Twin Cities Music: 4.25-5.1

April 25, 2018

Nowadays the sun isn’t going down until after 8pm, and we’re all enjoying pleasant weather. While it’s certainly fun to enjoy the sun, much pleasure can be had from early evening shows as well, and we have plenty of them. They’re a boon for those of us who aren’t 35, unencumbered and don’t have to be at work til noon. We can choose from any number of early jazz, blues, and roots shows this week. Music Lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, April 25

Leigh Kammen Legacy Project Presents: Larry McDonough Quartet and Local Damaging Winds @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. (Donation) The rarely seen Locally Damaging Winds will be playing at this fundraiser for there Leigh Kammen Legacy Project. Locally Damaging Winds includes: Peter Enblom, Dave Graf, Brad Bellows, and Wade Clark, with the Larry McDonough Trio rhythm section. Pianist McDonough and his Quartet will open, playing the music of Bill Evans.

Christian Sands Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Pianist Sands is a rising star in jazz, having been mentored by Billy Taylor, served in Christian McBride’s trio for a number of years, and been nominated for five Grammys. His latest release, Reach, has been well received.

Thursday, April 26

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Whether she’s scatting be-bop lines or re-imagining rock n’ roll and jazz standards, vocalist Mountain exhibits sheer musicality. She’ll be accompanied by guitarist Martin, with whom she’s performed a number of times. The addition of Jim Chenoweth on bass adds to both music and fun factor.

Music Without Borders @ Calvary Lutheran Church, 3901 Chicago Ave, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Cash Donation at Door) Here’s an excellent example of how music transcends boundaries and generations. Students from the Urban Arts Academy, playing hand-made drums, will perform with Douglas R. Ewart, didgeroo, flutes; Bob Fantuzzo, Native American style flutes; Mankwe Ndosi, vocals; Davu Seru, percussion; and Jacqueline Ultan, cello.

Friday, April 27

No Room for Squares @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Another band of cross-generational musicians: Bill Steiger, drums; Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; andDale Alexander, piano.=

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) The talented trio of Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson,and Tom Lieberman first gained fans back in the late 70s with swingin’ songs from the Depression and WWII. After separating to each create a successful career, they reunited a few years back and have added new songs to their repertoire without losing their gorgeous three-part harmonies and sense of swing.

Saturday, April 28

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Starting at 7pm, it’s Chronic Ice Cream, which includes: Macalester Wilms, tenor; Matthew E. Tice, alto; Cody Leduc, trombone; Lee ran, saxes; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes & keys; Drew Stinson, bass; and Bobby T Rossen, drums. The Graydon Peterson Quartet headlines @8:30pm: Peterson, bass; Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Monday, April 30

Silverback Trio & OKnice @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul.9:30pm (Free) Ok, I’m conflicted about where to place this notice, since the show combines a hip-hop rapper and a jazz trio. The Silverback Trio plays two sets beginning about 9:30. They play original songs, using atmospheric electronics and high-energy melodies to create jazz for the 21st Century. Its members are: David Hirsch, electronics and sax; Brent Wallace, bass; and Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. OKnice hits the stage about 11:15. He is described as performing rap that both die-hard fans and casual listeners can enjoy.

Jax Ravel’s Benefit & Birthday @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Drummer/percussionist Jax Ravel was one of the McNally Smith teachers left high and dry (along with students), when the school closed just before Christmas. Since it’s his birthday, musician friends are coming together to raise funds for him by playing tonight. They include the Graydon Peterson Quartet; the Yohannes Tona Band; the Steven Hobert Group, and Ravel’s own Jax Ravel Gang.

Eliane Elias @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $45), 9pm ($20, $24, $35) The Brazilian-born, multi Grammy-winning pianist is touring behind her just-released album, Music from Man of La Mancha, which was actually recorded some years ago and co-produced by Elias and the late Mitch Leigh, who composed the music for both stage and screen. Leigh commissioned the recording to specifically have Elias create an instrumental Latin Jazz album of his music. Here’s Elias singing and playing a Brazilian classic.

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, April 25

Bobcats on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Bobcats are Bobby E, a guitarist that should be known to more; Kathy Mosher, a vocalist that Bobby regularly accompanies; along with Tom Craven, bass; and Eron Woods, drums.

Issam Rafea and Gao Hong Album Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) Rafea is a Syrian Oud Master who has been seen around town playing with a variety of partners, including pianist Steven Hobert. Gao Hong is a Chinese Pipa Master. They only play improvisations and are celebrating the release of Life As Is: The Blending of Ancient Souls fromSyria and China, on Innova Records. Both Issam’s instrument, the Arabic lute called the oud, and Gao Hong’s instrument, the Chinese four-stringed lute called the pipa, originated from the same ancient instrument – the Persian barbat.

Dusty Heart Vinyl Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Here’s a case where the whole is greater than the  sum of its parts. Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are two poetic singer/songwriters who are recognized for their own work , but discovered that together, they create a whole new, harmony-laden sound.  They’ll be accompanied by the ace musicians Jeremy Ylvisaker, guitar; Michael Lewis, bass & sax; and JT Bates, drums.

Thursday, April 26

Nick Moss Band Feat. Dennis Gruenling @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance $15 Door, $18 Reserved) Blues guitarist Nick Moss is riding high with his recent Alligator release, The High Cost of Low Living sitting at #1 on the Living Blues chart and #3 on Billboard. He’ll have superb harmonica player Dennis Gruenling along for this gig, making it a must-see for blues fans. Pianist Scottie “Bones” Miller opens.

Cadillac Kolstad @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Piano pounder Cadillac Kolstad’s rockabilly/R&B is very popular in Germany, where he seems to tour a couple of times a year. Hear him in the enlarged lounge at Crooner’s.

Phil Heywood @ Waldmann Brewery & Wurstery, Smith Ave, Saint Paul. 7:30-9:30pm (Tip Jar?) Fingerpicking champ & vocalist Phil Heywood makes his debut at this new brewery in one of the oldest buildings in Saint Paul. The brewery specializes in German-style beers and serves a variety of sausages and sides.

Also: Vicky Emerson Band with Mother Banjo @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis.8pm

Friday, April 27

Joe & Vicky Price, Ray & Hurricane @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a duo of blues duos tonight as Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold (guitar/vocals & harp, respectively) share the stage with Joe & Vicky Price, whose take on the blues is both traditional and unique. Just to make things even more interesting, there will be wood-fired pizza, craft beer, and a huge selection of craft whiskey.

Missy Andersen Duo @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm- 11:30pm (Tip Jar) Any blues fan that checks out the videos at the Black Dog entry for this duo will try to see them. Missy Andersen’s gospel-tinged vocals are complemented by husband Heine Andersen’s guitar work in which he plays lead, rhythm, and bass lines simultaneously.

Also: Nikki & The Ruemates @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:45pm

Saturday, April 29

Charlie Parr @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 3pm-5pm (Tip Jar) No matter the weather, the 331 will be filled with fans of Parr, whose original folk-blues and spirituals reflect both the music of the Delta and his life.

Also: Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat)

Saturday, Sunday, April 28, 29

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60 Sat, $35, $45, $55 Sun) Fischer was a featured performer in 20 Feet from Stardom, the documentary about background singers. She’s an absolute pro, having spent over 20 years touring with the Stones. She also toured with Luther Vandross, Tina Turner, Sting, and Nine Inch nails. She uses her experience, and her considerable pipes to recast well-known pop/rock songs and make them her own. Be forewarned – her shows often sell out.

Sunday, April 29

Honky-Tonk Jump @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) Western Swing and Texas Dance Hall music from this “Daddy Squeeze” aggregation, with: Dan Newton, accordion & vocals; Tom Schaefer, fiddle; Dan Lowinger, guitar; Vaughn Asseltine, bass; and Deal Gallagher, drums.

Tuesday, May 1

KFAI 40th Anniversary Live Broadcast at Walker Church and Concert @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm at the H&L (Donation) Can it really be 40 years since the Ten-Watt Big Shot (as it was sometimes called) went on the air? Now at 900 Watts (90.3 & 106.7FM), the station returns to its first home, Walker Methodist Church, for a day-long live broadcast before heading over to the Hook & Ladder, where Clockwerks Brewing will release KFAIBock and live music will commence from The Prizefighters, Trash Street,. Beebe Gallini, Theo, and thyself. I’ll be stopping by the Walker between 10AM and noon to chat with Jackson Buck about the station and spin some music from Streetlight Serenade and Shakeup Southside.

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.

 


Happy New Year! 12.27 – 1.2

December 27, 2017

I think I can safely say that most of us are looking forward to putting 2017 behind us. What with hurricanes, mass shootings, wildfires, “taking a knee,” sex abuse scandals, a political climate that could be called tumultuous at best, and locally, the unexpected closing of MacNally Smith Music College, we’re ready to start anew.

On a personal and positive note, my year was upended when I was diagnosed with significant health issues. Thankfully, I have responded very well, thanks to some excellent health professionals and, I believe, the good thoughts, vibes and prayers of family and a supportive community, including readers such as yourself. Thank you.

Another positive thing about the last year is the great talent that has performed in our Twin Cities, from both resident and visiting artists. We’re lucky to have a vital music scene, with high schools and regional colleges producing talented musicians to join a bevy of highly respected veterans. Evidence of emerging talent will be on display this week as a number of young jazz musicians are home on vacation and lining up to play. Roots and Blues groups continue to percolate up with brand new younger groups and realignments of veterans. Now… we’re in for a cold spell, but as hardy Minnesotans, I know that many of you will layer on the clothes and brave the weather to enjoy and support the talent in town. Here are some ideas for music that will lift your spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Dec 27

Will Kjeer Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Talented pianist Will Kjeer is on a Christmas break from school in California, and will be joined by his uncle Kenny Horst on drums, and Billy Peterson on bass. Kjeer was already playing professionally while in high school, and since going to college has performed as a leader and sideman in Washington DC, Montreal; and at the fabled Lighthouse Cafe in Los Angeles. He is also a member of Steve Kenny’s Group 47. Tonight is truly a cross-generational meeting of musical minds. Arrive early to catch pianist Kevin Gastonguay from 6 – 7:30 (No cover)

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Tim Sparks, Prudence Johnson, and Tom Lieberman create wonderful three-part harmonies on tunes from the 30s and 40s, as well as on their original compositions. They are just as beloved today as they were back in the 70s and 80s.

Connie Evingson: Holiday @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($22) It’s not hard to think you’re in a cozy country lodge as you take in the Dunsmore’s view of a snow-covered lake during. Ms Evingson’s cool, yet sultry voice celebrates the season, as she did on The Secret of Christmas, her wonderful Christmas album of some year’s back. She’ll be accompanied by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Dave Karr, sax & flute; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Here’s a version of a Christmas chestnut from The Secret of Christmas.

Thursday, Dec 28

Kendra Glenn and Jazz Fly @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Glenn is a powerful, soulful singer, while JazzFly’s members have played with a wide list of both resident and national artists, ranging from Tower of Power and Avishai Cohen, to Ginger Commodore, Ricky Peterson, and members of Sounds of Blackness. Such experience makes the band and Glenn equally adept at blues, jazz, soul, and R&B. Here’s Kendra, along with her daughter Jalela.

Friday, Dec 29

Young Lions @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – No Exit), 10pm  (Ben Erlich Trtio) ($10, $5 w/valid Student ID) It’s a night of talented young musicians as things start off at 8pm with the No Exit Sextet, led by drummer Luke Peterson, and including  Peter Goggin, alto; Jack Coutwright, Trombone; Levi Schwartzberg, Vibes; Adam Astrup, Guitar; and Charlie Lincoln, Bass. Then drummer Ben Erlich brings on his trio, including Will Kjeer on piano; and Charlie Lincoln, bass. Here’s a video from No Exit, from last summer.

Saturday, Dec 30

The Last Edition of Rhythm and Grooves @ KFAI, (90.3 and 106.7FM) 10:30AM – Noon. After 15.5 years in three different time slots, it’s time for me to move on. Note that I also hostedShake Up Southside for three years in the early 80s, and Streetlight Serenade for five years in the mid-80s. I’ll play a couple of songs from Shakeup, followed by their jazz versions, as well as a couple of vocal group harmony versions of standards from Streetlight, preceded by jazz versions of those songs. It’s not goodbye, just so long, as I’ll show up to help during pledge drives and hope to be called upon to sub for different shows, which is always a treat for me and hopefully for listeners. Tune in.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm DDT is composed of three veteran musicians: Dean Granros, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Tony Moreno, drums. At 8:30pm, a group of young and very talented musicians will perform. Hoaxer, which released their debut CD last summer, is Will Kjeer, piano; Peter Goggin, alto; Charlie Lincoln, bas; and Edmund Caitln, drums.

Sunday, Dec 31

Early & Late NYE @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5-8pm ($5 suggested donation), 9pm – ? ($20 Reserved on stage side, $5 non-stage) The Black Dog continues its tradition of a family-friendly early NYE celebration, this year featuring pianist Todd Harper’s Open Season Ensemble, with Aaron Kerr, electric cello, James Holdman, guitar; Chris Hagedorn, tenor; and Eric Couren on drums. After clearing the stage side, a jazz extravaganza will ensue, with a group of Twin Cities All-Stars featuring Dave Brattain, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums; PLUS special guests. It’s billed as safe and reasonably sane. This video features Steve Kenny’s Grou 47, with Will Kjeer, piano and composition.

Tuesday, Jan 2

Jon Weber’s History of the Piano @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15, $25) Pianist Weber, who is now based in NYC, is a master of musical trivia, host of NPR’s Piano Jazz, and a regular visitor to the Twin Cities and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He’ll be performing in a number of piano styles to show how the piano has been used in music throughout history. Here’s a sample.

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 27

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This annual event is one of the few times that the Saint Paul-based Eddies cross the river to Minneapolis. Their appearances are even rarer now that guitarist Wyoming Brown (aka Paul) has moved out of town, so we’re lucky he’s visiting and we can hear their songs of life, work, and death, from traditional mountain songs to sea shanties and tunes by Bob Marley, The Rolling Stones, and Billy Joe Shaver. If you’ve not heard them, tune in and head over to the 331 if you want to hear more. Listen to this example.

The Skruffians @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This septet will get you moving with their infectious blend of Ska, Reggae, Soul, & Jazz, featuring Todd Baer, trombone; Joe Mayo, tenor; Jared Jarvis, baritone sax; Brian Knox, keys and melodica; Park Evans, guitar; Tom Hutton, bass; and Rick Nair, drums. Hers’s a sampling of their music.

Dress Like Deano @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Have you got a plaid flannel shirt and colorful sneakers? Then you can dress like Deano – that’s Dean Mikkelson, a fine guitarist who always has equally talented sidemen when he plays in the the “Big Green Booth” at Dusty’s. Expect jazzy, bluesy tunes, with perhaps, some guests. Here he is with the Mill City Hot Club, playing rhythm guitar for most of the song and soloing at about 3:10minutes.

Thursday, Friday, Dec 28, 29

Lush Country @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No cover, but guaranteed seat for $15) Classic country sounds from Eddy Arnold to Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette and Floyd Cramer, from an all-star group of longtime Twin Cities headliners and A Prairie Home Companion veterans: Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, Richard Kriehn, Gary Raynor, Gary Rue, Pete Johnson, and Joe Savage.

Friday, Dec 29

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s Bar, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) More proof that the new owners of Dusty’s are sticking with what works (They’ve also added music on Wednesdays) So… singer/Songwriter/Guitarist Haus Is back, singing humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate, as well as an occasional classic rock song. Backed by her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar-meister Ed Petche, it’s an evening of highly entertaining performances.

Roots, Rock & Deep Blues 2018 Pre-Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/.$12 Door) What better time to get up for a summertime party than in the midst of a spell of below-zero temperatures? To entice you out, tonight the Hook features a group that’s been an RRDB staple since the annual event started – Left Lane Cruiser, the punk bluesmen from Fort Wayne, Ind. Another regular is Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders, with their flat-out blues that would be a hot rod if it were a car. Joining in on the fun are Flatwater Mississippi and their psychedelic swamp blues, as well as Mutation playing metallic rock.

Saturday, Dec 30

Nooky Jones 4th Annual End of Year Party @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10:30pm ($15 Advance/$17 Door) 2017 was a big year for Nooky Jones as they sold out two consecutive nights at the Icehouse and co-headlined at the Fitzgerald Theater. They also released their debut album in July for fans who enjoy the band’s unique blend of soul, jazz, and undertones of hip-hop. Opening set by alternative should singer Jessica Manning, and between-sets music by DJ Keezy.

The “Committee” @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Maurice Jacox, Aisha Baker, and Deb Brown were all part of the Butanes Soul Review when it played at the Cabooze some 25-30 years ago, and recently for the 30th Anniversary of that group. They were also part of the Soul Tight Committee and the Lights Out Committee during much of the 90s. Tonight the three of them gather as “The Committee,” performing songs like Groove Me, Supernatural Thing, Rocking Chair, and other great soul songs of the 60s and 70s. Here they are performing in the Soul Tight Committee back when.

Sunday, Dec 31

Jaeden James & the Hunger @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. Doors at 9pm, music at 10:45pm ($20) This funk/soul ten-piece horn band has a high-energy attitude that’s almost punkish. They will surely ignite NYE revelers in celebration.

Joyann Parker Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 10:30pm ($30) Vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Parker has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’ will ignite NYE partiers. She represented Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Additionally, her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society. Her versatility shows up in this duo setting.

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.


CD Releases and Visiting Artists: 5.31 – 6.5

May 31, 2017

Well, the beginning of June brings us at least three CD releases, some very fine visiting artists, and once again, a bevy of resident talent. Music lifts the spirit. PS: This was written a couple of weeks ago, before I left on vacation, so it might be wise to check with venues before going out.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 31

Chris Potter Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Saxophonist Potter was 18 when he joined bebop legend Red Rodney’s band. Since then he’s worked with Paul Motion’s Electric Bebop band, Jim Hall, Steely Dan, and may be best known for his extensive work with Dave Holland, though he’s been on over 100 albums as a sideman. He’ll have his Underground Quartet along, with Adam Rogers, guitar; Fima Ephron, bass; and Nate Smith, drums.

Geoff Bouchier @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Bouchier is a guitarist who draws from R&B, funk, and jazz in playing music that ranges from the Great American Songbook to pop of the past 40 or 50 years. You’ve undoubted heard him on many radio and jingle recordings, but he also contributed tracks to Janet Jackson’s Control album and has performed with artists such as Michael Bolton, Celine Dion, The Beach Boys, Smokey Robinson, and more. He’ll likely have play in a trio format, though who’ll be with him is unknown as of this writing.

Steven Hobert Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Pianist Hobert  eems to be everywhere lately, either as a sideman, working in world music contexts, or otherwise leading interesting groups. Tonight he’s joined by Pete Whitman, sax; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Arthur LA Buckner, drums. Here is Hobert with Issam Rafea, oud player.

Thursday, June 1 

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Another of Zacc Harris  many groups, all of which are excellent, no matter what approach they take to jazz. Tonight it’s: Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; JT Bates, drums.

Friday, June 2

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Three part harmonies from Prudence Johnson, Tim Sparks, and Tom Lieberman, who first formed Rio Nido in the 70s, put out a few albums, and then developed their own separate careers. A year or so back they reunited for a special event and were so well received that they’re now doing a few shows a year.

Pete Enblom/Bob Parsons Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Enblom played lead trombone for the Buddy Rich Band, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and the Artie Shaw Orchestra. He currently plays with The Brian Setzer Orchestra, MNJazz, The Bill Simonson Orchestra, and the Explosion Big Band. Saxophonist Bob Parsons has played and/or arranged for Dave Stryker, Joe Henderson, The Wolverines Big Band, the Acme Jazz Company, and Andrew Walesch’s nonet, among others. No word at this time on who will round out the quartet.

HOAXER CD Release @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Four post-HS musicians have come together to create a CD produced by Steve Kenny, who has mentored each of them. Charlie Lincoln, bass; Will Kjeer, keys; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Caitlin, drums; all served in the Dakota Combo before going off to college a few years ago. They recorded the CD over two days last December, while home from school, and now that they’ve returned for the summer, are celebrating the release of Crash Test, featuring eight original compositions by members of the group.

Saturday, June 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening at 7pm: No Room for Squares, led by drummer Bill Steiger. Recent configurations of this group have included:Jon Pemberton, trumpet; James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, saxes; Mikkel Ramstead, piano; and Adam Tucker, bass, though it’s hard to say who will be with him tonight. At 8:30pm it’s The Paul Harper Bardo Band, with Harper, saxes; Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Tim Patrick & His Blue Eyes Band @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Patrick is the perfect example of someone who has reinvented himself late in life. After sitting in at the old Nye’s piano bar one evening, he discovered that he had a talent for singing. He’s gone on to embrace the music of crooners such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and has a band that plays out pretty often, whether for dancers, corporate events or weddings.

Monday, June 5

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm $30, $35) Guitarist Liebert is a pioneer in the Nouveau Flamenco style, which incorporates tradition flamenco technique in a modern pop context. It’s worked. In the last twenty years he’s released 25 albums, been nominated for a Grammy five times, and has received 38 certifications for Gold and Platinum sales status.

Will Kjeer @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (($10, $5 w/Student ID) Many area jazz lovers have watched as pianist Kjeer has grown from a gifted high school student to an even more gifted college student/young adult finding his own voice as a musician. At this point I don’t know who he’ll have with him, but it’s likely to be some of his equally talented peers, back from college. Here he is leading a group in his original composition.

Tuesday, June 6

Bill Simenson Orchestra CD Release @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This monthly gig for the Simenson Orchestra is special tonight, as they are celebrating the release of Big Alpaca. It’s a fine album, full of twists and turns that will delight and surprise the listener. Of course, the band is outstanding with members that include Pete Whitmanm, Doug Little, Simenson himself on trumpet, Jake Baldwin, Pete enblom, Ted Godbout, David Maritn and more….

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music at http://www.jazz88.fm/live-music-calendar.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 31

Crankshaft on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Hi-energy blues from Crankshaft  Anoka’s contribution to Deep Blues. You know the drill, as Harold Tremblay says.

Doug Otto & The Getaways @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The often forlorn vocals of Doug Otto are given just the right foundation of blues, Americana, and country sounds by the Getaways.

Thursday, June 1

Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $55) You know him best as the drummer from prog rockers Emerson, Lake, & Palmer, but before that Carl Palmer provided the rhythmic foundation for The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, and Atomic Rooster, while afterwards he played with Asia. This show will feature new arrangements of instrumentals by ELP and a few others.

12 Bar Jambalaya @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) This five-piece band from Illinois plays a combination of funk, blues, and jazz, to get you jumping. Get a taste of their raucous sound here.

Friday, June 2

Toast in the Machine @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) Well, what we have here is a Police Tribute Band – really!  It’s likely the only one in Minnesota, so if you’re a fan of the original, you may want to check out TC Ortberg, Andy Schultz, and Andy Deckard paying homage to the original rock trio.

Wilkinson James @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Liz Wilkinson and AJ Scheiber head up this band, which blends honky-tonk vocal stylings and edgy but classic-sounding original songs to create music that a listener once described as “the bastard offspring of Townes Van Zandt and June Carter Cash.” Their self-titled debut, produced by Ben Kyle of Romantica, dropped in early 2014; this show will celebrate the appearance of their new CD, Abandon, a Fall 2016 release on St. Paul’s House of Mercy Records.

Saturday, June 3

Javier Matos @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Guitarist/vocalist Javier Matos has been playing the blues as a professional since 1992. While in California he worked with a couple of the Blasters in The Blue Shadows, and also formed a group called the Doghouse Lords. He was recently selected by the MN Blues Society to represent Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge next January. In other words, he can keep it real. Don’t take my word for it, The AllMusic guide noted, “He can play bottleneck slide blues like he was born with a National guitar in his hands.” Reservations recommended, as this place get busy for brunch.

Morel Fest @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 2pm until (Free) Well, not only will you get to taste butter-fried morel mushrooms with saltines (as long as the morels last), but starting at 3pm you get music from Romantica, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers; Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures; The Flood Brothers, Javier Matos; and the King of the Tramps. Oh, and lest I forget, you can also get craft beers from Indeed Brewing.

The Eddies @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Grab a pint and listen to this quartet sings of life, death, broken hearts, and work.

Big Daddy Cade’s Tribute to BB King @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Guitarist Big Daddy Cade is originally from Chicago, but now lives in Wisconsin. He’s been doing this tribute, which was originally blessed by BB King himself, for about a couple of decades. He’s not a one-trick-pony however, and frames the Tribute with a couple of sets of blistering blues and funk.

Sunday, June 6

Sweet Colleens CD Release @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Though their isn’t a “Colleen” among them, the Sweet Colleens are nevertheless releasing their fifth album, 10 Mona Lisas, which features their trademark mix of Celtic and American folk roots music. There will be a special appearance by Kate McMahon (of the original Riverdance), who guests on the album, and an opening set by Gambler’s Daughter.

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.


Spring in Your Step: 3.29 – 4.4

March 29, 2017

Greetings music lovers;

It’s another week with a wide variety of choices for those of us who like to go out and hear music. We have a number of visiting artists from NYC, Ukraine, and points in between, as well as a Brazilian dance night, a Latin music matinee, some chamber music, and more… Lots of opportunities to let music lift our spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 29

Jeremy Walker Songtet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Pianist/composer/arranger Jeremy Walker has a penchant for creating interesting musical projects, whether it’s the nine-piece NowNet, the choral/jazz combo piece 7 Psalms, or his own compositions for small groups. Now he has The Songtet, dedicated to performing great songs, whether written by Ellingotn, Dylan, The Gershwins, Cole Porter, or walker himself. Tonight, Walker is adding vocalist Jason Harms to his  trio with Tim Zhorne, drums; and Chris Bates, bass. Harms, incidentally, took part in the performances of 7 Psalms.

Vanessa Trouble w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm, 9pm ($20, $45 w/Dinner) NYC-based, Winona-raoised vocalist Vanessa Trouble is visiting, along with trumpeter Charlie Caranicas  another MN native now living in NYC. Trouble’s voice is airy and supple, just right for vintage swing and jazz, as she performs songs like I’m Beginning to See the Light, That Old Devil Moon, and Mambo Italiano. She and Caranicas, who plays with her regularly, will be joined by NYC guitarist Steve Salermo, and the Twin Cities’ own Graydon Peterson on bass.

Steven Hobert Solo Piano @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Pianist Hobert has really been coming into his own lately, finding like-minded musicians that complement his ethereal, often beautiful, spontaneous, and searching style. Tonight that style comes into full play as he performs solo, drawing on works by Mingus, Coltrane, Stevie Wonder, and Eddie Harris in addition to his own work.

Thursday, March 30

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonights show features a number of well-traveled Twin Cities musicians performing as Collosus: Park Evans  guitar; Clay Pufahl, saxes; Chris Bates, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Dorothy Doring @ The Mudd Room, 1352 Sibley Memorial Hwy, Mendota Heights. 7pm (No Cover) The Mudd Room is a new venue for weekend music, located in the basement of Lucky 13. The soulful and engaging Ms Doring is there tonight.

Friday, March 31

Patty Peterson & Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) The most visible member of the Peterson Family musical clan brings her mix of jazz and R&B to the big room at Crooners, where Patty and her band be joined by special guest Andrew Walesch on piano and vocals.

Graydon Peterson Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Bassist Peterson is an A-list player here in the Twin Cities, just as likely to be accompanying a vocalist as playing with a Latin Band, Big Band, or combo. Tonight he’ll be featuring his own compositions as he is joined by Adam Meckler, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; and Adrian Suarez, drums.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, March 31, April 1,2

Fogel, Eckes, & Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30 (Fri, Sat), 2pm (Sun) The Show is called Teamwork: Great Songwriting Teams of Broadway and Hollywood. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson  along with special guest Jennifer Eckes  explore the songs from Broadway and the movies, with an emphasis on legendary songwriting duos to guide them. Think Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cahn & Van Heusen, Sondheim and Styne, and more…

Saturday, April 1

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar)  7:00pm Opening Set : Common Space – Eric Graham Organ/keys, Dylan Nelson – Guitar, Thomas Strommen – Saxophone, Alex Burgess – Drums. 8:30pm ATLANTIS QUARTET – Zacc Harris – Guitar, Chris Bates – Bass, Brandon Wozniak – Saxophones, Pete Hennig – Drums

Monday, April 3

Acme Jazz Company @ Crooner’s Lounge & Restaurant, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved tables) Though it has a somewhat generic name, this 19-piece big band is anything but generic, with a big repertoire of original arrangements and songs, and crack musicians, including vocalist Arne Fogel.

Greg Ward Quintet + ReichFest @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) When Steve Reich, the 80 year old minimalist, died last October, quite a few celebrations of his music were held around the world. Now it’s time for the Twin Cities to celebrate. Cody McKinney and JT Bates have put together a program of Steve Reich’s music featuring Twin Cities musicians for every Monday night in April. Things will start off tonight with the Greg Ward Quintet, then Pete Hennig and Cody McKinney will perform Clapping Music, from 1972, followed by Pat O’Keefe performing New York Counterpoint from 1985.

Tuesday, April 4

Rio Nido @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Prudence Johnson, Tim Sparks, and Tom Lieberman first formed Rio Nido in the 70s, put out a few albums, and then developed their own separate careers. They recently reunited and are doing a few shows a year. I believe this might be their first time in the Dunsmore Room, a perfect place to hear their harmonies.

Freddy Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Having Nat King Cole as an older brother can make it difficult to escape his shadow, especially when voices have the same timbre. Nevertheless, Freddy Cole has found his own voice: elegant, but deeper, and with a rasp that sets him apart. Cole is a master vocalist and fine piano player, and among the top tier of male jazz singers in this country.

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, March 29

Dan Israel, Mikkel Beckmen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Dan Israel has been plying his craft for over two decades, using sharp, incisive writing to comment on his own foibles and insecurities, including the breakup of his 16 year marriage. His writing has wide appeal, with his albums gaining fans throughout the States and in Europe. Tonight he’s accompanied by that percussionist-about-town Mikkel Beckmen. Tune it at about 5pm and then head over to the 331 Club.

Loudon Wainwright III @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Younger readers may only know Wainwright as the father of acclaimed singer songwriters Rufus and Martha Wainright, but the older folk among us remember him as an early recipient of the title of “the next Bob Dylan.” He likely didn’t appreciate the title, which was somewhat misleading, as Wainwrights broad humor didn’t exactly fit that mold. His humor did win him a best selling song with Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road back in 1972. Since then he’s kept churning out well-received albums, and spread his wings to acting, with a recurring role in TVs Mash, and appearances in films and other TV shows. He’s also been writing for a number of film scores, including the hit movie Knocked Up.

Dieselfitters @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Get yer honky-tonk and rockabilly fix right here, with this group led by the imaginative and fleet fingered guitarist Clay Williams.

Thursday, March 30

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This week’s battle pits Paul Barry & the Acetones; The Blues Driver Band; The Assumptions; and the Harrison Street Band against each other. Listeners win.

Superfriends of Soul @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) Cate Fiero leads a varied cast of singers and musicians through the Great American Soulbook.

Nip n’ Tuck & the Sleepers @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Formed back in 1976, this trio was influenced by artists like Todd Rundgren and the Raspberries, gaining much love from area critics and fans. Gary Rue, guitar, vocals; Jeff Willkomm, bass, vocals; and Tilly, drums, vocals; have played with many original rock n’ rollers from the 50s and 60s from Gene Pitney and Lou Christy to the Coasters and Marvelettes. Nip n’ Tuck was among bands that were “this close” but didn’t close the deal for one music industry reason or another. Now they’ve dusted off old tunes and are back. The Sleepers play British Invasion music from the likes of the Animals, Zombies, and Yardbirds, as well as a few things from the Fab Four.

Claudettes @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10)  Pull Closer to Me: The Claudettes, Live in the Piano Room, is the first release documenting the band’s new lineup (pianist/founder Johnny Iguana, singer Berit Ulseth, drummer Matt Torre and bassist/singer Zach Verdoorn). You’ll hear material from the 7-song EP, as well as other tunes that reflect the bands absorption of piano based Chicago blues, burlesque, 60s pop-soul, and vaudeville.

Thursday – Sunday, March 30 – April 2

Merce Cunningham’s Common Time @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Thursday: 5:30 and 8pm, Fri-Sun: 1:30 and 4pm (Free) Here’s a unique dance experience, as Walker’s Perlman Gallery is filled with movement and sound as dancers from the final Merce Cunningham Dance Company perform Events. Cunningham’s unique choreographic form is made for performances in unconventional spaces. These 30-minute sequences provide the audience with a rare opportunity to see Cunningham’s choreography exploring space, time, and movement. Arranged and staged by former MCDC dancer Andrea Weber, these 30-minute sequences drawn from four decades of Cunningham’s work offer a rare chance to experience firsthand his signature explorations of space, time, and movement. Dancers from the Final Merce Cunningham Company will perform to music by a fantastic line up of local artists including folks like Douglas Ewart, Michelle Kinney, Joe Strachan and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin will perform their own compositions to accompany this program, based on John Cage’s improvisational parameters for Cunningham Events. Capacity is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday, March 31

Adam Levy’s Joga Bola & Friends @ the Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Joga Bola is a new Brazilian project led by Adam Levy, featuring musicians from the Afro-Cuban, jazz, Brazilian, and R&B scenes in town:  Mina Moore, Karen Quiroz, Lucia Sarmiento, Andrew Gillespie, Tim O’Keefe, Jeff Bailey, Charlie Peterson. Their sound is inspired by 1960’s & 1970’s samba, funk, soul, and psychedelia from Brazil.Their debut at Cedar Cultural Center some weeks back was great fun. The Guayaba All Stars Orchestra was created and founded by Master Peruvian Percussionist/Drummer Chico Chavez. They are the first local band to perform psychedelic Peruvian cumbia (a.k.a. chicha). Guayaba is a totally fresh dancing music experience featuring authentic Latino Dance flavors – psychedelic cumbia chicha, salsa, cumbia, bachata, merengue, and tropical grooves from all LatinAmerica. Angie Citlali is a passionate singer-songwriter, often writing social and political lyrics. Being from Chicago and Mexico, she often fuses these two worlds into her empowering music.

Coco Montoya @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30), 9:30pm ($20, $25) The reviews for shows by Coco Montoya inevitably include adjectives like “blistering,” “hot,” “fiery,” “passionate,” and similar terms. The man is a monster player on the blues-rock scene, having learned to play from his mentor Albert Collins. Like Albert King, the southpaw plays left-handed and upside down. Five years with Collins was followed by ten years with John Mayall, after which Montoya went solo in 1993. He’s been a road warrior ever since, with numerous Blues Award nominations, and a strong following around the world.

Saturday, April 1

Saturday Salon: April Foolery @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) With an easygoing air and a quick wit, soprano Maria Jette hosts a different combination of performers and repertoire each Saturday afternoon in the Dunsmore Room, giving listeners a chance to hear chamber music in a delightful setting with only 80 seats. Today, to celebrate April 1st, she’s presenting James Ramlet, bass vocals; and Mary Jo Gothmann, piano; performing Songs for the Cruelest Month.

April Fools @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Of course, this band has to play on April 1st. This talented group plays a wide spectrum of music, from straight-up country to Brit-pop, blue-eyed soul, and more. Besides Drake, the band includes Clay Williams, guitar; Scott Hreha, bass; and Ben Kaplan, drums.

Sunday, April 2

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (No Cover) Charanga Tropical is one of the few U.S., groups working in the danzon style, though they incorporate salsa and their own compositions as well. They are the only U.S. group to play at the Danzon festival in Havana. This matinee performance is just right for folks who want to practice their salsa dancing and charangas, while being early enough to get sufficient rest for working on Monday morning.

Dakhabraka @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) It is very difficult to describe the wonderful weirdness of this world music quartet from Ukraine. Yes, they sing in Ukrainian and Russian, but their songs at times sound like Frank Zappa, and at other times have hints of Smokey Robinson, using an accordion, cello, and variety of percussion instruments, not to forget their vocal harmonies, on-stage presence, and costumes,

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.


Happy New Year! 12.28 – 1.3

December 28, 2016

unknownIt’s time to put this year behind us. Though some of us have experienced triumphs and celebrations during the year, many would agree that it’s been a year filled with fear, loathing, and sadness. There is plenty of music to send 2016 on its way, from talented resident artists of many genres to a couple of visiting artists. There are, of course, many other options than those I’ve listed, for NYE, but be sure to check with venues, as some of the NYE events I’ve listed may be sold out by the end of the week. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 28

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) A beloved trio, Rio Nido came out of the West Bank music scene of the late 70s, with their unique blend of voices and a repertoire of songs from the 30s and 40s. After a decades long hiatus, they started returning to performing a year or so ago, welcomed so much that a third show was added for this gig. Prudence JohnsonTom Lieberman  and Tim Sparks are successful performers in their own right:, Johnson as a singer with more than a dozen recordings to her credit, as well as extended appearances on Prairie Home Companion; Lieberman as a producer and songwriter, and Sparks as an award-winning guitarist who’s equally at home with folk, jazz, country blues, and gospel.

Patrick Harrison/Larry McDonough Quartet’s Twisted Holidays @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harrison – No Cover), 8:30pm (McDonough) The evening starts with button accordionist Patrick Harrison playing for the dinner hour. Then at 8:30 pm Larry McDonough and his quartet put uncommon meters, rhythms, and harmonies to a selection of seasonal songs as well as some originals and songs from Chet Baker, Bill Evans, Led Zeppelin, Spinal Tap, Paul Simon, and others.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 28, 29

Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Connie Evingson can sing bebop, blues, bossa novas, the Beatles, Peggy Lee, and Gypsy Jazz with equal ease. Her pitch is perfect, her tone is slightly husky and a bit sensuous, and her timing is impeccable. She’s had ten CDs in the top fifty in both the US and Canada, and has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, Prairie Home Companion, Jazz at Lincoln Centyer and at other high profile venues. Her holiday CD, The Secret of Christmas, gets lots of play on my system each year. If we’re lucky, she’ll sing the Petit Nutcracker Suite, a 7 minute distillation of Tchaikovsky’s score for the classic Christmas ballet.

Thursday, December 29

No Exit: Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Luke Peterson leads this young group, which tonight has a couple of special guests who are veteran players. Performing tonight are:  Brandon Wozniak, Sax; Jack Courtright, trombone; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Adam Astrup, guitar; and Graydon Peterson, bass.

Will Schmid Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Seems I had the wrong date last week for this Reverie debut of another group of up and coming  players on holiday leave from college. Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; Jesse Thorson, drums.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever versatile Ms Mountain can heartily swing a bebop tune, and turn around and deliver a soothing ballad, or hip R&B tune. The excellent voice teacher will be accompanied by Dave Martin on guitar for an intimate evening of music.

Friday, December 30

Jeremy Walker/Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm ($12 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour. Then The Pat Mallinger Quartet, with: Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums takes the stage at 9pm. Mallinger is a saxophonist who grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in Chicago, where he is co-leader of Sabertooth, a group that’s been performing till the wee wee hours each week at the city’s Green Mill since 1992. He also plays with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Bobby Lewis Quintet, the Arty Hoyle Quintet, and his own Quartet, and is a jazz educator of note in the Chicago school system.

TK Wallace’s Hard Bop Playhouse @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s college night at Jazz Central, and things kick off with this group of students who are home for the holidays: Jordan Anderson, piano; Tyler Wagner, bass; Peter Goggin, sax; and Edmund Catlin, drums. They’ll be playing tunes by Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk,a nd more, followed by two more college groups.

Saturday, December 31

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) This may be the first time that the Black Dog is open until the New Year’s countdown, as past years they’ve had an early, family-friendly countdown. The celebration starts with Todd Harper, keys; Eric Coursen, drums; and Aaron Kerr on electric cello playing from 5pm to 7:30pm. Then at 8:30, Hoaxer, the college-age band, takes the stage: Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Topping things off will be an all-star jam session anchored by Steve Kenny and Dave Brattain, beginning at 10:30pm and going until the new year.

SouthSide Aces, w/Patty & the Buttons @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($22 Advance, $25 Door) It’s a New Years Eve Dance party at the Eagles, as the Aces and Patty & the Buttons take to the small stage with a big dance floor. Both groups draw mostly on music from the 30s and 40s. While the Aces mine traditional New Orleans music, Patty & the Buttons use Gypsy Jazz and popular songs of those decades to successfully entice dancers.

NYE at Parma, with Arne Fogel & The Benny Weinbeck Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 6pm (Fogel); 9pm (Benny Weinbeck Trio) Arne Fogel sings for dinner-time festivities (6 till 9pm) with Rick Carlson, piano; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Then Benny Weinbeck takes over with his trio, Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Sadly, Parma is discontinuing Singers Night on Fridays, though Weinbeck and his trio will continue to perform Saturdays.

Sunday, January 1

Twin Cities Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Maybe you chose to stay home for NYE, but are now itching for music. Or maybe you simply enjoy the acoustic, romantic, and swinging music of artists Django Rheinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, and other proponents of Gypsy Jazz, such as the Twin Cities Hot Club: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Monday, Tuesday, January 2, 3

Terence Blanchard Live Recording @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50) New Orleans born trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard has a beautiful tone, and creates music is often cinematic in scope, as exemplified by the over 50 soundtracks he’s composed, including Blanchard’s beautifully heartbreaking score for A Tale of God’s Will, Spike Lee’s documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Blanchard’s 2015 release, Breathless, finds him playing with a group called the E-Collective in a genre-crossing groove-laden fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B. He’ll be joined by them at the Dakota, and recording the event for inclusion in his next album.

Tuesday, January 3

Thompson, Balluff, Pikal @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Well, if you’re a fan of traditional jazz from the early part of the 20th Century, you’ll do no better than to hear Butch Thompson, piano; Tony Balluff, clarinet; and Steve Pikal, bass, play this evening.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 3, 4

Dick Oatts Quartet @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45 Dinner), 9pm ($15) Iowa born and raised, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts began his professional music career in the Twin Cities in 1972, and moved to NYC in 1977 where he became a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He has since worked with such big bands as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Lester Bowie, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, Kenny Wheeler, and Gunther Schuller as well as a number of big bands from Europe. He’s also recorded and toured with small groups led by Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Mel Lewis, Fred Hersch, and others, and has a dozen and a half albums as a leader. Tonight he’ll be backed by a stellar line-up: Bill Carrothers, piano; Billy Peterson, bass, and Joe Pulice, drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 28

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a rare day in December when this “almost acapella” group crosses the river from Saint Paul to Minneapolis, but they’re now at it annually for the House Party show between Christmas and New Years. Their repertoire includes songs of life, work, and death, from traditional mountain songs to sea shanties, and tunes by Bob Marley, and The Rolling Stones.  Be aware that KFAI has had problems broadcasting due to the recent ice storm snapping its hardware, so you may need to tune in to http://www.kfai.org to stream the show.

Thursday, December 29

Mayasich Mayhem @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Guitar master Paul Mayasich is joined by his brothers Mark and Greg, as well as John Iden and Joe Luoma, for the final Hot Seat at Crooners.

Curtiss A & The Cold Cold Hearts Sing Hank Williams @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Rocker Curtiss A does a John Lennon tribute each year; has a blues band (The Dark Click); leads a rock band (The Jerks of Fate); and occasionally does an Elvis Presley show. Tonight, however, he’s performing his annual Hank Williams tribute, a warm tribute to the classic country singer/songwriter. Bonus: Curtiss A’s sometimes rambling, often hilarious commentary.

Thursday, Friday, December 29, 30

The New Standards @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40) Give these musicians credit, where credit is due. While jazz musicians have always drawn from pop music, only a few have embraced post-60s rock, notably Miles Davis, with the Cyndi Lauper tune Time After Time, and The Bad Plus, who featured songs from Blondie and Queen amongst their originals. About ten years ago, Chan Poling, keys (The Suburbs); John Munson, bass (Trip Shakespeare, SemiSonic); and Steve Roehm, vibes (Billygoat, Electropolis); formed The New Standards to concentrate on acoustic, jazzy versions of post 60s rock. They became national and international stars as a result. If you didn’t catch their annual holiday extravaganza this year, you can see them as a trio in the comfier confines of the Dakota, bringing new life to songs from Lou Reed, the Outkasts, Britney Spears, T Rex, and their own bands.

Friday, December 30

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (Tip Jar) It’s a special Pre-New Years Brunch at Hell’s Kitchen, and they’ve brought in the very special Rena Haus Trio just for the day: Rena Haus, guitar and vocals; Bob Haus, bass; and Ed Petsche, guitar. Rena’s originals are often highly amusing, sometimes racy, and occasionally political, with appearances by classic blues songs. Brunches at the Kitchen can be mighty crowded, so you may want to get a reservation to ensure you’re close to the band.

Willie Walker and the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s a good night to warm up for NYE with both Willie Walker and Willie Murphy (below) playing, though it gives us a good problem of whom to see. Walker is the winner of two awards in the 2016 Living Blues Critic’s Poll: Comeback Artist of the Year and Best Blues Album of 2015 for his release If Nothing Ever Changes, a well deserved award. He is most assuredly a Twin Cities Treasure.

Willie Murphy & The Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapoils. 8pm ($7) Many folks who party hearty all year round, or who have had enough to last a lifetime, think of NYE as amateur night, and stay home. Willie Murphy is similarly inclined, and chooses to celebrate on the eve of NYE. Whether you want to stay home NYE, or have the energy to party two nights in a row, be sure to bring your dancing shoes, as Murphy’s brilliant arrangements of both his own songs and others that you know and love will have you gyrating before you can say Happy New Year.

Nooky Jones + Dem Atlas @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 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. Among its members: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals/trumpet; Adam Meckler, trumpet; and Kevin Gastonguay, keys. Opening is rapper/hip-hop artist Dem Atlas  who signed with Rhymesayers Entertainment in 2013 and toured a number of festivals opening for Atmosphere. He recorded with the French group Ursus Minor last year and is about to drop a new CD in 2017.

Saturday, December 31

The Good, The Bad, and the Funky @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Get down, Get Funky, and Dance to this ten-piece band (including a five-piece horn section) covering both old-school and new-school funk and soul.

Hot Pants/Hipshaker 45RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Cat Club, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) The two best Dance Parties in town once again team up to present rare, original Funk and Soul 45s from the collections of Brian, George, Greg, Ben for New Year’s Eve. They get some extra special help from the distaff point of view as special guests Elizabeth Christian and Paula Carrillo join them. This event is always a hit, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

The Last Revel @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) This acoustic trio describes their sound as Front Porch Americana, which seems about right, especially if you like to party on said porch. They are talented multi-instrumentalists, who bring the acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, 5-string banjo, harmonica, kick drum and three-part vocal harmonies to their performances, whether they’re singing delicate ballads or high energy stompers. Special guest: Richard Hanson.

Papa John Kolstad: Masquerade Party @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Lately, Papa John has been playing with the New Phits: Bill “Wailin’ Willie” Smith, harmonica/vocals: Gary Powell, aka Tiny Gene Pool, slide guitar/vocals; Mark “Rizz” Rizzardi, bass/vocals. Papa John will be playing 12-string guitar, singing, and adding amusing anecdotes and political musings to the mix, as well as bringing in trombonist/bassist Sam Fiske to play. Expect some four-part harmonies from the group, as well as Morris Dancers, a piper to bring in the New Year, and a Celtic blessing, not to mention bubbly at midnight and people in costumes.

Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) With a voice that combines the emotion of the blues with the fire of rock, Joyann Parker has been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, representing Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society, and has been nominated for Best Independent Blues Music Award. The guitarist/pianist and songwriter has become a regular at Vieux Carré, drawing more fans with each appearance.

Hookers $ Blow @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($25) If you’re looking to dance to some 70s R&B, then H$B are the band to hear. This group of stellar musicians led by Adam Levy will be delivering the goods in the Cafe’s River Room, which is standing room only tonight. Call for reservations if you want dinner beforehand.

Charlie Lawson & Friends @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 10pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson is taking on NYE for a fun-filled evening with: Jim Ouska, guitar; Lorent “Slasher” Dwyer, bass; Marty Bryduck, drums. With Special Guests Langer’s Ball, the husband and wife team of Michael and Hannah Sturm playing punk Irish music.

Sunday, January 1

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you need the Corpse Reviver classic cocktail after last night, but it’s most likely you need a shot of the group that plays music from the classic Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. It’s especially noteworthy that today’s edition of Corpse Reviver includes: Mikkel Beckman, percussion; Jillian Rae, fiddle, and Charlie Parr, guitar. Here are two of the three musicians.

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.


Herald the Holidays: 12.21 – 21.27

December 21, 2016
Holiday lights in Rice Park

Holiday lights in Rice Park

Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, and a Joyous Kwanzaa. And a happy late December season to everyone else, whether you are people of faith, agnostics or atheists. The arrival of Christmas means there is little public music on Saturday and Sunday, but there are still some pre-Christmas holiday shows, as well as some first rate music for you to enjoy. Music lifts the Spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 21

Nachito Herrera & The Universals @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) As I wrote last week, even if you’ve seen the dazzling Cuban American pianist Nachito Herrera before, you likely haven’t seen him in this setting, with a group of musicians that can match his energy and wide-ranging musical interests. Violinist Karen Briggs has worked for many years with Yanni, and can go from classical music to gypsy jazz on a dime; Saxophonist Mike Phillips has worked with Prince and Steve Wonder; while Cuban drummer Raul Pineda and Senegal bassist Cheikh Nkoye provide the groups’ thundering heartbeat. All have deep resumes, are supremely conversant in a number of styles, and will no doubt create exhilarating music.  You can hear a phone interview I did with Nachito here, just click on the link for December 17. The interview occurs in the third (last) half hour of the show.

Retro Swing Sister’s Jingle Bell Ball @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Swing dancing is the order of the day as the charming and sophisticated vocal stylings of Maryann Sullivan and Rhonda Laurie bring dancers to the floor to help ring in the holidays with the help of Bob Byers, sax; Tom Lewis, bass; Robert Bell, guitar; and Trevor Haining, drums. They and the band will be swinging through some standards and some holiday music, and as an extra special attraction, they are encouraging folks to dress up in their best holiday duds, with prizes for the best outfits.

Thursday, December 22

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Though the Twin Cities seems to be teeming with great jazz groups, as evinced by the recent release of the 14 track Twin Cities Jazz Sampler Vol. 2, there are some up and coming musicians who are currently off in college and playing on their return for the holidays. Case in point: Hoaxer, with Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Catlin, drums.

Katia Cardenas @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8 Cash only) High energy vocalist Cardenas was recently in Colorado, where she sang as part of her mom’s CD release. Her father is also a musician, so she was surrounded by music growing up. For the last couple of years she’s been performing throughout the Twin Cities area, using a combination of R&B and Jazz to reach a wide audience. She’ll be celebrating the season with jazz, Latin, and holiday favorites.

Will Schmid Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) This is the debut of another group of up and coming  players on holiday leave from college, featuring Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; Jesse Thorson, drums.

Thursday, Friday, December 22, 23

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) It’s Christmas week, so the Bad Plus must be back at the Dakota, for what is now their 15th or 16th annual show, the first one occurring just before they broke on the worldwide jazz scene. Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Anderson, bass; and Dave King, drums are all from Minnesota and Wisconsin, though Iverson and Anderson make their homes in NYC. Their collective approach to performing crosses boundaries and genres in unexpected ways, whether doing originals, classical music, or new interpretations of tunes by artists such as Johnny Cash or Peter Gabriel. Rolling Stone calls them “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Friday, December 23

King Baron Hot Several @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Cash only) This band seems to be an outgrowth of the Jazzland Wonderband, with an additional singer and a new drummer. It’s a New Orleans inspired band, with a bit of second-line, a bit of trad jazz, and a contemporary sound of their own. You get powerful vocals from Cameron Kinghorn, who also plays trumpet; and Abbie Mills; with the versatile Nelson Devereaux on reeds; Keith Hilson trombone; Evan Clark, tuba; and Lars-Erik Larson on drums. Here they are in the older configuration.

Saturday, December 24

No jazz on Christmas Eve.

Sunday Monday, December 25, 26

The Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) This is the second part of a four night stand over Christmas for the Bad Plus  performing what is now their 15th or 16th annual show. Ethan Iverson, piano; Reid Anderson, bass; and Dave King, drums are all from Minnesota and Wisconsin, though Iverson and Anderson make their homes in NYC. Their collective approach to performing crosses boundaries and genres in unexpected ways, whether doing originals, classical music, or new interpretations of tunes by artists such as Johnny Cash or Peter Gabriel. Rolling Stone calls them “about as badass as highbrow gets.”

Monday, December 26

Andrew Schwandt @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Schwandt is a saxophonist with a big, warm sound, who can be heard with Fuzzy Math, the MN Hardbop Collective, and Steeling Dan, among others. As usual, Mondays at Jazz Central give musicians a chance to play new music, or whatever they want. In the past he’s appeared with Ted Godbout on piano, and Graydon Peterson on bass, though I’m not sure who’ll be with him tonight. Here he is with a group called Story City.

Tuesday, December 27

Nancy Harms & Jeremy Siskind @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($22, $47), 9pm ($15) After two sold-out shows in April, Ms Harms returns to the Dunsmore Room along with pianist Jeremy Siskind  The Clara City, MN born Harms lived in the Twin Cities at the beginning of her journey as a jazz singer, impressing jazz fans from throughout the area. Since moving to NYC in 2010, she’s appeared at a number of the Big Apple’s more famous nightclubs, but more importantly, has established herself in Europe, often spending weeks in Denmark, France, London, and elsewhere. She’s an expressive, yet reserved singer, who puts herself into every song, bringing knowing nuance to old chestnuts and new songs alike, as amply demonstrated on her album Ellington at Night. Famed jazz critic Walt Friedwald, writing in the Wall Street Journal, said, “…after hearing her just once, you’ll never want to let her go.” If you’ve any interest in vocal jazz, you will want to see Harms perform. Here she is at what I believe is a French radio station.

Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This is more or less an open rehearsal, but don’t fear, there’s more rhythm and kicking’ horn lines than there is talking. Plus, you’re pretty much surrounded by the musicians, for an immersive listening experience.

Tuesday, Wednesday, December 27, 28

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 Tues, Wed), 9pm ($25 Wed) A beloved trio, Rio Nido came out of the West Bank music scene of the late 70s, with their unique blend of voices and a repertoire of songs from the 30s and 40s. After a decades long hiatus, they started returning to performing a year or so ago, welcomed so much that a third show was added for this gig. Prudence JohnsonTom Lieberman  and Tim Sparks are successful performers in their own right:, Johnson as a singer with more than a dozen recordings to her credit, as well as extended appearances on Prairie Home Companion; Lieberman as a producer and songwriter, and Sparks as an award-winning guitarist who’s equally at home with folk, jazz, country blues, and gospel. You can hear an interview I did with Sparks and Lieberman here, just click on the link for December 17. The interview occurs in the first half hour of the show. Here they are many years ago/

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, December 21

Pat Donohue & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Pat Donohue won the 1983 National Fingerpicking Contest, and was part of the house band on Prairie Home Companion for about 20 years, a gig which had him bringing a new song to the show each week. He also got to play with folks like Doc Watson, Brad Paisley, and others, including Chet Atkins, who inspired his song, Stealing From Chet. Though Donohue considers himself a folk guitarist, his fingerpicking style encompasses old blues, swing, R&B, and often-witty originals, such as Rubs Me the Right Way, filled with playful puns about getting a massage. Tune in and then head over to the 331 Club to hear more.

Erica West Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) A tight band and soulful, strong vocals make for an entertaining evening of music. Erica West is a silky, sensuous, and powerful singer. Her husband Kevin Anderson is the guitarist and leader of the band, creating a band that’s in deep sync with West.

Thursday, December 22

Dumpstaphunk @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 Door) If the New Year is near, Mardis Gras season is not far behind, and Dumpstaphunk is bringing the New Orleans groove and funk to Minneapolis to help us prepare. This group has great lineage, being led by Ivan Neville on keys; with Ian Neville on guitar; the double bass attack of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels; and drums by Alvin Ford Jr. They started in 2003 with a one-off gig at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, and since then have played at some of the world’s largest music festivals, including Bonnaroo. We no longer have The Meters, James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, and Booker T and the MGs, but we do have Dumpstaphunk, a group that’s as funky as you can get, as you can tell from this video.

Friday, December 23

Katie McMahon’s Celtic Christmas 2016 @ The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($28) Soprano Katie McMahon was the featured soloist with Riverdance, that worldwide touring hit of the 90s. Each year since 2000, when the Irish native settled in the Twin Cities, she has presented her family-friendly Celtic Christmas show of traditional Christmas songs, Gaelic Carols, English Carols, stories, and Irish dance. This year’s show features the Kantorei Choral Ensemble, singing German and Austrian music, as well as the Corda Mor Dancers, a troupe of about 20 young people, three backup singers, and her long time band: Karen Mueller, autoharp, guitar, and hurdy-gurdy; Zack Kline, fiddle; Marc Anderson, percussion: and new member Jane Cords O’Hara on cello. It’s often sold out, so call the auditorium at Saint Catherine University to check for seats.

Ronn Easton & Friends @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Ronn Easton is a musical entrepreneur and fine R&B singer who has been responsible for some great Revues at the Parkway. Tonight he’s joined by Deb Brown and Aisha Baker on vocals; Kenyari Jackson, drums; Will Glasper, bass, Deevo Dee, guitar; Brian Neilsen, keys; and Walter Chancellor Jr, saxophones. Expect some Funky Jazz & R&B Classics, along with plenty of room for dancing.

Patty & The Buttons Holiday Show @ The Aster Cafe River Room, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Patty & the Buttons play for brunch-minded swing dancers at the cafe every Sunday. Tonight they bring their hot rhythm, trad jazz, Western Swing, ragtime, and other rollicking music to the River Room. There are only 40 seats, but there is also standing room. So make a reservation or get there early if you aren’t dancing.  BTW, the River Room only has bar service.

Saturday, Sunday, December 24, 25

Deano & the Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30 – Midnight. (Tip Jar) This is certainly a comfortable gig for listeners and band members alike, with guitarist Dean Mikkelson leading a different group of musicians each evening. I’m not certain, but this may be the only music event on Christmas Eve, but it would be a great gig to see anytime. As for Sunday, it’s only one of two events that I’m aware of.

Sunday, Monday, December 25, 26

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Bring out your visiting relatives and friends to hear the Combo tear through R&B dance jams from the 70s, 80s, and now. If your friends and relatives need convincing, let them know that Prince used to show up, bringing potential band members to learn from watching the Combo, aka Mombo’s Combo. After all, they’ve been at it for decades, and yet the group is always exciting, and always fun. Added attraction: you never can tell who will show up to sit in.

Monday, December 26

Merry Cajun Christmas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 10:30pm ($?) If you’ve been gathering calories over the weekend, here’s a chance to work them off, and still be home relatively early in case you have to work in the morning. The insistent, irresistible beat of Cajun music will have you up and dancing, as the twin fiddles of Eric Mohring and Gary Powell; along with the stomach steinway of Shawn Glidden; provide the impetus for moving, ably abetted by Karen Kleinspehn, guitar; Karl Smelker, bass; AJ Srubas, steel guitar; and Andre Mohring, drums.

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.


May and Music are Upon Us: 5.5 – 5.10

May 5, 2016
Trees are flowering. Photo from Bill Lindeke's blog

Trees are flowering. Photo from Bill Lindeke’s blog

I’m a day late in posting this. Sometimes life gets in the way of what we’re doing. Anyway, we have a week filled with music coming up, only a portion of which I’ve listed. We have visiting artists from Malaysia, Atlanta, and Chicago, in addition to shows by a number of our own outstanding resident artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Thursday, May 5

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/studentID) Versatile vocalist Doring will be performing various jazz favorites, including, I imagine, some from her 3 excellent albums. She’ll be accompanied by pianist March Ziegenhangen on piano.

Friday, May 6

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) It may be nigh unto impossible to score tickets to see this beloved vocal trio  They rose out of the West Bank music scene in the 70s to become Twin Cities favorites through the mid-eighties by performing classic jazz from the 30s and 40s. After successful solo careers, Prudence Johnson, Tim Sparks, and Tom Lieberman had successful solo careers, and recently rediscovered the joys of performing together again. Here’s what they sound like.

Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Kogan  former tympanist with the Minnesota Orchestra, has been bringing his jazz chops to the fore since his retirement last year. He’s already released two fine albums, with music that touches on many aspects of the jazz continuum. The drummer’s band includes: Goeff Senn, Trumpet; Pete Whitman, Sax; Scott Agster, Trombone; Chris Olson, Guitar; Sean Turner, Piano; Graydon Peterson, Bass

 

Saturday, May 7

The MN Hard Bop Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Saxophonist Andrew Schwandt is relocating from the Twin Cities, so this group is playing a farewell concert for him. Besides Schwandt, members include: Ryan Nyther, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. They’ll be playing a classic hard bop repertoire, that music popularized by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, and Lee Morgan, among others. It’s a style that has both gospel and R&B influences, yet never strays from jazz.

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley 7:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a date night opportunity if their ever was one. Shorai  s a singer who can go from sweet to heartbroken with ease. She has been performing in the area for over 10 years, producing five self-released albums covering bossa nova, the Great American Songbook, some modern classics, and her own compositions. She has a knack for picking stellar sidemen as well. Here’s a clip that showcases her way with a ballad.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s opening act is the Plus One Trio, with Anthony Bloch, drums; Nate Baumeister, saxophones; Benjamin Allen, trombone; and Jason Mclean, bass. At 8:30, it’s Witch Hunt, a tribute to Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil album. Members include: Adam Nussbaum, drums; Joy Mayo, saxophones; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Ted Godbout, piano; and Ted Olsen, bass.

Phillip Greenlief @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. ($10 Advance, $15 Door) The San Francisco-based saxophonist comes to town to play with Nathan Hanson, sax; Chis Bates, bass; and Davu Seru, drums. Greenlief has been making a name for himself since the 1970s, performing and playing with a varied group of musicians in the post jazz, improvisational community, including Fred Firth, Meredith Monk, and They Might be Giants. As always, there is a free master class at 6pm. Those who come for the master class and stay for the concert only pay $10. Here’s an example of his approach to playing.

Sunday, May 8

Hanging Hearts – Chris Weller @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) This Chicago based trio integrates jazz, rock, and experimental music into their performances. They’ve toured internationally, appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, and will be heading into the studio in June with Dave King producing. Chris Weller, tenor; Cole DeGenova, keys; Devin Drobka, drums & percussion. Here they are performing in Slovakia.

Monday, May 9

Joe Mayo & Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w./student ID) Two heavy hitting saxophonists in town get together to play music they don’t usually play in big bands.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) 1st set – JT Bates,  2nd set – Hanging Hearts (Chicago). If you didn’t get to see them yesterday at Jazz Central, here’s another chance:  Chris Weller, sax; Devin Drobka, drunms; Cole DeGenova, keys.  While Chris and Cole grew up in Chicago, playing professionally in jazz and blues clubs by the age of 15, the trio was completed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where all three members graduated. The trio’s repertoire consists of their original compositions.

Tuesday, May 10

Stu Katz and Friends @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) 1st set solo, 2nd set with son Steven, bass & vocals; Jay Epstein, drums. Over his long career, Chicagoan Stu Katz has performed in numerous public venues with young and old bebop luminaries including Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Joey DeFrancesco, Dexter Gordon, Bunky Green, Roy Haynes, Milt Jackson, “Philly” Joe Jones, Clifford Jordan, Russell Malone, James Moody, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Ira Sullivan and Phil Woods. Here he is back in 1985 at the Chicago Jazz Festival with Doc Cheatham.

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…

Thursday, May 5

Rare Medium @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Is it jazzy funk or funky jazz? I’m never quite sure where to list this six-piece band that crosses genres to get people shaking their booty while using appealing jazz harmonies.

Walter Trout @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) As fans of this master of rockin’ blues guitar know, Trout was diagnosed with life-threatening liver failure and hepatitis C in 2013, and received a liver transplant in 2014. His last album, Battle Scars, was filled with stories of his fight to stay alive, while the soon-to-be-released Alive in Amsterdam, is a celebration of his return. Expect some blues-filled fireworks. The under-appreciated guitarist Ken Valdez, who has played with everyone from Dr. John and Michael Franti to The Wallflowers, Marshall Crenshaw, and Maceo Parker, opens at 7pm.

Friday, May 6

Bruce Hamm & Marcus Wise @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Hmm, we have here the first presentation of North Indian classical music at this jazz venue. Many in the Twin Cities know tabla player Marcus Wise for his work with the likes of Dean Magraw, Anthony Cox, and Peter Schimke. He’s also worked with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, John Densmore of the Doors, and Steve Tibbets. Tonight he’s working with Hamm, one of America’s top sarod players, with whom he’s performed many times. Here’s a short video of the two of them in a trio setting.

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Often named the Best Blues Band in the Twin Cities, this four-piece tears it up, and will no doubt create a lively scene in the supper club’s lounge. Check out their instrumental chops.

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) With a style that heavily rooted in blues, country, and soul, and propelled by the energy of early rock n’ roll, Alex “Crankshaft” Larson and his band deliver hard driving deep blues and roots music.

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Boom Boom delivers emotion-fueled harmonica blues, and with the Knockouts, provides an evening of fun.

Saturday, May 7

Hurricane Harold Duo and Lisa Wenger @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Hurricane – No Cover), 9pm (Wenger – $8) It’s a double dose of bluesy roots at the Vieux tonight. Harmonica whiz Hurricane Harold Trembley always has interesting partners in his duos, and will provide great music while you dine on the room’s New Orleans-inspired food. Then at 9pm Blueswoman Lisa Wenger will bring her gritty-yet-sweet soulfully inspired vocals to the room.

Classic country, classic duds

Classic country, classic duds

Saddle Sores @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?, $10?) Classic country from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The Saddle Sores are: Jenny Russ, vocals; Jimmy Kennedy, guitar & vocals; Randy Venaas, bass; Mo Engel, drums; and Tyler Christenson on pedal steel guitar.

 

The awkwardness of finding a date for the prom

The awkwardness of finding a date for the prom

Opening: A Night in Olympus @ Illusion Theater, Cowles Center for the Arts, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 – $42) Runs through June 4 (Sundays at 7pm) After their success with the musical Glensheen, Chan Poling is once again partnering with playwright Jeffrey Hatcher and writer Bill Corbett for A Night in Olympus, a musical about an awkward teenager who gets her wish to become so beautiful that she scores a date with the hottest guy in school. As might be expected, things don’t work out as planned in what promises to be a musical evening filled with silliness, though rest assured, there’s a happy ending. Poling is a founding member of the Suburbs and tours with The New Standards. Hatcher’s plays have been seen on Broadway and he’s done the screenwriting for Mr. Holmes, the Duchess, and Casanova. Corbett is one of the writers and performers of Mystery Science Theater 3000.   BTW, I’ll have Chan Poling as my guest on Rhythm and Grooves on Saturday, May 7. The show runs from 10:30am – Noon. Poling will be out in the latter part of the 11am hour. Find out more about the production here.

Joey Ryan & the Inks CD Release @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Ryan crafts pop songs that recall the “sunshine pop” of California, though he leavens his music with a bit of sadness. The new CD, Young Afternoon, was crafted during a period when all members of the band welcomed additions to their family, and the songs reflect that new responsibility. Opening acts are BBGun, with Al Church, Neal Perbix, and drummer Jeremy Hanson, and solo singer/songwriter Eric Mayson.

Sunday, May 8

Yuna, with BOSCO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Yuna is an R&B singer from Malaysia, whose 2012 breakthrough hit, “Live Your Life” was produced by Pharrell Williams, the guy behind “Happy” and Daft Punk’s last album. Her new album, “Nocturnal” is being released on Verve Records. Opening is Atlanta’s BOSCO, another up and coming female R&B artist.

Monday, May 9

Paul Mayasich & The RAMM Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Get a dose of Real American Made Music, i.e., Motown, rock n’ roll, R&B, funk, and more from Mayasich and his bandmates. Here they are in an acoustic setting.

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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