State Fair Music, Part 2: 8.29 – 9.4

August 29, 2018

The Leinie Lodge Stage has many concerts during the Fair

So it’s the second week of The Minnesota State Fair. I’ve noted some of the acts on the free stages separately after Blues, Roots, and Other listings. Besides the music of the Fair, we have a few visiting artists of note, and our talented musicians to lift our spirits and cause us to dance. It’s true. Music lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, August 29

Butch Thompson & Pat Donahue @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) Pianist/clarinetist Thompsonand guitarist/vocalist Donahuehave an easy camaraderie, with a bit of humor thrown in every once in a while, making for a delightful evening of traditional jazz and blues.

Will Kjeer Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) I believe this is the last of Kjeer’s monthly summer residency at the Vieux. Joining the talented pianist are Graydon Peterson, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums.

Big Peach @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Big Peach is Patrick Adkins,piano; Benjamin Beyenne, drums; and sam Worthington, bass.  All were members of the Dakota Combo a few years ago, and continue to grow as artists.

Thursday, August 30

Julian Manzara & Graydon Peterson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.8pm ($10) Guitarist/vocalist Manzarawill be joined by bassist Peterson for Vocal Night at the basement venue.

Regional Jazz Trio @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5-10) Their understated name belies the vast amount of talent and creativity in this group:JT Bates, drums; Anthony Cox, bass; and Michael Lewis, saxophones.

Friday, August 31

Aja Parham’s Tribute to Sarah Vaughn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Classically trained vocalist Parhamis equally adept at show tunes, jazz, R&B, and Motown. Tonight she concentrates on jazz, as she sings the music of Sarah Vaughn.

Saturday, September 1

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen & Bar, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; bring their creative interpretations of standards to the intimate bar.

Sunday, September 2

Geoffrey Keezer Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($30, $35) Pianist Keezerwas already working with Art Blakey by the time he was 18. He’s collaborated with Sting, Wayne Shorter, and Christian McBride, among others, recorded with Diana Krall and Dianne Reeves, has been nominated for a Grammy a number of times, and notably, played with Ray Brown for a few years. He’s bringing special guest vocalist Gillian Margotwith him. She’s studied with Oscar Peterson and Freddy Cole, and sung with Sting, Kathleen Battle, Kevin Mahogany, Robert Glasper and a number of classical orchestras. They’ll be joined by our own stars, Jaff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Tuesday, September 4

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm ($8, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) The newly enlarged lounge at Crooners will reverberate with big band sounds, with special guest vocalist Arne Fogel.

For more listings, KBEM has a calendar of jazz and roots events, while the Jazz Police features commentary, reviews, and previews of jazz in the Twin cities and beyond.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 29

Erik Brandt & The Urban Hillbilly Quartet on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM),7pm (3312 Club – Tip Jar) The Urban Hillbilly Quartethas  been playing together for 18 years now, developing a mix of country, bluegrass, and rock n’ roll that would make the Flying Burrito Brothers and Gram Parsons proud. The show is being broadcast from the State Fair Education Building, after which the band will head to the 331 Club, where you can catch them live.

Salsa Del Soul @ Mill City Museum, Minneapolis. 6pm ($6) Includes museum admission from 4pm – 9pm. Listeners in the Museum’s courtyard will have a hard time sitting still as Salsa del Soulbrings various Latin rhythms to the courtyard’s stage.

Radio Joe & the JazzBo’s @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Vintage swing, boogie-woogie, and jump blues to keep heads bopping, feet tapping, and the dance floor filled.

Thursday, August 30

Roosevelt Collier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Collierplays pedal and steel guitar, having come up playing “sacred steel” with his uncle and cousins in the Lee boys in Florida. He’s lent his talents to the Allman Brothers, Buddy Guy, The String Cheese Incident, Los Lobos, and more.

High & Mighty @ Lord Fletcher’s on the Lake, Spring Park. 6-9pm (No Cover) Head out to party central on Lake Minnetonka to catch this R&B/soul/pop horn band.

Erik Koskinen @ Music at Mears, Mears Park, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) For the last show of the season, the folks at Music in Mears brings vocalist/guitarist/composer Koskinenand his unflinching country music to the delightful series. Jake Jones opens, with a blend of Americana, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues.

Friday, August 31

Joyann Parker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12, $15) Talented vocalist/multi-instrumentalist, and composer Parker’s record, Hard to Love, recently received a very favorable review in DownBeat magazine, while Parker herself has been nominated as a Rising Star for the Blues Blast Awards.

Saturday, September 1

Maurice Jacox @ Lola’s on the Lake, 3000 East Calhoun Blvd, Minneapolis. 4-7pm (Free) As the late afternoon sets over Bde Maka Ska, enjoy the wings, fish, and other soulful food while vocalist Maurice Jacox delivers a mix of soul, jazz, R&B, and even some acoustic Motown. Should make for a lovely evening.

Sunday, September 2

5th Annual Minnesota Salsa Festival @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15 Advance/$20 Door) Things get started with DJs spinning salsa hits, then it’s time for a salsa lesson at 7:30 and live music at 8pm. Bands include Charanga Tropical, and the 18-piece La Gran Charanga, featuring members from Malamanya, Salsa del Soul, Seven Steps to Havana and other Twin Cities bands. Also performing: Craig Russo and Vivana Pintado.

Monday, September 3

Miss Myra & the Moonshiners @ Harriet Lake Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Vintage, often sassy, jazz and barrelhouse blues, including originals by the group featuring Miss Myra, vocals & guitar; and the Moonshiners: Zane Fitzgerald Palmer, guitar; Dolly Dagger, drums; and Ike Heath, tuba.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 3,4

Ronnie Spector & The Ronettes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $80, $70) Excuse me if I geek out about Ms Spector, one of my favorite rock n’ roll singers from my youth. Their song Walking in the Rain won a Grammy in 1965. The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, and their huge hit Be My Baby, was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. I recall seeing Ronnie and the original Ronettes at a Bronx bowling lane with Murray the “K” even though they didn’t perform. Previous appearances at the Dakota have shown her be as exciting a performer as when she appeared at the Brooklyn Fox more than 50 years ago.

For more blues (and some roots), The MN Blues Society’s calendar is quite omprehensive. For all things Cajun and Zydeco, check out the calendar of the Krewe de Walleye.

State Fair Music (Free w/Admission to the Fair)

Wednesday, August 29 

Ticket To Brasil @ The International Bazaar Stage. 10:45am, Noon, 1:15pm

Randy Sabien & the Fiddlehead Band @ The Schell’s Stage. 3pm, 4pm, 5pm

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 3:15, 4:30, 5:45pm

Annie Mack @ the International Bazaar Stage. 3:15, 4:30,5:45pm

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ RC’s BBQ. 6pm

Thursday, August 30

Ticket To Brasil @ The International Bazaar Stage. 10:45am, Noon, 1:15pm

Randy Sabien & the Fiddlehead Band @ The Schell’s Stage. 3pm, 4pm, 5pm

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 3:15, 4:30, 5:45pm

Annie Mack @ the International Bazaar Stage. 3:15, 4:30,5:45pm

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ RC’s BBQ. 6pm

Friday, August 31

Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 10:30am, 11:45am

Martin Devaney @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 10:30am, 11:45am; 1pm

MBOTMA presents the Minnesota Americana Roots Contest @ The Schell’s Stage. 11:30am – 2:15pm Featuring close-harmony duos

Saturday, September 1

Sunpie & the Louisiana Sunspots @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 10:30am, 11:45am

MBOTMA presents the Minnesota Americana Roots Contest @ The Schell’s Stage. 11:30am – 2:15pm Featuring bluegrass groups

Martin Devaney @ The Ramberg Music Stage. 3:15, 4:30, 4:45pm

Sunday, September 2

Terrance Simein & the Zydeco Experience @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 3:30pm,4:45 pm

Har Mar Superstar @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm

Monday, September 3

Terrance Simein & the Zydeco Experience @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 3:30pm,4:45 pm

Har Mar Superstar @ The Leinie Lodge Stage. 8:30pm


Thanks for Music: 11.23 – 11.29

November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all;

Arlo Guthrie may have the most famous Thanksgiving Day story of all: Alice's Restaurant

Arlo Guthrie’s tale, Alice’s Restaurant, may be the most famous contemporary Thanksgiving Day story of all.

It will be a day of food consumption for many, and a weekend of leftovers and stuffed bellies. But don’t fear, there are opportunities to dance off your lethargy over the weekend, and others where just listening to music will help calm a stuffed stomach. Let music be something we’re all thankful to have in our lives. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 23

Dave King Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $55 dinner show) This is the second of a two night stand for drummer Dave King and this trio. King is best known for his work with The Bad Plus and Happy Apple,though he also seems to have a dozen or so other projects, many of which explore the outer edges and realms of jazz and rock. Tonight, though, he gathers the fine talents of bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to mine the richness of jazz standards and create some beautiful music. Here’s a longish video of a performance.

Dorado Schmitt & the Django Festival All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($20, $30) Guitarist Dorado Schmitt grew up in the same region where Django Rheinhardt lived. He was born of Roma parents and grew up surrounded by Gypsy Jazz, though, like other teenagers, he emulated Carlos Santana and Jimi Hendrix before turning to the music fo his heritage. Back in the mid-2000s, he appeared in town as part of the Minnesota Sur Seine Festival, and has become the star of New York’s annual Django Festival. He’ll be accompanied by his son, guitarist Amati Schmitt; as well as accordionist Ludovic Beier, and violinist Pierre Blanchard.

Thursday, November 24

Thanksgiving with Debbie Duncan @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. Noon – 3pm  (No Cover, but Dinner) If you don’t want to cook, and are looking for some music with your Thanksgiving Meal, then you’re in luck, as Ms Duncan sings jazz standards, the Great American Songbook, and some occasional R&B.

Thanksgiving with Robert Robertson @ The Dakota, Minnepaolis. 7pm ($30) Get righteous, and not in arguments with your crazy uncle, but by listening to the gospel sounds of the incredible Robert Robertson, as soulful a singer as you will ever find.

Friday, November 25

Zacc Harris/Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Harris – No Cover), 9pm (CAO – $10) Perhaps you’ve spent the day shopping. If so, relax with the dinner hour performance of guitarist Zacc Harris, followed at 9:00 by the Cafe Accordion Orchestra, whose album entitled Berets and Bongos pretty much sums up their approach to music.

Good Trouble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Good Trouble is a septet from Appleton, WI, which includes both past and present students at Lawrence University. Members of the band include: Ben Phillips – Trumpet; Will Fraser Alto Saxophone; Carson Caldart – Tenor Saxophone; Matt Blair – Piano; Sam Genualdi – Guitar; Jakob Heinemann – Bass; and Jack Lussenden – Drums. Listen to them here.

Friday, Saturday, November 25, 26

Third Annual Dave King Takeover @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($12) Drummer Dave King is busy this week. After two nights at Crooners early in the week, he’s taking over late night at the Icehouse to feature two more bands of which he’s a member. Friday night it’s the Dave King Trucking Company: Erik Fratzke, guitar; Chris Morrissey, bass; Chris Speed and Brandon Wozniak on saxes; and King on drums. Then on Saturday night it’s Happy Apple, the trio named after a toy: Erik Fratzke, Fender bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and King on drums. This is the place to be for young jazz fans home for Thanksgiving, as well as older ones who can stay up late enough to dig these sounds.

Saturday, November 26

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Riley Swain Jazz Ensemble at 7pm, followed by the Atlantis Quartet at 8:30pm. The Riley Swain Ensemble is presented as part of the JazzInk Youth Showcase, which features talented high school students playing jazz. The Atlantis Quartet is Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. They’ve been around about 10 years now, spreading the gospel of 21st Century jazz.

Sunday, November 27

Geoffrey Keezer and Gillian Margot @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $35, $65 w/Dinner) Pianist Keezer is a native of Eau Claire, who spent his 20s working with Joshua Redman, Benny Golson, and Ray Brown. Now in his 40s, he’s performed and recorded in all sorts of musical combinations, and of late, has been doing solo gigs and recording. He’s performed with both Diana Krall and Diane Reeves, and now with singer Gillian Margot, who manages to avoid the usual cliches of jazz singers while delivering original interpretive delivery.

Monday, November 28

David Martin/Martin Doolin CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Guitarists Martin and Doolinb are releasing Dark Star, their third collaboration. It’s a fusion fueled CD, with guitar sounds that range from fuzzed-out to crystalline, and acoustic, punctuated with some funky drumming. Tonight they’re joined by Jim Chenoweth, bass; Shai Hayo, percussion; and Pete Hennig, drums.  I’ll have David Martin, and perhaps Doolin, on my show Saturday morning the 26th (10:30am – Noon, KFAI: 90.3 and 106.7FM)

George Maurer Quartet feat Ann Michels @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($12) Pianist Maurer is a versatile performer, composer and collaborator, having worked with Eric Clapton, scored films, and creating compositions for his nine-piece band. He’s based in Saint Cloud, so doesn’t get to the Twin Cities very often, making this a special event, and doubly so, since he’ll have just a quartet, as well as vocalist Ann Michels. Here’s Maurer accompanying a different singer: Rachel Holder.

Monday, Tuesday, November 28, 29

Jennifer Grimm’s Christmas with Family & Friends @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm  – 8:30pm ($22, $47 Dinner Show) Ms Grimm is a talented singer who is equally at home on a theater stage or in a bar. Either way, she’s an engaging performer, and with her family and friends, provides a highly entertaining evening.

Tuesday, November 29

Bill Evans New Orleans Jazz Band @ Bennett’s Rail & Chop House, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) If it’s the last Tuesday of the month, then it’s time for a shot of early New Orleans jazz, with a rotating cast of musicians led by Bill Evans.

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, November 23

Nikki & the RueMates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become an annual tradition for Harold Tremblay to feature Nikki & the RueMates on the night before Thanksgiving. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour to hear them perform some blues, 60s style folk-rock, and originals, all featuring Nikki’s clarion voice and the deft guitar of Rich Rue.

The Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 11:30pm. A cast of thousands, well maybe tens, brings you the finest in Swamp Pop entertainment. Rich Lewis, Dan Rowles, Lucinda Plaisance, Richard Kriehn, Bill and Ernie Batson, Jon Rodine, Dan Newton and the Rockin’ Pinecones, members of the New Riverside Ramblers, plus several other featured guests. All backed by the mellifluous noodlings of the Swamp Poppas Enhanced Big Band! All in a Benefit for Second Harvest Food Shelf.

Maurice Jacox Acoustic Trio @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Balladeer, bluesman, crooner, jazzman. All apply to vocalist Maurice Jacox, who will turn the slightly divey Schooner Tavern into a hip lounge tonight with the help of guitarists Bobby E and John Cravens.

Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) The youngest son of Fela Kuti continues voicing the political and social concerns  of his father, adding traditions from various African cultures and reflecting on the struggles of peoples throughout the continent. Expect a floor filled with writhing, dancing bodies as Kuti and the band create rhythms that connect with your innermost being.

Thursday, November 24

Deano & the Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – Midnight. It’s the man in plaid with the colorful hi-tops keeping up Merlin’s tradition of Thanksgiving Night music: Dean (or Deano) Mikkelson on guitar, along with pals Dean Harrington, guitar; Tom Lewis, bass; and Del Gallagher, drums, will play jazzy acoustic music.

Butanes @ Shaw’s, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you don’t like Turkey. Head over to Shaw’s for some BBQ and Blues as the Butanes take to the stage. If you’re stuffed with turkey, you can surely find a little space to dance as well.

Socaholix @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Bunkers has a pretty good size dance floor for a bar, and it will undoubtedly be filled as the Socaholix play a lively mix of Soca (soul + Calypso) and other high-energy Caribbean rhythms.

Friday, November 25

Daisy Dillman Acoustic @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm – 10:30pm ($15) This is the “unplugged” version of the band started in the late 70s by four guys from Excelsior. You’ll undoubtedly hear some of their hits from two nationally charting albums, as well as new material, all with three part harmonies.

The Pines @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) The cover of the Pines latest full release, Above the Prairie, features a star filled sky over a couple of ramshackle shacks set among open spaces. Their music evokes that openness, with both moments of stillness and moments of beauty, much like the plains of their native Iowa. They’ll be releasing a new EP tonight, entitled Pasture II, the second installment in a series of EPs that explore the timeless tradition and passage of the American folk songs. Frankie Lee opens.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Shake off your turkey-induced doldrums by dancing to rare funk and soul 45s.

Saturday, November 26

Feeling All Right: A Tribute to Joe Cocker @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Mick Sterling has gathered 13 musicians, including 4 drummer/percussionists for this tribute to the English white guy with the raspy voice of a Southern Soul singer. The late pianist/singer/composer Leon Russell led Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour, so you can expect some of his tunes as well.

Luke Warm & the Cool Hands CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($8) It’s an evening of progressive string music and general pickin’ and grinnin’ as Luke Warm & the Cool Hands celebrate the release of What Makes You Happy? The evening begins at 8pm with The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League playing music of the Prohibition era, updated for the 21st Century, then at 9pm its Luke Warm and the guys, including Ryan Young of Trampled by Turtles, followed at 11pm by The Stringdingers

New Riverside Ramblers @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) High energy Cajun dance music, transplanted from the bayous of Louisiana to the frozen plain of Minnesota, though performed within the warm confines of the Hamm Building’s basement. There will be waltzes, two-steps, and blues galore.

Saturday, Sunday, November 26, 27

Ronnie Spector @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $65, $75) While the Ronettes may not have been the first girl group, or the most popular, they were the most iconic, thanks to beehive hairdos, eyeliner, and Ronnie Spector’s thrilling voice, at one child-like and wise. She was inspired by Frankie Lymon, and in turn, inspired Amy Winehouse. She’ll undoubtedly sing Sleigh Ride, I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, and Frosty the Snowman, given that her versions are always among the most played songs at Christmas time. We’ll also hear Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, and perhaps a few songs from her tribute to British Bands, which came out last year. Here’s an older video of her.

Sunday, November 27

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 4pm (Tip Jar) Make your way to North Saint Paul’s main street to catch the ever-changing line-up of the Gang of Mischief, acoustic players of the blues and related music. Though membership varies, there are a few members you can depend upon: Papa John Kolstad, guitar and vocals, Harold Tremblay, harmonica, and Doug Otto, guitar and vocals.

Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers @ Aster Cafe’s River Room, Minneapolis. ($12) Molly Maher is an excellent guitarist and songwriter who’s been called the Queen of Twin Cities Americana. Her songs ring true, as she uses country rock, with a bit of blues swagger, to support her soulful singing. She’s backed by The Disbelievers, and excellent band consisting of guitar ace Erik Koskinen; Paul Bergen on guitar; Steve Murray, bass; and Richard Medek, drums. This is in the River Room, where there is bar service only.

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.


Rock n’ Roll is Here to Stay. Music: 12.4 – 12.10

December 4, 2013

imagesAs I write this, the snow is coming down, and I can hear snowplows on the streets. Fitting that the first week in December brings the first real snowstorm to the metro area. We’re in the final month of the Artists’ Quarter, as owned and managed by Kenny Horst. There’ll be a special benefit to help with closing costs and transition (hopefully there will be one, though there is no word on that yet). In other news, Ronnie Spector is back, as is Bill Frisell. There are a couple of CD Release parties taking place, and rock n’ roll is alive and well. Have a good week

Jazz…

Wednesday, December 4

Anthony Cox @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Uber bassist Cox is considered a national artist when he plays in other towns. Don’t know if he’ll have anyone with him, but even solo, he’ll have you shaking your head in wonder.

Evans, Wozniak, Courage, & Schutte @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul ($5) There really isn’t enough space to list all the credits of these four relatively young lions: Park Evans, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Brian Courage, bass; and Greg Schuute, drums. Between them they’ve played with recognized veterans from elsewhere and in up and coming groups from this area. I expect they’ll be playing originals and jazz standards.

Thursday, December 5

This year's combo.  Photo by Andrea Canter

This year’s combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

Dakota Combo @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The combo is an open-audition group that consists of the best high school musicians in the area. A couple of them are already gigging as professionals. One listen, and you won’t worry about the future of jazz.

Dean Granros Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Granros is a highly respected guitarist – one of those artists that other musicians want to play with. He was in the New York band Curlew back in the day, has played with folks ranging from Ira Sullivan to Dean Konitz and Dave Dudley, and has been seen around here in How Birds Work and Starry Eyed Lovelies. Here he is with Billy Peterson and Kenny Horst.

Friday, December 6

Todd Harper Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm, more or less (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper is back with his trio, including Aaron Kerr on electric cello, and Peter Leggett on drums.  There’s also a gift bazaar going on at the same time. Shop and enjoy the music.

Friday, Saturday, December 6,7

Happy Apple @ The Artist’s Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Though undoubtedly a jazz group, it can easily be said that Happy Apple defies categorization. But that’s what you get when a bunch of rockin’ kids discover jazz. Mike Lewis, sax; Eric Fratzke, bass, and Dave King, drums have been at it for about seventeen years now, gaining an international following and garnering praise from the NY Times, among others. Here’s a performance from last year.

Saturday, December 7

Jana Nyberg Group CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Jana has a new CD, Winter Song, with seasonally appropriate songs. The originals, by Jana, and trumpeter hubby Adam Meckler, are at turns romantic and playful, and always well done. The standards are given new, original arrangements. The result is a CD that will have you pushing the Repeat button more than once.

Sunday, December 8

PipJazz @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 4pm Pippi Ardennia’s guest this month is Nicholas Carter, of Paraguay, a harpist, and I don’t mean harmonica. It will certainly be fun to see how he interacts with Pippi and the members of the band. Young pianist Jordan Anderson is the youth guest. Though 15 year old, he’s proving to be a fast learner.

Lots of music at the AQ, plus, Davis will perform his Lord Buckley routine.

Lots of music at the AQ, plus, Davis will perform his Lord Buckley routine.

Friends of the AQ @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 5pm – Midnight? ($10 Minimum donation) Kenny Horst has managed to run the iconic AQ for a few decades now without going in debt, and the musicians involved want to make sure he doesn’t incur any expenses in closing the club and (hopefully) transitioning it to new ownership. At last count there were 38 musicians lined up for this event to show their appreciation for Kenny and this club, with the line-up changing every half hour between 5pm and 10pm and a jam starting at 10:30 or so.

Bill Frisell’s Big Sur Quintet @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $45) The searching, exploratory guitarist will be backed by members of two other groups that he plays with: Jenny Scheinman, violin, Eyvind Kang, viola, Hank Roberts, cellok, and Rudy Royston, drums. Frisell brought this particular group together to play Big Sur, a piece commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival. Big Sur combines atmospheric elements of chamber jazz, folk, country, and rock – all elements of Frisell’s musical journey.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 4

Mayor Chris Coleman & the McNally Smith Blues Ensemble @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Hizzoner has played guitar in public before, notably with the ‘Burbs at the Gay Marriage celebration. Wherever you stand on civic issues, you will have fun listening to him as he plays with some of McNally Smith’s best students.

Wax Museum @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Free) It’s open vinyl night at Palmer’s. Listen to an ever-changing rotation of deejays playing everything from classic country to worldbeats to punk, metal, and electronica, or, you can bring some vinyl of your own and sign up to spin a 20 minute set.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 4,5

Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Show Ever @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm ($45, $55, $65) The best voice in rock n’ roll, the woman who taught Amy Winehouse how to properly do a beehive hairdo, the kid from the street who made teenage hearts pound back in the 60s and can still thrill, Ms Spector returns after a two year absence to sing her fabulous version of Sleigh Ride, one of the most popular of all Christmas songs, along with hits like Be My Baby, and more. Here’s her big hit.

Thursday, December 5

Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30 doors. ($20) The “Screamin’ Eagle” of soul is becoming, just like the man he impersonated for so long, the hardest working man in show business, criss-crossing the country and the globe to perform sweat-drenched soul.

Willie & the Spectres @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Willie Scott, on dobro and National Steel Guitar, leads Paul Fonfara, clarinet; Evan Clark, tuba; Bobby Eckstrand, guitar; and Chris Hepola, drums; in a blend of  traditional jazz, blues, and Latin influenced music.

UnknownCactus Blossoms Live at the Turf Club CD Release @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) The tight,brotherly harmonies of Blossoms, when applied to their originals as well as classic country and honky tonk tunes, can make a grown man cry in his beer and a young woman sigh with regret.

Friday, December 6

Rock n’ Roll Whores, Le Serpent Rouge, & Grenade Girls @ The Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 8pm (Free)  Want to get a sense of how some young folks are rockin’ out? Here’s a chance. Rock n Roll Whores are a punkish/garage-is quartet with a lead singer who may be the next Dean of Scream. Le Serpent Rouge creates dense, yet melodic songs, with influences of 70s rock & psychedelia throughout. The Grenade Girls take classic rock, amp it up, and spit it out.

Jon Rodine & Friends plus the Electro-Pigs @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($?) Rodine is a singer songwriter who isn’t afraid to tackle Dylan, Dan Penn, and other great songsmiths in addition to doing his originals. He’s a bit of country, and a bit of blues, and often tackles a groove. The Electro-Pigs are the electric version of the Front Porch Swingin’ Liquor Pigs, purveyors of a good time, whether electric or acoustic. The Tap Room is relatively small, so you may want to get there early.

Saturday, December 7

Savanna & the Saviours @ The Red Stag, Minneapolis. 10:3pm (Tip Jar) Savanna sings with controlled emotion, which isn’t to say she’s a “cool” singer, but rather a rocker who knows how to use her voice. She’s ably assisted by the Saviours, a four piece that is equally at home controlling their music.

New Sound Underground and Spare Parts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) New funk and jazz-funk fusion for your late night revelry. New Sound Underground is made up of regional jazz guys, but they get their funk on in a big way, with inspiration from Soulive, Roy Hargrove’s RH Factor, and Weather Report. Spare Parts is a three-piece from Chicago that’s been getting lots of positive press in their hometown.

Sunday, December 8

34th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ First Avenue, Minneapolis – Suburbs, Cactus Blossoms, Sonny Knight & the Lakers. Well Curtiss A has some mighty fine help in his annual tribute. Always packed. Always fun.

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


Decisions, Decisions, Decisions… 5.9 – 5.15

May 9, 2012

Yeah, they don’t spend the weekend with the girls on Father’s Day.

Mother’s Day. Fishing opener. Music. Mother’s Day. Fishing Opener. Music. What a confluence of opportunities, at least one of which could produce domestic difficulties for some men. There is a cornucopia of music during the weekend, which only adds to the difficulty of making a choice.  Here’s Taj Mahal with the Fishin’ Blues

Jazz

Thursday May 10

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No cover)  Jeff Brueske, bass;  & Gary Shulte, violin. The Lex continues to have some of the town’s best vocalists. This time it’s JoAnn Funk, who can be seen weekends at the Saint Paul Hotel with Jeff Brueske. Making this an extra special occasion is the addition of Gary Shulte on violin.

Money Jungle @ The Black Dog Coffeee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar). Steve Hobert, piano, Josh Granowski, bass, and Chris Hepola, drums pay tribute to the Ellington/MIngus/Roach album.

Phil Mattson Singers @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. ($10) Mattson has been the go-to guy for a number of national acts looking for something special in their vocal arrangements. (The Four Freshmen and Manhattan Transfer are but two.) This early show is a showcase for pianist/arranger/vocal coach Mattson and his group of six vocalists.

Dakota Combo @ MacPhail Center, Minneapolis. 8pm. (free) Each September, high school students audition for the Combo, and then work all year under the direction of bassist Adam Linz, Jazz Coordinator at MacPhail. It’s a formula that’s been turning out successful young musicians for a number of years now. Come hear this year’s edition of the combo as they approach the end of their time together.

Friday, Saturday, May 11, 12

The Garden

Zacc Harris Group CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter. 9pm ($10) Though hard-working guitarist Zacc Harris has released two CDs with The Atlantis Quartet, and one with a trio, this is the first CD to have his own stamp on it. With the exception of “Softly, As In A Morning Sunrise,” The Garden, as it’s titled features Harris’s own compositions. Members of the group include Bryan Nichols, keys, JT Bates, drums, Chris Bates, bass, and Brandon Wozniack, sax.

Dane Stauffer Mama I Can Scat CD Release @ Illusion Theater, Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) This Minnesotan/Los Angeleno promises an evening of  “jazzy-bossa nova 60s-guy group-girl group-jumpin’ blues and swinging-dinging tune-o-sity.” Though that sounds like over-the-top hype, Stauffer will be backed by Peter Schimke, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, which gives plenty of swinging heft to the claim.

Saturday, May 12

Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm  ($10/$5 students) Ellen Lease, piano; Pat Moriarty, sax; Chris Bates, bass; Dave Stanoch, drums, and newcomer to the group Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, on trumpet. Lease and Moriary always make improvisational music of the most arresting kind – beautiful, emotional, and spirited. Trust them to lead this quintet down similar paths.

Photo by Jim McGuire

Evan Christopher’s Clarinet Road with vocalist Lee Engele @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 8pm ($24) New Orleans clarinetist Christopher puts a contemporary spin on early jazz, using his considerable chops, as well as a knowledge of the early forms. Twin Citizen Engele is well suited to swinging the vocal chores, and she’s put together a sterling group of area players to goose things along. Lee Engele will be my guest on Rhythm and Grooves Saturday morning (10:30AM – KFAI, 90.3FM and 106.7FM)

Sunday, May 13

PipJazz Sunday w/guest Debbie Duncan @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($20) Vocalist Pippi Ardennia continues her monthly series featuring a guest artist and a guest youth performer. Debbie Duncan doesn’t need much of an introduction – she’s a superb vocalist who has sung everywhere in town. The idea of she and Ardennia doing a duet or two is thrilling. This month’s youth artist is Jack Breen.

Double Bass, Double Voice @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) This is an intriguing project from New York City, featuring erstwhile Minnesota singer Nancy Harms, as well as Emily Braden and the double bass of Steve Whipple. Ms Harms is always a paragon of taste and swing, and I expect this project will be likewise.

Monday, May 14

Irv Williams Retirement Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Well, it’s been announced before, but this just might be it for the 93-year old Williams. The notes that he coaxes from his saxophone are still smoother than the lines of a new Rolls Royce, and just as luxurious.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, May 9

Liminal Phase @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover) Liminal Phase is Adam Levy’s experimental group. You may know Adam from The Honeydogs and Hookers $ Blow, but here he goes in a very different direction, combining acoustic and electronic instrumentation to create music with jazz, psychedelic, and African influences. His bandmates come from groups like Heirospecs and Mystery Palace, as well as the DJ world. Reservations are always recommended for dinner, or else you’ll have to squeeze into space by the bar.

Friday, May 11

Grandmothers of Invention @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30) Just in time for Mother’s Day. If you loved Frank Zappa’ Mothers of Invention, you may already know about this. The Grandmothers, with three original members of the group, keep his music alive, with three original members of a group fueled by Zappa’s brilliance. Though sometimes complex, Zappa’s music was earthbound enough to avoid the pretentiousness of the “art-rock” groups. Tonight, the Grandmothers will be performing the album, “Roxy & Elswhere” in its entirety for the first set, before returning to play other hits for the second set.

Martin Devaney @ The Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) The multi-talented guitarist, composer, and sax player recently released his fifth CD. Check him out on the latenight stage.

Friday, Saturday, May 11, 12

Girls Got Rhythm Fest @ The Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm until..  ($65/2 day pass) For some women, this may be a Fishing Day alternative to sitting at home. It’s a two day celebration of Rockin’ Females with the great Ronnie Spector as the Saturday Headliner. These are women who embrace heavy drums, shredding guitars and have more energy than your local power plant. Pop, punk, rockabilly and more spanning five decades and three continents.

Saturday, May 12

Roots of the West Bank Festival @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 5pm  ($10) Yeah, the West Bank is still kickin. Case in point. Large Hall: Hye Pockets Robertson w/RAMM; Swamp Kings; Curtis and the Kicks; Swingin’ Liquor Pigs. Small Hall: Papa John Kolstad; Pop Wagner; Phil Heywood; Dakota Dave Hull;  Spider John Koerner. $1 dollar of every cover to West Bank School of Music.

Saltee CD Release, w/Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Jacqueline Ultan (cello), Mike Michel (guitar) and Carnage The Executioner (beatboxing), form this unique group. Each is a master musician, and the combination creates genre-bending music that will cause you to tap your feet and then listen in wonder. Kaul & the Brass Kings open with their combination of washtub bass, rubboard, and resonator guitar.

NRBQ @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis.  9pm ($20) Terry Adams has gathered up a new crew for America’s favorite bar band, and from all reports, they are living up to their legacy. You can never tell what will come out of Adam’s brain when it comes to a set list. Heck, he is likely to call an old Ellington chestnut, an obscure rockabilly gem, a paen to wrestler Captain Lou Albano, or a sweet original like “Riding in My Car.” He recently sat in with the percussion section of the Sun Ra Arkestra, whose “Planet Number 9” was on the first NRBQ record, and the latest CD includes a head boppin’ version of Sun Ra’s “We Travel The Spaceways.” Here’s a video of Terry and the new crew.

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


Ronnie Spector’s Christmas Show

December 20, 2010

Ronnie is ready for Christmas

After 50 years of attending concerts and clubs, and interviewing artists ranging from Allen Toussaint and James Brown to Lenny White and Esperanza Spalding, I was reduced to a star-struck fan last night. The occasion was Ronnie Spector’s Best Christmas Ever, at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant in Minneapolis. Sitting stage-side, I was grinning throughout her hour and a half performance, and thrilled when she reached out to shake my hand.

Spector’s voice, with her familiar Whuh Ho Hos, was clear and powerful. She sang and talked with the enthusiasm of a schoolgirl, and donned a Christmas outfit for her encore. She paid homage to a number of her own heroes and friends, including John Lennon (Happy Xmas), Johnny Thunders (“Memory”), and  Frankie Lymon (“Christmas Again”). She sang new Christmas songs, chestnuts like “Sleigh Ride,” her hits and a couple of lesser known Ronettes tunes like Paradise and You Baby. It was a treat to hear her do a couple of vocal group gems: “I’m So Young,” a song by the Students that she recorded with Phil Spector, and “Please Say You Want Me,” originally done by the Schoolboys, and at this point, only available as a download from her website.

I didn’t take notes. Didn’t take photos. Didn’t analyze the sound. I just sat there smiling. For an hour and a half I was, along with everyone in the room, deliriously happy to hear Ronnie.


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