Valentines Day and More: 2.14 – 2.20

February 14, 2018

Today is Valentines Day, or as some people put it, Single Awareness Day. Whether you are coupled up or not there is music out there to enjoy on this day and for the rest of the week, with more visiting artists than we’ve had for the last month or so, as well as some special appearances by resident artists. Just get out and let the music lift your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 14

Chris Bates Presents: Astrologers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Chris Bates, bass; John Keston, keys; and Randy Kramer, drums gather to perform sonic experiments. Plus, for this night only, V-Lo will have her famous tacos available.

Thursday, Feb 15

Greer & Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Vocalist Sarah Greer and guitarist Dean Magraw are both sensitive and imaginative artists who should produce some fine music together.

Manhattan Transfer & Take 6 @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30 ($27 – $89) Vocal Harmonies will abound with this meeting of two long-running groups: the acappella Take 6, and the jazz-centric Manhattan Transfer. They’ll each perform their own songs, and sing about a dozen songs together.

Friday, Feb 16

Babatunde Lea & Ensemble CHOMBO @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Master drummer-percussionist-conguero Babatunde Lea has gathered a new group of musicians to play some Latin Jazz, at least that’s what I get from looking at ther line-up: Trèveris Arteaga, trumpet/percussion/vocals; Viviana, piano/vocal; Jax Ravel, bass; Kevin Washington; timbales/percussion; and Lea; congas/percussion.  Here’s Lea with a different band.

James Buckley Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($10) Bassist Buckley has been called the “hardest working musician in the Twin Cities” by City Pages. He’s appeared on Steven Colbert’s show with Lizzo, tours and records with the Pines, and the Blenders, and has appeared at Coachella with the Gayngs, in addition to leading this trio, with the equally talented Bryan Nichols on piano, and JT Bates on drums. Here’s the Trio at the old Artists’ Quarter.

Saturday, Feb 17

Love Songs with Debbie Duncan & Friends @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12 – $20) Featuring William Duncan III on Hammond B3 Organ, and Adi Yehsaya on piano. If you were too late top see a Valentine’s Day, or perhaps celebrated at home, you can still celebrate the joys of love with Ms Diuncan and friends.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) You can hear the future of jazz at 7pm, thanks to the monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase, which tonight features the group Elevator Jazz, with: Eli Zukor-Zimmermann,  sax; Jackson Wheeler, – guitar; Lasse Corson, piano; Jon Butler, bass; and Carter Pearson on drums. Headlining at 8:30pm is the Sam Miltich Quartet featuring Dave Karr, sax; Chris Bates, bass; Jay Epstein, drums, and the amazing Miltich on guitar. Here’s Miltich with a different group.

Jazz from the Americas and Beyond @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentI D) This is a monthly series that features area musicians exploring jazz from around the world. Tonight features Chino Latino, a 7-piece Latin Jazz Ensemble playing a variety of dance styles including salsa, cha-cha, and merengue, among others. A free salsa dance lesson will start off the evening.

Monday, Tuesday, Feb 19, 20

Stanley Jordan Solo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm Mon, Tues ($25), 9pm Mon ($20) Guitarist Jordan revolutionized gutar playing with his “touch technique” back in 1985. Since then, he’s had a storied career, performing in over 60 countries, collaborating with everyone from Art Blakey and Sharon Ibsin, to Christian McBride, Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, the Dave Mathews Band, and Regina Carter. A must see for guitarists and guitar lovers.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Feb 20, 21

Connie Evingson: Horn Heroes @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Ms Evingson is a sterling vocalist who certainly knows how to create performance concepts to keep things interesting. For these shows, she and her musical cohorts:  Dave Karr, sax; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Tanner Taylor, piano; will celebrate such horn players as Gerry Mulligan, Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, and more.

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, Feb 14

Miss Becky Kapell & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) While Ms Kapell may have started out as a folk singer, she has evolved into a singer of classic country from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. She’ll be helped out by Ray Bernard and Paul Bergen, of the Astronauts of Rhythm and Sound.

Music by Lovers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This annual event, put on by Lisa Wenger & Billy Larson, has been held in a variety of venues over the past few years. This year’s other performers are: Phil & Tamar Barnett, and Joe Cruz & Jennifer Grimm. The club is also offering a $35 feast for two lovers for this event.

Jorma Kaukonen @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($40 Advance/$35 Door) Spend your Valentine’s evening with a founding member of both Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna, which was last at The Dakota a few years back. Kaukonen is also a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, and a Grammy nominee, and is known for his fine guitar work, both electrically and acoustically. As a solo artist, he brings new arrangements to old blues song, and creates his own Americana tunes.

Thursday, Feb 15

Masters of Hawaiian Music @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) It’s a mini slack key guitar festival, with three masters, featuring George Kahumoku Jr, who is known as a raconteur on stage, as well as for leading the Annual Maui Slack Key and Ukelele Workshop for 15 years. Led Kapana has been one of Hawaii’s most influential musicians for forty years or so, while Jeff Peterson is known for his versatility, having worked with Eric Clapton, James Galway, Aaron Neville, Boz Scaggs, and the Honolulu Symphony.

TC Jammers @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (6$) Back in the 80s, the Jammers were one of the hottest blues/funk bands around. This reformed version of the band features Annie Mack, vocals; Joe Elliot, guitar; Donnie La Marca, keys; Patrick Nelson, bass/vocals; Sam Kuusisto, vocals/guitar; and Bobby Vandell, drums/vocals. Don’t be surprised if some guests sit in.

Friday, Feb 16

Kelly Hunt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($20) Blueswoman Kelly Hunt is a piano pounder from Kansas City  who has found an adoring audience in the Twin Cities, thanks to her good humor, a story-telling way with lyrics, and a strong left hand on the piano. Her latest CD, The Beautiful Bones, has garnered much praise. I did an interview with her back in December of 2011, which you can find here.

Saturday, Feb 17

Vieux Farka Touré @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32, $38) Born in Mali, the son of legendary guitarist Ali Farka Touré, took up guitar in spite of his father’s misgivings about the life of a musician. His fluid playing has earned him fans around the world since his first recording in 2005. Touré’s third album, from 2011, features Dave Mathews, John Scofield, and Derek Trucks, a testament to his ability to blend genres. Subsequent albums expand on that promise. Expect genre-bending and at the very least, a nod to the blues rock of Malian groups like Tinariwen.

Marimba Bullies @ Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) From the website: The Marimba Bullies is a Twin Cities-based marimba ensemble playing upbeat, high-energy music based on the rhythmically complex music of the Zimbabwe mbira tradition. The Bullies’ repertoire consists of traditional African songs as well as arrangements of contemporary music performed in the lively, danceable, and just plain fun style that is unmistakably the Marimba Bullies.

Eddies CD Release @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 7:30 (No Cover) This “almost a cappella group is releasing their second album, called A Hard Way To Go, with fifteen songs they have sung over the years, with an emphasis on the “work” and “death” categories of their song list, including Sympathy for the Devil, Long Black Veil, and Lawyers, Guns, and Money. Thed Dubliner will have beer and wings specials to help the celebration.

Sunday, February 18

2nd Annual Retirement Party @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 2pm ($10) It was about a year ago, that Dee Miller held a belated party to celebrate her retirement from the 9-5 world of work. She had so much fun, she’s doing it again. This time, in addition to performing with her own Dee Miller Band, she’s bringing along both Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts, and Who Nu.

FLOWTUS @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) The Conservatory has a great winter series, which takes place in the sunken garden, and is piped into the Palm Dome and the North Garden, so you can hear the music while strolling through or sitting in those parts of the Conservatory. Today the featured group is FLOWTUS, a four-piece group that draws they influences from blues, country, punk, and folk music. Beer and wine are available for purchase.

Steve Page & the Art of Time Ensemble @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm ($30, $40, $45) Pop-oriented chamber music for the 21st Century, featuring re-imagined versions of songs by Randy Newman, Elvis Costello, Radiohead, and others, including Barenaked Ladies (Steve Page was a co-founder and former lead singer), by Page and the highly inventive Art of Time Ensemble.

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.


From Surfin’ to Siberia: 1.17 – 1.23

January 17, 2018

Well, after spending the last couple of weeks noting the lack of visiting artists, we have a a nice influx of visitors this week, including stellar jazz artists, as well as artists from Guinea, West Africa, Siberia, California, and Russia. Luckily, their visits, and performances from talented resident artists, coincide with a slight warm-up in weather, so that’s helpful as well. Remember: Music Lifts the Spirit!

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, January 17

Elaine Burt w/KWSB @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid StudentID) with Elaine Burt, trumpet; Pete Whitman, saxophones; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums. This is another of Pete Whitman’s monthly presentations of groups with new compositions.

Roy Hargrove Quintet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $30) 9pm ($35, $25) Most jazz lovers need no introduction to Hargrove, the Grammy-winning trumpeter returning to the Dakota to thrill jazz-lovers with music that often cut across genres, whether it’s groove-oriented, Afro-Cuban, or hard bop. He is, quite simply, one of the best trumpeters around.

Thursday, January 18

Rachel Holder w/The Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) The Wolverines Trio can turn any evening into a swinging affair, whether they are featured, or accompanying a vocalist, which is this case is Ms Holder, who often performs in tribute concerts, but doesn’t perform nearly enough as a featured artist. It’s understandable, since she does have mom duties, and is currently working on two different recording projects. Here she is with pianist George Maurer.

Friday, January 19

Open Story @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This is a new trio of veteran players: Bryan Nichols, piano; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($15) Saxophonist/composer Hedenstrom brings four of his performing partners together to play Hedenstrom’s original music. The band includes: Zacc Harris, guitar; Ted Godbout, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums. Should be a stellar evening of music.

Also: Fode & Sana Bangoura with Resident Jazz Musicians @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) See listing under Blues, Roots, Other, below

Saturday, January 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening at 7pm, it’s the Sightless Quartet featuring:  Cody Steinmann, guitar; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. Headlining at 8:30pm is The Zacc Harris Group: Zacc Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Jazz from the Americas and Beyond @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This is a new monthly series exploring jazz from around the world. Tonight’s featured artist is the Robert Everest Expedition, led by Everest, the multi-instrumentalist who can sing in seven languages. Opening set by North Central University’s Jazz Workshop.

Also: Levi Schwartzberg Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Vibes – led trio

Sunday, Jan 21

Django Reinhardt’s Birthday w/Sam Miltich @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15) Guitarist Miltich was already a young lion of gypsy jazz when he burst into our jazz scene as a teenager, so it’s only natural that he honors Reinhardt’s birthday. The self-taught Miltich is versatile enough to accompany such accomplished vocalists as Connie Evingson and Charmin Michelle, and often performs with saxophonist Dave Karr and Dutch swing violinist Tim Kliphuis.

Sunday, Monday, Jan 21, 22

Roberta Gambarini & Cyrus Chestnut @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm Sunday, 7pm Monday ($25, $30, $40) Ms Gambarini is a highly talented singer who brings her great sense of swing and ability to scat to the Great American Songbook. Born and raised in Italy, Gambarini was singing in clubs at the age of 17, and received a scholarship to the New England Conservatory in 1998. Since then she’s been mentored by James Moody, Benny Carter, and Hank Jones, which gives you an idea of how those masters viewed her talent. Tonight she’s performing with pianist Cyrus Chestnut, whose playing is often informed by gospel, as well as Jay McShann and Count Basie. I did an interview with Ms Gambarini back in 2011, which you can read here.

Monday, Jan 22

JT’s Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) JT Bates continues his adventurous Monday night programming with two groups tonight. The first set features Really Big Shoe, featuring the dual saxophones of Joe Mayo and Clay Pufal; as well as Ted Olsen, bass; and Joey Van Phillips. Those who stay for the second set will be treated to Hanson, Fratzke, & Van Philips: Nathan Hanson, reeds; Erik Fratzke, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, 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 Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 17

Mike Munson & Adam Kiesling on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Munson is a blues musician from Winona, whose album Live at Ed’s has received praise for Munson’s slide guitar and wry delivery of his originals. Adam Kiesling is a guitarist who can be heard with Pert Near Sandstone, The Town Hall Stompers, and a number of other resident groups. Here’s video of Munson.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The small dance floor at the Schooner will undoubtedly be filled with writhing, jumping bodies tonight, thanks to the raucous, energizing Balkan party music of Ordestar Bez Ime.

Thursday, January 18

Tracy Nelson & The Bel-Airs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($30, $35) What a fine double-bill! Powerhouse vocalist Tracy Nelson may be best known for leading Mother Earth, a country-rock band out of San Francisco during its musical heyday in the late 60s and early 70s. She started singing blues and R&B in Madison, where she grew up and went to college, appearing in an R&B band that included Ben Sidran. Since Mother Earth, she has had hits on both country and blues charts and recorded with Willie Nelson, Irma Thomas, and Marcia Ball. The Bel Airs are a blues trio that have been performing together for over 30 years, and have been Twin Cities fan favorites since appearing at Mama D’s in Dinkytown decades ago. They are a unique blues outfit, in that brothers Dave and Dick Pruitt have developed a harmony style that’s all their own, resulting in one reviewer calling them “The Everly Brothers of the Blues.”  Here’s Nelson in a country mode.

 

And here are the Bel Airs

Friday, January 19

Fode & Sana Bangoura: Guinea – The Music We Are @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) Brothers Fode & Sana Bangoura, of Guinea, West Africa, will explore the musical heritage of their country. They’ll go from hand-held percussive instruments, through centuries-old Guinean music and dance popularized by Les Ballet African. They’ll use resident jazz musicians to bring the music into the present, including: Nelson Devereaux, sax; Omar Abdul Karim, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Jax Ravel, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Nicholas David & The Feelin Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40) In 2012, Nicholas David, who had already recorded 5 albums, finished in the top three of TV’s The Voice. The Chicago Tribune said of him, “a mix of the growl of Dr John with the wild of Marvin Gaye.” His emotional approach to singing, together with great melodies and thoughtful lyrics, reflect a soulful approach to performing that reflects his early billing as Nick the Feelin.

Saturday, January 20

Brass Lassie Album Fundraiser@ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 7:30pm-9:30pm (Free) This ten-piece brass band was started by multi-instrumentalist Laura MacKenzie, and they’re holding a celebration to begin fundraising for an album. The group combines traditional Scottish, Irish, and French music with modern horn lines, using a four-piece horn section, a couple of fiddles, flutes, pipes, and a rhythm section. Donations are readily accepted, but not required.

Huun Hur Tur @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Huun Hur Tur perform Tuvn Throat-Singing, music that comes from the high pastures of Siberia and creates slightly phlegmy overtones that are at once mesmerizing, energizing, and revelatory. Huun Hur Tur is a quartet that uses traditional instruments in addition to modern influences such as 20th Century composers, funky rhythms, and a wee bit of electronica. If you are at all curious about new sounds, you owe it to yourself to check out this group.

Also: Hurricane Harold, Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Hurricane Harold – No Cover), 9pm (Willie Walker – $12)

Sunday, January 21

Siama’s Congo World Quartet @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Siama brings his Congo World Quartet to the Music Under Glass Series, featuring: Jaqueline Ultan on cello; Tim O’Keefe on percussion; and  Dallas Johnson on vocals and percussion. They’ll be playing traditional Congolese music and songs from the fun dance halls of East Africa. Their music will be broadcast throughout the conservatory, since seating can be problematic in the performance space. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Here they are from last year’s appearance.

Dangerous Man 5th Anniversary Bash and Afterparty @ The Cedar and the Nomad, Minneapolis. 7pm, Cedar ($15) The Cedar will be jumping with the sounds of Good Morning Bedlam, Yohannes Tona, New Sound Underground, and The Unknown Prophets, while its tap lines are filled with favorites and new creations from Dangerous Man Brewing. Afterwards, join DJ Steely Dan for a special edition of World Wide Discoteque at the Nomad.

Denis Evstuhin and Helen Chang Haertzen @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 members, $30 non-members) Evstuhin is a Russian pianist who has appeared on numerous stages around the world, including with the Minnesota Orchestra. Vioiinist Haertzen is a member of the Minnesota Orchestra’s first violin section and the Isles Ensemble. Special guest Anastasiya Nyzkodub is a Ukrainian-born clarinetist completing a Doctorate of Music Arts at the U of MN.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Jan 23, 24

Al Jardine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Many Boomers will want to see Al Jardine, a founding member of the fabled Beach Boys, as he joins the storytelling trend of rock stars performing solo and in small groups while sharing stories about their career. The Beach Boys had 80 charting hits around the world, 36 Top 40 hits in the US, and four number one hits. He’ll be accompanied by his son Matt and tell the tale of “America’s Band,” from their first hit Surfin’ on through Help Me Rhonda, and Sloop John B, to Jardine’s recent solo release, A Postcard from California. Don’t expect much about the trials and tribulations of the band, however. The Fun, Fu, Fun stuff should be entertaining enough. Here’s a video with Brian Wilson introducing Jardine.

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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