Something old, something, new, something Bach, and something blue. That more or less describes some music ideas for the coming week. From the 21st Century jazz of Schimke, Buckley, & Epstein, to interpretations of Bach and Bernstein, there is more jazz than a person can hopefully attend. The Sixties figure strongly in other offerings, from Martha & the Vandellas and Peter Asher, to the 30s with a show about Noel Coward, and a nod to Brazil, with an afternoon performance. All in all, a good week for live music.
Wednesday, Jan 11
Schimke, Buckley, & Epstein @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm. (No cover) Three of the many fine musicians in the area gather to improvise at Cafe Maude, an excellent neighborhood restaurant. Peter Schimke on piano, James Buckley on bass, and Jay Epstein on drums. Expect inventive, thoughtful, jazz. The cafe has a $20 prix fixe menu to go with the music. Reservations are encouraged.
Thursday, Jan 12
Robb Henry Trio @ Merlin’s Rest, East Lake Street, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) Guitarist Henry has come quite a ways from his days with local rockers Fingerprints. He heads up the Parisota Hot Club and also does occasional dates with a trio, as he does tonight, with Ben Kaplan on drums and Jim Chenoweth on string bass. Bring an ID if you want alcohol. Here’s a video of a November appearance at Merlin’s. The audience noise is loud but you get a good sense of Henry’s playing.
Friday, Jan 13
Jon Weber @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The always-enjoyable Weber is a pianist with great technique, a vivid musical imagination, and a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of songs and styles. He’s been a featured artist at every Twin Cities Jazz Festival, and is host of “Piano Rising Stars” on NPR, which is beginning to be heard on KBEM on Saturday evenings.
Saturday, Jan 14
Framework + Baroque Trio @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10, $15) Is there something in the air? Last weekend Laura Caviani performed Bach to Bop. Now we have a jazz trio and a baroque trio sharing a stage and compositions. Framework is Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass, and Jay Epstein, drums. Paul Boehnke directs the baroque trio (harpsichord anyone?). Both groups will be playing the music of Bach (an early improviser) in both traditional and non-traditional ways. The jazz trio will also perform modern compositions inspired by classical composers, and the baroque trio will perform those new compositions in a traditional manner.
Richard Johnson Trio Performs the Music of West Side Story @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Pianist Johnson has been a member of groups led by Russell Malone, Irvin Mayfield, and Wynton Marsalis. Johnson’s playing and Leonard Bernstein’s score should make a good combination. Sleeper gig of the week.
Sunday Jan 15
TCJS presents Bryan Nichols Quintet + 1: ” The Music of Keith Jarrett’s American Quartet” @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Don’t let the long title put you off. This will be a memorable performance, as pianist Nichols gathers MIke Lewis and Brandon Wozniak (saxes); James Buckley, bass, and JT Bates and Jay Epstein (drums) to play the music of what many consider the finest small group of the late 20th Century. Opening act is a trio of high school artists, Respective Sounds Convergence Summit, led by bassist Sam Wildenauer, with Henry Misa on Keys, and Will Nelson on guitar.
Monday, Jan 16
JoAnn Funk Trio & Dave Karr Trio on Saint Paul Live! – KBEM (88.5FM) 7pm – 8pm. Both trios recorded live this past Fall at the Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar and the Artists’ Quarter respectively.
Roots, Blues, Other….
Wednesday, Thursday, Jan 11, 12
Martha Reeves & The Vandellas @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $65) Holy Moly Rocky! The secretary turned singer turned Detroit City Councilperson/Singer is coming to town to sing “Heat Wave,” “Dancing in the Streets,” and more. With a voice that was way more powerful than Diana Ross, Reeves should have ruled the roost at Motown. She and her cohorts were responsible for songs that clearly established the Motown sound. Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2003, Reeves will have many boomers (and a fair amount of younger fans) enjoying soul/pop of the highest order.
Friday, Jan 13
Hubert Sumlin Tribute w/Butanes & Tail Dragger @ Famous Dave’s, Uptown Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) If anyone can do a heartfelt and valid tribute to Sumlin, the Butanes can. Butanes leader Curt Obeda used to hang with Hubert when Curt was in Chicago. Sumlin was Howlin’ Wolf’s main guitar player, and was so good that Muddy Waters hired him away, though not for long. Not only was Sumlin a hell of a player (named to the top 100 of all time by Rolling Stone), but he was also very gracious, as I learned when I ran into him at the Newark Airport about 8 or 9 years ago. Tail Dragger is an added benefit.
Saturday, Jan 14
Mariameu @ Hosmer Public Library, 347 East 36th Street, Minneapolis. 1pm – 4pm (free). Brazilian music from Tim O’Keefe, hand drums; James, Allen, acoustic guitar; David Martin, guitar and bass, and Karen Quiroz, vocals. Quiroz is a fine interpreter of contemporary Brazilian music and uses excellent musicians. Both Allen and Martin are very talented guitarists who work with other vocalists as well. What a nice way to spend an afternoon.
String Theory @ The Coffee Grounds, 1579 Hamline, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm. A jazz/blues/world fusion trio from the Mankato area, String Theory is Eli Hoehn, banjo & vocals; Wayne Schmidt, guitar & vocals; and Jason Helder, guitar & vocals. I know Eli from his excellent work with One Fast Move. This sounds like a trio to catch.
The Persuasions @ The Hopkins Center for the Arts, 1111 Main Street, Hopkins. 8pm ($26) After 48 years, they “still ain’t got no band.” Theses acapella artists don’t need one, as their harmonies easily carry the day. They sing all kinds of music, from Sam Cooke and the Temptations, to Bob Dylan, Frank Zappa, and the Grateful Dead. Check this out.
Sunday, Jan 15
A Talent to Amuse: An Evening With Noel Coward @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 1pm. (Free) Gary Briggle has created this performance piece, appearing as the ever-witty Noel Coward. It features nearly 30 of his hilarious story songs, romantic ballads, jazzy dance tunes, and wry observations.
Monday, Tuesday, Jan 16, 17
Peter Asher @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) So much more than half of Peter and Gordon, Asher has been a record executive at all levels, and was a regular Zelig of mod Britain: Paul McCartney dated his sister; he introduced Yoko to John; and Mick to Marianne Faithful, not to mention signing and producing James Taylor and a host of others. This multi-media performance is titled: A Musical Memoir of the 60s and Beyond.
For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.