The Music Never Stops: 5.17 – 5.23

May 17, 2017

Well, we’re making our way through May, and to paraphrase the Grateful Dead used to sing, The Music Never Stops. We’ve got it all, from neo-soul to brass bands, to great jazz artists and lots of dancing. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 17

Selby Avenue Brass Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Again, I’d normally be listing Harold’s guest on the House Party under blues and roots, but the Selby Avenue Brass Band, with its combination of traditional New Orleans tunes and more contemporary fare, need to brought to the attention of jazz fans. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour for a taste of their sound, and head to the 331 if you like what you hear.

Standards Night, with Andrew Walesch, featuring Daniel Glass @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Daniel Glass is an award-winning drummer who was a member of the Royal Crown Revue, popular during the swing revival of the 90s. He’s recorded and performed all over the world with many top artists, including Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli. Tonight he teams up with singer/pianist Andrew Walesch to present American standards, with the backing of Dave Karr on Sax, and Veikko Lepisto on bass.

Thursday, May 18

Special EFX @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37), 9pm ($30) Special EFX was founded in 1983 by New York guitarist Chieli Minucci, a virtuoso who has been first call for artists ranging from mark Anthony and Jessica Simpson, to Bobby Caldwell and Gerald Veasley, among others. In addition to Minucci, the band includes Nelson Rangell, who is adept at soprano, alto, and tenor sax, as  well as being a genuine virtuoso on flute and piccolo. He’s also worked with many outstanding artists, including The Rippingtons, Patti Austin, and others. Finally, keyboardist Lao Tizer is a rising star in the continuing development of world fusion music.

Lorri Dokken & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Dokken, aka Ms. Piano Bar, is a cabaret artist and general all-around entertainer who has appeared on stages throughout the Twin Cities and the world. She’ll be supported by the Wolverines Trio – the finest set of accompanists in the Twin Cities.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) In a bit of a change from normal dates, tonight features two groups. The first is Below Zero, w/Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochelle-Share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; Nick Adam, drums. At 10:30 it’s the Steve Kenny Trio: Ted Olsen bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Kristen Lee Sergeant, featuring Ted Nash and the Jeremy Walker Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 Bar seating, $18 Table seating) Vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant has been turning ears and heads since her recent emergence on the NYC jazz scene. Her debut CD, Inside Out, was chosen as DownBeat Magazine’s Editor’s Pick last fall, praising her “buttery to deliciously tart” vocals and “dramatically fresh arrangements.” Resident pianist-bandleader-composer Jeremy Walker has long been friends with NYC saxophonist Ted Nash, who just won 2017 Grammys for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition. This promises to be a special show. Here’s Sergeant with Ted Nash.

Friday, May 19

Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Renz is a fine guitarist who teaches more than he plays out, though as a composer and performer he always impresses with his melodic creativity and sheer craftmaship. In addition to teaching in town, Renz runs a summer jazz camp in Ontarios for adults, and has recruited Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer as a vocal teacher this year. He tours the East Coast at least once a year, and only occasionally plays in town, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) You can’t go wrong when drummer Phil Hey leads his long-standing quartet through a dazzling mix of jazz standards and a few more “difficult” pieces, so to speak, with Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Hagedorn, drums.

Saturday, May 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Pat Moriary is a saxophonist and the music director at Roseville High School, where he manages to bring in some heavyweight talent to work with the schools bands. This week he’s bringing in pianist-composer Angelica Sanchez, who has played with such figures as Paul Motian, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Berne, Ben Monder, and Rob Mazurek. She leads several groups, including a nonet with Roseville HS grad Michael Attias. Her music always offers the sound of surprise, whether she’s playing “free jazz with structure,” as the NY Times noted, or her own composed pieces, which always allow plenty of room for soloists. The evening will open with the Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease Quartet, an always surprising group: Moriarty, sax; Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. At 8:30pm Angelica Sanchez will take the stage with Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Zacc Harris’ American Reverie CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Harris and his group American Reverie have released a fine CD celebrating Americana music. Harris’ single note lines are particularly effective on songs by Woody Guthrie and Willie Nelson, among others.  Special guests for the evening include Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold and the Lesser Lakes Trio. I had him on my show on May 13, you can listen to the interview here.

Monday, May 22

Peter Kogan Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($10) In an unusual turn for the Icehouse, Peter Kogan and his quintet will present an early show before JT Jazz Implosion. As some of you may recall, Kogan is the former tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra who has been having much fun with jazz since he retired a few years ago. Tonight he brings in a multi-generational band: Kogan, drums; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman, Sax; Phil Aaron, keys; and Jeff Bailey, bass.

Tuesday, May 23

Maud Hixson: Judy Garland @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Vocalist Hixson, who recently received a glowing review in the Chicago Tribune, will celebrate the music of Judy Garland, accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson. Here’s what was said: “Hixson’s slightly gauzy tone and breezy phrasing evoked cool-school singers of the 1950s such as June Christy, Chris Connor and Anita O’Day. Yet there was nothing historic nor nostalgic about Hixson’s manner, her inherent swing sensibility driving the music unstoppably forward. She benefited significantly from the pianism of Rick Carlson, whose buoyant accompaniment referenced the stride-style wizardry of Waller and James P. Johnson.” Here she is at a Sylvia Sims Tribute.

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 17

Lisa Wenger and Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Blues-based American roots music, performed by Wenger, whose sweet/gritty vocals appeal to a wide swath of listeners, and whose band can rock the blues, New Orleans R&B, and reworked versions of rockabilly classics.

Danceland @ Utephils Brewing, 225 Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis. 7pm-9pm (No Cover) This is a new band, named for teenage dance palaces of yore, which gives a bit of a hint to their repertoire. The band is led by drummer William Thompson, and includes Karl Von Gorhen, keyboards; Tom Lewis, bass; Scot Ives, guitar; and features Maurice Jacox on vocals, sax, and flute. Their songs include Me and Mrs Jones; For Your Precious Love, Inner City Blues, and other old school favorites. Stop by, hear some great music, and if you’re hungry Potter’s Pasties food truck will be there.

Thursday, May 18

Mooseknuckle Brothers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Rockin’ blues for a Thursday night.

Friday, May 19

Paul Cebar @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) The dance-inducing sounds of Paul Cebar and his band always draws a crowd to the large dance floor at Wilebski’s. Using a combination of R&B, Caribbean, African, and other world rhythms, Cebar & company create a celebration of finger-pippin, hip-shakin sounds.

Taylor Hicks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Hicks popped into national consciousness on American Idol, where more than 200 million people tuned in to see him win the Season 5 Finale. His soulful voice reflects a Southern upbringing, where he was exposed to soul music, blues, and country music. Before Idol, played throughout the Southeast, sharing stages with folks like James Brown, Tom Petty, Robert Randoph, and Keb Mo, among others. Once he left Idol, his debut single, Do I Make You Proud, entered the charts at #1, while his self-titled debut album reached #2 a bit later.

Scottie Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 reserved seats are available up front) High energy blues, soul, and rock n’ roll from Miller, a pianist-singer-songwriter whose influences range from Professor Longhair and Dr. John to Bruce Springsteen and The Band.

Complicated Fun @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 door) This is a book release party for Cyn Collin’s Complicated Fun, which describes the influential Minneapolis music scent from 1974 – 1984. A number of bands from that era will be performing, some of whom are reuniting. They include: the Hypsterz; Gondwana; Flamin’ Oh’s; Flamingo; and Curtiss A & the Dark Click.

Saturday, May 20

Lonesome Dan Case/Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Lonesome Dan – No Cover), 9pm (Parker – ?$) A double bill of blues, starting with Lonesome Dan Case and his modern take on 30s blues, rags, and hollers for the dinner hour. Then vocalist Joyann Parker takes over, with her powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence.

Commander Cody @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Back in the late 60s, when the nascent country-rock scene was developing, Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen upended things a bit with satirical takes on classic country. Their first hit, the hi-test fueled Hot Rod Lincoln, was a throwback to the 50s, when it was a hit by Charlie Ryan. Then they followed it up with such subversive songs as (Down to) Seeds and Stems Again, Mama Hated Diesels, and The Kentucky Hills of Tennesee, among others. Commander Cody (George Frayne) disbanded the group in 1976, but returned to the studio in 2009 and has been touring ever since, bringing his foot-stompin’ mix of classic country, rockabilly, and swingin’ music to old and new fans alike.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you’re not interested in dropping a couple of sawbucks on a show, or maybe you just want to hear some basic sounds of the 60s. If that’s the case, the Silvertones, with their mix of garage hits, folk-rock, and girl group sounds, may be just the band you need to hear.

Sunday, May 21

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Founded in 2017, the Delphia Cello Quartet plays original arrangements of popular tunes. It’s members are: Rachelle Smith; Amanda Burgdorf; Katherine Canon; and Julia Floberg. All play in a variety of groups, from orchestras to pit bands, to folk groups.

Monday, May 22

PaviElle @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Vocalist PaviElle French grew up in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, and in the last couple of years has become an advocate of black soul music for the Millenial generation. She’ was voted Best R&B Vocalist of 2015 by City Pages, and has been featured on TPT’s Lowertown Line. You’ll hear her originals and a couple of surprising covers, all done with a contemporary outlook and echoes of 70’s R&B.

Jon Rodine @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Whether singing songs by Doug Sahm, Dan Penn, Bob Dylan, or his own originals, Jon Rodine creates groove-driven rock n’ roll, with a touch of soulful country to boot. He’s played and recorded with a who’s who of Midwest musicians, including Ray & Glover, Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen, Paul Cebar, and Benson Ramsey of the Pines, among others. He deserves wider recognition, even here in his home town.

Tuesday, May 23

Peter Himmelman @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Singer-songwriter and guitarist Himmelman is a metro-area native who started out in the reggae/calypso band Shangoya back in the early 80s and went on to form Sussman Lawrence. His career has blossomed to include TV and film composing, children’s entertaining and webcasting. Time Magazine said of him, “Himmelman writes songs with the same emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency that impelled the Lost Generation to write novels.” Opening is Dan Israel  who has won a number of awards as a songwriter, and released a string of critically acclaimed albums in the 90s and ‘00s.

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.


Lovers and Music: 2.8 – 2.15

February 8, 2017
Clearly thinking: Valentines Day - Meh!

Clearly thinking: Valentines Day – Meh!

Well, Valentine’s Day is upon us, and I only have a few things for those of you who have yet to make reservations for the evening. Of course, maybe, like a grumpy cat, you’re not celebrating this year, which is fine. Anyhow, we still have good music to enjoy during the week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 8

Schmidt, Magraw & Nichols @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Though Claudia Schmidt has amassed a great following during her four decades as a singer/songwriter, and charming storyteller, she has primarily worked as a folk singer. However, she would often include a standard or two in her concerts, and has successfully stepped out as a jazz singer on a number of occasions. She’s worked with guitarist Dean Magraw many times, but this is the first time in over ten years that she has worked with pianist Bryan Nichols as well as Magraw. Here are Claudia and Dean doing a folky number.

Bates, Nordlund, & Sanborn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s another evening where bassist Chris Bates brings together some musicians for a night of fine jazz, including both originals from the group, and jazz standards. JT Bates may add his drums to the mix.

Thursday, February 9

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s featured act is the Phil Hey Quartet, with Hey on drums; and Phil Aaron, piano; Dave Hagedorn, vibes: and Chris Bates, bass. This is a swinging group of veterans who have played together for years, attacking the music of Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, and others with verve and panache.

Rachel Holder & The Wolverines @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 (No Cover) Vocalist Holder was studying classical music at the U when she heard a jazz performance and switched to McNally Smith, where she studied with Judi Donaghy Vinar, Debbie Duncan, and Pete Whitman, among others. About ten years later, she now teaches at McNally as well as at Macalester, and gigs around town, as a soloist and featured singer with folks like Bruce Henry, the George Mauer Group, Vital Organ, The Girls, and others. With a supple voice that’s a bit throaty and sensuous, she’ll be accompanied by the always swinging Wolverines Trio: Rick Carlson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jendeen Forburg, drums. Here she is with George Mauer.

Katia Cardenas @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Cardenas is an energetic, hard working vocalist whose debut CD, I’ll Be Seeing You, has been well-received, with much airplay on KBEM. She has a natural, soulful sound, that she uses to great affect on jazz standards and the occasional pop/R&B number by Amy Winehouse or Beyonce.

Friday, February 10

Shaun Johnson Big Band Experience @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) This isn’t your father’s (or grandfather’s) big band experience. Johnson creates modern day mixes that cross genres. Johnson attended Saint John’s University and settled in Saint Cloud, where he started his career with Tonic Sol-fa, the vocal quintet that’s sold two million records. He’s still an active member of that group, but decided to bring a new approach to big band music, honoring folks like Frank Sinatra, while acknowledging Michael Buble, and performing songs from across the music spectrum. Here’s an example.

Saturday, February 11

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s UW Eau Claire Jazz night, with an opening set at 7pm by the UW Eau Claire Jazz Combo 1, and the Michael Shults Quintet at 8:30pm. Shults, a saxophonist who teaches at Eau Claire, will be joined by Aaron Hedenstrom, sax, who did his undergraduate work at Eau Claire; as well as  Chris Bates, bass; Javier Santiago, piano, and a drummer TBA.  Here’s a slightly different version of the quintet.

Sunday, February 12

Cole Mahlum Jam @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm ($5) Get your dose of Hammond B3 music as guitarist Cole Mahlum leads a jam session.

Monday, February 13

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s the Acme Company’s monthly gig, bringing you big band music and the vocals of Arne Fogel.

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, February 8

Doug Otto & the Getaways on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Mournful, down home sounds from Doug and the guys, performing music that ranges from originals, to Merle Haggard, Hank Williams, Buddy Guy, and Robert Johnson. Here’s a video from their residency at the late Nyes.

Thursday, February 9

Anda Union @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Formed in 2000, Anda Union is a ten-piece band of Mongolians who come from differing ethnic nomadic cultures of Mongolia. They bring together a wide range of musical instruments and vocal styles (including throat singing) from tribal and music traditions throughout Inner Mongolia, finding their inspiration in old and almost forgotten songs.

Quirkestra @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul 8pm (Tip Jar)  A five-piece band playing a blend of Americana, 60s R&B, Reggae, Swing, & Jazz.

Lonesome Dan Case @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Ahh, with his trademark fedora and fleet guitar, Lonesome Dan is a man who evokes the blues of the 30s blues and wraps them in the trials and tribulations of modern day society.

Friday, February 10

Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10??) Gifted songwriting, rhythms that span New Orleans, Chicago, Africa, and the Caribbean, and a rhythm section that will have the soles of your dancing shoes light up from friction. Milwaukee guitarist/songwriter/singer Paul Cebar has not only earned a rabid following, but has managed to keep it over the last three decades.

The Pachanga Society, with Dan Newton @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) The Pachanga Society  alls from the Saint Cloud area, and has been in existence for 15 years. Tonight, they present “Crossing Borders: An (im)migration story in words, images, and Woody Guthrie songs.” Using searing guitar, haunting wooden flute and pan-flutes, charango, Cuban tres, keyboards, bass and tight, world-beat percussion, they have built a repertoire that includes classic songs from all over the Caribbean and Latin America, new arrangements of some Rock and Country standards, and a good, steady dose of original compositions.

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Lil’ Ed  s an electrifying, raucous slide guitarist who learned from one of the best – his uncle Homesick James. You’ll be hard pressed to find any blues guitarist who will fire you up so much with his stage presence.

Joyann Parker & Annie Mack @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So, we’ve got Joyann Parker and Annie Mack on the bill. They are two of the area’s fine female blues performers for one night. Both are equally at home writing their own material as they are singing classic blues and R&B.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, February 10, 11, 12

Be My Nasty Valentine @ Bryant-Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Here’s a non-traditional look at Valentine’s Day, as this show is subtitled Songs of Love and Liberation. As described, Mistress Ginger is “gonna sing and dance her way into your hears and inter your pant, saving the world while she’s at it.” Mistress Ginger will be accompanied by Lori Dokken, piano; Dustin Jensen, drums; and Noah Welter, on bass. Here is Mistress Ginger with the Wolverines Trio.

Saturday, February 11

Cate Fierro Sings Sade @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance, $20 Door) The show is actually titled “Stronger Than Pride: The Passionate Songs of Sade.” It was about a year ago that Fierro, an in-demand soul singer around town, debuted her tribute to Nigerian-born English singer Sade to much acclaim. She’ll be doing 22 songs from Sade’s catalog, spanning the albums Diamond Life (1984) to Lover’s Rock (2000), and using her soulful voice to good effect on the slow-burn intensity of Sade’s numbers. Here she is, tackling a standard.

Soul Tight Committee @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free drink) Old, Old School R&B from a ten-piece horn band for those who simply want to dance.

The Eddies @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar) The weather on Saturday is supposed to be relatively mild, just right for getting out to hear songs of life, love, death, and work. Now a quartet, the Eddies are a friendly, charming group of men who sing songs they remember, from old ballads of walking among cemeteries, to Bob Marley, and Sympathy for the Devil. Sometimes they even change up a word or two in order to make a mild political statement, but whatever they sing, they end the night walking through the bar and toasting all who are present.

Sunday, February 12

35th Annual Battle of the Jug Bands @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. Doors: 12:30pm. Ends 8pm ($5 Suggested Donation) It’s the annual battle for the coveted Holliwood Waffle and Pancake Irons, that is, if they don’t get hijacked by dastardly losers. The rules are plain. Kitchen instruments, so to speak, and no rehearsals. An intriguing or funny name helps, but is no guarantee.  Proceeds are donated to the Dave Ray/Bill Hinkley Memroial Fund. Though it’s not a very good video, this 2013 performance will give you an idea of what occurs.

Kelly Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 – $30) It would be easy to call Kelly Hunt a boogie-woogie piano player, but that wouldn’t begin to encompass her gifts. Even the record charts list her in multiple genres – blues, Americana, and Adult Alternative, among others. Hunt is a piano-pounder, for sure, but this powerful singer will entrance and delight with her stories, all the while keeping your kiester moving as she lays out a ferocious beat with her left hand.

Monday, February 13

Maceo Parker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $50), 9pm ($25 – $40) Saxophonist Maceo Parke  was just another hard-working sideman in James Brown’s band until Brown said “Maceo, I Want You to Blow” during I Got You (I Feel Good). Since then, his name has become synonymous with funk, though he is also a skilled jazzman. Back in 2011 I managed to get an interview with him which you can read here.

Tuesday, February 14

Michael Monroe @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 7pm ($20)  Monroe is a charming singer/songwriter who has been performing for forty years, charming audiences with his wit and songwriting. He’s a self-taught musician who plays guitar, ukelele, and glass bamboo flutes who can be as romantic as necessary for this day.

Third Annual Valentine’s Day Variety Show @ O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7pm ($29 – w/various discounts) Storyteller extraordinaire Kevin Kling, brings together some musical friends for an evening of “dynamic duos, tender trios, and oh solo-me-ohs” on love. Musical friends include Dan Chouinard, Bradley Greenwald, Prudence Johnson, Simone Perrin, Claudia Schmidt and Dane Stauffer, along with special guest writer/director Ali Selim, known for the movie Sweet Land.  Here’s an example of Kling’s storytelling abilities.

Music for Lovers @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25, $65 Dinner Show) This annual event put together by Lisa Wenger and Billy Larson has been presented at a number of venues around town, though I don’t think the option of a 3-Course Dinner has been offered before. Celebrate the date with Lisa Wenger + Billy Larsobn; Deb Brown + Brian Z; Sena Ehrhardt + Cole Allen; Jennifer Grimm + Joe Cruz; and Tamara Barnett + Phil Barnett. Don’t have any videos of the couples, but here’s one of Lisa Wenger.

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.


Lotsa Choices. Music: 7.6 – 7.12

July 6, 2016
Where to go? What to hear?

Where to go? What to hear?

Another week and more visiting artists, more interesting combinations of resident artists, some new bands, a CD release, and a couple of outdoor events. All in all, another good week for music lovers. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 6

Unknown-2Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Where else can you hear two such stellar musicians for a fin, to use an old term. Guitarist Magraw can play acoustically, bring a bit of Hendrix to Coltrane on electric guitar, and turn around and effortlessly play Irish music and the blues. Thompson, who is at home on piano and clarinet, has spent 45 years studying and playing early jazz around the world.

The Exceptional Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Bassist Anthony Cox continues to bring surprising combinations of musicians to his monthly Wednesday night gig at Jazz Central. Tonight he’s joined by tabla master Marcus Wise and violinist Laura Hirada.

Thursday, July 7

Surprise Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This quintet tackles the music of such rock n’ pop stars as The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and more, restructuring them into jazz, funk, Latin, and other types of music. Rachelle Smith, vocals; Evan Bendt, sax; Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Phil Hey Quartet is the main attraction tonight, back in town after a successful appearance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend: Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Hey on drums. The opening act is the Julian Manzara Quartet: Drew Stinson, bass; Geo Randall, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, drums, and Manzara, guitar.

Friday, July 8

Todd Harper’s CD Release Party @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper celebrates the release of 9th Stream Music, a delightful collection of Harper’s compositions, which seem somewhat familiar, yet always hold a surprise or two, such as the use of Aaron Kerr’s cello, and the playful sound of Nathan Hanson’s soprano saxophone. Others on the CD include drummer Eric Coursen, and Keith Yanes on bass viol.

Hoaxer @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Charlie Lincoln, bass; with Peter Goggin, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Each of the band members have contributed an original to tonight’s playlist.

Paul Harper Bardo Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Harper has been in the Illicit Sextet since its beginning two decades ago, and regularly appears with Charmin & Shapira, Spirit Jazz, Roos & Harper, and with his own ensembles: Show & Tell, and the Chordless Quartet. Tonight he assembles a band of first listers: Joel Shapira, guitar; Nathan Norman, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Drummer Kogan recently retired as principal tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and set to work putting together two well-recieved albums, both of which teem with energy and imagination, covering hard bop, bebop, and postbop sounds. He’s recruited a stellar quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s something from his second album.

Saturday, July 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm it’s the Pete Snell Trio, with Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Snell on drums. At 8:30, it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, July 10

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzy Math is Mark Vandermyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; Matt Peterson, bass. Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House.

Monday, July 11

Bruce Henry @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 with Dinner) Even though vocalist Henry moved to Chicago a few years ago, he regularly returns to the Twin Cities to perform. He’s an imaginative singer and arranger, and always has a band of fine musicians to accompany him.

Tuesday, July 12

Vanessa Trouble, w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Trumpeter Charlie Caranicas is originally from Minnesota, and studied at the UofMN before heading to the Big Apple after graduation. He’s performed with folks like Karryn Allison, the Chico  O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Orchestra. He and his quartet will perform at 7pm, and then at 9pm he and vocalist Vanessa Trouble will perform. Trouble has an affinity for traditional jazz. In addition to songs from her two CDs, you can expect songs that are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings with Louis Armstrong. Here’s the two of them.

For more listings, 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 6

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke on KFAI and @ The 331Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) KFAI is broadcasting live from Indeed Brewing in NE Minneapolis this afternoon, starting with Jackson Buck’s Freewheeling Show at 2pm. Harold’s House Party continues at 4pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke appearing during the 5pm hour. He then heads to the 331 Club for a 7pm show. Luedtke has been performing in the upper Midwest for over 40 years, gaining some international experience along the way. He’ll be playing acoustic and solo, showing off some of his fine flatpicking as he regales us with the blues.

Katy Vernon Band @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Vernon’s melancholy and very British acoustic pop (with overtones of Americana) has endeared her to Twin Citizens of all stripes. Her album, Present, was one of the year’s Top 10 for the Pioneer Press and Album of the Year in the Country/Folk category for L’Etoile Magazine. Bring a picnic, lay back, and enjoy her charming patter and learn how she’s become known as a singer of sad songs using a happy instrument – her ukelele.

XIXA @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) This Tucson band plays Chicha music, that Peruvian combination of Cumbias and rock n’ roll, using swirling, psychedelic guitars, a skittering farfisa, and infectious, dance-inducing Latin rhythms. Matt Jennings, who knows a thing or two about cross-cultural musical influences himself, opens.

Thursday, July 7

Blues U Social Hour @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition and Blues U, which is bringing talented teens from across the country to play together and learn from professionals, are sponsoring this free event, which features music from Colin Campbell & the Shackletones and Tres Leches.

Pines @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Benson Ramsey, and David Huckfelt are native Iowans who met in Arizona and proceeded to make music together, moving to the Twin Cities and releasing their first album in 2004. Since then, the Pines have crossed the country, bringing their blend of indie-folk/Americana roots to new fans wherever they appear. They add a rhythm section for some dates, but it appears that Benson’s brother Alex is performing with them for this tour. Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola opens.

Friday, July 8

Ipso Facto @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) It’s an evening of outdoor Reggae at Rice! Ipso Facto has been playing a blend of reggae, funk, and even a bit of jazz since the early 80s, and has been called “the best reggae band ever to emerge from Minnesota’s Tundra” by City Pages. Ryan Liestman’s Reggae Revival opens.

Debo Band @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This is the opening concert in a summer of African music at the Cedar, and features an 11-piece band, with instrumentation reminiscent of Easter European brass bands, playing Ethiopian pop. They are led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, and use traditional Ethiopian scales and vocal styles, integrating them with American soul and funk rhythms.

Drew Druckery & the Dharma Hounds @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Members of this quartet have played in various rock and roots bands around town for over a decade. Together, their sound encompasses blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock, making for a combustible combination. Drew Druckery, vocals, guitar; Paul Mikolich, keys/B3; Joshua Walton, bass; Brett Behrens, drums.

Saturday, July 9

Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a band that can vary in size from 5 to 16 pieces, depending on the occasion. The Pan Handlers may have a full rhythm section, or simply be a collection of differently tuned steel drums. No matter the size, their repertoire ranges from Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to Bob Marly, and calypso favorites Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get yourself some rockabilly and Western Swing from this trio, formed in 1984 by ace guitarist Rick Hollister. He’s joined by Jack Erickson on bass; and Patricia Halverson on drums.

Sunday, July 10

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover)  Spend Sunday afternoon and early evening grooving and dancing to the soulful sounds of Mr Walker  whose soulful singing goes back to the 60s when he recorded a few singles for Goldwax and Chess. His latest album, Nothing Ever Changes, was nominated for three Blues Music Awards.

Tuesday, July 12

Rockin’ Rondo with Bruce Henry and Friends @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 8:30pm. Though he might have sung jazz last night at the Dunsmore Room, Henry will undoubtedly take a turn towards danceable R&B tonight to celebrate the community that was Rondo. Saint Paul Welcome Hat will have a ceremony during the evening to introduce newcomers to the city to its businesses, music and culture. Weather permitting, this will be outdoors on the History Center’s plaza. Bring a picnic or buy food and drinks on-site.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12,13

Sarah Jarosz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $35) Jarosz is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has just released her fourth album, Undercurrent. though she’s a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, she has already received Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations with her first two records. Jarosz is from the Austin Texas area and has appeared on Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC, and have garnered highly positive reviews in publications ranging from Mojo and Paste, to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The Brother Brothers open.

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.


Festival Season Takes Hold: 6.17 – 6.23

June 17, 2015
Maybe you'll see a car like this around the Twin Cities this weekend

Maybe you’ll see a car like this around town this weekend

It’s Fathers Day weekend, with the Stone Arch Festival taking place on and Saturday and Sunday, including a car show and four stages of music each day. And it’s the Annual Back To The 50s Car Show at the State Fairgrounds.  Though the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place next weekend, we’re already seeing some pre-festival events around Saint Paul. All in all, it’s a good week for music, and music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 17

The trio at work/play

The trio at work/play

Chris Bates good Vibes Trio @ Hamline Library, 1558 Minnehaha Ave, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (Free) The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is producing a number of pre-festival warm-up events, including this one, in which you’ll get to see a highly developed trio of musicians having fun as they play. Besides Bates on bass, there is Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums.

Pete Whitman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxman Whitman is a veteran of numerous sideman gigs with artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney to Dave Stryker and Jack McDuff. He’s also led a few excellent groups such as the X-Tet. He’ll be joined tonight by Chris Lomheim, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, June 18

Minnesota Jazz Orchestra @ Rock Island Swing Bridge, Inver Grove Heights. 6pm – 9pm (Free) You can catch this band once a month at the Wabasha Caves, but tonight they’re playing a swing dance for a swing bridge, as the Rock Island Swing Bridge is being dedicated as part of a trail.

Bob Fantuzzo & Katia Cardenas @ The Kingfield Porchfest, 4515 1st Ave So. Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Both amateur and professional musicians who live in the Kingfield neighborhood will be featured on the porches of over 20 homes, allowing residents and visitors to roam the neighborhood and hear music. Most of the other artists come from genres other than jazz.

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($32 – $37) Liebert is credited with creating the Nouveau Flamenco style of guitar, incorporating traditional flamenco music into a modern context, creating a smooth, sensual sound in the process. Since his debut release in 1989 he’s released 25 albums, received five Grammy nominations, and reached 38 gold or platinum levels of sales here in the United States, not to mention sales around the world.

Friday, June 19

Bill Frisell Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) There are few, if any, electric guitarists who are as eclectic and successful in their recording and playing as Frisell  He’s worked in mainstream and experimental jazz, as well as folk, classical, Brazilian, soundtrack, and pop realmsd. Whether doing covers of John Lennon tunes, playing with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, or recording old country tunes, Frisell brings imagination and an instantly recognizable sound to the fore. His latest CD, Guitar in the Space Age, celebrates the twangy, reverberating sounds of songs from the late 50s and early 60s. Tonight he’ll be playing with a different group than in previous visits: Tony Scher, bass; and Rudy Royston, drums.

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pemberton is a triple threat: composer, pianist, and trumpet player. And, he’s excellent in all three roles. He’ll be joined by two other excellent musicians: Matt Peterson on bass, and Corey Healey on drums. Here he is at the piano with a different trio.

Dakota Combo and Dean Granros’ Tall Tales @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Eight very talented high school musicians who have been studying with Adam Linz, in one of their last performances for the year. (They’ll also be at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and the Iowa City Jazz Festival.) If you ever hear anyone say jazz is dead, point them to the excitement that these young players generate. Stick around at 9pm for some veterans: Dean Granros and Zacc Harris, guitars; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Steve Hobert & Steve Pikal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s two Steve’s swingin’ as Hobert (keys) and Pikal (bass) take to the stage. The two have worked together in the Zack Lozier Three, and go together as easily as red beans and rice.

Saturday, June 20

Adam Meckler Quintet @ Episcopal Homes, 1850 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 1:30pm – 3:30pm (Free) Here’s a pre-festival event featuring trumpeter Meckle  and his group performing Meckler originals. He’s joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Doug Haining’s Twin Cities 7 @ Episcopal Homes, 1850 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) The fun continues at Episcopal Homes as saxophonist Doug Haining brings his swinging septet to the stage. I’m sure that residents of the Homes willing be happily tapping their feet, and if they aren’t actually dancing, they’ll be dancing in their heads.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (tip Jar) Featuring John Penny & Jay Epstein (7pm) and the Phil Hey Quartet at 9pm.  Tonight, the weekly jazz performance starts out with the bound to be satisfying duo of Penny on guitar and Epstein on drums. Then Phil Hey and his quartet take the stage to perform flawless interpretations of jazz standards by the likes of Chick Corea and Ornette Coleman. Besides Hey on drums the quartet includes Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron on piano. They’ve been working together many, many years, and it shows.

Sunday, June 21

Francisco Mela Trio @ The Downtown Central Library, Saint Paul. 2pm – 4pm (Free) Mela is the relatively young drummer/percussionist who is serving as the Musical Director for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He’s toured and/or recorded with the like of Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron, and McCoy Tyner. Mela’s debut CD was called one of the best albums of the year in 2006 by All About Jazz, and was picked as the best debut by the Village Voice.

Monday, June 22

Sarah M Greer & BLU-7 @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No cover) Greer is a versatile vocalist who is particularly adept at improvisational singing. She leads a regular vocal workshop in spontaneous singing called Songtaneous, and has appeared in a variety of venues around town.

Kurt Elling @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Elling is one of the finest jazz vocalists around, specializing in vocalese as well as scat singing, and bringing new interpretations to a song, whether it’s from Sam Cooke or Charlie Parker. His rich emotive voice has earned him a number of accolades, including the Downbeat Critics Poll 14 years in a row.

Geoff Senn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Senn can be seen around town in a number of bands around town, including the Explosion Big Band, as well as with Steve Kenny. Tonight he stretches out.

Tuesday, June 23

Lila Ammons @ Highland Stage, 730 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul. 7-8:30pm (Free) Another Pre-Festival event, this time in Highland area of Saint Paul, and featuring songstress Ammons, who is equally at home with jazz and blues.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 22, 23

Cecile McLorin Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30) Vocalist Salvant’s career is rising fast. She seems to specialize in unique reinterpretations of long forgotten early jazz tunes. She’s earned high praise from Wynton Marsalis and the NY Times, and has appeared at numerous festivals around the world. Her last appearance at the Dakota was packed with cheering fans.

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, June 17

Mother Banjo Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It seems that Gospel music is coming into its own in a couple of genre bending bands. There are a couple of “garage gospel” groups, and then there is Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo  who plays “pub gospel” on her third CD, The Devil Hasn’t Won. She’s won praise for her songwriting from artists such as John Gorka and Josh Ritter.

The Blasters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($22) Phil Alvin is leading this version of the Blasters without his brother Dave, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a high energy evening of rock n’ roll and rockabilly. There will be a packed house, I’m sure, that will be warmed up by Javier and the Innocent Sons.

Thursday, June 18

Reggae Sunsplash w/The Meditations @ The University Club of Saint Paul, Summit & Ramsey Hill. 5:30pm – 10pm. ($25 door) So we’ve got the Meditations as well as Irie Sol featuring Junior Williams, and a Reggae DJ and Jamaican Buffet ($10), all taking place poolside at the University Club on top of Ramsey Hill in Saint Paul. Advance tickets are available, including a VIP ticket ($55) with a drink and meet and greet. In case of rain, the concert will be held in downtown Saint Paul at the St. Paul Athletic Club.

Hmm, what should I play?

Hmm, what should I play?

Jillian Rae, with Pasadena 68 @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The weekly Music In Mears series is now in its 12th year of presenting bands on Thursday nights. All I know about Pasadena 68 is that it’s a rock n’ roll quartet. I can tell you about Jillian Rae  however, a talented fiddler/vocalist, who isn’t afraid of mixing up pop, rock, and old time music. She’s also a talented writer of original songs. There will be a number of food trucks available, as well as some adult beverages.

Birdstriking @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) This quartet from Beijing China is one of three bands on the bill. They are high energy, fierce rockers, with smart writing and arrangements, and hints of punk and psychedelia in their approach The other two bands for the night are Flavor Crystals and Magic Castles. From the Kitty Kat’s website, it appears that Birdstriking is the middle group, but one can never tell.

Saun and Starr @ The Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Saun and Starr have served as back-up singers to Sharon Jones and are now touring with Sharon and taking side gigs to promote their own new album on Daptone Records. Like Jones, they bring a contemporary perspective to their influence – medium tempo 60s soul. The evening also features Twin Cities own Gospel Machine and Tarik Thornton on the turntables.

Friday, June 19

Sweet Tea @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 10pm ($?) This quintet has been growing its fan base like crazy, as well they should. Lead vocalist Joy Ann has a strong voice, and is backed by an equally strong quartet of deep-rooted veterans led by guitarist Mark Lamoine.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 19, 20, 21

Drop the Mic ! @ Cowles Center, Minneapolis. Friday, Saturday, 7:30pm, Sunday, 2pm ($25) A cross-genre blend of dance, with live music, and DJing. The artists of Curio Dance will perform contemporary, traditional, and classical dance to live jazz trumpet, Latin congas, contemporary piano and a breakbeat DJ.

Saturday, June 20

The Tenderness Sessions @ Pepitos Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. Doors at 7pm, music at 8pm.  ($15 advance/$25 door) Soul music, both sweet and sweaty, as first performed by the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Wilson Picket. And who better to perform such music than resident soulmen Mick Sterling, Maurice Jacox, and Willie Walker. If you purchase tickets at the door, $10 of the price will go to saxophonist Pat Mackin, injured in a car accident last December.

Johnson, Babb, & Paul, with Mary Cutrufello @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($?) It’s hard to get rootsier than this group of artists. Cutrufello rocks out at 9pm, with her tear-in-your-beer story songs and rockin’ guitar, preceded by bluesman Baby Grant Johnson, along with Dave Babb (of the Liquor Pigs), and the sly “mayor of the West Bank,” percussionist Tony Paul as 7pm openers.

Rich Lewis Band @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:30pm (Tip Jar) Boomers and others who appreciate R&B, New Orleans, and Motown music can catch Lewis and his band at one of the best neighborhood bars in the Twin Cities. Get there early for a seat, and bring an ID if you want adult beverages. They’ve got a great selection of beers from Great Britain, Scotch and Irish whiskey, and British food, including Scotch eggs.

Sunday, June 21

Martha Davis & the Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) Here’s a show for Gen Xers and late boomers. The Motels burst on the music scene in 1982 with their LP All Four One, which produced a top ten song in Only The Lonely, and had three other singles reach the charts. The next year they again reached the Top Ten with Suddenly Last SummerMartha Davis has  been touring with various musicians as The Motels since the late 90s. Judging by recent videos, Davis’ voice remains strong, with a rueful tone which goes well with her songs.

Tuesday, June 23

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue @ Cabooze Plaza, Minneapolis. Doors 5:30/show 6:30pm ($35) Perhaps one of the most exciting young R&B musicians you may see in a long time, Trombone Shorty is a dynamic performer who knows how to work a crowd. He got his name as leader of a band at age six! He also plays trumpet and can acknowledge New Orleans jazz history and play contemporary funk and R&B at the same time, which has led to him having the closing show at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Today’s show also features Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hypsters, and the Jack Brass Band.

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.


Jazz, Rockabilly, Crawfish, and More. Music: 8.13 – 8.19

August 13, 2014
Crawfish, Crayfish - no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Crawfish, Crayfish – no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Summer in the City. It’s hard to beat, what with lakes and trees to help us keep cool, and hot music all about town. And hey, we’ve even got a crawfish (crayfish?) festival with finger-lickin’ music to lift our spirits and help us dance.

 

Jazz…

Wednesday, August 13
Vicky Mountain @ The Piazza on the Mall, Minneapolis. 5pm – 6:15pm (Free) Here’s an after-work treat for downtowners. The Piazza is set up in front of Westminster Church on 12th & Nicollet. There you’ll get to hear the wonderfully assured and melodic voice of Vicky Mountain, accompanied by James Allen on guitar and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Larry McDonough Quartet Anniversary of Simple Gifts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($5) It’s been ten years since pianist McDonogh released his album Simple Gifts. He’s celebrating with a full length performance of the album tonight.

Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) For those of you who didn’t stay up late to catch them at the Icehouse. See last week’s entry for Monday.

Thursday, August 14
Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Each Thursday you can find a vocalist performing at Jazz Central. Sometimes it’s someone who is established on the scene. Other times you can be delightfully surprised at a newcomer to the Twin Cities jazz scene. Zuther is one such singer.  She has sung a range of music from opera to country to jazz, appearing with variety bands in the Midwest and in musical theater here in town. She’s an alumna of the Cabaret Conference at Yale and is a founder of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The Bill Evans-inspired pianist and his fine trio (which includes Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) take their place in the series that features groups playing original compositions. Here’s a cut from this CD.

Friday, August 15
Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover)  Glen Helgeson, guitrar; Dave Stanoch, drums; Gary Schulte, violin, and Chris Bates, bass. Worldbeats combined with elements of modern and traditional jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The first jazz composer’s collective, or perhaps the one that we remember. Dave Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, tenor; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Keith Karns Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A 17 piece band led by trumpeter-arranger-composer Karns, whose arrangements are called dense but also rhythmic by the noted jazz critic Scott Yanow. The band includes Aaron Hedenstrom on sax and Brian Claxton on drums, both of whom performed earlier in the week with their own quintet. Here’s an example of them at work.

Saturday, August 16
Sublime Curve @ the Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This tiny bar feels a bit like a NYC bar in the 60s. It’s got good cocktails, a decent wine list and an award winning kitchen. There’s about 15 places at the bar, and 6-8 high top tables, so reservations are recommended. Anyway, Sublime Curve has been appearing hear every other month or so. The band includes: Jim ‘Tice, keys; Stevie D, percussion; Jeff Moe, bass; Marc Partridge, guitar; and Tom Church on sax. It’s not quite chamber jazz, but it’s far from raucous. Simply good music in a fine setting.

Monday, August 18
Fantastic Merlins @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) Brain Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums explore the sonic possibilities of original compositions, free improvisation, and reworking the occasional jazz standard.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Evan Montgomery Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Guitarist Montgomery has been off studying in California since last Fall. It’s good to have him back, even if for a little while, to see what he’s added to his clean technique.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Jazz doesn’t get much more sophisticated, or well played, than what is offered by this long-working group: Phil Hey, drums, Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Aaron on piano. You can expect tunes from Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Miles Davis, and others of that standing.

Tuesday, August 19
River City Jazz Orchestra @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like Tuesday has become Big Band Night in the Twin Cities. The kind folks at MMC are showcasing big bands for those who like an early show. Tonight, the River City Jazz Orchestra will play from a book that includes tunes by Basie, Dorsy, Ellington, Miller, and more.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested donation) Meanwhile, over in Mill City, The Explosion Big Bandm, led by Doug Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, will fill the intimate space at Jazz Central. When they recently played outdoors at the MN History Center, the Center reported they had the largest crowd, and largest number of dancers of any band that’s ever played there during their summertime series.

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, August 13
Tim Sparks on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) He’s a fingerpicking ace, with the awards and credentials to back up that sobriquet. Sparks‘ latest album, Chasin’ The Boogie, re-imagines songs from the Beatles, Roy Orbison, and Joni Mitchell, as well as gold standards and some gritty blues. Here he is doing I’ll Fly Away.”

The Holmes Brothers @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) By the time they were “discovered” in the late 80s, the Holmes Brothers already had years and years of experience, often backing singers ranging from Jerry Butler and John Lee Hooker to Jimmy Jones, originator of Handyman, not to mention playing blues in bars on Saturday nights and Gospel in churches on Sunday morning. All of which gives some insight into the winning way they can incorporate country, blue, doo-wop, gospel, and more into their act. It’s good to have them back after a long absence from our stages.

Rosie rocks out

Rosie rocks out

Thursday, August 14
Rosie Flores @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) If you didn’t catch Flores at the Guitar Festival last weekend, you still have a chance to get your “Rockabilly Jones” met. I don’t count you’ll be moving, so you may as well wear dancing shoes. Sweet Mama J opens at 9pm, Rosie Flores at 10:15pm

Friday, August 15
Candye Kane @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($8) Kane’s story is unbelievable. She has been called a survivor, a superhero, and the toughest girl alive. The jump blues singer is a mother of two and has been a pin up cover girl, and had sung punk rock, hillbilly music and blues by the time she was 21. Known for shows that are often a celebration of sexuality, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about seven years ago, and has undergone two surgeries since then. In spite of the fact that such cancer has poor survival rates, she’s still on the road, and still a dynamic performer. Ross Kleiner & the Thrill open. Candye Kane at 10:45pm. Here’s an example of what she’s been up to in the past year.

Jack Klatt & Charlie Parr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) In 2012 guitarist/singer Klatt recorded Mississippi Roll with Charlie Parr. This is their first chance to play together onstage. This is roots music that is authentic as can be.

Saturday, August 16
Crayfish Festival @ the Smack Shack, 6th & Washington, Minneapolis. Noon until…  ($40Advance/$50Door) Okay, so it’s not a free street festival, but it is a Louisiana-styled Crayfish Boil featuring a 1/2 dozen bands, all-yoou-can-eat Minnesota mudbugs, and all the Hurricanes and Beer you can drink. Work off that gluttony dancing to The Droppers, Butanes, Wayne McFarlane & Zydeco Blue and the headliners – Davina & the Vagabonds. As they say in the Big Easy: We Be Partyannnnn!Global Rhythm Festival @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St.Croix Trail. Noon – 5pm ($5 Parking) Pack a picnic, some blankets or chairs, and take a pleasant drive to the Franconia Sculpture Park, just SE of Taylors Falls, right off Highway 8. There you’ll find acres of sculptures of all types and sizes in a sunny setting. On-site vendors will have some food and beverages. You can take part in a guided tour during band breaks, and even meet some of the artists-in-residence. Pan Dimensions Steel Drums open at 12:30, followed at 2:15 by guitarist Greg Herriges with percussionist Michael Bissonnette playing a mix of international music. Finally, at 4pm, the Duniya Drum and Dance troupe will take the stage, dancing and moving to traditional West African rhythms.

Unknown-5Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Bluesman Guitar Shorty has quite the resume. At 16, he toured with Ray Charles. At 17 he recorded a single supervised by Willie Dixon.  He led the house band at New Orleans’ legendary Dew Drop Inn for a couple of years and then took a job with Sam Cooke. By the way, Jimi Hendrix was his brother-in-law. He’s been living in L.A. since 1971, playing the blues, recording, jamming, and rocking out around the world. His latest, Watch Your Back, for Alligator Records, was nominated for two Blues Music Awards.

Sunday, Monday, August 17, 18
The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) They play every Sunday and Monday night, bringing out dancers and fellow musicians (some of whom sit in). After 20-some years, they’re as tight as can be, performing some classic soul and funk, and newer tunes as well.

Monday, Tuesday, August 18, 19
Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Pianist Crawford is known as the “Crown Prince of New Orleans,’ a well deserved title, since he incorporates all elements of New Orleans’ music into his own compositions. He is also comes from one of the “royal” lines of N’Awlins’ musical families: his grandfather was James Sugar Boy Crawford, who penned the iconic “Jock-A-Mo” way back in the 50s. He’s been a favorite of the New Orleans Jazz Festival for a number of years now.

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 U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Eat. Drink. Music. 11.27 – 12.3

November 27, 2013

Well, I thought readers might enjoy a little levity about Thanksgiving.  I realize that not everyone overeats or even goes shopping on Thanksgiving, which is once more upon us. Gathering with friends and family is a great tradition, and we can even find a way to enjoy meals without meltdowns over politics, religion or lifestyles. Please take note of the Brass Bash at the Amsterdam on Sunday. There will be lots of good music, and the proceeds go to KFAI. Would love to see you there. In the meantime, have a good holiday, and if you get stressed out, take some time to let music lift your spirits. There is certainly plenty of it around.

Jazz…

Wednesday, November 27

Davu Seru Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (donation) Davu Seru, percussion, Josh Granowski, bass; and Park Evans, guitar. Seru is a drummer/percussionist who is equally at home playing straight ahead jazz, free jazz, and desert blues, among others. Park Evans and Josh Granowski are equally versatile.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A long-running quartet that doesn’t seem to appear outside of monthly AQ performances, Phil Hey, drums; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano. Expect a very high level of performance of tunes by Coletrane, Coleman, Mingus, and more. Here they are a few years ago, doing a standard.

Friday, November 29

Talking Strings @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Pavel Jany, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; and Andrew Foreman, bass; playing global jazz – French jazz, bossa novas, gypsy jazz, and more.

Atlantis Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) Some late night modern jazz. The Atlantis Quartet has built a strong following in the Twin Cities based on the stellar playing of Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, tenor sax; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Friday, Saturday, November 29,30

Pat Mallinger & the Bill Carrothers Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Mallinger (sax) and Carrothers (piano) are Saint Paul talents who have made good and now live in Chicago and Upper Michigan, respectively. When they’re in town, they head to the AQ, where their combined talent makes for a very special show. Here’s Pat hard at work.

Saturday, November 30

George Maurer Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Maurer may be the most talented Minnesota musician you haven’t heard about, since he resides in Saint Cloud and only sporadically performs in the Twin Cities. He’s a pianist/composer/producer who has collaborated with musicians ranging from Prudence Johnson to Eric Clapton. Tonight he brings a septet, including two horns, to the Dakota. Check out their take on a Beatles tune.

Maryann Sullivan & Dave Martin@ Mendoberri Cafe & Wine Bar, Mendota. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a low-key way to eat out at a casual restaurant and hear some fine jazz. Vocalist Sullivan and guitarist Martin will be swinging some standards and a holiday tune or two.

Sunday, December 1

KFAI’s Brass Bash @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is a benefit I’ve put together for KFAI, featuring three bands with brass instruments. First up at 6:30 is The Jana Nyberg Group. Jana swings and sings with taste, and with the help of husband/trumpeter Adam Meckler, brings new life to bossa novas, jazz chestnuts, and contemporary pop. At 7:30pm it’s Parham, Schimke, Anderson, Boettcher, and Washington. This quintet represents some of the best of Twin Cities Jazz. Solomon Parham, trumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Kevin Washington, drums; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and up and coming new guy in town, Tyler Anderson on tenor sax. Suffice to say, the place will be swinging. Then, to close things up at 8:30 or so, we have the Jack Brass Band, whose infectious music encompasses  traditional brass band tunes, jazz standards like  Night in Tunisia and songs by Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Bobby Brown and more. They’ve been together for a dozen years or so and have enough street cred to be featured in New Orleans’ Offbeat Magazine, march in a Mardis Gras Parade, and play for WWOZ.  Here’s the Jana Nyberg Group in the KFAI studios.

Monday, December 2

Joey DeFrancesco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30)  Today’s Hammond organ giant was playing with Miles Davis as a teenager, and also played with John McLaughlin. Last seen here at the MN Zoo with Dave Sanborn, DeFrancesco will put on a smokin’ show of soul-jazz. Check out his take on a song that’s heavily identified with Sinatra.

Tuesday, December 3

Dean Magraw and Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) This monthly gig is always impressive, as Magraw on electric guitar, and Seru on drums and percussion use their vast knowledge of jazz, rock, and world musics to create enlightening and inspiring music.

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, November 27

UnknownNikki & the Rue-Mates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5-ish (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – tip jar)  I’ve been a fan of Nikki’s crystaline voice for years. She’s turned into a fine writer and guitar player as well, ably assisted by Rich Rue on resonator guitar and Jon Larsen on bass. With any luck, she’ll have a drummer along to add some kick to the proceedings.

photoSonny Knight & Lakers and The Rich Lewis Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($5) Knight started out in the 60s when he was a teenager, and eventually sang with the legendary Twin Cities band Haze in the 70s. His appearance on the Secret Stash compilation of Twin Cities Soul & Funk has re-energized him and he’s put together a seven-piece horn and organ band to provide some funky backing. They’ve been doing a residency at the Eagles Club for the last month, creating good vibes and building an audience. Tonight’s bash features the Rich Lewis Band, purveyors of funky good times in their own right, albeit with a New Orleans bent to the music. The bash is in the big room, with plenty of space for dancers.

Thursday, November 28

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Not a lot to do on Thanksgiving night, but if you want something that will appeal across generations, you can’t go wrong with the highly unique, energetic blues, R&B, and jazz of Ms Davina and the highly polished Vagabonds.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Ray J’s Northeast, 500 Central Ave, Minneapolis. 9:30pm Doug’s mournful voice is perfect for the old timey roots music that he prefers. The Getaways include Josh Granowski, Alberto Castro Perez, Jr., and Chris Gray.

Friday, November 29

TAKK @ Juxtaposition Arts’ Moja Gallery, 1108 Broadway, Minneapolis. 7pm, performances at 8pm & 9pm (Free) TAKK is a dance project with video installation that looks at relationships through the lens of sports. There promises to be much interactivity during the dance performances.

Dee Miller Band @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Duchess of the Blues, helping you to dance off the Thanksgiving meal pounds.

The Butanes and the Marbles Acoustic Band @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 after 8pm) The Marbles Acoustic Band, an octet, start things off with their jam-ish versions of 60s and 70s folk-rock. Then The Butanes come on at 9 to take you down blues alley.

Saturday, November 30

MetsaWalkerPosterPaul Metsa & Willie Walker CD Release Party @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm – 7pm. (No Cover) The other great singer/songwriter to come out of the Iron Range has been playing with soulman Willie Walker for a few years now. The combination of Paul’s sterling guitar playing and Willie’s angelic, yet soulful voice makes for good chemistry and great music. The CD is called Live from Highway 55.

Trashy Little Christmas Show @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) It’s a Christmas Tradition. Trailer Trash begins their annual weekly residency bringing musical mayhem

Black Market Brass, Brass Messengers, and Body Omara @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Looking for some Afrobeat, world brass, and desert blues? You will want to be at the Nomad tonight.

Big George Jackson @ The Schooner, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Big George has a seemingly bottomless voice that is equal parts scary and comforting. Just right for the Delta-inspired blues that he sings. He has a crack band behind him as well. Here he is.

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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