Happy New Year! 12.26 – 1.1

December 26, 2018

Well, 2018 is coming to an end, and whether you can’t wait for it to be over, or simply look forward to a fresh start, there are all manner of celebrations taking place. I’m suggesting a few, including some lower-price events, but there’s bound to be a special event in most every restaurant and bar you can shake a stick at. You can also catch some holiday visitors who have put together shows while in town. We’re blessed to have so many cultural offerings in the metro area. Here’s wishing you a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year! Remember, Music Lifts Your Spirits!


Wednesday, Dec 26

Will Kjeer @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm (?) It’s always fun to see returning students, and how much they’ve learned and grown musically while in school. After spending a number of years attending different schools, pianist Will Kjeer is back for his last holiday vacation as an undergrad. He’ll be joined by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Ben Erlich, drums.

Wednesday – Friday, Dec 26 – 28

Bad Plus @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($40) The Bad Plus have been having a Christmas stand at the Dakota. Last year makes the last appearance of Ethan Iverson and now the piano chair is held by Orin Evans who has been an integral part of this new conjuration. Rolling Stone called their album “Never Stop II” the number one jazz album of 2018.

Thursday, Dec 27

Steven Hobert Quartet @ Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm ($5) With saxophonist Pete Whitman; bassist Yohannes Tona; and Greg Schutte, drums.  Lots of Steve’s original music as well as music by Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington and Nina Simone.

Friday, Dec 28

58 Belvedere @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Guitar master Dean Granros is joined by James Buckley, bass; and Dave Power, drums.

Saturday, Dec 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set by the Jordan Anderson Group: Anderson, piano; Sam Worthington, bass; and Ben Erlich, drums. Featured artist at 8:30pm is SPACE: another band of rising musicians: Jack Courtwright, trombone; Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass/cello; and Luke Peterson, drums.

Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12, $15) Chicago saxophonist Mallinger is one of Saint Paul’s favorite sons who we get to see whenever he’s in town for the holidays. He’ll have backing by Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. This show is close to selling out as of this writing.

Sunday, Dec 30

Bates, Lewis, & Johnson @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 6:30pmJT Bates drums; and Michael Lewis, sax; are 2/3rd of Fat Kid Wednesdays. With the addition of Gordy Johnson on bass, I suspect some standards may be in order, though Johnson, of an older generation, is versatile enough to go wherever the music takes the trio.

Hot Club of Chicago Avenue @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm ($15) Guitarist Sam Miltich, vocalist Charmin Michelle, and clarinetist Tony Baluff combine forces for an evening of swinging’ hot club music.

Hoaxer @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($10) An exciting band of young Turks, with: Charlie Lincoln, bass; Will Kjeer, piano; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Caitlin, drums.

Monday, Dec 31

Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm, 7:30pm ($40, $85) with 3-course dinner) You can celebrate the arrival of a new year with the cool, yet expressive vocals of Ms Evingson  and still be home have time to go to another party or go home and let other have an exuberant evening.

Sophia Shorai @ The Lexington, Saint Paul.9pm (Tip jar) the Lex is taking reservations for dinner, but I don’t know how they’re handling folks who want to see Sophia, since the Williamsburg Room has couches, tea tables, and a bar (no reservations there). More to the point, Ms Shorai (pianist/vocalist), with her sparkling vocals and ability to convey emotion with a catch in her throat will be accompanied by James Buckley, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

New Year’s at the Black Dog, Saint Paul.  5pm – 11:59pm (Tip Jar) It’s a two part celebration beginning with their annual Early, Safe & Sane kid-friendly celebration starting at 5pm, and featuring Todd Harper, keys; Aaron Kerr, cello; Chris Hagedorn, sax; and Eric Courson, drums. Then afterwards, it’s a massive jazz concert to take you to the New Year, with Steve Kenny, trumpet; Dave Brattain, saxes; Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums, along with some special guests. Reservations recommended.

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

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, Dec 26

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This annual post-Christmas, pre-New Year’s show is always fun, thanks to the camaraderie exhibited by the almost-acapella Eddies and their audiences.

Friday, Dec 28

Crankshaft’s Last Stand @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Crankshaft is retiring, so this will be your last chance to hear this punkified, no-holds barred, blues.  He’ll be joined by the Flood Brothers, and Mike Munson, with a special late set from Kent Burnside with special guests, including Harold Tremblay.

Friday, Saturday, Dec 28, 29

Nooky Jones’ 5th Annual Soulful Soiree @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($17 Advance, $20 Door) This very cool sextet blends, soul jazz, and hip-hop into a musical mélange that’s both spicy & soothing. Friday night guests are Mina Moore and DJ Lazerbeek, while Saturday’s guests are Proper-T, and DJ Rowsheen.

Saturday, Dec 29

Vibronauts @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Guitar-driven early rock n’ roll & rhythm & blues by a quintet packed into the little green booth.

Sunday, Dec 30

Rich Lewis Big Bad Band @ Whitey’s, 4th & East Hennepin, NE Mpls. 8pm (Tip Jar) Soulful rock n’ roll, as well as original versions of classic soul & Motown, performed by an expanded version of the band.

Monday, Dec 31

Belfast Cowboys @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($85, includes $50 food & drink credit) The large version of this Van Morrison tribute band.

Frogleg @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($22 Advance, $25 Door) Funk, Rock, & Reggae from Frogleg, with guests The People Brothers Band.

PHO @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 Advance, $20 day of show) If you’re looking for a fun-filled New Year’s PHO, along with Purple Funk Metropois& Radiochurchwill provide it for you.

Harrison Street @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Friendly, front porch blues with power.

JoyAnn Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 10:30pm ($40) Passion, power, and soul from singer/multi-instrumentalist Ms Parker and her bluesy 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.


Happy New Year! 12.28 – 1.3

December 28, 2016

unknownIt’s time to put this year behind us. Though some of us have experienced triumphs and celebrations during the year, many would agree that it’s been a year filled with fear, loathing, and sadness. There is plenty of music to send 2016 on its way, from talented resident artists of many genres to a couple of visiting artists. There are, of course, many other options than those I’ve listed, for NYE, but be sure to check with venues, as some of the NYE events I’ve listed may be sold out by the end of the week. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.


Wednesday, December 28

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) A beloved trio, Rio Nido came out of the West Bank music scene of the late 70s, with their unique blend of voices and a repertoire of songs from the 30s and 40s. After a decades long hiatus, they started returning to performing a year or so ago, welcomed so much that a third show was added for this gig. Prudence JohnsonTom Lieberman  and Tim Sparks are successful performers in their own right:, Johnson as a singer with more than a dozen recordings to her credit, as well as extended appearances on Prairie Home Companion; Lieberman as a producer and songwriter, and Sparks as an award-winning guitarist who’s equally at home with folk, jazz, country blues, and gospel.

Patrick Harrison/Larry McDonough Quartet’s Twisted Holidays @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harrison – No Cover), 8:30pm (McDonough) The evening starts with button accordionist Patrick Harrison playing for the dinner hour. Then at 8:30 pm Larry McDonough and his quartet put uncommon meters, rhythms, and harmonies to a selection of seasonal songs as well as some originals and songs from Chet Baker, Bill Evans, Led Zeppelin, Spinal Tap, Paul Simon, and others.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 28, 29

Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Connie Evingson can sing bebop, blues, bossa novas, the Beatles, Peggy Lee, and Gypsy Jazz with equal ease. Her pitch is perfect, her tone is slightly husky and a bit sensuous, and her timing is impeccable. She’s had ten CDs in the top fifty in both the US and Canada, and has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, Prairie Home Companion, Jazz at Lincoln Centyer and at other high profile venues. Her holiday CD, The Secret of Christmas, gets lots of play on my system each year. If we’re lucky, she’ll sing the Petit Nutcracker Suite, a 7 minute distillation of Tchaikovsky’s score for the classic Christmas ballet.

Thursday, December 29

No Exit: Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Luke Peterson leads this young group, which tonight has a couple of special guests who are veteran players. Performing tonight are:  Brandon Wozniak, Sax; Jack Courtright, trombone; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Adam Astrup, guitar; and Graydon Peterson, bass.

Will Schmid Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Seems I had the wrong date last week for this Reverie debut of another group of up and coming  players on holiday leave from college. Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; Jesse Thorson, drums.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever versatile Ms Mountain can heartily swing a bebop tune, and turn around and deliver a soothing ballad, or hip R&B tune. The excellent voice teacher will be accompanied by Dave Martin on guitar for an intimate evening of music.

Friday, December 30

Jeremy Walker/Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm ($12 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour. Then The Pat Mallinger Quartet, with: Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums takes the stage at 9pm. Mallinger is a saxophonist who grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in Chicago, where he is co-leader of Sabertooth, a group that’s been performing till the wee wee hours each week at the city’s Green Mill since 1992. He also plays with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Bobby Lewis Quintet, the Arty Hoyle Quintet, and his own Quartet, and is a jazz educator of note in the Chicago school system.

TK Wallace’s Hard Bop Playhouse @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s college night at Jazz Central, and things kick off with this group of students who are home for the holidays: Jordan Anderson, piano; Tyler Wagner, bass; Peter Goggin, sax; and Edmund Catlin, drums. They’ll be playing tunes by Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk,a nd more, followed by two more college groups.

Saturday, December 31

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) This may be the first time that the Black Dog is open until the New Year’s countdown, as past years they’ve had an early, family-friendly countdown. The celebration starts with Todd Harper, keys; Eric Coursen, drums; and Aaron Kerr on electric cello playing from 5pm to 7:30pm. Then at 8:30, Hoaxer, the college-age band, takes the stage: Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Topping things off will be an all-star jam session anchored by Steve Kenny and Dave Brattain, beginning at 10:30pm and going until the new year.

SouthSide Aces, w/Patty & the Buttons @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($22 Advance, $25 Door) It’s a New Years Eve Dance party at the Eagles, as the Aces and Patty & the Buttons take to the small stage with a big dance floor. Both groups draw mostly on music from the 30s and 40s. While the Aces mine traditional New Orleans music, Patty & the Buttons use Gypsy Jazz and popular songs of those decades to successfully entice dancers.

NYE at Parma, with Arne Fogel & The Benny Weinbeck Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 6pm (Fogel); 9pm (Benny Weinbeck Trio) Arne Fogel sings for dinner-time festivities (6 till 9pm) with Rick Carlson, piano; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Then Benny Weinbeck takes over with his trio, Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Sadly, Parma is discontinuing Singers Night on Fridays, though Weinbeck and his trio will continue to perform Saturdays.

Sunday, January 1

Twin Cities Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Maybe you chose to stay home for NYE, but are now itching for music. Or maybe you simply enjoy the acoustic, romantic, and swinging music of artists Django Rheinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, and other proponents of Gypsy Jazz, such as the Twin Cities Hot Club: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Monday, Tuesday, January 2, 3

Terence Blanchard Live Recording @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50) New Orleans born trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard has a beautiful tone, and creates music is often cinematic in scope, as exemplified by the over 50 soundtracks he’s composed, including Blanchard’s beautifully heartbreaking score for A Tale of God’s Will, Spike Lee’s documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Blanchard’s 2015 release, Breathless, finds him playing with a group called the E-Collective in a genre-crossing groove-laden fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B. He’ll be joined by them at the Dakota, and recording the event for inclusion in his next album.

Tuesday, January 3

Thompson, Balluff, Pikal @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Well, if you’re a fan of traditional jazz from the early part of the 20th Century, you’ll do no better than to hear Butch Thompson, piano; Tony Balluff, clarinet; and Steve Pikal, bass, play this evening.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 3, 4

Dick Oatts Quartet @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45 Dinner), 9pm ($15) Iowa born and raised, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts began his professional music career in the Twin Cities in 1972, and moved to NYC in 1977 where he became a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He has since worked with such big bands as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Lester Bowie, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, Kenny Wheeler, and Gunther Schuller as well as a number of big bands from Europe. He’s also recorded and toured with small groups led by Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Mel Lewis, Fred Hersch, and others, and has a dozen and a half albums as a leader. Tonight he’ll be backed by a stellar line-up: Bill Carrothers, piano; Billy Peterson, bass, and Joe Pulice, drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 28

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a rare day in December when this “almost acapella” group crosses the river from Saint Paul to Minneapolis, but they’re now at it annually for the House Party show between Christmas and New Years. Their repertoire includes songs of life, work, and death, from traditional mountain songs to sea shanties, and tunes by Bob Marley, and The Rolling Stones.  Be aware that KFAI has had problems broadcasting due to the recent ice storm snapping its hardware, so you may need to tune in to http://www.kfai.org to stream the show.

Thursday, December 29

Mayasich Mayhem @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Guitar master Paul Mayasich is joined by his brothers Mark and Greg, as well as John Iden and Joe Luoma, for the final Hot Seat at Crooners.

Curtiss A & The Cold Cold Hearts Sing Hank Williams @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Rocker Curtiss A does a John Lennon tribute each year; has a blues band (The Dark Click); leads a rock band (The Jerks of Fate); and occasionally does an Elvis Presley show. Tonight, however, he’s performing his annual Hank Williams tribute, a warm tribute to the classic country singer/songwriter. Bonus: Curtiss A’s sometimes rambling, often hilarious commentary.

Thursday, Friday, December 29, 30

The New Standards @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40) Give these musicians credit, where credit is due. While jazz musicians have always drawn from pop music, only a few have embraced post-60s rock, notably Miles Davis, with the Cyndi Lauper tune Time After Time, and The Bad Plus, who featured songs from Blondie and Queen amongst their originals. About ten years ago, Chan Poling, keys (The Suburbs); John Munson, bass (Trip Shakespeare, SemiSonic); and Steve Roehm, vibes (Billygoat, Electropolis); formed The New Standards to concentrate on acoustic, jazzy versions of post 60s rock. They became national and international stars as a result. If you didn’t catch their annual holiday extravaganza this year, you can see them as a trio in the comfier confines of the Dakota, bringing new life to songs from Lou Reed, the Outkasts, Britney Spears, T Rex, and their own bands.

Friday, December 30

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (Tip Jar) It’s a special Pre-New Years Brunch at Hell’s Kitchen, and they’ve brought in the very special Rena Haus Trio just for the day: Rena Haus, guitar and vocals; Bob Haus, bass; and Ed Petsche, guitar. Rena’s originals are often highly amusing, sometimes racy, and occasionally political, with appearances by classic blues songs. Brunches at the Kitchen can be mighty crowded, so you may want to get a reservation to ensure you’re close to the band.

Willie Walker and the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s a good night to warm up for NYE with both Willie Walker and Willie Murphy (below) playing, though it gives us a good problem of whom to see. Walker is the winner of two awards in the 2016 Living Blues Critic’s Poll: Comeback Artist of the Year and Best Blues Album of 2015 for his release If Nothing Ever Changes, a well deserved award. He is most assuredly a Twin Cities Treasure.

Willie Murphy & The Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapoils. 8pm ($7) Many folks who party hearty all year round, or who have had enough to last a lifetime, think of NYE as amateur night, and stay home. Willie Murphy is similarly inclined, and chooses to celebrate on the eve of NYE. Whether you want to stay home NYE, or have the energy to party two nights in a row, be sure to bring your dancing shoes, as Murphy’s brilliant arrangements of both his own songs and others that you know and love will have you gyrating before you can say Happy New Year.

Nooky Jones + Dem Atlas @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Nooky Jones has been around the Cities for a couple of years now, spreading smooth neo-soul with hearty elements of jazz and R&B. Among its members: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals/trumpet; Adam Meckler, trumpet; and Kevin Gastonguay, keys. Opening is rapper/hip-hop artist Dem Atlas  who signed with Rhymesayers Entertainment in 2013 and toured a number of festivals opening for Atmosphere. He recorded with the French group Ursus Minor last year and is about to drop a new CD in 2017.

Saturday, December 31

The Good, The Bad, and the Funky @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Get down, Get Funky, and Dance to this ten-piece band (including a five-piece horn section) covering both old-school and new-school funk and soul.

Hot Pants/Hipshaker 45RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Cat Club, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) The two best Dance Parties in town once again team up to present rare, original Funk and Soul 45s from the collections of Brian, George, Greg, Ben for New Year’s Eve. They get some extra special help from the distaff point of view as special guests Elizabeth Christian and Paula Carrillo join them. This event is always a hit, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

The Last Revel @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) This acoustic trio describes their sound as Front Porch Americana, which seems about right, especially if you like to party on said porch. They are talented multi-instrumentalists, who bring the acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, 5-string banjo, harmonica, kick drum and three-part vocal harmonies to their performances, whether they’re singing delicate ballads or high energy stompers. Special guest: Richard Hanson.

Papa John Kolstad: Masquerade Party @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Lately, Papa John has been playing with the New Phits: Bill “Wailin’ Willie” Smith, harmonica/vocals: Gary Powell, aka Tiny Gene Pool, slide guitar/vocals; Mark “Rizz” Rizzardi, bass/vocals. Papa John will be playing 12-string guitar, singing, and adding amusing anecdotes and political musings to the mix, as well as bringing in trombonist/bassist Sam Fiske to play. Expect some four-part harmonies from the group, as well as Morris Dancers, a piper to bring in the New Year, and a Celtic blessing, not to mention bubbly at midnight and people in costumes.

Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) With a voice that combines the emotion of the blues with the fire of rock, Joyann Parker has been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, representing Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society, and has been nominated for Best Independent Blues Music Award. The guitarist/pianist and songwriter has become a regular at Vieux Carré, drawing more fans with each appearance.

Hookers $ Blow @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($25) If you’re looking to dance to some 70s R&B, then H$B are the band to hear. This group of stellar musicians led by Adam Levy will be delivering the goods in the Cafe’s River Room, which is standing room only tonight. Call for reservations if you want dinner beforehand.

Charlie Lawson & Friends @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 10pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson is taking on NYE for a fun-filled evening with: Jim Ouska, guitar; Lorent “Slasher” Dwyer, bass; Marty Bryduck, drums. With Special Guests Langer’s Ball, the husband and wife team of Michael and Hannah Sturm playing punk Irish music.

Sunday, January 1

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you need the Corpse Reviver classic cocktail after last night, but it’s most likely you need a shot of the group that plays music from the classic Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. It’s especially noteworthy that today’s edition of Corpse Reviver includes: Mikkel Beckman, percussion; Jillian Rae, fiddle, and Charlie Parr, guitar. Here are two of the three musicians.

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

Music for a New Year: 12.31 – 1.6

December 31, 2014

images-2Greetings to one and all;

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


Wednesday, December 31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 1

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

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

Friday, January 2

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

Saturday, January 3

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

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

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

Sunday, January 4

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

Monday, January 5

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

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

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

Tuesday, January 6

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

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

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 31

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, January 1

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

Friday, January 2

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

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

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

Saturday, January 3

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

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

Sunday, January 4

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

Monday, January 5

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

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.


Good Weather. Great Music: 12.10 – 12.16

December 10, 2014
Last year, we had this for weather during this week. This year we'll have no snow.

Thank goodness we don’t have this to look forward to, which was what we had last year at this time.

It seems we’re in for a warming trend this weekend, with temps in the 40s and 50s, so the weather should be no barrier to attending holiday parties and shows. Once again we’ve a few visiting artists worth your time and money, as well as our usual plethora of resident musicians who will help lift your spirits. Have a good week.


Wednesday, December 10

Lila Ammons @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (No Cover) A classically trained vocalist, Ms Ammons tackles jazz and blues with authority and verve to spare at this warehouse district nitespot on North 1st Avenue.

Magica Improvisada @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This is bassist Chris Bates’ once-a-month series at JC. Tonight, it’s all basses on deck for a Bass Summit, featuring, besides Chris, Casey O’Brian, Brian Roessler, Charles Fletcher, Chris Hunnicut, and more.

Thursday, December 11

Give Get Sistet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sara M. Greer gathers up some like-minded female vocalists to improvise holiday classics and wintry favorites a-capella style. With Aimee K. Bryant, Mankwe Ndosi, Libby Turner Opanga, & Alicia Steele.

Jack Brass Band @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Whether they’re playing traditional New Orleans jazz, The Temptation, or the more modern R&B of Keith Sweat & Bobby Brown, the JBB’s infectious rhythms and joie de vivre will have you bouncing in your seats or taking to the dance floor.

Friday, December 12

Connie Evingson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm The dulcet, swinging tones of Ms Evingson will waft through the lounge at this Italian restaurant. Whether singing gypsy jazz, The Beatles, or Peggy Lee, Evingson always bring a lush sound to her singing. Tonight, she’s joined by Rick Carlson, piano; Gary Raynor, bass; and that bebopper with a way with ballads, Dave Karr on sax.

Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Versatile pianist Tanner Taylor is back in town for a bit, and will be joined by pals Graydon Peterson, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums, for an evening of holiday favorites, and, I’m sure, other tunes.

College Night @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm – 11:30pm (Donation) Here’s a chance to listen to the next generation of jazz players, as members of  North Central University’s Jazz Workshop show off their chops. The evening ends with a jam session.

Saturday, December 13

Chris Bates’ Red 5 @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Saturday Night Jazz continues to draw the jazz faithful to the Black Dog, this time for Chris Bates’ quintet playing his original music. Chris Bates, bass; JT Bates, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Brandon Wozniak & Chris Thomson, saxes. With an opening set by Dark Blue. Here’s the Red5 doing a tune from their CD.

PipJazz Live Holiday Program @ Maplewood Community Center Theater, 2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood. 7pm ($25, $5 for Students) Featured Youth Artist: Charlie Lincoln, bass. Pippi Ardennia presents her holiday show of jazz & R&B, with featured youth artist Charlie Lincoln, who is studying with Eric Kamau Gravatt, and already shows great talent and promise.

Sunday, December 14

Maud Hixson & the Wolverines Trio w/Dave Karr @ the Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm – 4pm. ($25, $15/Student, child, $20 Senior) It’s a musical excursion of holiday tunes through the years, featuring the delightful Ms Hixson, with firm support from the Wolverines Trio and the extraordinary Dave Karr on sax. Nationally recognized film collector Bob DeFlores will be showing rare films of holiday songs as performed by Big Crosby, Judy, Garland, Spike Jones, Gene Autry, and others.

Charles Lazarus All Brass Big Band: Merry & Bright @ St. Joan of Arc Church, 4537 3rd Ave S. Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($?) Trumpeter Lazarus takes a break from his MN Orchestra duties to present a different take on holiday tunes, from Latin to loungem, groove to gospel. With Tommy Barbarella, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; Dave Schmalenberger, drums, and the Lazarus Brass, as well as special guest vocalists Bruce Henry & Tonia Hughes.  This video isn’t holiday music, but it gives you a good idea of Lazarus at work.

Monday, December 15

Kevin Gastonguay B3 w/Clay Pufahl @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Ahh, the funky sounds of a B3 organ, responsible for bringing soulful jazz to the people in small clubs across the nation. Tonight Kevin Gastonguay will be at the keys and foot pedals, with accompaniment by saxophonist Clay Pufahl, and drummer Mac Santiago.

George Cartwright’s PAL @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) It’s the always adventurous Jazz Implosion, tonight featuring Saxophonist Cartwright, together with multi-instrumentalist Andrew Broder, bassist Josh Granowski, and JT Bates.

Monday, Tuesday, December 15, 16

Roberta Gambarini @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Ms Gambarini is a highly talented singer who brings her great sense of swing and ability to scat to the Great American Songbook. Mentored by James Moody, Benny Carter, and Hank Jones, she’s received two Grammy nominations. Ms Gambarini is appearing with a seasoned band of all-stars, including Jimmy Cobb, drums (the only living member of Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue recording; Ray Drummond, bass; Sullivan Fortner, piano; and Justin Robinson, sax. I did an interview with Ms Gambarini back in 2011, which you can read here. She explains her approach before singing in this video.

Tuesday, December 16

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Their recently released album is a winner, with original tunes and arrangements by Meckler. Read a review of the album here. As many of you may know, Jazz Central isn’t very big, so you’ll be able to see and hear this 16 piece band up close and personal.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 10

Cooker John on the House Party and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI-90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Cooker John learned fingerpicking from Artie Traum in Manhattan back in the early 60s. Afterwards he played in various bands around NYC, opening for folks like Chuck Berry, The Lovin’ Spoonful, and Crazy Horse. Since 1990 or so, he’s been gigging around the Midwest, mostly working solo to bring his blues and folk music to the masses. Tonight he’ll be joined by Nick Salisbury on bass and Ben Kaplan on drums. Tune in, and if you like what you hear, head over to the 331.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 10,11

Lisa Fischer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50 – $60), 9pm ($40, $50) The last time she was in town, both shows sold out. This time Fischer is here for six shows (two occurred last night), and it may still be hard to get a good seat. Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. She’s been on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them.

Thursday, December 11

McNally Smith Emerging Artists @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Free) Here’s a chance to hear some young musicians strut their stuff. The McNally Smith staff has been doing a great job of teaching and mentoring the students at the school. Tonight you can hear Improv, Composition, Funky Blues, and two Modern Rock bands. And did I mention it’s free?

The Icicles @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) Jake Hanson, guitar, Jeremy Hanson, drums, and Jim Anton, bass, play reverb instrumental music: surf music, dub, and pop instrumentals.

Friday, December 12

Basalt @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5-$20 Suggested Donation) Okay, here’s a combination that you don’t see much. James W. Anton provides funky bass for The Droppers, and can be heard as a sideman in a number of jazz bands. Jeremy Ylvisaker plays his guitar as a member of Cloak Ox, Alpha Consumer, and Andrew Bird’s band, among others; while JT Bates is a drummer about town, playing with The Pines, Molly Maher & Erick Koskinen, and jazz projects like Fat Kid Wednesdays, and Chris Bates’ Red5, not to forget the fact that he curates the Jazz Implosion every Monday at the Icehouse. It appears this may be a jazz trio, but with such varied backgrounds, there’s no telling what they’ll play.

Africans in the Snow @ Patrick’s Cabaret, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm ($10) Members of the Cottman Jazz Family present storytelling, dance, and music to present stories connecting culture and art. Dancer Kenna Cottman serves as curator. Auntie Beverly is a griot who will share stories, and Roboday Drums will present music from Haitian Culture. Warm drinks and spicy food will also be available.

Curtiss A. and Dark Click @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Fresh off his 35th Annual John Lennon tribute, Curtiss A explores the blues with this particular group.

People Brothers Band @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9pm doors, 10pm show ($10) The People Brothers are an octet from Madison who lay down some might invigorating “rhythm and soul,” as they call it, with originals and covers from bands ranging from the Talking Heads to The Allmans. Twin Cities artists I Like You open, along with A Round of Horseshoes.

6th Annual Holiday Shindig Benefit for Kill Kancer @ the Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. ($10)  Resident singer/songwriters (and newlyweds) Ben Cook-Feltz and Mother Banjo are teaming up to present this annual benefit featuring Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton, who’s getting around a lot these days; Molly Dean, Jon Rodine, and Natalie Lovejoy. They’ll be taking turns singing seasonal originals and holiday favorites, with all proceeds going to Kill Kancer, started by Marty Beth Mueller after losing her husband Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum to esophageal cancer.

Saturday, December 13

Tribute to Doug Sahm @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 4-6pm (No Cover) Dan “Daddy Squeeze” Newton teams up with Jon Rodine, Rusty Jones, Tim Mauseth and other guests for a tribute to the music of Doug Sahm, Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender,and other great Texas stars!

The Eddies’ Seventh Annual Yulefest @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Ave N., Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($15) Celtic Music, songs of love and death, food, wine, a silent auction and more from the Eddies, along with Barra, the Hi Bs, and Patsy O’Brien, raise money for th Food Group (formerly the Emergency Foodshelf Network).

Sunday, December 14

Medeski, Scofield, Martin, & Wood @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. ($30) This groove-steady combination of musicians features guitarist John Scofield, and the younger trio of MM&W. They’ve been joining up for gigs and recordings for about 17 years, and have just released their third studio recording together, a celebration of rhythms from Brazil, the Carribean, and Latin America, including that soul/Latin hybrid, the boogaloo.

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($30) Hm, Hm, Hm. Steady as the Mississippi, as fun as a Mardis Gras party, the rollicking, rocking Ms Ball always delivers her Texas/Louisiana brand of blues, R&B, Boogie Woogie, and Zydeco with verve and good humor. Her latest album, the danceable Tatooed Lady & the Alligator Man, has been receiving great reviews.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues (and some roots) events, see the MN Blues Society calendar. For a comprehensive listing of Cajun and Zydeco events, see the Krewe de Walleye calendar. Dancers might want to check out the U Wanna Dance Calendar.



Transitions and Traditions. Music: 4.2 – 4.8

April 2, 2014

images-1The big news this week is the confirmation of rumors that The Dakota will be leasing the old Artists’ Quarter space in the basement of the hamm Building in downtown Saint Paul. Reports are thea there will be asmall kitchen installed and the programming will include more than jazz. I imagine that some touring jazz acts like Tom Harell, and other acts that wouldn’t fill the Dakota would be booked into the new space, which is as yet, unnamed. This week’s music also features some groups and artists in transition, as they collaborate with new partners, perform in new venues, and otherwise seek to advance their music.

On a personal note, KFAI is in pledge drive mode, and I will be asking folks to become members during my show this Saturday morning from 10:30am – Noon. I’ll be doing a phone interview with drummer Matt Slocum. It would be gratifying to get some support from those of you reading this.

On to the music for the week.


Wednesday, April 2

Foreman, Felly, Schmidt, & Mussselman @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) This is a quartet of relatively young musicians with enough experience to create inventive and melodic music base on songs they like, whether modern jazz, alt-pop, or indie-rock: Andrew Foreman, bass; Dave Felly, guitar; Zach Schmidt, drums; and Dan Musselman, piano.

KCOB Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation – $10 suggested) Drummer/percussionist Davu Seru leads Casey O’Brien, bass; and Nathan Hanson, saxophones; in a concert that allows plenty of give and take for questions from the audience. Given the talents involved, the choice of music will undoubtedly be wide-ranging and somewhat free.

Emily Davis & Robert Bell @ Ingredients Cafe, White Bear Lake. 6:30 – 9:30pm (No cover) Emily sings and Robert plays guitar for your enjoyment as you have dinner or sit at the bar and have drinks.

Thursday, April 3

Jon Wood & Connie Olson @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 9:30 (Donation) It’s vocalist night at Jazz Central, and tonight, curator Maryann Sullivan brings us two vocalists. Jon Wood is a guitarist/vocalist who will be performing the first set and then accompanying Connie Olson for a second set of songs from the Great American Songbook. Olson is an accomplished singer who has been heard on many commercials and has worked with folks like the Brian Setzer Band, The Peter Duchin Big Band, and musicians from the bands of both Madonna and Prince. Here’s Connie singing from a few years ago.

Friday, April 4

Vicky Mountain & James Allen @ The Wine Market, Mendota Heights. 5pm – 7pm (Free) It’s a free wine tasting while superb vocalist Mountain and sympathetic accompanying guitarist Allen serenade you with standards and some jazzified rock n’ roll oldies.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 at the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar)  Trumpeter Kenny has assembled a group of young musicians (a couple are in high school), and like many band leaders back in the day, is both teaching and learning through his association.   Though they’ve been working on a album (vinyl only!), tonight’s show will focus on standards and tunes that aren’t on the album.

Sound Skirmish @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Donation) This is the Young Artists’ Showcase, presented by Jazz Police, which used to be held at the AQ. Tonight features a quartet: Patrtickl Adams, piano, from Edina; Levi Schwartzbert, vibes, from Southwest HS; Drew Stinson, bass, from Southwest HS; and Ben Ehrlich,m drums, from Wayzata.

Saturday, April 5

Pippi Ardennia’s PipJazz Live, feat. The Dakota Combo @ The Capri, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $10 Student) Extraordinary vocalist PIppi Ardennia opens her fourth season of family-friendly concerts with a new twist, taking them to alternating venues. Tonight she’ll be at the Capri Theater in North Minneapolis, and as usual, will have a special guest. This time it’s the Dakota Combo, a metro-wide ensemble of talented high school musicians selected through open auditions. (Full disclosure: I chair the Foundation that sponsors the Combo). Here’s Pippi at the TC Jazz Festival a couple of years ago.

Lila Ammons’ Voices of Influence @ Honey, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10) Ammons will be singing songs from a variety of her influences. As she puts it: Bessie Smith to Sarah Vaughn. She’ll be accompanied by Ted Godbout on piano, and special guest boogie boogie pianist Axel Zwingenberger for some numbers.

Saturday, Sunday, April 5, 6

Charmin & Shapira & Friends Present Bop to Bossa @ The Black Box Theater, Bloomington Center for the Arts. 7:30pm Sat, 2pm Sun ($19 Adults, $17 Seniors, $13 25 & under) The name says it all. It’s an exploration of the common ground between bebop of the late 40s and 50s and Brazilian bossa novas. Helping out will be Paul Harper on sax and flute; Tom Lewis, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums. Here’s Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira doing a classic bebop tune.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police,Bebopified, and JazzInk.


Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, April 2

Mary Leinfelder & Friends on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90-.Fm & 106.7FM) and 7pm (331 Club – tip jar) It’s about time that songstress Leinfelder headlined her own group. She’s been sitting in with folks like Willie Murphy, John Beach, Dave Ray, and Papa John Kolstad for years and years. Tonight she’s joined by Jim Ouska, guitar; Jim Chenoweth, bass; Kory Badertscher, drums; and Tom Cravens, keys. Tune in to 90.3 or 106.7FM during the 5 o’clock hour to get a preview, and head to the 331 Club at 7pm for the real deal.

Steven Hobert & Lynn O’Brien @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) You may know Hobert from his accordion work with Lulu’s playground, or his piano work in any number of other local ensembles. For one so young, he has an impressive resume: Glenn Miller Orchestra, 5 by Design, and a number of symphony orchestras. His keyboard work is often impressionistic, and sometimes whimsical. He’ll be joined by clear-voiced singer/songwriter Lynn O’Brien, who studied with Bobby McFerrin and is a board-certified music therapist.

Thursday, April 3

Sierra Leone Refugee All-Stars @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($22) This is a group with a compelling story: one that speaks to the redeeming power of music. Forced to leave their homes in Sierra Leone during the 1990s because of a bloody, horrifying war, members of the group found themselves in a refugee camp, where they met and proceeded to make music to entertain other refugees. They moved from camp to camp, were the subject of an award-winning documentary, and exploded on the world music scene after the release of their debut album in 2006. Their music is a combination of old school reggae, Afrobeat, and Congolease soukouss, which means it’s highly infectious and danceable. Extra bonus: DJ Salif Keita, from KFAI’s African Rhythms, will be spinning tunes before and between sets. Here’s a sample of their infectious music.

Friday, April 4

Big George Jackson and Curtis Blake with the Dan Schwalbe Blues Band @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 after 7pm)  Big George has a big voice, well suited to John Lee Hooker-like boogies. He’s a star in Europe, and should be a star her in the US, so count your blessings that you can see him at the Tap Room. He’s on at 9pm, while ace harpman Curtis Blake joins guitarist Dan Scwalbe and his band for some more first rate blues 7pm. Big George at 9pm. Looks like the weather still won’t be warm enough to open the doors at the Tap Room, so be advised that seating is somewhat limited.

Adam Levy, Bethany Larson & the Bees Knees @ New Century Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 – $45) Here’s a chance to check out a new, intimate venue in town. Adam Levy is a guitarist who’s work with the Honeydogs has earned him a national reputation, and who has shown a propensity for inventive collaborations with other musicians. Bethany Larson sings county-ish songs of heartbreak. The Bees Knees will be taking a hiatus after this gig, so it’s your last chance to see them for a while.

Lamont Cranston Band w/Bruce McCabe @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Roadhouse blues gets an upgrade as this hometown crew brings some “Upper Mississippi Shakedown” to the tony environs of the Dakota.

Saturday, April 5

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) A nice evening gig at the Kitchen for rootsy, bluesy Rena and her trio. She’s a stellar writer, with a flair for the humorous and an ability to speak to everyday concerns. check her out.

The Eddies @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) These five singers always show up on my radar, partly because they’re approach to singing (and just a little playing) is so warm and refreshing, and partly because they always involve the audience. The songs are familiar and/or easy to sing along with, and range from Bob Marley and Billy Joe Shaver to sea chanties and songs of murder.

Sunday, April 6

Road to Memphis Competition @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 1pm ($10) This is the competition for solo and duo acts, and will include Wisconsin Bryan Johnson, Paul & Bambi, Doug Otto & Hurricane Harold, Brother Sun & Sister Moon, and “Duckshack Dave” Florine.  Winners will get to represent Minnesota at the International Blues challenge in Memphis in January, 2015.

Tinariwen with the Melodic @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis,  7:30pm ($35) Another African band comes to the Cedar this week, this time bringing the hypnotic sound of Desert Blues. Tinariwen hail from the Sahara region of Northern Mali and play guitar driven music based on traditional Tuaregsongs as well as regional influences such as Berber music, electrified Rai, and traditional Malian music.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, April 6,7,8

Lalah Hathaway & Ruben Studdard @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50), 9pm ($35, $40, $45) An evening of classic soul and elegant rhythm and blues. Hathaway, the daughter of soul legend Donny Hathaway, has been performing for over 20 years, and most recently won the 2014 Grammy for Best R&B Performance. Studdard is the 2003 American Idol winner who has turned that win into a successful career of gold and platinum records in both pop and R&B.

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

Mardis Gras Music & More: 2.26 – 3.4

February 26, 2014

imagesWith Lent approaching next Wednesday, we’re ready to celebrate Mardis Gras, or Fat Tuesday if you will, by listening and dancing to music from less frigid areas of the world. If you aren’t up for celebrating on Tuesday, there are a few warm-up events this week. Additionally, we have some excellent jazz artists visiting during the next week, and some good opportunities to dance.  Have a safe and warm week. Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 26

Bobby Watson & Horizon @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) For the second time in a week of graduate of the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers will be appearing at the Dakota. The saxophone player was, in fact, the music director for the Messengers. Once on his own, he formed Horizon, which is reuniting for this 30th Anniversary tour. The group includes Victor Lewis, drums; Terrel Stafford, trumpet; Edward Simon, piano; and Essiet Essiet, bass. All have become band leaders and stars in their own right. Here’s an early version of Horizon with Roy Hargrove on trumpet.

Graydon Peterson’s Ghost Tour @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Bassist Peterson has provided the rhythmic backbone of many a group and jazz vocalist here in the Twin Cities. Recently, he’s begun to create tunes that have been featured in his own quartet, and now, in a trio setting, with Park Evans on guitar, and Adrian Suarez on drums.

Thursday, February 27

Stanley Clarke Presents School Days @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35 & $50) Four time Grammy winning fusion/R&B bassist Clarke will be presenting all of of his 1976 album School Days, as well as other selected material.

Talking Strings @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (tip Jar) The trio of Pavelle Jany, guitar; Gary Schulte, violin; and Dan Weston, bass & percussion, blend jazz, classical, and folk into a variety of international music. Here they are doing a Django Rheinhart number.

JoAnn Funk Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Pianist JoAnn Funk, along with bassist Jeff Brueske, and drummer Nathan Norman cross the river from their normal haunt at the St. Paul Hotel to bring the music of Blossom Dearie, Nat King Cole, Dan Penn, Leonard Cohen, and more to the Dakota stage.

Friday, February 28

Jack Brass Band Mardis Gras in Bloomington @ the Bloomington Center for the Arts, 18900 W. Old Shakopee Road, Bloomington. 7pm – 10pm The guys give us a bit of oral and musical history of Mardi Gras music and Brass Band music in this special performance.

The Bridge Series @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 suggested donation) The idea behind this series is to feature artists who used to appear at the now closed Artists’ Quarter. Tonight, guitarist Zacc Harris is joined by Dave Hagedorn on vibes, as well as Brian Courage, bass; and Twin Cities newcomer Corey Healey, drums. A nice cross-section of generations with the promise of some pretty great music recalling the outings of Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery.

Saturday, March 1

Pigs Eye Jass Band @ The Eagles, #34, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm ($6) This traditional jazz band will be playing for happy feet in the North Hall of the Eagles Club. Consider this a warm-up for Fat Tuesday.

Bach and Jazz Concert @ The History Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm – 9:30pm   This is the third collaboration between the the Bach Society of Minnesota and Framework: Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. The last one was about a month or so ago, when they explored baroque music. This time they’re adding saxman Pete Whitman to the mix as they explore the music of Bach.

Davu Seru & Andrew Lafkas @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8:pm ($10) Studio Z continues to come up with intriguing, genre-crossing events that makes us listen to music with new ears. This one is the inaugural event in the Crow With No Mouth Series. Percussionist Davu Seru and bassist Andrew Lafkas will be presenting a duo piece. Chicago based electronicist (is that a real word?) Mykel Boyd will present a solo set of electronics and location recordings.

Sunday, March 2

The 2013-2014 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

The 2013-2014 Dakota Combo. Photo by Andrea Canter

Dave King Trucking Company w/ the Dakota Combo @ MacPhail Center for Music, Minneapolis. 5pm ($10) Dave King is an internationally known drummer with a penchant for playing in many bands, including The Bad Plus and Happy Apple. The Trucking Company includes Adam Linz, bass; Eric Fratzke, guitar; and Brandon Wozniak, sax. Opening will the The Dakota Combo, a group of highly, highly talented high school students who will have received a clinic from King. He’ll also sit in with them for a number or two. This is a chance  (Full Disclosure: I chair the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education, which sponsors the Dakota Combo. Though I may be biased about the talent of the combo, other, more neutral folks are also enthusiastic about them.)

Monday, March 3

Jazz Implosion featuring Dave Karr @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. the first Monday of the month features veteran saxophonist Dave Karr at the Implosion, usually playing with JT Bates on drums and Adam Linz on bass. While Karr’s bebop leanings may seem out of place with the sometimes outside playing of Linz and Bates, the three work well together, and have done so for a number of years. Sometimes there’s a second group, though I’m not sure of who it might be. Here’s a video of Dave with Adam and JT.

Monday, Tuesday, March 3,4

Manhattan Transfer @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60, $55, $50), 9pm ($50, $45, $40) This quartet was quite eye-opening when, back in the 70s, they first introduced their four part harmonious blend of bebop, doo woo, Latin, and pop. It was a refreshing change from the hard rock and disco of the time. The Ten-time Grammy winning group still provides an aural respite from the pop music of today, singing with panache and élan.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar and the KBEM Calendar, which also features some blues and roots listings. For further commentary of Twin Cities Jazz, go to Jazz Police, Bebopified, and JazzInk.

Blues, Roots, and Other…

Wednesday, February 26

Rockin’ Pincecones on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis.  5pm (KFAI), 7pm (331 club – Tip Jar) Cajun & Zydeco music to get you in the mood for Fat Tuesday. The 331 Club can get pretty crowded, but I’m sure a few folks will try to dance. Followed by jamrooots band Enchanted Ape at 9:30 and Pocketful ‘A’ Change and their Americana/roots music at 10:30.

Thursday, February 27

Scottie Miller Band @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 8pm (No Cover) “Bones” Miller is an excellent piano player, well versed in Professor Longhair and Allen Topussaint, but with his own distinctive style. Just ask Ruthie Foster, which whom he frequently tours. He and his band, the Re-Uptake Inhibitors, take on Southern Soul, blues, New Orleans, and the occasional Caribbean rhythms. This is a small room, but it has an ever changing selection of 20 beers on tap.

Friday, February 28

Prophets of Peace @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities funk band was reunited for last year’s Twin Cities Funk n’ Soul compilation, and has found a new audience in young folk who weren’t born when they were playing back in the early 70s. The Schooner is set up quite for music, with high-top tables in front of the small stage and small dance floor. Plus you get good value on drinks.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ Hells’ Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Hell’s Kitchen is a favorite stop for bachelorette parties, and when it is, party music is the order of the day. Well, this band’s Balkan dance music will surely fill the bill, resulting in a highly entertaining start to your evening, whether or not the bachelorettes are in attendance. Check them out in this video.

The Eddies Unplugged @ Jerabek’s,  Winifred & Stryker, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm  What’s that you say, aren’t the Eddies always unplugged? Well, almost, but this time there’s no sound system, and no electrified guitar. Plus, this gig is in the beer-less and wine-less Jerabek’s New Bohemian Coffeehouse on the West side, which means that the quality of their performance won’t be affected by the amount to alcohol you consume. Nevertheless, you’ve got the additional lure of a wonderful selection of baked goods and a chicken pot pie that’s so good, it’s sold in fancy food boutiques.

Seven Steps to Havana @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Sax and Flute player Doug Little’s excursions into the music of Cuba are always enjoyable, as this ensemble plays with the heart of soul of musicians who love the music. Here they are.

Saturday, March 1

Hookers & Blow @ The Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) Adam Levy has put together a rotating cast of some of the best Twin Cities’ rockers from various groups to perform R&B from the 60s and 70s. It’s fun. It’s fabulous. It’s a dance party.

Freewheelin’ Mardis Gras @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm – 11pm ($6 after 5pm) KFAI’s Jackson Buck has put together a splendid line-up to celebrate Mardis Gras in beer-drinking style. Starting at 3pm it’s the Southside Aces, followed by the Rockin’ Pinecones at 4:30, the New Riverside Ramblers at 7pm, and Scottie “Bones” Miller Band at 9:30pm. Appropriate food from the Cajun 2 Geaux food truck.

UnknownTuesday, March 4 – Fat Tuesday

Swamp Kings @ Dixie’s, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) If you’re looking to celebrate Fat Tuesday with Louisiana dishes, some Abita beers, and music, then Dixie’s on Grand may fill your bill, as the three-piece Swamp Kings play that New Orleans and Swamp Pop sound.

Mardis Gras @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($12) Mardis Gras at the Eagles is a festive event, with many participants in beads and costume. There will be free food, Cajun and Zhydeco dancin’ a’plenty, and some New Orlean’s R&B thrown in for good measure. Tonight’s bands include Ana & the Bel-Tones, Mr. Rowles, The Southside Aces, and the Rockin’ Pinecones.

Naughty Gras @ The Amsterdam, Saint Paul. 9pm  ($12) The Jack Brass Band has a regular gig at the ‘Dam, but tonight, for those who appreciate the uh, “bawdier” elements of Mardis Gras, they’re joined by a Burlesque show, magic, and more, including a a Crawfish Boil and Abita Beer.

Socaholix @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($7) If your Fat Tuesday celebrations run more towards Carnaval than Mardis Gras, this is the place to be as Socaholix present Island rhythms for your dancing pleasure.

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

Musical Warmth: 12.11 – 12.17

December 11, 2013
Frozen cherry, anyone?

Frozen cherry, anyone?

Now that hearty Minnesotans have had a few days to get used to sub-zero weather, it will be easy to get out and enjoy the myriad musical and art offerings of our fair cities, since the temps will jump all the way up into the teens this weekend. If you’re wearing yourself out from shopping and preparing for the holidays, not to forget work, treat yourself to some live music, which lifts the spirits. Until next week.


Wednesday, December 11

Gypsy Mania @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Late night gypsy jazz from Gypsy Mania, featuring the masterful violin of Gary Schulte, and the guitars of Reynold Philipsek and Gary Helgeson. And Barbette’s happy hour prices to boot. Tres chic!

Wednesday, Thursday, December 11, 12

Dave Karr Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Really. Get out and see Dave. As an 80-something mulit-reed player he’s got chops galore, with a fluid style that he serves up particularly well on bebop chestnuts.

Friday, December 13

UnknownLaura Caviani CD Release Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Laura has a new CD, Holly, Jolly, & Jazzy, just in time for the Christmas season. She’s a thoughtful, elegant, and imaginative player piano player. Tonight she’ll have Gordy Johnson on bass, and Joe Pulice on drums. Expect Santa and some special guests as well.

Saturday, December 14

John Devine and JT Bates @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 3pm (Devine) 5pm (Bates) (Tip Jar) Here’s a way to take a break from shopping with some fresh brews. At 3pm John Devine, sax; will be joined by Jon Pemberton, keys & trumpet; and then drummer JT Bates will take the stage at 5pm. No word on whether JT will just be exercising his chops (which is not to say it won’t be thoroughly entertaining) or have other players along.

Jack Brass Band B-Day Party @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm (Tip Jar) JBB Leader Mike Olander is celebrating his 40th Birthday, with special guests The Stooges Brass Band, an outstanding aggregation from New Orleans. For brass band fans, this is not to be missed, as it will be a brass blowout of epic proportions. Here’s the Stooges doing some Michael Jackson songs for Second Liners.

Lucia Newell @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm workshop (free) 7pm concert ($10) This is part of the monthly Jazz at Studio Z series. Lucia is a wonderful singer, inspired by Betty Carter, but with a “voice” of her own (in two languages!). She’s also turned into a first rate writer. She’ll be addressing singing and composing during the 6pm workshop, and then illustrate her ideas by singing at 7pm.  Here’s an example of her singing.

Tuesday Night Band @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Ahh, it’s hard to beat the funky, funky grooves of B-3 Organ Night. Billy Franze, guitar; Downtown Bill Brown, B-3; and Kenny Horst, drums, return for one last stand on the AQ stage. They spent many a Tuesday night over the years laying down some soulful jazz. Oftentimes special guests, including visiting artists, would sit in for a song or two. Will that happen tonight? You’ll only know if you attend.

Monday, December 16

images-2Peter Kogan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Kogan is the principal Tympanist of the Minnesota Orchestra, which, as we know, has not exactly had a full schedule for a while. He’s filled his time writing and recording a jazz album entitled Cornucopia. He’s no stranger to genres outside of classical music, as he’s spent time performing the Larry Elgart Orchestra and the fusion band, Scratch n Sniff, as well as backing folks like Jimmy Witherspoon, Lightin Hopkins, Bo Diddley, the Drifters, and the Crystals. He’ll be joined tonight by Pete Whitman, saxophones; Keith Hilson, trombone, Adam Meckler, trumpet; Tanner Taylor, piano; Brian Courage, bass; and Cory Wong, guitar. I had Peter on my show on Saturday, December 7. You can get the archived show here. The interview starts at about 20 minutes into the show.

Steve Kenny’s Group 47 @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) Stellar trumpeter Kenny, a founding member of the Illicit Sextet, has surrounded himself with a group of young, hungry artists: pianist Will Kjeer is a high school senior who is a member of the Dakota Combo and free-lances around town; Thomas Strommen on sax is a former member of the Dakota Combo and no a sophomore at UW-River Falls, where he works with a number of ensembles; bassist Adam Tucker has been around for a number of years, playing in the Sextons and engineering albums for the heavy metal community, Jana Nyberg, and the Adam Meckler Orchestra. Finally, drummer Alex Burgess is another UW-River Falls student, studying drums with Craig Hara, composition with Dave Milne, and playing in Bad Habits Brass.

Tuesday, December 17

Bryan Nichols & Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The Tuesday Night offerings at the AQ are not exactly an open jam, but a gathering of compatible musicians, who often surprise by trying out new tunes. Tonight the performance is led by pianist Nichols, who has established himself as an imaginative composer and interpreter.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 11

Everett Smithson Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM) and 7pm (441 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a gumbo of music, drawing on Louisiana, roots, gospel and the occasional hillbilly hoedown. Besides his wife Cathy on vocals and squeezebox, Smithson’s cohorts include Phil Schmid on guitar, Jeremy Johnson on drums, and Bill Black on bass. Tune in to get a taste and then head over to the 331 Club for a full serving.

Wednesday, December 11 – Saturday, December 14

Tower of Power @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm & 9pm Wed, Sat. 8pm & 10pm Thurs, Fri. ($35 – $70) Well-oiled and precision-driven as a Ferrari, this 10-piece horn driven group has filled dance floors with its Bay-area funk since 1968. Fans of old school R&B will not want to miss this event. Check them out.

Friday, December 13

All Star Blues Revue @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($?) Get new soles on your dancing shoes, because this band will prognosticate the pleasure in your brain and extrapolate the rhythm in your rump. Harpmeister Harold Tremblay has put together a stellar line-up, including, Dan Schwalbe and “Good Time Willy: Williams, guitars; Allen Kirk, drums; Bruce McCabe, keys; and Michael Caravale, bass. BTW, Michael is moving to Paris for a few months to work with some musicians there, so this will be your last chance to see him for a while.

Cafe Societe @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Pianist/composer Mark Chergosky is back at the Trick, with son Michael on mandolin and viola, and Amelia Rivera on vocals. Cafe Societe plays French Cafe music and bossa novas, along with some American pop and jazz, and Chergosky’s originals.

Saturday, December 14

Eddies Yulefest VI @ Celtic Junction, 836 Prior Avenue, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm ($15) Fundraiser for Emergency Foodshelf Network.  With Barra, the MN Ceili band, and the HiBs (instrumentalists). This is the sixth edition of the Eddies annual party, and it’s grown so much that a bigger venue is in order. And how appropriate to have it at the Celtic Junction, given the guest artists. It’s always an evening of warm music, made that much more enjoyable by the Eddies good-hearted hosting and singing.

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

A few hearty souls at the very first Santacon

Lowertown Santacon VI @ Lowertown Venues, Saint Paul. 6pm – late night (Free) This pubcrawl visits six venues in and around Lowertown, and is a true example of a community-organized event. Revelers dressed as Santas, Elves, Reindeers, or any imaginary person/creature of the season will start out at Golden’s Deli and trek to the Black Dog, Barrio & Bulldog, Mears Park, the Gopher Bar and Senor Wong’s. Expect the Brass Messengers to be parade leaders, a performance by fire-dancers at Mears Park, and an over-stuffed bag of other fun moments. A complete schedule and other information can be found here.

Jillian Rae CD Release Concert @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 7:30 ($15) The talented violinist/singer/songwriter first lit up the stage leading the Killer Hayseeds, and as a member of Two Many Banjos, and Steve Kaul’s Brass Kings. Since then she’s formed her own group to play her own compositions and occasionally defying audience expectations. Rae has released an album of heartache, titled Heartbeat and is celebrating its release tonight with opening acts by Gallupstar and The Honeydogs. Here she is with a surprising cover.

Sunday, December 15

The Roe Family Singers Bluegrass Brunch @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 11am – 1pm. Here’s a morning pick-me-up for breakfast that will set toes tapping and hearts laughing. The Roe Family Singers do bluegrass and old time music, while ringleader/poppa Quillan Roe lets loose with the occasional corny joke. It’s family friendly.

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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