The Music Never Stops: 5.17 – 5.23

May 17, 2017

Well, we’re making our way through May, and to paraphrase the Grateful Dead used to sing, The Music Never Stops. We’ve got it all, from neo-soul to brass bands, to great jazz artists and lots of dancing. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 17

Selby Avenue Brass Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Again, I’d normally be listing Harold’s guest on the House Party under blues and roots, but the Selby Avenue Brass Band, with its combination of traditional New Orleans tunes and more contemporary fare, need to brought to the attention of jazz fans. Tune in during the 5 o’clock hour for a taste of their sound, and head to the 331 if you like what you hear.

Standards Night, with Andrew Walesch, featuring Daniel Glass @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Daniel Glass is an award-winning drummer who was a member of the Royal Crown Revue, popular during the swing revival of the 90s. He’s recorded and performed all over the world with many top artists, including Brian Setzer, Bette Midler, and Liza Minnelli. Tonight he teams up with singer/pianist Andrew Walesch to present American standards, with the backing of Dave Karr on Sax, and Veikko Lepisto on bass.

Thursday, May 18

Special EFX @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($37), 9pm ($30) Special EFX was founded in 1983 by New York guitarist Chieli Minucci, a virtuoso who has been first call for artists ranging from mark Anthony and Jessica Simpson, to Bobby Caldwell and Gerald Veasley, among others. In addition to Minucci, the band includes Nelson Rangell, who is adept at soprano, alto, and tenor sax, as  well as being a genuine virtuoso on flute and piccolo. He’s also worked with many outstanding artists, including The Rippingtons, Patti Austin, and others. Finally, keyboardist Lao Tizer is a rising star in the continuing development of world fusion music.

Lorri Dokken & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in front of the stage) Dokken, aka Ms. Piano Bar, is a cabaret artist and general all-around entertainer who has appeared on stages throughout the Twin Cities and the world. She’ll be supported by the Wolverines Trio – the finest set of accompanists in the Twin Cities.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) In a bit of a change from normal dates, tonight features two groups. The first is Below Zero, w/Noah Wilhite, tenor; Jacob Rochelle-Share, trombone; August McKinney, piano; Jorgen Linne, bass; Nick Adam, drums. At 10:30 it’s the Steve Kenny Trio: Ted Olsen bass; Miguel Hurtado, drums; Steve Kenny, Flumpet.

Kristen Lee Sergeant, featuring Ted Nash and the Jeremy Walker Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 Bar seating, $18 Table seating) Vocalist Kristen Lee Sergeant has been turning ears and heads since her recent emergence on the NYC jazz scene. Her debut CD, Inside Out, was chosen as DownBeat Magazine’s Editor’s Pick last fall, praising her “buttery to deliciously tart” vocals and “dramatically fresh arrangements.” Resident pianist-bandleader-composer Jeremy Walker has long been friends with NYC saxophonist Ted Nash, who just won 2017 Grammys for the Best Large Jazz Ensemble and Best Instrumental Composition. This promises to be a special show. Here’s Sergeant with Ted Nash.

Friday, May 19

Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Renz is a fine guitarist who teaches more than he plays out, though as a composer and performer he always impresses with his melodic creativity and sheer craftmaship. In addition to teaching in town, Renz runs a summer jazz camp in Ontarios for adults, and has recruited Cheryl Bentyne of Manhattan Transfer as a vocal teacher this year. He tours the East Coast at least once a year, and only occasionally plays in town, so take advantage of this opportunity.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) You can’t go wrong when drummer Phil Hey leads his long-standing quartet through a dazzling mix of jazz standards and a few more “difficult” pieces, so to speak, with Phil Aaron, piano; Tom Lewis, bass; and Dave Hagedorn, drums.

Saturday, May 20

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) 7pm: Pat Moriary is a saxophonist and the music director at Roseville High School, where he manages to bring in some heavyweight talent to work with the schools bands. This week he’s bringing in pianist-composer Angelica Sanchez, who has played with such figures as Paul Motian, Wadada Leo Smith, Tim Berne, Ben Monder, and Rob Mazurek. She leads several groups, including a nonet with Roseville HS grad Michael Attias. Her music always offers the sound of surprise, whether she’s playing “free jazz with structure,” as the NY Times noted, or her own composed pieces, which always allow plenty of room for soloists. The evening will open with the Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease Quartet, an always surprising group: Moriarty, sax; Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums. At 8:30pm Angelica Sanchez will take the stage with Chris Bates, bass; Pete Hennig, drums.

Zacc Harris’ American Reverie CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) Harris and his group American Reverie have released a fine CD celebrating Americana music. Harris’ single note lines are particularly effective on songs by Woody Guthrie and Willie Nelson, among others.  Special guests for the evening include Jeff Ray & Hurricane Harold and the Lesser Lakes Trio. I had him on my show on May 13, you can listen to the interview here.

Monday, May 22

Peter Kogan Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm – 8:30pm ($10) In an unusual turn for the Icehouse, Peter Kogan and his quintet will present an early show before JT Jazz Implosion. As some of you may recall, Kogan is the former tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra who has been having much fun with jazz since he retired a few years ago. Tonight he brings in a multi-generational band: Kogan, drums; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pete Whitman, Sax; Phil Aaron, keys; and Jeff Bailey, bass.

Tuesday, May 23

Maud Hixson: Judy Garland @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Vocalist Hixson, who recently received a glowing review in the Chicago Tribune, will celebrate the music of Judy Garland, accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson. Here’s what was said: “Hixson’s slightly gauzy tone and breezy phrasing evoked cool-school singers of the 1950s such as June Christy, Chris Connor and Anita O’Day. Yet there was nothing historic nor nostalgic about Hixson’s manner, her inherent swing sensibility driving the music unstoppably forward. She benefited significantly from the pianism of Rick Carlson, whose buoyant accompaniment referenced the stride-style wizardry of Waller and James P. Johnson.” Here she is at a Sylvia Sims Tribute.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, May 17

Lisa Wenger and Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Blues-based American roots music, performed by Wenger, whose sweet/gritty vocals appeal to a wide swath of listeners, and whose band can rock the blues, New Orleans R&B, and reworked versions of rockabilly classics.

Danceland @ Utephils Brewing, 225 Thomas Avenue N, Minneapolis. 7pm-9pm (No Cover) This is a new band, named for teenage dance palaces of yore, which gives a bit of a hint to their repertoire. The band is led by drummer William Thompson, and includes Karl Von Gorhen, keyboards; Tom Lewis, bass; Scot Ives, guitar; and features Maurice Jacox on vocals, sax, and flute. Their songs include Me and Mrs Jones; For Your Precious Love, Inner City Blues, and other old school favorites. Stop by, hear some great music, and if you’re hungry Potter’s Pasties food truck will be there.

Thursday, May 18

Mooseknuckle Brothers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Rockin’ blues for a Thursday night.

Friday, May 19

Paul Cebar @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) The dance-inducing sounds of Paul Cebar and his band always draws a crowd to the large dance floor at Wilebski’s. Using a combination of R&B, Caribbean, African, and other world rhythms, Cebar & company create a celebration of finger-pippin, hip-shakin sounds.

Taylor Hicks @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Hicks popped into national consciousness on American Idol, where more than 200 million people tuned in to see him win the Season 5 Finale. His soulful voice reflects a Southern upbringing, where he was exposed to soul music, blues, and country music. Before Idol, played throughout the Southeast, sharing stages with folks like James Brown, Tom Petty, Robert Randoph, and Keb Mo, among others. Once he left Idol, his debut single, Do I Make You Proud, entered the charts at #1, while his self-titled debut album reached #2 a bit later.

Scottie Miller Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 reserved seats are available up front) High energy blues, soul, and rock n’ roll from Miller, a pianist-singer-songwriter whose influences range from Professor Longhair and Dr. John to Bruce Springsteen and The Band.

Complicated Fun @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Advance/$12 door) This is a book release party for Cyn Collin’s Complicated Fun, which describes the influential Minneapolis music scent from 1974 – 1984. A number of bands from that era will be performing, some of whom are reuniting. They include: the Hypsterz; Gondwana; Flamin’ Oh’s; Flamingo; and Curtiss A & the Dark Click.

Saturday, May 20

Lonesome Dan Case/Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Lonesome Dan – No Cover), 9pm (Parker – ?$) A double bill of blues, starting with Lonesome Dan Case and his modern take on 30s blues, rags, and hollers for the dinner hour. Then vocalist Joyann Parker takes over, with her powerhouse vocals and commanding stage presence.

Commander Cody @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Back in the late 60s, when the nascent country-rock scene was developing, Commander Cody & the Lost Planet Airmen upended things a bit with satirical takes on classic country. Their first hit, the hi-test fueled Hot Rod Lincoln, was a throwback to the 50s, when it was a hit by Charlie Ryan. Then they followed it up with such subversive songs as (Down to) Seeds and Stems Again, Mama Hated Diesels, and The Kentucky Hills of Tennesee, among others. Commander Cody (George Frayne) disbanded the group in 1976, but returned to the studio in 2009 and has been touring ever since, bringing his foot-stompin’ mix of classic country, rockabilly, and swingin’ music to old and new fans alike.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you’re not interested in dropping a couple of sawbucks on a show, or maybe you just want to hear some basic sounds of the 60s. If that’s the case, the Silvertones, with their mix of garage hits, folk-rock, and girl group sounds, may be just the band you need to hear.

Sunday, May 21

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) Founded in 2017, the Delphia Cello Quartet plays original arrangements of popular tunes. It’s members are: Rachelle Smith; Amanda Burgdorf; Katherine Canon; and Julia Floberg. All play in a variety of groups, from orchestras to pit bands, to folk groups.

Monday, May 22

PaviElle @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Vocalist PaviElle French grew up in Saint Paul’s Rondo neighborhood, and in the last couple of years has become an advocate of black soul music for the Millenial generation. She’ was voted Best R&B Vocalist of 2015 by City Pages, and has been featured on TPT’s Lowertown Line. You’ll hear her originals and a couple of surprising covers, all done with a contemporary outlook and echoes of 70’s R&B.

Jon Rodine @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Whether singing songs by Doug Sahm, Dan Penn, Bob Dylan, or his own originals, Jon Rodine creates groove-driven rock n’ roll, with a touch of soulful country to boot. He’s played and recorded with a who’s who of Midwest musicians, including Ray & Glover, Molly Maher & Erik Koskinen, Paul Cebar, and Benson Ramsey of the Pines, among others. He deserves wider recognition, even here in his home town.

Tuesday, May 23

Peter Himmelman @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30) Singer-songwriter and guitarist Himmelman is a metro-area native who started out in the reggae/calypso band Shangoya back in the early 80s and went on to form Sussman Lawrence. His career has blossomed to include TV and film composing, children’s entertaining and webcasting. Time Magazine said of him, “Himmelman writes songs with the same emphatic edge and aesthetic urgency that impelled the Lost Generation to write novels.” Opening is Dan Israel  who has won a number of awards as a songwriter, and released a string of critically acclaimed albums in the 90s and ‘00s.

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.

The Height of Summer. Music: 7.24 – 7.30

July 24, 2013
Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Mears Park will be home to the Lowertown Roots Festival on Saturday

Well, this Saturday is shaping up to be one of the best of the summer, with an abundance of music offerings. We’ve a Roots Festival in Saint Paul, the Dakota Street Fest in Minneapolis, and dozens of other performances in jazz, blues, and roots, only a few of which I’ve listed. It’s what we wait for throughout the winter, and then we end up with making difficult choices, or mapping out a day of travel between events. We are lucky to have such a cornucopia of talent in our midst.


Wednesday, July 24

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Now into his ninth decade of performing, Karr plays the saxophone with beauty and grace, even when playing a bracing bebop number.

Thursday, July 25

Jeremy Walker Benefit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Ted NashDavid BerkmanAnthony Cox, & guests from the MN Opera come together to help raise funds for pianist/composer Jeremy Walker (Nownet!, Boot Camp, Small City Trio), who has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease after years of suffering. Nash and Berkman will be playing with Boot Camp, and Cox will be playing with his own band, Happy Spirits.

Unknown-1Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra w/Charmin Michelle @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 7:15pm – 10pm. (Free) The Ordway Summer Dance series continues, with lessons on ballroom dancing followed by big band sounds, and thrush Charmin Michelle.

Pete Whitman’s X-Tet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) If you’re looking for more great music after the Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra, or maybe want a cool dark spot to listen, mosey over to the AQ, where Pete Whitman gathers nine terrific musicians to play energetic jazz.

Friday, Saturday, July 26, 27

Babatunde Lea Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Quite the lineup, one that could easily headline a high-profile NY club. Besides Lea (traps and conga), who in his forty years of experience has worked with folks ranging from Pharoah Sanders to Van Morrison, he’ll have Anthony Cox, bass; Richard Johnson, piano; and Solomon Parham, trumpet.

Saturday, July 27

Dorothy Doring @ Admiral D’s Waterfront Tavern, White Bear Lake. 7pm (No Cover) Doring is a personable, versatile, and charming vocalist who knows her way around jazz and blues. Her recent recording of tunes by Ellington & Strayhorn received much critical praise. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by Lincoln Berry on organ, and Donald Thomas on drums. Live music on the deck overlooking the lake. Sounds like an ideal summer evening.

The drum master at work

The drum master at work

Eric Kamau Gravatt Drum Clinic and The Cockeyed Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7:30 clinic ($15) 7;30 concert ($15,  $20 for clinic & concert)  Famed drummer Gravatt will give a clinic on drum patterns, and some of the history of drumming. Afterwards, he’ll join Gregg Inhofer and the Cock-eyed band for a performance. There will also be music from The Electric String Quartet, an ambient pop group, and poetry from Neil Hilborn, plus free food and non-alcoholic drinks. Beer and wine will be available for sale as well.

Sunday, Monday, July 28, 29

Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ruffins is a terrific trumpet player who perfectly encapsulates much of what is loved about New Orleans music. Aside from his technical bona fides, he projects soulfulness, joyfulness, and playfulness in his performances, mixing the traditional with new, and keeping the spirit of Louis Armstrong alive. Plus, he actually cooks Barbeque when performing in N’Awlins. With the end of the series Treme, he’s returned to touring.

Tuesday, July 30

UnknownDick & Jane’s Brass Band @ Zeke’s Unchained Animal, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm. Lake & 35th Ave. This new neighborhood bar and restaurant is starting to feature music a few nights a week and is looking to make Tuesdays a New Orleans night, starting with Dick & Jane’s Brass Band. With the bar’s selection of craft beer, and its homemade, unique takes on burgers and other bar food, this could be a very fun evening.

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 9pm ($10) Trumpeter Meckler has been on a tear lately, writing and arranging modern compositions for his 18 piece band. After spending almost a year doing shows at Jazz Central, they are moving to the bigger space of the AQ where they are starting a last Tuesday residency. I’ll have Adam on my show (90.3 & 106.78FM) this Saturday, the 27th, to talk about the orchestra and preview a couple of their tunes.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Thursday, July 25

Rockin’ Pinecones @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5?) The Pinecones have been dispensing New Orleans R&B, along with Cajun and Zydeco tunes for quite a while now, and have no trouble getting both veteran and neophyte dancers up and dancing on one of the best dance floors in the cities.

Rick Estrin & the Nitecats @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Estrin and the Nightcats play fun-filled blues. Estrin has developed a slightly cheesy, always humorous persona as a skirt chasin, blues lovin’ smart ass. It’s hard to find blues that’s this humorous. Check out this video to see what I mean.

Friday, July 26

Chicago Afrobeat Project feat. Tony Allen, and Blackmarket Brass @ The Cedar, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Tony Allen was the drummer for Fela for fifteen years. Tonight he’ll be joining the Chicago Afrobeat Project for another evening of pulsing, mesmerizing music. The Twin Cities own Blackmarket Brass open. Here they are.

Dreamland Faces @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip jar) Dreamland Faces create new old music, utilizing a bassoon, accordion, piano, and saw. They’ll be joined by the Skeleton Crew of Scott Fultz, sax; Sean O’Hea, marimba; and Julie Sweet, piano. Julie is also the pianist for Dreamland Faces.

Saturday, July 27

Lowertown Roots Festival @ Mears Park, The Black Dog, and the Hat Trick, Saint Paul. 2pm – 10pm. (Free) Lowertown is taken over by various kinds of roots music, from folk to Nordic, to Zydeco. Music starts at 2:30 at Mears Park, and will feature Paul Dahlin, Nordic Angst, the bluegrass of the  High 48s, the Violin Roots Ensemble of Randy Sabien, and zydeco master CJ Chenier. Over at the Hat Trick there’s a different artist every hour, starting at 2pm, and the Black Dog will feature music starting at 8pm.

Dakota Street Fest @ 10th & Nicollet, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm. After a hiatus last year, the Dakota Street Fest returns with twenty bands on four stages, showcasing musicians across a number of genres. Artists range from Sophia Shorai and Debbie Duncan to Sonny Knight & the Lakers, Kelley Hunt, The Tex Pistols, Irv Williams, Paul Metsa with Willie Walker and Willie West, Patty Peterson, and the Dakota Combo.

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Lotsa food choices, music & beer will be at the 1st Food Truck Rally

Great Food Truck Rally @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. Noon – 10pm (Free) Twelve food trucks, including AZ Canteen, A La Plancha, and Bloomy’s Roast Beef, will gather at the Tap Room, where five different groups will be playing during the day. Bands include Vinyl Lounge at Noon; Big Blue Station Wagon (Zack Lozier’s electric trio) at 2pm; Concentual at 4pm; Maurice Jacox Group at 6pm; and The Butanes at 8pm.

The Flamin’ Ohs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) In the late 70s, they were called Flamingo, and though they were a rock band, and not a punk band, they caused quite a stir in the Twin Cities music scene. After changing their name to the Flamin’ Oh’s, they recorded a couple of well-recieved albums and toured nationally. Attrition, families, and life eventually wore them down and by the late 80s, they had gone their separate ways. Now, since a 1997 reunion, they are playing once again, if sporadically, bringing their heart felt rock n’ roll to grown up Gen Xers, and a new audience of millenials. Here’s a video that got played on MTV back when it actually played music videos.

Monday, July 29

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15) Lee’s is the Honky-Tonk/Rockabilly epicenter of the Twin Cities. What better place to see Dale Watson, a member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, and his traditional/maverick style of country music. His most recent album, El Rancho Azul, for Red House Records, charted on Billboard, and earned him a June appearance on David Letterman. Here’s a video from that appearance.

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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