Close to Home, Part 2: 2.7 – 2.13

February 7, 2018

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

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 7

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

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

Thursday, Feb 8

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

Friday, Feb 9

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

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

Saturday, Feb 10

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

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

Sunday, Feb 11

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

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

Monday, Tuesday, Feb 12, 13

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

Tuesday, Feb 13

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Feb 7

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

Thursday, Feb 8

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

Friday, Feb 9

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

Saturday, Feb 10

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

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

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

Sunday, Feb 11

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

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

Tuesday, Feb 13

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

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

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


Summer Begins: 3.25 – 3.31

May 25, 2016

Unknown-1Well, the unofficial start of summer is upon us. As the touring season for musicians kicks into high gear, we have more choices for music events from both visiting and resident artists, only a few of which I list each week. Like an overflowing picnic basket, we have more than enough to satisfy us. Have a great week. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 25

Larry McDonough: Born To Be Kind of Blue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Pianist McDonough has been doing shows about trumpeters Chet Baker and Miles Davis of late. Hollywood recently released films about both trumpeters, so it seems the next step for McDonough is to combine both shows. McDonough’s voice has the same “cool” quality as Baker, so he’s got that covered, and he’s brought in the talented Steve Kenny on trumpet. Other members of the group include Paul Peterson, tenor; Doug Haining, alto; Jim Bierna, bass; and Dean White, drums. Here’s McDonough doing a standard.

Bobby Lyle w/Billy Peterson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 Dinner), 9pm ($20) The Minneapolis native started playing piano in clubs at the age of 15, and hit the road as a full time musician after two years at Macalester. In the more than three decades since then he’s acquired an impressive resume, recording for Capitol, Atlantic, Three Keys, and Heads Up, and serving as musical director for Al Jarreau, Anita Baker, and Bette Midler. His 2005 album Straight and Smooth appeared on both the Smooth Jazz and Traditional Jazz charts for Billboard. He’ll be joined by bassist Billy Peterson, whose own musical career also knows few boundaries, having worked with Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Les Paul, Ben Sidran, and Steve Miller, among others.

Thursday, May 26

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Lucia Sarmiento Group is tonight’s attraction, and attraction is certainly the right word. Sarmiento is a young sax player from Peru who has been studying at MacNally Smith and increasingly gigging around town. She’s a strong player and a creative improviser. Joining her are a number of other young and youngish players: Will Kjeer, piano; Ethan Elseth, guitar; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums. Here she is from a few years ago.

Paula Lammers @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Vocalist Lammers and guitarist David Martin have been exploring the music of singer/songwriters of the 70s, when the form exploded on the radio and pop charts. Ex[pect to hear music from Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Rickie Lee Jones, Carole King, and more. Here she is doing an Ellington tune.

Friday, May 27

Jeremy Walker & Ted Nash @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Wow! Walker is a fine pianist and composer, well worth a visit to the Vieux. He’s a long time friend of saxophonist Ted Nash, who is coming through town and will be sitting in with Walker. Nash is a member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and co-founded the NYC based Jazz Composers Collective. He will soon be releasing Presidential Suite, based on great political speeches of the 20th Century.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Here’s a band that’s just made for the room, allowing you to enjoy gumbo, a po’ boy, or oysters while The Aces play traditional New Orleans jazz from the likes of Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, and Bix Beiderbecke, among others. The group includes: Tony Baluff, clarinet; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Robert Bell, guitar; and Dave Michael, drums. And what’s more New Orleans than Little Liza Jane?

Maud Hixson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30 (No Cover) Ms Hixson brings her elegant vocals to the lounge at the Italian eatery in the office warrens in the southeast corner of the 100/494 interchange. She’ll be joined by Gordy Johnson on bass and Rick Carlson on piano, two musicians whose restraint and taste are a good fit for Ms Hixson. Her latest project is a CD with songs mentioned in the Betsy-Tacy books, a series from the early 20th Century about life in Mankato. Here’s a sample.

Saturday, May 28

Selby Avenue Syncopaters @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Hot jazz from early in the 20th Century, played by Tom Zosel, clarinet/tenor sax; Harold Longley, tuba; Tim Altmann, trumpet; Chris Wiley, trombone; Tom Lyseng, drums; and Jeffrey Dunitz, banjo/guitar. Here’s what they sound like.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The new kitchen is open at the Black Dog, so while you’re enjoying music in the expanded space, you can have a burger or banh mi sandwich, among other offerings. At 7pm it’s the Evan Benidt Trio: Benidt, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Lars-Erik Larson, drums. The Peter Vircks Quartet starts sometime between 8:30 and 9:: Vircks, sax; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Brian Ziemniak, piano

Sunday, May 29

Joel Shapira @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 4pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) So, you’re hanging around town for the weekend, and if the forecast of rain on Friday and Saturday is correct, by Sunday afternoon, you’ll be looking for some diversion. Guitarist Joel Shapira might do the trick. The garage doors to the tap room will be open, so you can enjoy being on the patio.

 

Sergio Mendes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm  ($60 – $80) While Stan Getz may have had the first “bossa nova” hit with Desafinado, it was Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66 that really brought Brazilian music to the world 50 years ago. He adapted songs like The Look of Love, Fool on the Hill, and Scarborough Fair to the sensuous rhythms of Brazil, and took Mas Que Nada, sung entirely in Portugese, to the pop charts. He’s released 55 albums, and continues to meld pop instrumentation with Brazilian rhythms, maintaining his cool factor all these years. Here’s an example of just how cool he is – playing with the Black Eyed Peas

Tuesday, May 31

Dave Karr Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 Dinner) Saxophonist Karr moved to the Twin Cities in the 50s and began gigging around. In the intervening years created an award winning jingle agency, continued to gig, and has become an elder statesman in jazz, with an ever-inventive ability to caress a sweet melody or improvise a bebop line. He’ll be playing with Chris Lomheim, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.

Southern Minnesota REAL Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/student ID) This Waseca-based group is made up of the region’s top jazz musicians. About half are band directors, while the others come from a variety of occupations. They’ve got standard, 18-piece instrumentation, and play music from Ellington, Basie, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, Gordon Goodwin and others.

 

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) This may be the first appearance at the Vieux for this group, though they originally started when the place was the Artists’ Quarter. Initially, all members would play as part of Kenny’s early evening Tuesday night jam, until they coalesced as a group, with Kenny as the veteran playing with young lions. Besides Kenny on Flumpet_, the group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Thomas Strommen, sax; Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Listen.

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, May 25

Moonlight Duo on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The Moonlight Duo are Mary DuShane and Nick Jordan. DuShane is a fiddler with a long history in the Twin Cities folk and roots scene. She’s appeared on Prairie Home Companion as a member of the Powdermilk Biscuit Band, currently plays with the DL Cajun Band, and has been in a number of country, folk, and roots bands over the decades. Nick Jordan plays finger-picked guitar (he flat picks as well), mandolin, and flute/whistle, in addition to singing. It will be an evening of old time, Appalachian, and Irish songs.

The April Fools @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of rock n’ roll loving guys who know how to put the country in country rock. Each has played in a plethora of bands before this collaboration, which was supposed to be a one-off project. They enjoyed working together so much that they became a band. Brian Drake, vocals, guitars; Clay Williams, guitars, lap steel, and pedal steel; Ben Kaplan, drums & percussion; and Scott Hreha, bass.

Thursday, May 26

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Swing dancers and Cajun dancers unite! You have nothing to lose but calories from spinning, twirling, two-stepping, and generally dancing the night away to this seasoned group and their repertoire of New Orleans R&B, Cajun, & Zydeco music.

 

Charles Bradley @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 8pm doors ($20) There will be plenty of both young and old fans of funk n’ soul at the former bus depot tonight. Bradley spent years doing James Brown covers before he was discovered by the soul-loving folks at Daptone Records. He’s been given the sobriquet “Screamin’ Eagle of Soul” thanks to the intensity of his singing, which leans toward slow and medium tempos, though he explodes with passion on the occasional fast number.

Jaunito Pascual New Flamenco Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20-$25) Born in Minneapolis, Jaunito Pascual  as been recognized in both Spain and throughout the US for his creativity and virtuosity on the guitar. He’s been hailed by NPR and the Boston Globe, performed on a Prairie Home Companion Cruise, and appeared in Steve Martin’s Pink Panther 2.

Friday, May 27

JD Souther @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $52) Billed as an “Intimate Evening,” it will be just Souther on stage. The singer/songwriter was a critical source for songs during the flowering of California country/rock in the early 70s, having hits with Linda Ronstadt, the Eagles, Jackson Browne, and others. He had his own massive hit in 1979, with You’re Only Lonely, which hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary charts. Souther has admitted that his songs are often depressing, which may explain why they are popular with country stars like George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks and Dunn, and others. His latest album, Tenderness, finds him, like many other his age, exploring the Great American Songbook. Those of you of a certain age will remember this song, a hit for the Eagles.

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8pm ($20, $18 members) Doors at 6:30 and limited seating, in one of the nicest unexpected venues in town. Sit amongst stunning examples of 20th Century Realism, and listen to this extraordinary quartet, one of the few guitar ensembles in the country that performs its pieces from memory. You’ll hear music from J.S. Bach, Astor Piazzolla, Hiromi Uehara, Maria Kalaniemi, Alberto Ginastera, and Modest Mussorgsky. Don’t think this is on the program, but it’s a fine version.

North Country Bandits @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) The band was on hiatus for a while, so it’s good to have them back, performing  a heap of stompin’ blues, a bit of country, good ol’ rock n’ roll, and killer harmonies. The front line is Matt Pudas, Drew Druckery, and Doug Otto on guitars and vocals, along with Rich Casey bass; Chris Gray, drums, Joanna John, keys; and Nick “The Feelin’” Mrozinski on vocals and keys.

Riverside Swing Band EP Release @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Though the lounge has a small dance floor, it will undoubtedly be jumping as this quartet celebrates the release of “Songs from the 30s,” a collection of six vintage swing tunes.

Saturday, May 28

Boom Boom Stevie V & the Knockouts @ Neumann’s Bar, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpman and vocalist Steve Vondehaar, aka Boom Boom Steve, plays the Mississippi Saxophone with considerable skill. He’s been at it ever since buying a Tony Glover instruction book as a teenager. He and the Knockouts will have Neumann’s jumping.

Urban Flavor @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Funk n’ soul from a band of seasoned musicians, a few of whom were instrumental in the MPLS Sound of the 70s and 80s. Ben Locke was Alexander O’Neal’s drummer, while Charles and Donald Berry were cofounders of Quiet Storm, featured in the book/CD Purple Snow: Forecasting the Minneapolis Sound. Members of other bands from the era will be present, though it’s hard to say who may join the band for the evening.

Pat Hayes Band @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist/harpist/vocalist Pat Hayes isn’t exactly shedding his Lamont Cranston skin, just putting it aside for this gig, which will undoubtedly still feature an LC tune or two in a new configuration. I’m unsure of who he’ll have with him, except for Tim Wick, who will be playing organ.

Saturday, Sunday, May 28, 29

Memory Lanes Block Party @ Memory Lanes, 25th & 26th Ave So, Minneapolis. 9:30 – 2am Saturday, 3pm – 10 pm Sunday ($5/day) Deejays and bands galore, with Saturday featuring mostly (insert hyphenated genre here) rock bands, while on Sunday there are a few roots and blues bands of note, including: Jaedyn James & The Hunger at 4:30, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders at 8:20, the Legendary Shack Shakers at 9:30, and Davina & The Vagabonds indoors at 10:45.

 

Sunday, May 29

Ecuador Manta @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Based in Saint Paul since they began in 1992, Ecuador Manta is originally from the tiny village of Atahulapa, Ecuador. They combine traditional rhythms from Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Columbia with contemporary Latin and Caribbean rhythms to create a unique form of Andean music.

 

Tuesday, May 31

Siama: Rivers – From the Congo to the Mississippi CD Release @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) If the swaying rhythms of Congolese guitarist Siama Matuzungidi doesn’t make you want to move, you better check your pulse. Siama was a prolific studio musician during the golden era of soukous music (70s-’80s) and his distinctive guitar style is featured on over 100 hit songs, several of which he composed. He’s been a resident of the Twin Cities for a number of years now, slowly but steadily building a fan base and connections with other musicians in cross-genre projects. From the Congo to the Mississippi is one such project, featuring musicians such as Joe Savage, pedal steel; Jacqueline Ultan, cello; Tim O’Keefe, percussion; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard, JD Steele, vocals, and others, all of whom will be on hand. You’re invited to contribute an instrument in the lobby for distribution by Vega Productions to aspiring young musicians.

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


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.


Thanksgiving Music: 11.25 – 12.1

November 25, 2015

Greetings to all;

On Thursday, many will be thankful for Mashed Potatoes

On Thursday, many will be thankful for Mashed Potatoes

The listing is a little light this week, but still capable of lifting your spirit and reminding you of that for which you are thankful, which may include certain foods that are part of the day. And at this point, many of us may be reminded that we have much to be thankful about. However, events of the past few weeks also remind us that we have a way to go to reach the ideals that are celebrated with Thanksgiving. I am certainly thankful to have many of you in my life on a regular basis. And though I say it most every week, I discovered once again that it is absolutely true that music has the power to lift your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, November 25

Jay Young and the Advisory Committee @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Depending on whether or not you’re hosing Thanksgiving, you may have the time and inclination to hear some new music. Tonight, bassist Jay Young picks up the piccolo bass once again, and leads a group consisting of: Gary Raynor, bass; Pete Whitman, saxes; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, November 25, 26, 27

Davina and the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (Wed, Thurs), 8pm (Fri) $15) After being absent from the local scene all summer due to touring, Davina and the guys come back with a vengeance for this three night gig, which is certainly a rarity these days. Whether you’re pre or post the big dinner, Davina’s stirring vocals and the unabashed energy of the Vagabonds will get you jumping in your seats, if not elsewhere.

Friday, November 27

All kinds of swing dancers turn out at the Caves

All kinds of swing dancers turn out at the Caves

Swingbeat Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8) Moved from Thursday night this month, Swing Night at the Caves features the Swingbeat Big Band. You’ll see folks of all ages out on the dance floor. Bring dancing shoes, keep them clean, and no bare feet on the floor.

Paul Harper Chordless Quartet @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist Paul Harper leads Steve Kenny, Flumpet; Tom Lewis Bass; and Matt Buckner, drums.

Levi Schwartzberg Project @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Young vibist and pianist Levi Schwartzberg gathers some like-minded musicians to perform Schwartzberg’s originals and, I’m assuming, some jazz standards. Beside Levi, the group includes: Thomas Stromman, tenor; Jackson Mullet, trumpet; Drew Stinson, bass; and Benjamin Beyene drums.

Saturday, November 28

Jazz @ Barely Brothers Records, 783 Raymond Ave, Saint Paul. Noon – 5pm. (Free) Owners Mike and Spencer are doing a good job of finding ways to bring folks into their vinyl emporium. Today, bassist Adam Linz (a part-time worker at the store) brings in four groups to play, including the Dominican Crisis Quintet at noon; Ted King at 1pm; the “Pony Show Edition” of Le Percheron at 2pm, and The Dakota Combo at 3pm. The show is free, but you may be very tempted to purchase of something from the store.

Pat Mallinger @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm. ($12) Alto saxophonist Pat Mallinger returns to his home town for a regular gig while visiting family. He’s always appeared at the Artists Quarter in the past, so it’s appropriate for him to play the Vieux. Tonight he’ll be joined by Chris Lomheim, piano; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. Mallinger lives in Chicago, and his late night gig at the Green Mill there has been going on for 20 years or so, and recently featured on Christian McBride’s Jazz Night in America. Here’s a video from an AQ performance of a few years back.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (tip Jar) First up is Steve Kenny’s Group 47, able to play because pianist Will Kjeer is back in town for the holiday. Followed at 8:30pm by Dave King’s Vector Families, one of the drummer’s many bands: Dean Granros, guitar; Anthony Cox, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax.

Peg Carrothers @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Vocalist Peg Carrothers is celebrating the US release of her album Edges of My Mind, which has already been released in France and has sold over 1000 copies, which is quite good for a jazz release in this download era, especially in one country.  She’ll be joined by husband and pianist Bill Carrothers, as well as Dean Magraw, guitar and mandolin; and Billy Peterson, bass. This is part of the Jazz at Studio Z series, and as always, there will be a master class at 6pm, where Peg will discuss being the Singer in the Band. Attend the master class and the concert is only $10. Here’s something from the album.

Monday, November 30

Pat Martino Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($32), 9pm ($20) Guitarist Martino began playing professionally after he dropped out of 10th grade in Philadelphia to play in that city’s burgeoning rock scene, touring with organist Charles Earland,m and recruited by Lloyd Price to play in his band. He played in the organ trios of Jack McDuff and Don Patterson, as well as with organ groups led by Willis Jackson. After suffering from a severe brain aneurysm, he could hardly remember anything, including his parents, and his ability to play. The award winning guitarist learned to play again by listening to and playing along to his own recordings. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Pat Bianchi, Hammond organ; and Carmen Intorre, drums.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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, November 25

Nikki & the Rue-Mates on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club, Tip Jar) Nikki and the Rue-Mates are deserving of a wider audience for their Sixties style Folk-Rock and Folk-Blues, filtered through a much younger generation. Besides Nikki on vocals and guitar, the Rue-Mates are Rich Rue, guitar; Jon Olson, bass; and Jimmy Tollesrud, drums. I don’t know if all four will show up for the radio show, but they’ll be on stage for the 5th or 6th Thanksgiving Eve show in a row. Here they are sans drummer.

imagesA Tribute to Joe Cocker @ Pepito’s Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Forty-five years after Joe Cocker made his Twin Cities appearance at what is now First Avenue, a bunch of Sterling musicians, including Mick, take the stage in this show. Featuring, besides Mick, 13 other musicians, including Bobby Vandell and Scott Sansby among 4 drummers, Melanie Rosales and Cate Fiero on vocals, Billy Franze on guitar, and Serge Akou on bass.  Word on the street is that this is a hot show.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Saxophonist Clarke, winner of six Minnesota Music Awards, leads the Working Stiffs through some jump blues, swing, and a bit of jazz. Here they are doing an old Cab Calloway number.

Thursday, November 26

The Butanes @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Work off those turkey blues with the Twin Cities best blues band, and the guests that show up each week. If you can dance in tight spaces, you may even be able to work off some mashed potatoes.

Friday, November 27

Jimmi & the Band of Souls @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) It’s the third anniversary for Ted and Jennifer Wilebski, and Jimmi & the Band of Souls will provide the soundtrack for the party: high energy blues, R&B, and a touch of gospel.

Pat Donahue @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) This Grammy winning fingerpicking guitarist with a pleasant voice will be joined by Dan Newton on accordion, and Gary Raynor on bass. I’m thinking there will be more band members to fill out the sound.

The Silvertones @ Schooner’s Tavern, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Here’s a show for baby boomers and others who want to dance but don’t don’t want to make a big deal of going out. The funky, comfortable Southside tavern might be considered a dive, but it’s too well cared for. The Silvertones are a 60s cover band, plain and simple, with a repertoire that ranges from Girl Groups to the Byrds, to Steppenwolf to Stax Soul. Add in the inexpensive drinks, a few friends, and you’ve got a recipe for a fun evening.

Saturday, November 28

Louis Prima Jr & the Witnesses @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. ($15 Advance, $20 Door) Though your first reaction might be “What the?” this sounds like it could be much fun. Yes, Prima is the only son of the Wild Man of Las Vegas, and yes, his act draws upon his paternal heritage, but Prima also has a background in rock, having led a Las Vegas band called Problem Child in the 80s and early 90s. He began performing the music of his Dad in 1995, and until 2010, juggled that with a full-time job. Then he took up performing full time in 2010, and after a successful appearance at the New Orleans Jazz Festival, released his first album, Return of the Wildest, in 2012, which was followed last year by Blow. He’s got 8 musicians in the Witnesses, and according to Nick Spitzer, of American Roots, he has, “a sense of honor, of joy; a sense of being Louis Prima’s son, but also a sense of self.”

High and Mighty @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?) This eleven-piece horn band has a repertoire that ranges from Joe Cocker and classic Motown, to Kool & the Gang, The Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, and Amy Winehouse. Bring your dancing shoes.  Here’s a video with a number of samples of their work.

Jimi Hendrix Remembered @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) This tribute show has been going on for 23 years now. Tonight’s extravaganza features such mighty performers as Billy Franze, Julius Collins, Jeremy Ylvisaker, and Jellybean Johnson.

Sunday, November 29

The World’s Most Dangerous Polka Band @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 1am – 3pm (Free) Nye’s house band began in 1975, which makes it older than many of its fans. It brings its polkas, waltzes, foxtrots, and more to Saint Paul on the last Sunday of every month for brunch, which includes Polish brunch items and sausages from Kramarczuks.

Monday, November 30

Daddy Squeeze and some of his friends

Daddy Squeeze and some of his friends

Daddy Squeeze & Friends @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) There’ll be spinning, dipping, and two-steps galore at this bi-weekly Cajun/Zydeco dance. Master of the “Stomach Steinway” Dan Newton will bring along some of his pals to provide the beats and melodies for dancers.

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.

 


Summer Nights: 8.12 – 8.18

August 12, 2015
As the sun sets earlier each day, we can check out indoor music.

As the sun sets earlier each day, we can check out indoor music.

Greetings and Salutations to one and all;

While I am sure you can find some outdoor events around town (Movies & Music in the parks, Bandshell concerts, etc.), this week finds us with many indoor events worth your perusal and time. Especially since, dare I say it, we are beginning to see darkness around 9pm or so, when many indoor events take place. Whatever your inclination, get out and hear some of the great talent we have in our towns. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 12

Kameron Markworth’s Claw Machine @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is a new trio, headed by bassist Kameron Markworth  who is originally from SE Wisconsin, and is now based out of Mpls after five years in Indiana, Philly, and NYC. Markworth plays with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, the Zacc Harris Trio, and the Bill Simenson Orchestra, among others. Joining him in Claw Machine is Trent Baarspul, guitar; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums. Her is Markworth in another setting.

Axis Mundi World Jazz Quintet @ Starring Lake Park, 14800 Pioneer Trail, Eden Prairie. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) Here is a group playing mainstream jazz interpreted using a variety of rhythms from around the world. Glen Helgeson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Gary Schulte, violin; Dave Stanoch, drums; and Daryl Boudreaux, percussion

Thursday, August 13

Ted Olsen and Joe Strachan @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No cover) Two of the town’s young lions – bassist Ted Olsen and pianist Joe Strachan play for the early evening/suppertime crowd at the Vieux.

about_singersShoop! @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Shoop! (with the exclamation mark) is a five piece vocal group operating in the style of the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices, singing jazz and the occasional pop song (hence the name). Three females (two sopranos and an alto) and two males, accompanied by trumpet, reeds, and a rhythm section.

Michael Janisch’s Paradigm Shift Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bassist Michael Janisch was raised in Minnesota but is now based in London. He brought an outstanding New York Quartet to Studio Z last year and now returns to perform with some of our own talent – 3/4 of the Atlantis Quartet: Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Peter Hennig, drums. An excellent evening of music. Her is Janisch with another of his groups.

Le Percheron and Sound Skirmish @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Another weekly installment in the Khyber Pass Thursday night jazz series. Sound Skirmish opens. I wrote about them last week: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Patrick Adkins; Drew Stinson; and Ben Ehrlich. Le Percheron is: Adam Linz, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Corey Healey, drums; Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes. Listen to Sound Skirmish.

Friday, August 14

Zacc Harris & Michael Janisch @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No cover) Guitarist about town Zacc Harris teams up with the well respected bassist Michael Janisch after last night’s performance at Studio Z (see above).

UnknownAnthony Cox Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Cox is one of the nationally prominent artists who happen to live in the Twin Cities. He’s played with Joe Lovano, Dewy Redman, Dave Douglas, Pat Metheny and many more. Don’t know who will accompany him, but he certainly has good taste in sidemen.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Steve Kenny, a veteran musician, has taken a page from Art Blakey and in this group surrounds himself with a number of young, very talented musicians. This will be the final performance of this group until pianist Will Kjeer is back in town from college. Along with Steve on flumpet; there is Thomas Strommen, saxophones, Adam Tucker, bass; and Alex Burgess, drums. Here they are with a Will Kjeer original.

Healey, Baldwin, & Bates @ SW Craft Bar, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Formerly known as Señor Wong’s the SW Craft Bar on 4th Street in downtown Saint Paul is experimenting with live jazz on a regular basis. Tonight drummer Corey Healey is working with Jake Baldwin, trumpet, and Chris Bates, bass, to play originals and a few standards.

Saturday, August 15

Chris Lomheim @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No cover) Though he is inspired by Bill Evans, pianist Lomheim has his own natural, relaxed sound. A great booking for dinner hour at the Vieux.

Saturday Night Jazz @ the Blackdog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jazz continues at the Black Dog with the Will Kjeer Summer Band opening at 7pm. Besides Will on piano, the band will feature his uncle, the hard driving Kenny Horst on drums, and Dave Brattain on sax, as well as a number of special guests. Following Will and his band at 8:30pm are the Larry McDonough Quartet, a group that has played together for a number of years now. It includes McDonough on piano and occasional vocals; Richard Terrill on sax; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums. Their first set will be acoustic, with music by Jobim, Cole Porter, Bill Evans, and others, while the second set will be electric jazz-rock fusion by the likes of Sting, Spinal Tap, Steely Dan, and others. Here’s McDonough and his quartet.

Charmin Michelle @ Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Ms Michelle brings her honey-coated voice to the intimate space that feels a bit like a small NYC bar of the 60s, right down to its popovers. Reservations are recommended, since it only has about 10 tables and seating for another 10 or so at the bar.

Sunday, August 16

Andrew Walesch @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley, 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Pianist and vocalist Walesch will be leading the brunch crowd through standards and Sinatra-esque songs. He’ll have a couple of A-Listers helping him: Gordy Johnson on bass and Jay Epstein on drums.

Monday, August 17

Eric Harland and Rude Unkal @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15 – $20) Drummer Eric Harland is only 36, yet he’s been on almost 200 recordings, and has been nominated for a Grammy multiple times. He’s played with veteran artists like McCoy Tyner, Michael Brecker, Terence Blanchard, both Branford and Wynton Marsalis, Dave Holland, and Charles Lloyd, as well as with new artists like Esperanza Spalding, Julian Lage, and Jane Monheit. Tonight he gathers six funky players to perform what he terms “garage jazz.” To get an idea of what he means by that, listen to this YouTube cut of the Buddy Miles song, “Them Changes.” There’s a bit of an interview with Harland that lasts about two minutes before the music begins.

Tuesday, August 18

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) The singer/flautist is once again performing after having a baby boy a few months back, Nyberg and her group, which includes husband/trumpeter Adam Meckler, do a fine job of presenting original music, as well as interesting arrangements of jazz standards and occasional pop songs. Here they are doing an original.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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 12

Katy Vernon Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Raised in London, and based in Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Vernon is a guitarist/ukelelist and singer/songwriter who uses folk and country stylings for her often sad, but always heartfelt songs. She’s got a top notch band backing her up. As Harold would say, you know the drill – tune in and then head to the 331 Club. BTW, I’ll be sitting in for Harold on the show and at the 331 Club.

Black Diet @ Mill City Museum Courtyard, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm ($5) If you like the music that emanated from STAX Records in the 60s and early 70s, AND you also liked the garage band sounds of the 60s, then Black Diet  s the band for you. They take the musical forms of STAX, and add the energy and attitude of garage bands to create a jumpin’ bumpin’ swirl of music that will make you dance. It takes place in a most unusual venut: the ruins courtyard of the Mill City Museum on the Minneapolis riverfront.

Thursday, August 13

Tab Benoit @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($15 Advance, $20 Door) Born in Baton Rouge, Benoit plays Cajun-influenced blues, blending the music of the swamp and that of East Texas. He learned the blues by playing alongside legends like Tabby Thomas, Raful Neal, and Henry Gray. He’s also a founder of Voice of the Wetlands Foundation, dedicated to preserving Louisiana’s wetlands and swamps. Benoit has recorded about 17 albums, and in 2007 was received the BB King Entertainer of the Year award.

Friday, August 14

Original Wailers @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Okay, the name is a bit strange, since this group contains no members of the Wailers prior to Marley going solo in the late 70s. However, it is led by guitarist Al Anderson, who played on No Woman, No Cry, Dem Belly Full, and other hits. He’s also played with Peter Tosh, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Steel Pulse, Aswad, and the Rolling Stones. If you keep your expectations in check, this will be a very Irie concert. Dred I Dread Opens.

Paul Metsa and Willie Walker w/Sonny Earl and the Sisters of Mercy @ The Dakota, Minneapoils. 8pm ($10) Paul and Willie are a known, terrific factor. Paul and singer/harpist Sonny Earl have also done a number of highly satisfying performances together. The unknown factor is the Sisters of Mercy, which I’m inclined to think will be much fun, given Paul’s track record.

Worldwide Discoteque @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engel are moving their monthly pan-tropical vinyl dance party from Clubhouse Jaeger to the larger space of the Nomad World Pub. You’ll hear (and dance to) it all, from Afrobeat and Hi-Life to reggae, sambas, salsas, cumbias, and festejos. Tonight’s special guest is Rambo Salinas, whose collection undoubtedly includes Tex-Mex and Norteno music.

Saturday, August 15

Blues, Brews, & BBQs @ Mt Olivet Lutheran Church, 12235 Old Rockford Rd, Plymouth. 4pm – 10pm ($15) Here’s a blues-influenced roots music festival that benefits Habitat for Humanity, and Prism, of Golden Valley. As the name states, there will be beer from three different brewers (as well as wine), BBBQ from Mr. Pig Stuff, Von Hanson’s, and The Chuck Wagon, and blues: Jacy Pelstring at 4pm; The Lisa Wenger Band at 5:30 and 7:30, The Soul Tight Committee at 6:15, and Lamont Cranston at 8:30. Here’s Wenger and her band.

PaviElle @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8:30pm ($10) PaviElle performs modern soul music, but don’t be surprised if she throws in her own version of a Fleetwood Mac song. Listeners may be reminded of Bill Withers at some point, and her band can easily launch into an extended jam a-la Parliament/Funkadelic.

Sunday, August 16

Tinsley Ellis @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) When talking about Southern blues-rocker Ellis  the words, fiery, searing, and incendiary often come to mind. But then, he was born in Atlanta, grew up in Southern Florida, and was inspired by a BB King performance as a teenager. Ellis averages over 150 live shows a year, and as a result, he’s honed his chops to the point where Rolling Stone Magazine says he rivals Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.

Jesse Lége, Joel Savoy, and Kelli Jones-Savoy @ The Eagles #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($12) When it comes to Cajun music, this trio is the real deal. Lége grew up in rural Louisiana without electricity, learned the accordion from relatives and neighbors, and has earned many awards from the Cajun French Music Association (CFMA). Joel Savoy is the son of Marc and Ann Savoy, Cajun Music Royalty, and grew up in the midst of the Cajun renaissance of the 80s. Savoy and his wife Kelli had a South Louisiana hit a couple of years back with their version of a Ray Price country song from 1954: I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me). This is a Krewe de Walleye event, and as such there will be dance lessons during the break.

Monday, August 17

Minneapolis Fire Collective Pre-Burning Man Performance @ Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 8:30pm (Dry Run rehearsals), 8:30 – 10pm (Burn) (Donations Accepted) Here is an intriguing event that’s not a music performance, yet will certainly get your attention. The Minneapolis Fire Collective will be heading to the Burning Man Conclave in the Nevada desert at the end of the month to take part in the Great Circle just prior to the Conclave-ending Burn of the Man.  They are making their dress rehearsal a public performance. I’m not sure what it entails, though I’m sure it involves burning a lot of something. Here’s an example.

Tuesday, August 18

New Riverside Ramblers @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (Free) Cajun dancing fueled by the twin fiddles of Eric Mohring and AJ Srubas, and goosed along by the Cajun accordion of John Terr. Karen Kleinspehn, on rhythm guitar; Doug Lohman, bass; and Paul Loughridge, drums, complete the mix. There will be dance lessons at 6:30, and refreshment will be available. Of course, you can pack a picnic.

Robert Cray, w/Sonny Landreth @ the Weesner Family Amphitheater, MN Zoo. ($45 – if not sold out) An outstanding double bill. Cray’s soulful blues have earned him five Grammys, recordings with John Lee Hooker, and his name on a signature model of the Telecaster. In 2011 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Landreth is a guitarist who deserves more fame. He first played in Clifton Chenier’s band, and then with John Hiatt as well as John Mayall. His penchant for slide guitar and the zydeco influence in his playing have earned him the nickname of “King of Slydeco.” Eric Clapton says he’s one of the most advanced and most under-appreciated guitarist in the world, and has had Landreth play at a number of the Crossroads Guitar Festivals. Here’s an example of Landreth at work.

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 calendar for U Wanna Dance.


Outdoors. Indoors. Music: 7.22 – 7.28

July 22, 2015
Lowertown Blues Festival. One opportunity for outdoor music

Lowertown Blues Festival. One opportunity for outdoor music

It’s Summertime, and there are many outdoor events featuring great music. I’ve included a few here. But don’t forget some of the indoor venues as well. We abound with opportunities to lift our spirits through music. Take advantage of them. And if you’re going to an outdoor event, take a picnic.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 22

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5) Trumpeter Kenny has assembled a group of excellent young players to play with him. The result is invigorating jazz. Thomas Strommen, sax, is in his third year of studies at UW River Falls; pianist Will Kjeer was a member of the Dakota Combo and led his own groups before graduating high school and going off to study at Interlachen in Michigan for a year; Adam Tucker, bass, slightly older, but still in his 20s, and has worked with the Adam Meckler Orchestra, and the Jana Nyberg Group, in addition to being a producer; Drummer Alex Burgess is also a student at UW-river Falls. this is what they sound like.

Andrew Walesch Quartet @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7-m (No Cover) This is becoming a regular gig for young Mr. Walesch  and he deserves it. The singer/pianist always has stellar accompanists who help him swing so well that couples are inspired to dance.

APE:Adrian Peterson Ensemble @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Adrian Suarez, drums; Joe Strachan, keys; and Graydon Peterson, bass will present some surprising versions of unlikely songs. It’s bound to be a playful evening of jazz.

Thursday, July 23

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 5:30pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) Lozier  on trumpet and vocals; Steve Pikal, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano provide a bunch of Louis Armstrong and New Orleans jazz for the dinner hour at the new Saint Paul venue.

John Raymond’s New York Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) It’s been about 10 years since Raymond  a Minneapolis native, left to study at Eau Claire, and six years since he relocated to NYC, where the young trumpeter has successfully integrated himself into the music scene. He plays with Orrin Evans Big Band at Smoke, as well as with Ethan Iverson and Linda Oh, leads his own quartet, and was recently profiled in Downbeat. Tonight he’s celebrating his second CD, Foreign Territory, an album of mostly originals. He’ll be accompanied by Dan Tepfer, piano; Chris Tordini, bass; and Jay Sawyer, drums. I did a phone interview with him this past Saturday (the 18th) which you can hear at http://kfai.org/rhythmandgrooves. The interview starts at about 23 minutes into the show.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Livingston is equally at home with gypsy jazz, the blues, the Great American Songbook, or the Beatles. She’s been singing a lot with the Parisota Hot Club.

Nichols/Bates/Bates @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Bryan Nichols  piano; Chris Bates  bass; and JT Bates, drums. They’ve been friends and musical collaborators for many years. Expect originals and very interesting takes on jazz standards.

Friday, July 24

Zacc Harris & Javi Santiago @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 5:30pm – 7:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Vieux Carré are wisely featuring early evening music for those who want to sample their New Orleans – inspired food, as well as early evening music fans. Tonight its pianist Javi Santiago, whose becoming a mainstay in the area, along with guitarist Zacc Harris.

Jon Pemberton’s Tribute to Lee Morgan @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Pemberton is a composer, pianist, and trumpeter. It’s the last artistry that he’ll be employing tonight as he and his cohorts present an evening of music by and dedicated to trumpeter Lee Morgan. He’ll be joined by Dave Brattain, tenor sax’ Mikkel Romstad, piano; Tom Lewis, bass, and Jay Epstein, drums.

Friday Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The fun begins with Mississippi, a quartet of intense players whose interests range from modern jazz to Peruvian festijos, to hip hop. Members are: Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Pete Whitman, saxes; and Kevin Washington, drums. Then at 9:30 Six Families Presents: Piss Lasso will take over. It’s a large experimental group whose music includes minimalist drones. Members include: JT Bates, Cory Healey, Jake Baldwin, Andrew Thoreen, Adam Zahller, Cole Pulice, Joseph Strachan, Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, Nelson Devereaux, and Michelle Kinney, among other

Atrium Jazz Trio @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 10pm – 11pm (Free) This group is led by Jeremy Walker on piano, and often includes JT Bates on drums, and Anthony Cox on bass. It’s an after-concert performance, presented as part of Orchestra Hall’s Sommerfest

Saturday, July 25

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sit close to hear the sweet vocals of Ms. Shorai.

Corey Healey Beautiful Sushine Band @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Rather than going with two different bands, tonight’s band will do two sets. The band is led by Corey Healey, drums; and includes Erik Fratzke, bass; Zacc Harris guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax. Two sets

Jazz @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. (Free) More Sommerfest Jazz in the Atrium:  JT Bates Trio performs from 6pm – 7:45pm, and the Chris Lomheim Trio performs from 10pm – 11pm.

Monday, July 27

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Vocalist Pedalty doesn’t play out enough, as far as I’m concerned, though I’m sure she’s inhibited by her day job. At any rate, she’s got a fresh sound, a great sense of rhythm, and impeccable backing from her dad, pianist Bruce Pedalty, who has long played jazz and blues around town. His song If Nothing Ever Changes, was chosen as the title track for the new Willie Walker album.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. 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 22

Lynn O’Brien and Steven Hobert @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (Free) Lynn O’Brien is a singer/songwriter with a charming way with words and music. Steven Hobert is a jazz pianist around town, though he occasionally takes side trips into other genres. Together, they’re a promising duo that will surprise.

I Like You on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This six-piece band creates Sunshine Pop for the 21st Century, incorporating bits of world music into their upbeat sounds.

James Cotton Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45) The 80 year old Grammy winning blues harpist is among the last of the original Chicago Blues legends of the 50s and 60s. Though Cotton has been playing since he was 9, and his voice is just a hoarse croak, and he leaves the singing to Darell Nullisch, a fine blues singer in his own right, as evidenced from his time with Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets. Hoars or not, Cotton still blows a mighty strong harp.

Thursday, July 23

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Old Fashioned BBQ, University & Dale, Saint Paul. 3pm – 6pm (No Cover) While away the afternoon with Big Daddy’s Blues on the Patio series, today featuring Big George  a singer/harpist whose booming voice will shake the ground on which you’re standing.

Papa John Kolstad @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm. (Tip Jar) Papa John returns to his neighborhood haunt, aka, Best Neighborhood Bar in Mpls, to entertain with his dry wit, excellent guitar playing, and vast repertoire of blues and acoustic swing.

Womenfolk Live @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) This benefit for KFAI features Vicky emerson, Mother Banjo, Katy Vernon, and Sarah Morris, a quartet of talented singer/songwriters having fun with the proceeds going to KFAI, where Mother Banjo (Ellen Stanley) hosts Womenfolk.

Friday, July 24

Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders & Zoo Animal @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6pm. (Free) The annual Thursday night series ion Lowertown’s park continues with the minimalist grunge of Zoo Animal (opening) and Crankshaft’s “pork net” style of stripped down, raucous blues at about 7:15 or 7:30. Followed by a film.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Next month will be a big blowout as the Hipshaker deejays celebrate another anniversary of this long-running 45rpm dance party. Rare and not often heard funk and soul for your dancing pleasure from Greg, Brian, and George, though there may be a guest deejay.

Friday, Saturday, July 24, 25

Palmfest @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm Friday, 2pm Saturday. This annual event at the “Best Dive Bar in the US” (Esquire) always features a wide variety of roots, rock, and blues and this year is no different, with Friday bands ranging from the Liquor Pigs and duet of Spider John Koerner and Charlie Parr to Wain McFarlane, while Saturday’s line up starts with the Palmerceuticals, and features The Changeups,  Rising Side, Cadillac Kolstad, McNasty Brass Band, Eleganza, Sister Claypso, and more.

Saturday, July 25

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. Noon – 10pm (Free) Main Stage: McNally Smith FunkHeads; Dee Miller Band; Lisa Wenger & Her Mean Mean Men; Jimmi & the Band of Souls; Walter Trout; Elvin Bishop. Juke Joint Stage & Food Court: Jimi Prime Time Smith and Big George Jackson. At 10pm head to the after-parties at various clubs around Lowertown, including Willie Murphy @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar.

Butanes @ Big Daddy’s BBQ, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 7:30pm (No Cover) Meanwhile, you don’t have to go to downtown Saint Paul to catch some blues, as Big Daddy’s continues their Blues on the Patio events with Curt Obeda and his talented cohorts.

Battle of the Garages! @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20) Rock your socks off to the sounds of headlining garage band legends the Pandoras, and all-female band from LA, and the Lyres of Boston. Of course our own Mighty Mofos, L’Assasins, and Beebe Gallini, will get the evening started right. Here are the Pandoras in the 80s.

Sunday, July 26

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Roseville Central Park, Roseville. 6:30pm (Free) Bring a picnic and recall (or imagine) time in Paris as Dan Newton and his pals play musettes, tangos, and French favorites in the outdoors

Eleni Mandell @ Treehouse Records, Minneapolis, and The Turf Club, Saint Paul Noon (Treehouse – Free) 7pm (Turf Club – $12) Mandell is a successful indie singer/songwriter who peppers her songs with hints of jazz and country, and who writes smart lyrics, whether about motherhood or wanting to be a mistress. She’s currently touring behind Dark Lights Up, a brand new release on Yep Roc Records She’s played more in-stores at Treehouse than any other artist. Then in the evening she’ll appear at the Turf Club, with Courtney Marie Andrews opening.

Tuesday, July 28

Scottie Miller @ Lowell Park, Stillwater. 6pm (Free) Another outdoor event for music lovers, this one featuring Scottie Miller  that singing piano player whose music has touches of New Orleans, rock n’ roll, and Americana. Don’t forget your picnic.

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 calendar for U Wanna Dance


Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

December 31, 2014

images-2Greetings to one and all;

I trust and hope that you have had a good holiday season thus far.  We’re coming to its end and beginning a new year, where we can hope for more progress in creating a world of justice, harmony, and prosperity for all. In the meantime here are some ideas for music in the coming week. Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year!

Jazz

Wednesday, December 31

Early New Year’s @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5pm – 8pm  (Tip Jar) This is a family-friendly event designed to let you celebrate the arrival a New Year and still get home in time to put the kids to bed and avoid tipsy revelers on the road. w/Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax; Brian Roessler, bass; & Davu Seru; drums.

A Very Pippi New Year @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($25) Pippi, that purveyor of feel good jazz and blues, brings Patty Lacy, of Sounds of Blackness, and Judi Gronseth, of musicals, to the stage at the Weyerhauser Auditorium to sing tunes from the Great American Songbook, Motown, and more.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Davina & the Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($102), 10:30pm ($82) Yes, it is spendy, but Davina and her band put on a rousing show, to say the least, and at the 6pm show you get a five-course dinner (vegetarian option available), and at the 10:30 show you get a complimentary champagne toast and $20 voucher good for food or drinks.

Tribute to Sinatra @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – Midnight (No Cover) JoAnn Funk and her husband, singer Steve Marking present a tribute to Ol’ Blue Eyes, himself, with bassist Jeff Brueske and drummer Nathan Norman joining in the fun.

Charmin Michelle w/ The Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra @ Shakopee Ballroom, 2400 4th Ave East, Shakopee. 6pm – 12:30am ($50 – dinner & Dance, $35 – Dance only) Dinner from 6pm – 8pm. Dancing starts at 8:30pm. Big Band sounds from Jerry O’Hagen with the added bonus of the marvelous Ms. Michelle on vocals.

Southside Aces @ A Room with A Vieux (Old Artists’ Quarter), Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The Dakota is presenting a pop-up New Year’s Eve party in the space they’re developing at the old Artists’ Quarter. It’s billed as a Hot New orleans party with beads, brass, and a midnight countdown parade as a preview of what’s to come in the space. The Aces fill the bill on all counts.

Thursday, January 1

Zack Lozier Three @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Zack is one of the many talented trumpet players in town. He’s also good at traditional jazz vocals, i.e., the kind of things you hear at Preservation Hall. He always surrounds himself with good players, and it’s no wonder. He’s good enough to get solos in Doc Severinson’s band.

Seru, Hanson, & Roessler @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) So after an early New Year’s at the Black Dog, Davu Seru, drums; Nathan Hanson, sax; and Brian Roessler, bass; head to Grand Avenue to perform in the intimate space at the Khyber Pass Cafe. Though Emil, the owner of the Khyber Pass, loves music that’s “outside,” this trio manages to play such music without alienating more casual listeners.

Friday, January 2

Jeremy Walker’s Small City Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Jeremy has grown into a piano player and composer of note, as shown 7 Psalms, the excellent album he released this year. Though that piece was composed for a jazz ensemble, voice and choir, he is equally adept and composing for small groups and arranging the songs of other composers. Tonight he’ll be joined by Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne on drums. This electronic press kit from a few years ago will give you a good idea of the group’s talent.

Saturday, January 3

Pigs Eye Jass Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm ($?) Traditional jazz band that seems to draw swing dancers. It’s a casual, fun-filled good thing.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) With pianist Will Kjeer home for the holidays, Group 47 is complete, and can continue its winning ways with original tunes and such. Opening set by Ramtrak (Lars-Erik Larson, Jake Baldwin, Tom Nordlund) at 7pm. Here’s a link to Andrea Canter’s article about Group 47.

Bruce Henry @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Henry is as fine a male vocalist as you will find in these parts. Though he now lives in Chicago, he makes it back here often enough to whet our appetites for more, whether he’s singing originals, the Great American Songbook, or the Great American Soul Book.

Sunday, January 4

Mill City Hot Club @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10am – 1pm (No Cover) Get your brunch and a hit of gypsy jazz and acoustic swing at the same time as Mill City Hot Club  featuring the underrated Dean Harrington on guitar; along with Gary Shulte on violin; and Tom Lewis on bass provide the music.

Monday, January 5

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) The old Shorewood is now Crooners. The new owners have added an extension to their stage for a piano, leaving more room for the members of this big band  Given the name of the club, and artists that are usually appearing here, Arne Fogel is the go-to guy to sing here. No one knows the music of Der Bingle and Frank better than Arne. Of course, he’s no slouch when it comes to interpreting the songs of others as well.

Brian Ziemniak Organ Trio @ The Narrows Saloon, 3380 Shoreline Drive, Navarre. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance for those of you who live in the West Metro area to hear some soul jazz, you know, the kind of stuff that Jimmy Smith did back in the day. Brian Ziemniak is at the keys and pedals, while Troy Norton is on guitar and funky drummer Kevin Washington lays down the beat. That’s not to say they won’t be exploring modern tunes as well as some classics. Plus, the Narrows will be offering a special on their craft beers.

O’Brien, Hanson, & Seru: CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)  A double header for the late night crowd, starting with a CD release party by bassist Casey O’Brien  ably assisted by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Davu Seru, drums. Christopher Thomson follows, on solo sax (at least that’s what’s implied in the announcement).

Tuesday, January 6

Douglas Ewart & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s a busy week for Davu Seru, drums; as he returns to the Black Dog, this time with multi-instrumentalist Douglas Ewart, which should make for some very interesting music. Here’s a video where Ewart performs and talks about his craft.

Sophia Shorai @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) The honey-toned vocalist returns to the Dakota for a Foodie Night. Sophia is always a treat, whether channeling her sunshine personality or digging into deeper emotions.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 31

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s become a tradition, as Saint Paul’s Eddies cross the river to bring sea chanties, work songs, and death ballads to the young and the restless (as well as the old & sedentary) that often inhabit the 331 on early Wednesday evenings. Start your NYE partying by tuning in the the House Party on KFAI and then heading over to the 331.

Nikki & the Ruemates @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Another way to start off your New Year’s celebration is with Nikki & the Ruemates, bringing Nikki’s wonderful vocals, and Rich Rue’s imaginative guitar to the unique downtown restaurant. As I often warn, try to get a table near the stage, since the boisterous activity throughout the restaurant can make listening a bit difficult.

Tim Sparks, Phil Heywood, & Tim O’Keefe Dinner Set @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pm – 8:30pm  (No Cover) Another dining while listening option is the Icehouse, where guitar wizards Tim Sparks and Phil Heywood will hold forth. They’ve been playing together quite a bit lately, but tonight they’re joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Keefe, whose presence will undoubtedly create some aural surprises.

Hipshaker Dance Party @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) So you’re looking for a celebration that’s festive yet inexpensive. Look no further, as the Hipshaker Deejays bring rare funk n’ soul into your life from those little 7 inch records. It’s a relatively young crowd, but dancers of a certain age will certainly find plenty of musical reasons to have fun.

The Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($12) Some people still call them Mambo’s Combo, but everyone calls them fun. If you’re looking for old school R&B, you’d be hard pressed to find a better band in town. Of course, they throw in a rock n’ roll number or two, and almost always have a guest or two sit in. No reason why tonight should deviate from the norm.

Bedlam & Brass @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door, $5 Lowertown Residents) Dance your Brass off with the zany, free-spirited Brass Messengers & special Deejays. there will be a midnight ball drop, free champagne at midnight, and more. They’re even encouraging masquerade outfits, so do you best.

Thursday, January 1

Church of Cash @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) It’s a Johnny Cash tribute show. Hipsters of every age seem to agree on him music, so you’ve got that. Opening by Mississippi Driftwood, those Anoka purveyors of psychedelic Blues & Swamp Rock. There’s bound to be dancing.

Friday, January 2

Jack Klatt w/Mike Gunter @ Harriet Brewiing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5?) During the many years he’s been on the air at KFAI, Jackson Buck has gotten to know many of the area’s rootsier acts, which fit his Freewheelin’ Fridays just fine. Continue your celebration of the new year with two of the area’s finest roots acts: Mike Gunter at 7pm, and Jack Klatt & the Cat Swingers at 9pm.

Mick Sterling & the Irresistables @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Sterling is a multiple winner of the Minnesota Music Awards. He’s a powerhouse singer who with this group has surrounded himself with a bunch of talented musicians, including singers Katie Gearty and Cate Fierro, as well as bassist and musical director Nick Salisbury; drummer Aaron Johnson; Luke Fredrickson, guitar; Jason Craft, keys; Scott Snyder, trumpet; and Gus Sandberg, sax.

Graveyard Club @ The Triple Rock, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Opening acts: Warehouse Eyes, Wooden Antler. Graveyard Club is a four-piece indie band that takes at least some of their inspiration from synthesizer-fueled British bands of the 80s: think New Order and The Cure. Their first EP was recorded in the basement of a possibly haunted Summit Avenue mansion, which accounts for it dark tone, while “Nightingale” was recorded at Flowers studio. Though it’s lighter in tone than the EP, it still has moments of darkness, and has been receiving internet play in Brazil, England, and Germany. The pop-ish Warehouse Eyes and Wooden Antler, with lush harmonies and fuzzed out amps, open. Listen to them here.

Saturday, January 3

Szaszka @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($?) This three-piece string band plays Transylvanian village dance music  including  Hungarian, Romanian, and Roma tunes. Its members are: Colleen Bertsch, violin; Sara Bruins, bass and violin; and Doug Code, kontra, viola, and koboz.

Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) They’re described as Swamp country blues and truck driving music. Given that their vocalist is Ray Bernard (formerly of the Copperheads), and other members have served in the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, the Real-Phonic Radio Hour, A Certain General, and Curtiss A’s band, that description sounds just about right.

Sunday, January 4

Dirty Shorts Brass Band CD Release Party @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm (No Cover) This is a classic brass band of mostly older players, though their energy belies the age of its members. Mea Culpa: In my weekly e-mail of this information I mixed up these guys with the McNasty Brass Band, recent grads of McNally Smith.

Monday, January 5

Roe Family Singers @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Start off your Mondays in 2015 with a visit to the weekly gig, which has become something of an institution. The Roe Family Singers are led by Kim and Quillan Roe, whose young children are often on stage, or at least in the audience. As a “jug band” with a sometimes revolving group of members, the Singers approach old time music with a modern (dare I say rock/punk) attitude, though they can be pretty straight ahead as well.  Here they are doing the same song as the Dirty Shorts Band, above.

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.

 


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