Mardis Gras and Music: 2.22 – 2.28

February 22, 2017

images-1Well, Mardis Gras season is now in full swing, with a number of events planned for the coming week, which actually ends on Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Lent begins. Whether you celebrate or not, there is still ample opportunity to enjoy music here at the north end of the Mississippi River, from both visiting and resident artists. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 22

Thomasina Petrus @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Thomasina Petrus has lit up local stages with her acting and singing talent, including a notable turn as the star of “Lady Day, Live at the Emerson Bar & Grille.” Tonight she takes the stage in the large room at Crooners to belt out jazz standards, along with a bit of blues and R&B, not to forget some songs of Billie Holiday.

Maud Hixson @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Ms Hixson knows how to pick a song that’s just right for her warm, enchanting vocals, whether from the pre-Songbook era of her latest CD, or the music of the under-apprecieated composer Mickey Leonard, or classics from Cole Porter and the Gershwins. It will be an evening of intimate songs, as Hixson is accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano; and Chris Bates, bass. Here’s Maud at a Jazz at Lincoln Center event, with an introduction by Rex Reed.

Leigh Kamman’s Interviews with Eddie Berger @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7 pm (Donation) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project has stores and stores of Kammen’s interviews in their archive, and once a month will be sharing interviews and music at the Black Dog. Tonight, the subject is saxophonist Eddie Berger, a Twin Cities Bebop giant who passed in 2008. Read Berger’s obituary here.

Thursday, February 23

Joel Shapira, Midnight Love @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira – No Cover) 8pm (Midnight Love-$7) Guitarist Shapira starts things off during the dinner hour with his always tasteful licks. Then at 8, Midnight Love takes the stage to deliver classic hard bop as practiced by Blue Note artists of the 50s and 60s, throwing in some 60s and 70s pop ala hard bop along the way. The group consists of: Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, keys; Matt Darling, trombone; Patrick Nelson, bass; Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz: Zacc Harris’ American Reverie @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Zacc Harris is a versatile guitarist who always plays interesting lines, whether its 21st Century jazz with the Atlantis Quartet, soul jazz with Vital Organ, or in this case, a jazzy take on Americana. That’s what you’ll get with the American Reverie Trio, which is dedicated to classic tunes and songs like Shenendoah and Tennessee Waltz, as well as some oldies, and perhaps a contemporary tune or two. Joining him are Matt Peterson, bass, and Lars-Erik Larson, drums. Here is Harris with a different trio, performing a standard.

Friday, February 24

Jeremy Walker, Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm (Aces – $10) It’s another double header of jazz, this time featuring the often contemplative piano playing of Jeremy Walker to start the evening, and following that with the joyous sounds of traditional New Orleans jazz, as played by the six-piece Southside Aces.  Robert Bell, guitar; Dave Michael, drums; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Tony Baluff, clarinet; and Steve Sandburg, trombone, will help you celebrate Mardis Gras a few days early. Here are the Aces performing a classic.

St. Peter Street Stompers @ Bistro LaRoux, 9372 Lexington NE, Circle Pines. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Not only can you celebrate Mardis Gras a bit early by listening to the Stompers do traditional New Orleans music from Louis Armstrong, Kid Thomas Valentine, and others; but you can dine on New Orleans dishes like jambalaya, gumbo, and beignets. The Stompers include: Chuck DeVore on tenor, trumpet, and trombone; Eddie Sekula, bass; Dave Wilkeining guitar; and Jason Berg, drums.

Saturday, February 25

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Julian Manzara Quartet is a group of college age musicians performing Manzara’s original jazz and fusion compositions. They start at 7pm with Manzara on guitar, Drew Stinson, Bass; Levi Schwartzberg, keys; and Geo Randall on drums. With a name like the Minnesota Hard Bop Collective, it’s obvious that the 9pm group celebrates Hard Bop, that 50s style that leavened the technical ferocity and intellectuality of BeBop with the rhythms and emotions of gospel. The Collective features drummer Jesse Simon; and includes Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Ted Olsen, bass; Ted Godbout, piano; and Aaron Hedenstrom, sax. Here’s a slightly different line-up of the group.

Julian Lage and Chris Eldrige @ Hopkins Center fo the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm social hour, 8:30pm concert ($27) Two Grammy nominated guitarists get together to explore the intersection of jazz, folk and bluegrass. Lage was a child prodigy who at 20, has become a highly respected performer through both his solo efforts and work with Gary Burton’s New Quartet and gigs with folks like Pat Methany, Toots, Thielemans, Jim Hall, Ambrose Akinmusire, Fred Hersch, and others. He’s also played with mandolinist David Grisman and banjoist, Bela Fleck, so a duo with bluegrass guitarist Chris Eldridge is not as uncommon as it might seem. Eldrige was a member of the Punch Brothers, and has worked with Fiona Apple, Paul Simon, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury, and Elvis Costello.

John Scofield @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($35, $40, $45) 9pm ($25, $30, $35) When guitarist Scofield played the Twin Cities Jazz Festival a few years back, the area if front of the stage’ was completely filled with jam band fans and guitarists wanting to see how he composes his licks. They recognized his genius at unfolding guitar lines that fall somewhere between funky jazz, rock, and R&B. He genius was recognized at the Grammy’s, where his most recent album Country for Old Men, won two awards last week. The album is an homage to such greats as George Jones, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, James Taylor, and Hank Williams, among others. Scofield plays alongside accomplished colleagues Steve Swallow, Larry Goldings and Bill Stewart. Here’s a cut from the album.

Monday, February 27

Ted Olsen Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Olsen is a talented bassist who can be found in many groups around town. Tonight he leads his own quartet, which isn’t listed on the Jazz Central Calendar. However, a few weeks ago the group included pianist Javi Santiago; saxophonist Aaron Hedenstrom; and drummer Miguel Hurtado. Here is Ted in a trio setting.

Tuesday, February 28

Mardis Gras w/Patty & the Buttons @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for reserved seat) It’s officially Fat Tuesday, and Patty and the Buttons will help you celebrate in style.

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, February 22

Andy Cohen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Andy Cohen is a country blues musician, musicologist, and folk and blues historian. Besides featuring dazzling guitar work, his shows are filled with stories about classic bluesmen, the folks he’s hung with, like Wiggins and Cephas, Elizabeth Cotton, Etta Baker, Ted Bogan, Honeyboy Edwards, and others. He lives in Memphis, and only gets up here every couple of years. Well worth tuning in to hear him, and heading over to the 331 to see him. He’ll be accompanied by Mary Dushane and another friend or two from the area.

Lev, Olga, and the Band @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) I have to admit I’ve not heard this band, but you have to be curious about a band that claims to play a mix of Russian, Ukrainian, and English retro rock and jazz music.

Thursday, February 23

SPCO @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6pm doors, 7pm showtime ($20, drink included) The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and Icehouse are teaming up to present chamber music, specialty cocktails and gourmet food at the bar/restaurant. Tonight’s program includes Mozart’s Divertimento in D; Villa-Lobos’ The Jet Whistle for Flute and Cello; Mozart’s Quartet in D for Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello; and Strum by the emerging American Composer Jesse Montgomery.

Rockin Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get into the Mardis Gras Spirit as the Pinecones deliver New Orleans R&B from the 50s and 60s, along with a spicy helping of Cajun and Zydeco tunes.

Curtis Blake’s Birthday Party @ Holihan’s Pub, 2160 3rd Street, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake is having a birthday and he’s inviting all of us to celebrate with him as he plays the blues with Greazy Gravy.

Friday, February 24

Winter Blues Shakedown @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) Kent Burnside & New Generation, Crankshaft & the Gear Grinders, and the Rena Haus Trio will have the dance floor bouncing at the Hook. Headliner Kent Burnside is the grandson of the late, great master of Hill Country Blues, RL Burnside, and the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Crankshaft and the Gear Grinders are the Twin Cities acolytes of stripped-down blues, while Rena Haus Trio can be equally compelling covering the Allman Brothers as performing her own compositions. This video may be dark, but you certainly get a taste of Burnside’s music.

Thursday, Friday, Sunday, February 23, 24, 26

Everett Smithson Band Mardis Gras Parties @ Famous Dave’s (Thursday 7pm), Wilebski’s (Friday 6pm), and Neumann’s (Sunday 4pm) Everett Smithson and his cohorts play swamp pop, Zydeco, and other music inspired by the Mississippi River, and they’re taking advantage of the Mardis Gras season to show off their skills at getting folks to dance.

Saturday, February 25

Bluegrass Saturday Morning 35th Anniversary Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 3pm – 8pm ($10) It’s now 35 years that Twin Citizens have had coffee, read the newspaper, and done their Saturday morning errands to the sound of Bluegrass Saturday morning and its genial, and knowledgeable host Phil Nussbaum. Host station KBEM is celebrating the event with a stellar line-up: The High 48s; Phil Nusbaum and Sherry Minnick; King Wilkie’s Dream; Adam Kiesling; The AJ Srubas Group; Chris and Ari Silver; and Sawtooth.

Kaiser’s Boogie Woogie Ball w/Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Germanic American Institute, 301 Summit Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm ($5) The party-lovin’ folks at the Germanic American Institute are having a Ball featuring the ever-swinging Radio Joe & the Jazzbos, who have convinced them to let in non-members for this event. There will definitely be beer.

Sunday, February 26

Phil Heywood @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11am – 2pm (No Cover) Acoustic guitar lovers can have brunch while enjoying ace fingerpicking from Heywood. His fine, plain-spoken baritone vocals are put to good use as well. Here is Heywood on Wisconsin TV about 25 years ago.

Church of Cash @ The Hook and Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Today is the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s birth. What better way to celebrate than with this tribute band that goes deep into his repertoire. They’ll be taking requests all night long. Check them out.

One World Consort w/guest Laura  MacKenzie @ Celtic Junction, Saint Paul. 7pm ($16 Advance, $20 Door) One World Consort will be performing special arrangements of Celtic-inspired music, along with their usual diverse repertoire of musical traditions. The addition of Laura MacKenzie, makes it that much more special. If you aren’t aware of OWC, their musicians include: Dave Milne, sax & woodwinds; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Eric Graham, bass; Craig hare, drums and percussion, and the Four Voices String quartet. Here is MacKenzie on concertina.

Sunday, Monday, February 26, 27

Ana Popovic @ Dakota Jazz Club, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) While many cultures around the world have their unique form of the blues, the American style of blues has found adherents in all cultures. Case in point: Serbian born guitarist/vocalist Ana Popovic  who grew up listening to her dad’s jam sessions and records and picked up a guitar at 15. Twenty-five years later her blistering finger work and strong vocals have catapulted her to international stardom. She’s appeared at blues, jazz, and rock festivals, and in the process has received nominations for five Blues Music Awards, and regularly reaches the top five in Blues charts. She’s currently touring around her recently released Trilogy, a 3 volume set of music.

Tuesday, February 28

Swamp Kings @ Dixies on Grand, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) If you didn’t make it to any of the last week’s celebration of Mardis Gras you can still actually celebrate on Fat Tuesday (today!). The three members of the Swamp Kings will have you dancing in between tables, as customers enjoy Louisiana cuisine, King Cakes, a shrimp boil and hurricane cocktails.

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.

Valentines Day. Mardis Gras. Celebratory Music: 2.11 – 2.17

February 11, 2015

UnknownOkay, we’ve got two special occasions this week. For the romantics out there we have Valentine’s Day. For those who just want to party we have Mardis Gras. Take your pick, or take both, each of which is a good reason to get out and listen to music. There are other reasons as well, just check out the possibilities below. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 11

Trio PKD @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) George Cartwright, sax; Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums. Chris Bates always brings interesting musicians to Jazz Central on the second Wednesday of the month. Tonight he’s teaming up with brother JT on drums and, for the first time, the exploratory sax of George Cartwright.

Thursday, February 12

UnknownJennifer Grimm @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Grimm’s musical theater background, her sense of sing and her weekly shows at Manitou Station, along with appearances at Carnegie Hall, the Ordway, and Prairie Home Companion attest to her versatility. With Joe Cruz accompanying on guitar, this promises to be an intimate evening. I suspect there will be quite a few love songs in the repertoire.

Friday, February 13

Irv Williams and Mary Louise Knutson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (No Cover) Mr Smooth, aka Irv Williams, has had a number of different partners for his Friday afternoon happy hour gigs, but this may be the first time he’s accompanied by the accomplished pianist, Mary Louise Knutson  Her bonafides are well established: she’s Doc Severinson’s pianist for his mid-nation tours, her most recent CD In the Bubble, hit the top ten in Jazz Week, and was in the top 50 for 19 weeks, and she’s performed with musicians ranging from Diane Reeves to Nicholas Payton, and Randy Brecker. This should be a delightful pairing.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Gravatt’s powerhouse drumming has propelled Weather Report and McCoy Tyner’s groups. Tonight he brings Brandon Wozniak, sax; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Zacc Harris, guitar; to the basement club in near Northeast. Here’s a video of Gravatt with Wozniak and bass player Adam Linz.

College Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm  featuring North Central University’s Jazz Workshop. There will be sets from two different ensembles, followed by a jam session.

Friday, Saturday, February 13, 14

Isn’t It Romantic: Jazz in the Lobby Bar @ the Saint Paul Hotel, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (No Cover) Sure, the lobby can be a bit noisy and distracting, but Joann on piano and Jeff on bass are very good at keeping your attention. They are bringing in a special guest, Saxman Pete Whitman, for these evenings of romantic songs.

Saturday, February 14

Kate & the Fellows

Kate & the Fellows

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Patissiere 46, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm.  (No Cover) Bassist/vocalist Lynch is calling this Sweet Tunes for the Sweet Toothed. She and the Fellows will be playing tunes from the 30s through the 50s, and maybe even a tune or two from the 60s, all in that toe-tapping rhythm. There may be no cover, but you will definitely end up buying one of the beautiful French pastries at what is arguably the best pastry shop in the state. Their creations are colorful, sculptural, delicious, and sweet – a perfect complement to the tunes of Kate and the band. Here she does a li

Connie Evingson @ The Cabaret at Camp Bar, 490 Robert, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm ($20, $25) Ms Evingson takes a lighthearted look at romance in a show called “This Funny Thing Called Love?” Helping her answer that question are: Adi Yeshaya, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; Dave Karr, sax; and Mac Santiago drums.

Ready to Sing!

Ready to Sing!

The Girls: This Thing Called Love @ Hopkins Center for the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm – 10pm  ($24, Discounts for seniors, students, and members) It’s an evening celebrating all things romantic, with the cream of Twin Cities vocalists: Patty Peterson, Lori Dokken, Debbie Duncan, Judy Donaghy-Vinar, Rachel Holder-Henning, and Erin Schwab.

Paul Harper Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s not a Valentine’s Day Event, but if your sweetie likes jazz, tonight’s groups will help you get nice and cozy. Opening at 7pm: Central Standard Time: Charlie Lincoln, bass; Dave Roos, guitar; Alex Burgess, drums; Steve Kenny, flumpet. Followed by Harper, sax; Mike Cramer, guitar; Charlie Riddle, bass; Nathan Norman, drums at 8:30pm.

Monday, February 16

Iron Chops, feat: Jon Wood and Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Wood is an area guitarist who is a member of both the Cedar Avenue Big Band and the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band. He also plays around town in in various venues and and genres and is currently recording a CD. He’s joined tonight by Dave Brattain on sax, who also plays in the Cedar Avenue Big Band, as well as the JazzMN Big Band. They’ll be playing compositions from Wood’s upcoming CD.

Unknown-2Enormous Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Chris Bates is one busy bassist. Tonight he’s joined by Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; and Joey Van Philips, drums.

Tuesday, Wednesday, February 17, 18

David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45 – $70) Sanborn is a rare saxophonist, one who can appeal to a dance-oriented R&B crowd, and a listening audience of jazz aficionados. He has won six Grammys, had eight gold albums, and one platinum, has hosted his own excellent TV show, and recorded with a host of artists, from Eric Clapton to Christian McBride and Bill Frisell. His appearance at the Zoo a couple of years back had the crowd roaring with delight. Don’t be surprised if Ricky Peterson shows up on keys, as in this video.

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, February 11

MATRA @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Sometimes we have to be reminded that the vibraphone and the marimba are both percussion instruments. Tonight’s your chance, as Andres Crovetti, vibes; Jenny Klukken, marimba; Krissy Bergmark, tablas; and Mathew Solace, drums play accessible arrangements of world and jazz influenced music.

Thursday, February 12

It's more like MeMeMeMeMe

It’s more like MeMeMeMeMe

MeMeMe with Little Star @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($5) If you liked the voice of Jon Anderson from Yes, you might appreciate the vocals of MeMeMe’s lead vocalist Casidy Anderson. The rest of the band evokes folks from Weezer to Neil Young. Opening for the evening is Little Star  who delivers something completely different – a guitar duo featuring Jayme Clifton Halbritter and Olivia Marie Quintanilla. The results are, as might be expected, quietly pretty, little dreamlike wisps of imagination.

The Eddies @ The Underground Music Cafe, 1575 Hamline Ave, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm ($5 Suggested Donation) The always fun Eddies are featured for this month’s Celtic Music Showcase, and though there is a definite Celtic bent to what this almost acapella group sings, there are 19th and 20th Century songs of love, death, and work as well.

Friday, February 13

The Assad Brothers and Romero Lubambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($25 – $35) Guitar players and lovers of guitar music will converge on the Dakota tonight to hear the Brazilian-born Assad Brothers  whose virtuosity in classical and other genres have led to them being called the best two-guitar team in existence by the Washington Post. Romero Lubambo  another Brazilian guitarist, melds Brazilian styles and rhythms with the American jazz tradition, leading to his performing and recording with such artists as Diane Reeves, Michael Brecker, Diane Krall and others.

On Love @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) With Lynn O’Brien and Steven Hobert, PaviElle, and Sankophoenix. Three female singers take to the Cedar’s stage to explore the manifestations of love, often using a groove to move their messages forward. PaviElle has been getting lots of good press recently for her neo-soul work. Lynn O’Brien is a singer/songwriter with a soulful voice who has found a kindred spirit in imaginative pianist Steven Hobert. Sankophoenix calls her approach to singing neo-jazz, integrating jazz and neo-soul in her singing. Here’s PaviElle doing a Tom Petty song.

Saturday, February 14

Freewheelin’ Mardis Gras @ The Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) I’ll be spinning Mardis Gras music and more from 4:30 – 6pm, prior to the start of this event featuring The Rockin’ Pinecones, Scottie Miller, and The New Riverside Ramblers.

Maurice Jacox @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No cover) Though vocalist Jacox is well known for his work with Willie & the Bees, The Butanes Soul Revue, and the Soul Tight Committee, he is also an excellent interpreter of standards, and stripped down Motown. Things get intimate tonight in the tiny bar at Normandy Kitchen, as Jacox performs with Thomas West on keys, and Grammy winner Robb Stupka on drums. Reservations recommended.

North America Super Stars @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Here’s a unique Valentine’s day concert, performed by a collective of Somali artists who appear in various configurations around the Twin Cities and beyond. It’s Somali pop, with perhaps, a bit of hip hop as well.

Sunday, February 15

Finn Hall @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 6pm (Donation) Talk about old-time music! With mandolin, violin, nyckelharpa, and two accordions, this quartet will take set the Wayback machine to the turn of the last century as they play  waltzes, schottisches, polkas, mazurka, humppa and other traditional music as played in Finnish-American dance halls. Here they are with some guests.

S.O.S. Band @ Mill City Nights, Minneapolis. ($25) The S.O.S. band hit big in 1980 with the single Take Your time (Do It Right), which sold over two million copies. Other hits followed after they hooked up with Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis as producers. It will be a night of funk with opening acts The Maxx Band and the West Side Band

Bridge City Hustle @ the Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) This modern soul quintet from Brooklyn caught my ear when I heard one of their tracks on KFAI. They handle slow grooves and uptempo numbers with equal aplomb.  w/Sonic Intension, a neo-soul group that uses a touch of rock, and DJ Tarik Thornton, who always spins interesting and danceable grooves. Here’s a video of Bridge City Hustle.

Monday, February 16

Blues at the Crossroads @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($50 – $75), 9pm ($40 – $65) Wow, this is a good old fashioned Soul Revue. Featuring the wonderful Irma Thomas  Soul Queen of New Orleans; journeyman soul singer Lee Fields, who should be as well known as Sharon Jones or Charles Bradley;  Eric Krasno, of Soulive and Lettuce; and new singer Alecia Chakour, who’s been getting dynamite press. Speaking of which, The Dynamites, who provided butt-shaking backing on the excellent Charles Walker album, provide the backing for everyone. Here’s Lee Fields.

Tuesday, February 17

Swamp Kings @ Dixie’s on Grand, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) You just know that Dixie’s has to have some appropriate music for Mardis Gras, and they’ve found it with the Swamp Kings  This quartet of bass, drums, accordion, and electric guitar does a more than credible job of laying down the Cajun, New Orleans, funk and blues sounds of Louisiana.

The New Riverside Ramblers

The New Riverside Ramblers

8th Annual Louisiana Rhythms Mardis Gras Party @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($12) Whether you do Cajun Dancing, Zydeco, Swing, or freestyle, The Swamp Poppas, Southside Aces, New Riverside Ramblers, and the Rockin’ Pinecones will be providing music from New Orleans and South Louisiana for your dancing pleasure. Plus, there will be Gumbo, Jambalaya, and Red Beans and Rice!

Jack Brass Band: Naughty Gras @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm($15, $50 for 2-top tables, $100 for 4-top tables)  They’re pulling out the stops for this one, folks. Besides the always fun JBB  they’ve got side show acts presented by Musette the Mistress of Mischief and burlesque from Sassy Von Straddler, as well as a crawfish boil, Abita beer and circus aerialists. My. My. My.

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.


Dancin’ n’ Listenin’. Music: 9.5 – 9.11

September 5, 2012

Dancers at last year’s Selby Avenue Jazz Festival

Here in the Twin Cities, we are lucky to be able to choose from a few competing festivals on Saturday, three of which are in Saint Paul. The Concrete and Grass Festival (free) offers a wide variety of music, from the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Jack Brass Band on Thursday evening, through the Minnesota Opera and Gary Louris (of the Jayhawks) on Saturday.

Meanwhile, jazz is the order of the day at the 11th Annual Selby Jazz Festival (free), featuring Saint Paul bands and New York artists Abdul Zuhli on guitar, and Cheryl Pepsii Riley on vocals.

Finally, for Saint Paul, The Summit Backyard Bash ($14) features Doomtree, Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps, Halloween Alaska, and the Now Nows, as well as Hotpants DJs between sets.

If you live in the West Metro, you may want to check out Saturday’s street dance in Wayzata. See the listing for the Butanes Soul Revue, below. As always, check out my blog for photos, links, and videos. Note also, that I’m contributing a gig recommendation to the Daily Planet each week.

There is also much to enjoy earlier in the week, so get out and enjoy yourself.


Wednesday, September 5

Marv Dahlgren/John Dickinson Quintet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) After 47 years playing with the Minnesota Orchestra and writing classic instructional books, Dahlgren is considered a master of drums and vibes. Tonight he’s paired with his grandson, who is a vibes player studying at the  Lucerne Jazz School in Switzerland. They’ll be joined by Garty Gratz, piano; Jay Young, bass; and David Stanoch, drums. Betty Dahlgren will accompany her grandson on Celtic harp for a few numbers, for an evening of jazz that will surprise and delight.

Thursday, September 6

Valve Meets Slide and Horace Silver @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Brad Bellows (valve trombone) and David Graf (slide trombone) lead Chris Bates, bass; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums in an evening of the music of Horace Silver. Horace Silver was one of the instagators of hard bop, using gospel and R&B influences to create jazz that both moved you and was moving. Bellows and Graf are two of the finest trombonists in town, and have a stellar rhythm section. This should be a groovin’ evening.

Friday, September 7

Ginger Commodore & Debbie Duncan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Commodore and Duncan are a  couple of very soulful jazz singers, or very jazzy soul singers. Take your pick. Both have been successful in stage productions, which isn’t hard to believe given the power of their voices. Both have also been performing for ages, so you can expect a professional, and very satisfying show.

Brad Bellows/Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar)

Bellows (valve trombone) and Washington (sax) lead a quartet including Pete Hennig (drums) and Brian Roessler (bass) through free improvisation.  Don’t be put off by that description, however. It’s highly accessible music, even if you can’t hum it. Here’s a video from an appearance last year.

Franze, Brown & Horst: The Tuesday Night Band @ the Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Have you been having withdrawal pains from the lack of greasy, B-3 driven music for the last few months? Have no fear, this trio, better known as The Tuesday Night Band, returns for one night only as Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, Hammond B-3; and Kenny Horst on drums deliver the down home sounds of a groovin’ B-3 trio.

Friday, Saturday, September 7, 8

The toy that inspired the name.

Happy Apple @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The hipness quotient of the Icehouse just jumped a few points, though it hardly needed a boost. Happy Apple is highly regarded among the relatively young (say, under 35), in part because the trio of Mike Lewis, sax; Eric Fratzke, electric bass; and Dave King, drums; exhibit a rock/punk attitude. However, their extreme talent plays a big part, as does the sometime rambling, often hilarious on-stage musings of King.

Saturday, September 8

JoAnn Funk and Jeff Brueske @ Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Suffice to say most of the folks at a hotel lobby bar are not there to listen to jazz. They simply want a drink or two while talking with fellow hotel guests. It’s a testament to the talent of JoAnn Funk (piano, vocals) and Jeff Brueske (bass) that they can catch the attention of aforementioned guests, handle their requests, and bring in customers just to hear the two of them. Funk and Brueske tackle the  the songs of Nat King Cole, Blossom Dearie, Dan Penn, Madeline Peyroux and more with aplomb, taste, and imagination.

Roxanne Cruz & Jeremy Walker @ Ingredients Cafe, White Bear Lake. 6:30pm – 9:30pm. East metro denizens have a chance to hear a fine vocalist and excellent pianist while dining at Ingredients.

Sunday, September 9

Adieu Summer @ Como Lakeside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 4pm – 6:30pm. ($10)  This is the fifth or sixth year that Ticket To Brasil is hosting an end-of-summer event. Today’s artists include: The Talking Strings, featuring Gary Shulte on violin; Trio Bossa Nova; vocalist Lee Engele; and the ten-piece Ticket to Brasil. The Pavillion is covered from all but sideways rain, and has plenty of room for dancing, whether you trip the light fantastic to swing or samba rhythms. This family friendly event will be a fitting goodbye to summer.

PipJazz Sunday @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 5pm ($25/door, $10/Student, children under 12 – free)  Since singer Pippi Ardennia moved here from Chicago a few years ago she has been turning heads with her monthly series, bringing in guest artists and young musicians to share the stage. Her charming, welcoming manner makes these monthly events very family-friendly. The musicians and Pippi deliver first class music. Today’s guest is singer Dennis Spears, of Moore by Four, the Nat King Cole production at Penumbra, and numerous appearances around town.

Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Sidran is no stranger to this town, having appeared at both the AQ and the Dakota many times. Tonight he’ll use his piano and voice to tell the stories of “Jews, Music, and the American Dream,” which is also the title of his latest book. He’s got a PhD in American Studies, is well known as the host of NPR’s Peabody Award winning series “Jazz Alive,” and may be best known as the writer of Steve Miller’s big hit, Space Cowboy. Nevertheless, Sidran is an excellent piano player, and a hip storyteller, weaving complex, astute narratives over a vamp as he introduces each number. Expect songs written by Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Carole King, Bob Dylan, and more.

A more comprehensive calendar for the Twin Cities can be found at Jazz Police. It features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Roots, Blues, Other…

Wednesday, September 5

A rare moment when Zack isn’t playing

Zack Lozier Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  This is a slightly different booking than usual for Harold’s House Party, as Zack stepped in at the last minute when the originally booked group had to cancel. Zack is an in-demand, versatile trumpet player who is as down with the blues as he is with jazz. His clarion trumpet can be heard in the Jack Brass Band, Chris Bates Red 5, the Adam Meckler Big Band, and the Southside Aces, and other groups. He recently toured with the Doc Severinson Band, and has toured internatonally with Todd Clouser, Davina and the Vagabonds, and others. Zack will be accompanied by veteran bass player Keith Boyles and up and coming keyboard player Steven Hobart. A unique gig.

Friday, September 7

Flatt Foot Rollers @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. ($5) With a song list that ranges from the Temptations to the Gap Band to Albert KIng, this seven-piece R&B/Funk band will get you dancing, even this early in the evening.

Cliff Eberhardt @ The Gingko Coffee House, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 advance/$17 Door) The passionate, witty folk singer/songwriter is helping Gingko celebrate its 20th anniversary. On his latest album, All Wood and Doors, Eberhardt (with the help of some friends) does acoustic versions of songs from the Doors. His previous album 500 Miles, was recorded in Texas Hill Country and is flavored with musical influences from the region.

Swamp Kings @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No cover) As the name implies, this trio lays down cajun, zydeco, and swamp beats that will have you head-bobbing and toe tapping to the point where you’ll have to get out of your chair, or off your stool, and dance.

Corpse Reviver w/guest Dakota Dave Hull @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip jar) Mikkel Beckman’s salute to the Anthology of American Folk Music kicks off it’s third year at the 331 with a special guest. Dakota Dave Hull is a nationally renowned picker and singer with a vast repertoire in his guitar case.

Saturday, September 8

Butanes Soul Revue w/Willie Walker @ James J. Hill Days Street Dance, Wayzata. 7pm (Free) It’s a busy weekend for Curt Obeda and his band. The four piece is at Shaw’s in Minneapolis on Thursday, then they add Willie Walker for a Friday evening appearance at the Concrete and Grass Festival in downtown Saint Paul, and today they go full bore with the eleven-piece Soul Revue featuring Maurice Jaycox on vocals and guest Willie Walker. A lakeside street dance on a pleasant Saturday night. Life is good.

Lamont Cranston & Willie Murphy @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Willie and his band start things off at 9pm, followed by the Cranstons at 11PM. It will be a night of West Bank Boogie’n, as these stalwart bands fill the big dance floor at the MMC.

Monday, September 10

Al’s Rockabilly Quartet @ Famous Dave’s Uptown, Minneapolis. 8pm. (No cover) Swing dance lesson from the ubiquitous Ms Shannon Butler run from 7:15 to 8:00, when Al’s Rockabilly Quartet takes the stage and you can test out your new moves. Pomade, tight jeans with turned up cuffs, and poodle skirts are optional.

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.

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