Unless you’ve been living in a cave this past week, you’ve undoubtedly been reminded that it’s been a year since Prince joined the majority, as they used to say in Victorian times. There are many shows this week that will be celebrating his memory, including deejayed dance parties, Paisley Park productions, and shows with various of his associates. I’ve listed a few, but Chris Riemenschneider of the Star Tribune captured them all in an article this past Monday. Many of the VIP tickets for shows are sold out, but as he notes, there are less expensive tickets available for numerous shows. At any rate, whether or not you’re a Prince fan, there is plenty of music to lift your spirits and soothe your soul this week, including those below.
Wednesday, April 19
Steven Hobert Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ruminative piano style of Steven Hobert joins forces with the imaginative playing of saxman Pete Whitman, and a solid foundation from Johannes Tona, bass; and LA Buckner, drums. Here’s Hobert in a slightly different setting.
Red Planet & Bill Carrothers @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bill Carrothers is a highly regarded pianist who has drawn raves from New York City to Europe for his highly inventive ways with a melody. He grew up in Saint Paul but lives in the UP of Michigan. That’s close enough that he comes to town every few months to perform, lately at the Dunsmore Room. Red Planet is a jazz-rock trio that brings taste and imagination to the genre. Members Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; have collaborated with Carrothers on a new album, and are celebrating its release these two evenings. Carrothers and each of the members of jazz Red Planet will undoubtedly bring new colors and sonorities to jazz standards and originals.
Thursday, April 20
Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header of jazz, with Fermentation at 9pm: Dave Atchison – Guitar, Ryan Billig – Drums, William Melton – Bass/Trombone, Armond Reginald Neal – Flute/misc.. Then at 10:30pm it’s Large Marge: Chris Hepola, drums, and Josh Granowski, bass.
Lizz Wright @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60) Vocalist Wrigh is a preacher’s kid from a small town in Georgia, where she often sang during Sunday services. It’s against that background that she can weave jazz, pop, and the blues into a personal perspective that resonates with audiences around the world. She particularly asked to perform here this week, given that Prince stopped by to see & visit with her the last time she was in town, two nights before he passed.
Friday, April 22
Ashen Fir and Below Zero @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID). Friday nights are given over to Jazz Masters and emerging Artistsd at Jazz Central. First up tonight is Ashen Fir, a quartet led by Greg Byers, cello; along with Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums. Followed by Below Zero, a HS-aged combo directed by Greg Keel. Here is Ashen Fir.
Paula Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) It is twenty years since vocalist Paula Cole released her breakthrough album This Fire, which contained two Billboard-charting singles, and was nominated for seven Grammys, including the first Grammy for Producer of the Year for a female. Cole won as Best New Artist of the Year. Since then she has worked with a wide variety of artists, from Peter Gabriel and Dolly Parton to Herbie Hancock and Burt Bacharach. She has sold over three million albums and has had her songs recorded by folks like Hancock, Annie Lennox, and Jo Jo.
Saturday, April 22
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The evening starts out with the Abebi Stafford Experience, with Stafford, piano, and Joel Pruitt, drums. Then it’s on to Chris Bates Red5, affectionately named after the call sign from an X-Wing fighter in Star Wars. The band includes: Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Aaron Hedenstrom & Pete Whitman, saxes; and JC Sanford, trombone. Here’s the group in a slightly different configuration.
Sunday, April 23
Bowdog @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) KC Bassist Bob Bowman used to play in town with Karrin Allyson when she was based out of Kansas City. Back in the day he was a member of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra, as well as the Toshiko Akiyoshi-Lew Tabakin Big Band. He’s also toured with Carmen McCrae, and has toured with Freddie Hubbard and other notables. Bowman leads this quartet, with Hermon Mehari; Peter Schlamb; Johan Kizilamut.
Sheila Jordan @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm, 8pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Octogenerian Sheila Jordan is a jazz singer without peer whose main influences have always been instrumentalists, beginning with Charlie Parker. In the early 50s she moved to NYC, hung out in that fertile music scene, married Parker’s pianist Duke Jordan, and studied with Lennie Tristano, but didn’t begin recording until the 60s. Her 2015 album, Sheila’s Back in Town, reveals her to be in full control of her voice, with thoughtful, yet often unexpected changes in pitch, vocalizations of classic instrumental solos, and highly musical scatting.
Dirty Dozen Brass Band 40th Anniversary @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35), 8pm ($25, $30) Forty years ago a group of talented New Orleans musicians decided to try a different approach to Brass Band music. While still acknowledging a classic repertoire, they added contemporary funk and R&B to their playlist, as well as classic bebop and other jazz that went way beyond traditional brass band music. DDDB’s high energy renditions of tunes like the Moose the Mooch, Blue Monk, and the Flintstones theme earned them fans around the world. They’re still at it, recording music by Rhianna, as well as their own version of Marvin Gaye’s landmark album What’s Going On.
Monday, April 24
Ernest Bisong @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Ever since he enrolled at McNally Smith a few years back, Nigerian violinist has been pleasing ears and turning heads with playing. Now a grad student, Bisong plays around town in various groups and teaches at a few different schools. Tonight he explores his own compositions and arrangements.
John Raymond @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. $15, $40w/Dinner) John Raymond is a NYC-based, Minneapolis born trumpeter who has recently received rave reviews in both Downbeat and Jazz Times for his most recent album, Real Feels, Vol. 1. He was recently selected as a Rising Star in Trumpet by Downbeat’s Critics Poll, and is recognized as a sterling educator, conducting workshops around the country.
Monday, Tuesday, April 24, 25
SF Jazz Collective Plays Miles Davis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30) The SF Jazz Collective consists of eight outstanding musicians. Though the group changes some personnel every year or so, their mission remains the same – to create new arrangements of songs by a selected artist each year and create new compositions inspired by that composer. Past years have seen the celebration of music by Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Stevie Wonder, and Michael Jackson, among others. This year they celebrate the music of Miles Davis. This year’s octet has an international flavor, with Miguel Zenon, alto; David Sanchez, tenor; Warrn Wolf, vibes; Sean Jones, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penman, bass; and Obed Calvaire, drums.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, April 19
Alicia Kay & the ChangeUps on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana – country, rock, and blues from Ms Kay and the ChangeUps: Alicia Kay, Singer/Songwriter/Acoustic Guitar; Jimmy Baker, Electric guitar/Songwriter/Banjo; Aaron Rosener, Drums/Percussion; Jeff Ellington/Gerran, Bass; and Wendy Tangen-Foster, Violin/Fiddle. Tune in, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331, where the show will end in plenty of time to get home and get enough rest for work the next day.
Wednesday, Thursday, April 19, 20
Shelby J Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10pm ($40, $50, $60) Shelby J is a Prince protege who auditioned for, and got a spot in the New Power Generation Band back in 2006. She then took part in the Purple One’s 2007 Super Bowl half-time performance and has since toured with Mary J. Blige, D’Angelo, Santana, Roy Hargrove, and Larry Graham. Her March appearance at the Dakota with Judith Hill and Liv Warfield received rave reviews. She’ll undoubtedly be singing songs from her brand new album.
Thursday, April 20
The 4/20 (Rock n’) Roll Show @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm )$6 Advance/$9 Door) April 20 is something of a counterculture holiday, commemorating 4:20 as an ideal time to light up a doobie, I guess, and celebrated in places like San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Boulder, and Montreal. Fulton Brewing is sponsoring this rock-oriented show where, instead of Grateful Dead covers, you’ll get an evening of punk-metal and garage blues., with The Dead Man Boy’s Choir, 20 Watt Tombstone, and Jesse D. Revel. Don’t expect to be lighting up on the dance floor, however.
Friday, April 21
Lush Country @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No Cover, but $10 guaranteed seat) Here you have a line-up of Twin Cities all-stars recreating classic country tunes from the 50s. The group includes Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson Gary Rue, Richard Kriehn, Gary Raynor, Pete Johnson, and Joe Savage.
PaviElle @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($10) PaviElle is a powerful R&B singer who, with her six-piece band, was named as one of First Avenue’s best new bands of 2015. She’s received other honors as well, including an Upper Midwest Emmy, and a Sage Award. PaviElle French, which is her full name, 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. Along with her band, she’s crafted some fine songs and performs intriguing arrangements of surprising covers.
Saturday, April 22
Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 3pm ($20) Here’s a chance to hear chamber music in a cabaret setting as soprano Maria Jette hosts a different combination of performers and repertoire at this delightful weekly event. Today, Clara Osowski mezzo; and Casey Farn, piano; perform selections from Barok, Poulenc, Sebelius, Grieg and more in a presentation with the theme The Ways of the World.
Cornbread Harris’ 90th Birthday Party & CD Release @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Pianist Cornbread Harris opened for Elvis, appeared on MN’s first recorded rock & roll record with Augie Garcia, and has received numerous awards. And yes, he’s Jimmy Jam’s dad. Thing is, at 90, Cornbread still holds down regular gigs across the Twin Cities, while also playing weddings, churches, and old folks homes. He’s a special character in our artist-rich community and is not only celebrating his birthday, but the release of a CD recorded over two nights at the Hook.
Rich Lewis Band @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6)Guitarist/singer Lewis has a fondness for R&B, Motown, and the music of New Orleans, all delivered with “a good beat – you can dance to it.” He was a founding member of the fabled Explodo Boys back in the late 70s, and nowadays appears with some regularity at the Eagle’s dance hall. Always a treat.
Sunday, April 23
Road to Memphis Blues Band Challenge @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Here’s a chance to hear a number of area blues bands while also supporting the Minnesota Blues Society and their efforts to send someone to the International Blues Challenge in Memphis next January. The band’s vying for that honor today include: Slim Willie & The Ride; Bluedog; Ken Valdez; Harrison Street; Jim Stairs & Squishy Mud; and Paul Barry & The Ace Tones. The order of playing will be determined immediately prior to the event, so show up early to ensure you hear your favorite band.
Monday, April 24
DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) Here at the north end of the Mississippi River, many residents seem to have a bit of a connection to the music of South Louisiana. In fact, you can find Cajun dances with some regularity, especially at this Southside club and dance hall. The DL Cajun Band, as the name suggests, performs traditional Cajun music, including 2-steps, waltzes, blues, and other staples of the genre. Band members are Doug Lohman, guitar; Shawn Glidden,Cajun accordion; and Marie Stier, fiddle; Dawn Doering, triangle & snare. Oh, and their vocals are often in Cajun French.
Peter Mawanga and The Amaravi Movement @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance, $18 door) Fusing the rock outfit of drums-bass-guitar with the traditional sounds of Malawi’s marimba, thumb piano, and percussion, Mawanga’s Afro-vibes is a modern African sound that is intrinsically Malawian. He has the premier band in Malawi to boot who has been making headlines ever since their debut release Paphiri ndi Padambo (2009). Traditional melodies and rhythms form the backbone of original songs orchestrated with modern and traditional instruments, a sound Mawanga terms Afro-vibes.
Kasano & the Vybes @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip Jar) Kasano has been on Twin Cities’ stages as an actor and dancer, but is also a singer, songwriter, and recording artist who performs funk, soul, and contemporary rhythm & blues. He was born in Lusaka, Zambia, where his father was a guitarist, and was mostly raised in Minnesota. He’s backed by The Vybes: Sweets, guitar; Aaron Rosell, drums; Seth Lienard, bass; and Becky Shaheen, keys.