Mayday and More: 5.3 – 5.9

May 3, 2017

The Tree of Life Ceremony at Powederhorn Park

It’s May and we have a weekend of Cinco de Mayo Festivals (Saturday on the West Side of Saint Paul and Sunday around 27th and East Lake) as well as the 43rd Annual Mayday Parade and Celebration in South Minneapolis (see below), all of which will feature music and performers. This week’s indoor events don’t necessarily coincide with the festivals, but provide other opportunities for uplifting experiences, with a number of visiting artists coming to town and a plethora of veteran and emerging Twin Cities artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 3

Regina Carter: Simply Ella @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40), 9pm ($25 – $35) April 25th marked the100th Anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald, and violinist Regina Carter is releasing an album entitled Ella: Accentuate the Positive. We are lucky enough to be a stop on her tour promoting the album. Carter is among the finest, if not the finest, jazz violinist practicing today. She’s tasteful, melodic, and swinging, whether she’s interpreting folk music of the South, Cajun fiddle music, the songs her mother loved, or something classical. Carter has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (The “Genius Grant”), and numerous awards. You can read an interview I did with her a couple of years ago by going here.

Michael O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Bassist O’Brien is in town visiting and he’s brought together some of the best Twin Cities musicians to join him for this gig, which will feature Latin music in addition to O’Brien’s facility on the bass: Pete Whitman, sax; Steven Hobert, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 3, 4

Randy Brecker Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $30, $60w/Dinner) 9pm ($15, $20) Brecker is a multiple Grammy Award winner, who got his start with the big bands of Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He was in the original version of Blood Sweat and Tears, leaving them to join the Horace Silver Quintet. Since then, he’s recorded with a wide range of musicians, from Frank Zappa, James Brown, and Parliament/Funkadelic to Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorious, and Frank Sinatra. If you need another reason to see him, consider the fact that his quartet will feature Tanner Taylor on piano, as well as the crack rhythm section of Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey.

Thursday, May 4

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Ruckus Hip Hop Jazz: Drummer Rodney Ruckus may have moved to the West Coast, but he’s got plenty of gigs bringing him back to town. Tonight’s show is a double billing with two drum sets on stage, while Ruckus and LA Buckner lead and co-lead different ensembles that fuse jazz and hip hop.

Joel Shapira/Bryan Nichols Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira, no cover), 8pm (Nichols, $5) the first of two nights of double jazz at the Vieux. Guitarist Joel Shapira will help you while away a pleasant dinner hour before pianist Bryan Nichols and his trio (Jeff Bailey, bass; JT Bates, drums) entertain you with originals and jazz standards.

Friday, May 5

Jon Pemberton/Debbie Duncan @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Pemberton, no cover), 9pm (Duncan, $12) Jon Pemberton kicks off the dinner hour with his inventive and melodic piano playing, after which vocalist Debbie Duncan will take the stage to deliver her sassy brand of jazz.

Fuzzy Math @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This quintet  eatures original, if eclectic jazz originals and creative renditions of pop songs. Back in 2012 they were named “the best jazz act for people bored with jazz” by the wags at City Pages. They are, after all, a fun group with the goal of creating “serious music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” This will be the Jazz Central debut for mark Vandermyde, keys/compositions; Curtis Lucky, trumpet; Scott Fultz, sax; Eric Graham, bass; and Haralds Bondaris, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening tonight are The D’Sievers, with John Sievers, trombone; Remi Moulder guitar; Steve Sawyer, bass; and Garrtett Kolb, drums. At 8:30 or so it’s the powerful Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code: Gravatt, drums; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Dave Graf, trombone. Here is Gravatt playing with McCoy Tyner and Bill Frisell.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15)  Mama Digdown has been around for about twenty years, spreading worldwide joy with the creativity of their streetwise brass band music. You can expect traditional New Orleans tunes like Jocomo, and Gloryland, as well as their own version of pop songs like the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back. Since the Madison, WI based group is sometimes supplemented with Twin Cities musicians, there may be guests during the course of the evening.

Sunday, May 7

Bob DeFlores Films: The Big Bands, 1923 – 1950s @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Even if you don’t live in the southern ‘burbs, it’s worth the drive to see films from the collection of Bob DeFlores, whose archive of music shorts and “soundies” encompasses all manner of jazz. Today he presents a rich palette of Big Bands, from Rudy Vallee and the Dorsey Brosters, to Woody Herman, Ozzie Nelson, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Ray Anthony, Artie Shaw, and much, much more.

Dan Chouinard and Lucia Newell @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist Chouinard and vocalist Newell get together for a special Birthday Club. Not only will they be celebrating the music of composers born during May, but all revenue will go to Global Rights for Women, an organization working to end violence against women worldwide! Here’s Newell performing a Brazilian song.

Dakota Combo Spring Concert @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Combo is a group of very talented high school students selected each September by open audition to study with bassist Adam Linz for the school year. It’s a program of MacPhail Center for music, supported by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. This year’s combo is a quintet: Adam Astrup, guitar; Ivan Cunningham, alto; Riley Swain, baritone; Max Voda, bass; and Simon Petrick, drums. They’ve been hard at it and have already performed at a couple of area schools. It’s safe to say you will likely be blown away by their talent. (Full disclosure: I’m on the board of the Dakota Foundation, which provides the support for this program.)

Monday, May 10

Glenn Zaleski @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Twenty-nine-year old pianist Zaleski has been a first-call sideman in NYC ever since moving there nine years ago. He’s performed and recorded with such stellar performers as Ravi Coltrane and trombonist Michael Dease, among others. He’s featured in the latest issue of DownBeat, where he’s described as someone who is not a traditionalist, but to whom “melody still matters.” The writer goes on to say, “His solos hinge on acute, often linear lines that find their counterweight in subsequent measures, cresting the tension and suspense of a well-wrought story.” This is a solo performance, so you’ve got a chance to see and hear his talent in the comfy, intimate confines of the Dunsmore Room.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) It’s an exciting double bill this evening the Levi Schwartzberg Quartet and Barnacle. Schwartzberg’s young group starts the evening: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Patrick Adkins, piano; Drew Stinson, bass; and Tarek Abdelqader, on drums. Then, it’s the return of Barnacle, a two guitar group that was around at the turn of the century, featuring guitarists Jason Goessl, now of Seattle, and Jacob Park Evans, backed by Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte drums.

Tuesday, May 9

Chris Lomheim/Sophia Shorai @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shorai, $5) Yet another double dose of jazz, with pianist Chris Lomheim supplying airy, melodic improvisation during the dinner hour, and vocalist Shorai singing in her distinctively vulnerable yet sweet voice.

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, May 3

Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) So today, Harold’s House Party features this string quartet (plus vocalist) that specializes in Prohibition-era swing. Tune in at 5pm to hear a sample of their music and go to the 331 for a two hour taste of their tunes. I’d say to bring dancing shoes, but it becomes quite crowded in between the tables of the small club.

Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Those of you of a certain age may remember Kinky Friedman as a legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter, satirist, novelist, and onetime gubernatorial candidate for Texas. He calls himself the Texas Jewboy, and is currently on the Resurrected Tour, as he calls it, in support of his latest CD, the Loneliest Man I Ever Met. Brian Molnar, of The Naked Hearts, opens. Here’s Kinky, but her aware, he’s not politically correct.

Thursday, May 4

Edgar Winter Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $65, $75) Since his debut album in 1970, pianist Edgar Winter has always received accolades for his playing, whether it was rock, jazz, blues, or pop. His 1971 album with his horn band White Trash had liner notes by poet/rocker Patti Smith, and enjoyed huge success, as did it’s live follow-up. He then formed the Edgar Winter Group which had the number one Frankenstein, and another chart buster, Free Ride. The album they appeared on, They Only Come Out at Night, peaked at number 3 and was on the charts for 80 weeks. He’s got over 20 albums and collaborative efforts to his credits, and still rocks out as hard as possible.

Paul Thorne @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Thorne is a former prizefighter, and quite literally, the son of a preacher man which, taken with his Southern upbringing, has given him a unique perspective on life. He’s lived a life that give him plenty of material for songs and often humorous stories, such as I Backslide on Friday, and Mediocrity is King, both of which can be found on his latest album, Too Blessed to Be Stressed.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) While the Poppas can always be depended upon to deliver smart, danceable renditions of songs from New Orleans and South Louisiana, tonight they’re bringing in vocalist Lucinda Plaisance to help deliver some new songs in the repertoire, including Clifton Chenier’s Zydeco Cha Cha, Gene Delafose’s Bou Pon Pon, Irma Thomas’ Ruler of My Heart, Lou Ann Barton’s version of Shake Your Hips, and more.

Friday, May 5

Eilen Jewell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell is a bit hard to categorize. She’s got a sweet voice, with smoky undertones, and an instinctive way with phrasing, which she uses well, whether celebrating the music of Loretta Lynn, rocking out with Shakin’ All Over, or putting a rockabilly twist to some of her own reflective originals.

Suicide Commandos Listening Party @ the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Back in 1975 a trio of lads decided they didn’t want to play in a cover band, which was what most of the area’s clubs were hiring. Chris Osgood, Dave Ahl, and Steve Almaas were itching with the raw energy of youth, and wanted to play short, loud, original songs. The old Blitz Bar was willing to hire them, and after that, things changed in the Twin Cities music scene. The Suicide Commandos, as the trio named themselves, laid the foundation for groups like the Suburbs, The Replacements, Husker Du, and other groups. Well, it’s forty-two years later. They had long broken up, developed other music and performing careers, and then started reuniting on a sporadic basis over the last couple of decades. Importantly, they recently recorded their second studio album, Time Bomb. The guys will be hosting this listening party, and selling and signing copies of the album. In addition, Cyn Collins will be selling and signing her new book, entitled Complicated Fun, named after a Commandos song. It’s an oral history of Minneapolis punk and indie rock from 1974 – 1984.

Erik Brandt and the Urban Hillbilly Quartet @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Free) Twenty-two years after forming, the Urban Hillbilly Quartet still delivers original Americana and roots rock inspired by folks like David Grisman, Bruce Cockburn, the Jayhawks and The Grateful Dead. The core of the band is Erik Brandt, guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals; Jeremy Szopinski, electric guitar; Dave Strahan, electric guitar, banjo, & vocals; Mike Schultz, bass; and Jim Orvis, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) This weeks program of chamber music in a cabaret setting is entitled Lonely Hearts: Music Made in Minnesota. It features two Saint Olaf grads who are active in the Twin Cities choral scene, but who also perform solo. Baritone Harrison Hintzsche and soprano Anna Christofaro will be joined by Matt Harikian on piano to perform acerbic, touching, and sometimes lustful songs by Libby Larsen, David Evans, among others. Small plates and bar service are available during the show, with full dinner available at 4:30pm, for those of us who may not want to go home and cook.

Fourth Annual Minnesota Salsa Fiesta @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) It will be an explosion of hip-shaking Latin rhythms as Charanga Tropical hosts guests from throughout the Twin Cities Latin Music scene. Charanga Tropical will play, of course, along with Cuban-style percussion ensemble Rumba del Norte. Then it will be La Gran Charanga, and 18-piece all star group featuring 6 horns, 5 violins, 4 singers, and a full Latin rhythm section. When doors open at 7pm DJ Prieto from Chicago will spin salsa hits mixed with rare videos. A salsa lesson from Cuban-born instructor Rene Thompson will follow, to help folks dance to the pulsating rhythms produced by the bands.

Denny Laine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Laine was an original member of the Moody Blues, and sang lead on their first hit, Go Now back in 1964. He left the Moody Blues to have his own band, joined Ginger Baker’s Air Force for a bit, and then, with Paul and Linda McCartney, was a founder of Wings, which had 24 hits on the charts in the 70s and received a Grammy for Band on the Run. He co-wrote Mull of McIntyre with Paul and it subsequently became the biggest selling hit of all time in the UK. Tonight he’ll play Band on the Run in its entirety, as well as some other tunes, I presume.

Sunday, May 7

Mayday Festival @ Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis. Noon – 7pm (Free) If you want to see a friend you haven’t seen in a while, they will probably be at the community celebration which is taking place for the 43rd year in a row. The day begins with a parade that travels south on Bloomington Avenue from 25th street and turns to Powderhorn Park on 34th Street. The parade features various community groups as well as giant puppets from Heart of the Beast, all marching to the 2017 MayDay theme: Imagine, Resist, Heal.  The Tree of Life Ceremony occurs at 3pm, when the Sun Flotilla paddles the Sun across the park’s lake. There will be music and dancing throughout the day, with entertainment ranging from Morris Dancers and a Women’s Drum Circle, to Savage Aural Hotbed, Prairie Fire Lady Choir and Machinery Hill. Food and merchandise will be available from a plethora of vendors.  Here’s a short clip of what you might see in the parade.

Tuesday, May 9

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Back in 1978, as the Punk movement was gaining steam around the country, a group of guys in Los Angeles named themselves the Blasters and combined that energy with rhythm and blues, early rock n’ roll, and rockabilly in an album called American Music. Funding members Phil Alvin, vocals, guitar; John Bass, bass; and Bill Bateman drums, along with guitarist Keith Wyatt, are still rocking audiences into gleeful pools of sweat.

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.


Halloween, Hot Jazz, and More: 10.26 – 11.1

October 26, 2016

unknown-1Ed Note: Updated Saturday, October 29.

Well, we have a Halloween weekend coming up, with many more special events and appearances than I’ve listed. If you don’t feel the need to don a different identity and celebrate, there’s still plenty of fine, fine, superfine music to enjoy including some hot jazz, a winner from America’s Got Talent, stompin, rompin’ blues and some music from Lousiana. Remember, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, October 26

The Niska’s @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) This vocal trio were the focus of Five by Design, which has toured the world for 26 years using close-knit harmonies to feature pop, jazz, and the occasional folk songs. There are still harmonies, only they are three part, fueled by two brothers, Terry and Kurt Niska. They’ll be backed by pianist Steven Hobert, a veteran of Five By Design tours, and guitarist Vinnie Rose.

Tri0 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Intiguing trio, with John Keston, electronics, Graham O’Brien, drums, and Cody McKinney on bass. I suspect that the electronics, whether synthesizers, sequencers, loopers, or whatnot, will determine the direction of this trio.

Thursday, October 27

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, bass. A gathering of veteran players, who between them, have traveled the world performing jazz. Note especially Eric Kamau Gravatt, who has toured with both Weather Report and McCoy Tyner.

Hot Sardines @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) Hot is the appropriate adjective here, as this 8-piece band plays music from New Orleans, Paris, and New York during the period from the Great Depression to WW II. You’ll hear songs from Fats Waller, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Mamie Smith, Billie Holiday, and more. It’s foot stomping, heart pounding music that earned them 15 straight sold-out shows at Joe’s Pub in NYC and appearances at the Montreal Jazz Festival, and the Boston Symphoy.

Niny Salem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) As far as I know, Salem is a relative newcomer to our jazz scene, and is described as follows: “With Southeast Asian roots and life experiences from four different continents, Salem brings her understanding and love of culture, music, and languages when she performs.” She’ll be joined by Jon de Vaal on piano and Steve Pikal on bass, for an evening entitled “My Life Story in Songs.”

Friday, October 28

MN Hard Bop Collective Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Jesse Simon, drums; Javi Santiago, piano; and Ted Olsen, bass perform the jazz of the 60s that successfully combined jazz, gospel, and blues to create foot-tapping, exciting music.

Jazzland Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) This quintet takes traditional New Orleans jazz, a bit of second line, and just a hint of contemporary R&B to create a danceable mix that’s sure to get you moving your body and bring a smile to your face. The group consists of Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet and vocals; Nelson Devereaux, reeds; Keith Hilson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; and Evan Clark, tuba.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $42) Vocalist Murphy was washing cars for a living when he auditioned for America’s Got Talent, and made it all the way to the top, winning with the biggest vote total in the first six seasons of the show. As a result, he signed with Columbia and had his debut album produced by Grammy winner Steve Tyrell. The crooner has sold out over 100 concerts across three continents.

Saturday, October 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: JazzINK Youth Showcase, featuring the Roseville HS Combo. You can always count on an impressive performance from each year’s combo, as their instructor is saxophonist Pat Moriarty. Following at 8:30pm is Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease  with Pat Moriary, saxes; Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Davu Seru, Drums. This is a group that produces accessible, yet freely improvised music, a testament to their communication skills, which can almost seem like the “mind-melding” of Star Trek’s Spock. They may also do a few of Moriarty’s through composed pieces. Here’s an example of Pat and Ellen with a slightly different lineup.

Jazz at Studio Z w/Aaron Hedenstrom Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm (workshop), 7pm ($10advance, $15 door, 12 and under: free) This is the kick-off for this season’s Jazz at Studio Z series. Aaron Hedenstrom, recently returned to Minnesota, is a saxophonist/composer who will be joined by pianist Bryan Nichols; guitarist Zacc Harris; bassist Graydon Peterson; and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Hedenstrom has has performed across the United States as a performer, clinician, and composer, having written numerous big band works, string arrangements, small group pieces, and chamber works. He’s appeared at jazz venues and festivals throughout the country including Snug Harbor in New Orleans, the Scat Jazz Lounge in Fort Worth, and the Dakota. His workshop at 6pm will cover Strategies for Improvising on Complex  Chord Structures. Here is Hedenstrom in a duo context.

Christian Howes w/Jazz Ensembles I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Violinist Christian Howes is in town for a residency at the U, and is performing with two of the U’s jazz ensembles. He has toured the Ukraine and Montenegro for the State Department. His 2012 release, Southern Exposure received high praise from the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, and Jazz Times, and resulted in a six-night run at Lincoln Center, while his 2015 release, American Spirit, garnered a “Best of 2015” award from Huffington Post.

Sunday, October 30

Jennifer Grimm @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Vocalist Ms Grimm is starting a new weekly series at Crooners, bringing her considerable talent, as well as talented family and friends, to the lounge stage. Note how well she does with a noisy State Fair crowd.

Monday, October 31

U of MN Combo, featuring Christian Howes @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Christian Howes, one of the best jazz violinists currently active, is in town for a residency at the U. Tonight he is playing with the U’s Combo, which is directed by Phil Hey. Howes has toured the Ukraine and Montenegro for the State Department. His 2012 release, Southern Exposure received high praise from the NY Times, the Wall Street Journal, Downbeat, and Jazz Times, and resulted in a six-night run at Lincoln Center, while his 2015 release, American Spirit, garnered a “Best of 2015” award from Huffington Post. See the Tuesday listing below for additional performances. Here he is doing a song by a James Brown sideman, as popularized by Jaco Pastorius.

Tuesday, November 1

Patrick Harrison/Sophia Shorai @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harrison, No Cover), 8pm (Shorai, $5) For the dinner hour you get Harrison playing blues and swing on the button accordion, followed at 8 by vocalist/pianist Sophia Shorai and her trio.

Christian Howes w/Jazz Ensembles I & II @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) Violinist Howes (see Monday listing above) is performing with two of the U’s jazz ensembles.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, October 26

Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Rootsy Guitarist/songwriter/singer King and the band  perform originals that show influences of Johnny Cash, Tom Waits, and Greg Brown. Together with the Guilty Pleasures – John Kurtis Lead Guitar, mandolin, and Vocals; Julie King- Washboard, and percussion; Bradley Smith- string Bass – he’s released two well-received albums and garnered many fans.

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Start with a singer/songwriter who can compose romantic, swinging’ tunes in addition to being a fine guitarist. Add a vibraphone, bass and drums, and you’ve got the makings of a great little band with a lush sound reminiscent of quartets from the 40s, just right for playing jump tunes, boogie woogie, and vintage swing.

Thursday, October 27

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($5) Dance music from Louisiana, including New Orleans rhythms, Cajun, and Zydeco sounds from Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton and his band of fun-makers.

Friday, October 28

Sena Erhardt Band @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Erhardt  is often touted as a rising star on the blues scene, a reputation that’s buoyed by her incendiary performances. She’s released three albums, all of which have earned accolades and nominations for blues awards. If you want to hear some rockin’ blues, you’ll want to be here.

Saturday, October 29

Tex Pistols @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Cool name, though they certainly aren’t from Texas. This quintet is from right here in the land of 10,000 Lakes. They play Boomer music – Neil Young, Eagles, John Hiatt, the Beatles – with verve and excitement.

New Orleans Suspects & Raw Oyster Cult @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($30) Wow! Here’s a combination of New Orleans bands that will definitely help you celebrate Halloween, or whatever you want to celebrate. The New Orleans Suspects are Mean Willie Green on drums, from the Neville Brothers; Jake Eckert, original guitarist for The Dirty Dozen; keyboard player CR Gruver who has been a sideman for Leo Nocentelli; and saxophonist Jeff Watkins, who spent twelve years leading the James Brown Band. Raw Oyster Cult includes Radiators alumni Dave Malone, Camile Baudoin, and Frank Bua Jr., along with John Gros from Papa Grows Funk and Dave Pomerleau from Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. Hey Pockey Way, indeed!

Boogie Wonderland Monster Mash @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (?) Okay, the band already dresses up as escapees from a 70s disco, so a Halloween bash is a no-brainer. Add the fact that they nail so many of the songs from the disco era, and you’re ready to Get Down Tonight!

Hipshaker Halloween @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 9:30 (Suggested donation, $5, to $???) Well the Bedlam is going to close on November 2, unless they can come up with some serious bucks, and what better way to send them off then with a Halloween Dance Party featuring the funky 45s of Brian Engel and friends. All proceeds go towards paying off the debts of the club/theater. Note that it would help if the club to get rid of all their beverages and food before closing, so you may want to depend on Uber, Lyft, sober friends, or the LRT to take you home.

Sunday, October 30

Reverend Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm ($?) Reverend Raven was born in Chicago, and what he does is play traditional Chicago-style blues with great passion. It works, as he and his band have been nominated for a number of awards, including a Grammy nomination, and has been voted the Best Blues Band in Milwaukee in 2012, 2014, and 2015. As an added attraction, Stevie V & the Knockouts will open.

Monday, October 31

Davina & The Vagabonds Halloween Show @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($15) Davina and her band may not be the first band you think of for Halloween, but in actuality, they can put together a show for any holiday, Davina’s impassioned vocals and honky tonk-ish piano playing, together with the raucous sounds of the Vagabonds, make any day a party day.

Tuesday, Wednesday, November 1,2 
Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $55) 9pm (Wednesday Only, $32, $42) Jones was only a teenager when he began hanging out at Stax Records and recorded Green Onions with the MGs, essentially serving as the house band during the subsequent explosion of soul music in the 60s. He’s a member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, The American Musicians Hall of Fame, and has received the Grammy’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Whether you’re a baby boomer who grew up with his music, or a millennial who appreciates soul music, you will be thrilled by seeing him.

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.


A Full Week of Music: 8.17 – 8.23

August 17, 2016

imagesOur cup is overflowing with a full week of music ahead of us,. We have visiting pianists, blues artists, and a great bluegrass band coming to town. Of course, we have our own roster of resident musicians whose talent is truly worthy of our support. We’ve got jazz, Americana, blues, and Latin music, with a Japanese Lighting Festival just for fun. Music lifts your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 17

Tributary, featuring Adam Meckler and Brian Courage @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner Show) This is a group made up of musicians who all met at Lawrence University in Wisconsin, which has produced a number of very good musicians. Besides Meckler on trumpet, and Brian Courage, who used to live here and is now based in NYC on bass, the group includes Aaron Hedenstrom, of numerous groups and leading his own big band on tenor; Greg Woodside, of Boston, on piano; and Derek Dreier, of Des Moines, on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) One of the most versatile guitarists on the planet (Magraw), and an internationally known powerhouse drummer (Gravatt) come together for a tuneful evening that can go in any direction.

Monseur Periné @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25 – $32) Columbia has a thriving music scene, and Monseur Perine is a big part of it. They take acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, and add Latin percussion, for a fresh approach to the music.

Capri Big Band @ Minnehaha Falls Park, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) This intergenerational big band can swing with the best of them. What a great way to hear them, at the pavilion at Minnehaha Falls, with perhaps, some food and drink from the nearby Sea Salt Cafe.

Thursday, August 18

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pippi Ardennia sings For Peace, accompanied by a trio of young artists that she’s taken under wing: Jo Schad, piano & vocals; Luke Pickman, cello & flute; and Beth Varela, drums.

Kandace Springs @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Pianist/vocalist Ms Springs recently received a glowing review in Jazz Times for her Blue Note album Soul Eyes. The reviewer called her pop-jazz sound “a bewitching amalgam of Dusty Springfield’s caliginous, cream-filled soulfulness and Nancy Wilson’s sensual sophistication, with distinct shades of Michael Jackson.” Springs is a Prince protege, and this is a chance for you to say, “I saw her when…”

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and tonight, the well-regarded Ms Doring is center stage, with her inviting blend of jazz and a bit of the blues.

Friday, August 19

Sophia Shorai @ Crooner’s Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Hoo boy! You might think that Ms Shorai’s honey-sweet, and sometimes coquettish vocals could easily be lost in the loud conversations that accompany a TGIF night at Crooners, but have no fear, she has enough grit, not to mention an abundance of talent, to capture the attention of almost anyone celebrating the end of the week.

Lulu’s Playground @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Their music is charming and inventive, and while the members of Lulu’s Playground may call their music “chamber jazz,” truth is, their music is hard to define, though their instrumentation does imply such a label. Their music includes tangos, jazz, waltzes, and even some free improvisation. Members are: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; Corey Grossman, cello; and Ben Abrahamson, guitar.  and

Rodney Ruckus @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is part of the All Originals Jazz Series at Studio Z, not to be confused with Jazz at Studio Z. We’re lucky to have two different jazz series at this location. At any rate, drummer Rodney Ruckus has put together a new group to play a live version of A Love Supreme, along with some new compositions. Rodney Ruckus, drums; Will Kjeer, piano; Steve Kenny Flumpet; and Ron Evaniuk, bass.

Saturday, August 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) It’s another night of two bands and a tip jar. Opening set is by the Mitch Rand Quartet: Mitch Rand, saxes; Dillon Nelson, guitar; Andrew Nelson, electric bass; and Noah Kittelson, drums. then at 8:30, Steve Kenny celebrates 100 weeks of Saturday Night Jazz with Group 47, Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, tenor; Adam Tucker bass; Alex Burgess, drums; and the veteran Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Ethan Iverson Masterclass & Performance @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $50 w/Dinner) Masterclass: 4-6pm included with 7pm show. Though Iverson is best known as one third of The Bad Plus, with whom he’s played venues as varied as The Village Vanguard and Bonnaroo, he also plays with the Billy Hart Quartet and with jazz elders such as Albert “Tootie” Heath, and Ron Carter. Time Out New York called him, “Perhaps NYC’s most thoughtful and passionate student of jazz tradition—the most admirable sort of artist-scholar.” In concert he’ll be playing a diverse selection of jazz piano pieces, including numbers from James P. Johnson and Mary Lou Williams. While the masterclass is meant for piano players, everyone is welcome.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Ms Lynch brings her Most Excellent Fellows back to the Vieux. this time around the Fellows include Chris Beaty, guitar; Dan Eickmier, trumpet; Richard Medek, drums; and Peter Enblom, trombone. As the ensemble performs hits from the 30s, 40s, and even the 50s, dancing will be encouraged, but certainly not required.

Monday, August 22

Rick Germanson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40w/Dinner) NYC-based pianist Germanson moved to the Big Apple from his hometown of Milwaukee in 1996, and soon established himself as a go-to-pianist for many national acts. He’s released three very-well received albums and has appeared at major clubs and festivals around the world. He’s no stranger to the Twin Cities, having appeared at the old Artists’ Quarter a number of times, and recorded with Carol Martin. He currently tours with the Cannonball Legacy Project, led by drummer Louis Hayes, as well as with Kyle Eastwood.

Javier Santiago & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Pianist Javier Santiago has been playing some modern rhythms and riffs of late, dipping his oh so talented fingers into neo-soul, in addition to giving a contemporary touch to old standards. His friends include Dan Carpel, bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; and Proper T on vocals.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 17

Willie Walker on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) the Twin Cities own original soul man is not only still going, but has had a boost in his career from last year’s release of If Nothing Ever Changes, which was produced by Rick Estrin, formerly of Little Charlie and the Night Cats. The CD received Blues Award nominations in three categories. Walker doesn’t even need a full band to work his magic. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by guitarist Scott Ives.

Dakota Dave Hull @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Hull is an international guitar star, at least for those who follow finger-picking. He gets his suits made in Thailand when touring Asia, and is a frequent visitor to Great Britain and Europe. As a result, we don’t get to see him perform in town very much, so this is a rare opportunity, especially given the price.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) They’ll be clearing away tables to allow for salsa dancing at the Icehouse as the seven members of Malamanya work their magic with vintage Cuban sons and other Afro-Caribbean rhythms.

Thursday, August 18

Erik Koskinen and Rogue Valley @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul 6pm (Free) It’s Americana Night at Mears Park. Erik Koskinen is a singer/songwriter and excellent guitarist who deserves to be known throughout the nation, both for his playing, and his slice of life songs that evoke the classic country music of the 50s and 60s. Rogue Valley is a quintet led by singer/songwriter Chris Koza. A couple of years back they released four albums in one year, each dedicated to one of the seasons. More recently, they released radiate/dissolve. As usual, Music in Mears will feature a half-dozen food trucks, and beer from Lake Monster Brewing and Summit Brewing.

Doug Otto & The Getaways @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you’ve never made it to NE Mpls to catch Doug and the guys at Nye’s or the 331 Club, here’s a chance to catch them in the newly redesigned Black Dog, which now boasts a full bar and a real kitchen. Soulful, mournful blues of various stripes.

Guitar Shorty @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm ($10) In a five-decade performing career, Guitar Shorty has been credited with influencing both Jimi Hendrix and Buddy Guy. We’re not likely to see the hard-hitting performer do flips on stage, as he once did, but the blazing fingering and fiery bursts of notes are still there.

Friday, August 19

Frogleg w/Bailey Hubbs @ Rice Park, Saint Paul 6pm – 9pm (Free) Headliners Frogleg can usually be heard performing their jam-bandish blend of R&B, Reggae, Funk, and rock at Bunker’s on Thursdays. Tonight they cross the river for some outdoor dancing. Hubbs is a talented sixteen year old from Saint Paul currently recording her original music in Nashville.  Food trucks and beverage sellers will be available.

Jaedeyn James & The Hunger @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) This ten-piece horn band has lots of fun on stage, playing high energy original R&B and selected covers with a brashness usually found in punk bands. Listen to them on their BandCamp page.

Saturday, August 20

John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $35) Jorgenson may be one of the most talented guitarists around. He’s spent years touring with Elton John, started the country-rock band Desert Rose, and helped kick-start the gypsy jazz revival of the last decade or so. He’s a virtuoso player who also plays mandolin. Tonight he’s showcasing one of his three bands – J2B2, featuring Herb Pederson on banjo, guitar, and vocals (Byrds, Desert Rose, Flying Burrito Brothers); as well as Jon Randall on guitar (Emmylou Harris, Nash Ramblers); and Mark Fain on bass (Ricky Skaggs, Kentucky Thunder).

BrassZilla @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Just in case you haven’t had enough brass in your life, along comes BrassZilla: Hal Longley, sousaphone; Zach Zins, trombone; Bob DeBoer, trumpet; and Jeffrey Dunitz, drums. With their originals and brass band versions of songs you know, BrassZilla will be easily heard in the somewhat noisy confines of Hell’s Kitchen.

Sunday, August 21

Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival @ Como Zoo & Conservatory, Saint Paul. 3pm – 9pm ($5) The 18th annual Como Park Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival is a family-friendly event, reminiscent of Japan’s annual Obon holiday.  In the Japanese Garden at the Conservatory, you will find bonsai, martial arts, Ikebana, singing, dancing, drumming, food and other aspects of Japanese culture.The day will culminate at dusk with the main event—the lantern lighting. Stone lanterns as well as hundreds of floating paper lanterns throughout the Japanese Garden pond and the Frog Pond will create a vision of peacefulness and harmony.

Phil Heywood @ Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7:45pm (Tip Jar) A helluva finger-picking guitarist  with a pleasant baritone voice to boot, performing in the welcoming confines of this “Irish in Saint Paul” pub.

Shemekia Copeland @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) What we have here is proof that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Ms Copeland is the daughter of the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, and there’s no doubt she’s learned much from her father.With a powerful, soulful voice, she’s headlined the Chicago Blues Festival and others around the world, performed at the White House, and shared the stage with folks like Mick Jagger, Eric Clapton, BB King, and Buddy Guy.

Monday, Tuesday, August 22, 23

Ruthie Foster @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) It’s a testament to Foster’s talent that she can fill the Dakota whenever she performs, which seems to be a couple of times a year. With her warm on-stage presence, and knack for storytelling, Foster is an ideal purveyor of folk blues. Folks notice: she’s won numerous awards from Living Blues, including Female Blues Artist of the Year. Jack Broadbent opens

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.


Festivals, Worldbeats, and Jazz, Oh My! 7.20 – 7.26

July 20, 2016

Unknown-1What a week coming up! We’ve got the Black Dog’s remodel celebration, the opening of The World of Beer across from Mears Park, the Lowertown Blues Festival (right), Palmfest, a winery jazz festival, the JuJu rhythms of King Sunny Ade, the Afrobeat of Antibalas, and The Minnesota Orchestra embracing Latin rhythms. Additionally, we have performances from a couple of young guns in the Twin Cities jazz world, as well as some daring, and much beloved jazz veterans at work.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 20

Connie Evingson and Jon Weber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 dinner) Evingson’s vocals are both lush and cool at the same time, while Weber’s encyclopedic knowledge of piano styles gives him the ability to be adept as both an accompanist and soloist. It’s Evingson’s show, but don’t be surprised if Weber’s knowledge of arcane music facts makes its way into the between songs commentary.

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/student ID) This is the debut for Lomheim’s new group. The pianist has always had a trio, played solo, though he’s no stranger to larger bands, and is a founding member of the Illicit Sextet. Tonight he’s debuting a lineup that’s reminiscent of hard bop’s heyday: Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums, to revisit some of his originals, and undoubtedly throw in some jazz standards.

Thursday, July 21

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The college-age musicians of Sound Skirmish open at 7pm. Members are Patrick Adkins, piano; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ben Ehrlich, drums, and Drew Stinson bass. At 9pm it’s The Zacc Harris GroupHarris  guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Friday, July 22

Jeremy Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 6pm (No Cover) Enjoy the Dinner Hour with pianist Walker and you’ll be treated to tasty, thoughtful music, including Walker’s engaging originals and his interpretation of jazz standards while you chow down on items from the club’s menu.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Traditional New Orleans jazz, as in a sousaphone rather than bass, clarinet, guitar, and horns. It’s jazz that makes you want to dance.

Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5 w/StudentID) Ruckus has been making waves and garnering attention during various performances since enrolling in McNally Smith’s graduate program last year. He’s an alumni of Berklee, where he had a full scholarship, and has already traveled the world playing with such stellar musicians as Tia Fuller, Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Charles Lloyd, and others. Though drums are his main instrument, he’s also quite adept at bass and piano. Here he is in an unexpected setting.

Saturday, July 23

Chateau Jazz Festival @ Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Fall, WI. Noon – 6pm (free) Take a reactively short road trip to this winery, which will have food trucks, local craft beers, and of course, wine, while listening to music by: Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, the Zacc Harris Quartet, Pete Whitman’s Mississippi, and Doug Little’s Charanga Tropical.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Ted Godbout Trio at 7pm. Artists Quarter Tuesday Night Band from 9pm – Midnight. It’s the second day of the Lowertown Blues Festival, and the Tuesday Night Band, with Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Franze, guitar; and Downtown Bill Brown on the Hammond B3 is a good fit for blues lovers, given the affinity of B3 organ groups for the blues. No doubt there will be some guests as well, which was the norm when the band played the old AQ. The Ted Godbout Trio opens at 7pm with Godbout, piano; Dan Carpel, bass; and Jared Mondlock drums. Godbout is a young player who’s been accompanying vocalists like Katia Cardenas, as well as playing in a number of other jazz groups around town.  Here’s the Tuesday Night band with guest Sue Orfield.

Nachito Herrera Plays Gershwin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Like many Cuban pianists, Herrera is dazzling with his technique. He also has the imagination and creativity to encompass traditional Cuban rhythms, the funk of folks like Earth, Wind, & Fire, and classical music. Tonight he takes on the music of George Gershwin, music as rich as anything you might find.

AcoustElectric @ The World of Beer, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover?) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet helps the World of Beer celebrate their opening, at the corner of 5th and Sibley in Lowertown. The first set consists of acoustic jazz of Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, and more, while the second, electric set will feature jazz rock fusion of songs by Sting, Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Prince.

Sunday, July 24

Sophia Shorai Quartet @ Alexis Bailey Vineyard, Hastings. 1:30pm (Free) Head downriver to Hastings for a delightful afternoon at the Bailey Vineyard. Aside from tasting their wines, you get to hear the talented vocalist Ms Shorai  who can express heartbreak , determination, and grace with a combination of sweetness and aplomb.

Monday, July 25

Omar AbdulKarim @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  ($10, $5 w/student ID) AbdulKarim is an ups and coming young trumpet player who impresses with his tone and thoughtful improvisations. He’ll be accompanied by Pierre Lewis, organ; and Batume, drums, for what promises to be a swinging set of music.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 26, 27

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20) After having a CD release at Vieux Carre for his five-piece Trucking Company last weekend, drummer Dave King brings bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to Crooners’ Dunsmore Room. King is well known for his stints with Happy Apple, Bad Plus, and the aforementioned Trucking Company, groups that traffic in avant/indie/experimental approaches to jazz. However, this trio, which has received rave reviews in the New York Times and on NPR, mines a treasure trove of standards from jazz and the Great American Songbook, bringing a fresh interpretation to songs each time they play. Here’s an extended video of one of their international performances.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.  For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, July 20

King Sunny Ade @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($35 Advance, $40 Door) A winner of two Grammys, Nigerian Sunny Ade brings his sinuous juju rhythms back to the Twin Cities. Since his first hit single in 1968, Ade has been nominated for two Grammys and taken his music around the world, helping to define worldbeat and Afropop in the process.

Thursday, July 21

Big George Jackson @ The Lowertown Line Stage at TPT, 172 4th Street East, Saint Paul.  6pm (Free) The organizers of the Lowertown Blues Festival (see below) made a great choice when they picked Big George for the event’s kick-off party. You get to hear George’s booming voice and his otherworldly growl, as well as the guitar of Jeremy Johnson within the new reception/event space of TPT. A must for blues fans.

Paul Mayasich, Bobby Vandell & Billy Franze @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley,. 7pm (No Cover) It’s another Hot Seat evening at Crooners, with ace guitarist Mayasich joined by R&B/jazz veterans Bobby Vandell on drums, and Billy Franze on guitar.

Thursday, Friday, July 21, 22

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($33 – $37) 1979 was “The Year of the Cat” and the year of “Time Passages,” two songs that were FM Radio staples. Stewart’s light, appealing voice was backed by a full rock band at the time, but he has since returned to his folk/troubadour roots, playing in partnership with guitarist Dave Nachmonoff and basset Mike Lindauer, revisiting hits, and reinterpreting historical gems.

Friday, July 22

Krar Collective @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The final show of the Cedar’s African Summer features a trio with a contemporary spin on the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition. The krar lyre is a 5 or 6 stringed harp, which legends say descends from Kin David’s lyre. Tmesegen Zeleke plays it plugged in to create a sound reminiscent of an ancient rock guitar. Beisdes Zeleke, the group include singer Genet Asefa and Drummer Grumn Begashaw. Their minimalist sound has led some to call them the “White Stripes of Ethiopia.” Opening act TBD.

Big George Jackson and the Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 12 am (Tip Jar) Here we have what is essentially a two-fer event. The Black Dog is celebrating their expansion and redesign of what is now a music room and bar, and the Lowertown Blues Festival is happening. Get here early to see Big George Jackson, who opens. You’ll also get proper seats for Murphy’s  9:30 show featuring his stellar mix of rock n’ roll and R&B. If you come by after  the Blues Festival closes down for the night, you may end up standing, though regular Murphy fans already know that.

Antibalas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15 Advance/$20 door) Saint Paul is hopping tonight, what with the Blues Festival and this performance, featuring the Brooklyn Afrobeat wonders Antibalas  who were the band for Femi!, the award winning broadway and touring show. Our own Black Market Brass opens, while The Worldwide Discoteque DJs will keep things going between sets.

Minnesota Orchestra: A Night in the Tropics @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $70) Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus is joined by his own jazz quartet and the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, in a concert inspired by the sultry melodies and evocative rhythms of Brazil, Cuba, Hawaii and more. The program features originals by Lazarus, a tribute to Brazilian composer Antonio Carlo Jobim, Duke Ellington’s Caravan and other selections. This is part of the closing weekend for Sommerfest, and will include other music and activities as well.

Friday, Saturday, July 22, 23

Palmfest 2016 @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 4pm – Close Friday, 2pm – Close Saturday ($5 each day) With 10 bands on Friday and 12 on Saturday this is a good time to catch bands you may not have heard, such as Half Moon Devil, or the King of Tramps, as well as some old favorites, like the Liquor Pigs, Spider John Koerner, Poverty Hash, and Charlie Parr. Weather permitting it will be on the outdoor patio until 10pm, after which final bands will move indoors. For more information, go to their FaceBook page or their website.

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 9:30pm Friday, Noon – 10pm Saturday (Free) It’s a Funky Friday, with The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly; Otis Day & the Knights (from Animal House); and The Family Stone, sans Sly, but with original members Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, leading the group through the hits like Everyday People, and Dance to the Music. . Then on Saturday, it’s a celebration of the Blues, with The Brother John Band (winners of Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands), and continue with the high energy Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials; our own Butanes Soul Revue; Corey Stevens; Bernard Allison; and the festival headliner, Stax keyboard man Booker T Jones! There’s a side stage as well both days, and additional stages at The Bedlam, Golden’s Deli, and the Black Dog. Complete information at: http://lowertownbluesfestival.com

Divas Of Disco @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, 8pm ($40-$55)  Who remembers bell bottoms, platform shoes and lip gloss? Lori Dokken has put together a show that brings back the days of mirror balls, gold chains, and disco fever. Performing songs by Chaka Kahn, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and others will be some fabulous Twin City Vocalists: Debbie Duncan, Rachel Holder Hennig, Patty Peterson, and Judy Vinar. They’ll be backed by Peter Hennig, drums; Jay Young, bass; Cory Wong, guitar, Jimmy Steffen on keys; and Dokken on keys and vocals.

Saturday, July 23

Willie Walker & We R @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners know that when you have a band that does well, you bring them back on a somewhat regular basis. Such is the case with Soulman Willie Walker  a long time resident treasure who got his start recording for the Goldwax label out of Memphis back in the 60s, and also released a couple of singles on Chess/Checker. He can caress a ballad, and give uptempo songs appropriate grit, whether they’re originals, or classics by Al Green and Sam Cooke.

Sunday, July 24

Open Streets @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. Noon – 5pm (No Cover) It’s Open Streets Day for East Lake Street, and this neighborhood bar (without TVs) is hosting a number of excellent musical acts starting at Noon with Meg Ashling, and continuing with pianist/composer DeVon Grey at 1:20, Lucy Michell at 2:30/3PM, and finishing at 4pm with the old time/folky sounds of guitarist/singer/songwriter Jake Manders.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, July 24, 25, 26

Brian McKnight 4 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $75), 9pm ($45 – $65) Adult R&B, from McKnight, singer/songwriter/pianist/producer, who has sold over 30 million records and received 16 Grammy nominations over the past 20 years.

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.


A Big List: 6.1 – 6.7

June 1, 2016

Unknown-1Holy mackeral! There is so much music this week that my listing is much larger than usual, and I still left a number of worthy gigs off the list. At any rate, let’s just get to it.Music lifts the spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, June 1

Anthony Cox Presents deVon Gray @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 student ID) deVon R. Gray is a  multi-instrumentalist, classically trained composer. You can find him writing orchestral and operatic works as well as jazz riffs, in addition to backing area R&B and hip-hop acts. Tonight he’s playing with his trio, REFINED: Gray on keyboards: James Everest on guitar; and Davu Seru on drums and percussion.

Thursday, June 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight, this is the place to go to find out hear the next generations of jazz musicians.  Adam Astrup Quartet, a band of young lions, opens at 7pm: Astrup, guitar; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Simon Petrick, drums; Gerhart Robinson, sax. At 9pm it’s the slightly older Rodney Ruckus Trio: Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olson, bass; Ruckus, drums.

Chrisette Bany @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) There is always someone new to discover. Case in point is Ms Bany, who has been performing in the Twin Cities and beyond for 17 years, yet has remained under the radar until recent appearances at Crooners.

Hanson, O’Brien, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Nathan Hanson, sax; Casey O’Brien, bass; and Davu Seru, drums, will take you on a far-reaching expedition to the outer edges of jazz, and bring you back safe and sound.

Friday, June 3

Mancrush @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm Master class, 7pm performance. ($10 Advance/$15 door) Drummer Lars-Erik Larson, leads this group, which includes Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Bryan Nichols, piano. Larson will discuss unconventional rhythm sections and how he composes for the bass-less group.

Patty Peterson All Stars w/Steve Cole @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($20) With seven Minnesota Music Awards, four solo albums, and her own jazz show on KBEM, Peterson is known far and wide for her blend of jazz and R&B vocals. Her last album features such heavyweights as David Hazeltine, Bobby Lyle, Sheila E. and of course her brothers Billy, Ricky, and Paul. Tonight she is more than ably assisted by Steve Cole, sax; Clyde Davis, drums; Cory J. Wong, guitar; Lamar Jones, bass; Jason Peterson Delaire, keyboards.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Eric Kamau Gravatt – Drums; Solomon Parham – Trumpet; Lucia Sarmiento – Sax; Dean Magraw – Guitar; Ron Evaniuk – Bass. At 10pmit’s the Edmund Caitlin Trio: Edmund Catlin – Drums; Charlie Lincoln – Bass; Levi Schwartzberg – Vibraphone They will be playing the Thelonious Monk album, Straight No Chaser, in its entirety.

Jazzland Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet/vocals; Nelson Devereaux, reeds; Keith Hilson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; Evan Clark, tuba

Brazilian Jazz @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (No cover) Along with changing the name from Señor Wong’s to the SW Craft Bar, and adding more craft beers and liquors, this Mexican/Asian restaurant now feature music on Fridays. Tonight, Mira & Tom Kehoe along with Xibaba will be playing Brazilian jazz, Bossa Novas, Sambas ,Forros, and Choros. Though the stage (such as it is) lighting is dim, you do get to view the LRT passing by as the band plays, in addition to their cocktails, food, and beer.

Saturday, June 4

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Some of the best straight ahead jazz in town is on display tonight, beginning at 7pm with the James Wallace Group: James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace, sax; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Adam Tucker, bass; Bill Steiger, drums. At 9pm it’s Bone Chance: Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Dave Graf, trombone; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Peter Schimke, keys.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Former Twin Citizen and now a Chicagoan, Bruce Henry has sung on major stages on four continents, bringing his unique take on African American music to the world.

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Shorai has been delivering yearning, sweet vocals to Twin Cities audiences for over ten years, singing a mix of originals, jazz standards, and modern gems.

Brad Bellows & Friends @ Boom Island Tap Room, 2014 North Washington, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) This is the start of a weekly gig featuring valve trombonist Brad Bellows and a rotating cast of musical friends for some tasty jazz while you taste some brews.

Sunday, June 5

Concours d’Elegance @ Excelsior Commons, Excelsior. 10am – 3pm ($35) It’s not the name of a band, but rather an event featuring beautiful, rare, and valuable classic cars, boats and motorcycles. There will be four jazz bands playing while you amble lakeside among the vehicles. From 10am – 11:15 it’s Peter Kogan’s Mosnterful Wonderland, with Adam Meckler, trumpet; Pete Whitman, sax; Scott Agster Trombone; Sean Turner, piano; Chris Olson, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Peter Kogan, drums. From 11:30 – 12:45, the Mary Louise Knutson Trio with Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums. Kogan then comes back with a quartet at 1pm, with Whitman and Bailey, along with Steve Hobert, piano. After a short break it’s a trio with Hobert, Bailey, and Kogan. The whole affair is a benefit for the ICA Foodshelf.

Joe Lovano’s Tribute to Gunther Schuller @ Sundlin Hall, 1531 Hewitt Avenue, Saint Paul. 4pm ($25, $25 Senior [62+], $15 Student ID) Note: One K-12 Student is admitted free with each paid adult. Lovano and company will be performing in a tribute to Gunther Schuller. With Anthony Cox, bass; Young-Nan Kim, violin; Timothy Lovelace, piano; and Fred Harris, drums. With guest composer Peter Child.

Poncho Sanchez @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35) The Texas born, California raised conguero started out as a singer, and started playing congas almost 50 years ago, while still in hight school. He was a major part of Cal Tjader’s last ensemble, released 19 albums, won a Grammy, and collaborated with Tower of Power and Hugh Masakela. Afro-Cuban music is in good hands.

Monday, June 6

Jazz Implosion featuring the Adam Meckler Quintet @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) 1st Set – Adam Meckler Quintet w Meckler, trumpet; Joe Mayo, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; & Greg Schutte, drums. 2nd Set – A double dose of drums with Davu Seru  & JT Bates

Tuesday, June 7

Teri Roiger @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) NYC vocalist Roiger also plays piano, composes, and writes lyrics, including lyrics to Monk’s Misterioso, approved by his family. She’s taught course on the Music of Billy Strayhorn, Monk, and Brazil, and currently teaches at SUNY New Paltz in the jazz program there. It’s her singing, however, that we should concentrate on. It’s been cooled “smooth but heady,” (All About jazz), “powerfully moving: and impressively deep (JazzTimes), and “made for those who still undetand the meaning of the term the real thing” (Stanley Crouch). Indeed, Roiger can express much with the slightest turn of a phrase, and has a voice that will sound wonderful in the listening environment of the Dunsmore Room. She’ll be previewing her soon-to-be released album, Billie 101, a collection of tunes associate with Ms Holiday. With husband John Menegon, bass; Joe Stracha, piano; and Phil Hey, 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 PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 1

Paul Barry & The Acetones, w/guest Lila Ammons on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harp man Paul Barry plays the blues with help from the Acetones: Jon Pederson, Guitar; Vince Hyman, Piano, Vibes; Scott Soule, Bass; and Doug Hill, drums. They’ll be joined by special guest vocalist Lila Ammons, who is the granddaughter of boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons, and niece of the great sax player Gene Ammons. Lila Ammons sings around town in jazz clubs and does blues tours of Europe on an annual basis.

Nikki & the RueMates @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Take in the lakeside breezes at the Como Pavillion while the crystal clear voice of Nikki soars over the lake. Rich Rue, guitar and vocals, and Jon Olson, bass provide a solid foundation for the group’s blues and folk-rock. Drinks and food available in The Dockside.

Wednesday, Thursday, June 1,2

Suzy Bogguss @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Since the late 80s, Bogguss has gone from rising star of country music to award winning hit maker. She’s done it her own way, with original songs, and collaborations with the likes of Chet Atkins and Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel. Her 2014 album, Lucky, is chock full of Merle Haggard songs, though to paraphrase Bogguss, it’s not a tribute, just a collection of some of the greatest songs she could find.

Thursday, June 2

Siama Matuzungidi and Drew Peterson @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis.  (time?? $$??) After being closed for 10 years, the new owners of the Viking have installed new bathrooms, a kitchen, took off the false ceiling, expanded the back bar, installed new sound and lighting on the stage, and kept the original booths. They’ve even added a “banana booth” from Nyes. The result is a more spacious feel, with a row of TVs over the bar that seem more decoration than sportscasting. Tonight brings West Bank veteran Drew Peterson, an Americana singer/songwriter, along with Congolese guitarist, Siama Matuzungidi, the Soukous master who just released a CD, and is representative of the West Bank of recent decades. It promises to be a night of great music.

The Hot Seat w/Paul Mayasich and the RAMM Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This is the first of Paul’s Hot Seat series to take place at the Fridley Lounge. He’ll be there with guests for every thursday but the last one of the month. His comrades in the RAMM band are kicking things off as the three-piece tackle the blues, Motown, and more.

Friday, June 3

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings, and Rena Haus @ the Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings were formed at the old version of the Viking Bar, at one of Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Fridays. Well, here it is over 10 years later, the Viking looks much better, Jackson is still producing Freewheelin’ First Fridays, and Steve and the Brass Kings still sound great. The Brass Kings produce jug-bandy old time music played by: Steve on acoustic and resonator guitars & vocals, Mikkel Beckmen on washboard, refrigerator door, butter dish, and djembe; Brad Ptacek on washtub bass; and Jillian Rae on fiddle. Opening is the farming blues gal Rena Haus, whose clever wordplay and strong guitar work make for some entertaining blues.

Willie Murphy and the Angel-Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s time to party down with the blues, R&B, and Rock n’ Roll of Mr Murphy and his horn band. Listen to their take on a Jerry Lee Lewis number.

Cantus Sings Pet Sounds @ Cowles Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 – $35) Here’s an intriguing event. The nine members of the all-male chamber singing group Cantus will perform music from an album Rolling Stone calls “one of the greatest albums of all time.” It’s 50 years since the Beach Boys released Brian Wilson’s opus to unrequited love. Don’t necessarily expect Beach Boy type harmonies however, as the group will be singing the songs in jazz, bluegrass and funk settings. They’re bringing in a trio to back them up, and will bookend the Pet Sounds portion of the concert with other popular tunes from the past as well as today. This runs weekends through June 11. Here they are doing a song by the Dave Matthews Band.

Doug MacLeod Live in Europe CD Release @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20)The award winning acoustic bluesman has a way with words and his national steel guitar. Back in 2006 Macleod was in The Netherlands, recording a live album for a DVD released by Black and Tan Records as The Blues in Me. Though he had a fever, and felt like he wasn’t in good voice, the results were nevertheless well worth listening. So well, that they’ve now put out an album. It’s just Doug, his guitar, and his foot, recorded as he performed, with no overdubs. Jeff Arundel opens.

Dee Miller Band @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Hard charging Ms Miller sings take-no-prisoner blues, tonight featuring the guitar work of Moses Oakland and Craig Clark, along with the usual crack backing of Paul Mejia, vocals & harmonica;  Jesse Mueller, Keyboards; Eric Meyer, Bass; and Ben Irvin, Drums.

Friday, Saturday, June 3,4 & Wednesday, June 8

Prince Tribute: This Thing Called Life @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($45) While waiting for the star-studded Prince tribute being discussed by Prince’s family and friends to come, here is one that features Twin Cities musicians who were part of the New Power Generation, featuring drummer Michael Bland, bassist Sonny Thomnpson, and keyboardist Tommy Barberella. Also featured are Julius Collins, vocals; Tracey Blake, guitar; and special guests Jamecia Bennett (lead singer for Sounds of Blackness), and others. DJ Jules and DJ fat will start spinning at 8pm, with the band beginning at 9pm. Friday and Saturday appear to have sold out, so act quickly if you want to see the show on Wednesday, the 8th.

Saturday, June 4

New Primitives @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Get a reservation or arrive early to get a table and hear the reggae and worldbeats of this quintet.

Movies and Music @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) The hot and smoky rhythms of the Prohibition years are delivered on the Pavillion stage by the four-piece Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League, followed by Labyrinth, a Jim Henson-directed film from 1986 starring David Bowie, with almost all other significant parts given to puppets from Henson’s imagination. The pavilion will protect you from the setting sun, and food and drinks are available inside.

Dakota Dave Hull: The Sacred and Profane Album Release @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm ($15) The late Dave Van Ronk called Hull one of the best guitarists in the world. He uses both flat-picking and finger-picking to dazzle audiences around the world and tonight Hull is releasing two albums: Heavenly Hope and This Earthly Life. One need not be Karnak the Magnificent to guess the contents of each. Opening set by Adam Kiesling.

International Reggae All-Stars @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Catch the Island rhythms of the All-Stars on a weekend night, from this international sextet that holds down Tuesday nights at Bunker’s.

Sunday, June 5

Curtiss A & Dark Click @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Old school roots music, including the blues, energized by original Twin Tone recording artist and John Lennon Tribute star Curtiss A and his fertile imagination. Every Sunday in June.

Tuesday, June 7

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Whoa! The Blasters are coming, the Blasters are coming! Back when any punk band worth its salt was playing faster and louder, along came the Blasters, who played somewhat loud and somewhat fast. Thing is, they were using vintage R&B and Rockabilly for their template, infusing the old styles with an energy that matched punk, note for note. Led by the Alvin Brothers, brother Dave left. Though he’s returned as an occasional guest in the last few years, Phil’s singing powers the band, along with the guitar of Keith Wyatt. As they demonstrated at Lee’s and the Dakota last year, they’ve still got the energy make you sweat, even when you’re only chair dancing. As an added bonus, Molly Maher opens.

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.


May and Music are Upon Us: 5.5 – 5.10

May 5, 2016
Trees are flowering. Photo from Bill Lindeke's blog

Trees are flowering. Photo from Bill Lindeke’s blog

I’m a day late in posting this. Sometimes life gets in the way of what we’re doing. Anyway, we have a week filled with music coming up, only a portion of which I’ve listed. We have visiting artists from Malaysia, Atlanta, and Chicago, in addition to shows by a number of our own outstanding resident artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Thursday, May 5

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/studentID) Versatile vocalist Doring will be performing various jazz favorites, including, I imagine, some from her 3 excellent albums. She’ll be accompanied by pianist March Ziegenhangen on piano.

Friday, May 6

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) It may be nigh unto impossible to score tickets to see this beloved vocal trio  They rose out of the West Bank music scene in the 70s to become Twin Cities favorites through the mid-eighties by performing classic jazz from the 30s and 40s. After successful solo careers, Prudence Johnson, Tim Sparks, and Tom Lieberman had successful solo careers, and recently rediscovered the joys of performing together again. Here’s what they sound like.

Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Kogan  former tympanist with the Minnesota Orchestra, has been bringing his jazz chops to the fore since his retirement last year. He’s already released two fine albums, with music that touches on many aspects of the jazz continuum. The drummer’s band includes: Goeff Senn, Trumpet; Pete Whitman, Sax; Scott Agster, Trombone; Chris Olson, Guitar; Sean Turner, Piano; Graydon Peterson, Bass

 

Saturday, May 7

The MN Hard Bop Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Saxophonist Andrew Schwandt is relocating from the Twin Cities, so this group is playing a farewell concert for him. Besides Schwandt, members include: Ryan Nyther, trumpet; Javier Santiago, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. They’ll be playing a classic hard bop repertoire, that music popularized by Art Blakey, Horace Silver, Hank Mobley, and Lee Morgan, among others. It’s a style that has both gospel and R&B influences, yet never strays from jazz.

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley 7:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a date night opportunity if their ever was one. Shorai  s a singer who can go from sweet to heartbroken with ease. She has been performing in the area for over 10 years, producing five self-released albums covering bossa nova, the Great American Songbook, some modern classics, and her own compositions. She has a knack for picking stellar sidemen as well. Here’s a clip that showcases her way with a ballad.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s opening act is the Plus One Trio, with Anthony Bloch, drums; Nate Baumeister, saxophones; Benjamin Allen, trombone; and Jason Mclean, bass. At 8:30, it’s Witch Hunt, a tribute to Wayne Shorter’s Speak No Evil album. Members include: Adam Nussbaum, drums; Joy Mayo, saxophones; Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Ted Godbout, piano; and Ted Olsen, bass.

Phillip Greenlief @ Jazz at Studio Z, Saint Paul. ($10 Advance, $15 Door) The San Francisco-based saxophonist comes to town to play with Nathan Hanson, sax; Chis Bates, bass; and Davu Seru, drums. Greenlief has been making a name for himself since the 1970s, performing and playing with a varied group of musicians in the post jazz, improvisational community, including Fred Firth, Meredith Monk, and They Might be Giants. As always, there is a free master class at 6pm. Those who come for the master class and stay for the concert only pay $10. Here’s an example of his approach to playing.

Sunday, May 8

Hanging Hearts – Chris Weller @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) This Chicago based trio integrates jazz, rock, and experimental music into their performances. They’ve toured internationally, appeared at the Chicago Jazz Festival, and will be heading into the studio in June with Dave King producing. Chris Weller, tenor; Cole DeGenova, keys; Devin Drobka, drums & percussion. Here they are performing in Slovakia.

Monday, May 9

Joe Mayo & Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w./student ID) Two heavy hitting saxophonists in town get together to play music they don’t usually play in big bands.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) 1st set – JT Bates,  2nd set – Hanging Hearts (Chicago). If you didn’t get to see them yesterday at Jazz Central, here’s another chance:  Chris Weller, sax; Devin Drobka, drunms; Cole DeGenova, keys.  While Chris and Cole grew up in Chicago, playing professionally in jazz and blues clubs by the age of 15, the trio was completed at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where all three members graduated. The trio’s repertoire consists of their original compositions.

Tuesday, May 10

Stu Katz and Friends @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) 1st set solo, 2nd set with son Steven, bass & vocals; Jay Epstein, drums. Over his long career, Chicagoan Stu Katz has performed in numerous public venues with young and old bebop luminaries including Gene Ammons, Kenny Burrell, Joey DeFrancesco, Dexter Gordon, Bunky Green, Roy Haynes, Milt Jackson, “Philly” Joe Jones, Clifford Jordan, Russell Malone, James Moody, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Ira Sullivan and Phil Woods. Here he is back in 1985 at the Chicago Jazz Festival with Doc Cheatham.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, May 5

Rare Medium @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Is it jazzy funk or funky jazz? I’m never quite sure where to list this six-piece band that crosses genres to get people shaking their booty while using appealing jazz harmonies.

Walter Trout @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) As fans of this master of rockin’ blues guitar know, Trout was diagnosed with life-threatening liver failure and hepatitis C in 2013, and received a liver transplant in 2014. His last album, Battle Scars, was filled with stories of his fight to stay alive, while the soon-to-be-released Alive in Amsterdam, is a celebration of his return. Expect some blues-filled fireworks. The under-appreciated guitarist Ken Valdez, who has played with everyone from Dr. John and Michael Franti to The Wallflowers, Marshall Crenshaw, and Maceo Parker, opens at 7pm.

Friday, May 6

Bruce Hamm & Marcus Wise @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Hmm, we have here the first presentation of North Indian classical music at this jazz venue. Many in the Twin Cities know tabla player Marcus Wise for his work with the likes of Dean Magraw, Anthony Cox, and Peter Schimke. He’s also worked with Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, John Densmore of the Doors, and Steve Tibbets. Tonight he’s working with Hamm, one of America’s top sarod players, with whom he’s performed many times. Here’s a short video of the two of them in a trio setting.

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm – 10:30pm (No Cover) Often named the Best Blues Band in the Twin Cities, this four-piece tears it up, and will no doubt create a lively scene in the supper club’s lounge. Check out their instrumental chops.

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) With a style that heavily rooted in blues, country, and soul, and propelled by the energy of early rock n’ roll, Alex “Crankshaft” Larson and his band deliver hard driving deep blues and roots music.

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Boom Boom delivers emotion-fueled harmonica blues, and with the Knockouts, provides an evening of fun.

Saturday, May 7

Hurricane Harold Duo and Lisa Wenger @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Hurricane – No Cover), 9pm (Wenger – $8) It’s a double dose of bluesy roots at the Vieux tonight. Harmonica whiz Hurricane Harold Trembley always has interesting partners in his duos, and will provide great music while you dine on the room’s New Orleans-inspired food. Then at 9pm Blueswoman Lisa Wenger will bring her gritty-yet-sweet soulfully inspired vocals to the room.

Classic country, classic duds

Classic country, classic duds

Saddle Sores @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?, $10?) Classic country from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. The Saddle Sores are: Jenny Russ, vocals; Jimmy Kennedy, guitar & vocals; Randy Venaas, bass; Mo Engel, drums; and Tyler Christenson on pedal steel guitar.

 

The awkwardness of finding a date for the prom

The awkwardness of finding a date for the prom

Opening: A Night in Olympus @ Illusion Theater, Cowles Center for the Arts, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 – $42) Runs through June 4 (Sundays at 7pm) After their success with the musical Glensheen, Chan Poling is once again partnering with playwright Jeffrey Hatcher and writer Bill Corbett for A Night in Olympus, a musical about an awkward teenager who gets her wish to become so beautiful that she scores a date with the hottest guy in school. As might be expected, things don’t work out as planned in what promises to be a musical evening filled with silliness, though rest assured, there’s a happy ending. Poling is a founding member of the Suburbs and tours with The New Standards. Hatcher’s plays have been seen on Broadway and he’s done the screenwriting for Mr. Holmes, the Duchess, and Casanova. Corbett is one of the writers and performers of Mystery Science Theater 3000.   BTW, I’ll have Chan Poling as my guest on Rhythm and Grooves on Saturday, May 7. The show runs from 10:30am – Noon. Poling will be out in the latter part of the 11am hour. Find out more about the production here.

Joey Ryan & the Inks CD Release @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Ryan crafts pop songs that recall the “sunshine pop” of California, though he leavens his music with a bit of sadness. The new CD, Young Afternoon, was crafted during a period when all members of the band welcomed additions to their family, and the songs reflect that new responsibility. Opening acts are BBGun, with Al Church, Neal Perbix, and drummer Jeremy Hanson, and solo singer/songwriter Eric Mayson.

Sunday, May 8

Yuna, with BOSCO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Yuna is an R&B singer from Malaysia, whose 2012 breakthrough hit, “Live Your Life” was produced by Pharrell Williams, the guy behind “Happy” and Daft Punk’s last album. Her new album, “Nocturnal” is being released on Verve Records. Opening is Atlanta’s BOSCO, another up and coming female R&B artist.

Monday, May 9

Paul Mayasich & The RAMM Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Get a dose of Real American Made Music, i.e., Motown, rock n’ roll, R&B, funk, and more from Mayasich and his bandmates. Here they are in an acoustic setting.

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.

 


Music Not for Fools: 3.30 – 4.5

March 30, 2016

imagesFriday is April Fools Day, with a couple of appropriate shows, but for the most part there is nothing foolish about our music scene, which is so rich in talent over a variety of genres. We even have some outstanding visiting artists this week. With the weather approaching real Spring temps, it’s a good time to get out and hear some music, which will undoubtedly lift your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 30

Steve Kimmel, Gary Byers, & Gary Shulte @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Wednesdays are a bit more experimental than other nights at this basement studio/performance space. Tonight features Steve Kimmel, a long time veteran of the Twin Cities music community, on piano and percussion; versatile violinist Gary Shulte; and cellist Greg Byers. Here’s Kimmel having some fun on vibes.

Byron Johnson-Blanchard Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Johnson-Blanchard is a drummer with a number of funk/R&B bands in town, but for the past year or so he’s led this trio with the ever inventive Park Evans on guitar and Josh Granowski on bass. So you have some fine jazz to listen to during Barbette’s great lat night happy hour. You can hear songs by the trio here.

Thursday, March 31

McNally Smith Singer Showcase @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) The best and brightest young vocal students from McNally Smith.

Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) NPR called them the “Twin Horns of Joy.” The trombone/trumpet duo have caught the ears of such notables as Wynton Marsalis, and Jon Faddis, Chris Botti, and Gregory Porter, among others, and have played at Birdland, SXSW, and Warren Buffet’s Annual Shareholder meeting! As young as they are (early 20s), their music nods towards pop, but is at its heart, jazz, plain and simple. Here’s an example:

Friday, April 1

Paul Harper’s Chordless Quartet @ Public Kitchen, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Friday Night at the Reverie in Minneapolis is on hiatus as it moves to Thursday nights in May. In the meantime, bands that were scheduled are being moved to different venues, including the Public, across the street from Mears Park in Lowertown. Saxophonist Harper  along with Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Lewis, bass; and Matt Buckner on drums will explore originals by Harper and Kenny, as well as music by Joe Henderson, Thelonious Monk, and more. Here are Harper and Kenny performing with the Illicit Sextet, which does have chorded instruments.

Friday, Saturday, April 1, 2

Dave King Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) King is the genre-crossing drummer best known for stints with avant jazz, pop, and Americana groups. Tonight he takes the stage with Bill Carrothers  piano; and Billy Peterson  bass; to play jazz standards, though the combination of these three outstanding musicians may take the songs slightly beyond “standard.”  Here’s an extended clip from a performance in Italy a couple of years ago.

Saturday, April 2

Sophia Shorai @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) The Friday evening crowds at Crooners are looking for a good time. Ms Shorai, with her sweet voice, sharp emotive instincts, and talented band, should make it easy for the crowd to enjoy themselves.

Maud Hixon: What Would Doris Do? @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  ($27 Adults; $24 Seniors; $20 Students) Ms Hixson has impeccable phrasing and very good taste in the songs she presents. Tonight she examines the music of Doris Day, who started with big bands, and had a successful solo and movie career. With the ever swinging Wolverines Trio. Here she is with piano accompaniment by Rick Carlson, of the Wolverines.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator Steve Kenny often has a young group to start out this Saturday Night tradition, and tonight is no exception. Opening act is The Dark Blue Quartet, with Thomas Strommen, saxes; Dylan Nelson, guitar; Jason McLean, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums.  Both Burgess and Strommen have proven themselves in Kenny’s Group 47, so it will be interesting to catch them in another setting. Headliner at 8:30pm is Courageous Endeavors, a young-ish group that achieved some local popularity until leader/bassist Brian Courage left for NYC. He’s back visiting and will be perfuming with Nelson Devereaux, sax; Joe Strachan, Fender Rhodes; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Listen to their music here.

Sunday, April 3

Jazz Lunch with the Century Jazz Ensemble @ Jethro’s Char House & Pub, 3140 Century Ave, Mahtomedi. 2-4pm (no cover) While away a Sunday afternoon having lunch while listening to some swinging music from the Ensemble.

Sunday, Monday, April 3,4

SF Jazz Collective: the Music of Michael Jackson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35)  This is an All-Star octet  in the best sense of the word, brought together each year to explore the music of a particular composer, from John Coltrane, to Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, and Stevie Wonder. This year’s group includes Miguel Zenon, alto; David Sanchez, tenor; Avishai Cohen, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Warren Wolf, vibes; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penmanm, bass; and Obed Calvaire, drums. Their interpretations have proven to be illuminating in the past, and I’m excited to hear what they’ll do with the music of Michael Jackson. Here’s an example.

Monday, April 4

Riley Helgeson @ Jazz Central, Minneapols. 8:30pm ($10) Trumpeter Riley Helgeson takes a night off from the McNasty Brass Band to stretch out. As usual, there’ll be a jam session after Helgeson’s set. Examples of his work can be found here.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 30

Javier & The Way Back @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Javier Matos, guitar, vocals, harmonica; Michael Carvale, upright bass; Grant Wibben, drums. This trio explores all kinds of music from the cultures around this nation: blues, swing, Americana, and more. Here’s Javier with his more well known band – the Innocent Sons.

Wednesday, March 30 – Sunday, April 3

A Night With Janis Joplin @ The Ordway Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($34 – $101), 2pm Saturday and Sunday ($34 – $110) Mary Bridget Davies does an excellent job of conveying the power and emotion of Janis Joplin’s singing in this jukebox musical. There’s no plot, just Davies as Joplin singing and talking a little bit about her early life and the power of the blues. She’s given outstanding help from the band as well as four exceptional female singers who portray some of her inspirations, including Bessie Smith, Odetta, Etta James, and the Chantels. Listen for yourself.

Thursday, March 31

Shannon Mac Band @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The guys in the Mystic Order of Reverb and Twang were looking around for a new spark to their music and found it in Shannon Mac  She’s a firecracker of a singer, whether attacking Rockabilly, foot stomping R& B, or good ol’ Rock & Roll.

Doug MacLeod @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($20) This blues troubadour is a singer/songwriter/guitarist with great chops who writes about life experiences that relate to many of us. MacLeod has won both the 2014 Blues Music Awards as Acoustic Artist of the Year and for Acoustic Album of the year. He was nominated again in 2015, and his latest release “Exactly Like This” has received glowing reviews.

Friday, April 1

Local Hermits and Papa John Kolstad @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5?) Things get off to a rockin’ start with the garage rock of the Local Hermits: music by T Rex, The Stones, The Flaming Groovies and more. Then at 9pm, the wry, former mayoral candidate, Papa John Kolstad steps up to entertain with some blues, jazz, and occasional stories.

Momentary Lapse of Floyd @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12advance/$15 Door) It’s music for Sci-Fi Fans and others, as The Dark Side of the Moon meets 2001: A Space Odyssey. A live band will perform the Pink Floyd album in its entirety while syncing the music to a screening of the 1968 classic movie. There will be two sets of Dark Side material as well as other songs from Pink Floyd’s catalog. The band includes musicians from The Big Wu, Kung Fu Hippies, the Last Waltz; and Nicholas David. Here’s the band doing a Pink Floyd song from Wish You Were Here.

Dap Squad @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Here’s a funky variety band that can go from the Doobie Brothers to Daft Punk.  Each member of this ensemble has toured with or shared the stage with such artists as Prince, the Commodores, Pearl Jam, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, to Harry Connick Jr and Wynton Marsalis. Here’s a promo video

April Fools on April Fools @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Rock, twangy country, pop, and blues from Brian Drake, lead vocals and guitar; Clay Williams, guitar; Ben Kaplan, drums; and Scott Hreha, bass.

Saturday, April 2

Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 – includes a free beverage) If you’re looking for a rompin’ stompin’ evening of take-no-prisoners blues, then Famous Dave’s is the place to be tonight. Lil’ Ed plays slide guitar with a ferocity that’s hard to match, no less beat.

Sunday, April 3

Taiko Lab @ Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 2pm, 7pm ($10) Like the sound of big drums? You may want to explore the drumming and theater of the Taiko Lab, featuring the drummers Mu Daiko. They will present the evolution of ideas presented in last year’s lab, as well as a host of brand new pieces. Their work uses fue melodies, Japanese folk dance, tai-chi movement and heart pounding rhythms to stretch the melodic and choreographic elements of taiko.

Tuesday, April 5

Acoustic Africa featuring Habib Koite, and Vusi Mahlasela @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) The Cedar continues to prove that when it comes to world musics, it’s unmatched. Tonight the rich traditions of African Voice and Song will be explored by two beloved singers: Habib Koite  and Vusi Mahlasela  Koite is a Malian guitarist and composer named by Rolling Stone was the biggest pop star of the region,selling over 250,000 albums worldwide.  Mahlasela, from South Africa, has appeared in town a couple of times, to the delight of his audiences. He played at Nelson Mandela’s inauguration, and has served as an official ambassador to Mandela’s HIV/AIDS initiative. Mahlasela’s voice at times recalls Sam Cooke, but it’s his message of hope for his apartheid-scarred country that resonates around the world.

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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