Indoor Music: 10.10 – 10.16

October 10, 2018

Well Fall is surely here with temps in the 50s and lots of dreary days, so our thoughts turn to indoor events such as the Fall Jazz Fest and a Women’s Composers Festival, both of which are on Sunday afternoon. We’ve some notable visiting artists in jazz and roots music, and of course, great resident artists to see and hear. Music Lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, October 10

Russell Malone @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm $30, $35), 9pm ($25) Chicago guitarist Malone can swing like crazy or caress a ballad. You can read an interview I did with him a few years ago here.

House on Fire @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Here’s an intriguing evening featuring a collection of songs inspired by these times and written by Chris Hepola, keys; with Paul Fonfara, clarinets; Spencer Roth, trumpet; and Eric Shruve, bass.

Thursday, October 11

Joey Alexander Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50), 9pm ($35, $40, $45) You may have seen this young piano player a few years ago at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, but he’s now 15, and still the brightest star in the jazz firmament.

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul.11:30pm – 1am ($20) FKW  as been together for almost twenty years, but don’t play too often these days. The 9pm show is sold out, and this show may be sold out by the time you get this, but is a rare chance to hear the trio of: JT Bates, drums; Adam Linz, bass; and Michael Lewis, sax. You can read a New Yorker review of their show from a few years ago here.

Friday, October 12

Miss Myra & the Moonshiners @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10) Traditional jazz and blues still has the power to uplift folks, at least as practiced by vocalist/guitarist Miss Myra and her merry band of Moonshiners. Sure to be a hit with the Friday night crowd at Crooners.

Tribute to Bird & Dizzy @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom & trumpeter  Omar Abdulkarim bring Dizzy & Bird into the 21st Century.

Saturday, October 13

Saturday Night Jazz @ the Blackdog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: JazzInk Showcase with the Eli Zukor-Zimmerman Quartet.  At 8:30pm, the Ted Olsen Quartet headlines, with Ted Olsen, bass; Aaron Hedenstrom, saxes; and others TBD.

Steve Hobert & Marcus Wise @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm. ($10, $5w/Student ID) Pianist Hobert  as been playing to his strengths in collaborations that often have world music influences. Tonight he teams up with veteran tabla player Marcus Wise.

Sunday, October 14

Twin Cities Fall Jazz Festival @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 1pm – 8:30pm ($35 – $90) It’s eight shows on two stages. Vocalist Nayo Jones was a sensation at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival last June, receiving five standing ovations during the course of her show. She’s the headliner today, appearing from 2:30 – 4pm in Crooners’ Lounge and then from 7:30 – 8:30 in the Dunsmore Room. Also on the bill are the Southside Aces w/Butch Thompson, The Acme Jazz Company featuring Butch Miles, The TannerTaylor Trio, Connie Evingson and Debbie Duncan with Dave Karr, Butch Miles, and Andrew Walesch, and Lucia Newell’s Brazilian Trio.

Monday, October 15

Thomasina Petrus Sings Lady Day @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. ($25) Petrus channels Holiday like no one else.

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, October 10

Ian Alexi and the Deserters on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Longtime listeners of Harold’s House Party will recall Ian Alexi from his days with the Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank, and other visits to the House Party. Now, however, Alexi’s music has taken a turn from the bluegrass/Americana Nephews to a more rockin’ style. He still writes about misfit characters, but the music was inspired by vinyl recordings of folks like the Pretenders, Thin Lizzy, and Tom Petty. Tune in, and head to the 331 if you’re inspired by what you hear.

Dee Miller Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) The old-school lounge of Mancini’s has been rockin’ on Wednesdays this fall. Tonight they feature the Dee Miller Band  which has been raising the roof themselves since vocalist Miller was recently named Performer of the Year by the MN Blues Society, and the whole band was chosen to represent MN at the International Blues Challenge in January.

Amy Helm @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance/$25 Door) The daughter of The Band’s Levon Helm is making her own musical way quite nicely, singing Americana, gospel, and blues. Helm just released This Too Shall Light, on Yep Roc Records.  It was produced by Grammy-winning Joe Henry, and features a wide variety of songs, from Rod Stewart’s Mandolin Wind, to Allen Toussaint’s Freedom for the Stallion, a pre-Band song of her father’s, and a reflection on Blossom Dearie.

Thursday, October 11

RAMM Band @ Moe’s, Moundsview. 6:30pm – 10pm (No Cover) Every Thursday night is BBQ & Blues night at Moe’s. Tonight its The RAMM Band: Real, American Made Music f(Motown, Blues, R&B) from guitar master Paul Mayasich; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson.

Forro Night w/Samba Meu @ Can Can Wonderland, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm  ($2) Brazilian country dancing is easy enough if you can do a two-step or are willing to take part in a multi-culti square dance. Dance instructors will be on hand and Samba Meu will provide the music. Afterwards you can take part in the many diversions at Can Can Wonderland, including mini-golf.

Saturday, October 13

Craig Clark Band @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Blues guitarist Clark grew up singing gospel music and listening to groups like the Mighty Clouds of Joy, which undoubtedly influences to his soulful singing. He’s a spark plug, whether playing in the Dee Miller Band or heading his own group, as he does tonight.

R-Factor’s Prince Tribute @ Birch’s Brewhouse, Long Lake. 8pm – 11:30 (No Cover) With six singers and eight musicians and a repertoire that makes them a popular wedding band, the R-Factor has both the vocal chops and musicianship to do right by Prince songs. Birch’s is a bit West, but for those of you in the Western ‘burbs, and others wailing to make the drive, this will be a fun evening.

Sunday, October 14

Women Composers Festival @ The Black Forest Inn, Minneapolis. 3pm-4:30pm ($?) An afternoon of music by women composers, including Maura Bosch, Kari Tweiten, Sarah Houle, Missy Mizzoli, Shulamit Ran, & Julie Sweet. Flutist Julie Johnson will be performing an excerpt from  her composition “Crocus Hill Ghost Story,” with narration by KrisAnne Weiss.

Eric Gales Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) When guitarist Gales released his first album at the age of 16, he was  already being compared to Hendrix. That was in 1991, and since then he’s released 15 albums. Though often called an average singer, he more than makes up for that with electrifying playing, drawing on influences from the psychedelic blues-rock of the 70s, while staying grounded in modern times.

Monday, October 15

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) It’s Monday, so its another swing dance night at Famous Dave’s. Tonight saxophonist about town Steve Clarke brings hard charging Working Stiffs to the stage to inspire dancers, so of whom showed ups forth swing dance lesson at 7pm.

Tuesday, October 16

Lindsay Beaver @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm Free Dance lesson, 8pm show. ($10) If ducktails, ponytails, Betty Page dresses, & leather jackets are your idea of dressing up for a night out, then you’ll likely get crazy, man, crazy over stand-up drummer/vocalist Lindsay Beaver and her band. Heck, even if you aren’t a 50s fashionista, you may appreciate the way Beaver and her band mine old school rock n’ roll and R&B with the fire and fury that brings dancers to Lee’s dance floor.

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.


Russell Malone: Being Himself

June 24, 2016
Russell Malone between sets

Russell Malone between sets

Self-taught guitarist Russell Malone has a very clean, elegant style, and is equally at home playing ballads or swinging. When he was in his 20s, he joined the band of organist Jimmy Smith, and went on to join Harry Connick Jr.’s big and. He then worked with Diana Krall during much of the 90s and early 2000s, appearing on three Grammy winning albums with her, as well as on Roy Hargove’s Grammy winner Crisol, and on a couple of albums with pianist Benny Green. Malone most recently appeared in the Twin Cities with Ron Carter last Fall. He’s released a dozen albums of his own since 1992, all of which have been well received.

As part of the 2016 Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Malone will bring an all-star quartet to Mears Park on Saturday, June 25th, at 6:30pm — Rick Germanson, a frequent visitor to our town on piano, Luke Sellick on bass, and acclaimed drummer Willie Jones III. I had a chance to see Malone and his quartet during the 2015 Jazz Cruise, where he was sitting in with a number of groups in addition to leading his own. He was gracious enough to grant me a few minutes time in between sets. This is a lightly edited version of the interview.

LE: What was your very first musical memory?

RM: Growing up in the church, hearing church music. That was the first music I heard before I got into jazz. My mother had records by groups like the Dixie Hummingbirds, Sam Cooke with the Soul Stirrers, and just hearing the people in the church sing those songs. It was very moving music. Not sophisticated, but very moving.

LE: What drew you to the guitar?

RM: Hearing the gentleman in my church perform. This old man, that I never got to meet, but I saw him (regularly). Keep in mind that I already had a love and a fascination with music. Even at the age of 4 years old I was aware of the different types of emotions and feelings and reactions that you could get from people through playing music. I was aware of that, which always fascinated me. You could play music and you could connect with total strangers. Somebody you don’t know would hear you and then they laugh, they cry, you get these different types of reactions. That’s so powerful.

The gentleman brought the guitar to church, and I was fascinated by the way that it looked, going to church one Sunday and seeing it perched against one of the pews. This interesting looking object that was totally foreign to me at the time sitting there perched up against the bench, And then there was this cable that extended from the guitar into this box, which was the amplifier. The whole getup was just so fascinating, and then when he started to play and I heard the sound and knew that whatever I was thinking musically, or feeling musically, that would be the vehicle that I would use to express those thoughts or feelings. That’s how I became fascinated with the instrument.

LE: You’ve talked about being a young man and transcribing and playing other people’s solos to learning how to play chords. How did you know you had a sound that was yours?

That’s a good question. I think everybody has their own voice, their own identity. They may not know that when they’re younger, but when you’re younger you want to be validated and you want to be liked. I’ll use myself as an example. There was a period when I felt I needed to play certain types of songs and play things a certain way because I wanted the approval of other people. I wanted them to like me.

After a while, this happened when I reached my mid-thirties, I came to the conclusion that no matter how much I loved my mentors like Wes Montgomery and George Benson, and all the people I grew up listening to, no matter how much I loved them, when it came to being Russell Malone, I’m the best there is. No one can outdo me at being that.

It’s kind of like getting to the point of realizing your parents aren’t perfect. You don’t have to make the same choices that they made. You don’t have to like everything about them. You don’t have to like everything about your heroes. That doesn’t mean that you don’t love them or respect them, but you don’t have to make the same choices in life that they made. That same thing applies to music. You find yourself on stage with some of the guys you came up listening to, like Kenny Burrell or George Benson, if you’re on stage playing with them, what are you going to do, play like them or play like you? Nobody wants to hear that.

LE: How did you know you had reached that point where it was your sound, where it was distinct from others?

RM: Well, once I realized I didn’t have to make the same musical choices, I learned to accept myself. You have to accept yourself warts and all. If anybody else doesn’t like it, that’s not your problem. You can’t let that be your problem. You have to let that be their problem.

LE: Were you doing things in terms of the use of your instrument?

RM: Just playing like me. Just accepting my sound. I’m never going to sound like those guys. You have to accept that. I’m never going to be them, but I am going to be me. I’m the best there is at being me.

LE: Thank you very much for your time. I know you have a full schedule here on the ship.

RM: My pleasure.

 

 


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