Well, the new administration in the White House may be talking about, and making, big changes, but one thing remains the same: the quality of the music here in the Twin Cities area. Whether you’re concerned about the current state of affairs, or looking forward to change, live music will give you some hours of enjoyment and a chance to commune with others who enjoy music as well. After all, music lifts the spirit.
Wednesday, January 25
Yohanes Tona @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Ethiopian bassist Yohanes Tona will be celebrating there release of 13 Months of Sunshine as part of the American Composer’s Forum Landmark to Lowertown Series. Ethiopia is the only country that uses the 13-month Coptic Calendar, and the album celebrates the sound and the equatorial climate of that nation. Ethiopian food will be for sale.
Leigh Kamman Interviews w/Mose Allison @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project will present at least four interviews that Kamman had with Allison during the course of their careers. The interviews are taken from tapes of Kamman’s shows that are part of his archives accumulated during 70 years of broadcasting. Selections from Allison’s recordings will be played during the intervals between dialog.
Keston & McKinney @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Here’s an evening of what sounds like adventurous music. Cody McKinney bass/composition; and Jon Keston, electronics and sound design; present Sound/simulacra: A monthly series they describe as a “fateful and intentionally distorted” representational process. Sound/simulacra will bring together some of the Twin Cities most unique voices to recreate, distort, and create the hyperreal.”
Thursday, January 26
Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vocalist Sullivan is celebrating a birthday, and helping her out are: Phil Aaron, piano; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. It will be a swingin’ birthday party.
Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Featuring the WISE quartet: Pete Whitman, saxes; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. They’re a hard-charging group of some of the best musicians in the area.
Friday, January 27
Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Kogan has been having a ball with jazz since retiring as the Tympanist at the Minnesota Orchestra. His two recordings show a musician that’s conversant in bebop, hard bop, post-bop, and mainstream jazz. He’s joined by Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Scott Agster, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Phil Aaron, piano; and Gary Raynor, bass. He and the band will also be appearing at the Winter Jazz Fest Sunday afternoon (see below for link) Here’s what they sound like.
Steve Cole Superband @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Saxophonist Steve Cole has been celebrated for his catchy singles, earning him the respect and adulation of smooth jazz fans, though he far exceeds the limitations of that term. He’s worked with artists such as Junior Wells, Buddy guy, Freddie Cole, Cyrus Chestnut, Larry Carlton, and Boz Scaggs, among others. In addition to his touring quartet, Cole will be joined by Patty Peterson on vocals, and Ricky Peterson on organ and keyboards.
Somi @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27 – $37) Somi is an American born vocalist whose parents came from Rwanda and Uganda. After spending 18 months in Lagos, Nigeria, she recorded The Lagos Music Salon, a CD that reached #1 on US Jazz Charts. The album includes guest artists Angelique Kidjo, Common, and Ambros Akinmusire, and integrates jazz, pop, R&B, and her own insightful lyrics. She’ll be performing music from the album and previewing new music from an upcoming album about Harlem.
Saturday, January 28
Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) This performance is part of the Winter Jazz Fest, and features the Tommy Bentz Quartet opening, with Bentz, guitar; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Jason McLean bass; and Alex Burgess on drums. at 8:30pm The Ruckus returns to the Twin Cities after a tour, featuring Greg Byers, Cello; Javier Santiago, piano; and Rodney Ruckus, drums.
Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Former Minneapolitan Bruce Henry now lives in Chicago, which is close enough that he can get up here every few months. He is a master vocalist, with a voice that floats over octaves, whether he’s invoking Nina Simone, Al Jarreau, or Stevie Wonder. His musical imagination has earned him fans throughout the United States and Europe. Backing him will be Jay Young, bass; Daryl Boudreaux, percussion; Dean Magraw, guitar; Sean Turner, keys; and Kevin Washington, drums.
Jesse Simon’s B3Q @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Drummer Jesse Simon has put together a B3 Quartet, hence the moniker. It includes Evan Benidt, tenor; Cole Mahlum, guitar; and Abebi Stafford on the Hammond B3. Their repertoire includes rarely heard hard bop by the likes of Wes Montgomery, Dexter Gordon, and Hank Mobley.
Saturday, Sunday, January 28, 29
Twin Cities Winter Jazz Festival @ Various Venues, Downtown Saint Paul. 5pm Saturday ($25); 1:30pm Sunday ($35) ($50 for both days) This year’s Winter Jazz Fest is headlined by New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton on Sunday night, with performances by Patty Peterson, Jon Weber, Andrew Walesch, John Penny, The Dakota Combo, and more. Saturday’s events start at the tpt Street Stage, where film archivist Bob DeFlores partners with the Leigh Kammen Legacy Project to present rare and historical films, as well as interviews by Leigh Kammen from throughout his career. Later on there will be music at Golden’s, Vieux Carré, and the Black Dog. Sunday features shows at various performance spaces in the Saint Paul Hotel. For a complete schedule, go here.
Sunday, January 29
Tuck & Patti @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm & 8pm ($30, $35) This vocal/guitar duo has been creating magical musical moments for about four decades. The extraordinary voice of Patti and the virtuosic guitar playing of Tuck crosses genres, and creates breath-holding, spell-binding moments using complex guitar work within minimalist arrangements.
Monday, January 30
Matty Harris Double Septet CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Harris is a multi-instrumentalist (mostly reeds) and composer who grew up in Edina and went to school in Southern California, where he assembled a group of 13 other musicians to record his compositions. Tonight, I am assuming he’s recruited Twin Cities musicians to perform in this CD release party (Vinyl also available). He describes his music as “somewhat avant-garde jazz-rock fusion,” or “psychedelic chamber jazz.” You can hear examples of his work here.
Tuesday, January 31, Wednesday, February 1
Nellie McKay: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton @ The Dakota, Minnepolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $50) McKay is a vocalist/pianist whose charm, whimsy, and satirical wit have earned her many fans among jazz, pop, and cabaret audiences. For this appearance she’ll be performing “A Girl Named Bill,” a “revue-with-dialogue” about a fairly successful saxophonist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton, who wasn’t discovered to be a woman until his death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay. Here’s an example of her satire.
Blues, Roots, Other…
Wednesday, January 25
LukeWarm and the Cool Hands on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Pickin’ and Grinnin’ from a six-piece string band that’s been entertaining folks with bluegrass/folksy/jugband sounds since 2009.
Dieselfitters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm Rootsy rock, rockabilly, vintage country, and rhythm and blues, fired up by Clay Williams dazzling guitar work, and built on the sold foundation of Dan Peterson’s bass; and Mike Sandell on drums.
Thursday, January 26
FireFall @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) With a musical history that spans four decades, FireFall has had three gold albums, two Platinum albums, and eleven chart-topping singles, bringing mellow rock and country rock to fans around the world.
Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) This quintet plays the highly infectious music of Southern Louisiana, from R&B to Cajun & Zydeco, delivered by Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, accordion; Dick Danaher, sax & rub board; Dehl Gallagher, drums; Rusty Jones, bass; and Tim Mauseth, guitars; for dancers of varying stripes.
Friday, January 27
Jayanthi Kyle @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a real treat. Kyle is a terrific gospel and soul singer who has been heard around town in a number of bands, including Black Audience, and Gospel Machine, while also singing backup for Romantica and Ben Kyle. She and guitarist We Burdine composed a song entitled “Hand in Hand” for the Million Artist Movement that has since become the unofficial anthem of the Minneapolis Black Lives Matter movement.
The Dead of Winter @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($98 Advance/$10 Door) Deadheads Unite! It’s an evening of psychedelic and Grateful Dead music, featuring the Jef Cierniak Triptet. Cierniak spent 8 months working with Grateful Dead keyboard player Vince Welnick and also played on two tours with Melvin Seals and JGB (The Jerry Garcia Band). The show also features The Jones Gang a GD Tribute band since 1996; and LazyLightning420 featuring Erik Berry of Trampled By Turtles, and March Gartman of Two Many Banjos and Glitteratti. They often perform entire Grateful Dead concerts.
Saturday, January 28
Malamanya and Siama Matuzungidi @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Here’s an evening of music that is anything but Minnesotan, though it is made by Minnesotans. Siama Mtuzungidi is a Congolese guitarist now living in the Twin Cities, who played on many Souskous hits in Africa. Malamanya features the highly danceable vintage sound of Cuban and Latin rhythms and melodies, delivered with verve and élan.
Charles Lawson w/John Beach & Mary Leinfelder @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson continues his monthly residency at the comfortable, Irish pub. Tonight, he and his band will have a couple of special guests: Twin Cities legend, pianist John Beach; and vocalist Mary Leinfelder, a strong performer who is happy just sitting in with area bands from time to time.
Samba Social Club @ Squirrel Haus Arts, 3450 Snelling Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10-pm ($5) Dance lesson, prizes, and the twelve-piece Samba Meu band playing Brazilian roots music. Squirrel Haus Arts isn’t a bar, so it’s BYOB (alcoholic or not). You can chill out or dance.
Inside straight Blues Band @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7, includes a free drink) Inside Straight has been around for decades, bringing the blues to the metro area and occasionally beyond. Members include: Kurt Koehler on Guitar; Bill Swanson on Keys;’ Mark Zmuda on Bass; and Greg Mans on Drums. Tonight they’ll be joined by the Big Horns: Steve Clarke and Rand Evenson.
Monday, January 30
Tom Hunter @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Pianist Tom Hunter’s background includes recording and touring with Bernard Allison, as well as touring with Mary Cutrufello in support of an Allman Brothers Tour. A hard working musician, Hunter plays about 300 gigs a year, including a weekly church gig at United Methodist Church in Minnetonka. He’s versatile enough to play jazz or Billy Joel, but his forte is the blues. Hunter will be taking off on a weeklong tour of Alaska tomorrow, so stop by and wish him well.
Tuesday, January 31
Beijing Bamboo Orchestra @ Sundlin Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free, Reservations required) Here’s a very unique concert, being held in the music hall of Hamline University. Over twenty musicians will perform Chinese and western classical music on newly invented strings, winds, and percussion instruments all made of bamboo. For reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 651-523-2459. Here’s a video – it takes about a minute to get to the music.