Seasonal Music and More… 12.13 – 12.19

December 13, 2017

Greetings of the Season;

Lifting spirits through music and dance

Well, we have more holiday shows to get you into the spirit, including a couple that give a bit of a twist to the usual holiday song suspects. We also have some impressive visiting artists, and fun shows from resident artists. We’ve had a chance to get used to cold weather, and it’s going to stay relatively comfortable for the next week, so you’ll be able to get out and about to see my ideas for music, or your own. Either way, music lifts the spirit, and though many of us will be celebrating Hannukah, Christmas or Kwanza, some of us will be missing loved ones or have other reasons to need some uplifting this season

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 13

Gregory Generet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) After winning three Emmys as a post-production editor in TV, Generet decided to develop his singing abilities. Since then he’s done sold out shows at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola at Jazz at Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, The Highline Ballroom, The Kitano, Feinsteins at the Lowes Regency in New York City and Smoke Jazz Club, where he held a residency for 3 years. He’s also performed at the 2015 Umbria Jazz edition of Ricomincio Da Tre jazz club and in Abu Dhabi, where he met pianist Richard Johnson, who was booking shows at a hotel there. The New York Times, said of his singing, “A voice that’s so sultry you might get burned.” Here’s a video with Johnson and his group performing the first song, followed by Generet.

Thursday, Dec 14

Songsister: Holiday in Harmony @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid student ID) ) Songsister consists of three fine vocalists: Dorothy Doring, Vicky Mountain, and Connie Dussl. They’ll be doing holiday songs both as soloists and as group singers. No alcohol at this basement place, but if you’re discreet, you can bring some of your own.  H

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15)  Pianist Johnson entertained us with his imaginative, soulful playing when he lived in the Twin Cities a few years back. . Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been played and booking jazz acts. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. See the video under Wednesday’s listing.

Larry McDonough Group: Twisted Holidays @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) You can expect McDonough to put his own mix of odd rhythms and meters to music from Bill Evans, Coltrane, Beethhovem Mr. McGoo, and more.

Friday, Dec 15

Steve Kimmel/Davina & the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Kimmel, No Cover),  9pm (Davina, $17 Advance/$20 Door) A veteran of the old West Bank Music Scene, multi-instrumentalist Steve Kimmel ran the Rainbow Gallery, booked the Loring Bar, played in the fabled fusion group Natural Life, and with the Lamont Cranston Blues Band. He’ll be followed at 9pm by the energetic and effervescent Davina and the Vagabonds with hot jazz, New Orleans R&B, and soulful originals.

Saturday, Dec 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar), 8:30pm ($10) Steve Kenny Trio in the bar at 7pm, followed at 8:30pm by the debut performance of the Inatnas Orchestra playing The Music of Asuka Kakitani and JC Sanford, playing in the dining room with a $10 admission, since it’s a 17-piece Big Band. Some of the musicians that will be playing include: JT Bates, drums; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; JC Sanford, trombone, and a sax section of Pete Whitman, Dave Milne, and Aaron Hedenstrom. Plus trumpeter Russ Johnson will be a special guest. Here’s Sanford leading a previous orchestra.

Also: Larry McDonough Group @ The Warming House, 4001 Bryant Ave. South, Minneapolis. 7:30pm doors, 8pm performance. ($10) Just McDonough and saxophonist/poet Richard Terrill performing songs as noted above.

Saturday, Sunday, Dec 16, 17

Bobby Lyle Trio: Holiday Keys @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm Sat, 5pm, 7:30pm Sun, ($30) A Minneapolis native who was a member of Young-Holt Limited, Sly and the Family Stone, Al Jarreau’s touring band, and others, as well as serving as the musical director for Bette Midler. The man is talented, which he’ll show on piano and organ each night. Here he is at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Sunday, Dec 17

Kirk Whalum’s A Gospel According to Jazz @ Bethel University’s Benson Hall, 3900 Bethel Drive, Saint Paul. 6pm ($25, $35, $45, $60)  Grammy Award winning saxophonist Kirk Whalum brings his Sixth Annual Christmas concert tour to the Bethel University (off Snelling, north of Rosedale). The concert will feature South African singer/guitarist Jonathan Butler along with special guests John Stoddart, Sheléa, and Kevin Whalum.

Monday, Dec 18

Chris Speed Trio, feat Dave King & Christopher Tordini @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20), 9:30pm ($15) According to the NY Times, saxophonist Chris Speed is “one of the principal figures in a dynamic left-of-center jazz/improv scene in the city” He leads a number of bands and is currently working on projects with Craig Taborn’s Heroic Frenzies, Michael Formanek’s Ensemble Kolossus, Dave King’s Trucking Company and others. He’ll be joined by NY-based Chris Tordini on bass, and our own über – drummer Dave King.

George Maurer Group Holiday Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) With an irreverent style and sly humor (The Drive My Car as Drive My Sleigh,, Santa Claus is coming to Town mashed up with Herbie Hancock’s Drifting and other rewordings of Christmas standards) the 8-piece George Maurer Group has been selling out Holiday Shows at the Dakota since 2000.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Dec 13

Ken Valdez Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Here’s what you’ll find if you go to the Valdez website: “From the Hill Country to Chicago, from the Delta down to Texas and every place between and far-flung, Valdez’s explosive fretwork coupled with his sweet, snarling vocals make for a treat for sounds of every corner of the blues world and beyond.” Check him out on the show and head over to the 331 Club afterwards.

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) As I wrote last week, Asher has been touring with various versions of his story for about 4 years now. Though some parts are the same, he keeps things interesting enough to go back a second time to hear about Paul McCartney as his roommate, his ownership of the gallery where John met Yoko, his discovery of James Taylor, work with Linda Ronstadt, Bonnie Raitt, Emmy Lou Harris and more. Plus, you get him singing his Peter and Gordon hits (with Gordon on video – see below).

Thursday, Dec 14

Celtic Music Showcase @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Hear young musicians from the Center for Irish Music. They’ll be appearing in various ensembles under the direction of Norah Rendell. Listen to how this music is being passed on from one generation to another. You can also order sandwiches, wood-fired pizza, beer, and wine.

Friday, Dec 15

Mother Banjo & Ben Cook-Feltz Holiday Show @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) featuring songs from our holiday EP Christmas Came Early, highlighted on The Current and hailed as “a soul-healing collection of songs that put you in the spirit of the season” (Rift Magazine). Also: an all-star house band and special guest performances by Ben Kyle (Romantica), Jon RodineDan Gaarder (Roe Family Singers), and other surprise guests.

Darlene Love @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($47 – $111.50) The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer has been on dozens of hits, including He’s A Rebel, (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry, and Christmas (Baby Please Come Home), the song she performed each Christmas season on the David Letterman show for almost 30 years, as well as other songs. Her last performance at the Ordway was strong, touching on all the hits and then some. It’s a rocking celebration of Christmas and then some.

Dosh & Friends @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12/$15) This is the 10th Annual Dosh & Friends show, which this year features: Mike Sopko, Al Church, and McKnight Composer Fellow DeVon Gray (dVRG) playing with Dosh; as well as Billy Martin (of Medeski Martin and Wood), playing with special guest Dave King; Jeremy Ylvisaker, teaming up with Mike Lewis and JT Bates; plus the mighty Guitarkestra of Minneapolis.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Dec 15, 16, 17

Magnum Chorum Christmas Concerts:

@ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm Friday ($25, $30)

@ Nativity Catholic Church, 1900 Wellesley Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm Saturday

@Church of the Annunciation, 509 West 54th Street, Minneapolis.  3pm Sunday

You will hear music from Russia, Sweden, and the Baltic Region, including Kopylov’s Heavenly Light, a soaring Hymn to the Virgin by Alexander Levine, Chesnokov’s Gabriel Appeared, music by Tchaikovsky and Gretchaninoff, and excerpts from Rachmaninoff’s All Night Vigil. Additionally, there will be an electrifying Ave Maria by Polish composer Łukazewski, and the luminous music of Ešenvalds and Pärt.

Saturday, Dec 16 

Flamin’ Ohs @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) The Oh’s burst on the scene back in 1980, led by frontman Robert Wilkinson, thrilling fans on early MTV, and hitting the Billboard charts with I Remember Romance. Whether or not you remember romance, their 2015 EP, Hear and Now, earned praise from the Star Tribune for their “Hard edged Stones-like rock’n’roll. East Coast street anthems coupled with Midwestern optimism and enthusiasm.”

Butanes Soul Revue 30th Anniversary @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Thirty years ago the Butanes Soul Revue began a weekly residency at the Cabooze that drew great crowds and lasted five years. Led by Curt Obeda on guitar; with Robb Stupka, drums; Dr. Virgil Nelson, organ, Jim Anton, bass; Sue Orfield, sax; Mike Nelson, trombone; and Adam Rossmiller on trumpet. Dab Brown and Aisha Baker on vocals, and featuring the fine, fine voice of Maurice Jacox as well. A dynamite show.

Sunday, Mon, Dec 17, 18

The Peterson Family’s Jam Before Christmas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($25) Minnesota’s First Family of Music takes to the stage to celebrate with the rest of us. Expect a jazz and R&B filled evening from Linda Peterson, piano and vocals; Billy Peterson, bass; Ricky Peterson, organ; Patty Peterson, vocals; Paul Peterson, bass, gutar, and keys; and Jason Peterson Delaire, pianist/saxophonist/vocals.

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.


TC Jazz Fest and More: 6.21 – 6.27

June 21, 2017

Greetings everyone;

It’s the big weekend for jazz fans as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday through Saturday. Great headliners and about 300 resident artists will be appearing on stages all over town. Besides Mears Park, Rice Park, and the Union Depot, downtown venues include the Black Dog Cafe, Golden’s Deli, the Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), the Hat Trick Lounge, The Amsterdam, and others. Don’t forget the piano-centric acts at Vieux Carré, with its late night jam, and the stage in the tpt building featuring vocalists all weekend. There are also performances at venues outside of downtown at venues like the Como Dockside and the Episcopal homes. I’ve got the link to the schedule below. Fans of blues and roots also have reasons to be happy, as I’ve listed. Remember, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 21

Lee Engele @ The Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7pm (Free) A preview gig for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Vocalist Engele has a particularly good way with acoustic swing aka gypsy jazz, though she handles standards and the occasional bossa nova with elegance and ease, especially with such stellar accompaniment as Reynold Philipsek on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass. .

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to the Great American Songbook, though she’s adept at pop as well. She’ll be accompanied by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Christian Sands @ The Dakota, Minneapolls. 7pm ($20) Sands is an up and coming pianist who has already arrived in some sense. He’s been a key member of Christian McBride’s Trio for a number of years, was nominated for five Grammys, and was mentored by pianist Billy Taylor. He recently released his debut recording, Reach.

JT Bates Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul 8:00pm ($6) Get your B3 organ fix as drummer Bates brings Kevin Gasonguey, B3, and Zacc Harris, guitar, to the basement club. Things will be cookin!

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23, 24

Twin Cities Jazz Festival  @ Saint Paul locations. (Free) It’s about the most anticipated event of the year for area jazz fans, though fans of R&B, funk, and world music also get to hear some of their favorite bands for free. You can find the schedule here. Needless to say, headliners Anat Cohen, Terrance Blanchard, McCoy, and others are well worth your while, but get to Mears Park early to also hear folks like Emmet Cohen, Bobby Lyle, and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code in opening slots. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase at Union Depot has been expanded to both Friday and Saturday, with the McNally Smith Vocal Ensemble headlining on Friday, and the Dakota Combo headlining on Saturday.

Friday, Saturday, June 23, 24

Django Festival All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Honoring the “hot jazz” (aka gypsy jazz) of Django Rheinhardt, this sextet brings their own creativity to the swinging style. Author and critic Will Friedwald, said of them, “the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe.”

Sunday, June 25

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ The Church of Saint Albert, East 29th Street & 32 Ave, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3pm ($20) Part of a monthly music series examining the music of the 20, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Today it’s the music of the 1930s. Both vocalist Hixson and pianist Carlson excel at this sort of thing.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you aren’t quite ready to give up the spirit of the jazz fest, you can continue your jazz jones with the ever-inventive guitarist Zacc Harris and his trio.

Monday, June 26

Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Cellist Greg Byers leads this quartet: Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums.

Tuesday, June 27

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45/wDinner) Pianist Johnson lived in the Twin Cities for a few years, entertaining us with his lovely playing. Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been playing a booking jazz. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. He has a unique program for 7-17 year olds called Reach afar, to educate them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 27, 28

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. Until the last year or so she was on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them. She’s performed here about twice a year in the last three years and her shows often sell out, or come close to it. Be forewarned.

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, June 21

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Northurp Auditorium Plaza, U of MN, Minneapolis. Noon (Free) Grab a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and if you keep it hidden, perhaps a bottle of wine, and have a picnic while enjoying the music of this “bongos and berets” group, playing French musettes, a cumbia or two, and some old standards.

Cooker John Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cooker John learned to fingerpick from Artie Traum in NYC during the folk boom of the 60s. Since then he’s traveled the country, has played in numerous bands, and for the past few decades has played solo, or with one or two others. I recall hearing about him playing the Midwest back in the 80s. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Randall Webb, Ben Kaplan, and John Vizard. Listen in and head over to the 331 Club if you want to hear more.

Paul Bergen & the Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ The Hook & Ladder, Minnapolis. 7pm (No cover) Honky-tonkin’ swamp country blues from members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Curtss A’ band and others. This is part of a June residency that takes place in H&L’s lounge.

Jillian Rae & Hannah von der Hoff @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 8pm ($6) Fiddler/singer/songwriter Jillian Rae has a Wednesday night June residency at the Aster, bringing her band along to help while she sings her own originals as well as some tasty covers. Tonight she has guitarist/singer/songwriter Hannah von der Hoff along for the ride. Here’s Hannah!

Thursday, June 22

Mikkel Beckmen w/Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen has slide guitar master Jeff Ray as his guest at this after work gig.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) Soul, R&B, and ballads from a master vocalist.

Jonatha Brooke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooke has released nine albums of literate adult pop and two live discs, all of which were well received by critics if not exactly big sellers, and has used crowd funding on her last two albums. Though born in Boston, and having lived in Los Angeles and New York, Brooke relocated to Minneapolis last year, home to her husband/manager. She’s happy with the move, and has been having fun calling on resident talent to fill her bands here. Tonight, she’ll be accompanied by Kevin Gastonguay on keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Joey van Phillips, drums; Aby Wolf, vocals; Rebecca Arons, cello; and Sean Driscoll, guitar.

Friday, June 23

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) He was known as Wee Willie Walker during the 60s and 70s Soul Explosion, and still goes by that name on his website, but the name doesn’t account for his sonorous voice, with a bit a whiskey gravel to it, and an interpretive ability that defines soul.

Charlie Parr @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) It’s nine months since this blues vagabond opened the H&L, so apparently it’s time to have him back. Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders open.

Saturday, June 24

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free) The ribs at Big Daddy’s will get an extra helping of funky soulfulness as the big-voiced blues belter Big George Jackson performs as part of the the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Papa John Kolstand & the Perfect Phitts @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Singer, raconteur, and guitarist Papa John Kolstad brings his wit, wisdom, and sense of fun to Merlins, the best neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. The Phitts are Bill Smith, harmonica and vocals; Gary Powell, National Steel and vocals; and Bill Grenke, bass. There is a reason they’re called the Perfect Phitts as they play seamlessly and perform some three part harmonies.

Sunday, June 25

The Funky United @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) I may be mistaken, but this appears to be a new group, though it’s members have been around for a while: Scott Glaser, bass; Dev Jana, guitar; Chris Kellick, keys; Tim Moran, drums; and Mick Sterling, vocals.. They play original funky soul.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) It’s the last Sunday of the month, so the Gang once again holds court at the oldest continually operating bar in MN. Today, Papa John Kolstad will be in the hot seat, playing with Bill Greinke, bass; Rena Haus and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


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