Saint Patrick’s Day is this weekend, and there are plenty of places to celebrate with Irish music, especially in Saint Paul. There are also opportunities to celebrate with blues and jazz, if that’s what gives you energy. After all, music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, March 21
Jimmyapolis Trio @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9:30pm (Free) James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace is a veteran sax player who has been around since the 60s, playing in R&B and jazz bands. He’ll be joined by a pianist for this show, which is part of the Hook’s Piano Lounge series.
Jose James: Lean On Me @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40, $50) Soulful, elegant vocalist and Minneapolis native James is a rising star in the jazz firmament. He’s flexible enough to have performed with Chico Hamilton and the electronica artist Flying Lotus, and has released four well-received albums, including a tribute to Billie Holiday. For this show, he celebrates the music of Bill Withers (with Withers blessing) accompanied by his band: Brad Allen Williams, guitar; James Francis, keys; Rueben Rogers, bass, and Nate Smith, drums, all of whom have stellar resumes.
CCC Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Originals and standards from Chris Bates, bass; Chris Graham, guitar; and Corey Healy, drums.
Thursday, March 15
The Music & Activism of Julius Eastman @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) This is part of the Lowertown Listening Sessions, which tonight features percussionist/ composer, and historian, Davu Seru, leading a discussion of Eastman, an African American minimalist composer. After his death in 1990, Eastman’s compositions were ignored until recently. The program will include a performance of Eastman’s work Evil Nigger arranged for four mallet instruments and performed by Patti Cudd, Heather Barringer, Eri Isomura, and Bjorn Grina.
Blood Quantum @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Erik Fratzke of Zebulon Pike & Happy Apple, bass; and Tim Glenn, of Pentacene & Squid Fist, on drums. Their music is described as “fractal doom for strings and percussion.” Interpret that how you will.
Friday, March 16
Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Guitarist Renz graduated from Berklee summa cum laude, and has composed hundreds of songs, including jazz tunes, string quartets, TV commercials, a flute and cello suite, and more. Tonight, this resident musician is bring a quartet to the basement bar: Rose Rinder, flute; Jonathan Thomas, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums.
Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Percussionist Kogan’s band is adept in many of the sub-genres of jazz. It’s members are: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Nelson Devereaux, saxes; Dave Graf, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kogan on drums.
Saturday, March 17
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist Pat Moriarty is the band director at Roseville High School, and consistently draws out the best in his students. Tonight, the Roseville HS Jazz 1 Band is the opening act at 7pm – part of the monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase. At 8:30pm, it’s the Pat Moriarty / Ellen Lease Quartet, with Moriarty, saxes, Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Davu Seru on drums. Their music is composed on the spot, and just may break any pre-conceptions you may have about “free jazz.” Here’s Moriart and Lease with a different rhythm section. Here are Lease & Moriarty with a quintet.
Arne Fogel: September of My Years @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15) Vocalist and Crosby/Sinatra musicologist Fogel revisits Sinatra’s iconic album that celebrates aging. After all, Fogel has been in the music/broadcast business for 50 years or so, a good time to explore the reflective lyrics of the album. Fogel will be accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano & music director, Gary Schulte on violin, and Gordon Johnson on bass. His first performance of this show last fall sold out, so be forewarned. Here he is with another song identified with Sinatra, fronting the Acme Jazz Company.
Sunday, March 18
Jane Monheit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($25, $35) It’s been twenty years since Monheit’s gorgeous voice and vocal range brought her to a second place finish at the Thelonious Monk Competition, and consequently to the attention of the jazz world. Since then Monheit has released nine albums and has guested on a number of others. She’s now taken her gift and in 2016 released an album of songs associated with a main inspiration: The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, March 14
Fabulous Minnesota Barking Ducks Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The FNB Ducks have been delivering driving blues to audiences around the state for nigh unto 30 years. Tonight they’re a trio, led by original Duck and tasty guitarist Mic McCormick, with Ed Dunn on bass, and Kit Kildahl on guitar and occasional harp.
Omar Sosa & Sectou Keita Transparent Water Trio @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($28 Advance/$30 Door) Pianist/Composer Omart Sosa has been nominated for a Grammy 7 times. He’s partnered with U.K.-based Senegalese kora master and singer Seckou Keita, and folkloric Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalleson on a new CD, Transparent Water Trio. This is the latest example of Sosa’s use of new combinations of instruments and cultures.
SPCO’s Liquid Music @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm ($20) Nathalie Joachim is a multi-genre performance artist, flutist, and composer who will be exploring Haitian song and the role of women’s voices in Haitian culture. The Wall Street Journal calls her performance “A unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, electronic programming, and soulful vocals reminiscent of neo-R&B stars like Erykah Badu.”
Thursday, March 15
DL Cajun Dance Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Get out those dancing shoes and two-step, twirl, and waltz your way around the commodious dance floor at the Eagles Club.
Friday, March 16
Irish Diplomacy @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Get a head start on Saint Patrick’s Day with this 9-piece Celtic band that dips into jazz.
Jonathan Richman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) Jonathon Richman has been charming audiences with his warm, conversational lyrics since the early 70s, when his band, The Modern Lovers, thrilled audiences looking for something more than corporate rock. He’s been working with drummer Tommy Larkins (Naked Prey) for many years now, bringing his insightful, and often humorous lyrics to fans.
Hot Pants 45 rpm Dance Party @ The Uptown VFW, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) The Lyn-Lake area is hoppin’ on Friday nights, thanks in part to this monthly event featuring rare soul & funk 45s that are highly danceable, whether you’re doing the bump, freestyling, or swing dancing.
Also: The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)
Saturday, March 17
Tinsley Ellis Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) After four decades in the blues, incendiary guitarist Ellis is releasing his 20th album, Red Clay Soul, celebrating the music of Georgia and its environs. While Ellis is often identified as a blues-rock guitarist, his ballads reveal his gutartistry is well founded in traditional blues.
Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Soul Survivor Willie Walker’s star is finally on the rise after being one of the best kept secrets in the Two Cities for decades. In 2016 he won two Blues Music Awards for his album, If Nothing Ever Changes, and this year he’s nominated in five categories for his album After A While. He’s had rave reviews for the album, been featured in Downbeat and on the cover of Blues Blast, and performed at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, as well as Europe and South America. Lucky for us, we can get to see him in the intimate basement speakeasy of the Hamm building.
Boiled in Lead and Sister Tree @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) This is the 35th Anniversary Concert for this high-energy Celtic/rock band, that plays dark, traditional folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes that may just cause the Cedar to levitate.
Also: Dee Miller Band featuring Craig Clark @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Belting out the blues, whether or not it’s a holiday.
Sunday, March 18
Dan Rein: Celebrate Spring & CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Long time host of KFAI’s Century Song, Dan Rein presents world music that truly lives up to the stations motto of Radio Without Boundaries. He’s released a CD, Just One Breath, singing the poetry of Omar Khyyam in Persian and English, playing Setar and Dutar, and will be celebrating the Persian New Year and the advent of Spring. Appetizers from Gandi Mahal, where Rein regularly performs, will be available.
Tuesday, March 20
Trench Size Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) This trio, consisting of Al Bergstrom, Bass; Joey Van Phillips, drums; and Tom Reichert, guitar; are enamored with the funk and second line sounds of New Orleans, particularly those of the Meters, so if you’re in a mood to get up and get funky on the dance floor, this is the place to be.
Tuesday, Wednesday, March 20, 21
Graham Nash @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75, $100, $115) Well, for the price of nosebleed seats at some arena shows you can see Graham Nash up close and personal in a 250-seat club, telling stories and singing songs from his long career, as a member of the Hollies, with Crosby, Stills, & Nash and it’s permutations, and as a solo performer.