Jazz, Cambodian Pop, Chamber Blues, and More: 1.6 – 1.12

January 6, 2016
Dengue Fever, appearing at the Ordway

Dengue Fever, appearing at the Ordway

Good music this week, from around the world (see photo) and perhaps, around the block. Get out and hear some. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, January 6

Anthony Cox: Deconstruction/Reconstruction @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Bassist Anthony Cox  ethinks the roles of different instruments and orchestration. He’ll be joined by Steve Kenny, trumpet; Davu Seru, drums; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; to perform new compositions, and engage in dialogue with the audience. Here’s an example of how Cox approaches a song, with a slight change in the lineup.

Thursday, January 7

Jon Pemberton @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) I don’t know if this is a solo gig or if pianist Pemberton will have any accompaniment. In either case, Pemberton’s playing is well worth a listen.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Ms Livingston has been singing a lot with The Parisota Hot Club, proving she can swing the standards, pump up the blues, and caress a Beatles tune. Tonight she performs with Marc Z on piano.

Jack Brass Band CD Release @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) These purveyors of both traditional and contemporary New Orleans Brass Band music have a new CD, For Your Soul, and they’re celebrating with a performance tonight. And what better place to celebrate than the gumbo and po-boy haven in downtown Saint Paul. Here’s a video of the band from Wednesday morning.

Friday, January 8

Ted Olsen & Joe Strachan @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Bassist Olsen and pianist Strachan are relatively young players who serve up some tasty licks and imaginative improvisations.

Denny Malmberg Trio w/Charmin Michelle @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The accordionist used to play behind chanteuse Charmin Michelle at the Fireside Pizza on a weekly basis. That gig ended some months ago, so it’s a delight to have them together again, this time will the help of Tom Lewis on bass. Listen to them with a drummer.

Pete Whitman X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) They’re back! Saxophonist/leader Whitman has been concentrating on the McNally Smith big band that he leads, so it’s fun to have the X-Tet, formed in 2001, they received glowing review for their only CD, playing mostly original compositions from the members: Clay Pufahl, saxes, flute; Gus Sandberg, baritone sax, flute’ Adam Meckler, trumpet & flugelhorn; Jake Baldwin, trumpet & flugelhorn; Jeff Rinnear, trombone; Laura Caviani, piano; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here they are with Whitman’s arrangement of the old chestnut, Good Night Ladies.

Saturday, January 9

Zacc Harris Guitar Recital @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) It’s listed as a recital, so I’m assuming guitarist Harris  will be performing solo, given that he’ll be playing in a trio later in the evening. This is a chance to clearly hear his clean, rhythmic lines.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The Pete Snell Trio opens, with Snell, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; and Tom Lewis, bass. At 8:30 it’s Golden Circle, with outstanding musicians Davu Seru  drums; Dean Granros, guitar; Chris Bates, bass.

JT Bates’ Grain @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8)  Get down and a bit greasy with this B3 Organ trio led by the chameleonic drummer JT Bates, with Kevin Gastonguay, B3; and Zacc Harris, guitar.

Sunday, January 10

The Birthday Club w/Dan Chouinard & Friends @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 6pm – 8pm ($20 Minimum) The folks at Crooners are starting a new residency with keyboardist Dan Chouinard in which he and an invited guest celebrate the music of a particular songwriter. He has a long history of doing informative and edifying shows. For this first appearance, he’s bringing along a long time collaborator, singer Prudence Johnson  Her recent appearance with Rio Nido at the Dakota showed that she’s got chops aplenty when it comes to interpreting songs. Here’s something from their Gershwin album.

Monday, January 11

Colleen Raye @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) The singer/actress will be performing songs from women songwriters of the 40s and 50s. Raye is somewhat of an expert here, having produced and starred in shows such as Sirens of the 60s, Belting Babes, Girl Singers of the Hit Parade, and others that feature songs from women. She’ll be accompanied by Gary Raynor, bass; and Ted Godbout, piano. Listen to her on an old Nat King Cole Song.

Tuesday, January 12

Peter Kogan Quartet @ The Dunsmore Room, Crooners, Fridley. 7pm ($15 Minimum) Kogan is a former tympanist from the Minnesota Orchestra, who was able to explore his jazz side during the organization’s strike, and came up with a couple of winning CDs, including his latest, Some Monsterful Wonderthing, which exhibits his skill at composing and leading a band. From classic bebop to New Orleans rhythms, Kogan writes it all.  Look at who he has in this quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s a cut from the album.

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, December 6

Andra Suchy Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Classically trained and a veteran of musical theater, Suchy is a regular performer on Prairie Home Companion, and has recorded with a wide variety of indie, rock, blues, and folk acts, including the Honeydongs, Peter Ostroushko, and Dave Perner of Soul Asylum. She’s a Red House recording artist, with a folky style that fits the label’s sound.

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The joint will be jumpin’ as powerhouse vocalist Ms Miller and her band deliver exciting and danceable blues. Extra reason to be excited: Jimi “Primetime” Smith on guitar. I’m thinking this might be a crowded place tonight.

Thursday, January 7

Pat Donahue & The Prairie All Stars @ Golden’s Deli, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($8 for reserved stage area seating) Grammy-winning finger style guitarist Donahue has many fans, including the late Chet Atkins, and of course, Garrison Keillor, who featured Donahue and company at the house band on Prairie Home Companion for many years. Golden’s has a stage area off the main dining area, and serves beer and wine, in addition to sandwiches and soups. The band includes Dan Newton, accordion; Gary Raynor, bass; Richard Kriehn, mandolin and fiddle; and Peter Johnson on drums. Here he is with some of the band.

Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The “Twin Horns of Joy” are a couple of young musicians from Omaha who have been guided by folks like Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis, and a host of other music luminaries. Adeev, trumpet; and Ezra, trombone; have studied in New York, and appeared at places ranging from Birdland to the Field Museum and the MN State Fair Grandstand. They play a very jazz-oriented pop that reaches across generations.

Friday, January 8

Worldwide Discoteque @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Pan-tropical vinyl, producing irresistibly funky dance sounds from Afrobeat to Island jams, to sambas, cumbias, and more for a multi-culti audience. Special guest deejay ILana Percheri will be alternating with host deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engle. Here’s an example of what you might hear.

Saturday, January 9

Dengue Fever @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($25 – $27) Take Cambodian pop music. Add hints of Ethiopian jazz, psychedelica, garage band music, Latin grooves, and the British Invasion and you have this thoroughly intriguing and fun six-piece group. Their music has been featured in TV and films, including CSI: Las Vegas, Weeds, The Hangover 2, and City of Ghosts.

Sunday, January 10

Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues, w/Ernie Watts @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Siegel  known back in the day for his incisive harp playing as part of the Seigel-Schwall Blues Band, has been collaborating with classical musicians for quite some time now. This particular act features the West End String Quartet, as well as Frank Donaldson on world percussion, and sax master Ernie Watts  creating a blend of classical and blues styles in a chamber music setting.

Charlie Parr @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance) Parr is unique among today’s blues performers, with 13 albums to his credit and a huge following among the younger set. He sounds and looks like an itinerant picker, and in some respects is, but there’s an intelligence to his lyrics and playing (guitar, dobro, banjo) that goes way beyond his often-disheveled appearance. MN based singer/songwriter Amanda Standalone opens.

Tuesday, January 12

Kate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) I’ll admit that I really like the approach of bassist/vocalist Lynch to performing. She takes on old songs – pop tunes from the 20s to the 60s, and puts them in context before she and her Most Excellent Fellows hit a downbeat that brings out swing dancers. Though there’s no real room for dancing at the Dakota, I wouldn’t put it past some of her fans to push some table aside to create a small dance floor.

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

The Height of Summer. Music: 7.24 – 7.30

July 24, 2013
Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Well, this Saturday is shaping up to be one of the best of the summer, with an abundance of music offerings. We’ve a Roots Festival in Saint Paul, the Dakota Street Fest in Minneapolis, and dozens of other performances in jazz, blues, and roots, only a few of which I’ve listed. It’s what we wait for throughout the winter, and then we end up with making difficult choices, or mapping out a day of travel between events. We are lucky to have such a cornucopia of talent in our midst.


Wednesday, July 24

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Now into his ninth decade of performing, Karr plays the saxophone with beauty and grace, even when playing a bracing bebop number.

Thursday, July 25

Jeremy Walker Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Ted NashDavid BerkmanAnthony Cox, & guests from the MN Opera come together to help raise funds for pianist/composer Jeremy Walker (Nownet!, Boot Camp, Small City Trio), who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease after years of suffering. Nash and Berkman will be playing with Boot Camp, and Cox will be playing with his own band, Happy Spirits.

Unknown-1Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra w/Charmin Michelle @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 7:15pm – 10pm. (Free) The Ordway Summer Dance series continues, with lessons on ballroom dancing followed by big band sounds, and thrush Charmin Michelle.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) If you’re looking for more great music after the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, or maybe want a cool dark spot to listen, mosey over to the AQ, where Pete Whitman gathers nine terrific musicians to play energetic jazz.

Friday, Saturday, July 26, 27

Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Quite the lineup, one that could easily headline a high-profile NY club. Besides Lea (traps and conga), who in his forty years of experience has worked with folks ranging from Pharoah Sanders to Van Morrison, he’ll have Anthony Cox, bass; Richard Johnson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.

Saturday, July 27

Dorothy Doring @ Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Doring is a personable, versatile, and charming vocalist who knows her way around jazz and blues. Her recent recording of tunes by Ellington & Strayhorn received much critical praise. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Lincoln Berry on organ, and Donald Thomas on drums. Live music on the deck overlooking the lake. Sounds like an ideal summer evening.

The drum master at work

The drum master at work

Eric Kamau Gravatt Drum Clinic and The Cockeyed Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30 clinic ($15) 7;30 concert ($15,  $20 for clinic & concert)  Famed drummer Gravatt will give a clinic on drum patterns, and some of the history of drumming. Afterwards, he’ll join Gregg Inhofer and the Cock-eyed band for a performance. There will also be music from The Electric String Quartet, an ambient pop group, and poetry from Neil Hilborn, plus free food and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer and wine will be available for sale as well.

Sunday, Monday, July 28, 29

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ruffins is a terrific trumpet player who perfectly encapsulates much of what is loved about New Orleans music. Aside from his technical bona fides, he projects soulfulness, joyfulness, and playfulness in his performances, mixing the traditional with new, and keeping the spirit of Louis Armstrong alive. Plus, he actually cooks Barbeque when performing in N’Awlins. With the end of the series Treme, he’s returned to touring.

Tuesday, July 30

UnknownDick & Jane’s Brass Band @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Lake & 35th Ave. This new neighborhood bar and restaurant is starting to feature music a few nights a week and is looking to make Tuesdays a New Orleans night, starting with Dick & Jane’s Brass Band. With the bar’s selection of craft beer, and its homemade, unique takes on burgers and other bar food, this could be a very fun evening.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler has been on a tear lately, writing and arranging modern compositions for his 18 piece band. After spending almost a year doing shows at Jazz Central, they are moving to the bigger space of the AQ where they are starting a last Tuesday residency. I’ll have Adam on my show (90.3 & 106.78FM) this Saturday, the 27th, to talk about the orchestra and preview a couple of their tunes.

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…

Thursday, July 25

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) The Pinecones have been dispensing New Orleans R&B, along with Cajun and Zydeco tunes for quite a while now, and have no trouble getting both veteran and neophyte dancers up and dancing on one of the best dance floors in the cities.

Rick Estrin & the Nitecats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Estrin and the Nightcats play fun-filled blues. Estrin has developed a slightly cheesy, always humorous persona as a skirt chasin, blues lovin’ smart ass. It’s hard to find blues that’s this humorous. Check out this video to see what I mean.

Friday, July 26

Chicago Afrobeat Project feat. Tony Allen, and Blackmarket Brass @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Tony Allen was the drummer for Fela for fifteen years. Tonight he’ll be joining the Chicago Afrobeat Project for another evening of pulsing, mesmerizing music. The Twin Cities own Blackmarket Brass open. Here they are.

Dreamland Faces @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Dreamland Faces create new old music, utilizing a bassoon, accordion, piano, and saw. They’ll be joined by the Skeleton Crew of Scott Fultz, sax; Sean O’Hea, marimba; and Julie Sweet, piano. Julie is also the pianist for Dreamland Faces.

Saturday, July 27

Lowertown Roots Festival @ Mears Park, The Black Dog, and the Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 2pm – 10pm. (Free) Lowertown is taken over by various kinds of roots music, from folk to Nordic, to Zydeco. Music starts at 2:30 at Mears Park, and will feature Paul Dahlin, Nordic Angst, the bluegrass of the  High 48s, the Violin Roots Ensemble of Randy Sabien, and zydeco master CJ Chenier. Over at the Hat Trick there’s a different artist every hour, starting at 2pm, and the Black Dog will feature music starting at 8pm.

Dakota Street Fest @ 10th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm. After a hiatus last year, the Dakota Street Fest returns with twenty bands on four stages, showcasing musicians across a number of genres. Artists range from Sophia Shorai and Debbie Duncan to Sonny Knight & the Lakers, Kelley Hunt, The Tex Pistols, Irv Williams, Paul Metsa with Willie Walker and Willie West, Patty Peterson, and the Dakota Combo.

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Great Food Truck Rally @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (Free) Twelve food trucks, including AZ Canteen, A La Plancha, and Bloomy’s Roast Beef, will gather at the Tap Room, where five different groups will be playing during the day. Bands include Vinyl Lounge at Noon; Big Blue Station Wagon (Zack Lozier’s electric trio) at 2pm; Concentual at 4pm; Maurice Jacox Group at 6pm; and The Butanes at 8pm.

The Flamin’ Ohs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) In the late 70s, they were called Flamingo, and though they were a rock band, and not a punk band, they caused quite a stir in the Twin Cities music scene. After changing their name to the Flamin’ Oh’s, they recorded a couple of well-recieved albums and toured nationally. Attrition, families, and life eventually wore them down and by the late 80s, they had gone their separate ways. Now, since a 1997 reunion, they are playing once again, if sporadically, bringing their heart felt rock n’ roll to grown up Gen Xers, and a new audience of millenials. Here’s a video that got played on MTV back when it actually played music videos.

Monday, July 29

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15) Lee’s is the Honky-Tonk/Rockabilly epicenter of the Twin Cities. What better place to see Dale Watson, a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and his traditional/maverick style of country music. His most recent album, El Rancho Azul, for Red House Records, charted on Billboard, and earned him a June appearance on David Letterman. Here’s a video from that appearance.

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 Matters: 5.29 – 6.4

May 29, 2013

imagesNot many visiting artists in this week’s preview. But then, many of our resident artists are visiting artists elsewhere, known throughout the country, and even internationally. We have a deep pool of talent in this region. It has often been said that music creates community, and that it can move and uplift our souls. I hope that is true for you. Have a good week.


Wednesday, May 29

The cover of Maud's new CD.

The cover of Maud’s new CD.

Maud Hixson CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) Hixson is a singer with a voice that is cool, but certainly not detached, and inviting, but proper. Her new album, Don’t Let A Good Thing Get Away, is full of tunes composed by Mickey Leonard, best known for ‘I’m All Smiles” and “Why Did I Choose You.” Leonard, who is still working, has partnered with a number of lyricists over the course of his life to create little gems of melody and storytelling, including a couple that haven’t been recorded before this venture. You can hear my phone interview with Maud, as well as a couple of tunes from the album, in the archive for my show on May 25. The interview starts at about 15 minutes into the program.

Phil Mattson Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Pianist Mattson is a choral music maestro, arranger, and conductor who has arranged for the Manhattan Transfer, the Four Freshmen, and others. He has been a busy guy since locating to the area, what with teaching at MacPhail, leading the Phil Mattson Singers, recording with Dorothy Doring, and accompanying a number of Twin Cities singers. Tonight he brings a new project to the fore, with a team of veteran players including Dale Mendenhall on sax; Tom Lewis on bass; and Nathan Norman on drums. They’ll be playing old and new standards.

Thursday, May 30

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Ten musicians, young, old, male and female, professionals all, playing bracing music, much of it written especially for the group by its members.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, May 31, June 1, June 2

Happy Apple @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm, Fri, Sat; 8pm Sun. ($15) Count this trio among the coterie of relatively young artists from the area who group up with rock n’ roll, then discovered Coltrane, Mingus, and Ornette Coleman, among others. Dave King, drums; Mike Lewis, sax; and Eric Fratzke, electric bass; play with intensity, originality, and power, yet they can caress a ballad as well. They’ve been playing together since 1996, have an international following, and have received raves in the New York Times.  Here they are, playing at Lawrence University last year.

Friday, May 31

Irv Williams & Peter Schimke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (free) Start your weekend with some lovely music from 93 year old saxophonist Williams, and his piano partner Schimke, who is decades younger.

Nichola Miller @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) After giving birth to a baby boy, Miller is back singing, giving out sass where sass is due.

Kevin Washington Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($5) With teachers like Max Roach and Roy Brooks, and travels to Latin countries to learn their rhythms, Washington is a drummer to be reckoned with. He teaches at McNally Smith and Walker West Academy, and plays with Nachito Herrera and Bruce Henry. I’m not sure who he’ll have with him, but given the quality of past shows and performances, this show is an excellent way to end an evening.

Monday, June 3

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Let’s hope the weather finally clears up for this outdoor concert by an 17 piece band. Meckler is a trumpet-player about town who has been arranging his own compositions (mostly) for this young big band. The band may be a traditionally sized big band, but Meckler’s orchestrations are influenced by modern composers such as Maria Schneider and Bob Brookmyer. Bring your brown bag lunch or get something from a nearby food truck and enjoy the big sounds of this band.

Will Kjeer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Will is still in high school, yet he’s a giant talent on the piano, as he has shown when performing with the Dakota Combo. At their annual concert, Will took a Chick Corea tune and created an imaginative arrangement for the 8 piece band. He’ll be joined by the Jazz Central stalwarts tonight.  Even if you aren’t planning on attending tonight, check out this video of the Dakota Combo playing Will’s arrangement. Will has a fine solo starting at about 4:30 minutes.

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 19

Andra Suchy & Spare Change on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm hour (KFAI – 90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Red House recording artist Andra Suchy is an Americana/Twang/folk singer/songwriter. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion and on recordings with artists ranging from mandolinist Peter Ostroushko to blues rocker Jonny Lang.

Thursday, May 30

Unknown-1Trio Bossa Nova & Friends @ The Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (tip jar) An evening of Bossa Novas and Sambas with Brazilian artists Joyce Perez, Natania Kamin, and Josue Alfaro. They’ll be joined by guitarist Pavel Jany and bassist Dan Weston.

Scottie Miller Band @ Washington Square Bar & Grill, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No cover) Pianist Miller was touring as a member of Bo Diddley’s band when he met popular singer/songwriter Ruthie Foster, with whom he now regularly tours. He’s got his own band and his own recordings, on which he exhibits his Professor Longhair-meets-Bruce Springsteen style of playing. Here’s a chance to see him in an intimate setting.

Saturday, June 1

Rum Cullies Brunch @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11AM – 1PM (No Cover) Here’s a trio of Twin Cities musicians playing old time string band music for your brunch. Matt Neil, fiddle, Liz Draper, bass, and Adam Kiesling, guitar play slow waltzes, fast fiddle tunes, and everything in between.

Lonesome Dan Case; Nikki & the Rue-Mates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Lonesome Dan); 4:30pm (Nikki) Lonesome Dan plays Guitar Rags, Hollers, and Blues, including originals that sound like they were written in the 1930s as well as knowing interpretations of songs from that time. Nikki & the Rue-Mates use the psychedelic sounds of the late 60s as inspiration for the folk-a-delic gems given life by Nikki’s crystaline voice.

Sunday, June 2

Mother Banjo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Bluegrass at the tony Dakota? Well, Yeah! Throw in a little gospel, a bunch of originals, and some folky tunes, and you’ve got Mother Banjo a group led by Ellen Stanley, who knows her way around a banjo.

Monday, June 3

Cactus Blossoms @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 6pm door, 7pm music ($5) The Blossoms play country music that’s as natural as it comes, that is, the kind of traditional C&W that you heard before Nashville started “countrypolitan” music and then moved to being mostly rock n’ roll with a steel guitar. Bring dancing shoes and a partner, or find a partner at the club.

Tuesday, June 4

Chris Mann @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($45 – $35) Mann was a finalist on the second season of The Voice, and his subsequent album, Roads, went to the top of both the pop and classical charts. He’s been on the Today Show, Jay Leno, Conan, and has had his own PBS Special. Here’s your chance to see him up close and personal.

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.

Another Week of Great Music: 1.30 – 2.5

January 30, 2013

It’s another week of stellar visiting artists (including a five night stint for one of them) and outstanding resident artists, as well as an early Mardis Gras celebration, and a celebration of Muddy & the Wolf that will have blues lovers swooning.


Wednesday, January 30

DownloadedFileChris Lomheim Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Lomheim is a talented, expressive pianist who takes inspiration from Bill Evans, among others. He’s a founding member of the Illicit Sextet, and is an especially sensitive when accompanying vocalists. Always well worth hearing.

Thursday, January 31

Zack Lozier Trio @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Trumpeter Zack Lozier gathers up Steve Pikal on bass and Stephen Hobert and piano to entertain the folks at the Northeast Institution. Zack plays with Doc Severinson’s Band on its Midwest tours, and regularly appears with the Jack Brass Band, the Adam Meckler Orchestra and other top notch bands from the area. Expect a lot of music inspired by Louis Armstrong.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s the last Thursday of the month, so it’s time for the ten piece band that encompasses the veteran 80-something Dave Karr, as well as established players like Dave Hagedorn on vibes, Phil Hey on drums, and Laura Caviani on piano, not to mention energetic newcomers like Adam Meckler on trumpet. Here’s a video of the group from a few years back.

Friday, February 1

Stephen Hobert & Brian Courage @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm (free) Keyboard Hobert is slowly making himself indispensable to the jazz community in town, showing up in a variety of bands, including some that use his accordion skills. Brian Courage is a bass player who is relatively new to town, and is also proving to be a bassist to call when you need a good foundation for your music. This “dinner hour” show can feature much noise from diners, so try to sit close to easily hear the music.

Friday, Saturday, February 1,2

imagesLynne Arriale @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Pianist Arriale was most recently in town accompanying singer Rondi Charleston, but she’s also appeared on her own at the old Dakota. Arriale has thirteen albums to her credit, in which she displays a joyous imagination, and a love for tunes with good melodies, from Monk to Gershwin, and the Beatles, as well as her own originals. She’ll be accompanied by bassist Adam Linz, with drummers Jay Epstein on Friday and Dave Schmalenberger on Saturday. I did a phone interview with her that aired on my show this past Saturday. You can check it out on the archives, or wait a few days when I’ll be able to transcribe it and put it here.

JoAnn Funk and Jeff Breuske @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul 7pm – 11pm. (Free) Saturday night people watching can be fun at the Saint Paul Hotel, given the number of weddings and other events that occur there, and Fridays are a bit quieter, but the real reason to stop by is to hear pianist/vocalist Funk and bassist Breuske give life to songs by Nat King Cole, Blossom Dearie, Dan Penn and others.

Saturday, February 2

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Free) Weinbeck (piano) along with Gordy Johnson (bass) and Phil Hey (drums) have moved from the Chambers Hotel (now that D’Amico no longer runs the kitchen) to Parma 8200 in Bloomington. Those who don’t live nearby will be well rewarded with a trek to the area immediately SW of 100 & 494, not only with sublime music, but with good food.

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.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wednesday, February 2

Courtney McClean & the Dirty Curls @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip jar) Courtney McClean is a banjo player, comedian, and songwriter whose unbelievably dirty lyrics, often laced with four letter words, will cause you to convulse with laughter. Not for the easily shocked. Also: Valley Meadows, and Gus Lynch.

Friday, February 1

Mary Cutrufello and Scottie Miller @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. (Free) I’m a big fan of both of these artists, and this is a rare chance to see both in an intimate venue. It’s winter, so the Tap Room’s overhead doors are closed, and you need to get there early to avoid standing in line to get in. Scottie “Bone” Miller is an excellent piano player and singer-songwriter, weaving blues, soul, and a bit of New Orleans into his songs. He also happens to be the touring pianist for Grammy nominee and award winning singer Ruthie Foster. Mary Cutrufello has been on the Tonight Show and Austin City Limits (2x) and has toured with The Allmans, Government Mule, and Dale Watson. The Strib declared her “The Biggest Rock Star the Twin Cities doesn’t know.” Scottie starts at 7pm. Mary starts at 9pm.

Hot Pants East @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 10pm (Free) The quartet of deejays that spin rare soul & funk are traveling cross the river to Saint Paul for a monthly gathering at the Amsterdam. The tables in the bar will be moved away for plenty of dancing.

Friday, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, February 1,2,4,6,7

Lucinda Williams @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60/$50) This gig started out for two nights, and now has expanded to Five, with tickets flying out the door. Williams has a world-weary voice that’s just right for her sometimes rockin’ and always brutally honest songs. I understand that she’ll be playing with one other musician, so expect an intimate evening of Americana. Check out this video.

Saturday, February 2

Bone-tones Reunion for 25th Annual Mardis Gras Dance @ Withrow Ballroom, Withrow. 7pm ($15) What may be the first Twin Cities Cajun band has been brought back for this very special event by the Krewe de Walleye. Doors open at 5:45, and there’ll be food for sale, dance lessons at 6:15, and a costume contest and parade at 9pm. Get out your dancing shoes and let the Bon Temps Rouler!

Saints of Circumstance @ The Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) If you didn’t get to take in the Dark Star Orchestra at First Avenue on Wednesday, here’s a consolation prize that’s pretty worthy in and of itself. The Saints do a great job of channeling the Grateful Dead, and tonight they’ll be tackling the Dead’s songs of winter, including most of the album In the Dark. Though not required, tie-dyed clothing is always appropriate.

Monday, February 4

Blues at the Crossroads featuring James Cotton @ the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($36 – $51) The Fabulous Thunderbirds join Blues At The Crossroads 2 as the core band backing greats James CottonBob Margolin, Tinsely Ellis, and Jody Williams. They’re celebrating the blues of Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf, who were rivals of a sort, but giants and innovators when it came to the blues. James Cotton might be the headliner, but Ellis, Margolin, Williams, and the Fab T-birds are no slouches.

Tuesday, February 5

The inspiration for Suite Judy Blue Eyes, in her younger days.

The inspiration for Suite Judy Blue Eyes, in her younger days.

Judy Collins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($70) & 9pm ($50) A folk giant (giantess?) Collins scored big with songs like Suzanne, I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today, Both Sides Now, and Someday Soon. She also did a version of Marat/Sade! Along the way she met and made friends with many of the musicians who helped shaped both folk and folk-rock, and she does a superb job of weaving stories into her presentation.

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.

Veterans, Emerging Artists and more: 9.27 – 10.2

September 27, 2012

We’ll get to our regularly scheduled program after this message:  The KFAI Pledge drive is only one week this year. That’s right, you only have one week to pledge your support to KFAI, and only one day when I’ll be broadcasting my show in particular (Rhythm and Grooves).

Go to: http://www.kfai.org and follow the instructions for pledging. Alternatively, you can call 612-375-9030 during Rhythm and Grooves from 10:30 – Noon on Saturday. Whatever you choose, I thank you for your support. BTW, Jana Nyberg will be dropping by Saturday to talk about her Tuesday gig at The Artists Quarter.

On to the week. It’s another good one for people who enjoy live music. You can choose to see young artists, veteranss, or new combinations of artists in jazz. Or, you can check out blues and roots musicians in a variety of settings. Of course, there are always more artists and more opportunities than I can describe. Just be thankful we have such a rich offering of talented musicians.


Wednesday, September 26

Courageous Endeavors @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A new group in town, though some of the players are familiar, if young. Miguel Hurtado, who holds down the drum seat, first made his mark in town as a teenager at the turn of the century. He’s back from studies at the Manhattan School of Music and is proving to be a great addition to our jazz community. Brian Courage is on bass. He recently moved to town and is quickly establishing himself. Pianist Joe Strachan was a member of the Dakota Combo some years ago. Saxophonist Nelson Devereaux rounds out the group. Watch out for these guys.

Wednesday, Thursday, September 26, 27

Chick Corea & Gary Burton @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($80-$70) and 9pm ($60-$50) The price may seem a bit high, but you get the chance to the crystalline interplay of Corea on piano and Burton on vibes in the intimacy of the Dakota. Their first LP of duets came out forty years ago, while their latest, “Hot House,” which features a pop, Broadway, jazz and Brazilian tunes was recently released.

Thursday, September 27

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ the Artists’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Here’s a chance to catch ten of the Twin Cities finest jazz musicians for less than a buck a musician. Just remember that in this case, price doesn’t correlate with quality. The X-Tet, with charts by Whitman and others, swings like crazy.

Robert Bell & Naomi Uyama @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) Bell is a guitar player whose interest lies in early jazz (both American and European), as well as gypsy jazz. Noami Uyama is a jazz vocalist who has danced her way around the world and studied in New York. Have some moules, frites, and wine and enjoy their music.

Friday, September 28

Dan Musselman Quartet with Hermon Mehari @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Musselman is a pianist who plays regularly with Cory Wong and has recorded a great duet album with singer Rachel Holder. He studied with Craig Taborn and Kenny Werner in New York, and has developed a strong style of his own. Mehari is a young trumpeter who has studied with Terrell Stafford, Bobby Watson, and Jaleel Shaw, among others. I saw him last week playing with Yohanes Tona and realized he’s a talented musician worth following.

Friday, Saturday, September 28, 29

Nichols, Lewis, Wozniak, Fratzke, & Bates @ The Artsits’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s another combination of artists that have worked with each other in various other configurations. Bryan Nichols on piano; Michael Lewis and Brandon Wozniak on saxophones; Eric Fratzke on bass; and JT Bates on drums and percussion. All are versatile performers thoroughly capable of inspiring each other to improvisatory heights.

Saturday, September 29

Maude Hixson @ Parma 8200, 5600 West 83rd St, Bloomington. 7:30pm – 10:30pm. This is a new venue for jazz, and I have to admit I’ve not been there. But it’s a D’Amico restaurant and bar, and the few artists that have appeared already are high quality performers. Tonight, Hixson will be joined by Vincent Rose on guitar and Keith Boyles on bass. Hixson has a voice that is sometimes cool, yet also gives off some warmth. She can imput meaning to lyrics with the slightest change in her voice.

Connie Evingson Trio @ the Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. If you don’t want to travel to Bloomington, you can head to Saint Paul to hear the always elegant Connie Evingson. Her recent CD, “Sweet Happy Life” reached the top ten on the jazz charts and just got a very postive review in JazzTimes.

Tuesday, October 2

Todd Clouser & Bryan Nichols @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm. Clouser’s electric guitar is sometimes closer to rock than jazz, but he’s a more than capable jazz player. Nichols’ sensitive, sometimes airy piano will provide interesting counterpoint.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 26

Cornbread Harris @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) Have a little boogie woogie and R&B with your dinner as Cornbread tickles the ivories and sings in that raspy voice of his.

Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) Swing dancers will be out to hear Joe & his band play standards and a few originals.

Thursday, September 27

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ James J. Hill Library, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15, gen. $10 members Friends of the Library) Not to be confused with the Real-Phonic Hour, this concert is part of the Book It series sponsored by the library.  across from Rice Park.It starts off at 7:15 with an hour of music trivia. Then Bethany and the band will take the stage to deliver original folk-rockish song. Get a free beer with a library card & ID.

Friday, September 28

Friday Hipshaker Dance Party @ The KittyKat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) After ten years of weeknight spinning, Brian and Greg are moving to Friday night at the KittyKat. Still plenty of good 45s to be played for your dancing pleasure.

Patty Peterson & Friends @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30 ($10) Tonight, Patty’s friends include Ricky Peterson on organ and Steve Cole on sax. It’s bound to be a cookin’ evening with Patty concentrating more on the R&B side of her repertoire.

Joe & Vicki Price @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) These Iowan bluesmasters are on a mini-tour of the Twin Cities this week. Here’s your chance to hear stripped down, delta style blues. Here’s a video to give you a idea of their sound.

Saturday, September 29

Peter Ostroushko, Dean Magraw & Dan Chouinard @ The Church of St. Joan of Arc, 4537 Third Ave So., Minneapolis. 8pm ($25.00)  Here’s a chance to hear three outstanding musicians, in a benefit organized by Ostroushko for his sister-in-law, who had a brain tumor removed. Benefit or not, it isn’t often that you get to hear one of the country’s outstanding violinists and mandolinist, along with a great guitarist (Magraw) and keyboardist (Choinard)

Rauchfest @ Harriet Brewing, Minneapolis. 1pm – 1am ($10 advance/$15 gate) Beer, music, art, and food. What else do ya want? Well, let’s look at who is performing: Ten bands including the Zack Lozier Trio, Electric Children, Mary Cutrufello, Nick the Feelin’ and The Big Wu. There’ll be four food trucks, eight different beers on tap, and a dozen or so artists and artisans, including a local beer artist, whatever that might be.

Badinovs @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($7) To borrow a phrase, it’s Pure Pop for Now People, from this band that has arisen from the ashes of Smart Alex and Swing Set, two much loved, if under-recorded Twin Cities bands. The Badinovs haven’t played in about two years, but they’ve got a new song, Midway Joe, that’s been getting lots of play on MySpace. The paen to Joe Mauer is catchy, with a sing along chorus that should be reverberating throughout Target Field. It’s part of a new CD, Fess Up, that will be available, even though this isn’t an official CD release party.

Sunday, September 30

Brunch with Rena Haus @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) You’ll have new appreciation for the eggs in your breakfast when you hear Rena sing of her adventures with a chicken on her farm. She’ll sing about other subjects as well, like car mechanics and the economy. It’s blues with a feeling, that’s true.

Big Walter Smith Fundraiser @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 3pm – 8pm. (Donation) Big Walter Smith was 82 when he passed in July. He was a mentor and friend to many young musician’s in town. This benefit is to help pay for medical and funeral expenses. Hosted by Jacquie Maddox (Lady J) of KFAI’s Rollin and Tumblin show, the day will feature the Soul Mates, The Groove Merchants w/Jimi Primetime Smith, Sweet Papa Dave & the Private Reserve (from Duluth) and Insider Straight

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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