Mayday and More: 5.3 – 5.9

May 3, 2017

The Tree of Life Ceremony at Powederhorn Park

It’s May and we have a weekend of Cinco de Mayo Festivals (Saturday on the West Side of Saint Paul and Sunday around 27th and East Lake) as well as the 43rd Annual Mayday Parade and Celebration in South Minneapolis (see below), all of which will feature music and performers. This week’s indoor events don’t necessarily coincide with the festivals, but provide other opportunities for uplifting experiences, with a number of visiting artists coming to town and a plethora of veteran and emerging Twin Cities artists. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 3

Regina Carter: Simply Ella @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40), 9pm ($25 – $35) April 25th marked the100th Anniversary of the birth of Ella Fitzgerald, and violinist Regina Carter is releasing an album entitled Ella: Accentuate the Positive. We are lucky enough to be a stop on her tour promoting the album. Carter is among the finest, if not the finest, jazz violinist practicing today. She’s tasteful, melodic, and swinging, whether she’s interpreting folk music of the South, Cajun fiddle music, the songs her mother loved, or something classical. Carter has been the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (The “Genius Grant”), and numerous awards. You can read an interview I did with her a couple of years ago by going here.

Michael O’Brien @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Bassist O’Brien is in town visiting and he’s brought together some of the best Twin Cities musicians to join him for this gig, which will feature Latin music in addition to O’Brien’s facility on the bass: Pete Whitman, sax; Steven Hobert, piano; and Mac Santiago, drums.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 3, 4

Randy Brecker Quartet @ Crooners’ Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20 – $30, $60w/Dinner) 9pm ($15, $20) Brecker is a multiple Grammy Award winner, who got his start with the big bands of Clark Terry, Duke Pearson, and the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra. He was in the original version of Blood Sweat and Tears, leaving them to join the Horace Silver Quintet. Since then, he’s recorded with a wide range of musicians, from Frank Zappa, James Brown, and Parliament/Funkadelic to Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorious, and Frank Sinatra. If you need another reason to see him, consider the fact that his quartet will feature Tanner Taylor on piano, as well as the crack rhythm section of Gordy Johnson and Phil Hey.

Thursday, May 4

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Ruckus Hip Hop Jazz: Drummer Rodney Ruckus may have moved to the West Coast, but he’s got plenty of gigs bringing him back to town. Tonight’s show is a double billing with two drum sets on stage, while Ruckus and LA Buckner lead and co-lead different ensembles that fuse jazz and hip hop.

Joel Shapira/Bryan Nichols Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira, no cover), 8pm (Nichols, $5) the first of two nights of double jazz at the Vieux. Guitarist Joel Shapira will help you while away a pleasant dinner hour before pianist Bryan Nichols and his trio (Jeff Bailey, bass; JT Bates, drums) entertain you with originals and jazz standards.

Friday, May 5

Jon Pemberton/Debbie Duncan @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Pemberton, no cover), 9pm (Duncan, $12) Jon Pemberton kicks off the dinner hour with his inventive and melodic piano playing, after which vocalist Debbie Duncan will take the stage to deliver her sassy brand of jazz.

Fuzzy Math @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This quintet  eatures original, if eclectic jazz originals and creative renditions of pop songs. Back in 2012 they were named “the best jazz act for people bored with jazz” by the wags at City Pages. They are, after all, a fun group with the goal of creating “serious music that doesn’t take itself too seriously.” This will be the Jazz Central debut for mark Vandermyde, keys/compositions; Curtis Lucky, trumpet; Scott Fultz, sax; Eric Graham, bass; and Haralds Bondaris, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening tonight are The D’Sievers, with John Sievers, trombone; Remi Moulder guitar; Steve Sawyer, bass; and Garrtett Kolb, drums. At 8:30 or so it’s the powerful Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code: Gravatt, drums; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Ron Evaniuk, bass; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Dave Graf, trombone. Here is Gravatt playing with McCoy Tyner and Bill Frisell.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15)  Mama Digdown has been around for about twenty years, spreading worldwide joy with the creativity of their streetwise brass band music. You can expect traditional New Orleans tunes like Jocomo, and Gloryland, as well as their own version of pop songs like the Jackson 5’s I Want You Back. Since the Madison, WI based group is sometimes supplemented with Twin Cities musicians, there may be guests during the course of the evening.

Sunday, May 7

Bob DeFlores Films: The Big Bands, 1923 – 1950s @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Even if you don’t live in the southern ‘burbs, it’s worth the drive to see films from the collection of Bob DeFlores, whose archive of music shorts and “soundies” encompasses all manner of jazz. Today he presents a rich palette of Big Bands, from Rudy Vallee and the Dorsey Brosters, to Woody Herman, Ozzie Nelson, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Ray Anthony, Artie Shaw, and much, much more.

Dan Chouinard and Lucia Newell @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35 w/Dinner) Pianist Chouinard and vocalist Newell get together for a special Birthday Club. Not only will they be celebrating the music of composers born during May, but all revenue will go to Global Rights for Women, an organization working to end violence against women worldwide! Here’s Newell performing a Brazilian song.

Dakota Combo Spring Concert @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) The Dakota Combo is a group of very talented high school students selected each September by open audition to study with bassist Adam Linz for the school year. It’s a program of MacPhail Center for music, supported by the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education. This year’s combo is a quintet: Adam Astrup, guitar; Ivan Cunningham, alto; Riley Swain, baritone; Max Voda, bass; and Simon Petrick, drums. They’ve been hard at it and have already performed at a couple of area schools. It’s safe to say you will likely be blown away by their talent. (Full disclosure: I’m on the board of the Dakota Foundation, which provides the support for this program.)

Monday, May 10

Glenn Zaleski @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 w/Dinner) Twenty-nine-year old pianist Zaleski has been a first-call sideman in NYC ever since moving there nine years ago. He’s performed and recorded with such stellar performers as Ravi Coltrane and trombonist Michael Dease, among others. He’s featured in the latest issue of DownBeat, where he’s described as someone who is not a traditionalist, but to whom “melody still matters.” The writer goes on to say, “His solos hinge on acute, often linear lines that find their counterweight in subsequent measures, cresting the tension and suspense of a well-wrought story.” This is a solo performance, so you’ve got a chance to see and hear his talent in the comfy, intimate confines of the Dunsmore Room.

Jazz Implosion @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) It’s an exciting double bill this evening the Levi Schwartzberg Quartet and Barnacle. Schwartzberg’s young group starts the evening: Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Patrick Adkins, piano; Drew Stinson, bass; and Tarek Abdelqader, on drums. Then, it’s the return of Barnacle, a two guitar group that was around at the turn of the century, featuring guitarists Jason Goessl, now of Seattle, and Jacob Park Evans, backed by Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte drums.

Tuesday, May 9

Chris Lomheim/Sophia Shorai @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover), 8pm (Shorai, $5) Yet another double dose of jazz, with pianist Chris Lomheim supplying airy, melodic improvisation during the dinner hour, and vocalist Shorai singing in her distinctively vulnerable yet sweet voice.

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 3

Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) So today, Harold’s House Party features this string quartet (plus vocalist) that specializes in Prohibition-era swing. Tune in at 5pm to hear a sample of their music and go to the 331 for a two hour taste of their tunes. I’d say to bring dancing shoes, but it becomes quite crowded in between the tables of the small club.

Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Those of you of a certain age may remember Kinky Friedman as a legendary outlaw country singer/songwriter, satirist, novelist, and onetime gubernatorial candidate for Texas. He calls himself the Texas Jewboy, and is currently on the Resurrected Tour, as he calls it, in support of his latest CD, the Loneliest Man I Ever Met. Brian Molnar, of The Naked Hearts, opens. Here’s Kinky, but her aware, he’s not politically correct.

Thursday, May 4

Edgar Winter Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45, $65, $75) Since his debut album in 1970, pianist Edgar Winter has always received accolades for his playing, whether it was rock, jazz, blues, or pop. His 1971 album with his horn band White Trash had liner notes by poet/rocker Patti Smith, and enjoyed huge success, as did it’s live follow-up. He then formed the Edgar Winter Group which had the number one Frankenstein, and another chart buster, Free Ride. The album they appeared on, They Only Come Out at Night, peaked at number 3 and was on the charts for 80 weeks. He’s got over 20 albums and collaborative efforts to his credits, and still rocks out as hard as possible.

Paul Thorne @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Thorne is a former prizefighter, and quite literally, the son of a preacher man which, taken with his Southern upbringing, has given him a unique perspective on life. He’s lived a life that give him plenty of material for songs and often humorous stories, such as I Backslide on Friday, and Mediocrity is King, both of which can be found on his latest album, Too Blessed to Be Stressed.

Swamp Poppas @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($?) While the Poppas can always be depended upon to deliver smart, danceable renditions of songs from New Orleans and South Louisiana, tonight they’re bringing in vocalist Lucinda Plaisance to help deliver some new songs in the repertoire, including Clifton Chenier’s Zydeco Cha Cha, Gene Delafose’s Bou Pon Pon, Irma Thomas’ Ruler of My Heart, Lou Ann Barton’s version of Shake Your Hips, and more.

Friday, May 5

Eilen Jewell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Singer/songwriter Eilen Jewell is a bit hard to categorize. She’s got a sweet voice, with smoky undertones, and an instinctive way with phrasing, which she uses well, whether celebrating the music of Loretta Lynn, rocking out with Shakin’ All Over, or putting a rockabilly twist to some of her own reflective originals.

Suicide Commandos Listening Party @ the Turf Club’s Clown Lounge, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Back in 1975 a trio of lads decided they didn’t want to play in a cover band, which was what most of the area’s clubs were hiring. Chris Osgood, Dave Ahl, and Steve Almaas were itching with the raw energy of youth, and wanted to play short, loud, original songs. The old Blitz Bar was willing to hire them, and after that, things changed in the Twin Cities music scene. The Suicide Commandos, as the trio named themselves, laid the foundation for groups like the Suburbs, The Replacements, Husker Du, and other groups. Well, it’s forty-two years later. They had long broken up, developed other music and performing careers, and then started reuniting on a sporadic basis over the last couple of decades. Importantly, they recently recorded their second studio album, Time Bomb. The guys will be hosting this listening party, and selling and signing copies of the album. In addition, Cyn Collins will be selling and signing her new book, entitled Complicated Fun, named after a Commandos song. It’s an oral history of Minneapolis punk and indie rock from 1974 – 1984.

Erik Brandt and the Urban Hillbilly Quartet @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Free) Twenty-two years after forming, the Urban Hillbilly Quartet still delivers original Americana and roots rock inspired by folks like David Grisman, Bruce Cockburn, the Jayhawks and The Grateful Dead. The core of the band is Erik Brandt, guitar, accordion, piano, lead vocals; Jeremy Szopinski, electric guitar; Dave Strahan, electric guitar, banjo, & vocals; Mike Schultz, bass; and Jim Orvis, drums.

Saturday, May 6

Saturday Salon @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) This weeks program of chamber music in a cabaret setting is entitled Lonely Hearts: Music Made in Minnesota. It features two Saint Olaf grads who are active in the Twin Cities choral scene, but who also perform solo. Baritone Harrison Hintzsche and soprano Anna Christofaro will be joined by Matt Harikian on piano to perform acerbic, touching, and sometimes lustful songs by Libby Larsen, David Evans, among others. Small plates and bar service are available during the show, with full dinner available at 4:30pm, for those of us who may not want to go home and cook.

Fourth Annual Minnesota Salsa Fiesta @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) It will be an explosion of hip-shaking Latin rhythms as Charanga Tropical hosts guests from throughout the Twin Cities Latin Music scene. Charanga Tropical will play, of course, along with Cuban-style percussion ensemble Rumba del Norte. Then it will be La Gran Charanga, and 18-piece all star group featuring 6 horns, 5 violins, 4 singers, and a full Latin rhythm section. When doors open at 7pm DJ Prieto from Chicago will spin salsa hits mixed with rare videos. A salsa lesson from Cuban-born instructor Rene Thompson will follow, to help folks dance to the pulsating rhythms produced by the bands.

Denny Laine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) Laine was an original member of the Moody Blues, and sang lead on their first hit, Go Now back in 1964. He left the Moody Blues to have his own band, joined Ginger Baker’s Air Force for a bit, and then, with Paul and Linda McCartney, was a founder of Wings, which had 24 hits on the charts in the 70s and received a Grammy for Band on the Run. He co-wrote Mull of McIntyre with Paul and it subsequently became the biggest selling hit of all time in the UK. Tonight he’ll play Band on the Run in its entirety, as well as some other tunes, I presume.

Sunday, May 7

Mayday Festival @ Powderhorn Park, Minneapolis. Noon – 7pm (Free) If you want to see a friend you haven’t seen in a while, they will probably be at the community celebration which is taking place for the 43rd year in a row. The day begins with a parade that travels south on Bloomington Avenue from 25th street and turns to Powderhorn Park on 34th Street. The parade features various community groups as well as giant puppets from Heart of the Beast, all marching to the 2017 MayDay theme: Imagine, Resist, Heal.  The Tree of Life Ceremony occurs at 3pm, when the Sun Flotilla paddles the Sun across the park’s lake. There will be music and dancing throughout the day, with entertainment ranging from Morris Dancers and a Women’s Drum Circle, to Savage Aural Hotbed, Prairie Fire Lady Choir and Machinery Hill. Food and merchandise will be available from a plethora of vendors.  Here’s a short clip of what you might see in the parade.

Tuesday, May 9

The Blasters @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 7pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Back in 1978, as the Punk movement was gaining steam around the country, a group of guys in Los Angeles named themselves the Blasters and combined that energy with rhythm and blues, early rock n’ roll, and rockabilly in an album called American Music. Funding members Phil Alvin, vocals, guitar; John Bass, bass; and Bill Bateman drums, along with guitarist Keith Wyatt, are still rocking audiences into gleeful pools of sweat.

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.


Festival Season Takes Hold: 6.17 – 6.23

June 17, 2015
Maybe you'll see a car like this around the Twin Cities this weekend

Maybe you’ll see a car like this around town this weekend

It’s Fathers Day weekend, with the Stone Arch Festival taking place on and Saturday and Sunday, including a car show and four stages of music each day. And it’s the Annual Back To The 50s Car Show at the State Fairgrounds.  Though the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place next weekend, we’re already seeing some pre-festival events around Saint Paul. All in all, it’s a good week for music, and music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 17

The trio at work/play

The trio at work/play

Chris Bates good Vibes Trio @ Hamline Library, 1558 Minnehaha Ave, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 8:30pm (Free) The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is producing a number of pre-festival warm-up events, including this one, in which you’ll get to see a highly developed trio of musicians having fun as they play. Besides Bates on bass, there is Dave Hagedorn on vibes and Phil Hey on drums.

Pete Whitman Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxman Whitman is a veteran of numerous sideman gigs with artists ranging from Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney to Dave Stryker and Jack McDuff. He’s also led a few excellent groups such as the X-Tet. He’ll be joined tonight by Chris Lomheim, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, June 18

Minnesota Jazz Orchestra @ Rock Island Swing Bridge, Inver Grove Heights. 6pm – 9pm (Free) You can catch this band once a month at the Wabasha Caves, but tonight they’re playing a swing dance for a swing bridge, as the Rock Island Swing Bridge is being dedicated as part of a trail.

Bob Fantuzzo & Katia Cardenas @ The Kingfield Porchfest, 4515 1st Ave So. Minneapolis. 6pm (Free) Both amateur and professional musicians who live in the Kingfield neighborhood will be featured on the porches of over 20 homes, allowing residents and visitors to roam the neighborhood and hear music. Most of the other artists come from genres other than jazz.

Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($32 – $37) Liebert is credited with creating the Nouveau Flamenco style of guitar, incorporating traditional flamenco music into a modern context, creating a smooth, sensual sound in the process. Since his debut release in 1989 he’s released 25 albums, received five Grammy nominations, and reached 38 gold or platinum levels of sales here in the United States, not to mention sales around the world.

Friday, June 19

Bill Frisell Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) There are few, if any, electric guitarists who are as eclectic and successful in their recording and playing as Frisell  He’s worked in mainstream and experimental jazz, as well as folk, classical, Brazilian, soundtrack, and pop realmsd. Whether doing covers of John Lennon tunes, playing with Dave Holland and Elvin Jones, or recording old country tunes, Frisell brings imagination and an instantly recognizable sound to the fore. His latest CD, Guitar in the Space Age, celebrates the twangy, reverberating sounds of songs from the late 50s and early 60s. Tonight he’ll be playing with a different group than in previous visits: Tony Scher, bass; and Rudy Royston, drums.

Jon Pemberton Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pemberton is a triple threat: composer, pianist, and trumpet player. And, he’s excellent in all three roles. He’ll be joined by two other excellent musicians: Matt Peterson on bass, and Corey Healey on drums. Here he is at the piano with a different trio.

Dakota Combo and Dean Granros’ Tall Tales @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Eight very talented high school musicians who have been studying with Adam Linz, in one of their last performances for the year. (They’ll also be at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival and the Iowa City Jazz Festival.) If you ever hear anyone say jazz is dead, point them to the excitement that these young players generate. Stick around at 9pm for some veterans: Dean Granros and Zacc Harris, guitars; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Steve Hobert & Steve Pikal @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s two Steve’s swingin’ as Hobert (keys) and Pikal (bass) take to the stage. The two have worked together in the Zack Lozier Three, and go together as easily as red beans and rice.

Saturday, June 20

Adam Meckler Quintet @ Episcopal Homes, 1850 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 1:30pm – 3:30pm (Free) Here’s a pre-festival event featuring trumpeter Meckle  and his group performing Meckler originals. He’s joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Doug Haining’s Twin Cities 7 @ Episcopal Homes, 1850 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (Free) The fun continues at Episcopal Homes as saxophonist Doug Haining brings his swinging septet to the stage. I’m sure that residents of the Homes willing be happily tapping their feet, and if they aren’t actually dancing, they’ll be dancing in their heads.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (tip Jar) Featuring John Penny & Jay Epstein (7pm) and the Phil Hey Quartet at 9pm.  Tonight, the weekly jazz performance starts out with the bound to be satisfying duo of Penny on guitar and Epstein on drums. Then Phil Hey and his quartet take the stage to perform flawless interpretations of jazz standards by the likes of Chick Corea and Ornette Coleman. Besides Hey on drums the quartet includes Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Aaron on piano. They’ve been working together many, many years, and it shows.

Sunday, June 21

Francisco Mela Trio @ The Downtown Central Library, Saint Paul. 2pm – 4pm (Free) Mela is the relatively young drummer/percussionist who is serving as the Musical Director for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. He’s toured and/or recorded with the like of Joe Lovano, Kenny Barron, and McCoy Tyner. Mela’s debut CD was called one of the best albums of the year in 2006 by All About Jazz, and was picked as the best debut by the Village Voice.

Monday, June 22

Sarah M Greer & BLU-7 @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No cover) Greer is a versatile vocalist who is particularly adept at improvisational singing. She leads a regular vocal workshop in spontaneous singing called Songtaneous, and has appeared in a variety of venues around town.

Kurt Elling @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Elling is one of the finest jazz vocalists around, specializing in vocalese as well as scat singing, and bringing new interpretations to a song, whether it’s from Sam Cooke or Charlie Parker. His rich emotive voice has earned him a number of accolades, including the Downbeat Critics Poll 14 years in a row.

Geoff Senn @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Trumpeter Senn can be seen around town in a number of bands around town, including the Explosion Big Band, as well as with Steve Kenny. Tonight he stretches out.

Tuesday, June 23

Lila Ammons @ Highland Stage, 730 Cleveland Ave S, Saint Paul. 7-8:30pm (Free) Another Pre-Festival event, this time in Highland area of Saint Paul, and featuring songstress Ammons, who is equally at home with jazz and blues.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 22, 23

Cecile McLorin Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($25, $30) Vocalist Salvant’s career is rising fast. She seems to specialize in unique reinterpretations of long forgotten early jazz tunes. She’s earned high praise from Wynton Marsalis and the NY Times, and has appeared at numerous festivals around the world. Her last appearance at the Dakota was packed with cheering fans.

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, June 17

Mother Banjo Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It seems that Gospel music is coming into its own in a couple of genre bending bands. There are a couple of “garage gospel” groups, and then there is Ellen Stanley, aka Mother Banjo  who plays “pub gospel” on her third CD, The Devil Hasn’t Won. She’s won praise for her songwriting from artists such as John Gorka and Josh Ritter.

The Blasters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($22) Phil Alvin is leading this version of the Blasters without his brother Dave, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be a high energy evening of rock n’ roll and rockabilly. There will be a packed house, I’m sure, that will be warmed up by Javier and the Innocent Sons.

Thursday, June 18

Reggae Sunsplash w/The Meditations @ The University Club of Saint Paul, Summit & Ramsey Hill. 5:30pm – 10pm. ($25 door) So we’ve got the Meditations as well as Irie Sol featuring Junior Williams, and a Reggae DJ and Jamaican Buffet ($10), all taking place poolside at the University Club on top of Ramsey Hill in Saint Paul. Advance tickets are available, including a VIP ticket ($55) with a drink and meet and greet. In case of rain, the concert will be held in downtown Saint Paul at the St. Paul Athletic Club.

Hmm, what should I play?

Hmm, what should I play?

Jillian Rae, with Pasadena 68 @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) The weekly Music In Mears series is now in its 12th year of presenting bands on Thursday nights. All I know about Pasadena 68 is that it’s a rock n’ roll quartet. I can tell you about Jillian Rae  however, a talented fiddler/vocalist, who isn’t afraid of mixing up pop, rock, and old time music. She’s also a talented writer of original songs. There will be a number of food trucks available, as well as some adult beverages.

Birdstriking @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) This quartet from Beijing China is one of three bands on the bill. They are high energy, fierce rockers, with smart writing and arrangements, and hints of punk and psychedelia in their approach The other two bands for the night are Flavor Crystals and Magic Castles. From the Kitty Kat’s website, it appears that Birdstriking is the middle group, but one can never tell.

Saun and Starr @ The Bedlam Theater, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Saun and Starr have served as back-up singers to Sharon Jones and are now touring with Sharon and taking side gigs to promote their own new album on Daptone Records. Like Jones, they bring a contemporary perspective to their influence – medium tempo 60s soul. The evening also features Twin Cities own Gospel Machine and Tarik Thornton on the turntables.

Friday, June 19

Sweet Tea @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6:30pm – 10pm ($?) This quintet has been growing its fan base like crazy, as well they should. Lead vocalist Joy Ann has a strong voice, and is backed by an equally strong quartet of deep-rooted veterans led by guitarist Mark Lamoine.

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, June 19, 20, 21

Drop the Mic ! @ Cowles Center, Minneapolis. Friday, Saturday, 7:30pm, Sunday, 2pm ($25) A cross-genre blend of dance, with live music, and DJing. The artists of Curio Dance will perform contemporary, traditional, and classical dance to live jazz trumpet, Latin congas, contemporary piano and a breakbeat DJ.

Saturday, June 20

The Tenderness Sessions @ Pepitos Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. Doors at 7pm, music at 8pm.  ($15 advance/$25 door) Soul music, both sweet and sweaty, as first performed by the likes of Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, and Wilson Picket. And who better to perform such music than resident soulmen Mick Sterling, Maurice Jacox, and Willie Walker. If you purchase tickets at the door, $10 of the price will go to saxophonist Pat Mackin, injured in a car accident last December.

Johnson, Babb, & Paul, with Mary Cutrufello @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($?) It’s hard to get rootsier than this group of artists. Cutrufello rocks out at 9pm, with her tear-in-your-beer story songs and rockin’ guitar, preceded by bluesman Baby Grant Johnson, along with Dave Babb (of the Liquor Pigs), and the sly “mayor of the West Bank,” percussionist Tony Paul as 7pm openers.

Rich Lewis Band @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:30pm (Tip Jar) Boomers and others who appreciate R&B, New Orleans, and Motown music can catch Lewis and his band at one of the best neighborhood bars in the Twin Cities. Get there early for a seat, and bring an ID if you want adult beverages. They’ve got a great selection of beers from Great Britain, Scotch and Irish whiskey, and British food, including Scotch eggs.

Sunday, June 21

Martha Davis & the Motels @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30 – $40) Here’s a show for Gen Xers and late boomers. The Motels burst on the music scene in 1982 with their LP All Four One, which produced a top ten song in Only The Lonely, and had three other singles reach the charts. The next year they again reached the Top Ten with Suddenly Last SummerMartha Davis has  been touring with various musicians as The Motels since the late 90s. Judging by recent videos, Davis’ voice remains strong, with a rueful tone which goes well with her songs.

Tuesday, June 23

Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue @ Cabooze Plaza, Minneapolis. Doors 5:30/show 6:30pm ($35) Perhaps one of the most exciting young R&B musicians you may see in a long time, Trombone Shorty is a dynamic performer who knows how to work a crowd. He got his name as leader of a band at age six! He also plays trumpet and can acknowledge New Orleans jazz history and play contemporary funk and R&B at the same time, which has led to him having the closing show at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Today’s show also features Willie Murphy & the Angel-Headed Hypsters, and the Jack Brass Band.

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.


Wayback Week. Music: 5.14 – 4.20

May 14, 2014
Mr Peabody is ready to show Sherman how to rock, 80's style.

Mr Peabody is ready to show Sherman how to rock, 80’s style.

It’s looking a little like Wayback Week, with some old favorites from decades past coming through town. Of course, we’ve plenty of contemporary artists performing as well. Throw in Art-A-Whirl, some visiting artists, and a legal brief full of lawyer bands and you’ve got an entertaining week ahead. Music lifts the spirit. Have a good week.

Jazz

Wednesday, May 14

Framework @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Donation) Framework is Chris Bates, bass; Chris Olson, guitar; and Jay Epstein, drums. They’ve been around as a group for a number of years, and each as a resume that stretches for pages. I enjoy their CD, simply entitled Framework, for its tight, melodic tunes. They play sporadically, due in part to the other commitments each has, so this is a good chance to catch them in a relaxed setting.

Thursday, May 15

Laura Caviani @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Donation) Wait a minute, you’re saying, isn’t Thursday Vocal Jazz Night at JC? Isn’t Laura a piano player? Well, yes it is, and though Laura is a wonderful pianist and often accompanies other singers, she has revealed that she has charming pipes with a song or two on her albums. Tonight she’ll be performing songs that she sang with her family when growing up. Accompanying her will be Chris Lomheim, piano; Bruce Heine, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Friday, May 16

Vicky Mountain @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7pm – 10pm (No cover) The swingin’ chanteuse has Chris Lomheim on piano and Matt Peterson on bass to accompany her while she performs some swingin’ jazz and hipster pop.

Roseville HS Spring Concert feat: a Big Band composition from Michael Attias @ Roseville HS, Roseville. 7:30pm (Free) Pat Moriarty directs the music program at Roseville and this Spring Concert will feature three combos and three big bands. The evening will feature the premiere of a big band composition by NY saxophonist Michael Attias.

Nathan & Brian of the Fantastic Merlins

Nathan & Brian of the Fantastic Merlins

Fantastic Merlins w/Jean-Brice Godet @ Sweet 317, Northern Warehouse, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) French Clarinetist Jean-Brice Godet is in town for a few days. He is a composer and also a free improviser, which means he’s the perfect foil for the Merlins: Nathan Hanson on sax; and Brian Roessler on bass. Expect music that will move you.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm. Kenny seems to be very busy these days, choosing from among a wide range of musicians for different projects. This time the trumpet player has quartet that’s playing a lot of Monk, including Billy Peterson, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Jay Epstein on drums.

Jerry O’Hagan Orchestra w/Charmin Michele @ The Medina Ballroom, 500 Highway 55, Medina. 8:30pm ($12) O’Hagan and is crew head out to the Western ‘burbs to provide music that is not only easy on the ears, but easy to dance to. Ms Michele provides warm vocals, as on this sensuous song.

Saturday, May 17

Sublime Curve @ The Normandy Kitchen, downtown Minneapolis. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) “Chamber Jazz” in an intimate setting, featuring Jim Tice, keys; Stevie D, percussion; Jeff Moe, bass; Marc Partridge, guitar; and Tom Church, sax. It is a small place, so reservations are recommended.

Sunday, May 18

Ellen Lease/Pat Moriarty w/Michael Attias & Homer Lambrecht @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10)  Fantastic NYC-based saxophonist Michael Attias is in town for the premiere of his new big band piece (see above) so Pat and Ellen are taking the opportunity to perform with him. Homer Lambrecht is best known as both an avant garde jazz trombonist and as a composer of major orchestral works (commissions from the Min Orch and SPCO).  For this gig he’ll be doing live electronics.  Homer has developed a number of interactive soundscapes which will be used as the basis for improvisations that move in all directions.

Monday, May 19

Fantastic Merlins w/Jean-Brice Godet and The Atlantis Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. For the Merlins w/Godet, see Friday’s entry above. Add the thoroughly modern Atlantis Quartet. The result: late night contemporary jazz.

Monday, Tuesday, May 19, 20

Cassandra Wilson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60), 9pm ($40,$50) One of the best jazz vocalists around, Mississippi native Wilson incorporates blues, country, and folk into her repertoire, all the time making each song completely her own. She’s won two Grammys, a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail and a number of other awards. Her genius at interpreting songs is evident in this video of her doing Jimi Henrix’s Little Wing.

Tuesday, May 20

Some members of the band

Some members of the band

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Adam’s been on the road for the last four weeks with the Youngblood Brass Band. He’s pumped, and he’s ready to lead the 17 piece orchestra in the songs they’ve recorded for an upcoming album, as well as some other band favorites. Always invigorating.

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

Wednesday, May 14

Bloodwashed Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Here’s a band that can publish a Twin Cities Who’s Who of alt-country. Led by Page Burkum (Cactus Blossoms) The Bloodwashed Band serves as the house band for House of Mercy Church in Saint Paul, playing a repertoire that includes songs by the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers, and other familiar names in country and roots music. Other members include Chris Becknell, violin (Mursik); guitarist Jeremy Szopinski and keyboardist Erick Brandt,  both of the Urban Hillbilly Quartet; Quillan Roe, bass (Roe Family Singers); Levi Stugelmeyer, drums (Chm) and vocalist Angie Talle. I’ll be hosting both the radio show and at the 331 Club.

Idan Raichel Project @ O’Shaugnessy Auditorium, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($35, $45)  Here’s an event that will gather fans of world music. Producer, keyboardist, and composer Idan Raichel has become a global music icon since the unveiling of The Idan Raichel Project, a multi-ethnic tour de force that changed the face of Israeli popular music. The ten-piece Project charms audiences with entrancing, infectious, highly rhythmic  music sung in Hebrew, Arabic and the Ethiopian languages of Amharic and Tigrit. Though much of what they play is medium tempo, they can also rock out, as shown in this video.

Thursday, May 15

Attractive Nuisance Tour & Fundraiser @ Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 6pm ($15 advance/$20 door) Okay, who knew that there are not only lawyer bands, but at least four lawyer bands, all of whom will be performing for this fundraiser for the Minnesota Justice Foundation. They may be lawyers who wanna be rockers, or rockers who turned to law to support themselves. Either way, you get to see Noisy Withdrawal, The Abdomen, Bluff Country, and Uncommon Roots. MMC is co-sponsoring this event, since the MN Justice Foundation will be working with them to provide free legal services to musicians.

The Blasters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Wow! There are many folks in our Twin Towns who are highly anticipating this performance. The Blasters first exploded onto the music scene back in the early 80s, with a blend of blues, rockabilly, and early rock n’ roll delivered with the energy of punk. It’s a hot ticket, so it might not be a good idea to buy one in advance. Piñata Protest opens. Watch em rock out.

Friday, May 16

Unknown-1Semi-Twang @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Back to Lee’s for another blast from the past that’s current once again. Those of us who fondly remember the R&B Cadets out of Milwaukee will recognize its founder John Sieger, who went on to form Semi-Twang, that some have called a pre-curser to alt-country. Though their first album, released in 1988, was critically well-received, sales were flat. Fast forward to 2009 and a reunion of the band that went very well, resulting in a second, and now a third album. Call it Americana, roots, alt-country. It doesn’t matter. What matters is Sieger is a terrific songwriter, and the band provides the spice that turns a simple stew into a tasty gumbo.

Paul Geremia @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) Geremia has been on the road since the 60s, earning a well-deserved reputation as a bluesman with an affinity for early blues and jazz, fingerpicking originals as well as songs from the likes of Bl;ind Willie McTell, Scrapper Blackwell, and others. Dave Van Ronk called him one of “the best white blues players alive.” It’s a small music room at the Bayport, where you can get some might fine BBQ, as well as a branded alcohol called White Lightning. With Geremia, the ‘Q, and drinks, you can settle in for a mighty fine evening of classic blues.

Friday – Sunday, May 16, 17, 18

Art-A-Whirl @ Various Studios, NE Minneapolis. I’m listing this since there will be many music performances at different buildings throughout the tour, including a live broadcast of Lolly Obeda’s Sugar Shop on Friday afternoon at the PNA Hall, and KFAI Deejays at both PNA Hall and studio #332 in Northrup King on Friday and Saturday. More information about At-A-Whirl is available here.

Saturday, May 17

It's back to the future with this cartoon, which may or may not be shown.

It’s back to the future with this cartoon, which may or may not be shown.

Ukelele Alley Cartoon ExtravaGonzo w/Dakota Dave Hull @ The Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. Noon ($8, $5 12 and under) It’s a Saturday Family Matinee, presented by Luke the Uke and featuring DJ Mister Gosh and VJ Miss Ian spinning 78s and celluloid for kids of all ages. Special guest Dakota Dave Hull will be finger picking.

Sunday, May 18

Who Nu @ Jimmy’s Food & Drink, 1132 East County Road E, Vadnais Heights. 2:30pm – 6:30pm (No cover) Here’s a pleasant Sunday afternoon full of old school funk & soul, with guest vocalists Dorothy Doring, Donald Thomas, and Dee Miller. Why I’ll bet some folks even get up and dance.

Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Hillman was an original member of the Byrds, whose album Sweetheart of the Rodeo, a seminal country-rock album. He went on to play in the Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, and the Desert Rose Band. Multi-instrumentalist Herb Pedersen was also in the Desert Rose band, and has collaborated with the likes of Earl Scruggs, The Dillards, Stephen Still, Emmylou Harris and many more. The two have recorded and toured behind several acclaimed albums of acoustic country and bluegrass songs. It’s great to have them here.

Monday, May 19

David Lindley @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($22) Lindley’s hair may now be gray, but he still has an impish smile, which perfectly reflects his wide-ranging taste in music, not to mention his wizardry with many things stringed. Back in the 70s he made waves as a supporting player for folks ranging from Jackson Browne, and Linda Ronstadt, to Bob Dylan and Crosby & Nash. His band El Rayo-X earned a cult following, and a 2011 collaboration with Browne got a Grammy Nomination for Best Contemporary Folk Album. A delightful evening awaits. Here’s a video from last year.

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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