Too Much Fun? 6.13 – 6.19

June 13, 2018

Too much fun? No way!

This week seems to be a “get ready” week for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival – watch for a guide to the fest next week – as visiting jazz artists abound this week. In fact, we’re blessed with three nationally known acts on one night. Blues and Roots lovers will enjoy three stellar visiting artists as well as our own talented musicians, including some outdoor events. It’s almost too much fun. Music lifts the Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, June 13

Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Classic jazz & a little blues from two of the finest musicians in town.

Wednesday – Saturday, June 13-16

Bobby McFerrin’s Circlesongs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75, $85, $95), 9pm ($55, $65, $75) Ten time Grammy winner McFerrin had the Song of the Year in the late 80s with Don’t Worry, Be Happy, which the stopped singing when GW Bush’s campaign appropriated it as their campaign song without his permission. He went on to spend some time in the area was he was appointed creative chair of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He’s appeared as a conductor/vocalist with numerous orchestras around the world and has written film scores. Circlesongs is an evening of choral pieces based on irresistible grooves spontaneously created each night by McFerrin’s 12-piece ensemble, which may contain some area singers, and sometimes by the whole crowd.

Thursday, June 14

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 9:30am (Free) Even if you aren’t going to see Mahler’s 4th at the 11am Coffee Concert, it’ll be worth your while to drop in and catch this fine quintet, led by the former tympanist of the Minnesota Orchestra. Joining drummer Kogan will be Omar Abdul Karim, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Phil Aaron, piano, and Chris Bates, drums.

Friday, June 15

Julian Manzara Trio @ Herbie’s on the Park, 317 Washington, Saint Paul. 6-9pm (Tip Jar?) The bar next door to the Ordway features music on the patio every Friday from 6-9pm. Tonight’s group is led by guitarist Manzana, who admits he is still developing his style, but now plays chords and lead lines reminiscent of Wes Montgomery. He’ll be joined by bassist Charlie Lincoln, home for the summer from Berklee College of Music; and  Tarek Abdelqader on drums.  Here’s Manzara with a quartet.

Ted Olsen Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm. Olsen, bass; Javi Santiago, piano; Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.  Arrive early to catch the 7pm performance of emerging musicians – The Sophia Kickhofel Quintet: Kickhofel, alto sax; Owen Finch, piano; Jackson Wheeler, guitar; Jon Butler bsss; Nick Adams, Drums.

Friday, Saturday, June 15, 16

Davu Seru: Two Nights of Improvised Music @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5-$10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Seru performs with Charcoalon Friday night, featuring Milo Fine on piano, and Anthony Cox on bass. On Saturday Seru premieres a brand new ensemble featuring visiting pianist Thollen McDonas. McDonas has been visiting the area for several years for both solo performances and collaborations with area musicians. Elsewhere, he’s collaborated with William Parker, Nels Cline, Rob Mazurek, and other forward-thinking musicians. Others in the new ensemble include: multi-instrumentalist Elaine Evans, and tuba player Benjamin Mansavage-Klein.

Saturday, June 16

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The Tommy Bentz Trio opens at 7pm: Bentz, guitar; Jason McLean, bass; Alex Burgess, drums. At 8:30pm, it’s Tall Tales, featuring the dual guitars of Zacc Harris and Dean Granros; along with Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Here’s a tune from the Tall Tales album.

Sunday, June 17

Anderson, Goggin, & Lincoln @ 56 Brewing, 3055 NE Columbia Ave, Suite 102, Minneapolis. 4-6pm (Tip Jar?) Enjoy a brew while listening to this trio of young musicians who bonded in the Dakota Combo a few years back. Jordan Anderson, keys; Peter Goggin, sax; and Charlie Lincoln, bass.

Monday, June 18

Peter Goggin @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/valid student ID) Goggin is a fiery college-age alto saxophonist who has been playing with various groups around town. Monday nights at JC are set aside for artists to explore their own compositions and arrangements.

Broken Shadows @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($20) Tim Berne, alto; Chris Speed,tenor; Reid Anderson, double bass; Dave King, drums. Berne & Speed are NYC-based musicians who visit town fairly regularly to play with area musicians. Anderson & King are 2/3rds of the Bad PlusBroken Shadows is dedicated to reinterpreting the music of folks like Ornette Coleman, Dewey Redman, Charlie Haden, and Julius Hemphill, all of whom created avante-garde music from the folk-art influences of their Southern and Heartland beginnings.

Tuesday, June 19

Harold Mabern/Eric Alexander Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm, 9pm ($30, $35) Intergenerational hard bop from pianist Mabern  who was present at the beginning, and saxophonist Alexander  who has had an incandescent career as sideman and leader, having played on or led more than 60 albums.

Kenny Garrett @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35, $40), 9pm ($20, $25, $30) Garrett started his career over 30 years ago with the Duke Ellington Orchestra led by Mercer Ellington. He moved on to play with Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Art Blakey, and Mlies Davis before becoming a bandleader himself. About two years ago, the alto saxophonist was quoted in a Downbeat cover article saying, “Whether we’re performing live or in the studio, my goal is to conjure an emotion. If they can feel that, my goal is accomplished.”

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 19, 20

Jim Rotondi/David Hazeltine Quartet @ Crooners Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25, $30) Trumpeter Rotondi has released 16 albums as a leader, and many more as a sideman, including 16 with pianist Hazeltine & Eric Alexander, and 7 on Alexander -led recordings. Hazeltine may be the most recorded contemporary jazz pianist of our time. They’ll be supported by Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, 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 Police and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, June 13

Machinery Hill on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Machinery Hill has been around a long time, having won the 1996 Minnesota Music Award for Best World Beat CD, so they know how to please an audience with their blend of folk, ska, klezmer and celtic tunes, and even a touch of rock n’ roll.

Jon Rodine & Friends @ The Hook and Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Rodine is an artist who deserves more exposure. He sings groove-driven rock n’ roll and country, often using sources like Dan Penn, Doug Sahm, & Dylan, though tonight he’ll concentrate on his own compositions, such as those in his latest album, Last Star.

The Dieselfitters @ Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. 7pm (Free) The Dieselfitters play roots, rock, honky-tonk, and “post-modern twang” with Clay Williams, guitar; Dan Peterson, bass; and Mike Sandell, drums.

Thursday, June 14

Galactic Cowboy Orchestra @ Mears Park, Saint Paul.6:30pm – 9:30pm (Free) This is the 15th year of Music in Mears, and the GCO make for fine listening on a summer night, what with their fusion of bluegrass, metal, and jazz. You can never tell where they’ll go from one tune to the next. Brianna Lane opens.

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) The Blasters burst on the scene in the early 80s with music that was appropriate to their name. Phil Alvin and his full-bore vocals still bring on the big beat of American Music and more.

Friday, June 15

Incredible Shrinking Men @ The Underground Music Cafe, 408 3rd Ave, N, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar?) Jack Thibault & Tim Gadban have been around since the 70s heyday of Minnesota music. They play obscure folk/blues with the occasional nod to rock n’ roll, from the likes of The Band, Frank Zappa, Mose Allison, Lou Reed, and Gram Parsons, while throwing in a few originals to boot. Note that this is a new outpost for the UMC.

Pat Donahue & the Prairie All Stars@ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Versatile guitarist Donahue has won the National Finger Picking Championship, was a 20-year member of the house band for Prairie Home Companion, played with Chet Atkins and has generally established himself at home in many genres. Tonight he’s joined by some of his former band members from PHC.

Saturday, June 16

RAMM Band @ Schooner’s, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Classic Motown, funk, and rock n’ roll from Paul Mayasich, guitar; John Iden, bass; and Donald “Hye Pockets” Robertson, drums.

Shannon Curfman @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Scorching guitar and hard-earned vocals from blues/rock guitarist Curfman, who grabbed everyone’s attention with her major label debut Loud Guitars, Big Suspicions back in 1999, when she was still a teenager. Since then she’s sold a quarter million records recorded with John Fogerty, Bob Seger, Buddy Guy, Keb Mo and more, and has been a touring background singer and guitarist for Kid Rock since 2010.

Sunday, June 17

Katy Vernon Band @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 5:30pm (Free) Pack a picnic and listen to the folk/pop stylings of ukelelist Vernon as planes pass overhead, the smell of grilled meat fills the air, sailboats cruise the lake, and children scamper about on a summer evening.

Sonny Landreth @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) This is a unique  opportunity to see a master of the slide guitar, whose acoustic and electric slide playing provide a primer on the style. The “King of Slydeco” cut his musical teeth with Clifton Chenier.  He’s collaborated with Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, and Derek Trucks, and has won a number of blues music awards as well as Grammy nominations.

Tuesday, June 19

Ens? Daiko @ Ecolab Plaza, Downtown Saint Paul. Noon (Free) Japanese Taiko Drumming to elevate your lunchtime.

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.

 

 

 


Close to Home, Part 2: 2.7 – 2.13

February 7, 2018

Once again, we are looking at mostly area artists for inspiration and lifting our spirits this week, though we have a few visitors in the Blues, Roots, & Other category. It’s good stuff, and worth your efforts to get out and hear. And remember, these are just my ideas about what’s out there. We have a plethora of talent in almost every artistic endeavor you can name. So.. with Mardis Gras approaching, get out and let music lift your Spirit!

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 7

Kevin Gastonguay, Rhonda Laurie @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Gastonguay – No Cover), 8pm (Laurie – $6) Start the evening off with pianist Kevin Gastonguay, who is a member of JT Bates’ GRAIN Trio, and other groups, including New Sound Underground, and Nooky Jones, two of the hottest bands in town. Then at 8pm, vocalist Rhonda Laurie will keep things swingin, whether vocalizing on gypsy jazz, straight-ahead jazz, cabaret, or standards. She’ll be accompanied by Robert Bell, guitar, and Matt Peterson on bass.

Davu Seru/Noah Ophoven- Baldwin Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) The always inventive percussionist Davu Seru teams up with the exciting young trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin for an evening of originals.

Thursday, Feb 8

Adam Meckler Trio & MacPhail Student Combos @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($5) This evening features two MacPhail combos directed by trumpeter Adam Meckler, who is working with the groups even though MacPhail left both students and teachers in the lurch when it closed. Afterward, Meckler will be joined by Park Evans, guitar, and Reid Kennedy, drums, to finish off the evening with a program of jazz standards. Here is Meckler in a quintet setting.

Friday, Feb 9

JC Sanford Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Sanford, a Minnesota native and trombonist/composer recently moved back home after spending 16 years in NYC. He’s a long time student of the great Bob Brookmyer and has performed with Danilo Perez, Matt Wilson, and Danny McCaslin, in addition to conducting large groups including the Alice Coltrane Orchestra, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and the Frank Carllberg Large Ensemble. He’ll be joined by guitarist Zacc Harris and two other members of the Twin Cities jazz scene.  Here is Sanford with a different quartet.

Really Big Shoe @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Saxophonists Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl created this quartet in 2015 to play original compositions and modern interpretations of contemporary and relevant tunes. They are joined by Ted Olsen, bass; and Joey Van Phillips, drums.

Saturday, Feb 10

MN Hard Bop Collective’s “Soul Station” Quartet @Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon really likes the music of Hank Mobley, as this is the third concert of Mobley’s music by the MN Hard Bop Collective, this time featuring Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Aaron Hedenstrom, sax; Ted Olsen, bass; and Simon on drums. Here’s a Mobley track.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Things start out with the John Devine Quartet, with Devine and Bill Lang on saxophones: Brock Thorson, bass; and Alden Ikeda, drums. At 8:30pm it’s a combination of seasoned veterans and Young Turks in the Jazz Bridge Project: Brian Handeland, sax; Rajiah Johybson, flute; Roger Johnson, guitar; Mark Vandemyde, piano; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Ron Evanuik, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Sunday, Feb 11

Mary Lou Williams’ Music for Peace: Re-Imagined @ Aquinas Chapel U of St Thomas, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free?)  Commonly known as “Mary Lou’s Mass,” this sacred jazz music of legendary composer/pianist Mary Lou Williams was her testimony to the healing power of music at the close of the Civil Rights Era. The work will be presented in new arrangements by Laura Caviani and Kari Musil, and performed by jazz vocalists with the Swing Sisterhood Big Band. Here is the wonderful Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in collaboration with Ms Williams.

Patty Peterson and the Jazz Women All-Stars @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 5pm, 7:30pm (No Cover, $25 for Guaranteed Seat) This isn’t a group that’s guided by the novelty of being female, but rather a group of jazz musicians whose gender has little to do with their talent: Ginger Commodore, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass and guitar; Shelia Earley, drums; Kathy Jensen, sax; and, of course, Patty Peterson on vocals.

Monday, Tuesday, Feb 12, 13

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20, $25) Note: Cocktail Service only on Monday. Drummer Dave King usually uses the trio format to explore the Great American Songbook. Tonight, however, in addition to bassist Billy Peterson, he has NYC pianist Matt Mitchell in the group, whose CV includes groups such as Tim Berne’s Snakeoil, The Dave Douglas Quintet, Rudresh Mahanthappa’s Bird Calls, Michael Attias’ Spun Tree, and other boundary-breaking groups, so look for the aforementioned standards to receive even more contemporary treatments than usual.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Mardis Gras w/South Side Aces and The All Souls Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Celebrate Fat Tuesday with the traditional New Orleans Jazz of the South Side Aces, and what appears to be a new brass band for this area.,

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 7

Gang of Mischief w/Richard Kriehn on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This band normally plays on the last Sunday afternoon of the month at Neumann’s in North Saint Paul, so here’s your chance to hear them on the radio and see them within the city limits. Harpmaster Harold Tremblay, along with Rena Haus, guitar & vocals; Dan Schwalbe, guitar; and Mark Rizzardi, bass; will be joined by mandolinist Richard Kriehn in the “hot seat,” the designation for their special guests’ place in the band.

Thursday, Feb 8

Poppy.Computer Tour 2018 @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($230 Advance, $25 Door) As an older person who nevertheless tries to stay somewhat abreast of culture, I’m completely perplexed by Poppy, a YouTube sensation whose 10 minute video, I’m Poppy, has been viewed over 14 million times. This waif-like female has numerous videos in which she asks obvious questions, eats things, and makes odd statements, generally delivered with an android-like voice, all of which has gained her followers on YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. She has many shorter videos as well, including 3:36. Importantly for this performance, Poppy also sings, and has an EP entitled Bubblebath with four catchy tunes.

Friday, Feb 9

The 70s Magic Sunshine Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) From Kung Fu Fighting and American Pie to Crocodile Rock, Lido Shuffle, and Love Train, this quintet just loves AM Radio hits of the 70s.

Saturday, Feb 10

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Blues from Harpist Steve Vonderharr and his band. Vonderharr was inducted into the MN Blues Hall of Fame in 2016. The Knockouts include fellow Hall of Fame member guitarist Dan Schwalbe. It will be a jumpin’ evening.

Mardis Gras @ The Hook & and Ladder, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Celebrate Mardis Gras (Fat Wednesday) with no worries about work in the morning. The Brass Messengers start things off with their joyous takes on brass music from New Orleans, Eastern Europe, and other far-flung places. The Butanes are no strangers to the music of Louisiana, having backed Earl King at the Jazz and Heritage Festival. What’s more, they’ll have special guest Camille Baudin of the Radiators sitting in. Scottie Miller’s take on New Orleans piano giants is just the thing to end the evening.

Terence Simien & the Zydeco Experience @ the Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($27, $32) This two-time Grammy-winner has appeared at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival for 30 years in a row. He’s brought his infectious music to exuberant fans around the world, and will have you dancing in your seat, if not the aisles.

Sunday, Feb 11

Dusty Heart @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. (Free) Barbara Jean and Molly Dean are highly respected singer/songwriters who together, create music that blends roots, indie, and folk genres. The duo creates rich vocal harmonies that solidify their poetic lyrics. Get there early to find a seat and enjoy the humidity and greenery.

Sonny Landreth @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 Advance, $40 Door) Here’s a guitarist that should be better known. Landreth started out with Clifton Chenier, and since then the ace slide guitarist has collaborated with the likes of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Derek Trucks and others, and has recorded with artists ranging from John Mayall to John Hiatt. A must-see performer for guitar lovers.

Tuesday, Feb 13

Swamp Kings Annual Fat Tuesday Celebration @ Dixie’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) This trio can lay down Louisiana rhythms with style and much energy – apropos accompaniment for the Southern menu at Dixies.

Mardis Gras w/Davina and the Vagabonds @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whether she’s singing Fats Domino, Etta James, or her originals, Davina and the guys are never far from the music of New Orleans, which makes her appearance at the New Orleans-themed basement club so right.

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.


Lifting Your Spirit. Music: 12.3 – 12.9

December 3, 2014
Dress warm when going out to hear music

Dress warm!

This week’s jazz scene is dominated by resident musicians, including a few with well-deserved national reputations. The blues and roots calendar features some legendary visiting musicians as well as outstanding resident musicians. All in all, it’s another week of tough decisions about who to see. The one decision that isn’t tough is to get out and enjoy some music. It lifts your spirit, which can certainly help when fighting crowds while looking for those perfect gifts.

Jazz

Wednesday, December 3

Travis Anderson Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Anderson is a talented, swingin’ pianist, ably abetted by Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Parisota Hot Club @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) Robb Henry, guitar; Matt Senjem, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, are the perfect trio for this faux-fancy club witharge booths, leather couches, and flocked wallpaper.

Riotus N @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Anthony Cox  bass; John Penne, guitar; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion. A great combination of veteran players who continue to explore musical boundaries with taste and imagination. During these first Wednesday performances Cox likes to interact with the audience and talk about the music.

Thursday, December 4

Phil Mattson Singers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pianist Mattson is an award-winning vocal arranger who has worked with the Manhattan Transfer, among others. He’s gathered six talented singers to perform his arrangements for sextets and various combinations of soloists and small groups.

Davu Seru @ The Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) A rare opportunity to see drummer/percussionist Davu Seru performing solo in this small space with wine, beer, and a few small bites. Here is Davu with a couple of adventurous French musicians.

Friday, December 5

Dave Karr & Chris Lomheim @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 9:30pm (No cover) Karr on Sax and Lomheim on piano may be one of the nicest pairings you’ll ever hear when it comes to jazz. Octogenarian Karr can bop things up quite handily while stll retaining a mellow sound. Lomheim is a sensitive pianist whose ethereal sounds often have more heft than is immediately apparent.

Kenny Horst & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Drummer Kenny Horst, erstwhile owner of the late, lamented Artists’ Quarter, brings a quartet to Jazz Central: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Chris Bates, bass. The combination of a seasoned Horst with a younger generation  of players (veterans in their own right) should make for compelling jazz. Here’s a video of Horst with a few different groups.

Saturday, December 6

Babatunde Lea Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Drummer/congeuro Lea is a nationally recognized performer who happens to live here in the Twin Cities. He draws much of his inspiration and rhythmic inventiveness from African culture. Past groups have included Richard Johnson on piano; Anthony Cox, on bass; and Solomon Parham on trumpet, but no matter who is in the group, be assured that it will be a stellar performance. He will be conducting a free workshop at 6pm.

Atlantis Quartet @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Fresh off a live recording date at the Icehouse, the AQ is sure to perform new compositions, as well as a favorite or two. Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; Peter Hennig, drums. With opening set by Central Standard Time

Mama Digdowns Brass Band & Soutside Aces @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) It’s a brass bash at the Parkway, headlined by Madison Wisconisn’s Mama Digdown, an 8-pice brass band. They’ve toured the world (even recording in Switzerland), and will likely preview some tunes from their soon to be released album of Michael Jackson tunes. Opening is our own Southside Aces, a sextet that gooses up traditional New Orleans jazz tunes.

Monday, December 8

Jana Nyberg Group @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) What with her teaching gig and hubby Adam Meckler touring Europe, vocalist Nyberg hasn’t performed a lot lately, so here is your chance to hear her and her excellent group during one of the Dakota’s Foodie Nights. Expect to hear some of the seasonal songs from last year’s very fine CD, Winter Song.

Thomas Strommen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tenor sax player Strommen has become familiar to the area’s jazz community as part of Steve Kenny’s Group 47, where the young Strommen (a student at UW River Falls) displays his composing skills as well as an ability to blow with skill and imagination.

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 3

The Beavers on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pmn (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Okay, this is going to be an estrogen-filled evening as the Beavers are (ahem) an all-female band. They are a light-hearted group of musicians straight out of NordEast Minneapolis, playing folk, country, and Americana music with style and verve. You can expect originals and interpretations of such artists as John Prine. Tune in to KFAI and then, when you realize how much fun they can be, head over to the 331 Club. The Beavers are: Kendra G. Baillie, Bass & Vocals; Jen Bluth, Guitar & Vocals; Sarah Esther, Banjo & Vocals; Julie King, Washboard; Nikki Nefstead, Mandolin & Vocals; Missi Sommers, Percussion.

Nick Lowe’s Quality Holiday Revue @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) With Ian McLaglan (Small Faces) Last year, Lowe released Quality Street: A Seasonal Selection for All the Family, one of the best holiday offerings in years. It’s blend of originals and forgotten gems provide a knowing, adult view of the holiday season, acclaimed by almost everyone who has listened to it.

Thursday, December 4

Sonny Landreth & Cindy Cashdollar @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30-$38) It’s a rare booking and guitar nirvana, featuring a couple of artists who are well known for their chops. Landreth is a slide guitar wizard from Louisiana. He’s released eleven albums, and produces a sound that’s informed by the Delta and the swamp. Cashdollar  from Austin, Texas, plays a vintage dobro, resonator guitar, or a triple-neck 8-string steel guitar, and is equally at home with the blues, bluegrass, swampy R&B, and Western Swing. Here’s a taste of Landreth.

Jack Klatt & Javior Matos @ Palmers, Minneapolis. 10pm ($??) If you didn’t get enough with Landreth and Cashdollar, or simply didn’t make the show, you can still get a heaping dose of fine Americana guitar from Klatt and Matos, appearing down the block from the Cedar.

Friday, December 5

Pat Donahue & Daddy Squeeze, w/Lonsesome Dan Case opening @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) It’s another Freewheelin’ First Friday, this time featuring Grammy nominatred ace fingerpicker Pat Donahue, of Prairie Home Companion and some very fine CDs. He’s got that wizard of the accordion, Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton with him to help things swing right along, and will have some very special guests. Opening is Lonesome Dan Case, whose plaintive blues seem straight out of the 30s and 40s. The Tap Room only holds about 80 people during the winter, so you may want to get there early to get your seat.

Omar Souleyman @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 advance, $30 Door) Imagine the minor key melodies of the Mid-East, combine them with electronic music, synthesizers, and trance-inducing frenetic rhythms, and you may get an idea of the music of Souleyman, a Syrian who first made an international name for himself by remixing Bjork’s Biophillia tracks. Opening is Vacation Dad, a DIY artist who has graduated from basement drone music to bars, playing a mix of psychedelic funk, Afrobeat, and exotica. DJ Don Cuco will be spinning from 7-8pm and between sets.

Hamilton Loomis @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) Texas guitarist Loomis was a protégé of Bo Diddley, whom Loomis met at the age of 16. While you may hear the occasional Bo Diddley beat, Loomis has his own, crowd pleasing style that makes use of fat chords, butt-shakin rhythms, and well written songs. It’s earned him fans across the nation and throughout Europe.

Saturday, December 6

Vinyl Voices @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 1:30pm – 4:30pm (Free) Featuring David Cummings and Danny Siegelman. A couple of KFAI Deejays take over the turntables for the afternoon, spinning cool tunes while you get to taste the various brews from the Tap Room. A food truck will be parked outside to help you fill your stomach.

David Grisman & Del McCoury @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Acoustic music fans are salivating over this show. McCoury is a bluegrass legend. He joined Bill Monroe’s band as a singer and guitarist in 1963. Since then he’s established himself with his own band and has won numerous awards, including multiple Grammys, has jammed with Allison Kraus, recorded with Steve Earle and brought bluegrass to a new generation by touring with Phish and playing at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Mandolinist Grisman  started out during the Greenwich Village folk revival of the 60s. He’s got a musical range that encompasses a number of styles and traditions, and has created his own genre – a mix of jazz, bluegrass, and world music that’s known as “Dawg” music, as Jerry Garcia called it. Along the way he’s recorded with a plethora of notable artists and has won five Grammys.

The Skruffians @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This octet will have Jazz Central jumping as they celebrate the playful sounds of ska, that Jamaican predecessor of Reggae. They’re particularly enamored of the Skatalites, the legendary band that used jazzy horns, a B-3 organ, and hard-to-resist rhythms to back early recordings by Bob Marley, the Maytals and other early Jamaican artists.

Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10 music, $15 with buffet from 5pm – 8pm) Jeff is a regular guitar master, while Harold blows a mean harp. Together they perform lively originals and unique covers. Here they are at the BBQ.

Bobby E. @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Bobby Eckstrand is one of these town’s underrated guitarists, with a penchant for single note lines, and a wide variety of music. It’s always a treat to have him perform, whether leading his own groups or as a sideman.  I’ve no doubt he’ll be joined by a few friends at this NE hole in the wall with a booth for a performing area.

Monday, December 8

35th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Curtiss A gets by with a little help from his friends, for this 35th Annual performance of the most heartfelt, emotional tribute you can imagine (no pun intended). First Avenue is always packed to the rafters for this event. The questions are: what songs will be played, from what albums, and with what era costumes (if any) will be worn. this video will give you an idea of what to expect.

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.


Not Quite a Guitarathon. Music: 11.14 – 11.20

November 14, 2012

You might say it’s a bit of a guitar-centered week, with some gypsy jazz players, as well as a couple of slide guitar wizards coming to town.  There’s also a terrific opportunity to hear a variety of music with a four-night New Music Cabaret, as well as some horn-centered bands. Another good week in the Twin Cities.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 14

Fuzzy Math @ The 318 Club, Excelsior. 8pm ($6) Original, contemporary jazz that swings quite nicely, with touches of Latin and world music just to make things a bit more interesting. The 318 is a small club, so reservations are recommended.

Caravan of Thieves @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) This group is known for playing Gypsy jazz, but they play much more: acoustic jump blues, and swing, wrapped in vocal harmonies & intriguing songs, including covers of artists such as the Talking Heads and Queen. The Gypsy Mania Quartet opens. Here’s a video:

Thursday, November 15

Phil Mattson Singers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation)  Phil Mattson has gathered six very good singers and arranged a number of songs with six part, jazzy harmonies. Hear them tonight in the comfy confines of Jazz Central.

Friday, November 16

Jana Nyberg Group @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Jana and the guys have been keeping quite busy doing tours of the Midwest, from Wisconsin to Chicago, to Missouri and Omaha. They’re invited back to clubs in no small part because of Jana’s easy, yet knowing vocals, but don’t discount the solid backing she gets from band stalwarts hubby Adam Meckler on trumpet and Evan Montgomery on guitar.

Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Washington is the guy that taught saxophonist James Carter.Bellows plays valve trombone around town. Together they create music that goes to the edge, but never falls off. Their ability to communicate with each other is the trick, as each follows and anticipates the other with ease.

B3 Organ Night, with Guest David Martin @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7-9pm (donation) Tanner and Mac are taking the organ out of the storeroom for a night of groovalicious jazz. Martin is a versatile guitarist, just as home with Brazilian rhythms as he is accompanying vocalists or trading licks with a B3.

Friday, Saturday, November 16, 17

How Birds Work @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Peter Schimke, piano; Dean Granros, guitar; Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. It’s been a while since we’ve heard from this exciting quartet, and it’s good to welcome them back. They play adventurous originals as well as compositions by folks such as Coltrane and Wayne Shorter with assurance and imagination, throwing hints of rock and funk into a post-bop mix.

Monday, November 19

Dorado Schmitt and the Gypsy Jazz All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($27), 9pm ($20) Last time Schmitt was in town was a few years back for the Minnesota Sur Seine Festival, where he wowed the audience with his guitar wizardry. He’s a favorite of the annual Django Reinhardt Festival in NYC, and has played with folks like Oscar Peterson, Philip Catherine, Paquito D’Rivera, and James Carter.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 14

Sound System Sabotage @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Live Reggae Dub. Haunting sounds that float above a righteous rhythm, all produced by a trio – keyboards, bass, drums, with an occasional trombone

Sonny Landreth with Charlie Parr @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 pm ($30) Landreth came to prominence playing in Clifton Chenier’s band. He has since become well known among guitarists, if less known among those of us who simply listen (or dance) to music. He’s a master of the slide guitar, and has contributed to recordings and music by Dr. John, Maria Muldaur, Government Mule and others. Bonus opening act: Charlie Parr, he of the stripped down blues. Here’s a video of Sonny talking and demonstrating his skills.

Thursday, November 15

Crankshaft @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) If anyone can crack the noise at Hell’s Kitchen, then Crankshaft can, with his raw, hyper energy, all in the cause of playing the blues. It’s more Hill Country than Chicago, or even the Delta. Hang on tight.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, October 15, 16, 17, 18

New Music Cabaret @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm (Thursday, Friday) 5:30pm (Saturday), 2:00pm Sunday ($10/night or $25 for all) The New Music Cabaret is now in it’s fourth year, and it continues to prove to be a great sampler of Twin Cities music. From Baroque to the 21st Century. From Big Band to world fusion. From new classical music, to new pop/fusion. From 21st Century jazz to free improvisation. See the Zeitgeist website for a complete rundown.

Friday, Saturday, November 16, 17

CJ Chenier @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25)  The only thing keeping the Dakota from being overrun during these shows is the lack of a dance floor. CJ carries on the zydeco tradition of his dad Clifton, with a modern touch or two, nothing however that will keep you from moving, even if you’re in a chair.

Saturday, November 17

Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm ($6) Explosive Slide Guitar from Lil’ Ed. Chicago blues of the highest order. The Alligator Records veteran is  getting a bit older, so I don’t know if he still jumps off the stage and does splits during some of his solos, but never fear, the fire in his guitar will get you going.

Greazy Gravy & Swamp Kings @ Cherokee Tavern, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) A two-fer of danceable blues and Louisiana rhythms up Smith Street from the High Bridge. Greazy Gravy is a blues aggregation headed up by Harmonica Curtis Blake, while Tom Harkness and his trio stir up the swamp sounds.

Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?) Willie is celebrating his birthday, so you know the dance floor will be filled with folks shufflin’ and scufflin, movin’ and groovin’ and bumpin’ some rumps, as Willie and the band blast R&B, Soul, and a little Rock n’ Roll your way. Here’s a clip from the Minnesota Original show.

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.


%d bloggers like this: