From Surfin’ to Siberia: 1.17 – 1.23

January 17, 2018

Well, after spending the last couple of weeks noting the lack of visiting artists, we have a a nice influx of visitors this week, including stellar jazz artists, as well as artists from Guinea, West Africa, Siberia, California, and Russia. Luckily, their visits, and performances from talented resident artists, coincide with a slight warm-up in weather, so that’s helpful as well. Remember: Music Lifts the Spirit!



Wednesday, January 17

Elaine Burt w/KWSB @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentID) with Elaine Burt, trumpet; Pete Whitman, saxophones; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. This is another of Pete Whitman’s monthly presentations of groups with new compositions.

Roy Hargrove Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $30) 9pm ($35, $25) Most jazz lovers need no introduction to Hargrove, the Grammy-winning trumpeter returning to the Dakota to thrill jazz-lovers with music that often cut across genres, whether it’s groove-oriented, Afro-Cuban, or hard bop. He is, quite simply, one of the best trumpeters around.

Thursday, January 18

Rachel Holder w/The Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) The Wolverines Trio can turn any evening into a swinging affair, whether they are featured, or accompanying a vocalist, which is this case is Ms Holder, who often performs in tribute concerts, but doesn’t perform nearly enough as a featured artist. It’s understandable, since she does have mom duties, and is currently working on two different recording projects. Here she is with pianist George Maurer.

Friday, January 19

Open Story @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This is a new trio of veteran players: Bryan Nichols, piano; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($15) Saxophonist/composer Hedenstrom brings four of his performing partners together to play Hedenstrom’s original music. The band includes: Zacc Harris, guitar; Ted Godbout, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums. Should be a stellar evening of music.

Also: Fode & Sana Bangoura with Resident Jazz Musicians @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) See listing under Blues, Roots, Other, below

Saturday, January 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening at 7pm, it’s the Sightless Quartet featuring:  Cody Steinmann, guitar; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. Headlining at 8:30pm is The Zacc Harris Group: Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Jazz from the Americas and Beyond @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This is a new monthly series exploring jazz from around the world. Tonight’s featured artist is the Robert Everest Expedition, led by Everest, the multi-instrumentalist who can sing in seven languages. Opening set by North Central University’s Jazz Workshop.

Also: Levi Schwartzberg Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Vibes – led trio

Sunday, Jan 21

Django Reinhardt’s Birthday w/Sam Miltich @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15) Guitarist Miltich was already a young lion of gypsy jazz when he burst into our jazz scene as a teenager, so it’s only natural that he honors Reinhardt’s birthday. The self-taught Miltich is versatile enough to accompany such accomplished vocalists as Connie Evingson and Charmin Michelle, and often performs with saxophonist Dave Karr and Dutch swing violinist Tim Kliphuis.

Sunday, Monday, Jan 21, 22

Roberta Gambarini & Cyrus Chestnut @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm Sunday, 7pm Monday ($25, $30, $40) Ms Gambarini is a highly talented singer who brings her great sense of swing and ability to scat to the Great American Songbook. Born and raised in Italy, Gambarini was singing in clubs at the age of 17, and received a scholarship to the New England Conservatory in 1998. Since then she’s been mentored by James Moody, Benny Carter, and Hank Jones, which gives you an idea of how those masters viewed her talent. Tonight she’s performing with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, whose playing is often informed by gospel, as well as Jay McShann and Count Basie. I did an interview with Ms Gambarini back in 2011, which you can read here.

Monday, Jan 22

JT’s Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) JT Bates continues his adventurous Monday night programming with two groups tonight. The first set features Really Big Shoe, featuring the dual saxophones of Joe Mayo and Clay Pufal; as well as Ted Olsen, bass; and Joey Van Phillips. Those who stay for the second set will be treated to Hanson, Fratzke, & Van Philips: Nathan Hanson, reeds; Erik Fratzke, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, 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, January 17

Mike Munson & Adam Kiesling on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Munson is a blues musician from Winona, whose album Live at Ed’s has received praise for Munson’s slide guitar and wry delivery of his originals. Adam Kiesling is a guitarist who can be heard with Pert Near Sandstone, The Town Hall Stompers, and a number of other resident groups. Here’s video of Munson.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The small dance floor at the Schooner will undoubtedly be filled with writhing, jumping bodies tonight, thanks to the raucous, energizing Balkan party music of Ordestar Bez Ime.

Thursday, January 18

Tracy Nelson & The Bel-Airs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($30, $35) What a fine double-bill! Powerhouse vocalist Tracy Nelson may be best known for leading Mother Earth, a country-rock band out of San Francisco during its musical heyday in the late 60s and early 70s. She started singing blues and R&B in Madison, where she grew up and went to college, appearing in an R&B band that included Ben Sidran. Since Mother Earth, she has had hits on both country and blues charts and recorded with Willie Nelson, Irma Thomas, and Marcia Ball. The Bel Airs are a blues trio that have been performing together for over 30 years, and have been Twin Cities fan favorites since appearing at Mama D’s in Dinkytown decades ago. They are a unique blues outfit, in that brothers Dave and Dick Pruitt have developed a harmony style that’s all their own, resulting in one reviewer calling them “The Everly Brothers of the Blues.”  Here’s Nelson in a country mode.


And here are the Bel Airs

Friday, January 19

Fode & Sana Bangoura: Guinea – The Music We Are @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) Brothers Fode & Sana Bangoura, of Guinea, West Africa, will explore the musical heritage of their country. They’ll go from hand-held percussive instruments, through centuries-old Guinean music and dance popularized by Les Ballet African. They’ll use resident jazz musicians to bring the music into the present, including: Nelson Devereaux, sax; Omar Abdul Karim, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Jax Ravel, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Nicholas David & The Feelin Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40) In 2012, Nicholas David, who had already recorded 5 albums, finished in the top three of TV’s The Voice. The Chicago Tribune said of him, “a mix of the growl of Dr John with the wild of Marvin Gaye.” His emotional approach to singing, together with great melodies and thoughtful lyrics, reflect a soulful approach to performing that reflects his early billing as Nick the Feelin.

Saturday, January 20

Brass Lassie Album Fundraiser@ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 7:30pm-9:30pm (Free) This ten-piece brass band was started by multi-instrumentalist Laura MacKenzie, and they’re holding a celebration to begin fundraising for an album. The group combines traditional Scottish, Irish, and French music with modern horn lines, using a four-piece horn section, a couple of fiddles, flutes, pipes, and a rhythm section. Donations are readily accepted, but not required.

Huun Hur Tur @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Huun Hur Tur perform Tuvn Throat-Singing, music that comes from the high pastures of Siberia and creates slightly phlegmy overtones that are at once mesmerizing, energizing, and revelatory. Huun Hur Tur is a quartet that uses traditional instruments in addition to modern influences such as 20th Century composers, funky rhythms, and a wee bit of electronica. If you are at all curious about new sounds, you owe it to yourself to check out this group.

Also: Hurricane Harold, Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Hurricane Harold – No Cover), 9pm (Willie Walker – $12)

Sunday, January 21

Siama’s Congo World Quartet @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Siama brings his Congo World Quartet to the Music Under Glass Series, featuring: Jaqueline Ultan on cello; Tim O’Keefe on percussion; and  Dallas Johnson on vocals and percussion. They’ll be playing traditional Congolese music and songs from the fun dance halls of East Africa. Their music will be broadcast throughout the conservatory, since seating can be problematic in the performance space. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Here they are from last year’s appearance.

Dangerous Man 5th Anniversary Bash and Afterparty @ The Cedar and the Nomad, Minneapolis. 7pm, Cedar ($15) The Cedar will be jumping with the sounds of Good Morning Bedlam, Yohannes Tona, New Sound Underground, and The Unknown Prophets, while its tap lines are filled with favorites and new creations from Dangerous Man Brewing. Afterwards, join DJ Steely Dan for a special edition of World Wide Discoteque at the Nomad.

Denis Evstuhin and Helen Chang Haertzen @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 members, $30 non-members) Evstuhin is a Russian pianist who has appeared on numerous stages around the world, including with the Minnesota Orchestra. Vioiinist Haertzen is a member of the Minnesota Orchestra’s first violin section and the Isles Ensemble. Special guest Anastasiya Nyzkodub is a Ukrainian-born clarinetist completing a Doctorate of Music Arts at the U of MN.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Jan 23, 24

Al Jardine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Many Boomers will want to see Al Jardine, a founding member of the fabled Beach Boys, as he joins the storytelling trend of rock stars performing solo and in small groups while sharing stories about their career. The Beach Boys had 80 charting hits around the world, 36 Top 40 hits in the US, and four number one hits. He’ll be accompanied by his son Matt and tell the tale of “America’s Band,” from their first hit Surfin’ on through Help Me Rhonda, and Sloop John B, to Jardine’s recent solo release, A Postcard from California. Don’t expect much about the trials and tribulations of the band, however. The Fun, Fu, Fun stuff should be entertaining enough. Here’s a video with Brian Wilson introducing Jardine.

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.


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.

%d bloggers like this: