Summer Music: 6.28 – 7.4

June 28, 2017

Photo from Mill City Times

Well, one thing that last weekend’s Jazz Fest proved is that we have a wealth of jazz here in the Twin Cities. We also have a wealth of roots, blues, R&B, bluegrass, Cajun, classical music, and worldbeats, so there’s no reason that you cannot see music that you like. The 4th of July is just about upon us, and though I don’t have any music listings for that day, I’m sure that some celebrations will feature live music. Whether you are joining others in outdoor celebrations, staying home and grilling, or go out, remember: Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, June 28

Southside Aces Celebrate F. Scott Fitzgerald @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) The 14th International F. Scott Fitzgerald Conference is taking place in Saint Paul, and the Southside Aces are going to be playing a lot of Fitzgerald-era  tunes to help the celebrants.

Richard Johnson & Debbie Duncan @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45w/Dinner) As I mentioned in last weeks newsletter, Pianist Johnson has 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. Vocalist Debbie Duncan is our own “best-kept secret,” equally conversant in straight ahead and soulful jazz. Here’s Debbie.

Thursday, June 29

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Steven Hobert is a pianist who’s playing is often ethereal and impressionistic is joined by Yohannes Tona, bass; Pete Whitman, sax; and LA Buckner, drums.

Niny Salem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 W/Student ID) With SouthEast Asian roots and life experiences from four different continents, Ms Salem will be singing the songs of Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, and other female artists in a number of different languages.

Friday, June 30

Silverback Trio CD Release Party @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) David Hirsch, keyboards, electronics, & sax; Brent Wallace,m bass; and Byron Johnson-Blancahrd, drums comprise this trio, which fuses atmospheric electronics with high energy melodies. They’re celebrating their debut CD. Here they introduce themselves before a clip of them playing.

Saturday, July 1

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) After curating and hosting an incredible array of talent during the Jazz Festival, Steve Kenny returns to his normal programming of Saturday night jazz at the Black Dog. Tonight’s headliner is drummer/percussionist Babatunde Lea, with a new quartet: Mathew Trice, alto; Will Kjeer, keys; and Jax Ravel, bass. Opening is the Drew Stinson Trio w/Stinson bass; Patrick Adkins, piano; and Dan May, drums. Here’s Lea with a different quartet.

Andrew Walesch Trio @ Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The talented pianist/vocalist steps out from some of his normal haunts to entertain at the newly remodeled Normandy Kitchen. Get a reservation if you want a hi-top table. Otherwise, the bar has been extended, so there are more seats there.

Minnesota Hard Bop Collective Organ Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, 2014 Washington Ave, N, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon has been putting together groups of various sizes to play classic hard bop of the 50s and 60s, together with a few originals in that format. He’ll be accompanied by Javi Santiago on keys and Mike Wolter on guitar.

Mauilotus: The Marilyn Allysum Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) This group of award-winning musicians takes a global approach to music, transcending jazz and worldbeats to make their statement. Marilyn Allysum, composer, flute, piano, gu zheng, and vocals; Charles Fletcher, bass; Mike Hurley, drums & percussion; David Wolfe, Persian Harp & Tibetan Singing Bowls. Their last concert at Jazz Central sold out.

Sunday, July 2

Oudyano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist/Accordionist Steven Hobert has found a kindred spirit in Issam Rafea, a Syrian who plays Oud. Their music is uplifting.

Monday, June 3

Geoffrey Keezer @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $45 w/Dinner) Pianist Keezer was a member of Art Blakey’s group at 18, and toured with folks like Joshua Redman, Benny Golson, and Ray Brown while in his 20s. More recently he’s recorded with Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves, and has toured with Christian McBride and collabored with Sting and Wayne Shorter. He’s been nominated for three Grammys.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

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 28

Mary Sue Englund @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Mary Sue Englund (no relation to me, btw) is a Minnesota-born, Nashville-based country songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, author and graphic designer who tours with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan as a musician and backup singer. Bring a lunch or get one at Anita’s Cafe at Landmark.

The Hambone Wilson Band w/Billy Stoops on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/Songwriter Billy Stoops has been living in the Pacific Northwest for over two decades, performing all the music that comes under Americana. He’ll be performing with the Hambone Wilson Band from Virginia. This quartet plays roots, Americana, Old Time Rock n’ Roll, and more. Tune in to get a sense of what they sound like and head to the 331 Club if you want to hear more. Here’s the Hambone Wilson Band.

Wailing Souls @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This legendary reggae roots group dates back to the 60s, when they worked with reggae icon Joe Higgs. They fused the sound of Motown and close harmonies with roots reggae and dancehall, with a number of heir songs appearing in the 90s film Cool Runnings, about the Jamaican bobsled team. Dred I Dred opens.

Thursday, June 29

Steeling Dan @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (7) The music of Steely Dan can’t be done by a four-piece, or even a five-piece band. If you’re going to cover all of their music you’ll need a 13-piece band, at least that’s what Steeling Dan has been working with since 2002. Here’s a promo video that shows what they can do.

Tinsley Ellis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) When talking about Southern blues-rocker Ellis critics and fans often use the words, fiery, searing, and incendiary when describing the guitarists’ playing. But then, he was born in Atlanta, grew up in Southern Florida, and was inspired by a BB King performance as a teenager.

Friday, June 30

Katy Vernon Band @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) Anyone who follows Katy on FaceBook knows that she’s been on an incredible journey, touring Great Britain for about six weeks, and playing her ukelele at festivals, hospices, hospitals, pubs, and other places. There is no doubt that the journey has been inspirational for her, and we get to see the results tonight.

Albert Cummings @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $38) Cummings is a blues-rock virtuoso on guitar who has played with BB King, Johnny Winter, and Buddy Guy. Stevie Ray Vaughn’s rhythm section liked his playing so much they played on and produced his solo debut, 2003’s From the Heart. He’s been recording wand touring on stop since then.

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble @ Cedar Cutlural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$20 Door) This Barcelona, Spain band actually got started in Chicago, but it wasn’t until founder Aaron Feder moved to Spain 101years ago and met some Nigerian musicians that it began to gel and take off, and have since released three albums. I believe this is the second appearance at The Cedar this year. Opening by Somali percussionist Harbi, who will debut his work “Heartbeat of Durbaanka,” a new work funded by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board Cultural Community Partnership program.

Saturday, July 1

Saddle Sores @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($? – Cheap?) Classic country music of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, as done by the the is five-piece  who are obviously fans of the genre: Jenny Russ, vocals; Jimmy Kennedy, guitar & vocals; Randy Venaas, bass; Mo Engel, drums; and Clay Williams, pedal steel and guitar. Songs include: You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly, and Who’s Going to Take Your Garbage Out.

Karl B & the Soul Surgeons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This funk-fusion band recently released their debut full-length album, Electrosurgery. Members: Karl Brueggemann, drums; Andrew McManimon, guitar; Elliot Keyes, bass; and Fran Merchiewitz, keys.

Nooky Jones Album Release Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door)  Nooky Jones has been around the Cities for a couple of years now, spreading smooth neo-soul with hearty elements of jazz and R&B, and undertones of hip-hop. Now they are ready to release their self-titled debut album. Nooky Jones is: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals/trumpet; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Kevin Gastonguay, keys: Reid Kennedy, drums; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Ryan Christianson, trombone. With Pho and DJ Sarah White.

Sunday, July 2

Bevery McClellan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) McClellan is the soulful singer with the huge sound who was a finalist in The Voice, a few years back, in which she did a rousing version of The Thrill is Gone. She’s a talented lady capable of playing a number of instruments and singing in a variety of styles. Here she is from a 2011 performance at the Dakota.

Tuesday, July 4

Happy 4th of July!

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.

The Good Life in Music: Feb 22 – 28

February 22, 2012
From a visiting iconic band leader/television personality, to resident artists that are A-list players on a national basis, to a couple of new groups with established players, the coming week offers a rich pool of possibilities for the Twin Cities music lover. Those of us who reside here are lucky to live among such a creative community. Those of you who are visitors are welcome to sample our musical version of the good life.

Wed, Feb 22

Sue Oatts & the Wolverines Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis.  6pm (No Cover) If you’ve been interested in Twin Cities jazz for more than six years or so, you may seen or heard Sue, who used to go by the name Sue Tucker. Her 2006 release Back Home, is a fine example of jazz singing, wherein she tackles standards and some choice lesser known songs. She is well suited for swiinging along with the Wolverines Trio.

Anthony Cox Group @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Always an A-list bassist, whether in NYC or the Twin Cities, Cox is definitely worth seeing.

Wed, Thurs, Feb 22, 23

The Often Colorful, Always Dapper Doc

Doc Severinson Big Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60) 9pm ($40) A big band at the Dakota? Well if sixty year music veteran and former leader of the Tonight Show Band wants to do it, the good folks at the Dakota will accommodate him. Sure, it’s a bit of cash, but outside of this appearance, I don’t know when else you’d get to see Doc and his Big Band outside of a large hall or theater.

Thurs, Feb 23

Chris Bates Good Vibes Trio @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Chris will be joined by Phil Hey on drums and Dave Hagedorn on vibes for what will surely be an evening of enjoyable, exciting music.

Friday, Feb 24

Debbie Duncan and Dennis Spears @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Whether Spears is singing in Moore by Four or portraying Nat King Cole in a theatrical production, he entertains. Duncan is equally at home singing blues or jazz and is an artist other artists come out to see.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 24, 25

Patty Peterson and Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Another A-list singer for the Twin Cites. Patty has received the Minnesota Music Award seven times, and has released four CDs with the likes of Sheila E. and Ira Sullivan, among others.

Saturday, Feb 25

Richard Johnson: The Frank Sinatra Songbook @ St. Michaels Lutheran Church, Roseville. 7:30pm ($12) Johnson is a major talent as a piano player, having held down that spot in the bands of  Irvin Mayfield, Russell Malone, and Wynton Marsalis. His interpretation of West Side Story at the AQ last month was imaginative and melodic. this is the second in his “Jazz Alive” series.

U of M Jazz Festival @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm (FREE)  Jazz ensembles from the University will be workshopping all day in order to present this concert with the Hornheads.

Photo by Marsha Walker

Jeremy Walker’s Boot Camp @ The Dakota (Late Night), Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Check out Jeremy Walker’s new project with Walker on piano; Chris Thomson, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Walker is back from his NYC sojourn, and his creative juices are flowing. Expect a brace of originals as well as some timeless tunes.

Monday, Feb 27

A wind instrument for Latin Jazz? Of course!

Latin Jazz All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20)  This band features a hot group of players conversant in many Latin styes. This is a group effort between Steve TurreRay Vega, Chembo Corniel, Yunior Terry, Benito Gonzales and Diego Lopez. Turre is in the Saturday Night Live Band, and has won Downbeat awards for Trombone and Miscellaneous instrument (conch shells). Vega was the lead trumpet for Tito Puente and the Bronx Horns. Other members of the band are equally well versed in Latin rhythms. I have a feeling the Dakota will be jumpin’.

Tuesday, Feb 28

Minnesota Youth Jazz Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 6:30 – 8:30pm. (FREE) Another chance to see young jazzers. This time it’s 19 talented high school students performing arrangements of tunes by Count Basie, Buddy Rich, Charles Mingus and Pat Metheny.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the Bebopified Calendar, here.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wed, Feb 22

Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover)  There’ll be some prime fingerpicking going on while folks are dining at the South Minneapolis neighborhood restaurant. Reservations are smart. Ask to be seated near the music.

Thursday, Feb 23

Get Gone, Brass Messengers, and Jack Klatt & The Swingers @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 10pm (No cover)  If you can handle a late night on Thursday, here’s where to get a triple dose of music: Rock n’ Roll,  Brass Band music, and some swingin’ roots music.

Jimi sings his heart out

Friday, Feb 24

Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold, Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Wild Tymes, Saint Paul. 8pm. A couple of first rate blues acts in downtown Saint Paul. There are two other bands in this line-up, so it may be wise to call beforehand for the schedule. (651) 224-8181

Saturday, Feb 25

SoulJazz Orchestra @ The Triple Rock Social Cub, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Like the bands on Daptone Records, the SoulJazz Orchestra is a horn band with a serious jones for Afrobeat and funk from the 60s and 70s, yet they compose their own music. The four horn, no-guitar funksters from Ottowa will have Peregrine Perspective and the always-lively Brass Messengers as opening acts.

Salsa del Soul @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, 501 Washinton, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10)  The heat will be rising as fun-loving dancers take to the floor and twist, whirl, and glide to sensuous Latin rhythms of Salsa del Soul.

Sunday, Feb 26

Live Blues Recording @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. Noon ($5). Eleven different acts are taking part in this all-day recording session, sponsored by the Minnesota Blues Society, Wilebski’s and American Guitar and Band. It’s an effort to document (both with video and audio) a cross-section of the Twin Cities Blues scene. Performers include. Curtis Marlatt, Curtis Blake, Jimi “Prime Time” Smith, Bill Swanson, Paul Wigen, Tony Houle, and more…

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

The Past and the Present. Music Suggestions for January 11 – 17.

January 11, 2012

Something old, something, new, something Bach, and something blue. That more or less describes some music ideas for the coming week. From the 21st Century jazz of Schimke, Buckley, & Epstein, to interpretations of Bach and Bernstein, there is more jazz than a person can hopefully attend. The Sixties figure strongly in other offerings, from Martha & the Vandellas and Peter Asher,  to the 30s with a show about Noel Coward, and a nod to Brazil, with an afternoon performance.  All in all, a good week for live music.


Wednesday, Jan 11

Schimke, Buckley, & Epstein @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm. (No cover) Three of the many fine musicians in the area gather to improvise at Cafe Maude, an excellent neighborhood restaurant. Peter Schimke on piano, James Buckley on bass, and Jay Epstein on drums. Expect inventive, thoughtful, jazz. The cafe has a $20 prix fixe menu to go with the music. Reservations are encouraged.

Thursday, Jan 12

Robb Henry Trio @ Merlin’s Rest, East Lake Street, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) Guitarist Henry has come quite a ways from his days with local rockers Fingerprints. He heads up the Parisota Hot Club and also does occasional dates with a trio, as he does tonight, with Ben Kaplan on drums and Jim Chenoweth on string bass. Bring an ID if you want alcohol. Here’s a video of a November appearance at Merlin’s. The audience noise is loud but you get a good sense of Henry’s playing.

Friday, Jan 13

Jon Weber @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The always-enjoyable Weber is a pianist with great technique, a vivid musical imagination, and a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of songs and styles. He’s been a featured artist at every Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and is host of “Piano Rising Stars” on NPR, which is beginning to be heard on KBEM on Saturday evenings.

Saturday, Jan 14

Framework + Baroque Trio @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10, $15) Is there something in the air? Last weekend Laura Caviani performed Bach to Bop. Now we have a jazz trio and a baroque trio sharing a stage and compositions. Framework is Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass, and Jay Epstein, drums. Paul Boehnke directs the baroque trio (harpsichord anyone?). Both groups will be playing the music of Bach (an early improviser) in both traditional and non-traditional ways. The jazz trio will also perform modern compositions inspired by classical composers, and the baroque trio will perform those new compositions in a traditional manner.

Richard Johnson Trio Performs the Music of West Side Story @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Pianist Johnson has been a member of groups led by Russell Malone, Irvin Mayfield, and Wynton Marsalis. Johnson’s playing and Leonard Bernstein’s score should make a good combination. Sleeper gig of the week.

Sunday Jan 15

TCJS presents Bryan Nichols Quintet + 1: ” The Music of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet” @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Don’t let the long title put you off. This will be a memorable performance, as pianist Nichols gathers MIke Lewis and Brandon Wozniak (saxes); James Buckley, bass, and JT Bates and Jay Epstein (drums) to play the music of what many consider the finest small group of the late 20th Century. Opening act is a trio of high school artists, Respective Sounds Convergence Summit, led by bassist Sam Wildenauer, with Henry Misa on Keys, and Will Nelson on guitar.

Monday, Jan 16

JoAnn Funk Trio & Dave Karr Trio on Saint Paul Live! – KBEM (88.5FM) 7pm – 8pm. Both trios recorded live this past Fall at the Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar and the Artists’ Quarter respectively.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink. For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the KBEM Calendar, here.

Roots, Blues, Other….

Wednesday, Thursday, Jan 11, 12

Callin' Out Around the World...

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $65) Holy Moly Rocky! The secretary turned singer turned Detroit City Councilperson/Singer is coming to town to sing “Heat Wave,” “Dancing in the Streets,” and more. With a voice that was way more powerful than Diana Ross, Reeves should have ruled the roost at Motown. She and her cohorts were responsible for songs that clearly established the Motown sound. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003, Reeves will have many boomers (and a fair amount of younger fans) enjoying soul/pop of the highest order.

Friday, Jan 13

Hubert Sumlin Tribute w/Butanes & Tail Dragger @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) If anyone can do a heartfelt and valid tribute to Sumlin, the Butanes can. Butanes leader Curt Obeda used to hang with Hubert when Curt was in Chicago. Sumlin was Howlin’ Wolf’s main guitar player, and was so good that Muddy Waters hired him away, though not for long. Not only was Sumlin a hell of a player (named to the top 100 of all time by Rolling Stone), but he was also very gracious, as I learned when I ran into him at the Newark Airport about 8 or 9 years ago. Tail Dragger is an added benefit.

Saturday, Jan 14

Mariameu @ Hosmer Public Library, 347 East 36th Street, Minneapolis. 1pm – 4pm (free). Brazilian music from Tim O’Keefe, hand drums; James, Allen, acoustic guitar; David Martin, guitar and bass, and Karen Quiroz, vocals. Quiroz is a fine interpreter of contemporary Brazilian music and uses excellent musicians. Both Allen and Martin are very talented guitarists who work with other vocalists as well. What a nice way to spend an afternoon.

String Theory @ The Coffee Grounds, 1579 Hamline, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. A jazz/blues/world fusion trio from the Mankato area, String Theory is Eli Hoehn, banjo & vocals; Wayne Schmidt, guitar & vocals; and Jason Helder, guitar & vocals. I know Eli from his excellent work with One Fast Move. This sounds like a trio to catch.

The Persuasions @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main Street, Hopkins. 8pm ($26) After 48 years, they “still ain’t got no band.” Theses acapella artists don’t need one, as their harmonies easily carry the day. They sing all kinds of music, from Sam Cooke and the Temptations, to Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, and the Grateful Dead.  Check this out.

Sunday, Jan 15

A Talent to Amuse: An Evening With Noel Coward @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 1pm. (Free) Gary Briggle has created this performance piece, appearing as the ever-witty Noel Coward. It features nearly 30 of his hilarious story songs, romantic ballads, jazzy dance tunes, and wry observations.

Monday, Tuesday, Jan 16, 17

Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) So much more than half of Peter and Gordon, Asher has been a record executive at all levels, and was a regular Zelig of mod Britain: Paul McCartney dated his sister; he introduced Yoko to John; and Mick to Marianne Faithful, not to mention signing and producing James Taylor and a host of others. This multi-media performance is titled: A Musical Memoir of the 60s and Beyond.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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