Inside and Outside – Music: 6.3 – 6.9

June 3, 2015
The stage at Dixie's on Grand

The stage at Dixie’s on Grand

Let the Festival season begin in earnest. This Sunday will feature Grand Old Day, with a variety of artists performing on a number of different stages, as well as a smaller big band festival in Eden Prairie. If not, there is still plenty of great music to enjoy, including visiting artists from England, and some appearances by resident artists who don’t perform too often. Lots of reasons to enjoy music: It lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 3

Southside Big Band @ Como Dockside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 7pm – 8:30pm (Free) It may shower this evening, but that needn’t stop you from enjoying some big band music under the pavilion at Como Park. Plus, you can always step inside to the new dockside and order food and drinks.

Greer & Penny @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The fine vocalist Sarah Greer teams up with equally fine guitarist John Penny for some great tunes. Here’s Sarah doing a gospel number.

Friday, June 5

Manzara & Reeve @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Julian Manzara on electric guitar and Robert Reeve on trumpet and flugelhorn, make for an unusual duet. They have been performing jazz standards around town for a couple of years now.

Katie Gearty @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Katie takes a break from her R&B vocalizing with Mick Sterling’s Irresistables, Adam Levy’s Hooker’s $ Blow, and Vital Organ to sing jazz and more at the Bloomington lounge/restaurant.

Paul Harper’s Show & Tell @ the Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) You may know Harper from his performances with the Illicit Sextet, Charmin & Shapira, or Ginger Commodore. Tonight the saxophonist is joined by Mike Cramer, guitar; Charlie Riddle, bass; Nathan Norman, drums.

Dean Sorenson Sextet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Sorenson  trombone; Steve Kenny, trumpet; David Milne, tenor; Chris Lomheim, piano; Phil Hey, drums. Sorenson teaches at the U and has played with the Minnesota Orchestra, JazzMN, and the Latin Sounds Orchestra. His supporting band consists of first call players on the Twin Cities jazz scene.

Saturday, June 6

King enjoying himself

King enjoying himself

Dave King’s PBR Street Gang @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Hoo boy, this group only plays a few times a year, so this is a great occasion to catch some of the Twin Cities’ finest players. Dean Granros, guitar; Dave King  drums; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Anthony Cox, bass and cello.

 

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) It’s another double bill of powerhouse jazz at Lowertown’s community meeting place. Opening at 7pm is bassist Ted Olsen and his Group. Then at 8:30pm it’s the Five: Dave Karr, sax; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Mikkel Romstad, piano; Ryan Hays, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums. The members of this inter-generational group range in age from 20s to 80s, making for some exciting music.

Sunday, June 7

The bones of the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band

The bones of the Jazz on the Prairie Big Band

25th Annual Festival of Jazz on the Praire @ Staring Lake Amphitheater, Eden Prairie. 2pm – 9pm (Free) A cornucopia of big bands, just the thing for a Sunday afternoon.  2pm: Just Friends Big Band; 3pm: Acme Jazz Company; 4pm: Ben in the River Big Band; 5pm: Good News Big Band; 6pm: River City Jazz Orchestra; 7pm: Jazz on the Prairie Big Band

Monday, June 8

Paul Mazzacano & the Mazz Jazz Juggernaut @ Town Green Amphitheater, Maple Grove. 8 – 10pm (Free) Mazzacano is a percussionist/drummer arranger composer, and educator, whose credits range from the Dorseys and Charlie Barnett to Roy Eldridge, Liberace, Elvis Presley, Broadway productions and staff work for both CBS and NBC networks. Not sure of the Juggernaut, but judging by the name, and the fact that Mazzacano has composed of number of pieces for orchestra, it could be a large, and exciting, group.

Eric Wangensteen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This trumpeter has toured with Bette Midler, released four CDs played in over 20 countries. Though a graduate of the UofM at Duluth, you may not know of hims, since he spends his winters playing in Uruguay, recently playing with paquito D’Rivera for three years at the Uruguay International Jazz Festival.

Chris Bates’ Good Vibes Trio @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Here is a group that always has a good time on stage. Their level of communication with each other is just about telepathic. Bates, bass; Dave hagedorn, vibes; Phil Hey, drums.

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 3

Andy Cohen on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Cohen is a virtuoso guitar player and folklorist from Memphis who mines a number of different blues traditions, and has gained fans throughout the country, including many of this area’s fingerpickers. He’s also a great storyteller, having written about many of his musical heroes, and toured with old masters such as Martin, Bogan, & Armstrong, Rev. Gary Davis, and Honeyboy Edwards. It’s a treat to have him stop in town.

Thursday, June 4

World Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) Well crafted pop from a band which has been around since their 1986 hit Ship of Fools.  Frontman Karl Wallinger experienced an aneurysm in 2001, but after some rehabilitation and hard work is back. Critics all seem to agree that Wallinger manages to be a lyrical as some of our best songwriters, such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, and Dylan.

Claudia Schmidt & Dean Magraw @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 + tax) It’s a birthday celebration for the celebrated folk/jazz singer Ms Schmidt  and once again, she has the supple guitar of Dean Magraw for support. It’s always fun when these two long-time compadres get together. For example:

Friday, June 5

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ Mendota Square, The Village of Mendota Heights. 6pm (Free) Clarke is one of those saxophonists that most R&B bands welcome to sit in and add some punch to proceedings. He and the Working Stiffs play dance music from the 30s to the 50s, including things from Count Basie, Billie Holliday, Bill Haley, and Elvis.

Graham Parker & The Rumour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $65) In the late 70s, Parker broke out of the pub rock scene in England, combining the energy and spark of punk rock with his love for American R&B. Two of his albums with the Rumour are in Rolling Stones’ Top 100 Albums of all time from 1987. Parker favorite Lowell Thompson opens.

Lonseome Dan Case and The Dieselfitters @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Lonesome Dan, the picture of a 30s itinerant guitar player, opens. The Dieselfitters are purveyors of rockabilly, roots rock, and honky tonk music: Clay Williams, guitar/vocals; Dan Peterson, bass/vocals; and Mike Sandell, drums.

Pop Wagner & the Dumpy Jug Bumpers @ Palmer’s, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) It’s an old-timer evening at the West Bank dive bar. The Bumpers will perform Jug band music. Pop Wagner will perform old cowboy music, as well as some country and pop tunes, and then they’ll perform together.

Saturday, June 6

Charlie Lawson & the Natural Born Lovers @ Barely Brothers Records, Saint Paul. 2pm (Free) Mike and Spencer, the “barely brothers” are once again enticing record buyers into their store with some free music, this time by long time Twin Cities guitarist/vocalist Lawson and his band.

Grateful Red @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm. (Free) This horn-driven funk/rock/pop band will provide the backdrop for your picnic in the area just north of the bandshell, or you can get closer and sit on benches and simply enjoy the music (dancing may occur).

Hurricane Harold’s All Star Blues Revue @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Harpist Harold gathers up a few of his very talented friends for an evening of rompin’ stompin’ blues.

Jarrod Lawson @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($25/$20 Advance) “The Hottest New Talent to hit soul music in at least ten years.” That’s what some English magazines have said about blue-eyed soulster Lawson  whose debut at Ronnie Scott’s was sold out and then broadcast on a live web stream. He’ll be playing with some of the Petersons – St. Paul on bass, Ricky on keys, and JP DeLaire on sax, as well as other special guests

Sunday, June 7

Music @ Grand Old Day, Saint Paul. 12:30 – 4:30pm (Free) You can kick off summer and experience a variety of bands at the Midwest’s biggest one day festival. Highlights include Charlie Parr (12PM) and Erik Koskinen (2:15pm) at Dixie’s on Grand; The Cactus Blossoms (12:30pm) and Crankshaft (2pm) at Walgreens;  and country party guy Tim Sigler at the Wild Onion at 3pm. There are other bands as well, and if you want to listen while enjoying adult beverages in the Festival Gardens adjoining each stage you’ll need a wristband ($8).

Cooker John @ Como Dockside Pavillion, Saint Paul. 3pm (Free) Guitarist and folk/blues musician Cooker John learned to pick from Artie Traum back in 60s New York. Since then he’s been in a variety of bands around the country, but has performed solo (sometimes with an accompanist) since 1990.

Monday, June 8

Hunker’d Down Blues Band @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. Noon (Free) It’s Blue Monday at Rice Park, but that doesn’t mean you have to be blue. Take a break and enjoy this five-piece while chowing down on lunch.

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.


Dance, Dance, Dance. Music: 4.30 – 5.6

April 30, 2014
Back-flips are optional

Back-flips are optional

This seems to be an especially good week for folks who like to dance, whether they swing dance, do the two step, or hit the dance floor to cajun & zydeco, or Latin music. We’ve five events dedicated to dancers and a few others where dancing could erupt. We’ve also got a fine selection of listening events, including a Women in Jazz workshop aimed at young female musicians. All, in all, another good week of music in the Twin Cities. Music can lift your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 30 – International Jazz Day

Friends of Foreman @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) That’s friends of bassist Andrew Foreman, including Dave Feily guitar; Zach Schmidt, drums; and Dan Musselman on piano. They improvise on modern Jazz, indie-rock, and alt-pop, as well as original compositions.

Kevin Gastonguay Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11:00pm ($10 Donation)  Pianist Gastonguay has garnered acclaim at festivals in Detroit Lakes and Sioux Fall, as well as at the 2010 Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Here in town, he’s played with Cory Wong, Kevin Washington, Jay Young, and mangy others. He’ll be joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums; and Andrew Bergmann, bass.

Evans Courage Hennig @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Late night music from a new trio, though each of them have been playing around town for years. Park Evans is a guitarist with taste, who can bring the fire any time he wishes. Brian Courage has become a go-to guy on bass since his arrival in town a few years ago. Hennig is the drummer for modern jazz group Atlantis Quartet, as well as the punk/blues band Crankshaft and the Grinders. Will make for an interesting evening at this uptown bistro.

Thursday, May 1

Moonlight Serenaders @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($7) Here’s your mid-week big band fix, complete with swing dancers of all ages, a venue with a haunted past, and Lee Engele, a “canary” (as female big band singers were once known) who can swing with ease. Here’s the band, with Lee singing a classic number, at the Caves.

Friday, May 2

Kenny in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Kenny in action. Photo by Andrea Canter

Kenny Horst & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Donation) Though he may have closed the Artists’ Quarter, drummer Kenny Horst doesn’t appear ready to fully retire. He’s gathered Brandon Wozniak, sax; Zacc Harris, guitar; and Brian Courage, bass; to back him as he returns to performing. It will be a swingin’ evening of straight-ahead jazz.

Illicit Sextet @ TheBlack Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Six imaginative improvisers who only play their own, original music. Consider their membership:  Steve Kenny, trumpet and fluegelhorn; Paul Harper, sax; David Roos, guitar; Chris Lomheim, piano; Tom Pieper, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums.

Byron Jonson-Blanchard Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10 Donation) Drummer Johnson-Blanchard’s quartet comes to the late night show at JC. The young percussionist (a 2008 grad of McNally Smith) plays around town in various groups, most steadily with the R&B horn band High and Mighty. Tonight he’s joined by cohorts David Hirsch, sax; Thomas Nordlund guitar; and Andrew Foreman, bass.

Saturday, May 3

Women In Jazz Workshop & Concert @ Maplewood Community Center, Maplewood. 2-4:30 workshop (free) 7pm concert ($20/adult, $10/student, free w/workshop) Pippi Ardennia’s non-profit, PipJazz and the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education are teaming up to present a workshop introducing young female musicians to the women who have contributed to the growth of jazz as performers, composers, and bandleaders. The workshop will feature a history of women in jazz and end with an open jam session. then at 7pm the women leading the workshop will perform an evening concert. Participants include vocalists Pippi Ardennia and Patty Peterson, Kathy Jensen, sax; Laura Caviani, piano; Joan Griffith, bass, and drummer Sheila Earley. A special guest will be saxophonist Ebony Rainwater, a student at Sibley High School. Register for the workshop at: http://pipjazz.org

Paul Renz Quartet @ Rosemount Steeple Center, 14375 S. Robert Trail, Rosemount. 7pm ($5) Guitarist Paul Renz  uietly goes about teaching, regularly records, and tours the East Coast every now and then. This is a rare area performance by Renz, who is joined by Baltimore pianist Alan Blackman; Josh Granowski, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums.

Monday, May 5

Peter Vircks Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Vircks is a busy sax-man about town, recording and performing with groups ranging from Doug Little to Moveable Feast, Park Evans, and the percussive dance group Rhythmic Circus. His recent album What You Believe is True, has received praise from critics and musicians alike. He’ll be joined by Kevin Washington, drums; Ron Evaniuk, bass; and Brian Ziemniak, piano. Here he is performing a classic in a guitar/sax duo.

 

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, April 30

Radio Joe & the Jazzbos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. ($5) Guitarist Joe Demko and his quartet play romantic music, as well as swing, boogie boogie, and jump blues. It’s perfect for the swing dancers and folks who, to quote a Sinatra song, know that “what is dancin’ but making love set to music, playing.” Here’s an example.

 

Lisa Wenger & Her Mean, Mean Men @ Shaws, Minneapolis. 8pm (No cover) Vocalist Wenger has sung the blues at area festivals, on the national blues circuit, and at Sturgis. Her approach to blues singing is direct, and appeals to a wide variety of listeners. She surrounds herself with a talented band, too.

Thursday, May 1

UnknownKate Lynch and Her Most Excellent Fellows Present a Dinner Dance @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Music only, $45 Music + 3 course Prix Fixe dinner).  Here’s an fun concept presented by a group that brings a fresh approach to jazz and pop from the 1920s to the 1950s. There’s a dinner set starting at 7pm, then at 8pm there’s be an abbreviated dance lesson for folks who need a refresher in basic dance steps, followed at 8:15 by a dance set from the band. Think of it as a “wedding dance without the wedding.”

 

Swamp Poppas @ the Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30 – 10:30pm ($5) Karl Smelker leads this quartet in an evening of, what else, Swamp Pop, that mixture of Cajun music with Rock n’ Roll and the R&B of New Orleans. The resulting plaintive ballads and uptempo numbers will fill the dance floor with swing dancers, Cajun two-steppers, and couples who take delight in simply gliding around the dance floor.

Friday, May 2

Chico Chavez & Guayaba @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) Twin cities based Peruvian percussionist Chico Chavez has put together an 8-piece band to play Andean and Amazonian music known as “chicha.” It’s mostly a mix of mid-tempo Cumbia rhythms and slightly psychedelic guitars, with some songs that touch on other tropical rhythms. Get a taste of their music on their website

Steve Kaul & The Brass Kings @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) It’s another Freewheelin’ Friday from KFAI’s Jackson Buck, tonight featuring Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings, with opener Dave Babb & Friends. Kaul plays fingerpicks a resonator guitar, and with the backing of the Brass Kings (Mikkel Beckman, washboard, found objects; Brad Ptacek, washtub bass; Jillian Rae, country/psychedelic fiddle) takes the music far beyond your typical acoustic realms. The evening starts of with Dave Babb, of the Liquor Pigs, and some of his friends. Of course, there’ll be a food truck available. Let’s hope the weather allows the warehouse doors to be open.

A new fashion trend?

M.O.R.T sporting a new fashion trend

Mystic Order of Reverb & Twang @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) M.O.R.T brings a batch of rockabilly and reverb-heavy surf music to the east metro. The middle-aged crowd at the Station is perhaps more used to the likes of Motown & bluesy rock, but the insistent bass and cheeky guitars of M.O.R.T. is sure to have them crowding the small dance floor.

Ray Bonneville CD Release @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 9pm ($12) Bonneville is known as a “roaming musician” who records for Saint Paul’s Red House Records. He’s Canadian by birth, is a Vietnam vet, drove a taxicab, and served as a bush pilot in Canada. He’s an acoustic bluesman who has won awards for his work and is heavily influenced by the music of New Orleans, where he spent time in the 1980s. The new CD is entitled “Easy Gone.” Here’s a video of Bonneville in action.

 

Saturday, May 3

For Pete’s Sake @ The Fitzgerald Theater, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($30) Pete Seeger would have been 95 on this date, and Minnesota singer/songwriter Larry Long, a long-time friend, has brought together a colorful cast of musicians, activists and narrators to celebrate all the phases of Pete’s life through song, stories, and spoken narratives. The cast ranges from former Minneapolis Mayor Sharon Sayle-Belton and Poet Louis Alemayehu, to musicians such as Robert Robinson, Prudence Johnson, Tony Glover, Estaire Godinez, Chastity Brown, Peter Ostroushko, Long himself, and many, many more. Seeger is known as the “Father of American folk music” and influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Bruce Springsteen and thousands of budding musicians. Governor Dayton has proclaimed May 3 as “Pete Seeger Day” in Minnesota.

Unknown-3Sonny Knight & the Lakers Record Release @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7pm Door. ($10 Advance/$15 Door) Knight is another story of a “rediscovered” soul singer. He finally has a debut album after recording his first single over 50 years ago. The album, I’m Still Here, is a slice of funk and soul that will surely appeal to both boomers and today’s hipsters. This is going to be a big bash, what with the Honeydogs and Southside Desire opening.

Dad Horse Experience @ Bayport BBQ & Nashville Hot Chicken, Bayport. 8pm ($8) Owner Chris Johnson has added Nashville hot chicken to his BBQ, and continues to bring us outsider music that’s accessible in its own weird way. Example number one: Dad Horse Experience, a one-man band (banjo, kazoo, bass pedal) from Bremen, Germany, playing Gospel music that you’d never hear in a church. He sings and howls as if alone in a dark basement, desperately seeking redemption from a life of hard, hard sin. Definitely the under-the-radar gig of the week. Check out this video to see what I mean.

 

 

Sunday, May 4

Paul Thorn @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($23) Some guys are just able to sing the truth. Thorn is one of them – a former boxer who’s dad was a Pentacosal minister, and who had an uncle who was a pimp. Their advice and influence forms the basis for his bluesy Americana. He also does a terrific and often funny job of introducing his songs. Here’s an example.

 

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.

 


Here Comes the Sun. Music: 3.4 – 3.11

March 5, 2014

IMG_4997w-2Lent is now upon us, and to quote George Harrison, “I feel the ice is slowly melting.” This brings us a few opportunities to celebrate, what with a Brazilian Carnaval experience, a blues revue, and a visiting Cajun/Creole musician. We also have a much-talked-about young jazz singer coming to town, and a bevy of performances from residential artists.  Thanks to Teresa Boardman for the use of her photo of sunrise over Saint Paul. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz…

Wednesday, March 5

Debbie Duncan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Ballads, bebop,  blues and more. Duncan is a master at each, bringing a bit of sass, but more importantly, an deep understanding of each song she sings.

Anthony Cox Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Donation) The first Wednesday of each month, Cox brings together a number of talents from different genres to collaborate. Dialogue with the audience is encouraged.

Thursday, March 6

Lila Ammons & Thom West @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:00pm  (Donation) Ammons started out singing classical music, before turning to classic blues, for which she’s become popular in Europe after touring with pianist Axel Zwingenberger and drummer Charlie Watts. Though she’s kept a low profile here in the Twin Cities, Ammons is a first rate jazz singer, with a CD that features Houston Person. She’ll be joined by pianist Thom West for this vocal night at Jazz Central. Learn more about her from an interview I did a couple of years ago.

Carlo Gesualdo Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9:30pm – 11:30pm  (donation) And now for something completely different. As described on the Jazz Central website, the Carlo Gesualdo Band plays the music of the 16th/17th century Italian composer/murderer/visionary Carlo Gesualdo. Andrew Bergmann is a bassist, composer, and Massachusetts native who has arranged this strange and harmonically adventurous vocal music for a free-wheeling instrumental jazz-rock quintet that includes Scott Fultz, sax; Sean Roderick, piano; Park Evans, guitar; and Adam Patterson, drums.

Friday, March 7

Harrelson Trumpets Presents @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm (Donation) The trumpet manufacturer presents a night of trumpet duets, featuring Harrelson friends and family — Jason Harrelson, Christine Palmer, Mark Bobnick,  Todd Tanji, Leighton Tuenge  and Greg Zent.

Saturday, March 8

Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.7 pm – 10pm. Pianist Hobert is a talented young musician who also plays accordion in Lulu’s Playground and leads a playful group called Firefly. He can support a big band (The Adam Meckler Orchestra), a combo, or play solo, where his sometimes ethereal, and often impressionistic playing is best heard. He recently returned from a tour of Japan. Though he’ll mostly be playing solo, some friends will be joining him tonight. Here’s an example of his playing.

Erick Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Studio Z, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Free workshop at 6pm. This edition of Source Code includes Solomon Parham on trumpet, Dave Graf on Trombone, and Ron Evaniuk on bass. Gravatt is a ferocious drummer, which doesn’t mean he can’t show some restraint when the music warrants it. He made a name for himself playing with Weather Report on I Sing the Body Electric, and has played with a who’s who of jazz artists.

Sunday, March 9

Cecile McLorin Salvant @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm  Salvant is an up and coming Grammy-nominated jazz singer who is receiving raves from the NY Times and others for extending the heritage of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughn. She writes her own songs but also put her own, very original stamp on standards, communicating modern sensibilities through the Great American Songbook. See her now, before she outgrows clubs. Here’s an example.

Monday, March 10

Enormous Quartet and Beast @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm. ($8) The Enormous Quartet is Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, sax; Park Evans, guitar; and Joey Van Phillips, drums. Beast is a Brian Courage trio, with a second bassist and a drummer.

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, March 5

Nikki & the RueMates and Peace Life @ Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($4) An evening of folk, folk rock, and blues. Life is a folk duo consisting of Jack on acoustic Guitar and Tess’ailene on vocals. I’ve written of Nikki & the Ruemates before, though tonight it’s really just Nikki & Rich. The two duos will also be performing together on a song or two, causing Nikki to dub the four as the PeaceMates.

Midweek Mambo w/Charanguita @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Despite the name, this is a salsa dance party. The action starts with a deejay and dance lessons at 9, and then six-piece core of Charanga Tropical (hence Charanguita) takes the stage shortly before 10 to play for salsa dancers until midnight.

Thursday, March 6

Ben Abrahamson Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Abrahamson is a stellar guitarist and composer who specializes in flamenco, having studied in Barcelona. Tonight he crosses and blends music genres as he gathers Max Corcoran, sax; Cory Grossman, cello; and Thomas Nordlund, guitar; for an evening of new compositions influenced by flamenco, jazz, and avant-garde music.

Friday, March 7

“We Beat Winter” Party w/Hurricane Harold’s All-Stars @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm. The forecast calls for temps above freezing this weekend, so it may be that we have really Beat Winter. Celebrate with Scottie Miller, piano, vocals; Doug Otto, guitar, vocals; Jeremy Johnson, guitar; Good Time Willy, guitar & vocals;  Bill Black, bass; and Hurricane Harold on harp.

Joe Louis Walker @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Walker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame last year, an honor that is well deserved, though he’s probably more well known in Europe than in the US. Born in 1949, he’s part of the second generation of bluesmen. By the time he was 19 he had been onstage with John Lee Hooker, Hendrix, The Soul Stirrers and Thelonious Monk. He also became a friend a roommate to Michail Bloomfield, whose death was the impetus for earning degrees in English and music, and performing with a gospel group. Walker returned to the blues in a big way in 1985, and has recorded eleven albums since then. Here he is showing a bit of influence from T-Bone Walker.

Black Oak Arkansas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($25adv/$27Door) They may not be the Dead, but these Southern party rockers have had a long strange trip of their own – formed in ’63 while in high school, they were eventually signed to Atlantic by Ahmet Ertegun, had 3 gold albums, and a gold single recorded (Jim Dandy to the Rescue, a ’57 hit for LaVern Baker) on the advice of Elvis Presley. Fans have included Bill Graham and Betty Ford, as well as Bill Clinton, and a slew of folk who came of age in the 70s.

Saturday, March 8

Carnaval Brasiilero @ Muse Event Center, 107 3rd Avenue North, Minneapolis. 2pm – 5pm (Family Matinee – $10 advance/$15 door) 9pm  – 2am(18+, $17 Advance, $25 door). This is the 12th Annual Brazilian Carnaval. It’s hosted by Robert Everest and Beira Mar Brasil, a ten-piece band. They’ll be joined by singer/dancer Dandara Odara from Bahia, and will have food, drink, Carnaval masks, and more.

Maurice Jacox @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul.  8pm (Tip Jar) I’ve been posting Maurice’s gigs quite a bit lately, but only because he’s so versatile and has performed in a variety of settings, from R&B horn bands to intimate duos, to singing with Nachito Herrera and the Cuban National Symphony. Tonight he’s appearing in a new configuration, with the under-rated and very fine guitarist, Bobby E, along with Tom Wells on Tuba,which will certainly add interest to the proceedings.

Viva Brazil @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Here’s another Brazilian group that is worth seeing. Viva Brazil plays Brazilian Popular Music, aka BPM, which includes sambas, funk, & jazz in both Portuguese and English. The group includes Will Lopes, vocals; Altamir Coelho, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; Josue Alfaro, percussion; Cory Wong, guitar; and Dan Musselman, keyboards.

Sunday, March 9

Cedric Watson & Bijou Creole @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 advance/$18 door) A talented, relatively young musician, Watson is a fiddler, vocalist, and accordionist, who brings his own lively and imaginative perspective to traditional Cajun and Creole songs.

Tuesday, March 11

Phil Heywood @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover)  The fingerpicking ace provides interesting, intricate music for diners. Get a reservation and tell them you want to sit near the music.

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.


And the Days Grow Short. Music: 8.23 – 8.28

August 23, 2012

You may need umbrellas before the weekend.

It’s been a busy week, and so I’m a day behind in this post. We’ve got some much needed rain in the forecast, which will certainly put a damper on outdoor events. That won’t stop intrepid folks from going to the State Fair, where there’s some mighty fine music taking place on the free stages, as well as Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples in the grandstand on opening night.

Jazz

Thursday, August 23

Capri Big Band @ The Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free) The Capri Big Band is one of the  positive stories of Minneapolis’ North Side. It has proven to be a great training ground for young musicians as well as a place for older musicians to keep their chops up while mentoring students. You’ve got the lake, sailboats, cyclists riding by, grills, and picnic grounds. As long as the weather is good, it makes for a perfect summer evening.

Snowblind’s Tribute to Blue Note Records @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Blue Note has long been recognized for its stellar jazz recordings of the 50s and 60s which set the standard for jazz. In fact, much of what we consider mainstream jazz today is directly descended from the hard bop that was brought to the public’s attention by Blue Note. Tonight, Snowblind, a collective ensemble with a predilection for grooves, will perform some of the label’s hits, and perhaps a few misses. The group consists of Scott Agster, trombone; Shihad Sen, sax; Adam Rosmiller, trumpet, Graydon Peterson, bass; and Reid Kennedy, drums. Fine musicians all.

Friday, August 24

Boot Camp @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) Pianist Jeremy Walker (aka Boot) moved to NYC for a couple of years to compose and play in the Big Apple. Since returning, he’s put together a number of projects to play his thoughtful music including this group: Walker, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Miguel Hurtado, drums.

Saturday, August 25

Lucia Newell @ the Lexington, Saint Paul 6:30pm – 10:30pm (No cover) Ada Ashaya, piano, and Jeff Bailey, bass. Around here, other singers come out to see Lucia perform. You should too, especially since the setting is so warm and clubby. There may be a minimum at some of the tables, but given the quality of the food and drinks at the Lex, it should be easy to meet.

Whitman, Schimke, Lewis & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Kenny Horst continues to feature new groupings of players at the AQ. This time we’ve got a swinging saxophonist/composer (Pete Whitman); a pianist who is equally at home with the swing, jazzy R&B, and Latin music (Peter Schimke), a journeyman bassist who can be depended upon for a firm foundation (Tom Lewis) and Kenny Horst himself on drums. Sounds like some great jazz is in the offing.

Culbertson, Sanborn

Dave Sanborn & Brian Culbertson @ Burnsville Performing Arts Center, Burnsville. 7:30pm ($48 ) Sanborn is one of the most influential successful sax players on the planet (take that, Kenny G), winning six Grammys, eight Gold Records, and one Platinum. He’s a passionate player, who tempers his commercial, danceable, R&B with improvisation and surprising forays into projects like a TV series where he played with guests ranging from Sonny Rollins and Sun Ra, as well as a recording project with Avant Gardist Tim Berne and a recent album with Joey DeFrancesco and Steve Gadd. Keyboardist & trombone player Culbertson has been called jazz lite, which is too bad, because his jazz is a funky as can be. It’s allowed him to amass a considerable fan base.Patty Peterson & Friends open. Check out a video of his below. I interviewed Patty on my show this past Friday. You can hear the interview here.

Monday, August 27

Gypsy Mania Trio w/special guest Patrick Harrison @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm – Midnight (No cover) Folks who like Gypsy jazz know  Glen Helgeson on guitar, Matt Senjem on bass, and Patrick Harrison on accordion can swing with taste and finesse. Those looking for food and drink late at night know that Barbette has a great late night happy hour. Sounds like a great combination.

From a European Tour a few years ago.

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 & 11:30pm. ($5) Mike Lewis (sax), Adam Linz (bass), and JT Bates (drums) have been so busy with numerous other projects that the three friends (since high school) haven’t played much in the last year or so. See why they’re popular in France and  hear them deconstruct ballads, bebop, and tunes from the likes of Ornette Coleman. The first show gets pretty crowded, and rowdy, but that’s part of the fun.

Tuesday, August 28

Cory Wong Quartet @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul 7pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Wong’s recent release, Quartet/Quntet, has moved into the top ten on the CMJ Jazz Charts. He was recently featured on the Voice of America as well. Check out his guitar wizardry at this early show. It’s a weekly thing, but that doesn’t mean you should put off going. Besides, this performance is being recorded by KBEM for its series Saint Paul Live!, so head down and add to the atmosphere.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, August 22

Julie Johnson & The No-Accounts on KFAI , Minneapolis. 5pm on KFAI, and 7pm – 9pm at the 331. (Free – tip jar @ 331) Okay, you’ve missed this but it’s still available in archive. I was the host on Harold’s House Party this afternoon from 4pm – 6pm, so I invited Julie and the guys to be my in studio guests during the 5pm hour. They play historic folk songs from Minnesota and Wisconsin, with Julie playing flute and Doug Otto and Drew Druckery on guitar, mandolin, and vocals. They played three songs live in the studio, which you can listen to here.

Thursday, August 23

Brooklyn Rider with Bela Fleck @ The Washington County Historic Courthouse, Stillwater. 7:30pm (Adults: $25, Students: $10) This is the final concert in the Stillwater Music Festival, organized by Brooklyn Rider, a string quartet from Brooklyn with Minnesota roots. They are certainly not your father’s string quartet, as they are unafraid of pushing the boundaries of the genre. If you didn’t see them at the Cedar or in other Stillwater Music Festival appearances earlier in the week, here’s your chance. Their special guest for this evening is virtuoso banjo player Bela Fleck, who has been known to cross a genre or two himself.

Deadstring Brothers @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($8) Deadstring Brothers bring to mind the Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street – a bit raw, a bit ragged, a bit country, and a lot of hard rock n’ roll. Dirt Road Ramblers start the evening, followed by Cannon’s North celebrating a CD release before Deadstring takes the stage to close off the evening.

Friday, August 24

Ronn Easton’s All Star Soul Revue @ Famous Dave’s, Calhoun Square, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) If you want to hear some old school music from Motown, the O’Jays, Ohio Players and more check out Che nine-piece revue. Make sure to bring your dancing shoes.

Cool Disposition @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) Dan Schwalbe’s guitar, Harold Tremblay’s harp, and Mickey’s vocals are just a few of the forces driving this band’s combination of jump, Chicago, and West Coast blues. There isn’t much room for dancing at the oldest continually operating bar in the state, but that just adds to the fun.

Saturday, August 25

Mother Banjo @ The Saint Paul Farmer’s Market, Saint Paul. 9AM (Free) Listen to the sounds of traditional folk, gospel, and alt-country from Ellen Stanley (aka Mother Banjo) as you roam the aisles of the market picking up fresh basil, fruit, and (if you are so inclined) some meat that was on the hoof a couple of days ago.

Maurice Jacox @ Hollihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 7pm (Free) Jacox recently sang some gospel tunes for a church service. He’s equally at home with soul music (naturally), and jazz standards, including Nat King Cole’s songs. I suspect this gig will fine him in an R&B/Blues vein.

Jennifer Markey & the Tennesee Snowpants @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Markey sings country. Not the country of Nashville today, but country that sounds like it was written in little towns, hollers, and even on the plains. Plus, they’re originals.

Saturday, Sunday, August 25, 26

Robby Vee, Jeffrey Broussard, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds @ The Minnesota State Fair Leinie Stage, Saint Paul. (free with $12 Fair Admission) Get there early, fill up at the milk truck, take in some animal barns (you may want to avoid the swine barn) and check out Robby Vee and his Rock n’ Roll Caravan at 10:30 and 11:45am. Test your Zydeco and Cajun dance steps with Jeffrey Broussard & His Creole Cowboys at 3:30 or 4:45, and top your day off with the butt-rockin’ blues of the Fabulous Thunderbirds at 8:30. Grab some desert-on-a-stick and head home, tired and spent.

Monday, Tuesday, August 27, 28

Their first album.

Desert Rose Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Wow. Chris Hillman (guitar), founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, along with Herb Pederson (banjo.guitar) who played with both of those groups as well as Jerry Garcia and David Grisman, John Jorgenson (guitar), a wizard who can go from bluegrass to Beatles in the blink of an eye, and Bill Bryson (bass) who played with Ry Cooder. The Desert Rose Band combined Bakersfield honky-tonk with country rock to cause a sensation in country music during the late 80s and 90s. I’ve got two of their first albums on vinyl and play them a lot.

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.


It’s Officially Summer. Music for 6.20 – 6.26

June 20, 2012

Summer Solstice is upon us. Heat is upon us. Rains are upon us. And we have a new music venue in town. The Icehouse in the Whittier neighborhood is presenting jazz late night on Mondays, and from 8:30 – 10:30 weekends. Other nights feature soul & funk deejays, and acoustic, rootsy music. Around the corner, The Eat Street Social is beginning to have afternoon music on Saturdays. We have some stellar artists performing this week. The Twin Cities Jazz Festival is next week. Life is good.

Jazz

Wednesday, June 20

Off the Map @ The Clown Lounge. Photo by Howard Gittelson

Off The Map @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm. (Tip jar) Brandon Wozniak, alto; Bryan Nichols, keyboards; and Jay Epstein, drums. This bass-less trio used to perform more often, but each of them is so busy with other projects that this is a rare appearance.

Maude Hixson and French 75 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Maude and her sextet perform “foreign-born offerings from 20th Century songwriters.” Maude’s cool, inviting voice is the perfect vehicle for evoking smoky clubs with a distingue clientele.

Friday, June 22

Todd Clouser’s A Love Electric and Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Ritz Theater, NE Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) This is a CD Release Party for A Love Electric’s 2nd CD on Royal Potato Records. The Adam Meckler Orchestra is proving to be an exciting aggregation, playing Meckler’s original compositions and premiering his arrangement of one of Clouser’s tunes.

Jeremy Boettcher and Phil Aaron @ The Icehouse, 2528 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Boettcher is a young, up and coming bassist. Aaron is a seasoned piano player with exquisite taste. The Icehouse is a new restaurant/music venue.

Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23

Dave King Trucking Company @ The Artists Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) This group was originally put together for the celebration of drummer King’s music at the Walker a couple of years ago. They’ve proven to be popular enough to play and tour regularly, adding another component to King’s plethora of groups. Erik Fratzke, guitar; Adam Linz, bass, Brandon Wozniak and Chris Speed, saxes.

Saturday, June 23

Linda Peterson @ The Lexington, Saint Paul. 6:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) Another talented member of the Peterson clan, Linda is an accomplished composer and pianist with slightly smoky vocals.

Monday, June 25

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30 & 11:30 ($5) Wow, it’s been a long time since Mike Lewis, sax; Adam Linz, bass; and JT Bates, drums, performed at the Clown Lounge. This time around they’re playing a venue with a wide variety of drinks and an appealing bar menu. If you’ve never seen FKW, expect adventurous forays into originals and jazz standards. For a review of a NYC appearance of a few years ago, click here.

Tuesday, June 26

Clouser & Buckley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapolis. 7:00pm (No Cover) Todd Clouser is the inventive guitarist who has been touring both nationally and internationally with his band A Love Electric. James Buckley plays bass in a number of aggregations, including some whose music strays far from jazz. If you’re going for music, get there early to find a seat at the bar. If you want to eat at this popular neighborhood bistro, make sure to get reservations and ask to be near the music.

Emily Singin’ for Swing Dancers

Emily Green @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Green is a nuanced vocalist with an easy way with swing. Just right for the couples that come out to dance at this coffeehouse. Hear examples of Emiy’s singing on her myspace page.

Magraw, Nichols, Peterson, & Horst @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) The AQ continues to find new combinations of musicians. This time the “house rhythm section” of Billy Peterson, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums; is joined by guitarmaster Dean Magraw and ever-busy pianist Bryan Nichols.

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, June 20

Dustin Hatzenbuhler @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (free) Hatzenbuhler goes for the nerdy look, which you’ll forget once he starts singing, as he has a soulful voice and is a good songwriter, with a penchant for covers of Marvin Gaye and Adele, among others.

Cactus Blossoms on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – tip Jar). With their brotherly harmonies (think of the Everlys or the Delmore Brothers), and ability to write country tunes that sound 60 years old, I’m thinking the patrons at the 331 may do some waltzes and two steps among the tables. You may dance at home as well when they play live on KFAI (90.3 & 106.7FM).

Dale Watson @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($15) Watson is a huge honky-tonk hero in Europe and pockets of the US, deplores the current state of country music, and loves Lee’s enough to have written a song about the place. Rachael and the Ranch Hand Resistance open, with dance lessons at 8pm. Here’s an example of his honky-tonk/Bakersfield country music.

Thursday, June 21
Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) 9pm ($30) With the recent passing of “Duck” Dunn, we won’t be seeing Booker T with the MGs anymore. Nevertheless, Jones is an architect of American soul music, and has released two well-received solo projects in recent years, collaborating first with the Drive-By Truckers ( Grammy winner), and then with the Roots band. A genuine, soulful force on the Hammond B-3.

Friday, June 22

Old Californio and Steve Kaul & the Brass Kings @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm. ($6) Old Californio is a Pasadena quintet with a sound that evokes a number of country-rock, slightly psychedelicized bands, from the New Riders of the Purple Sage, to Canned Heat and the Byrds. Yet their recent release, Sundrunk Angels, shows they’re more than throwbacks. They’ll appeal to today’s young audience for Americana and roots as well as to those of a certain age. Steve Kaul and the boys (correction: they’ve added fiddler Jillian Rae) explore Americana in highly unexpected ways, weaving jug band music into ragas and back again.

617 Band @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) A versatile quintet of seasoned musicians that have fun playing originals and dance tunes from a variety of genres – Latin, Rock, R&B, and more. They’ve got the grooves that will free any aversion to dancing.

Sunday, June 24

Henry’s Funeral Shoe @ The Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($10) This UK brothers act plays blues that’s been re-filtered through the Who and The Clash, among others. One of their songs is featured in a funny commercial from Fiat. Reservations: 651-955-6337

Saturday, June 23

Hootenanny VI @ Tuttles, 107 Shady Oak Rd, Hopkins. 2pm – 2AM. ($15 Suggested donation) A benefit for the wildcat Sanctuary in Sandstone, MN, an organization that provides homes for wild animals that had previously been held as pets. It’s not a zoo, but a place where wild cats can live out their days. It’s a day filled with Americana, Bluegrass, and jamgrass stylings. String Theory starts the proceedings at 2pm. Other bands include: Shotgun Ragtime Band  (A Grateful Dead tribute band), Brady Perl, Boys N’ the Barrels, Moss Piglets, and Drew Peterson, among others.

Sunday, June 24

Havana Hi-Fi @ the Aster Cafe, St. Anthony Main, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The Aster has a tiny dance floor, but the joyous sensuous Latin sound of this group will undoubtedly move listeners to squeeze into the space. Don’t dance? Then simply enjoy the food, wine and tea list, and view of DT Minneapolis across the river.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 26, 27

Les Nubians @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) This sister act from Paris sings pan-global music in a variety of languages, both aural and musical. Expect elements of Afrobeat, Ella Fitzgerald, Edith Piaf, soul, and hip-hop. Here’s a video.

Wednesday, June 27

Mother Banjo @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm (free) Early warning for this untraditional traditionalist.

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.


%d bloggers like this: