Old Friends, New Favorites: 5.24 – 5.30

May 24, 2017

This week brings lots of old friends out to play and some new favorites as well. Note: I wrote this up before leaving on vacation, so you may want to check calendars and venues before heading out. Just go out and listen to some music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Wednesday, May 24

Jeremy Walker Songet, featuring Jason Harms @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) The Songtet is dedicated to performing great songs, whether written by Ellington, Dylan, The Gershwins, Cole Porter, or pianist-composer-arranger Jeremy Walker himself. Tonight, Walker celebrates great songs by adding vocalist Jason Harms to his  trio with Tim Zhorne, drums; and Chris Bates, bass.

Thursday, May 25

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Pete Hennig Quartet: Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Cody McKinney, bass; Pete Hennig  drums.

Davu Seru & Douglas Ewart @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Dynamic percussionist Davu Seru and multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart (saxes, clarinets, bassoon, digerderoo, and more!), join forces for an evening of highly creative, often spontaneous music.

Friday, May 26

Greg Lewis/Will Schmid Ensemble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Last year this group was formed as the Greg Lewis/Will Schmid Quartet. This year they’ve expanded to become a multi-generaltional band performing two sets of original compositions. TC Jazz Veterans Greg Lewis, trumpet/woodwinds; and Rose Brzenzinski Lewis, trombone/woodwinds; will be joined by the college-aged musicians returning for the summer: Will Schmid, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Edmund Catlin, drums.

Saturday, May 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm – The Selby Avenue Brass Band: Larry Sims, trumpet; Chris Fulton, trombone; Marilyn Parker, sax; Tonm Wells, Tuba; and Trenon Graham, drums. At 8:30pm: Park Evans Quintet, w.Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, tenor; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; and Greg Schutte, drums. Bass TBD

Jana Nyberg 5 @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) As is befitting of a vocalist of her talent, Ms Nyberg has gathered some A-List musicians to back her as she sings jazz, pop, and jazz pop at this gig: Sean Turner, piano; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Washington, drums; and Graydon Peterson, bass.

BDP @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7)  In which a group of forward thinking young musicians apply their many talents to create a fusion of soul and jazz music. Members of the group include: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals; Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Ted Godbout, Piano; Ted Olsen, Bass; and Andres Crovetti on Drums).

Sunday, May 28

Sam Miltich & Dave Karr Play Lester Young @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Sam Militich’s instinctive and fluid guitar playing has graced hundreds of stages, from his hometown in Northern Minnesota to New York’s Lincoln Center. He fronts the Clearwater Hot Club, but tonight is backing octogenarian saxophonist Dave Karr, a bebopper from way back, though he’s also an accomplished sideman for Connie Evingson, the Pete Whitman X-tet, MNJazz Orchestra, among others. Tonight they will be concentrating on the music of the great saxophonist Lester Young.

Regina Marie Williams Sings Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 – $22) Vocalist Williams is a terrific actor who has been seen around town in productions at The Guthrie, Mixed Blood, Penumbra, and Park Square theaters, among others. She’s done Dinah Washington and Nina Simone in some of her roles, and tonight will sing the music of Nina Simone, a singer who wasn’t afraid to face the truth and tell it. In case you need any more, consider that actor Angela Basset called Williams “the best singer you never heard” in an interview with Entertainment Weekly

Tuesday, May 30

Erin Schwab @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($?) Schwab is a talented singer who is a member of both the Ensemble and Voice Departments at MacNally Smight. She is equally at home in cabaret, musical theater, and jazz settings. Tonight she’s celebrating the music of both Judy Garland and Bette Midler.

Washington/Studer/Hirsch @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist and educator Donald Washington is joined by Dick Studer, bass; and Steve Hirsh, drums, for an evening of improvised and spontaneous music.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 24

Katy Bellville & Those S.O.Bs on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Bellville grew up with old timey and bluegrass music always playing in the background. Her own music reflects that, though she puts a modern sensibility into her songs, and occasionally will cover someone like Gillian Welch. Tune in and listen.

Shemekia Copeland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Two time Grammy nominee Shemekia Copeland has opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined the Chicago Blues Festival (and others around the world), and performed at the White House for the Obamas. The daughter of bluesman Johnny Copeland, she’s carrying on the tradition of blues singers like Ruth Brown, Etta James, and Koko Taylor. Taylor’s daughter even gave her Taylor’s crown, and both the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois have proclaimed Copeland “Queen of the Blues.”

Paul Bergen’s Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Led by Paul Bergen, this group features members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Molly Maher and Eric Koskinen’s band, Curtiss A’s band, Certain General and many other regional roots artists. You can expect to hear swamp blues, country classics, and other truck driving music. It’s a Wednesday residency through June for this group, which will set up in the cozy Hood and Ladder Lounge. Special guests will also be featured each week.

Thursday, May 25

Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) The Butanes have been voted as the Twin Cities Best Blues Band numerous times. This weekly gig often feature guests like Jellybean Johnson or Maurice Jacox, who drop by and sit in. But the real attraction is the Butanes.

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) If it’s Thursday night, you’re bound to see some folks dancing to Cajun and Zydeco at the Eagles Club. Tonight they also get a bit of New Orleans R&B to test out their dancing shoes. members of this quintet are: Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Dick Danaher, sax & rub board; Dehl Gallagher, drums; Rusty Jones, bass; and Tim Mauseth, guitars.

Friday,May 26

Pure Prairie League @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($35, $40) These country-rock favorites were formed in 1969, named after a women’s temperance league in a 1939 movie. Pure Prairie League built up a following in their native Ohio before landing a contract with RCA a year later. During the 70s and 80s they had a number of top 40 hits before breaking up in the mid-80s only to reunite in 1998. Though none of the founding members remain, they still keep up the PPL sound.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for guaranteed seat in front) R&B/Jazz vocalist has become somewhat of a regular at Crooners, thanks to his smooth baritone and unerring taste in songs, whether acoustic versions of Motown hits, the under-appreciated songs of Doc Pomus, or Nat King Cole’s ballads.

Power of 10 @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) As might be inferred from it’s name, this is a ten-piece band  heavy on horns, which makes it the perfect group to play classic and contemporary soul, whether it’s the music of Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, or Bruno Mars. They are versatile enough to be a favorite for weddings and corporate events.

Pat Donohue & Richard Kriehn @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($20) Together, ace guitarist Pat Donohue and mandolinist Richard Kriehn have over 20 years experience working on A Prairie Home Companion, though they have played many other gigs in many other bands as well. Tonight you have a chance to see the two of them in the very intimate 318 Cafe, which only seats about 40. You may be wise to get a reservation.

Saturday, May 27

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) Today’s intimate concert is entitled: MIGHTY UNDERDOGS! Mozart & Ewazen for clarinet, viola & piano. Here’s a chance to hear the under-appreciated flute and viola together, playing Mozart, and Eric Ewazen. Performers are: Karen Hansen, clarinet; Sue Ruby, piano; and Steve Staruch, viola.

New Sound Underground @ Surly Brewing, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6:30 (No Cover) This is a young, seriously funky horn band that uses funk, R&B, soul, and jazz to deliver original foot-stomping, hip-shaking music. Plus, it’s at the seriously beer-laden (and food laden) Surly Brewing in SE Minneapolis. What a way to wile away an afternoon.

Steamboat Bill, Jr, with Dreamland Faces @ The Minneapolis Pioneers and Soldiers Memorial Cemetery, Lake & Cedar, Minneapolis. 7pm Gates, Movie at dusk  – about 8:30pm ($10) Buster Keaton’s classic silent film comedy will be accompanied live by music from the Dreamland Faces  who feature accordion and musical saw, and regularly accompany silent films, including many by Keaton. Bring your own blankets or chairs. Refreshments will be on sale during the movie.

Nachito Herrera @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Dazzling piano work from Cuban-born Herrera  who’s been living in the Twin Cities since the turn of the century. He was music director at the famed Tropicana in Havana, toured with the Afrro-Cuban All-Stars, and has played with the Havana Symphony Orcestra, as well as Cubanissmo. One never knows what he’ll play – a classical piece, something from Earth, Wind, & Fire, or a rhythmic explosion of Cuban sounds.

Sunday, May 28

National Tap Dance Day @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 2-4pm (Free) If you’ve ever been astonished by some of the YouTube Videos of tap dancers, here’s the chance to see the real thing. Keane Sense of Rhythm is a tap dance school that specializes in training young dancers. See the results while enjoying the lakeside venue, and perhaps having food or drink from Como Dockside.

West Bank Reunion Show @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Many folks of a certain age will be making their way to Payne Avenue just of East 7th in Saint Paul for this show, which recalls the glory days of West Bank R&B during the 70s and early 80s. Willie Murphy will be there with his band, as will Curt Obeda and the Butanes, and in a nod toward younger West Bankers, Jack Knife & the Sharps. With a big dance floor, solid sound system, and fair priced drinks, the place will be jumpin.

Monday, May 29

Jack Brass Band @ Como Zoo, Saint Paul. 10:30am, 11:45am, & 12:40pm (No Cover) With the coming of Memorial Day, the Jack Brass Band will start up their weekly gig providing second line parades around the Como Zoo. Feed Sparky the Seal, check out the big cats, and ride the carousel. Just don’t jump the fence to get a better look, as a couple of doofusses did a few weeks ago at the giraffe exhibit.


Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $50, $60), 9pm ($35, $40, $50) Here’s your chance to see a 60s legend in a club setting. Felix Cavaliere was a co-founder and leader of the Rascals, often thought of as the best blue-eyed soul group of the 60s, when they had a string of hits like Good Lovin, I’ve Been Lonely Too Long, the #1s Groovin, and People Got to be Free. In the early 70s they moved toward a more jazz-influenced sound before disbanding in 1972. Cavaliere then came out with a number of excellent solo albums, including 2008 and 2010 collaborations with Stax guitar legend Steve Cropper.

Como Town Hotshots @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) Cajun Dancing to start off your week, with Shawn Glidden, Accordion; Gary Powell and Marie Stier on Fiddles; Maurine McCort, Guitar; Tom Lewis, Bass; and Dehl Gallagher on 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.

Music for a Winter Wonderland 12.12 – 12.18

December 12, 2012
The Brass Messengers will lead Santacon participants throughout Lowertown

The Brass Messengers will lead Santacon participants throughout Lowertown

Well, we finally have some weather to match our reputation. Don’t let that stop you from going out, however. There is too much good music out there to stay home. Simply make sure you have more time for travel. After all, we’re all getting used to driving in snow and ice again. Have a good week.


imagesWednesday, Thursday, December 12, 13

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) Though Pizzarelli is sometimes touted for his vocals on the Great American Songbook, it’s his guitar playing that stands out. He’s also a charming conversationalist, as anyone who has listened to his NPR show will attest.

Thursday, December 13

Ahmed & the Creators @ The 3rd Floor, 579 Selby, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($?) It’s true, you have to climb stairs to get to this inviting venue, but when you do, you’ll be treated to the hard bop/mainstream sounds of this classic sextet.

Friday, December 14

Fratzke, Hanson, Roessler, Hennig & Legget @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) It’s a “Not so Silent Night” at the Black Dog, as Eric Fratzke, guitar; Brian Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig and Pete Legget, drums, create improvisational music.

Friday, Saturday, December 14, 15

Laura Caviani Holiday Show @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Caviani will be performing music from her cool album of holiday songs, Music We Have Heard On High, with Lucia Newell on vocals, Jay Young on bass, Dave Schmalenberger on drums, and Saturday only, Pete Whitman on sax. Though it’s not holiday music, here’s a video of Laura.

Saturday, December 15

University of Manitoba Jazz Studies Faculty Master Class @ Walker West Academy, Saint Paul.11am (Free with Pre-Registration)  Here’s a chance for aspiring young musicians to take a free master class with six internationally known musicians who teach at the University of Manitoba. This event, and their performance later in the day (see below) are part of an effort to recruit young musicians to their program in Winnipeg. If you know someone who might benefit from the class, register them at 651-224-2929.

Jazz Studies Faculty @ Progressive Baptist Church, 1505 Burns Ave, Saint Paul. 7:00pm (Free)  Steve Kirby, bass; Anna-Lisa Kirby, voice; Quincy Davis, drums; Will Bonness, paino; Laurent Roy, guitar; Derrick Gardner, trumpet; and Craig Bailey, sax, will be performing. These are nationally recognized musicians who have played with Basie; Ellington; Cyrus Chestnut, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, and Wynton Marsalis, among others.

imagesJef Lee Johnson, Yohannes Tona, & Michael Bland @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($12) Johnson  plays jazz, funk, and blues-rock, with an individual style that has Hendrix influences. He’s worked with, and earned praises from, folks like Chaka Khan (who called him a “gift from God”), as well as Esperanza Spalding, George Duke, Christian McBride, and McCoy Tyner. His cohorts tonight are Ethiopian-born Twin Cities bassist Yohannes Tona (Nachito Herrera and Stokely Williams), and drummer Michael Bland (Prince, Soul Asylum, Mambo’s Combo). Should be an evening of exciting music.

Monday, December 17

Pete Hennig & Jazz Central All-Stars @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Drummer Hennig is versatile enough to play   stripped down blues with Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, 21st Century jazz with the Atlantis Quartet, and provide the drum chair for Adam Meckler’s big band. He also plays the banjo, though I don’t think he’ll playing that percussive instrument tonight. Here’s a video of Pete with Nathan Hanson on sax at the Black Dog.

Charlie Christiansen Trio @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Christiansen is a vocalist and piano player who heads up the vocal department at MacNally Smith. He’ll be joined by trumpeter Adam Meckler for an evening of standards and original Christmas and Holiday music.

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, December 12

imagesTim Sparks and Dean Magraw @ The Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – doors at 6:30 ($25) Sparks is a finger-picking monster, who will be playing selections from his revolutionary “Nutcracker Suite.” It’s the 20th Anniversary of the recording, which has been hailed as a significant contribution to the existing body of guitar literature. He’ll also be doing his rendition of East European dance tunes found in his latest work, Balkan Dreams. Dean Magraw, another terrific player opens. Tim came by my show and played a few tunes this past Saturday, the 8th. Go here to listen. The interview and songs start about 30 minutes into the show.

Thursday, December 13

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($15) Some call Watson alt-country, but he sure sounds like a traditional honky-tonker to me. Traditional as in Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Hank Thompson. This Texas Troubadour simply doesn’t go along with country cliches or current “Gnashville” approaches to the industry. Local faves The Cactus Blossoms open. Here’s a video.

Southside Aces Christmas CD Release Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm ($5) The Aces perform traditional New Orleans jazz, which they’re applying to some Christmas tunes in the form of a CD called “Santaphone.” They’ll be joined by some special guests, as they are on the CD, including Charlie DeVore, Rick Rexroth, Nadine DuBois, Maude Hixon, and the Beaujolais Sisters. Let the dancing begin.

Friday, December 14

4th Annual Holiday Shindig @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) A collection of some of the best songwriters in the Twin Cities, including Martin Devaney, Steve kaul, Alison Rae, and Dan Gaardner. They’ll be doing seasonal originals and holiday favorites, and it will all culminate in a sing-a-long and free raffle. All ticket proceeds go to Open Arms of MN to cook and deliver meals to folks with life-threatening diseases. It’s a small club, so table reservations are recommended.

Lamont Cranston Band w/Bruce McCabe @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm  – 9pm ($?) This is the Cranston’s first album of all new studio material in 15 years for this veteran blues and boogie outfit. If you’ve never heard the Cranstons, especially with pianoman McCabe goosing the energy, you deserve to check them out.

Saturday, December 15

Just follow the tuba.

Follow the tuba.

Lowertown Santacon V @ Lowertown venues, Saint Paul. 5:30pm (Free) This is the fifth year for this rambling convocation of folks dressed as Santa’s, Mrs Santa, elves, and other Christmas beings. It starts at the Black Dog Cafe, where kids are welcome, but after that, it’s strolling to various venues throughout the neighborhood, led by the Brass Messengers, and singing songs and having a few adult beverages. Don’t overdo it, though. No one likes an inebriated elf.

Booker T and the MGs & The Ventures Cover Band @ Cafe Maude at Loring, Minneapolis. 10pm. I’m not sure who is in this band, but it sounds intriguing and fun. The two bands created some of the most memorable instrumentals of the 60s, which should sound just fine in the cozy comfines of the downtown Maude.

Hot Pants Dance Party @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Time for the Holiday edition of dancing to rare soul and funk 45s. Their poster promises a Love Potion Voodoo Dance. Don’t know if that’s Love Potion #9, or another batch.

Monday, Tues, Wednesday, December 17, 18, 19

ToP Funkifying the Zoo last summer

Funkifying the Zoo last summer

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($70, $55), 9pm ($60, $45) The funkiest band from Oakland/San Francisco is still a powerhouse of butt-moving rhythms and horn licks. Though they’ve been going for 44 years, the band had 1400 people movin’ and groovin’ when they played the Zoo last summer. No doubt they will have folks shakin’ it and jumpin’ out of their seats at the Dakota.

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.

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