Decisions, Decisions. Music: 1.14 – 1.20

January 14, 2015

Decisions-thanks-to-SubhanWell, with the weather breaking a bit, we’ve got a fine week of music ahead of us, with a couple of Billie Holiday tributes (one which also includes a tribute to Sinatra), a Carmen McRae tribute, some funky, funky, blues and a couple of African inspired projects. Lots of other good music as well. We are lucky to have such a rich musical community in our towns. Have a good week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, January 14

Triosé  @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Trirosé  is Vinnie Rose, guitar; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Adrian Suarez, drums. They perform jazz standards, contemporary pop, and original compositions in a straightforward, yet dashing manner.

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Photo of Chris by Andrea Canter

Chris Bates Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation). Once a month Chris Bates brings in a group to play this basement space. Tonight the group includes Bates on bass, of course, with the wonderful Peter Schimke on keys and Cory Healy on drums.

Thursday, January 15

Beasley’s Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7:00pm ($8) Here’s a refreshing change of pace, as BBB plays for swing dancers young and old – especially young. The exhilaration of the young dancers – some still in high school – is certainly catching, and if you check out the side rooms, you may see them practicing their more acrobatic moves.

Chet-the Beautiful Music and Tragic Life of Singing Trumpeter Chet Baker: Larry McDonough Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Chet Baker was a 50s trumpeter with movie-star good looks, and a “cool” almost detached way of playing and singing. Drug addiction ruined his looks, but even after losing his teeth in a bad drug deal, he was able to perform in the 70s and 80s, producing a number of great CDs before he was found dead on the street below his Amsterdam hotel room. McDonough s singing is also quiet and cool, and has been favorably compared to Baker’s. He’s bringing in Steve Kenny for the trumpet parts, along with Richard Terrill on saxes; Greg Stinson bass; and Dean White on drums. The first set will be “all Chet,” while the second will feature some of McDonough’s songs sung in Chet’s style. It’s rare that anyone tackles Baker’s catalog, especially his singing, so if you’re a fan of jazz singing, you will want to make your way to Jazz Central. Here’s a video of Larry playing piano at Charles DeGaulle airport.

Donald Washington Solo @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Though Washington is mainly known as the “musical father” of the great James Carter, his musicality is a joy to behold. The founder (with wife Faye) of the The New Day Blues Band (with son Kevin Washington and the late pianist Sam Favors) will be flying solo tonight, exhibiting his imagination and deep love for music through completely free improvisation.

Friday, January 16

Joyce Lyons @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1579 Hamline Ave, Falcon Heights. 7:30pm ($20 – includes sandwiches or pizza) Lyons is an accomplished singer with fans all over the country. Tonight she’ll be spotlighting the songs of Carmen McRae in a show titled “An Intimate Conversation,” accompanied by Phil Aaron, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; Zack Lozier,trumpet; & Jay Epstein, drums, all of whom will only elevate her already impressive singing. I haven’t been to this place lately, so the idea of a cover that includes some food is intriguing, to say the least. Here she is singing at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Thomas Bruce @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) You can count on quality vocalists every Friday night in the lounge of this Italian place, and Bruce is no exception, with a voice that ranges from baritone to tenor, and good taste in sidemen.

Far Cry @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Far Cry is Paul Metzger, guitar; JT Bates, drums; Josh Granowski, bass; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet. Given the presence of Metzger and Bates, this may be one of the more adventurous groups to play at the basement club.

Friday, Saturday, January 16, 17

Debbie Duncan in a Room With a Vieux – Part Deux @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) After a successful New Year’s Eve, the Vieux Carre (Voo Caray – the name of New Orleans French Quarter) will open again this weekend, this time featuring Debbie Duncan, vocalist supreme, with Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Joe Pulice, drums; Kenny Holmen, sax. The menu offering is hose made Muffaletta sandwiches.

Friday,Saturday, Sunday, January 16, 17, 18

Holiday for Frank: Arne Fogel & Maud Hixson @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm  Fri, Sat; 2:00pm Sunday ($20/$18 Seniors/$15 25 & Under) 2015 marks the Centennial year of the birth of both Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday. Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson will be doing the songs of both for this show, with musical direction from Rick Carlson  Musical integrity and fine musicianship are just about guaranteed with this group.

Saturday, January 17

bottomless_pit__640x480_The Bottomless Pit @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) This is the debut performance of this group of veterans, which includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Tom Lewis, bass. Opening at 7pm is Jazz Front: Jeffrey Dunitz, drums; Eric Graham, bass; Ted Godbout, piano. BP this the stage at 8:30pm.

Monday, January 19

Real Bulls & the PBR Street Gang @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s a Mini-Minne-Monster night as some of the best jazz musicians in town take to the stage. The first set is a double drum extravaganza with JT Bates and Dave King performing as the Real Bulls. Second set in the PBR Street Gang: Anthony Cox, bass; Dave King, drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Dean Granros, guitar.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 20, 21

José James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) James is the Minneapolis native who made a name for himself singing jazz with his 2008 debut, The Dreamer. Since then he’s grown as an artist, integrating all forms of Black Music into his singing, and even using elements of indie rock and folk in a seamless manner. His latest project, due out later this Spring is While You Were Sleeping, the Music of Billie Holiday, which he’s previewing with this appearance.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, January 14

Annie Mack on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 club – tip Jar) Mack is a blues singer who represented Minnesota at the International Blues Challenge last year, even though she was 6 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It’s typical of her spirit and her ferocity. You know the drill by now. Listen in during the 5pm hour, and if you’re impressed, which I think you may be if you like the blues, gospel, and old school R&B, head over to the 331 to catch her act live.

Morgan James @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) James is a classically trained singer who found her voice singing soul music on stage with Motown, the Musical, where she sang Teena Marie songs. Berry Gordy steered her to Epic Records, where her first release was from a live show at Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola in Lincoln Center, singing the songs of Nina Simone. Her first studio album came out last summer, and features her as a co-writer on 8 of 11 songs. The New York Times has praised her feel for classic soul music.

Thursday, January 15

Non-Prophets do Toots & the Maytals @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) I’ve to to give props to anyone who will attempt the soulful reggae of Toots and the Maytals. Opening is the ska band, Pretty Ugly.

Droppers @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s instrumental nirvana (no not the group) when this quartet takes the stage emulating the Southern sounds of Booker T & the MGs and the New Orleans funk of the Meters.

Friday, January 16

Armadillo Jump @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($5)  This event is sponsored by U Wanna Dance (see link to their calendar, below), so you can be assured that the large dance floor at Wilebski’s will be packed. You can also be assured that Armadillo Jump will be up to the task of keeping people on the dance floor.

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Tom Harkness, Swamp King

Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get your share of swampy, bluesy goodness from guitarist Tom Harkness and his mates in the Swamp Kings  CJ Vanderpool, percussion; Steve :Dancin” Hansen, bass & vocals; and Harry Pulver, accordion.

Hot Pants Dance Party & the Chicago Afrobeat Project @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?)  While the Hot Pants DJs have often been guests at concerts, this is the first time a band is guesting at a Hot Pants gig. Besides the rare funk n’ soul 45s that the Hot Pants crew will be spinning, you be treated to the Afro-funk sounds of the Chicago Afrobeat Project  a 10-piece group that pushes the boundaries of that genre. Should be a hot night, no matter what the temperature is outside.

Saturday, January 17

Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($13) Old timey sensibilities collide with rock n’ punk energy as Kaul, guitar; Mikkel Beckman, washboard; and Brad Ptek, on washboard bass play old blues, and Kaul’s originals, which are quite good. It’s a small space, with limited seating, so you may want to call and buy tickets in advance. Need I remind you that the Riverview has a great wine list?

People Brothers Band @ the Bedlam Theater Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) This 8 piece band from Madison is a rhythm n’ soul group with a debut CD that’s a solid slab of original songs set to mid-tempo rhythms and danceable beats that range from second line funk to reggae and more.

Sunday, January 18

Patty & The Buttons @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Patty & the Buttons just released a fine album, Mercury Blues, which has received glowing reviews, including a mention as one of the best of 2014. This is a regular Sunday morning gig for them, which often finds them playing for some dancers. Members include Patrick Harrison – Button Accordion; Keith Boyles, bass; Tony Bailuff, clarinet, and Mark Kreitzer, guitar.

Paul Mayasich & the RAMM Band@ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover) They call it the RAMM Band because they play Real American Made Music, which perfectly encapsulates the Motown, R&B, Rock n’ Roll, and Blues that they play. Paul is a soulful, emotional guitar player, ably complemented by John Iden on bass; and Hye Pockets Robertson on drums.

Tuesday, January 20

H’SAO @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($25) H’SAO is a Montreal-based quintet is originally from Chad. They started out as an acapella group delivering rich, beautiful harmonies. They draw from gospel, R&B, reggae, and of course, Chadian music and other African influences. Since their beginning about 13 years ago, they’ve taken up a few instruments to add to their sound, but the harmonies remain at the center of their appeal. You can see and hear what I’m talking about in this video.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Dance, Dance, Dance. Music: 4.30 – 5.6

April 30, 2014
Back-flips are optional

Back-flips are optional

This seems to be an especially good week for folks who like to dance, whether they swing dance, do the two step, or hit the dance floor to cajun & zydeco, or Latin music. We’ve five events dedicated to dancers and a few others where dancing could erupt. We’ve also got a fine selection of listening events, including a Women in Jazz workshop aimed at young female musicians. All, in all, another good week of music in the Twin Cities. Music can lift your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 30 – International Jazz Day

Friends of Foreman @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) That’s friends of bassist Andrew Foreman, including Dave Feily guitar; Zach Schmidt, drums; and Dan Musselman on piano. They improvise on modern Jazz, indie-rock, and alt-pop, as well as original compositions.

Kevin Gastonguay Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:00pm ($10 Donation)  Pianist Gastonguay has garnered acclaim at festivals in Detroit Lakes and Sioux Fall, as well as at the 2010 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Here in town, he’s played with Cory Wong, Kevin Washington, Jay Young, and mangy others. He’ll be joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums; and Andrew Bergmann, bass.

Evans Courage Hennig @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Late night music from a new trio, though each of them have been playing around town for years. Park Evans is a guitarist with taste, who can bring the fire any time he wishes. Brian Courage has become a go-to guy on bass since his arrival in town a few years ago. Hennig is the drummer for modern jazz group Atlantis Quartet, as well as the punk/blues band Crankshaft and the Grinders. Will make for an interesting evening at this uptown bistro.

Thursday, May 1

Moonlight Serenaders @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) Here’s your mid-week big band fix, complete with swing dancers of all ages, a venue with a haunted past, and Lee Engele, a “canary” (as female big band singers were once known) who can swing with ease. Here’s the band, with Lee singing a classic number, at the Caves.

Friday, May 2

Kenny in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Kenny in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Kenny Horst & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Donation) Though he may have closed the Artists’ Quarter, drummer Kenny Horst doesn’t appear ready to fully retire. He’s gathered Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Brian Courage, bass; to back him as he returns to performing. It will be a swingin’ evening of straight-ahead jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ TheBlack Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Six imaginative improvisers who only play their own, original music. Consider their membership:  Steve Kenny, trumpet and fluegelhorn; Paul Harper, sax; David Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Byron Jonson-Blanchard Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Donation) Drummer Johnson-Blanchard’s quartet comes to the late night show at JC. The young percussionist (a 2008 grad of McNally Smith) plays around town in various groups, most steadily with the R&B horn band High and Mighty. Tonight he’s joined by cohorts David Hirsch, sax; Thomas Nordlund guitar; and Andrew Foreman, bass.

Saturday, May 3

Women In Jazz Workshop & Concert @ Maplewood Community Center, Maplewood. 2-4:30 workshop (free) 7pm concert ($20/adult, $10/student, free w/workshop) Pippi Ardennia’s non-profit, PipJazz and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education are teaming up to present a workshop introducing young female musicians to the women who have contributed to the growth of jazz as performers, composers, and bandleaders. The workshop will feature a history of women in jazz and end with an open jam session. then at 7pm the women leading the workshop will perform an evening concert. Participants include vocalists Pippi Ardennia and Patty Peterson, Kathy Jensen, sax; Laura Caviani, piano; Joan Griffith, bass, and drummer Sheila Earley. A special guest will be saxophonist Ebony Rainwater, a student at Sibley High School. Register for the workshop at: http://pipjazz.org

Paul Renz Quartet @ Rosemount Steeple Center, 14375 S. Robert Trail, Rosemount. 7pm ($5) Guitarist Paul Renz  uietly goes about teaching, regularly records, and tours the East Coast every now and then. This is a rare area performance by Renz, who is joined by Baltimore pianist Alan Blackman; Josh Granowski, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums.

Monday, May 5

Peter Vircks Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Vircks is a busy sax-man about town, recording and performing with groups ranging from Doug Little to Moveable Feast, Park Evans, and the percussive dance group Rhythmic Circus. His recent album What You Believe is True, has received praise from critics and musicians alike. He’ll be joined by Kevin Washington, drums; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Brian Ziemniak, piano. Here he is performing a classic in a guitar/sax duo.

 

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 30

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($5) Guitarist Joe Demko and his quartet play romantic music, as well as swing, boogie boogie, and jump blues. It’s perfect for the swing dancers and folks who, to quote a Sinatra song, know that “what is dancin’ but making love set to music, playing.” Here’s an example.

 

Lisa Wenger & Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaws, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) Vocalist Wenger has sung the blues at area festivals, on the national blues circuit, and at Sturgis. Her approach to blues singing is direct, and appeals to a wide variety of listeners. She surrounds herself with a talented band, too.

Thursday, May 1

UnknownKate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows Present a Dinner Dance @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Music only, $45 Music + 3 course Prix Fixe dinner).  Here’s an fun concept presented by a group that brings a fresh approach to jazz and pop from the 1920s to the 1950s. There’s a dinner set starting at 7pm, then at 8pm there’s be an abbreviated dance lesson for folks who need a refresher in basic dance steps, followed at 8:15 by a dance set from the band. Think of it as a “wedding dance without the wedding.”

 

Swamp Poppas @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm ($5) Karl Smelker leads this quartet in an evening of, what else, Swamp Pop, that mixture of Cajun music with Rock n’ Roll and the R&B of New Orleans. The resulting plaintive ballads and uptempo numbers will fill the dance floor with swing dancers, Cajun two-steppers, and couples who take delight in simply gliding around the dance floor.

Friday, May 2

Chico Chavez & Guayaba @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) Twin cities based Peruvian percussionist Chico Chavez has put together an 8-piece band to play Andean and Amazonian music known as “chicha.” It’s mostly a mix of mid-tempo Cumbia rhythms and slightly psychedelic guitars, with some songs that touch on other tropical rhythms. Get a taste of their music on their website

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) It’s another Freewheelin’ Friday from KFAI’s Jackson Buck, tonight featuring Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, with opener Dave Babb & Friends. Kaul plays fingerpicks a resonator guitar, and with the backing of the Brass Kings (Mikkel Beckman, washboard, found objects; Brad Ptacek, washtub bass; Jillian Rae, country/psychedelic fiddle) takes the music far beyond your typical acoustic realms. The evening starts of with Dave Babb, of the Liquor Pigs, and some of his friends. Of course, there’ll be a food truck available. Let’s hope the weather allows the warehouse doors to be open.

A new fashion trend?

M.O.R.T sporting a new fashion trend

Mystic Order of Reverb & Twang @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) M.O.R.T brings a batch of rockabilly and reverb-heavy surf music to the east metro. The middle-aged crowd at the Station is perhaps more used to the likes of Motown & bluesy rock, but the insistent bass and cheeky guitars of M.O.R.T. is sure to have them crowding the small dance floor.

Ray Bonneville CD Release @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 9pm ($12) Bonneville is known as a “roaming musician” who records for Saint Paul’s Red House Records. He’s Canadian by birth, is a Vietnam vet, drove a taxicab, and served as a bush pilot in Canada. He’s an acoustic bluesman who has won awards for his work and is heavily influenced by the music of New Orleans, where he spent time in the 1980s. The new CD is entitled “Easy Gone.” Here’s a video of Bonneville in action.

 

Saturday, May 3

For Pete’s Sake @ The Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($30) Pete Seeger would have been 95 on this date, and Minnesota singer/songwriter Larry Long, a long-time friend, has brought together a colorful cast of musicians, activists and narrators to celebrate all the phases of Pete’s life through song, stories, and spoken narratives. The cast ranges from former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayle-Belton and Poet Louis Alemayehu, to musicians such as Robert Robinson, Prudence Johnson, Tony Glover, Estaire Godinez, Chastity Brown, Peter Ostroushko, Long himself, and many, many more. Seeger is known as the “Father of American folk music” and influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Bruce Springsteen and thousands of budding musicians. Governor Dayton has proclaimed May 3 as “Pete Seeger Day” in Minnesota.

Unknown-3Sonny Knight & the Lakers Record Release @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm Door. ($10 Advance/$15 Door) Knight is another story of a “rediscovered” soul singer. He finally has a debut album after recording his first single over 50 years ago. The album, I’m Still Here, is a slice of funk and soul that will surely appeal to both boomers and today’s hipsters. This is going to be a big bash, what with the Honeydogs and Southside Desire opening.

Dad Horse Experience @ Bayport BBQ & Nashville Hot Chicken, Bayport. 8pm ($8) Owner Chris Johnson has added Nashville hot chicken to his BBQ, and continues to bring us outsider music that’s accessible in its own weird way. Example number one: Dad Horse Experience, a one-man band (banjo, kazoo, bass pedal) from Bremen, Germany, playing Gospel music that you’d never hear in a church. He sings and howls as if alone in a dark basement, desperately seeking redemption from a life of hard, hard sin. Definitely the under-the-radar gig of the week. Check out this video to see what I mean.

 

 

Sunday, May 4

Paul Thorn @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($23) Some guys are just able to sing the truth. Thorn is one of them – a former boxer who’s dad was a Pentacosal minister, and who had an uncle who was a pimp. Their advice and influence forms the basis for his bluesy Americana. He also does a terrific and often funny job of introducing his songs. Here’s an example.

 

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.

 


Music for an Early Spring: 3.21 – 3.27

March 21, 2012

Minnesota Spring. Photo by Ellen Empson (www.ellenempson.com)

Well, Spring has officially arrived, though the warm weather we’ve had makes it seem that perhaps we’ve skipped Spring entirely. Not many are complaining. Though the outdoors beckon, there are many good reasons to go indoors and hear music this week, including an open rehearsal, and a modern big band performance, some touring artists, a couple of CD release parties, and a benefit with some very unique combinations of musicians.  Have fun.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 21

Good Vibes @ Cafe Maude, South Minneapolis. 7pm (No cover)  The diners at Cafe Maude will get a special treat tonight. Chris Bates, bass; Phil Hey, drums; and Dave Hagedorn, vibes, perform sometimes intricate, often beautiful music. Call for reservations and say you’d like to be near the music.

Thursday, March 22

Nick Haas Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. An early evening gig from Haas, a guitarist/composer with good taste in both originals and standards.

Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Piano jazz the way you want it, tasteful, yet exciting. That’s not a paradox in Lomheim’s case.

JelloSlave @ Barbette, Uptown Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) JelloSlave has been using the combination of two cellos, tablas, and trapset for a few years now, creating a highly unique combination of drones, groans, and moans for originals, pop tunes, and classical numbers.

Sons of Daughters @ Jazz Central, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. (Donation)  Word is getting out to musicians that Jazz Central is a great venue for DIY performances. Sons of Daughters are an avant-garde jazz trio from New York City, though all three members are originally from Washington. They’re touring in support of their latest album, “Beyond Animals.” You can hear some of their music on their myspace page. BTW, at Jazz Central, it’s always BYOB.

Friday, Saturday, March 23, 24

Bruce Henry @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The master vocalist may now live in Chicago, but he does return a few times a year. His singing is informed by a thorough knowledge of all types of African American music. Whether he’s doing Marvin Gaye or Freddie Hubbard, the results are worth going out of your way to hear. Luckily, The AQ is smack in the middle of downtown Saint Paul.

Saturday, March 24

James Allen & Tom Peiper @ First Course Bistro, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover). This tiny place is hosting Allen, a guitarist whose combination of single lines and chords brings out much in his instrument. With Peiper on bass the two will be treating diners to acoustic jazz, bossa novas, and sambas.

Sunday, March 26

Chris Bates Quintet Open Rehearsal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 4pm – 6pm (Donation – $5 encouraged).  This is the third of three open rehearsals for the band before heading into the recording studio. After working on arrangements over the last few weeks, they’ll be playing new songs in their entirety. Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Brandon Wozniak, alto sax; Chris Thomson, tenor sax; Zac Lozier, trumpet.

Sunday, Monday, March 25, 26

Hiromi: The Trio Project @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($35, $25) Okay. Hiromi has blinding technique, but there is much, much more, such as the pure joy that she emanates when at the keyboard. Her imaginative playing has attracted the likes of Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and others with whom she’s played and toured. A recent Downbeat review of The Trio’s performance spoke of “a remarkably high level of intense-but-controlled energy.”

Monday, March 26

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ O’Gara’s, Saint Paul. 8pm – 9:30pm ($7). Adam is bringing an 18 piece big band to O’Gara’s Shamrock room. They play Adam’s original music, and will be premiering two new pieces. I saw this exciting group at their last O’Gara’s appearance. Anyone with an interest in big bands should check them out.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the Bebopified Calendar, here.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, March 22

Camille Baudoin w/the Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No Cover) You may know Baudoin as the guitarist for the long lived-but-no-longer extant Radiators out of New Orleans. Winner of Offbeat Awards for his 2011 acoustic album “Old Bayou Blues,” he’s in town for a couple of gigs, including the Sunday benefit listed below. Tonight he’s playing with Curt Obeda and the Butanes, the award-winning blues group that’s versatile enough to tackle all sorts of rhythms and blues with equal elán.

Friday, March 23

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings CD/LP Release @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10). Take a washtub (played by Brad Ptacek) and a washboard (Mikkel Beckman) from the laundry room. Add a broom and rope to the tub as per the diagram. Bring in a guitarist (Kaul) who is especially effective on Resonator, and who can write old sounding songs about contemporary life, and you’ve got the formula for an engaging trio. On “Machine,”the new CD/LP, and for tonight’s performance, the crew expands with the addition of fiddler Jillian Rae from the Killer Hayseeds.

Bethany Larson & the Bee’s Knees, Joey Ryan & the Inks, and Communist Daughter @ The Varsity, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8) Three young bands that feature excellent writing and vocals, fine musicianship and a sunny sound that sometimes hints at darker concerns.

Saturday, March 24

Janiva Magness CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Aside from Koko Taylor, Janiva is the only woman to receive the BB King Entertainer of the Year Award. A man is the target of some particularly tough words on her latest CD, “Stronger for It,” though that shouldn’t stop guys from listening or attending this show. After all, it’s the blues. Mighty fine blues, goosed along by Janiva’s soulful singing. Here’s a video of her doing a song from the new album.

Hot Pants @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm – 2am ($5) Soul. Funk. Vinyl. 45s. Dancing. Lots, and lots, and lots of Dancing.

Sunday, March 25

Brunch w/Javier & the Innocent Sons @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm. (No cover) More bracing than the hair of the dog, easier to take than a Rocky Balboa health drink, the swinging country blues of Javier & the boys will go well with the Kitchen’s famed breakfast dishes.

Never Let Your Fire Go Out: Benefit or Karl Bremer @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. Doors at Noon, Music 2pm – 9pm. ($25) Members of the New Orleans Radiators, The Butanes, the Cats Under the Stars Acoustic Trio, along with Willie West, Tony Glover, Gene LaFond and more. This is a unique and extraordinary gathering of veteran musicians. Well worth the entry, PLUS, it’s going to benefit Karl Bremer, founder of the Krewe of Dads, music writer, former Brewmeister of St. Croix Brewing,and author of “The Madness of Michelle Bachman” (2011, John Wiley & Sons).

Maurice Jaycox Band @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul 4pm (No Cover) This talented singer/instrumentalist has a long history with a number of highly popular bands. He’s also done a Nat King Cole tribute show, and of late has been sitting in at various venues around town. Jaycox has particularly good rapport with guitarists Bobby E. and Dean Mikkelson, who he’s been playing with lately. Hope they are with him for this late afternoon show. Well worth taking some time out of a sunny day.

Tuesday, March 27

Dan Hicks & The Hot Licks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30) Back when pop music was in love with psychedelic guitars, obtuse words, and overblown suites, along came the witty acoustic swing of Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks, providing a refreshing blend of folk, jazz, and country music and retro/nouveau hipsterism. He still concocts deliciously funny lyrics, and still swings. Here’s an example of his droll humor.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar.


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