Halloween Music and More: 10.28 – 11.3

October 28, 2015

OF-Halloween-Pumpkin-Joke-Well good grief, it’s Halloween! This time showing up on a Saturday night. There are many public events taking place, of which I’m only listing a few. Have fun, and remember that music lifts the spirit.



Wednesday, October 28

Southside Aces @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Looking for a brassy band with a tuba? Want to dance? The Aces have you covered, with members who are well-versed in the New Orleans tradition” Rob erg Bell, guitar; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Tony Galluff, clarinet; Zack Lozeir, trumpet; and Dave Michael, drums.  New Orleans Traditional Jazz Quarterly called them “A true, authentic New Orleans dance-hall style band.”

Canadian Girlfriend and The Fables Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Canadian Girlfriend is led by cellist Greg Byers  who recently graduated from McNally Smith with a Master of Music in Performance: Other members of the band are Elliot Wachs, Hayden Fihn, Frank Merchlewitz, and Lars Johnson. The Fables Trio is Kevin Gastonguay, keyboards; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Lars Larson, drums.

Thursday, October 29

Emily-GreenEmily Green’s Tribute to the 30s @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vocalist Green and pianist Chris Lomheim are joined by Graydon Peterson on bass; and Reid Kennedy on drums to celebrate songs of the 30s.

Charmin & Shapira @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) An exquisite pairing of vocals and guitar, that shine on both jazz standards by the like of Thelonious Monk and the Great American Songbook.

Friday, October 30

Todd Harper Piano Fridays @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 56:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) You may not be in the mood for any Halloween hijinks. In that case head to the Black Dog where pianist Todd Harper will be joined by bassist Keith Yannes and drummer Eric Courson for an early evening of reflective, delicate, and decidedly un-devilish music on “Devil’s Night.”

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo of Jeremy Walker by Andrea Canter

Jeremy Walker @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) The pianist/composer is back at the Vieux to provide late happy hour/dinner music that’s far, far better than what you’d expect at this time of day.


Magraw, Wells, & Bisong: a Benefit for Music Students in Guyana @ Walker West Music Academy, 760 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul. 8pm (Donation) Tuba player Tom Wells, who plays with Dick and Jane’s Brass Band, and with Maurice Jacox on occasion, will be playing with the fabulous guitarist Dean Magraw, and Ernest Bisong, a young jazz violinist from Guyana. Wells worked with the Guyana Lutheran Music Academy  for a few weeks last year and will be retuning this year. Any money raised will go to sponsor 15 Guyana students who took lessons last year but are unable to do so this year without some sponsorship. In lieu of tickets, donations will be accepted at the door.

Hipster Farm Supply Company/Basement Society @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) No matter what the group is called, it’s led by Pete James Johnson, recently returned from Los Angeles, where he spent a number of years playing with folks like Bob Mintzer, Russ Ferrante, Rufus Reid, and Ambrose Akinmusire and more. He’ll be joined by Javi Santiago on piano, and Dan Carpel on bass.

Park Evans, of Battle Cat and other groups. Photo by Andrea Canter

Park Evans, of Battle Cat and other groups. Photo by Andrea Canter

Battle Cat @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This edition of Friday Night jazz at the Nicollet features Park Evans, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums; and Cody McKinney, bass. Each of these musicians could lead their own band. The combination is sure to spark some musical fireworks.

Saturday, October 31

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm, 8:30pm (Tip Jar) It’s a combination of young guns and seasoned veterans tonight. At 7pm it’s the Will Schmid Trio, featuring Schmid, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; and Simon Petrick, drums. At 8:30 How Birds Work will perform. This group was a monthly feature back at the Artists’ Quarter, so it’s great to be able to hear them once again: Kenny Horst, drums; Dean Granros, guitar; Peter Schimke, piano; and Chris Bates, bass.

Monday, November 2

U of MN Jazz Ensemble II and Combos @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (No Cover) Head over to the west bank campus of the U to hear the future of jazz as college students in the Jazz Ensemble II and various combos play for you.

Real Bulls and Enormous Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Real Bulls is the dynamic drumming duo of JT Bates and Dave King, both of whom create a pantheon of sounds on their instruments. Second act up is The Enormous Quartet: Park Evans, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thompson, sax; and Joey Van Philips, drums.

Tuesday, November 3

Mary Louise Knutson @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Another early evening of exquisite music, this time from pianist Mary Louise Knutson  whose album In the Bubble spent considerable time at the top of the jazz charts, and who regularly tours with the Doc Severinsen big band.

Travis Anderson Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) It’s a very jazz night at the Vieux, as this swinging combination of musicians take the stage after Mary Louise Knutson. Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; bring lots of energy and chops to their performances.

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, October 28

Katey Belleville on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana, Bluegrass, and Folk, from a singer/songwriter/guitarist  ho performs originals, traditional tunes, and contemporary tunes from artists like Gillian Welch. Tune in during the 5pm hour, and head over to the 331 to hear her live. She’ll be joined by friends Zach Gusa, guitar and vocals; Justin Bruhn, upright bass; and Mike Hedding on various stringed instruments.

Leon Bridges @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($22) Well, it’s sold out, but if you can get in, you’ll hear contemporary R&B that evokes, but doesn’t copy the likes of Sam Cooke. Bridges is an excellent songwriter with a voice that’s sweet, yet sure.

Hannah Von Der Hoff & the Dangertones: Humpy’d Halloween @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8, $5 with Costume) Work the kinks out of your costume with this early Halloween special featuring Von Der Hoff, a singer who does a modern take on 60s R&B. She’s got a strong voice that’s well suited to soulful sounds, and a band that serves her well.

Thursday, October 29

Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 3pm (No Cover) Make your way to the tony NE village for a dose of the blues from gravel voiced Jackson and his guitarist/drummer cohort Johnson. Here he is with a full band.

Badi Assad @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) Assad is a Brazilian singer/songwriter as well as a brilliant guitarist, and percussionist. She blends pop, jazz, and world influences with traditional Brazilian music to create exciting performances, as she showed at the Dakota a couple of years ago. Her latest album, Hatched, features her take on songs by Lorde, Skillrex, and Mumford and Sons, among other contemporary artists.

Friday, October 30

Paul Metsa is Going to the Dogs @ Darby’s Pub and Grill, 315 5th Ave N, Minneapolis. $10 Suggested Donation) Singer/composer, guitarist, and author Paul Metsa is celebrating his 60th birthday with a benefit for Homeward Bound Dog Rescue. Paul knows many folks throughout the music industry, so don’t be surprised if some stop by and even perform a song or two.

Devil’s Night at the Black Forest Inn, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 – $15 Suggested Donation) It’s an evening of solo, duo, and mixed chamber works featuring The Skeleton Crew chamber ensemble, as well as guest artists Eric Struve on upright bass; and Julie Johnson on concert flute, bass flute, and looping pedals, as well as mixed media visual artists Krista Pumroy, Beth Lowe, and Tom Siler. Here’s Julie Johnson in a different collaborative context. Here is Johnson on flute.

Friday, Saturday, October 31, 31

Ana Popovic @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Popovic grew up in a home where her father’s record collection and nightly jam sessions inspired her to take up guitar at the age of fifteen. She eventually moved to the United States and began playing and touring, winning over fans with her electric funk, slide guitar, and jazzy blues. She’s been the only female performer on the Experience Hendrix tours and has been nominated for five Blues Music Awards.

Raw Oyster Cult @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($25) Celebrate the Halloween weekend with the music of New Orleans’ Raw Oyster Cult  featuring members of the Radiators, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, and Papa Grows Funk: Dave Malone, vocals and guitar; Camile Baudoin, guitar; Frank Bua, drums, John “Papa” Gros, vocals, keys; and David Pomerleau, bass. Saturday’s show will feature the Krewe of DADs 30th Annual Masquerade Ball: “I Walked With Zombies.” Here’s an example of the Cult .

Saturday, October 31

Jeremy Messersmith & Friends present The Undead Masquerade @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Billed as an Evening of Music and the Macabre, this show will feature Messersmith’s 2010 CD, “The Reluctant Graveyard” (Named by NPR as one of the Top Ten Albums of the year) in its entirety, as well as an assortment of ghoulish tunes. Guests include Chris Koza, Aby Wolf, Lydia Hoglund (Bomba De Luz), and Natalie Lovejoy. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

Lamont Cranston Halloween Party @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 11pm. Pat Hayes has been carrying on and leading this band since 1969, and as a result, knows how to fill a dance floor and get the party going, whether for New Year’s, Halloween or any other occasion. Lamont Cranston has been named Best Twin Cities Blues Band a number of times, served as the inspiration for Dan Ackroyd’s Blues Brothers,and served as the opening band for a leg of a Rolling Stones tour. Here’s one of their instrumental workouts.

Patty & the Buttons @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Yes, yes, yes. More costume and Halloween frivolity as Patty and the Buttons bring their button-accordion-fueled swing the the basement club.

Sunday, November 1

Daddy Squeeze joins Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3 – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Dan Newton, master of the “Stomach Steinway” sits in with Corpse Reviver: Adam Kiesling, playing a new Banjo; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard and prcussion; and Jillian Rae, fiddle; for a spirited afternoon of music from the Anthology of American Folk Music!  Here’s a lighthearted version of a classic.

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.

2.19 – 2.24

February 19, 2014
Most musicians are playing indoors these days

Most musicians play indoors these days

After the sub-zero temperatures of the last few weeks, it’s good to be heading into a spell of above freezing. All the easier for you to shuck off cabin fever and get out. We’ve got jazz at a Best Steak House, a Grammy winning trumpeter, some New Music, and worldbeats, not to forget some rocking’ R&B and old timey music. Get out and enjoy yourself. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 19

Todd Harper honors this family

Todd Harper honors this family

Medium Rare: Music for the Best Steak House @ Best Steak House, 860 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 5-7:30pm (Free) Somehow I had this listed for this past Saturday. Never fear, however, as you still have time to hear Pianist/composer Todd Harper, joined by bassist Andrew Foreman, and presenting an evening of dinner music, including the premiere of a Harper composition dedicated to the owners of the Steak House – the Hatzistamoulos Family.

Pete Whitman’s Mississippi @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11pm (Donation). Pete teaches at MacNally Smith, heads up the Pete Whitman X-Tet, and can be found playing sax in a number of different aggregations. He’s an always interesting soloist, whether on ballads or barn-burners. Tonight he brings his group Mississippi to Jazz Central: Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Friday, February 21

The Bridge @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:30pm Tonight, the Bridge Series features Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brian Courage, bass; and Lars Larson, drums.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Baritone saxophonist Washington is a regular performer at the Black Dog. Tonight he’ll bring in Eric Jacobsen, sousaphone; Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion. It’s an adventurous group of musicians, all of whom are well versed in free improvisation.

Friday, Saturday, February 21, 22

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30 (Friday – $10, Saturday – $20) Zeitgeist, the contemporary music ensemble, will be presenting winning songs from their annual Eric Stokes Songwriting contest, as well as compositions and performances by vocalist Viv Cunningham and saxophonist Nathan Hanson. Cunningham is a British vocalist, composer, and sound artist who has worked internationally and recently called Minnesota home for some years. Hanson has worked with folks like Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Tayor, and Chris Potter. He’s known in the Twin Cities as part of the Fantastic Merlins, and has been praised in the music press of France. Saturday’s performance is a fund-raiser, with post-performance wine, hors d’ oeuvres and conversation with Hanson and Cunningham.

Saturday, February 22

JonPemberton-1576thJon Pemberton Trio @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jon is a triple threat: trumpet, piano, and composition, with a number of talented friends in the jazz community. Don’t know who he’ll have along tonight, though he often plays with Jimmy Wallace. The LPB can be noisy, since people seem to be their for dinner and visiting with each other, so try to get a table close to the band if going for supper.

Arne Fogel & Maude Hixson Sing Movie Songs: The Winners & Losers @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($25) Arne and Maude have an easy way on stage. Heck they’ve been doing shows together for a number of years. Tonight they celebrate Hollywood’s favorite songs – both the winners and losers of songs associated with the golden age of cinema.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) Ace trumpeter Kenny had a 5 year residency at the Artists’ Quarter, and is a co-founder of the Illicit Sextet, which released their second album last year. His Group 47 is composed of young turks from the area, but this Quartet features some mighty players with pedigrees. He’ll be joined by Billy Peterson, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, on drums.

Celebrating Seven Healthy  Years

Celebrating Seven Healthy Years

Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Patty is making her debut at the Icehouse tonight, and it’s a very special occasion – her 7th Annual Celebrate Life Concert, to commemorate seven years since her open heart surgery. She’ll have Donnie La Marca, Paul Peterson, Bobby Vandell, and Billy Franze along for the celebration. The $12 is for Music Only. A three course meal is available for $35, with a supplemental wine pairing for $15. As noted on my page for Spinning Vinyl Around Town, I’ll be deejaying for the “afterparty” at 11pm (no cover).

Saturday, Sunday, February 22, 23

Girl Talk @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($25) Charmin Michelle, Pippi Ardennia, and a band of resident All-Stars: Laura Caviani (piano), Joan Griffith (bass), Jendeen Forberg (drums) and Kathy Jensen (saxophone).

Monday, Tuesday, February 24, 25

Terence Blanchard @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Blanchard is originally from New Orleans, and was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (he replaced, and was recommended by, Wynton Marsalis). He’s written film scores, including the Grammy winning A Tale of God’s Will, an especially moving soundtrack for Spike Lee’s documentary about the affects of Hurricane Katrina. He’s won four other Grammys and has recently written an opera. All of which is a way of saying he’s extremely talented trumpeter and composer. Expect music of the highest order. Here he is with his quintet at Blues Alley in D.C.

Tuesday, February 25

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Here’s the first time that the AMO will be at the Amsterdam. Given that the crowds were growing at their monthly shows before the AQ closed, the larger venue may prove to be apt for the group. Meckler is a talented composer and arranger, and he’s managed to gather many exciting young players for this group. Plus there’s no cover! Here’s one of their songs.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police, Bebopified, and JazzInk

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 19

Maria de Barros @ The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23)  The Ordway has been imaginative in bringing world music to downtown Saint Paul, as shown in their choice of Cape Verdean singer Maria de Barros. De Barros can’t help but be influenced by Cesaria Evora, but she also integrates sounds from other parts of the world into her performance. You’ll hear influences from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean, France and Spain in her music. Opening is resident musicians Havana Hi-Fi, with the dance-centric sounds of old Cuba. Here she is.


Sue Orfield Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7 pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Orfield is a Wisconsin saxophonist who leads her own quartet in clubs in around the cheese state. She often plays with the Butanes Soul Revue, and was occasionally featured at the Artists’ Quarter. Orfield is an exciting and inventive player, with a gutsy tone. She’ll be on Harold’s House Party (90.3 or 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis to play from 7pm – 9pm.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nyes’ Polonais Room, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No cover) A couple of years ago a national men’s magazine named Nye’s as the best bar in America. And those folks hadn’t even heard Doug and the Getaways. They play music that will transport you to the bad ol’ days of the 1930s.

Wednesday, Thursday, February 19, 20

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan, & Romero Lubambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $55, $45) Isbin is a three-time Grammy winning classical guitarist, Jordan is a guitar virtuoso who introduced a new way of playing back in the 80s, and Lubambo is a Brazilian guitarist. This promises to be a unique and exciting show.

Thursday, February 20

Real-Phonic Radio Hour Presents Erik Koskinen and the Chastity Brown Duo @ James J. Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Koskinen is the music director for the Real-Phonic Radio Hour and perhaps the best country songwriter in the area. Not only that he’s a crack guitarist, attested to by his work for Trampled by Turtles, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers and a number of other acts. Chastity Brown crosses and mixes genres with ease – folk, blues, gospel, jazz, country – they’re all in her music, which is being increasingly recognized. NOTE: Because of the weather, this has been postponed until Saturday, February 22.

Friday, February 21

The New Album

The New Album

Willie Walker & Paul Metsa CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($10) Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for Goldwax back in the day, but has been living in the Twin Cities for at least 30 years. His version of You Send Me still sends thrills up my spine. Though Walker has recorded a couple of CDs under his own name as well as a couple with the Butanes, he still remains one of the best kept secrets in town, which is a shame. Metsa is an Iron Ranger who’s been performing in the Twin Cities and around the country for 30 years, winning seven Minnesota Music awards in the process. The two have been performing together for the last couple of years, creating soulful sounds in small bars, cafes, and on the Dakota stage. They’re celebrating the release of Live on Highway 55, an intimate, moving recording where Paul’s guitar provides the right support for Willie’s slightly raspy, always soulful voice.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) A fun cover band, reprising the hits of the late 60s and early 70s in an unpretentious bar where both the drinkin’ and the dancin’ are easy.

Saturday, February 22

Fifth Annual Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Swamp Pop is that genre of music that’s popular in the Cajun areas of the south. It combines the classic R&B of New Orleans with C&W, early rock n’ roll, and French influences. Think of the music of Cookie & the Cupcakes, Jimmy Clanton, and Rod Bernard. Tonight’s performers incljude Becky Thompson, Dan Newton, Mister Dan Rowles, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine, Lucinda Plaisance, and the Rockin’ Pinecones. Backed by the Swamp Poppas – Scott Yoho, Paul Gagner, Max Ray, Joe Luoma, Steve Sandberg, Eric Mohring, Gary Powell, Ted Klotz, and Karl Smelker. This is a benefit for Second Harvest Heartland.

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Corpse Reviver @ the Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Mikkel Beckman, Jillian Rae, and Adam Kiesling bring their homage to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music to the cozy, confines of the Bayport BBQ, which features a mouth-watering buffet before each show. The Bayport is a cash-only Deep Blues Juke Joint with excellent ‘Que.

Sunday, February 23

The Hula Peppers @ The Happy Gnome, Saint Paul. 2pm – 5pm  (No Cover) Dan Newton brings another of his many groups to the Gnome to play 20s and 30s dance music and Hawaiian tunes in the upstairs room at the Gnome. Flowered shirts are optional. Here’s what they sound like.

The Ericksons @ The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Close-knit sisterly harmonies from the Ericksons, in the best place in town to escape winter – the sunken garden of the conservatory at Como Park & Zoo. Wine and beer is available for purchase.

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

Moving the Spirit. Music: 10.30 – 11.5

October 30, 2013

Unknown-2It’s Halloween tomorrow, and if you’ve already done the costume thing, there are some fun shows to attend. Then too, there are fun shows all week long, of which I’m only noting a few. Jazz fans please take special note of the Lynne Arriale show on Sunday. Have a good week. Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, October 30

Mountain King @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Brian Courage, Jeremy Boettcher, Graydon Peterson. Three acoustic bassists take on jazz standards. Based on seeing a previous performance, I can say the results are surprisingly more varied than you would expect. But then, given the talent of each of these bassists, that shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me.

Rhonda Laurie @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) For some late night “cool” sounds, it’s hard to beat Ms Laurie’s singing and Robert Bell’s guitar accompaniment.

Thursday, October 31

Lulu’s Playground @ The Stillwater Library, Stillwater. 7pm (Free) Back from a tour of the East Coast, the guys in Lulu’s Playground have been busy writing 17 short compositions to accompany 17 pieces of artwork by Tim Nyberg. Tim’s whimsical paintings are of Circus sideshow characters, so the quirky makeup of Lulu’s Playground may just be a perfect fit: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steve Hobert, accordion; Cory Grossman, cello, and Ben Abrahamson, guitar. Here’s an example of their sound.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) A smallish big band or a largish combo. Doesn’t matter. They produce exciting music, whether performing originals or standards.

Friday, November 1

John Penny, Pippi Ardennia, & Ray Rivera @ Senor Wong’s, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10:30pm. (No Cover?) Though Wong’s may usually feature late night deejays, they’re taking a chance on an early show tonight featuring singer Pippi Ardennia, who has just released Love So Good2, a collection of jazz and jazz R&B that glows with good feeling. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by guitarist John Penny and percussionist Ray Rivera.

Steve KennySteve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Steve Kenny brings his off-kilter wit, his blazing trumpet, and a trio of like-minded musicians to the Dakota for Late Night. Group 47 includes Will Kjeer, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.

Friday, Saturday, November 1, 2 

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Dave King, who drums for more bands than you can shake a stick at, recently authored a post on City Pages about the importance of the Artists’ Quarter, which you can read here. In the meantime, catch him at the club with Eric Fratzke, guitar, Adam Linz, bass, and Brandon Wozniak, sax. It’s 21st Century jazz.

Saturday, November 2

Mill City Hot Club @ The Red Stag Supper Club, Minneapolis. 10:30pm (Tip Jar) Late night gypsy jazz from guitarist Dean Harrington, a master of the form, and friends such as Gary Schulte on violin, Matt Peterson on bass; Patrick Harrison on accordion, and Dehl Gallagher on drums. Here’s an example of their work.

Sunday, November 3

Lynne Arriale @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($50) Arriale is an internationally acclaimed pianist with 12 albums as a leader to her credit. Whether she’s playing Monk, the Beatles, or a Mardis Gras Indian tune, Arriale always brings a fresh approach to her playing. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Gordy Johnson, bass, and Dave Schmalenberger drums. This event is a benefit for the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, so there will be an opening set by members of the Dakota Combo. I may be prejudiced, since I chair the foundation, but it will be a great evening of music.

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 30

Bryan Lee @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover?) Holy cow! The place will be packed with blues fans. The “Braille Blues Daddy” was an institution in New Orleans, playing the Absinthe House five nights a week for 14 years. He’s released 13 albums, was a 2010 Grammy nominee and through it all plays nothin’ but pure blues.

Thursday, October 31

Skeleton Crew @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar)  This New Music ensemble will be performing music of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Radiohead and other spooky stuff.

Malamanya Halloween Show @ The Calhoun Building, 711 West Lake St, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10)  The wonderful music of Malamanya, featuring special guest, Viviana Pintado. If you’re looking for Cuban sons and other Latin Dance music as part of your Halloween celebration, then this is the place to be. Special guest vocalist/pianist Viviana Pintado is sure to raise the heat.

Kent Burnside & the New Generation Evening @ Hell’s Kitchen and the Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm (Hell’s Kitchen – No Cover) 9 pm (Harriet Brewing – $7 after 8pm) Jon Manners opens. Burnside at 9pm. Burnside is the grandson of RL Burside and he’ll be bringing his no-hold-barred trance-blues to both Hell’s Kitchen and Harriet Brewing Tap Room tonight. Hell’s Kitchen is the noisier of the two, though that doesn’t mean much in this instance.

Friday, November 1

Del Vincents @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?)  Old school rock n’ roll and rhythm n’ blues from rockabilly Dan Peterson, bass; ex-Boogiemen Chuck Edwards and Mike Sandell, on rhythm; and John Franken – MN Blues Society’s Sideman of the Year – on guitar. A good way to start your Friday evening.

A much younger troubadour

A much younger troubadour

Paul Metsa’s 75th Birthday Party @ Grumpy’s, 2200 4th St. NE, Minneapolis. 9pm – 11pm (Donation) Hard to believe this troubadour/author/storyteller/music impresario has been on the earth for 3/4 of a century. He’s celebrating in style, with Willie Walker, and all donations will be given to Contented Critters, a no-kill animal shelter where Paul adopted his dog.

Scottie Miller and Jack Klatt & the Swingers @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (tip Jar) Miller opens at 7pm. Klatt at 9pm. Once again Jackson Buck brings a couple of talented acts to his Freewheelin’ First Friday series. Miller has been spending a lot of time traveling, both with his own band and with Ruthie Foster, for whom his pianistic combination of New Orleans, blues, and boogie woogie is a perfect match. Jack Klatt is a folk-picker/bluesman who knows how to swing, and uses his talents to good effect.

Saturday, November 2

Nikki Matteson & Rich Rue @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Intimate blues and folk-rock from Ms Matteson, a talented singer and guitarist, and Mr Rue, a wizard of the slide guitar.

UnknownNew Orleans Suspects @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($25) It’s a tribute to Lowell George. With Paul Barriere & Fred Tackett of Little Feat joining the Suspects. Member of this well-oiled band include:  Mean Willie Green, drummer for Neville Bros for 30 years; Reggie Scanlan, bassist for the Radiators; John Eckert, guitarist for Dirty Dozen; Jeff Watkins, saxophonist with Jame Brown for a dozen years; and CR Gruver, keys, a disciple of James Booker and Art Neville.

Sunday, November 3

Lee Fields & The Expressions @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) With Sonny Knight & the Lakers opening. Talk about old-school soul! Here we have two artists who first recorded in the 60s. Fields has continued to record and perform, encompassing hard funk, low-down blues, and contemporary soul. His latest album came out of Brooklyn about a year ago, and has been gaining fans and praise ever since. As a fifteen year old in 1965, Knight recorded a 45 that went on to become a revered collectable. He sang with the legendary Haze in the 70s and has had a rebirth as an artists since the release of Twin Cities Funk & Soul on Secret Stash Records.  Here’s Fields:

Monday, Tuesday, November 4, 5

Rimagesickie Lee Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($60, $52, $45)  The two-time Grammy Winner is back at the Dakota for two evenings of stories and songs. Last time around Jones proved to be charming and surprising. Her latest album, The Devil You Know, is a take on classic rock covers, and has been well received, as was her previous album.

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.

Music for Memorial Weekend and more: 5.22 – 5.28

May 22, 2013

Unknown-2Well I hope that any of you with friends and family in Oklahoma have good news from them. We’ve had our own share of tornadoes here in the Twin Cities, and can understand the chaos and destruction that ensues. That said, music has the ability to help bring us together and raise our spirits. We have Memorial Day weekend coming up, and if you aren’t having a backyard BBQ, you have some great opportunities to listen to some talented musicians.


Wednesday, May 22

Snowblind @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A quintet in the classic Blue Note style, this young group plays originals and mines the works of Monk and Ellington. Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Shilad Sen, tenor; Graydon Peterson, bass; Reid Kennedy, drums. Snap your fingers and dig em’.

Lulu’s Playground on Live @ Studio Five, KFAI (90.3 & 106.7FM) 10pm – Midnight. Listen to the “chamber jazz” of Lulu’s Playground: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Cory Grossman, cello; Steve Hobart, accordion; and Evan Montgomery, guitar. Sit back in your own easy chair, have a late night beverage of choice and listen to the engaging music from this seemingly odd combination of instruments.

Thursday, May 23

Photo: Andrea Canter

Vicky: Photo by Andrea Canter

Vicky Mountain @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Vicki has sung in all kind of bands, from pop 40 to big bands, and is mighty fine at scatting. She’s so fine at her craft that she teaches jazz and pop vocals at MacPhail. Tonight, Vicki is being backed by the Chris Lomheim Trio. Expect music that ranges from sublime to exciting.

Enormous Quartet @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No cover) Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Joey Van Phillips, drums. Another project featuring bassist about town Bates. His colleagues in this musical outing are equally talented and adventurous. You can get some idea of what they sound like here.

Friday, May 24

Todd Harper’s Birthday Bash @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5-ish to 7-ish. (tip jar) Pianist Harper has been a regular feature on Friday nights, to the delight of regulars. He is often joined by friends on bass and/or drums, as he is tonight, when he’s joined by Andrew Foreman on bass and Peter Leggett on drums to help him celebrate. Wish him a happy.

The Rite of Spring: Charlie Christenson Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) I missed vocalist/pianist Christenson when he played at the Minnesota Music Cafe during last year’s Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He is one of a handful of vocal graduate students from Manhattan School of Music and has performed in many clubs in NYC, including Birdland and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Nowadays he heads up the vocal department at McNally Smith and occasionally performs. Past trios have included Adam Meckler on trumpet, though I don’t know who will be in this group. Deadbeat opens.

Friday, Saturday, May 24, 25

Bryan Nichols Quintet @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) JT Bates, drums; Mike Lewis & Brandon Wozniak, saxes; James Buckley, bass. Pianist/composer Nichols played with Chicago heavyweights like Hamid Drake and Ernest Dawkins, and received a McKnight Fellowship in 2010. For this weekend, he’s gathered a cohort of talented players to perform his original music and arrangements. Here’s a video released when Bryan released his debut CD a couple of years ago. It features some music as well as comments from Bryan and his band-mates.

Saturday, May 25

Unknown-1Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($12) Once again, Patty brings her top notch band to the Dakota, this time adding Steve Cole, tenor (Dave Koz, Sax Pack); and Ricky Peterson, B3 (David Sanborn, Stevie Nicks, John Mayer). R&B flavored jazz just right for Saturday Night.

Tuesday, May 28

Tuesday Night Band (Slight Return) @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. ($5) Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B3; and Kenny Horst, drums. They provide the party. You just have to show up.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, May 22

Paul Metsa & Willie Walker on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. Singer, guitarist, songwriter, author, ranconteur. Paul Metsa is all of these, not to mention a perpetual seeker of musical experiences. During the last couple of years he’s been teaming up with soul man Willie Walker to provide intimate soul and blues. Here them on the House Party (90.3 & 106.7FM, which I’ll be hosting, BTW) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head to the 331 Club where they’ll be playing from 7pm – 9pm. Here they are.


Hot Club of Cowtown @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Hopped-up Bob Wills and cooking hot jazz from a trio of performers who’ve appeared on Praire Home Companion, at the Grand Ol’ Oprey, and opening for Bob Dylan. Music that will have you bouncing in your seats.

Thursday, May 23

Rory Block @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Blues guitarist Block has been making forays to the Twin Cities every few years since the old days at Wilebski’s in the 80s. She is stunning on slide guitar, and gets under the skin of classic country blues and her own originals. As an added treat, Spider John Koerner opens.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5-$10) Get out those dancin’ shoes, cuz the two step and Cajun Swing will be the order of the evening at the Eagles Club.

Martin Devaney @ the 318 Club, Excelsior. 8pm ($6) The “mayor of st. paul” is an accomplished singer-songwriter who is working on his sixth album. Tonight he brings his singular voice to the west suburban cafe with an excellent choice of beers and wines.

Friday, May 24

Walter, Russell, and Joe

Walter, Russell, and Joe

Joe Krown Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) B3 Music from New Orleans. Guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington was featured on the cover of OffBeat Magazine for New Orlean’s Jazz Fest. He used to back Johnny Adams, but has been laying down soulful licks and vocals for many, many years. Russell Batiste Jr brings that distinctive New Orleans drumming to the mix, while “leader” Joe Krown served as the piano player for Clarence Gatemouth Brown for many years. They’ve got a weekly gig at the Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans, and have been called “A killer collaboration” by Jan Ramsey, editor of the aforementioned OffBeat.

Saturday, May 25

Big Sandy & His Fly-rite Boys @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) This crack California band plays American Roots Music, including Western Swing, rockabilly, and traditional country music. All of it only a back beat or two removed from rock n’ roll. Elmer & the Thunderjets open. Miss Shannon’s Dance Class at 8:45pm, so get there early and bring dancing shoes if you really want to get in the swing of things. Check out this video.

Sunday, May 26

Curtiss A: A Tribute to Hank Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The “Dean of Scream” got a five star review in rolling Stone for his debut album in the early 80s. He’s since cemented his place in the Twin Cities pantheon of rock n’ rollers with an annual John Lennon tribute and various bands. Tonight he’s tackling the music of country legend Hank Williams, who will either spin in his grave, or more likely, be applauding and laughing from the great beyond.

Monday, Tuesday, May 27, 28

Larry Graham & Graham Central Station @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, 55, 45), 9pm ($60, $50, $35) Cap off Memorial Day weekend with the defining funk of bassist Larry Graham. He added “the bottom, so that dancers just won’t hide” to Sly & the Family Stone’s Dance to the Music, then several years later had a mega-hit on his own with One in a Million You. He has also served as a mentor and friend to Prince, and was in Prince’s band from 1997 – 2000. Prince will probably be in the audience, though no one knows if he’ll join Graham on stage, as he did in this video;

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.

Dancegiving. Music for 11.21- 11.27

November 21, 2012

How did Thanksgiving get here so quickly?  Well, there’s much going on, though Thursday is a little light, as might be expected. There’s plenty of opportunities to dance off the calories over the weekend, so whether you’re having Turkey, Duck, Turducken, or Veggies, have a good Thanksgiving.


Wednesday, Nov 21

Body Omara @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30pm. (Free) This trio – Joseph Damman guitar; Tom Reichert, bass; and Davu Seru on percussion – create original music that evokes the desert blues of Mali, and includes some elements of American folk and jazz music. The south Minneapolis neighborhood bistro provides the flavors and cocktails that will help you get your weekend started.

Friday, Saturday, November 23, 24

Zacc Harris Group @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 9pm (no cover)  The ever-busy guitarist Zacc Harris brings his group to the Loring Park neighborhood bar. With Bryan Nichols on piano; and Chris and JT Bates on bass and drums. While some of his other groups are more collaborative in nature, this group performs Harris’ tunes, along with a tasty standard or two. Here’s a taste of what they sound (and look) like.

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Drummer Dave King is in enough groups to have his own festival, which actually occurred at the Walker a year or so ago. This group was created especially for that event, and it’s proven to be more than a one-off effort. With Brandon Wozniak, sax; Adam Linz, bass; and Erik Fratzke, guitar. They recently released a CD which got positive reviews in the New York Times.

Saturday, November 24

Tony London @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) London is a talented singer who reminds me of some of the classic baritones of the 50s. He can swing like Sinatra, and handle a ballad like Vic Damone. I expect that the excellent dance floor at the Eagles Club will be filled.

Monday, November 26

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) JT’s Jazz Implosion brings Graydon and his group to the fore. Peterson is known as a stellar bassist, and provides a firm foundation for a number of groups around town. Tonight he’s leading his own group, playing his own songs. Other members of the group are Adam Meckler, trumpet; Vinnie Rose, guitar; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Monday, Tuesday, November 26, 27

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($25) The pianist/vocalist has a bakers dozen of well-received albums to her credit. Her warm voice and subtle ways with a melody have won her fans around the world and a couple of grammy nominations, to boot. She lived in the Twin Cities for a while in the nineties, and it’s always a pleasure to have her back.

Tuesday, November 27

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapoils 8:30pm (Donation) Exciting music for a large band – 17 members, including some of the area’s finest players. Meckler is proving to be as talented at composition and arranging as he is on the trumpet.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Nov 21

Nikki & Rue-Mates @ KFAI & 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – tip jar) Clarion-voiced Nikki, along with her talented band-mates play their annual pre-Thanksgiving gig. Listen at 5pm and head over to the 331 Club.

Thursday, Nov 22

Davina & Vagabonds @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Even if you’re sitting down, you will likely work off some calories listening to Davina and the guys. Her mixture of classic New Orleans Jazz, Blues, and roots will have you hoopin’ hollerin’ and jumpin’ in your seats. A few folks might even find room to dance.

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30 – Midnight (Tip jar) Guitarists Dean Mikkelson leads this aggregation, featuring fellow guitarist Dean Harrington, bassist Matt Senjum, and Del Gallagher on drums. Tasty music for the end of a taste-filled day. Bring an ID if you want to drink alcohol.

Friday, November 23

Hipshaker @ the Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Now you can really dance some calories off as Tarik Thornton and Mark Trehus guest, spinning funk and soul 45s along with DJ Brian.

An Evening with Ben Kyle & Romantica @ The Ritz Theater, NE Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12) Kyle is the leader of the alt-countryish Romantica. He and the band earned high praise for the 2007 album, America, which showcased Kyle’s writing. Now Kyle has written some songs about his own demons, and the challenges of having a family and a music career. The album was just released, and to celebrate, Kyle is bringing members of the band (who all appeared on some portion of the album) and a few friends to the Ritz.

Saturday, November 24

Paul at a Reading

Paul Metsa CD Release @ Electric Fetus and Palmers, Minneapolis. 2pm – 3pm (Fetus) 9pm (Palmers – $3) This Iron Ranger/Twin Citizen is a bar-band veteran who has been there and done that, from sharing the stage with Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen, to campaigning with Paul Wellstone, and wrote about it in his memoir, Blue Guitar Highway. Now he’s releasing a 30 track retrospective entitled Blues, Ballads, and Broadsides. He’ll be reading and playing at the Fetus, and then will be joined by some of his musical friends at Palmers.

Greg Carr & the Mixmaster @ The Third Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. (no cover) Greg has this amazing vintage deejay setup, wherein the Mixmaster has two turntables and three tone-arms. He’ll be spinning 78s, including a bunch of vintage Brazilian music, while you and your friends can partake of ten different tap beers, cocktails, and wine, along with some chocolate.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Another night of dancing to rare funk and soul 45s.

City on the Make @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Here’s a group that doesn’t fit into an easy category. Vocalist Mike Massey is more a growler than a singer, and he declaims their songs with a measured ferociousness. The music ranges from blues to rock to hip-hop, and the way the band feeds off each other gives an improvisatory feel to some of their numbers.

Sunday, November 25

Malamanya @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Actually, the doors open at 9pm. Music will likely begin around 10pm. Latin dance music that will move even those with two left feet.

Monday, November 26

Jenny Dalton @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. (Free) There are three artists on the bill, but Dalton is the only one I know, and I’m not sure when she sings. Nevertheless, her ethereal vocals are worth waiting for. She’s recently released an EP called Blood Folk, that’s inspired by living a simpler life in a small town.

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.

Music Ideas for December 14 – 20

December 13, 2011

We have a weekend of adventurous jazz in the Lowertown portion of downtown Saint Paul, a bevy of vocalists appearing in the area, and some fine blues and roots music for your listening (and maybe dancing) pleasure. Not to forget a couple of holiday specials. The weather has been mild, so that’s not an excuse to stay home, though I understand that holiday activities can be tiring. Choose from this weeks artists to either relax or recharge. Fact is. it’s all good.


Wednesday, Dec 14

Jose James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm ($20) Now based in London, James returns home for the holidays and a chance to show why the jazz world has embraced his inventive vocals. He’s got a smooth baritone that can caress a ballad, yet he’s adventurous enough for some serious scatting, and fearless in taking on a John Coltrane tune.

Friday, Dec 16

Todd Clouser’s Love Electric @ Studio Z, 275 East 4th St. Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Former Minneapolitan Clouser and his band have been steadily touring the US, Spain, and Mexico, with occasional stops back here in the Twin Cities. His guitar playing draws on Hendrix and Curtis Mayfield, among others, and brings an electric intensity to classic jazz (i.e., Gillespie’s Manteca) as well as originals. Tonight’s performance includes live painting to the group’s music by Tim Nyberg. Clouser, guitar; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Chris Bates, bass; Jaxon Craft, B3, and Greg Schutte, drums.

Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Bellows on valve trombone, and Washington on sax, together with Brian Roessler, bass, and Pete Hennig, drums. This quartet is fearless in playing and faultless in technique. What with Clouser (above) and Nichols (below) appearing at Studio Z this weekend, Lowertown may well be the hippest couple of square blocks in the nation this weekend.

Friday, Saturday, Dec 16, 17

Debbie Duncan @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm The Twin Cities First Lady of Song is equally at home with a ballad, scat singing, or a slightly bawdy blues. She’s released five CDs, and has thrilled audiences from here to Italy, Russia, and back. On the slight chance you’ve not heard her, here’s a videio.

Saturday, Dec 17

Bryan Nichols’ We Are Many @ Studio Z, 275 Ease 4th St, Saint Paul. 7pm. ($10) Pianist Nichols leads a nine piece group, including Mike Lewis, Brandon Wozniak, Erik Fratzke, Jeremy Ylvisaker, JT Bates, and more. Wow. This is part of the Jazz at Studio Z series.

Sunday, December 18

Lee Engele Christmas CD Release @ The Aster Cafe at Saint Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 6pm ($tbd) The CD is called “A Hot Christmas.” As might be expected, it’s a swingin’ little affair, with help from Reynold Philipsek and Gary Shultte, among others.

A Peterson Family Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4pm & 7pm. ($23) Seven of the fabled music clan join matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson to present Christmas favorites and more.

Tuesday, December 20

Rhonda Laurie and Maryann Sullivan @ The Nicollet Cafe, Franklin & Nicollet, Minneapols. 7pm (tip jar) The two singers that are curating Tuesday Night Jazz at the Nicollet join forces. Given their lovely voices, and ability to tease the rhythm from a song, this should be a delightful evening.

Blues, Roots, Other….

Wednesday, Dec 14

Dean Harrington Hot Club and Jake Manders and Alyssa Bicking @ the 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 7pm (Harrington) 9:30 pm (Manders/Bicking). Guitarist Harrington has a new CD out, with a Hot Club Quintet performing acoustic swing. He’s got taste, technique, and verve, all of which are needed for the Django Rheinhardt-inspired music. He’ll be on the House Party (KFAI – 90.3 or 106.7FM) during the 5pm hour and start at the 331 at 7pm. Then, stick around for the folk/roots sound of Jake Manders and Alyssa Bicking. Jake is known for his work with the Pistol Whippin’ Party Penguins, and he’s found a complementary voice in Alyssa.

The Soulman & the Storytellerl

Paul Metsa & Willie Walker @ Nye’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm. Paul & Willie work well together, with Paul’s guitar providing sympathetic backing to the slightly raspy, urbane voice of soulman Willie Walker. They’re in the old bar tonight.

The Lucy & Charlie Show @ Barbette, Uptown Minneapolis. 10pm. Jazz and old country standards from Lucy Michelle, of the Velvet Lapelles, along with her friend Charlie and others. Lucy has an alto voice that’s perfectly suited to songs of loss and regret, many of which can be found in the genres she’s exploring tonight.

Thursday, Dec 15

Benefit for Lynwood Slim @ Whiskey Junction, West Bank, Minneapolis. 7pm – Close ($10). Blues harpist and former Twin Citizen Lynwood Slim needs help with medical expenses, and as per usual, the music community is closing ranks to help out. Pat Hayes, Cool Breeze, Big Walter Smith, Big Bob Scoggin, JImi “Prime Time” Smith and more will be on hand to play as a means of raising funds.

Friday, Dec 16

Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 8pm. ($10) For all the prominence of the saxophone as a symbol of the blues, there are very few of its players who have risen above anonymity as sidemen. Shaw is one of them. The Chicagoan played in Howlin’ Wolf’s last band, doing arranging and generally keeping things under control, and took over the band upon the Wolf’s passing. He’s become a star in his own right, with a sound on the saxophone that’s as raspy as his own voice. With the recent transition of Hubert Sumlin, Shaw remains among the few who go back to the fifties and sixties. If you want to hear what he sounds like, click here.

Singer/Songwriter Series @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Drew Peterson is serving as host tonight, with a sterling bunch of bluesy/rootsy folks as his guests, including legendary pianoman Cornbread Harris, Kim & Quillan Roe (of the Roe Family singers), Nick “The Feelin'” Mrozinski, and high-energy one-man band, Crankshaft.

Saturday, Dec 17

Papa John & the Cool Club @ Merlin’s Rest, East Lake St, Minneapolis. 8pm. (tip jar). Part of the charm of this fairly regular gig for Papa John is the semi-revolving cast of musicians that are part of the Cool Club. Sam Fiske on trumpet, and the guitar Deans – Mikkelson and Harrington, on guitars, of course. But then the bass player might be Tom Lewis, or Liz Draper, or someone of equal skill, and there may or may not be a drummer. Other musicians will sit in, or sing a song or two. Carrying it all is Papa John himself, a product of the West Bank 60s. John is equally at home with the blues as he is with the acoustic swing of the Cool Club. Then there’s his sly, politically oriented humor. And did I mention Merlins has a good beer selection and  no TVs?  It all makes for a fun evening. Listen to Papa John play some blues here.

Jennifer Markey & the Tennesee Snowpants @ The Driftwood Char Bar, 44th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip jar) If you have ever wondered what country music would be like today if it hadn’t been “cosmopolitaned” wonder no more. Check out Jennifer Markey, who creates perfect country/Americana tunes. She’s got a band, including tasteful guitar slinger  Clay Williams, that perfectly complements her style. Check out her MySpace to hear some of her music.

%d bloggers like this: