Enjoy Live Music! 2.21-2.27

February 21, 2018

My jazz picks for this week all feature resident artists, which is a testament to the breadth and depth of our jazz scene. We have a few visiting artists in blues, roots, and other, as well as a surfeit of resident artists bringing original arrangements and songs for our pleasure. The weather is beginning to let up a bit, so get out and let the music lift your spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 21

Lila Ammons & Tom West @ Sociable Cider Works, 1500 Fillmore St, NE, Minneapolis. 6:30-7:30pm (No Cover) Enjoy some craft beers and listen to some bluesy jazz (or jazzy blues) from Ms Ammons and pianist Tom West.

Peter Schimke & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Pianist Schimke brings together some veterans and an up and coming trumpeter: Pete Whitman, sax; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Debbie Duncan Celebrates Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Twin Cities “First Lady of Song” celebrates the birthday of Nina Simone, the singer-pianist-songwriter who tackled folk, blues, jazz, Ellington, and Broadway tunes, in addition to writing a number of fiery songs of freedom.

Thursday, Feb 22

Beth and Adi Yeshaya @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This week vocalist Beth Yeshaya will be joined with her husband Adi for Thursday Vocal Night. Adi Yeshaya is a composer, arranger & pianist,whose credentials include creative collaborations with some of the world’s top artists, including three years as string arranger for Prince. Here’s an example of Beth’s singing. Adi on piano.

Friday, Feb 23

Cody Steinmann Sightless Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Guitarist Cody Steinmann recently moved here from Milwaukee, and he’s wasted no time putting a group together, with: Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Magraw, guitar; and Gravatt, drums; are two of the finest musicians around. They have a natural communication, which only adds to the musical magic. Her’s an example of their playing, from their album, Fire on the Nile.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 23, 24

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm 10, $15) With winning songs from the Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composer/percussionist Davu Seru, Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert celebrates the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. The program includes the world premiere of Seru’s new work Dead King Mother, which tells the story of a near-forgotten event in North Minneapolis and United States civil rights history that has been with Seru since early childhood. You may recall that I noted a read-through of the work a few weeks back.

Saturday, Feb 24

MN Hard Bop Collective’s Hope Sextet @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer/leader Jesse Simon once again brings a group of like-minded players together, this time to perform the music of pianist Elmo Hope. Featuring: Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Clay Puhfal, sax; Jeff Rinear, trombone; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. Her’s a slightly different version of the group.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set is by Ahmed & the Creators: Ahmed AbdulKarim, Trumpet; Doug Little, Saxophones;  Batume, Drums; Matt McIntyre, Bass. Headlining tonight at 8:30 is Twilight Sentinel: Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophones; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Sunday, Feb 25

Andrew Walesch Big Band; Sinatra! @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch has a good thing going with this big band and their Sinatra show. Be forewarned. They perform only a few times a year, guaranteeing lines out the door to see them.

Tuesday, Feb 27

Bryan Nichols’ Two Trios @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a unique evening, as tonight’s show will feature an acoustic piano, all the better to highlight pianist Nichols’ modern approach to playing. Nichols will be part of two trios: The James Buckley Trio with Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums, and The Bryan Nichols Trio with Chris and JT Bates on bass and drums.

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, Feb 21

Big Trees on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Big Trees is: Frank Boyle, Bill Smith, Doug Lohman, & Pat Lesney. They’ll be playing original songs and some of their favorites, including blues, jazz, country, western. They say their music is “whatever you want to call it.”

Thursday, Feb 22

Cate Fierro’s Tribute  To Sade @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Fierro has long been known as a powerful singer, thanks to her membership in a number of Mick Sterling’s horn-driven bands, leading her own band, and in others. Tonight she’ll be working with the sensual music of Sade.

SPCO @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Brooklyn-based composer Ljova goes back to his Klezmer roots as the opener to this chamber music performance at Icehouse. The program includes works by Zhurbin, Kodaly (Kodaly’s Serenade captures the folk music of Ljova’s native Hungary), and Beethoven.

Friday, Feb 23

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) This early evening gig is a bit different than usual, in that there is an opening act – Slim Willie & the Ride. Additionally, Harpmeister Barry and the Ace Tones will have a Special Guest: our very own Soul Man, Willie Walker.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($32 – $58) This nine person group from South Africa has been wowing audiences all over the world ever since Paul Simon used them on his Graceland album. Though some of the older members have retired since then, new, young members bring fresh energy to the group. The deep sonorities of their harmonies are simply thrilling.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minnepolis. 9pm ($15) Guitarist Allison has certainly grown into his own man since the passing of his dad 20 years ago. Let It Go, his latest album, was released on Feb 2, and has already reached #2 on Billboard’s Blues chart. Reviews credit his songwriting as well as his playing, which looks to the future while acknowledging the past. His very tight band certainly helps.

Saturday, Feb 24

Joyann Parker: The Music of Patsy Cline @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12, $20) Parker is a multi-talented performer, playing guitar, piano, and writing and singing her own songs, though she’s also capable of great interpretations of other’s songs. Tonight in the intimate Dunsmore Room, she leaves the blues and R&B that she’s noted for and heads in a slightly different, but often emotionally similar music – the classic country of Patsy Cline.

Roux & Rue/Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Roux & Rue – No Cover), 9pm (Walker – $12) Catch Nikki Roux & Rich Rue (of Nikki & the Rue-Mates) at 6:30, and stick around for an original soul singer, Willie Walker, whose most recent album, After A While, with The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, was nominated for 5 Blues Awards, and received a four-star review in Downbeat, which was followed a month later in the same magazine with a laudatory story.

Sunday, February 25

Harrison’s Jukebox @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm Doors (Free) Music written and inspired by George Harrison and his jukebox featuring The Basement Band, Kyx, and Curtiss A, with special guests.

Anders Osbourne Acoustic @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35, $40), 8pm ($25, $30,$35) Attention guitar lovers. You’ll want to see New Orleans guitarist Osborne, who has been honored numerous times by various and sundry periodicals and organizations in that music-savvy town. Tonight the electric bluesman is going acoustic. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said, “Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes.”

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) This all-cello quartet was begun last year, to play original arrangements of popular tunes. Members are: Rachelle Smith, Amanda Burgdorf, Catherine Canon, andJulia Floberg.

Also: Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free)

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm

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.


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays: 12.20 – 12.26

December 20, 2017

Toy Trains at Christmas

Or to put it more humorously and inclusively, Happy Chriskwanzacuh – and don’t forget the celebration of Winter Solstice, since we can look forward to increasing daytime light after Thursday. This is a time of year when a number of faiths and cultures have special celebrations, and if you don’t practice those faiths, you can nevertheless appreciate and even enjoy some of their traditions (including setting up toy trains). You still have the opportunity to hear great music throughout our area, though admittedly, you might have to settle for watching Netflix and getting Chinese takeout on December 25. Besides a couple of holiday shows, we can choose from the last appearance in town by the original Bad Plus, a couple of dance-oriented bands, and some roots music. Whatever your traditions at this time of year, enjoy the season, and remember, music lifts the spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 20

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Pianist Chris Lomheim gathers Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums; for an evening of swinging tunes and subtle ballads. Here is what Lomheim sound like in a trio setting.

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 10pm (Free) Original eclectic jazz and creative covers from pianist/composer Mark Vandermyde, with Jason Parvey, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums.

Wednesday, Dec 20 – Saturday, Dec 23

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) Since the turn of this century, Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Kennedy, bass; and Dave King, drums; have been making annual visits to the Dakota to present their iconoclastic jazz, reimagining rock hits and jazz standards while creating songs that are often as quirky as their titles (i.e., 1979 Semi Finalist, Epistolary Echoes). This is the last gig featuring pianist Iverson, who is leaving the group after their New Year’s Eve appearance at the Village Vanguard. His droll wit will be missed, but he’ll be ably replaced by Orrin Evans. Stay tuned….

Thursday, Dec 21

Holiday Piano Bar @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) The “Piano Bar” isn’t really such, since Jazz Central isn’t a bar. Nevertheless curator Sarah M. Greer describes the evening as part open mic, part jam session, and part caroling singalong. Ms Greer will host the evening, aided by pianist Jon de Vall. Bring instruments, charts, your lyric sheets and requests.

Belle Amour Holiday Show @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Looking at their website, it appears that this four-piece group – vocalist, keys, bass, drums – seems to specialize in wedding and corporate gigs. It appears that Graydon Peterson is on bass, though I don’t recognize the other performers. Listening to their songs reveals a tight, jumping outfit that plays vintage jazz, including songs from Bessie Smith, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, The Andrew Sisters, and other performers from the 1930s and 40s. Their music is bright, breezy, and fun.

Aerosol Pike @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Acoustic-based spontaneous composition from Philip Mann, Ryan Reber, and Rick Ness on horns (and other instruments?).

Friday, Dec 22

Peter Schimke Trio @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) The Lexington’s Williamsburg Room can be a bit noisy to fully appreciate the playing of pianist Schimke, who always has A-list players with him. Just sit close, enjoy a cocktail, and relax after doing your holiday shopping.

John Raymond’s Standards Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) Minneapolis native Raymond is a trumpeter/flugelhorn player who was called a “Rising Star” by no less than DownBeat Magazine. His four albums have all been well received by the NY Times, Downbeat, and Jazz Times. He’s currently Professor of Trumpet at Indiana University. His trip home provides us with a chance to hear him, accompanied by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Here he is with his New York group.

Saturday, Dec 23

Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15, $20) Carrothers, a pianist whose imagination is always inventive and far-ranging, seems to have fallen in love with the Dunsmore Room, as the Saint Paul native makes the trip from Michigan quite frequently to appear in various groups. He’s recorded 26 albums as a leader and has appeared as a sideman with a wide range of jazzers including Buddy DeFranco, Dave Douglas, Curtis Fuller, Billy Higgins, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Konitz, Dewey Redmanm, Toots Thielman, and more. He’ll be appearing solo to play on the 9-foot Steinway at the intimate listening room.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Cole Mahlum opens at 7pm, leading his own group. At 8:30pm bassist Ted Olsen appears with frequent collaborators Javi Santiago on piano; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom.

Sunday, Monday, Dec 24, 25

Merry Christmas! Enjoy a technicolor Christmas at the movies, or a Chinese meal for those who don’t practice the Christian faith.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Dec 26, 27

Connie Evingson: Holiday @ Dunsmore Lodge, Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($22) With its view of a snow-covered lake, the Dunsmore will easily bring to mind a cozy country lodge as Ms Evingson, of the cool, yet sultry voice, celebrates the season, accompanied by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Dave Karr, sax & flute; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Here’s a cut from her gorgeous Christmas album.

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, Dec 20

Ben Eaton on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Roots/Americana songwriter/guitarist Eaton is a native of Des Moines who now lives in Minneapolis. He’s working on a 5-song EP with drummer Dwight Dario, who used to live around here, and Matt Woods. Tonight he’ll have a 4-piece band with him, featuring guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson.

Thursday, Dec 21

Draper-Beckmen-Kiesling @ The Dubliner Pub & Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) The Twin Cities hardest-working washboard player teams up with bassist-around-town Liz Draper and Adam Kielsing (of Pert Near Sandstone) to play old-time music, country blues, early jazz, and maybe a holiday tune or two for your happy hour pleasure.

Friday, Dec 22

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?, $10?) Blues, swing, jump, jive, & jazz for dancing in the Ernie Mattson Ballroom at the commodious Eagles Club.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:45pm (Tip Jar) Though Dusty’s is under new ownership, they remain committed to providing the rootsy groups that have been appearing there for years. Example number 1: Nikki & the Rue-mates, whose folk-blue-rock has long been a Dusty’s favorite, often packing the place while they play in the “big green booth.” Nikki’s clarion voice and Rich Rue’s terrific fretwork are always a treat, with the added delight of guitarist Dean Mikkelson often sitting in to accompany Nikki on a jazz standard or two.

Saturday, Dec 23

Steeling Dan @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) You say you want to hear some heady, sometimes inscrutable lyrics, performed with cool, jazzy pop? Then this Steely Dan Tribute Band may deliver just what you need.

Joyann Parker Band @ Crooners’ Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover, but $10 guaranteed seat) Vocalist/pianist/guitarist Parker has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’s just right for the Pre-Christmas Saturday night crowd at Crooners. She’s been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, and represented Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society.

Sunday, Dec 24

Enjoy Christmas Eve!

Monday, Dec 25

Christmas With Robert Robinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) Get your gospel groove on with the highly popular and one-of-a-kind Robinson, who gets rave reviews wherever he appears. Some examples: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal called him “a volcanic talent,” while the Salt Lake City Desert New called his performance “glorious,” and the Star Tribune described him as a “soaring presence.”

Tuesday, Dec 26

Willie West @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Louisiana-born Willie West is a classic soul singer who recorded for Allen Toussaint with the score for the blaxploiotation film Black Samson, and later worked with The Meters in the late 70s and early 80s. He then worked all over Bourbon Street until Hurricane Katrina, after which he moved to Saint Cloud, where he currently lives. In the last few years he’s recorded with some Finnish funk/soul groups (see video), and still has the vocal prowess and emotional power that makes a soul singer a soul singer.

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.


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