Jazz, Rockabilly, Crawfish, and More. Music: 8.13 – 8.19

August 13, 2014
Crawfish, Crayfish - no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Crawfish, Crayfish – no matter how you say it, mudbugs can be mighty good eating.

Summer in the City. It’s hard to beat, what with lakes and trees to help us keep cool, and hot music all about town. And hey, we’ve even got a crawfish (crayfish?) festival with finger-lickin’ music to lift our spirits and help us dance.



Wednesday, August 13
Vicky Mountain @ The Piazza on the Mall, Minneapolis. 5pm – 6:15pm (Free) Here’s an after-work treat for downtowners. The Piazza is set up in front of Westminster Church on 12th & Nicollet. There you’ll get to hear the wonderfully assured and melodic voice of Vicky Mountain, accompanied by James Allen on guitar and Jim Chenoweth on bass.

Larry McDonough Quartet Anniversary of Simple Gifts @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($5) It’s been ten years since pianist McDonogh released his album Simple Gifts. He’s celebrating with a full length performance of the album tonight.

Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) For those of you who didn’t stay up late to catch them at the Icehouse. See last week’s entry for Monday.

Thursday, August 14
Sheridan Zuther @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Each Thursday you can find a vocalist performing at Jazz Central. Sometimes it’s someone who is established on the scene. Other times you can be delightfully surprised at a newcomer to the Twin Cities jazz scene. Zuther is one such singer.  She has sung a range of music from opera to country to jazz, appearing with variety bands in the Midwest and in musical theater here in town. She’s an alumna of the Cabaret Conference at Yale and is a founder of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) The Bill Evans-inspired pianist and his fine trio (which includes Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey) take their place in the series that features groups playing original compositions. Here’s a cut from this CD.

Friday, August 15
Axis Mundi @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover)  Glen Helgeson, guitrar; Dave Stanoch, drums; Gary Schulte, violin, and Chris Bates, bass. Worldbeats combined with elements of modern and traditional jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) The first jazz composer’s collective, or perhaps the one that we remember. Dave Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, tenor; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Keith Karns Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) A 17 piece band led by trumpeter-arranger-composer Karns, whose arrangements are called dense but also rhythmic by the noted jazz critic Scott Yanow. The band includes Aaron Hedenstrom on sax and Brian Claxton on drums, both of whom performed earlier in the week with their own quintet. Here’s an example of them at work.

Saturday, August 16
Sublime Curve @ the Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This tiny bar feels a bit like a NYC bar in the 60s. It’s got good cocktails, a decent wine list and an award winning kitchen. There’s about 15 places at the bar, and 6-8 high top tables, so reservations are recommended. Anyway, Sublime Curve has been appearing hear every other month or so. The band includes: Jim ‘Tice, keys; Stevie D, percussion; Jeff Moe, bass; Marc Partridge, guitar; and Tom Church on sax. It’s not quite chamber jazz, but it’s far from raucous. Simply good music in a fine setting.

Monday, August 18
Fantastic Merlins @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. (Tip Jar) Brain Roessler, bass; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums explore the sonic possibilities of original compositions, free improvisation, and reworking the occasional jazz standard.

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo by Andrea Canter

Evan Montgomery Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Guitarist Montgomery has been off studying in California since last Fall. It’s good to have him back, even if for a little while, to see what he’s added to his clean technique.

Phil Hey Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Jazz doesn’t get much more sophisticated, or well played, than what is offered by this long-working group: Phil Hey, drums, Tom Lewis, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes, and Phil Aaron on piano. You can expect tunes from Bill Evans, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Miles Davis, and others of that standing.

Tuesday, August 19
River City Jazz Orchestra @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Seems like Tuesday has become Big Band Night in the Twin Cities. The kind folks at MMC are showcasing big bands for those who like an early show. Tonight, the River City Jazz Orchestra will play from a book that includes tunes by Basie, Dorsy, Ellington, Miller, and more.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested donation) Meanwhile, over in Mill City, The Explosion Big Bandm, led by Doug Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, will fill the intimate space at Jazz Central. When they recently played outdoors at the MN History Center, the Center reported they had the largest crowd, and largest number of dancers of any band that’s ever played there during their summertime series.

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, August 13
Tim Sparks on KFAI and at The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) He’s a fingerpicking ace, with the awards and credentials to back up that sobriquet. Sparks‘ latest album, Chasin’ The Boogie, re-imagines songs from the Beatles, Roy Orbison, and Joni Mitchell, as well as gold standards and some gritty blues. Here he is doing I’ll Fly Away.”

The Holmes Brothers @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30) By the time they were “discovered” in the late 80s, the Holmes Brothers already had years and years of experience, often backing singers ranging from Jerry Butler and John Lee Hooker to Jimmy Jones, originator of Handyman, not to mention playing blues in bars on Saturday nights and Gospel in churches on Sunday morning. All of which gives some insight into the winning way they can incorporate country, blue, doo-wop, gospel, and more into their act. It’s good to have them back after a long absence from our stages.

Rosie rocks out

Rosie rocks out

Thursday, August 14
Rosie Flores @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) If you didn’t catch Flores at the Guitar Festival last weekend, you still have a chance to get your “Rockabilly Jones” met. I don’t count you’ll be moving, so you may as well wear dancing shoes. Sweet Mama J opens at 9pm, Rosie Flores at 10:15pm

Friday, August 15
Candye Kane @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm  ($8) Kane’s story is unbelievable. She has been called a survivor, a superhero, and the toughest girl alive. The jump blues singer is a mother of two and has been a pin up cover girl, and had sung punk rock, hillbilly music and blues by the time she was 21. Known for shows that are often a celebration of sexuality, Kane was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about seven years ago, and has undergone two surgeries since then. In spite of the fact that such cancer has poor survival rates, she’s still on the road, and still a dynamic performer. Ross Kleiner & the Thrill open. Candye Kane at 10:45pm. Here’s an example of what she’s been up to in the past year.

Jack Klatt & Charlie Parr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($8) In 2012 guitarist/singer Klatt recorded Mississippi Roll with Charlie Parr. This is their first chance to play together onstage. This is roots music that is authentic as can be.

Saturday, August 16
Crayfish Festival @ the Smack Shack, 6th & Washington, Minneapolis. Noon until…  ($40Advance/$50Door) Okay, so it’s not a free street festival, but it is a Louisiana-styled Crayfish Boil featuring a 1/2 dozen bands, all-yoou-can-eat Minnesota mudbugs, and all the Hurricanes and Beer you can drink. Work off that gluttony dancing to The Droppers, Butanes, Wayne McFarlane & Zydeco Blue and the headliners – Davina & the Vagabonds. As they say in the Big Easy: We Be Partyannnnn!Global Rhythm Festival @ Franconia Sculpture Park, 29836 St.Croix Trail. Noon – 5pm ($5 Parking) Pack a picnic, some blankets or chairs, and take a pleasant drive to the Franconia Sculpture Park, just SE of Taylors Falls, right off Highway 8. There you’ll find acres of sculptures of all types and sizes in a sunny setting. On-site vendors will have some food and beverages. You can take part in a guided tour during band breaks, and even meet some of the artists-in-residence. Pan Dimensions Steel Drums open at 12:30, followed at 2:15 by guitarist Greg Herriges with percussionist Michael Bissonnette playing a mix of international music. Finally, at 4pm, the Duniya Drum and Dance troupe will take the stage, dancing and moving to traditional West African rhythms.

Unknown-5Guitar Shorty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Bluesman Guitar Shorty has quite the resume. At 16, he toured with Ray Charles. At 17 he recorded a single supervised by Willie Dixon.  He led the house band at New Orleans’ legendary Dew Drop Inn for a couple of years and then took a job with Sam Cooke. By the way, Jimi Hendrix was his brother-in-law. He’s been living in L.A. since 1971, playing the blues, recording, jamming, and rocking out around the world. His latest, Watch Your Back, for Alligator Records, was nominated for two Blues Music Awards.

Sunday, Monday, August 17, 18
The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) They play every Sunday and Monday night, bringing out dancers and fellow musicians (some of whom sit in). After 20-some years, they’re as tight as can be, performing some classic soul and funk, and newer tunes as well.

Monday, Tuesday, August 18, 19
Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Pianist Crawford is known as the “Crown Prince of New Orleans,’ a well deserved title, since he incorporates all elements of New Orleans’ music into his own compositions. He is also comes from one of the “royal” lines of N’Awlins’ musical families: his grandfather was James Sugar Boy Crawford, who penned the iconic “Jock-A-Mo” way back in the 50s. He’s been a favorite of the New Orleans Jazz Festival for a number of years now.

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. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.

Music ideas for the week of November 16 – 22

November 16, 2011

A varied bit of music here in the Twin Cities this week, ranging from straight ahead jazz, to swinging vocalists, to zydeco, rockabilly, and more, including a film about four jazz albums released in 1959.


Wednesday, November 16

Gary Berg Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10). I first heard Gary many years ago, when he was playing with a Brazilian group. I was impressed by his warm tone on the tenor sax, and his facility at improvising. I later found out he’s a bit of a bebopper as well. Well, he still has a warm tone. Still is a great improviser. He’s appeared on a number of albums by Twin Cities artists, and has been known to pull out a chromatic harmonica and apply his considerable chops to that instrument as well. To see a video of him at the Artists’ Quarter, go here.

Small City Trio @ Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. (no cover). Jeremy Walker is back and town for a while, and the talented pianist/composer has been busy playing with Jeff Brueske, bass, and Tim Zhone, drums. His compositions have been called quirky, and compared to Monk and Mingus. Decide for yourself in a new venue for them.

Thursday, November 17

REEL Jazz presents “1959: The Year That Changed Jazz” @ The Trylon Microcinema, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9:30pm ($10). The year 1959 saw the release of four albums that changed the way many people thought about Jazz: Time Out by Dave Brubeck; Mingus Ah Um, by Charles Mingus; the Shape of Jazz to Come, by Ornette Coleman; and Kind of Blue by Miles Davis. This film examines the impact of those albums and their creators. Don’t bother with the 7pm show – it’s sold out. There are seats available in the small (50 seats) theater for the second screening, however.

Friday, November 18

Community Pool @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Lowertown Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar). Every other week Brian Roessler (bass) and Nathan Hanson (tenor sax) host adventurous musicians. Tonight they’ll be joined by Pat O’Keefe (Zeitgeist) on clarinet and visual artist Ta Cumba Aiken on percussion and vocals. There’s no telling where their music will take us, but the journey will be memorable and fun.

Saturday, November 19

Regina Marie Williams Sings Nina Simone @ The Capri Theater, 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis 7pm – 8:30pm ($25). Williams was outstanding in her role as Dinah Washington (Dinah Was) at the Ordway. Tonight she takes on the music of Simone, a force of nature. Williams will be accompanied by Sanford Moore, piano; Jay Young, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Emily Green @ Eagles Club #34, 25th & 25th, , Minneapolis. 7:30pm – Midnight ($10) It’s swing dance night at the Eagles Club, with lessons at 7:30 and music beginning at 8:30. Emily Green is a fine singer, with great phrasing, who doesn’t play out enough. She’ll have a kickin’ rhythm section backing her. The Eagle’s great wooden dance floor responds nicely to the pounding of many shoes, and drink prices are very, very reasonable.

Zacc Harris Group @ Studio Z, 275 East 4th Street, Saint Paul. (free open rehearsal – 1pm)  7pm performance ($10). Zacc Harris has been curating this monthly series, Jazz at Studio Z,  featuring a lively mixture of jazz from today’s players. This time he’s leading his own group, which is preparing to record an album. Besides Harris on guitar, the group includes Bryan Nichols, piano; the Bates brothers on bass and drums, and special guest Brandon Wozniak on sax. A special feature of this series are the open rehearsals on the day of the performance, where anyone can see what goes into preparing for a performance and ask questions.

Monday, November 20

Always and Forever CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($7). In 1996, the Illusion Theater presented this musical revue about the male side of relationships, and ended up with a sold-out show for three months. It was revived in 2020 with original cast members T. Michael Rambo, Dennis Spears, and Julius Collins III, along with newcomer Jackson Hurst. The directors and producers decided to record a CD featuring songs from the Revue, and tonight they are celebrating it’s release.

Tuesday, November 22

“Autumn –  and Change” @ The Nicollet Coffee House, Minneapolis. With Vicky Mountain, Teresa Manzella, Karen Quroz, and Maggie Diebel. The little coffeehouse on the corner of Franklin & Nicollet continues its jazz programming with a quartet of stellar singers, all from the Jazz Vocalists of Minnesota. There’ll likely be some bebop, swing, and Brazilian tunes. The owners have applied for a beer and wine license, but even without one, it’s still a swinging venue.

For a comprehensive listing of jazz events, go to: http://jazz88.mpls.k12.mn.us/jazzcalendar.html

Roots, Blues, Other

Thursday, November 17

Taylor Baggot EP  Release Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) I first came across Taylor Baggott when he sang at the Landmark Center last center, and subsequently saw him opening for Bettye Lavette. He’s an engaging singer-songwriter who mines old school soul for inspiration. Though Taylor’s singing might be called “blue-eyed soul” that doesn’t do him justice. He’s managed to get Michael Bland (Prince, Mambo’s combo) and Ryan Liesman (Jonas Bros) as producers for this effort, which includes musical contributions from other Twin Cities veterans. I like him well enough to have booked him as a guest when I host Harold’s House Party on Kfai on November 30.

The "Rockabilly Filly"

Rosie Flores @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 11pm. ($8). With the Reckless Ones (9pm), and Adam Lee & The Dead Horse Sound (10pm). Slick up your pompadours and get your cat clothes out. It’s rockabilly time! Rosie has been at it now for 20 years or so, and is an exciting performer. As are the Reckless Ones, local boys who’ve actually done quite well for themselves in Europe, though they remain relatively unknown here in town.

Friday, November 18

Up From the Delta @ The Ritz Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10)  Fattenin’ Frogs and Boys in the Barrels celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the movie soundtrack for “O Brother Where Art Thou.” They’ll be joined by Javier Matos, of the Innocent Sons, and others for an evening of songs inspired by and from the soundtrack. Lotsa Americana. Originally scheduled for the Loring, this has been moved.

Saturday, November 19

Joe Hall & the Louisiana Kane Cutters @ the Knights of Columbus, 1114 West American Blvd, Bloomington. 7pm ($12). The Krewe de Walleye are having another event featuring a Louisiana band. Hall and his crew play insistent, sweat-inducing zydeco with verve and panache. Lessons at 7pm, for those who want to learn the slip/slide shuffle to go with the music.

Paul Cebar @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. ($10) Another chance to get out your dancing shoes, as Milwaukee’s charming and rhythmful Cebar brings his infectious blend of R&B, New Orleans, and Caribbean music to Lee’s. Get there early to get a table.

Phil Heywood @ Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($13) Here’s a chance to hear renowned fingerstyle guitarist Heywood in his hometown. He’s toured with Leo Kottke, played with Chet Atkins on Prairie Home Companion, recorded five CDs, and has won two different national fingerstyle championships.  If you like your fingerstyle playing with a soupçon of Leadbelly, this is the place to be tonight.  Here is a video of him performing.

Tuesday, November 22

Still Black, Still Proud, An African Tribute to James Brown @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30 ($20 – $38 + fees). Back in 1973, James Brown toured Africa as part of the build-up to the Foreman-Ali “Rumble in the Jungle.” He was already a worldwide star, and the tour only solidified his influence on the continent. This show pairs former Brown sidemen Pee Wee Ellis and Maceo Parker with Vusi Mahlasela, a soulful singer, and Cheikh Lo, among others, to present a “pan-continental funk-soul super group.” When a slightly different version of this show was at the Dakota a year or so back it was a joyous, rhythmic affair that had people dancing in the aisles, between tables, and wherever they could find a spot. Should be lots of fun. Check out my interview with Maceo from last spring here.

For a more complete listing of blues events, go to:  http://www.gtcbms.org/gigs.html

%d bloggers like this: