From Jazz Masters to New Takes on Tradition: 10:5 – 10.11

October 6, 2016
Food for the Food Opera!

Food for the Food Opera!

This week we’ve a couple of great pianists visiting town, as well as a visiting ten-piece jazz band. In addition, we’ll be treated to some hot swing, acoustic blues, new R&B, and new takes on traditional music from Columbia and the Nordic countries, as well as a record release party, a scat-off, and a food opera! Not to mention the talented musicians who live and perform in our Twin Towns. Get out. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, October 5

Kenny Barron Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($354, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) A rare chance to see the elegant and lyrical pianist Barron. The Philadelphia native  moved to New York in 1962 at the age of 19 and began playing with the likes of Lee Morgan, Roy Haynes, and James Moody. He was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s Orchestra, and performed with other masters such as Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, and Milt Jackson. He taught at Rutgers from ’73 until 2000 and is now teaching at Julliard. Barron has won numerous awards and accolades from Downbeat, Jazz Times, and Jazzis magazines, as well as from the Jazz Journalists association.

Debbie Duncan @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. &pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Tonight the highly respected Ms Duncan explores the music of Billie Holiday. Classic songs by a classic singer.

Anthony Cox Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Cox brings another sterling group to his once-a-month-curated gig. This time the bassist is accompanied by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Peter Schimke, piano; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Expect great originals and cool interpretations of jazz standards.

Thursday, October 6

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Bassist Brian Courage is back in town, and appearing with his quartet, which includes: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Luke Polipnick, guitar; and Pete James Johnson on drums. Here’s a video of Courage and two other bassists – he’s in the middle – or you can get an idea of what the band sounds like here.

Connie Evingson w/Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7) This looks like a winning combination. The Travis Anderson Trio  with Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums, can swing standards with the best of them. Ms Evingson has fans from across the nation, thanks to her straightforward, always fresh, and yet sensuous interpretations of Peggy Lee, the Beatles, Dave Frishberg, bossa novas, and hot club tunes.

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) You may have read about Khyber Pass and this Thursday night series in the Strib a week or so back. Tonight guitarist Magraw and drummer Seru bring their close communication and always interesting improvisations to the small restaurant. Here’s a video of the two of them with guest Dave Graf.

Friday, October 7

Chris Misch-Bloxdorf Dectet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Originally from Wisconsin, trombonist Misch-Bloxdorf brings a ten-piece group to the basement club to play his original chamber jazz, which features elements of hip-hop, metal, electronic, and indie-rock. After graduating from Lawrence in WI (which is turning out excellent musicians), he recently received his masters from NYU, studying with Kenny Werner, among others. You can listen to some of his music here.

Xibaba @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) Get a hit of Brazilian jazz, Bossa Novas, Sambas, Forros, and Choros from Mira and Tom Kehoe and friends.

Saturday, October 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Steve Kimmel, mallet percussion; and Greg Byers, cello, perform the opening set, followed at 8:30 by the Park Evans Quintet, with Evans, guitar; Evan Benidt, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, Ted Olson, bass, and Greg Schutte, drums.

Singers Scat-Off @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15, $5 w/Student ID) Some of you who went to the Jazz Festival this past June may remember an event at Golden’s where various singers scatted, both solo, in duos, trios, and in a Scat-Off featuring all the singers. That was so well received that some of the participants put together this show, hosted by Maryann Sullivan, and featuring Dorothy Doring, Sarah M. Greer, Jana Nyberg, and Jason Peterson DeLaire. The audience will be invited to choose a champion after seeing all of them in action.

Sunday, October 9

Sunday B3 Jam Session @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm ($5) Guitarist Cole Mahlum hosts this jam session, the success of which, is at least partially up to who shows up to play. It can get greasy, funky, and out there.

Benny Green Solo @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm ($30, $65w/dinner) The Dunsmore Room has a new Steinway piano, chosen with the help of Fred Hirsch, and Benny Green is here to christen it with a solo performance. Green can be called a “keeper of the flame” for hard bop as he passes on the lessons he learned from Betty Carter, Art Blakey, and Ray Brown to a younger generation. He  was last in town in October when he gave a sparkling performance at the Dakota.

Tuesday, October 11

Chris Lomheim, Shapria/Granros duo @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shapira/Granros, $5) Another two-fer night at the Vieux, starting with pianist Chris Lomheim, followed by an interesting guitar duo. Joel Shapira plays both jazz and classical music on his nylon-stringed guitar, and can be heard with vocalist Charmin Michelle and other groups about town. Dean Granros, who can often be heard with How Birds Work, among other groups, can play fairly straight as well as “out” with great facility and imagination. They’ve an excellent album recorded at the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

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, October 5

Bingham & Thorne on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) I always look forward to this duo’s annual visit to the House Party and the 331 Club. Bob Bingham and Gordon Thorne are great storytellers, whether in song or in-between patter. They are accomplished guitarists on both six and twelve-strings, with Thorne also bringing out a mandolin from time to time. They’re even bringing in a special guest, acclaimed fiddler Randy Sabien! Whether playing festivals, libraries, or dive bars, Bingham and Thorne are always fun. Tune in to the House party and then head over to the 331 Club.

Thursday, October 6

Paul Mayasich’s Hot Seat w/Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Guitarist Mayasich always brings in compatible players who help stretch his usual wizardry. Tonight he’s got the singer/harpist with a booming voice, Big George Jackson, along with Jackson’s ever-present cohort, guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, October 6,7,8

Saint Paul Food Opera @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 11am, 12: 30pm Thursday and Friday, 5:30pm, 7:30pm Friday, Saturday ($35 lunch, $70 Dinner) Here’s a way to combine your gustatory experience with an aural experience. Zeitgeist composer Ben Houge, and a number of outstanding Saint Paul chefs are teaming up to mix musical and culinary arts. As described Delectable dishes will be paired with evocative music to enhance the experience of both. Composer Houge is creating a set of musical works for Zeitgest, the new music ensemble of piano, woodwinds, and two percussionists. The music will be paired with dishes prepared by chefs from Tongue in Cheek, Saint Dinette, The Handsome Hog, Golden’s Lowertown, Izzy’s Ice Cream, and Brake Bread. Houge’s music is beautiful, with a meditative quality that nevertheless has little surprises scattered throughout each composition, much as a dish might have a number of different flavors. This isn’t the first time Houge has created food operas, as you can read here.

Friday, October 7

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5)The five-piece Armadillo Jump will have the commodious dance floor at Wilebski’s filled with blues lovers who like to dance.

Erik Koskinen and Randy Weeks @ The Hook & Lander Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Koskinen is a sharp guitarist and songwriter, who uses the vernacular of classic country music to write about personal issues and comment on American life, whether small town values, or tracking. Windom-born, Texas-based Randy Weeks is another observant songwriter, whose music can meld surf rock with folk rock, and Americana with pop. He happens to be the writer of Lucinda Williams’ hit Can’t Let Go, from her Grammy winning album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Here’s a video of Weeks.

Friday, Saturday, October 7, 8 

Squirrel Nut Zippers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($35 – $45) Back in the mid-90s, the Zippers were part of a swing revival that was sweeping the nation creating a retro, yet definitely hot sound that hearkened back to hot jazz of New Orleans, as well as swing of the 30s. They sold over a million copies of Hot, their second album. This is their first tour since 2009, and band founders Jimbo Mathus and Chris Phillips have recruited some New Orleans musicians to spice up their sound, as well as singer Ingrid Lucia of the Flying Neutrinos.

Saturday, October 8

Dee Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Saturday night tends to be party night at Crooners. Case in point: Ms Miller, who, together with a tight band, can raise the roof and cause folks to push tables aside and dance.

Sonny Knight & The Lakers Record Release @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, Advance,. $17 Door) It’s a funky, funky night at First Avenue, as Sonny Knight and the Lakers release their second studio album, Sooner or Later. From the uptempo title tune, to the slow building finale of Oh Mary, Knight’s emotional singing and the Lakers’ tight playing create a satisfying slab of soul that moves well beyond any attempt at retro R&B. Duluth horn band Big Dave Wave & the Ripples will start the party, followed by the deep grooves of Nooky Jones, before Knight & the Lakers take the stage.

Sunday, October 9

Henrencia de Timbiqui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $35) This group from Columbia takes traditional folkloric music of their country and play it with modern instruments. What makes this group especially interesting is that Timbiqui, the town they come from, has deep African as well as Columbian roots, so you’ll hear those influences as well as elements of contemporary urban music.

Monday, October 10

King @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. ($27, $35) This female R&B vocal trio is made up of twins Paris and Amber Strother (originally from Minneapolis), and their musical sister, Anita Bias (from Los Angeles). They’ve received numerous accolades, are selling out venues around the US, and collaborated on the Grammy winning Move Love by Robert Glaspar, from his album Black Radio.

Tuesday, October 11

Nordic Fiddlers Block @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 Door) Take highly accomplished fiddlers from Norway, Sweden, and the Shetland Islands, have them focus on traditional music from each of their countries, add in rich harmonies and bass lines, and you have a trio that’s more than the sum of its parts. Their 2011 eponymous debut received acclaim from around the world, and they’re now touring behind a new release entitled Deliverance.

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.

Big Bands, Americana, Classical and More: 11.19 – 11.25

November 19, 2014

images-2Well, another week, and another two dozen or so ideas for listening to music, whether it’s jazz, American, Classical, or undefinable. We’re blessed with very talented resident musicians and some very fine visiting musicians this week. As you acclimate to the cold, get out and hear some music. It’s good for your spirits.


Wednesday, November 19

Parisota Hot Club Trio @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) The acoustic swing of the Parisota trio will work quite nicely in this club, which evokes the clubs of another, much earlier era. The Hot Club Trio consists of Robb Henry, electric guitar; Jay Epstein, drums; Matt Senjem, bass.

McNally Smith X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman has a passel of extremely talented young musicians in this band, which is actually more of a big band than an X-Tet. Their gig at The Bedlam Theater in Lowertown a month for so ago was exhilarating, with great solos from a number of players.

Thursday, November 20

Charlie Christenson Standards Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Christenson is a well-respected vocalist and composer who has worked such New York jazz clubs as Birdland and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has also developed training strategies for Apple, Inc. He’ll be accompanied by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Matt Edlund, drums; to perform standards and originals.

Friday, November 21

Jazz Night @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30pm – 10:30pm. ($5 – $20 suggested Donations) Things get started with The Ordinary Mystics (Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax) around 5:30-ish, then from about 7 to about 8 it will be George Cartwright, sax; Michelle Kinney, cello; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion playing for the reception for Anne Elias, current artist on exhibit at the Black Dog. At 8:30, saxophonist Donald Washington comes in with Erik Jacobson, tuba; Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion.

Peter Vircks Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vircks is a highly regarded Minneapolis-based saxophonist who was a founding member of Moveable Feast and regularly plays with The Rhythmic Circus dance troupe. He’s recorded as a sideman on a dozen albums or so and can easily move into free improvisation when called upon. He’ll be appearing with Ron Evaniuk, bass; Brian Ziemniak, piano; and Kevin Washington, drums.

St. Olaf Jazz Band 1 w/guests Brad Dutz and Chris Wabich @ Buntrock Center, Northfield. 8pm  I don’t normally write about events this far out of town, but having seen Dutz and Wabich at Jazz Central last week, I want to mention this gig at St. Olaf. They’re appearing with the St. Olaf Jazz Band, led by Dave Hagedorn, which will be playing some of the duo’s compositions. The Dutz and Wabich are highly inventive, with a slightly irreverent approach to playing any number of percussion instruments.

Saturday, November 22

Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 suggested Donation) Timeless, the new recording from pianist Lomheim  is by turns ethereal, beautiful, and mesmerizing. Tonight he’s joined by Jay Epstein,drums; and Andrew Bergmann, bass. Guitarist Joel Shapira is an inspired choice as a solo opener, setting up the mood for Lomheim.

The JazzMN Orchestra: The Little Big Bands @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindbergh Dr. Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($10 – $34)  Some bands are larger than a combo, but not as big as a big band. These bands – usually 10-12 musicians, have been called little big bands. Groups from Charles Mingus to Oliver Nelson to Miles Davis (think“Birth of the Cool”) to contemporary groups such as Gordon Goodwin’s Little Phat Band, and Pete Whitman’s X-tet all fall within this category. These bands have produced some great music, which  hasn’t been played nearly enough, something the orchesatra will help remedy this Saturday night. This past Saturday I did a phone interview with the band’s director, Doug Snapp, which you can listen to here.

PipJazz Youth All Stars @ the Maplewood Community Center Theater, 2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood. 7pm – 9pm ($25, $5 Students) PipJazz Live presents its annual concert featuring young artists. This time vocalist Pippi Ardennia is presenting Peter Goggin and Ebonee Rainwater on saxes; Maggie Kjeer, vocals; and Levi Schwartzberg on vibes and piano. They’ll be playing alongside the veteran musicians that usually back Ardennia. This event is also a fundraiser, with a number of silent auction items available for your bidding. Here’s Pippi with Billy Peterson on bass.

Monday, November 24

Atlantis Quartet Live Recording @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The quartet (Zacc harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums) is a stellar example of 21st Century jazz, creating unexpected twists and turns as they play originals and some jazz standards. I expect they’ll just be doing originals tonight, since they’re recording live. A previous live album, Lines in the Sand, was recorded at the old Artists’ Quarter, with stellar results. Here they are performing a cut from that album.

Tuesday, November 25

Century Jazz Ensemble @ the Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) the Century College Jazz Ensemble has been going strong since 1981, playing around town and at an annual event where they’ve brought in guest artists ranging from Tom Harrell, to Clark Terry, Conte Candoli, Bud Shank, and Ernie Watts. Here’s a chance to see them for free and to show the MMC that you appreciate their willingness to showcase big bands on Tuesdays.

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 19

Hot Rize @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) with Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. This Colorado traditional/progressive bluegrass band has been thrilling folks since 1978, though their major touring occurred through 1990, with appearances on The Prairie Home Companion and throughout the United States. After the passing of guitarist Charles Sawtelle in 1999, the band reorganized and started touring agin in 2002, and recently released When I’m Free, their first new studio album in 24 years. They’ll bring out their Western Swing alter ego, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, for some songs as well.

Randy Weeks @ JJ Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25) You can call Weeks’ music roots rock, alt-country, or Americana. No matter the name, he’s a helluva songwriter, and puts on a show that will have you rockin’ and boppin’. You’ve heard Lucinda Williams singing his song Can’t Let Go, and have read the praises bestowed on him by All Music, Salon, and New Depression. He currently lives in Austin Texas, and comes to town fairly often, since he grew up in Windom. This is part of the Real-Phonic Radio Hour series, featuring a back-up band that includes Erik Koskinen and Molly Maher. With Ben Weaver Opening. Bring a food shelf donation and get 25% off admission.

Thursday, November 20

The Paladins Reunion Tour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($27) Get out the pomade, leather jackets, and cowboy boots. The Paladins were shining lights of the Rockabilly Revival in the 80s. I believe their first appearance in the Twin Cities was at Mama D’s in Dinkytown in the late 80s, where their energy was not diminished by the small crowd. Throughout the 80s and 90s they headlined clubs and festivals around the world, then went into hiatus in 2004. They first reunited in 2010, and since then have done a few festivals and short tours, such as this one.

Yemen Blues @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20/$25) Yemen Blues is a combination of musicians from NYC, Uruguay, and Tel Aviv, creating music that mixes Yemenite, West African, and Jazz influences for a unique, original sound. Latin, North African, and funk rhythms provide a strong, hip-shaking foundation, while the vocals recall Arabic chants mixed with the blues.

 A lot of deviltry in that brain

A lot of deviltry in that brain

Courtney McClean @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($5) This probably falls under Other…  What can I say, McClean specializes in dirty comedy and bluegrass. If you’ve a mind for such, she’s wrapping up a week and a half on the road with what she calls her Booze, Bullets, and a Banjo tour. She’ll also be finishing up the filming of her tour movie. McClean will be joined by comedians Jenn Schaal and Marial Weidner.

Friday, November 21

Shaggy @ The Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($18/$20) 18+ This is a show that should have many of the area’s reggae fans out in force. Back in 1995, Shaggy’s dancehall reggae hit Bombastic was all over the airwaves, both here and in Europe. It’s album went platinum and spent a year at number one on Billboard’s Reggae album chart. Since then he’s had other hits, including It Wasn’t Me and Angel in 2001, while Hot Shot, the album they came from sold six million copies. Shaggy’s 2011 releases, an album and an EP, have been been released on his own label.

Ray Bonneville @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18)  7pm cocktail hour. Bonneville is a singer/songwriter and guitarist/harmonica player whose 2008 Americana CD Goin’ by Feel, was named one of the best of the year by Downbeat magazine. His most recent Red House CD, Easy Gone, is also gathering rave reviews.

SolFlower Collective @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) A young contemporary R&B group with soulful singing and good songwriting.

Saturday, November 22

Vance Gilbert @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) After starting out as a jazz singer, Gilbert switched to folk music and exploded on the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90s, opening for Shawn Colvin, Gilbert has recorded 10 critically acclaimed albums that showcase his union of humor, virtuosity, and the unexpected. He’s now on tour behind his latest, BaD Dog Buffet.

Funk on First, Vol II @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) First Avenue will jump to the sounds of four different funk bands from the area, headlined by the six-piece New Sound Underground, who’ve been making waves of late with their high energy performances. This funk extravaganza will also feature vocalists for a couple of the bands. Besides New Sound Underground, which with vocalists Reed Grim & Toki Wright, you can hear Pho, with Ashlee Dubose & Jellybean Johnson, Hustle Rose, featuring K. Raydio, and the McNasty Brass Band.

Tuesday, November 25

Sharon Isbin and Romero Lumbambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($35 – $45) Here’s a very interesting pairing of artists. Isbin is an acclaimed classical guitar player, often called the pre-eminent guitarist of our time. She has a catalog of over 25 recordings. Her latest album, Guitar Passions, features guest guitarists ranging from rockers Steve Vai and Nancy Wilson (Heart), to Stanley Jordan, and Romero Lubambo, with whom she is touring. Lumbambo is a jazz guitarist from Brazil, who has performed and recorded with such stellar artists as Diane Reeves, Diana Krall, Michael Brecker, Yo-Yo Ma, and Kathleen Battle. Here’s an example of his playing.

Jake Hanson & James Buckley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapoolis. 7pm (No Cover) Hanson on guitar and Buckley on bass are just as likely to launch into a Ventures tune as they are to tackle a jazz standard. This SW Mpls neighborhood restaurant is a good place to hear them, though if you get a reservation for dinner, be sure to state you want to be near the music.

Poor Nobodys @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donations) Cinematic music with a rootsy vibe, thanks to a line-up of Chris Hepola, piano; Eric Struve, upright bass; Aaron Cantine, banjo & acoustic guitar; Chris Duba, mandolin; Albert Perez, electric guitar; and Jenna Wyse, vocals and accordion.

DKO @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($5) Improvised electronic music from Jon Davis, bass and bass clarinet; John Keston, keyboards & electronics; and Graham O’Brien, drums. This trio has established themselves as the rhythm section for a couple of funkified techno groups in town, and has played as a trio at a number of high profile gigs at events like Art-A-Whirl, and the Northern Spak Festival. Their method is to improvise from scratch, often with no breaks. Their music will keep your head bobbing and your toes tapping.

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.

Summertime, Summertime, Sum, Sum, Summertime. Music 7.10 – 7.17

July 10, 2013
The sheet music for the Jamies' hit.

The sheet music for the Jamies’ hit.

As the Jamies sang 5o years ago or so, it’s time to live and have some thrills and you can do it by checking out some of the music and arts in our fair Twin Cities. Here is but a small portion of the music that’s available.


Wednesday, July 10

Bates, Santiago, & Santiago @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm. (Donation) Young pianist Javier Santiago is back in town and wasting no time getting into the scene. Tonight he’s joining his dad Mac, on drums, and Chris Bates on bass for a couple of hours of swinging improvisation.

Thursday, July 11

UnknownSue Oatts & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Thursday nights are vocal nights at Jazz Central. Sue Oatts is a fine vocalist who took a hiatus from singing when she was still Sue Tucker. Lucky for us she’s back and sounding in good form. Tanner Taylor, as always, accompanies with great sensitivity.

Dave Hagedorn and Dan Cavanaugh @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Student and Teacher, together again. Hagedorn plays vibes in a number of bands, notably the Phil Hey Quartet and Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, and teaches at St. Olaf. Pianist/composer Dan Cavanaugh was a student of Dave’s and has garnered many awards for his compositions. The two can be light and delicate, but they can swing when the situation, or the song, calls for it.

Friday, July 12

Helgeson, Vagle, & Byers @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) Guitarist Glen Helgeson with vocalist, Carin Vagle and cellist, Greg Byers descend on this cozy cafe in the western suburbs. Sounds like a chamber/jazz happening.

imagesMaurice Jacox Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Like many other music fans in the Twin Cities, I’ve often sung the praises of Maurice Jacox, whether he’s tackling Nat King Cole, jazz standards, Gamble & Huff compositions, or singing full bore blues and R&B. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Thomas West, piano; Bruce “Pooch” Heine, bass; and Kenny Horst on drums. Should be a delight.

Saturday, July 13

Wine & Jazz Fest @ Saint Croix Vineyards, Stillwater. 11am – 6pm (Free) Well, you may part with some money after you sample a few wines, but basically, this is a chance to visit a vineyard and celebrate award-winning musicians and wine. The lineup includes Mike Salovich & Marc Anderson (World Music); Patty Peterson featuring the Tanner Taylor Group; Seven Steps to Havana (Latin Jazz), and headliners, The Atlantis Quartet.

The Tuesday Night Band @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Well, Saturday Night is party night, and the Tuesday Night Band is a party band, albeit with jazz sensibilities. Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, organ; and Kenny Horst, drums, can lay down the funk of the Meters, and turn around and tear through a Wayne Shorter tune. Here’s a video of the band in action.

Tuesday, July 16

Wozniak, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5 – Ladies free!) Brandon Wozniak is really coming into his own as an imaginative improviser on the saxophone. Tonight he’s joined by Billy Peterson on bass, and Kenny Horst on drums to create a high powered sax trio.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Thursday, July 11

Chastity Brown Band @ Victory Memorial Drive, 3401 Xerxes Ave So, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Part of the Live on the Drive Series, Chastity Brown is a singer/songwriter who channels the blues, gospel, and folk music into her art.

Friday, July 12

Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ Minnehaha Bandshell, Minneapolis. (Free) Hmm, a pretty parkland setting, with lots of trees. Opportunities to picnic, or to get some fresh seafood from Sea Salt, an active and overflowing waterfall, and a country/folk rock band. Sounds like a wonderful Friday evening.

Randy Weeks @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) You’ve heard Weeks’ music, either from Lucinda Williams, or from moves such as the Sunshine State and Shallow Hal. He’s a gifted songwriter whose influences span across roots and pop music. Jess Klein, who is a gifted writer and singer in her own right, opens. Here’s a video of him doing his “hit.”

Saturday, July 13

3rd Annual Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Festival @ Harriet Brewing, Mosaic Cafe and Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 1pm – 10pm ($15/Advance/$20 Gate) Limited to 2,000 tickets. Spider John, Crankshaft & Gear Grinders, Jeff Ray & Stakes, Kent Burnside & the New Generation, Black Audience, Chastity Brown, and bands from California, NJ, MA, IL, AL, AR. Nick Mrozinski, aka Nick the Feelin’ or Nicholas David (on The Voice) may be there as well.

Grandmothers of Invention @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Okay, so their PR photo shows these guys in tuxedos, guys who went out of their way to look disreputable back in the day. Nevertheless, they play the avant-garde rock of Frank Zappa, and because they were all members of the Mothers of Invention, they not only know how to play it, but they can play it well, and with understanding. Here they are about a year ago.

America's original troubadour.

America’s original troubadour.

Sunday, July 14

Woody Guthrie 101 @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($15 advance, $20 Door) Pop Wagner, Tony Glover, and Charlie Maguire perform their Fifth Annual Woody Guthrie Tribute, featuring stories, songs, and more.

Monday, July 15

Everett Smithson Band @ Roseville Central Park, Roseville. 7pm (Free) Party music, South Louisiana style, with Cajun, Zydeco, New Orleans R&B, hillbilly, rockin’ roots, and more. Besides Smithson on harp and Kathy on accordion, the band has Jeremy Johnson on drums, Phil Schmid on guitar, and Bill Black on bass. You couldn’t ask for a better rhythm section. Zydeco dance lessons are part of the evening.

 Early Warning – Wednesday, July 17

Cactus Blossoms @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Imagine the Everly Brothers singing the early songs of George Jones and you’ll begin to understand the possibilities behind this group.  Grab a lunch, sit (or dance) and enjoy yourself.

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.

Friday Night’s All Right for Dancing…2.29 – 3.6

February 29, 2012

Elton John sang “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” but he didn’t mention Friday night and he didn’t mention dancing. This week Friday offers a number of musical choices, whether you want to dance or listen to jazz. Of course, the other nights of the week offer some great music as well.


Wednesday, Feb 29

Modern Time @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Vinnie Rose, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums; are Modern Time. Cafe Maude is a neighborhood bistro at 54th & Penn that serves imaginative cocktails and very good food. On music nights, they feature a Prix Fixe menu for $20. Reservations recommended. Mention that you want to hear the music.

Anton, Gravatt, & Little @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Jim Anton, bass; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; and Doug Little, reeds. A  good beer selection and amazing musicians.

Maude Hixson and Rick Carlson at The Lex. Photo by Andrea Canter

Thursday, March 1, Saturday, March 3

Maude Hixson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm. (No Cover) With a warm voice, wonderful enunciation, and great pitch, Hixson is perfect for the venerable Lexington’s Williamburg Room. A dining spot that’s old school clubby, what with its paneled walls and such. She has just released a CD single of Cottontail, a romp through Jon Hendrick’s vocalese lyrics to the Ellington standard.

Thursday, Friday, March 1,2

Vijay Iyer Mini-Festival @ The Walker Art Center. 8pm ($25/night or $22/night for both nights). The Jazz Hounds will be out as the Walker presents this Mini-Festival. Iyer is the young pianist that’s attracting much deserved attention (i.e., recent cover of Jazz Times). He will be performing solo as well as in small group contexts with a number of different guest musicians.

Friday, March 2

Nathan Hanson & Brian Roessler LP Release @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (tip jar) Regulars know the power and talent of the bassist (Roessler) and saxophone player (Hanson), both of whom have a deep well of imagination when it comes to improvisation. They are celebrating the release of a new LP. That’s right LP. Vinyl’s coming back.

Friday, Saturday, March 2,3

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($10) A rare weekend outing for this outstanding quartet. That drummer Hey and his cohorts, Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron, piano; live in the Twin Cities rather than the New York area is no reflection of their talent. Each has been recognized for their playing with numerous “national” artists, both here and on the road. Together they play tunes by Coltrane, Mingus, Coleman and others whose compositions demand the very best musicianship. And they deliver.

Saturday, March 3

Vicky Mountain & James Allen @ First Course Bistro (56th & Chicago), Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Vicky’s vocals mesh so very well with Allen’s guitar playing, whether they’re performing standards, a Fats Waller tune, or something by the Clovers. The result is music that will have you putting down your fork in order to listen. It’s a small place with good food, so you may want to call for a reservation. 612-825-6900.

Sunday, March 4

Nathan Hanson’s Saxophone Choir @ Roseville Area High School, 1240 County Rd B2 West, Roseville. 7pm ($10) Fantastic Merlins’ Brian Roessler (bass) and Pete Hennig (drums) will support an eight-piece horn section, which will include Hanson, George Cartwright, Pat Moriarty, Donald Washington, Daryl Narum, Joe Smith, Scott Fultz and Brandon Wozniak. Hanson is doing the arrangements for songs composed by Jacques Thollot, Milton Nascimento, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Josef Zawinul and Nathan Hanson.

Monday, March 5

The Jack Brass Band and Beasly’s Big Band on Saint Paul Live!, KBEM, 88.5FM. The Beasly Band was recorded on November 1, and includes two songs sung by the late Christine Rosholt (see my remembrance). Jack Brass are their usual fun-loving selves at the Hat Trick Lounge. They hold down Tuesday nights at the Driftwood Char Bar.,

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, Feb 29

RAMM on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 – Tip jar) RAMM is Paul Mayasich, guitar; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hy” Pockets, drums. Paul is a monster guitar slinger, especially on slide. Together the three create jumpin’ music that draws from a variety of sources, notably the blues. Find out for yourself by tuning in to KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour.

Thursday, March 1

Womenfolk Live @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Ellen Stanley, host of KFAI’s Womenfolk show on Tuesday afternoons, has been curating monthly roots shows at the Amsterdam. Tonight she’s presenting acts that are fronted by, including Black Audience, Reina del Cid, Mother Banjo (Stanley’s alter ego), and more. Tune in to KFAI between 2 and 4pm to hear Jayanthi Kyle of Black Audience performing live.

Friday, March 2

Julie Johnson & Rena Kraut w/special guests The No-Accounts @ Hotel 340, 4th & Cedar, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Johnson on flute, and Kraut on clarinet will interpret Minnesota folk songs with the help of Johnson’s group, The No-Accounts. The two will also play an original compositions. The community council for Saint Paul’s downtown will be holding its First Friday Community Happy Hour at the same time.

Crankshaft & The Gear Daddies and Lamont Cranston @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($?) Crankshaft is a new generation blues guitarist, whose sound is as raw, wild, and ready to unleash your primal instincts. Lamont Cranston has been shaking dance floors with jump blues and more for what, 35 years or so.

Randy Weeks @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (tip jar) Weeks is the Texas Troubador who comes town a few times a year and packs the 331 with his rockin’ alt-country. Check out this video to get a sense of his sound.

Socaholix @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) If you don’t want to rock to blues or alt-country, but still want to dance, check out the Caribbean sounds of this group, made up of former members of Shangoya. If this music doesn’t get you moving, I’d check to see if you have a pulse.

Afro Funk Vinyl LP Re-Release Party @ Club Jager, Minneapolis. 10pm – 2am. (Free)  And just in case you want to stay up late dancing, the fine folks at Secret Stash Records are once again releasing a long-lost gem and having a party to celebrate. This time ’round it’s Afro Funk, a group of mostly West African expatriates living in London in the 70s, when a vibrant African music scene was causing all kinds of excitement. Tonight there will be Deejays a plenty spinning African dance grooves.

Saturday, March 3

Big George Jackson @ Hollihans, White Bear Lake. 6pm (No cover). It’s a small place, but it gets rockin. I haven’t noticed Jackson playing out too much lately, so here’s a chance to hear that great booming voice of his, and down a few adult beverages at the same time.

Dave Alvin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20)  Since forming The Blasters oh, so many years ago, Alvin hasn’t been afraid to explore all sorts of byways in the world of roots music. He creates “loud folk music” and sings about folks like Big Joe Turner and Johnny Ace. Here he is singing a song about 4th of July.

For a complete list of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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