental nirvana (no not the group) when this quartet takes the stage emulating the Southern sounds of Booker T & the MGs and the New Orleans funk of the Meters.

Friday, January 16

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5)  This event is sponsored by U Wanna Dance (see link to their calendar, below), so you can be assured that the large dance floor at Wilebski’s will be packed. You can also be assured that Armadillo Jump will be up to the task of keeping people on the dance floor.

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get your share of swampy, bluesy goodness from guitarist Tom Harkness and his mates in the Swamp Kings  CJ Vanderpool, percussion; Steve :Dancin” Hansen, bass & vocals; and Harry Pulver, accordion.

Hot Pants Dance Party & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?)  While the Hot Pants DJs have often been guests at concerts, this is the first time a band is guesting at a Hot Pants gig. Besides the rare funk n’ soul 45s that the Hot Pants crew will be spinning, you be treated to the Afro-funk sounds of the Chicago Afrobeat Project  a 10-piece group that pushes the boundaries of that genre. Should be a hot night, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Saturday, January 17

Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($13) Old timey sensibilities collide with rock n’ punk energy as Kaul, guitar; Mikkel Beckman, washboard; and Brad Ptek, on washboard bass play old blues, and Kaul’s originals, which are quite good. It’s a small space, with limited seating, so you may want to call and buy tickets in advance. Need I remind you that the Riverview has a great wine list?

People Brothers Band @ the Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) This 8 piece band from Madison is a rhythm n’ soul group with a debut CD that’s a solid slab of original songs set to mid-tempo rhythms and danceable beats that range from second line funk to reggae and more.

Sunday, January 18

Patty & The Buttons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Patty & the Buttons just released a fine album, Mercury Blues, which has received glowing reviews, including a mention as one of the best of 2014. This is a regular Sunday morning gig for them, which often finds them playing for some dancers. Members include Patrick Harrison – Button Accordion; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Bailuff, clarinet, and Mark Kreitzer, guitar.

Paul Mayasich & the RAMM Band@ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover) They call it the RAMM Band because they play Real American Made Music, which perfectly encapsulates the Motown, R&B, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues that they play. Paul is a soulful, emotional guitar player, ably complemented by John Iden on bass; and Hye Pockets Robertson on drums.

Tuesday, January 20

H’SAO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($25) H’SAO is a Montreal-based quintet is originally from Chad. They started out as an acapella group delivering rich, beautiful harmonies. They draw from gospel, R&B, reggae, and of course, Chadian music and other African influences. Since their beginning about 13 years ago, they’ve taken up a few instruments to add to their sound, but the harmonies remain at the center of their appeal. You can see and hear what I’m talking about in this video.

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.

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