Peter Kogan: Some Monsterful Wonderthing

December 3, 2015

 

IMG_0461Peter Kogan is a tympanist with the Minnesota Orchestra, whose musicians suffered a lockout from October 2012 to January 2014. Differences between musicians and management were eventually resolved, the budget has been balanced, and the Orchestra has come back with a vengeance, even traveling to Cuba. While the lockout was stressful for the musicians, Kogan used the time to explore his love of jazz and do some recording. The first result was the swinging Cornucopia, released last year, in which he proved himself to be a fine composer as well as jazz artist.

Now Kogan has a new CD, Some Monsterful Wonderthing, recorded during the same period of idleness from the Orchestra. In this latest release, he pays tribute to a number of inspirations including his colleagues in the Orchestra, the Save Our Symphony organization, Ellington, Monk, Muddy Waters, and others. Kogan displays a keen hand at composition and arrangement as he takes on sambas, second lines, blues, gospel, and more with outstanding results. Two of the songs on the album, Gospel Tune and McKinley Morganfield’s Forever, were written in the early eighties, while the other six were composed during the lockout period. The title tune uses two contrasting tempos, and with Brian Courage providing fleet solos to both open and close the piece, brings to mind some of the work of Charles Mingus.

Kogan propels the band through each piece using a a vast array of rhythms and percussive colors.  Speaking of the band, Kogan gets stellar support from Charles Lazarus  on trumpet and fluegelhorn, Pete Whitman on sax, Scott Agster on trombone, Brian Courage on bass, Sean Turner on piano, and Cory Wong on guitar. They fill the album with solos, fills, and flourishes that range from beautiful to blistering, resulting in a warm, elegant album that also features touches of ferocity. One can only hope that Kogan’s day job with the Orchestra doesn’t keep him from playing and recording more jazz.


So Much Music, So Little Time: 7.29 – 8.4

July 29, 2015

imagesI am continuously amazed at the amount of music found in our fair cities. For instance, there are ten different places having jazz on Friday, and much more featuring Blues and Roots music almost every night of the week, not to mention outdoor events. So, it’s summer and we have to take advantage of the weather, vacations, and the opportunity to support artists of all kinds and lift our spirits at the same time. Enjoy the week.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 29

Lila Ammons @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) With a blues-based approach to jazz, vocalist Ammons is a natural fit for the confines of the Supper Club just North of 694 and NE Minneapolis.

images-1Mountain King @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Three Basses! Brian Courage is back in town for a while, so he, Jeremy Boettcher, and Graydon Peterson are reprising their three-bass music. How low can you go

Shoop! @ The Village, Mendota Heights. 6:30pm (Free) Five part harmonies from three women and two men, featuring jazz standards and the occasional pop song.

Thursday, July 30

Mississippi @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Here’s a band that throws some Peruvian Lando music into its rich stew of jazz. It’s A-list members include Pete Whitman, sax; Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

da-ke-breo-da @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The All Originals Jazz Series continues with this group named with syllables from the names of each of its members: Dave Brattain, sax; Kevin Daley, guitar; Bruce “Pooch” Heine, bass;  Dave Stanoch, drums.

Charmin & Shapira @ Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pmn (Tip Jar) The silken voice of Charmin Michelle and tasty guitar of Joel Shapira go together as tastefully as burgundy and brownies, both of which are available at the Black Dog.

Friday, July 31

Charlie Lincoln Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The young bassist is having a busy summer before he heads off to Berklee in Boston. This may be the last performance of this particular group, which includes Aiden Sponheim, trumpet; Peter Coggin, alto; Levi Schwartzburg, vibes and/or piano; and Joey Hayes, drums. Here they are with a different trumpeter:

Rare Medium @ Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation)  The popular jazz funk group is back from a performing hiatus. Members include Jaim Zuber, guitar; Jesse Mueller, keys; Aaron McCabe, trumpet; Joan Hutton, sax, bass clarinet, and flute; Joshua Stallings, bass; and Ryan Johnson on something called the H-Dial.

Kogan and friends at rehearsal

Kogan and friends at rehearsal

Peter Kogan CD Release @ Orchestra Hall Atrium, Minneapolis. 10:15pm (Free) Kogan  a drummer with the Minnesota Orchestra, is releasing his second jazz record. His first, 2013’s Cornucopia, was a delight. The new CD, Some Monsterful Wonderthing, promises to be even more so, with a group that includes Cory Wong, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Sean Turner, piano, Charles Lazarus, trumpet; Brian Courage, bass; and Scott Agster, trombone.

Saturday, August 1

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Opening at 7pm is Joe Smith AM Trio with Smith on sax; Dick Studer on bass; and Kenny Horst on drums. at 8:30, it’s the Babatunde Lea  Quintet, with Lea on drums and congas; Phil Aaron, piano; Zacc Harris, guitar, and more. Here is Lea in a quartet setting.;

Sunday, August 2

Doug Little @ Alexis Bailey Vineyard, Hastings. 1:30pm (Free) If you’re looking for a little drive and a pleasant afternoon, head down to Hastings to check out the Bailey Vineyard and the music of saxophonist Doug Little of Charanga Tropical, Seven Steps to Havana, and other Latin bands. Pack a picnic or buy some food, and sit on the deck listening to great music and enjoying the fruits of the vineyard. Here he is at the Vineyard a couple of years ago.

Minneapolis Latin Jazz All Starz @ Arnellia’s, Saint Paul. 6:30pm & 8pm ($5) Latin Jazz you can dance to (is there any other kind?), featuring Jimmieapolis (Jimmy Wallace) on saxophone, by a band dedicated to Augie Garcia.

Solomon’s Sessions @ Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm ($5) Trumpeter Solomon Parham leads a jam session featuring a number of students from McNally Smith, so you can expect some contemporary rhythms and songs along with standards. A little bit of Parham

Boney James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $65), 9pm ($35 – $65) After working with the Isley Brothers, Morris Day, Randy Crawford, and Teena Marie, saxman James released his first album in 1992. Since then he’s received 4 Grammy nominations, and a Soul Train Award, along with selling 3 million CDs and receiving four gold album awards. James calls his latest CD Futuresoul, as he uses modern production and the melodic and rhythmic trappings of vintage soul.

Monday, August 3

Courageous Endeavors @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) As noted in Wednesday’s listing, Brian Courage is in town for a bit and tonight is playing with the band he started. Courage, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; Nelson Deveraux, sax; Joe Strachan, piano.

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, July 29

Steve Sullivan & the Factory @ Como Park Zoo, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) Grab the kiddies and head over to the zoo where you can catch Sullivan and his band, playing blues and rock n’ roll that draws from Tom Waits as well as Jimi Hendrix.

Pure Praire League @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) During the 70s and 80s, PPL  as a steady presence on both country and pop charts with their easy-going lyrics, Eagles-type harmonies, and tap your toes rhythms. After disbanding in the mid 80s they reunited in 1998, and though they’ve experienced personnel changes through the years, they still deliver their distinctive sound. Here they are doing a Lowell George tune.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) The underground vibe of the new Vieux is a good setting for the intimate folk/rock sounds of Nikki & the Ruemates. Here they are in a noisier environment.

Thursday, July 30

Three Minute Hero with Church of Cash @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) First, get yourself some stripped down country/rockabilly with the Church of Cash, playing the music of the Man in Black. Stick around for some energizing ska from the 8-piece Three Minute Hero, and then watch The Unearthing, a film about misfit teenagers in Stillwater. Check out the Church of Cash

Friday, July 31

John Beach @ Big Daddy’s BBQ, Saint Paul. 4:30pm (No Cover) With his gravelly voice and a long history of playing R&B keyboards, Beach’s patio performance at Big Daddy’s will be a great accompaniment for the BBQ.

Secret Stash Records Revue @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($20) Secret Stash Records is a Twin Cities label that has made some impact with its releases of obscure funk from around the world and the Twin Cities. In fact, the release of old Twin Cities funk has led to the formation of a number of bands including Sonny Knight and the Lakers, and Black Market Brass, both part of tonight’s all star show featuring Cameron Kinghorn of Nooky Jones and the Adam Meckler Orchestra, Black Market Brass, Maurice Jacox, Pavielle French, Wanda Davis, and headliners, Sonny Knight & the Lakers.

Romantica @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Romantica frontman and leader Ben Kyle is an immigrant Irishman who uses American country and folk music to underly his songs about his homeland. Their initial release, Your Weakness, received tons of play on Twin Cities commercial and non-commercial stations and received numerous MN Music Awards in the early aughts. Kyle’s solo effort in 2013 also received much praise, including an article in the Huffington Post. Opening are Jayanthi Kyle and Wes Burdine of Gospel Machine.

Saturday, August 1

Choro Borealis @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($5) Choro Borealis plays Choro (pronounced SHOW-doo), high energy music that was popular in Brazil prior to the Bossa Nova craze of the 60s. The highly talented musicians in the group include guitarist Robert Everest, who is well schooled in many world rhythms, as well as multi-instrumentalist Pat O’Keefe, and percussionist Tim O’Keefe.

Eric Gales @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) It’s a guitar fanatic’s night at Famous Daves tonight. Gales was a child prodigy on guitar, picking it up at the age of four, and learning from older siblings. The Memphis native has recorded 14 albums as a leader since 1991, and has appeared on dozen of others. Gales is a Hendrix disciple, though he can draw all kinds of sounds from his guitar, as evidenced on his work on tributes to Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, and others.

Sunday, August 2

dfd49e_8d4b20a8925040a0b60cc622cab0ad5f.jpg_srb_p_1343_754_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srbViva Brazil @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 5pm ($10) The members of this eight-piece band hail from Rio, Bahia, Missouri, Maryland, Detroit, and upstate NY, though they all live in the Twin Cities. The group includes Altimair Coelo, director, bass; Keving Washington, drums; Josue Alfaro, percussion; Dan Musselman, piano; David Feily, guitars; Cory Wong, guitars; Eliezer Freitas Santos, percussion and Will Lopes, lead vocals. There’s no doubt you’ll be swaying to the insinuating rhythms of bossa novas, sambas, and more.

Tuesday, August 4

Kong/Shu Project @ MN History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (Free) The History Center always includes one or two world music groups in its lineup for Nine Nights of Music each summer. This time they have The Kong/Shu Project, two brothers from North Carolina who perform a hybrid of folk, 80s rock, and pop in Hmong. They are appearing in conjunction with the History Center’s exhibit Hmong in Minnesota which had the largest opening day numbers in the Center’s history.

Bombino @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm $22 – Desert Blues from another guitar master. Omar “Bombino” Moctar released Nomad in April of 2013. It was produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, and debuted at #1` on the Billboard World Music Charts. Rolling Stone calls Bombino, member of a nomadic Tuareg tribe, a guitar hero. American Cream opens.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the calendar for U Wanna Dance.


Musical Warmth: 12.11 – 12.17

December 11, 2013
Frozen cherry, anyone?

Frozen cherry, anyone?

Now that hearty Minnesotans have had a few days to get used to sub-zero weather, it will be easy to get out and enjoy the myriad musical and art offerings of our fair cities, since the temps will jump all the way up into the teens this weekend. If you’re wearing yourself out from shopping and preparing for the holidays, not to forget work, treat yourself to some live music, which lifts the spirits. Until next week.

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 11

Gypsy Mania @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Late night gypsy jazz from Gypsy Mania, featuring the masterful violin of Gary Schulte, and the guitars of Reynold Philipsek and Gary Helgeson. And Barbette’s happy hour prices to boot. Tres chic!

Wednesday, Thursday, December 11, 12

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Really. Get out and see Dave. As an 80-something mulit-reed player he’s got chops galore, with a fluid style that he serves up particularly well on bebop chestnuts.

Friday, December 13

UnknownLaura Caviani CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Laura has a new CD, Holly, Jolly, & Jazzy, just in time for the Christmas season. She’s a thoughtful, elegant, and imaginative player piano player. Tonight she’ll have Gordy Johnson on bass, and Joe Pulice on drums. Expect Santa and some special guests as well.

Saturday, December 14

John Devine and JT Bates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Devine) 5pm (Bates) (Tip Jar) Here’s a way to take a break from shopping with some fresh brews. At 3pm John Devine, sax; will be joined by Jon Pemberton, keys & trumpet; and then drummer JT Bates will take the stage at 5pm. No word on whether JT will just be exercising his chops (which is not to say it won’t be thoroughly entertaining) or have other players along.

Jack Brass Band B-Day Party @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm (Tip Jar) JBB Leader Mike Olander is celebrating his 40th Birthday, with special guests The Stooges Brass Band, an outstanding aggregation from New Orleans. For brass band fans, this is not to be missed, as it will be a brass blowout of epic proportions. Here’s the Stooges doing some Michael Jackson songs for Second Liners.

Lucia Newell @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free) 7pm concert ($10) This is part of the monthly Jazz at Studio Z series. Lucia is a wonderful singer, inspired by Betty Carter, but with a “voice” of her own (in two languages!). She’s also turned into a first rate writer. She’ll be addressing singing and composing during the 6pm workshop, and then illustrate her ideas by singing at 7pm.  Here’s an example of her singing.

Tuesday Night Band @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ahh, it’s hard to beat the funky, funky grooves of B-3 Organ Night. Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B-3; and Kenny Horst, drums, return for one last stand on the AQ stage. They spent many a Tuesday night over the years laying down some soulful jazz. Oftentimes special guests, including visiting artists, would sit in for a song or two. Will that happen tonight? You’ll only know if you attend.

Monday, December 16

images-2Peter Kogan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Kogan is the principal Tympanist of the Minnesota Orchestra, which, as we know, has not exactly had a full schedule for a while. He’s filled his time writing and recording a jazz album entitled Cornucopia. He’s no stranger to genres outside of classical music, as he’s spent time performing the Larry Elgart Orchestra and the fusion band, Scratch n Sniff, as well as backing folks like Jimmy Witherspoon, Lightin Hopkins, Bo Diddley, the Drifters, and the Crystals. He’ll be joined tonight by Pete Whitman, saxophones; Keith Hilson, trombone, Adam Meckler, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Cory Wong, guitar. I had Peter on my show on Saturday, December 7. You can get the archived show here. The interview starts at about 20 minutes into the show.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Stellar trumpeter Kenny, a founding member of the Illicit Sextet, has surrounded himself with a group of young, hungry artists: pianist Will Kjeer is a high school senior who is a member of the Dakota Combo and free-lances around town; Thomas Strommen on sax is a former member of the Dakota Combo and no a sophomore at UW-River Falls, where he works with a number of ensembles; bassist Adam Tucker has been around for a number of years, playing in the Sextons and engineering albums for the heavy metal community, Jana Nyberg, and the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Finally, drummer Alex Burgess is another UW-River Falls student, studying drums with Craig Hara, composition with Dave Milne, and playing in Bad Habits Brass.

Tuesday, December 17

Bryan Nichols & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The Tuesday Night offerings at the AQ are not exactly an open jam, but a gathering of compatible musicians, who often surprise by trying out new tunes. Tonight the performance is led by pianist Nichols, who has established himself as an imaginative composer and interpreter.

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, December 11

Everett Smithson Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (441 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a gumbo of music, drawing on Louisiana, roots, gospel and the occasional hillbilly hoedown. Besides his wife Cathy on vocals and squeezebox, Smithson’s cohorts include Phil Schmid on guitar, Jeremy Johnson on drums, and Bill Black on bass. Tune in to get a taste and then head over to the 331 Club for a full serving.

Wednesday, December 11 – Saturday, December 14

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm Wed, Sat. 8pm & 10pm Thurs, Fri. ($35 – $70) Well-oiled and precision-driven as a Ferrari, this 10-piece horn driven group has filled dance floors with its Bay-area funk since 1968. Fans of old school R&B will not want to miss this event. Check them out.

Friday, December 13

All Star Blues Revue @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Get new soles on your dancing shoes, because this band will prognosticate the pleasure in your brain and extrapolate the rhythm in your rump. Harpmeister Harold Tremblay has put together a stellar line-up, including, Dan Schwalbe and “Good Time Willy: Williams, guitars; Allen Kirk, drums; Bruce McCabe, keys; and Michael Caravale, bass. BTW, Michael is moving to Paris for a few months to work with some musicians there, so this will be your last chance to see him for a while.

Cafe Societe @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Pianist/composer Mark Chergosky is back at the Trick, with son Michael on mandolin and viola, and Amelia Rivera on vocals. Cafe Societe plays French Cafe music and bossa novas, along with some American pop and jazz, and Chergosky’s originals.

Saturday, December 14

Eddies Yulefest VI @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($15) Fundraiser for Emergency Foodshelf Network.  With Barra, the MN Ceili band, and the HiBs (instrumentalists). This is the sixth edition of the Eddies annual party, and it’s grown so much that a bigger venue is in order. And how appropriate to have it at the Celtic Junction, given the guest artists. It’s always an evening of warm music, made that much more enjoyable by the Eddies good-hearted hosting and singing.

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

Lowertown Santacon VI @ Lowertown Venues, Saint Paul. 6pm – late night (Free) This pubcrawl visits six venues in and around Lowertown, and is a true example of a community-organized event. Revelers dressed as Santas, Elves, Reindeers, or any imaginary person/creature of the season will start out at Golden’s Deli and trek to the Black Dog, Barrio & Bulldog, Mears Park, the Gopher Bar and Senor Wong’s. Expect the Brass Messengers to be parade leaders, a performance by fire-dancers at Mears Park, and an over-stuffed bag of other fun moments. A complete schedule and other information can be found here.

Jillian Rae CD Release Concert @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 7:30 ($15) The talented violinist/singer/songwriter first lit up the stage leading the Killer Hayseeds, and as a member of Two Many Banjos, and Steve Kaul’s Brass Kings. Since then she’s formed her own group to play her own compositions and occasionally defying audience expectations. Rae has released an album of heartache, titled Heartbeat and is celebrating its release tonight with opening acts by Gallupstar and The Honeydogs. Here she is with a surprising cover.

Sunday, December 15

The Roe Family Singers Bluegrass Brunch @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 1pm. Here’s a morning pick-me-up for breakfast that will set toes tapping and hearts laughing. The Roe Family Singers do bluegrass and old time music, while ringleader/poppa Quillan Roe lets loose with the occasional corny joke. It’s family friendly.

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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