Lotsa Choices. Music: 7.6 – 7.12

July 6, 2016
Where to go? What to hear?

Where to go? What to hear?

Another week and more visiting artists, more interesting combinations of resident artists, some new bands, a CD release, and a couple of outdoor events. All in all, another good week for music lovers. Music lifts your spirits.


Wednesday, July 6

Unknown-2Dean Magraw & Butch Thompson @ Vieux Carré Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Where else can you hear two such stellar musicians for a fin, to use an old term. Guitarist Magraw can play acoustically, bring a bit of Hendrix to Coltrane on electric guitar, and turn around and effortlessly play Irish music and the blues. Thompson, who is at home on piano and clarinet, has spent 45 years studying and playing early jazz around the world.

The Exceptional Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/student ID) Bassist Anthony Cox continues to bring surprising combinations of musicians to his monthly Wednesday night gig at Jazz Central. Tonight he’s joined by tabla master Marcus Wise and violinist Laura Hirada.

Thursday, July 7

Surprise Party @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) This quintet tackles the music of such rock n’ pop stars as The Beatles, Foo Fighters, Radiohead and more, restructuring them into jazz, funk, Latin, and other types of music. Rachelle Smith, vocals; Evan Bendt, sax; Andrew Frederick, guitar; Keith Yanes, bass; and Jared Mondlock, drums.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The Phil Hey Quartet is the main attraction tonight, back in town after a successful appearance at the Iowa City Jazz Festival last weekend: Dave Hagedorn, vibes; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Hey on drums. The opening act is the Julian Manzara Quartet: Drew Stinson, bass; Geo Randall, drums; Levi Schwartzberg, drums, and Manzara, guitar.

Friday, July 8

Todd Harper’s CD Release Party @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Pianist Todd Harper celebrates the release of 9th Stream Music, a delightful collection of Harper’s compositions, which seem somewhat familiar, yet always hold a surprise or two, such as the use of Aaron Kerr’s cello, and the playful sound of Nathan Hanson’s soprano saxophone. Others on the CD include drummer Eric Coursen, and Keith Yanes on bass viol.

Hoaxer @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Charlie Lincoln, bass; with Peter Goggin, sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Each of the band members have contributed an original to tonight’s playlist.

Paul Harper Bardo Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID)  Saxophonist Harper has been in the Illicit Sextet since its beginning two decades ago, and regularly appears with Charmin & Shapira, Spirit Jazz, Roos & Harper, and with his own ensembles: Show & Tell, and the Chordless Quartet. Tonight he assembles a band of first listers: Joel Shapira, guitar; Nathan Norman, drums; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Peter Kogan Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Drummer Kogan recently retired as principal tympanist for the Minnesota Orchestra, and set to work putting together two well-recieved albums, both of which teem with energy and imagination, covering hard bop, bebop, and postbop sounds. He’s recruited a stellar quartet: Pete Whitman, sax; Solomon Parham, trumpet; Phil Aaron, piano; and Anthony Cox, bass. Here’s something from his second album.

Saturday, July 9

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) At 7pm it’s the Pete Snell Trio, with Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano; and Snell on drums. At 8:30, it’s Bottomless Pit, with Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums; Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; and Tom Lewis, bass.

Sunday, July 10

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzy Math is Mark Vandermyde, keys; Andrew Schwandt, sax; Haralds Bondaris, drums; Matt Peterson, bass. Their new album, Pass the Guacamole, is a great little slab of tuneful music, including covers of Cindi Lauper and Crowded House.

Monday, July 11

Bruce Henry @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 with Dinner) Even though vocalist Henry moved to Chicago a few years ago, he regularly returns to the Twin Cities to perform. He’s an imaginative singer and arranger, and always has a band of fine musicians to accompany him.

Tuesday, July 12

Vanessa Trouble, w/Charlie Caranicas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $40 w/Dinner) Trumpeter Charlie Caranicas is originally from Minnesota, and studied at the UofMN before heading to the Big Apple after graduation. He’s performed with folks like Karryn Allison, the Chico  O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, and the Vanguard Orchestra. He and his quartet will perform at 7pm, and then at 9pm he and vocalist Vanessa Trouble will perform. Trouble has an affinity for traditional jazz. In addition to songs from her two CDs, you can expect songs that are reminiscent of Ella Fitzgerald’s recordings with Louis Armstrong. Here’s the two of them.

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, July 6

Howard “Guitar” Luedtke on KFAI and @ The 331Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) KFAI is broadcasting live from Indeed Brewing in NE Minneapolis this afternoon, starting with Jackson Buck’s Freewheeling Show at 2pm. Harold’s House Party continues at 4pm, with Howard “Guitar” Luedtke appearing during the 5pm hour. He then heads to the 331 Club for a 7pm show. Luedtke has been performing in the upper Midwest for over 40 years, gaining some international experience along the way. He’ll be playing acoustic and solo, showing off some of his fine flatpicking as he regales us with the blues.

Katy Vernon Band @ Como Conservatory, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) Vernon’s melancholy and very British acoustic pop (with overtones of Americana) has endeared her to Twin Citizens of all stripes. Her album, Present, was one of the year’s Top 10 for the Pioneer Press and Album of the Year in the Country/Folk category for L’Etoile Magazine. Bring a picnic, lay back, and enjoy her charming patter and learn how she’s become known as a singer of sad songs using a happy instrument – her ukelele.

XIXA @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18) This Tucson band plays Chicha music, that Peruvian combination of Cumbias and rock n’ roll, using swirling, psychedelic guitars, a skittering farfisa, and infectious, dance-inducing Latin rhythms. Matt Jennings, who knows a thing or two about cross-cultural musical influences himself, opens.

Thursday, July 7

Blues U Social Hour @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) The Minnesota Music Coalition and Blues U, which is bringing talented teens from across the country to play together and learn from professionals, are sponsoring this free event, which features music from Colin Campbell & the Shackletones and Tres Leches.

Pines @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Benson Ramsey, and David Huckfelt are native Iowans who met in Arizona and proceeded to make music together, moving to the Twin Cities and releasing their first album in 2004. Since then, the Pines have crossed the country, bringing their blend of indie-folk/Americana roots to new fans wherever they appear. They add a rhythm section for some dates, but it appears that Benson’s brother Alex is performing with them for this tour. Native American singer/songwriter Keith Secola opens.

Friday, July 8

Ipso Facto @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm (Free) It’s an evening of outdoor Reggae at Rice! Ipso Facto has been playing a blend of reggae, funk, and even a bit of jazz since the early 80s, and has been called “the best reggae band ever to emerge from Minnesota’s Tundra” by City Pages. Ryan Liestman’s Reggae Revival opens.

Debo Band @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) This is the opening concert in a summer of African music at the Cedar, and features an 11-piece band, with instrumentation reminiscent of Easter European brass bands, playing Ethiopian pop. They are led by Ethiopian-American saxophonist Danny Mekonnen, and use traditional Ethiopian scales and vocal styles, integrating them with American soul and funk rhythms.

Drew Druckery & the Dharma Hounds @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($5) Members of this quartet have played in various rock and roots bands around town for over a decade. Together, their sound encompasses blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock, making for a combustible combination. Drew Druckery, vocals, guitar; Paul Mikolich, keys/B3; Joshua Walton, bass; Brett Behrens, drums.

Saturday, July 9

Pan-Handlers Steel Drum Band @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s a band that can vary in size from 5 to 16 pieces, depending on the occasion. The Pan Handlers may have a full rhythm section, or simply be a collection of differently tuned steel drums. No matter the size, their repertoire ranges from Van Morrison, the Beatles, and Carly Rae Jepsen, to Bob Marly, and calypso favorites Lord Kitchener and the Mighty Sparrow.

Jack Knife & the Sharps @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Get yourself some rockabilly and Western Swing from this trio, formed in 1984 by ace guitarist Rick Hollister. He’s joined by Jack Erickson on bass; and Patricia Halverson on drums.

Sunday, July 10

Willie Walker & the We R Band @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm (No Cover)  Spend Sunday afternoon and early evening grooving and dancing to the soulful sounds of Mr Walker  whose soulful singing goes back to the 60s when he recorded a few singles for Goldwax and Chess. His latest album, Nothing Ever Changes, was nominated for three Blues Music Awards.

Tuesday, July 12

Rockin’ Rondo with Bruce Henry and Friends @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 5:30 – 8:30pm. Though he might have sung jazz last night at the Dunsmore Room, Henry will undoubtedly take a turn towards danceable R&B tonight to celebrate the community that was Rondo. Saint Paul Welcome Hat will have a ceremony during the evening to introduce newcomers to the city to its businesses, music and culture. Weather permitting, this will be outdoors on the History Center’s plaza. Bring a picnic or buy food and drinks on-site.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 12,13

Sarah Jarosz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $35) Jarosz is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who has just released her fourth album, Undercurrent. though she’s a recent graduate of the New England Conservatory, she has already received Grammy and Americana Music Association nominations with her first two records. Jarosz is from the Austin Texas area and has appeared on Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion and the BBC, and have garnered highly positive reviews in publications ranging from Mojo and Paste, to Rolling Stone and the New York Times. The Brother Brothers open.

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.

Halloween Music and More: 10.28 – 11.3

October 28, 2015

OF-Halloween-Pumpkin-Joke-Well good grief, it’s Halloween! This time showing up on a Saturday night. There are many public events taking place, of which I’m only listing a few. Have fun, and remember that music lifts the spirit.



Wednesday, October 28

Southside Aces @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Looking for a brassy band with a tuba? Want to dance? The Aces have you covered, with members who are well-versed in the New Orleans tradition” Rob erg Bell, guitar; Erik Jacobson, sousaphone; Steve Sandberg, trombone; Tony Galluff, clarinet; Zack Lozeir, trumpet; and Dave Michael, drums.  New Orleans Traditional Jazz Quarterly called them “A true, authentic New Orleans dance-hall style band.”

Canadian Girlfriend and The Fables Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Canadian Girlfriend is led by cellist Greg Byers  who recently graduated from McNally Smith with a Master of Music in Performance: Other members of the band are Elliot Wachs, Hayden Fihn, Frank Merchlewitz, and Lars Johnson. The Fables Trio is Kevin Gastonguay, keyboards; Andrew Foreman, bass; and Lars Larson, drums.

Thursday, October 29

Emily-GreenEmily Green’s Tribute to the 30s @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vocalist Green and pianist Chris Lomheim are joined by Graydon Peterson on bass; and Reid Kennedy on drums to celebrate songs of the 30s.

Charmin & Shapira @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) An exquisite pairing of vocals and guitar, that shine on both jazz standards by the like of Thelonious Monk and the Great American Songbook.

Friday, October 30

Todd Harper Piano Fridays @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 56:30 – 7:30pm (Tip Jar) You may not be in the mood for any Halloween hijinks. In that case head to the Black Dog where pianist Todd Harper will be joined by bassist Keith Yannes and drummer Eric Courson for an early evening of reflective, delicate, and decidedly un-devilish music on “Devil’s Night.”

Photo by Andrea Canter

Photo of Jeremy Walker by Andrea Canter

Jeremy Walker @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) The pianist/composer is back at the Vieux to provide late happy hour/dinner music that’s far, far better than what you’d expect at this time of day.


Magraw, Wells, & Bisong: a Benefit for Music Students in Guyana @ Walker West Music Academy, 760 Selby Avenue, Saint Paul. 8pm (Donation) Tuba player Tom Wells, who plays with Dick and Jane’s Brass Band, and with Maurice Jacox on occasion, will be playing with the fabulous guitarist Dean Magraw, and Ernest Bisong, a young jazz violinist from Guyana. Wells worked with the Guyana Lutheran Music Academy  for a few weeks last year and will be retuning this year. Any money raised will go to sponsor 15 Guyana students who took lessons last year but are unable to do so this year without some sponsorship. In lieu of tickets, donations will be accepted at the door.

Hipster Farm Supply Company/Basement Society @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) No matter what the group is called, it’s led by Pete James Johnson, recently returned from Los Angeles, where he spent a number of years playing with folks like Bob Mintzer, Russ Ferrante, Rufus Reid, and Ambrose Akinmusire and more. He’ll be joined by Javi Santiago on piano, and Dan Carpel on bass.

Park Evans, of Battle Cat and other groups. Photo by Andrea Canter

Park Evans, of Battle Cat and other groups. Photo by Andrea Canter

Battle Cat @ The Nicollet Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) This edition of Friday Night jazz at the Nicollet features Park Evans, guitar; Greg Schutte, drums; and Cody McKinney, bass. Each of these musicians could lead their own band. The combination is sure to spark some musical fireworks.

Saturday, October 31

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm, 8:30pm (Tip Jar) It’s a combination of young guns and seasoned veterans tonight. At 7pm it’s the Will Schmid Trio, featuring Schmid, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; and Simon Petrick, drums. At 8:30 How Birds Work will perform. This group was a monthly feature back at the Artists’ Quarter, so it’s great to be able to hear them once again: Kenny Horst, drums; Dean Granros, guitar; Peter Schimke, piano; and Chris Bates, bass.

Monday, November 2

U of MN Jazz Ensemble II and Combos @ Ted Mann Concert Hall, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (No Cover) Head over to the west bank campus of the U to hear the future of jazz as college students in the Jazz Ensemble II and various combos play for you.

Real Bulls and Enormous Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) Real Bulls is the dynamic drumming duo of JT Bates and Dave King, both of whom create a pantheon of sounds on their instruments. Second act up is The Enormous Quartet: Park Evans, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thompson, sax; and Joey Van Philips, drums.

Tuesday, November 3

Mary Louise Knutson @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm – 8pm (No Cover) Another early evening of exquisite music, this time from pianist Mary Louise Knutson  whose album In the Bubble spent considerable time at the top of the jazz charts, and who regularly tours with the Doc Severinsen big band.

Travis Anderson Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) It’s a very jazz night at the Vieux, as this swinging combination of musicians take the stage after Mary Louise Knutson. Travis Anderson, piano; Steve Pikal, bass; and Nathan Norman, drums; bring lots of energy and chops to their performances.

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, October 28

Katey Belleville on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana, Bluegrass, and Folk, from a singer/songwriter/guitarist  ho performs originals, traditional tunes, and contemporary tunes from artists like Gillian Welch. Tune in during the 5pm hour, and head over to the 331 to hear her live. She’ll be joined by friends Zach Gusa, guitar and vocals; Justin Bruhn, upright bass; and Mike Hedding on various stringed instruments.

Leon Bridges @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($22) Well, it’s sold out, but if you can get in, you’ll hear contemporary R&B that evokes, but doesn’t copy the likes of Sam Cooke. Bridges is an excellent songwriter with a voice that’s sweet, yet sure.

Hannah Von Der Hoff & the Dangertones: Humpy’d Halloween @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8, $5 with Costume) Work the kinks out of your costume with this early Halloween special featuring Von Der Hoff, a singer who does a modern take on 60s R&B. She’s got a strong voice that’s well suited to soulful sounds, and a band that serves her well.

Thursday, October 29

Big George Jackson and Jeremy Johnson @ Washington Square, White Bear Lake. 3pm (No Cover) Make your way to the tony NE village for a dose of the blues from gravel voiced Jackson and his guitarist/drummer cohort Johnson. Here he is with a full band.

Badi Assad @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) Assad is a Brazilian singer/songwriter as well as a brilliant guitarist, and percussionist. She blends pop, jazz, and world influences with traditional Brazilian music to create exciting performances, as she showed at the Dakota a couple of years ago. Her latest album, Hatched, features her take on songs by Lorde, Skillrex, and Mumford and Sons, among other contemporary artists.

Friday, October 30

Paul Metsa is Going to the Dogs @ Darby’s Pub and Grill, 315 5th Ave N, Minneapolis. $10 Suggested Donation) Singer/composer, guitarist, and author Paul Metsa is celebrating his 60th birthday with a benefit for Homeward Bound Dog Rescue. Paul knows many folks throughout the music industry, so don’t be surprised if some stop by and even perform a song or two.

Devil’s Night at the Black Forest Inn, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10 – $15 Suggested Donation) It’s an evening of solo, duo, and mixed chamber works featuring The Skeleton Crew chamber ensemble, as well as guest artists Eric Struve on upright bass; and Julie Johnson on concert flute, bass flute, and looping pedals, as well as mixed media visual artists Krista Pumroy, Beth Lowe, and Tom Siler. Here’s Julie Johnson in a different collaborative context. Here is Johnson on flute.

Friday, Saturday, October 31, 31

Ana Popovic @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25) Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Popovic grew up in a home where her father’s record collection and nightly jam sessions inspired her to take up guitar at the age of fifteen. She eventually moved to the United States and began playing and touring, winning over fans with her electric funk, slide guitar, and jazzy blues. She’s been the only female performer on the Experience Hendrix tours and has been nominated for five Blues Music Awards.

Raw Oyster Cult @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($25) Celebrate the Halloween weekend with the music of New Orleans’ Raw Oyster Cult  featuring members of the Radiators, Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, and Papa Grows Funk: Dave Malone, vocals and guitar; Camile Baudoin, guitar; Frank Bua, drums, John “Papa” Gros, vocals, keys; and David Pomerleau, bass. Saturday’s show will feature the Krewe of DADs 30th Annual Masquerade Ball: “I Walked With Zombies.” Here’s an example of the Cult .

Saturday, October 31

Jeremy Messersmith & Friends present The Undead Masquerade @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Billed as an Evening of Music and the Macabre, this show will feature Messersmith’s 2010 CD, “The Reluctant Graveyard” (Named by NPR as one of the Top Ten Albums of the year) in its entirety, as well as an assortment of ghoulish tunes. Guests include Chris Koza, Aby Wolf, Lydia Hoglund (Bomba De Luz), and Natalie Lovejoy. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes.

Lamont Cranston Halloween Party @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 11pm. Pat Hayes has been carrying on and leading this band since 1969, and as a result, knows how to fill a dance floor and get the party going, whether for New Year’s, Halloween or any other occasion. Lamont Cranston has been named Best Twin Cities Blues Band a number of times, served as the inspiration for Dan Ackroyd’s Blues Brothers,and served as the opening band for a leg of a Rolling Stones tour. Here’s one of their instrumental workouts.

Patty & the Buttons @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Yes, yes, yes. More costume and Halloween frivolity as Patty and the Buttons bring their button-accordion-fueled swing the the basement club.

Sunday, November 1

Daddy Squeeze joins Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3 – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Dan Newton, master of the “Stomach Steinway” sits in with Corpse Reviver: Adam Kiesling, playing a new Banjo; Mikkel Beckmen, washboard and prcussion; and Jillian Rae, fiddle; for a spirited afternoon of music from the Anthology of American Folk Music!  Here’s a lighthearted version of a classic.

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.

Spring Days. Spring Nights. Music: 4.9 – 4.15

April 9, 2014
Coming soon to a corner near you.

Coming soon to a corner near you.

Ahh Spring! A time for rebirth and awakening, and a time for shedding seven layers of winter clothing. A sure sign of Spring is the reappearance of NiceRide stations in the area. Whether you bike, walk, use public transportation, or your car, there is much out there this week for you musical culture vultures. We’ve got a veritable cornucopia of visiting artists and outstanding projects by resident artists for your listening pleasure. The weather will be mild for the most part, if interrupted by a few showers this weekend, so enjoy life and enjoy the music. It will lift your spirits.


Wednesday, April 9

Slocum's latest: Black Elk's Dream

Slocum’s latest: Black Elk’s Dream

Matt Slocum Trio @ Weyerhauser Auditorium, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18) Slocum is a drummer who grew up in River Falls and studied with Phil Hey. Lately, he’s been making a name for himself in NY as a composer and band leader. He’ll be bringing Sam Yahel, keys; and Massimo Miolcati, bass; with hymn. The evening includes a drum dialogue with Phil Hey, as well as a performance by the Phil Hey Quartet.

Brad Mehldau Trio @ Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32, $25-standing room) Pianist Mehldau is known as one of the most inventive of today’s pianists. He’ll have Jeff Ballard on drums and Larry Grenadier on bass. This is a solo piece from him.

Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Bassist Chris Bates brings a new group into Jazz Central on the 2nd Wednesday of every month. Tonight, the seven-piece Fall of the House of Usher will be improvising on some world music with some elements of spoken word. Besides Bates, the group includes Chris Cunninham, guitar; Nelson Devereaus, Adrian Larkin, Elliot Wachs, and John Davis, saxophones; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Thursday, April 10

Wes Ruelle Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Wes is a pianist who studied with the late Mulgrew Miller in the prestigious jazz program at William Patterson University, where he earned a degree in Jazz Performance with a minor in Classical Performance. Tonight he’ll likely be joined by Matt Peterson, bass, and Eron Woods, drums

At the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

At the Twin Cities Jazz Festival

Delfeayo Marsalis @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($25) The trombone-playing Marsalis thrilled the audience at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival two years ago. As might be expected, given his lineage, he’s an excellent player, with a burnished tone and wide ranging solos. Then again, he’s toured and played with folks like Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Max Roach, and Slide Hamnpton. One can expect he’ll have a top-notch band behind him.

Matt Slocum Trio @ Weyerhauser Auditorium, Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 7pm ($18) This is the second of a two night stand for Slocum. Tonight, Bryan Nichols will open with a solo set, and in addition to the drum dialogue with Phil Hey, Slocum will have the Dave Karr Quartet as well.

Friday, April 11

Harper, Hanson, and Kerr @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30pm. Pianist Todd Harper holds forth at the Black Dog every Friday evening, sometimes solo, but often with a friend or two. Tonight he’s joined by Nathan Hanson, soprano sax; and Aaron Kerr, cello; for a program of music by Carei Thomas, including compositions from over 40 years worth of music. Some are mysterious, some are quizzical, while others are playful and some just beautiful.

Stockton Helbing Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 suggested donation) Doc Severinsen often draws upon a number of Twin Cities musicians whenever he’s touring. Tonight marks the Jazz Centrtal debut of one of them, drummer/composer Stockton Helbing. He’ll be joined by some of his bandmates from Doc’s band: Zach Lozier, trumpet; Michael Nelson, trombone; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; and Kevin Thomas on bass. They’ll be playing HJelbing’s original compositions.

7 Psalms CD Release Concert @ Benson Great Hall, Bethel University, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 advance/$20 door). Pianist/composer Jeremy Walker has created a beautiful work for jazz ensemble and an 18-voice choir. Lead singer Jason Harms, with a commanding baritone, is catching the ear of many in the jazz community, and the ensemble consists of Walker, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jeff Brueske, bass; and Tim Zhorne, drums. The workshop performance of this work last year was performed before an audience of 600.

Saturday, April 12

Nick Haas Trio @ Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This dinnertime show might get noisy, so get a table near the bandstand to hear the clean, supple lines of guitarist Haas.

Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No cover) Another dinnertime show at a place known for food and a party atmosphere. Watch out if any bachlorette parties come in! Anyway, I’ve been a fan of Sophia’s since her first CD came out 10 years ago. Her clear voice, subtle phrasing, and sunny disposition are always a delight.

Parisota Hot Club @ Jazz at St. Barney’s, 15600  Old Rockford Road, Plymouth. 7pm ($10) Twelve years ago, the Parisota Hot Club was the first band  in the Twin Cities to focus on the songs of Django Rheinhardt and Stephan Grappelli. Since then, the band has branched out a bit to include standards from pop music and soundtracks in their repertoire. Tonight leader/guitarist Robb Henry will be joined by  Tom Schaefer, violin; Matt Senjem, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Sunday, April 13

Connie Evingson with Jon Weber @ the Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Connie and pianist Jon perform their Desert Island Picks from Fats Waller, Irving Berlin, Dave Frishberg, The Beatles, Sting, and more. As of Wednesday, there are only a few seats left for the afternoon showing, though the evening performance still has plenty of seats available. Here’s Connie singing a Beatles song, with images from a Peruvian fashion photographer.

Monday, April 14

Good Vibes Trio CD Release @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Chris Bates, bass; Dave Hagedorn, vibes; and Phil Hey, drums, have a new CD. Bates, who has played on over 30 albums, is actually the youngster in the group, though Hagedorn and Hey play with the energy of youngsters themselves. The CD includes tunes by Mingus, Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, and others, and will be given out with admission.

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 9

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings w/Paul Cebar & Tomorrow Sound Opening @ State Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($32) Well, as many of you may know, the hardest working woman in show business has recovered from pancreatic cancer and is back on the road bringing her explosive funk and soul to folks around the world. Tonight she’s joined by Milwaukee’s Paul Cebar, a long time favorite in the Twin Cities. Check this out.

Thursday, April 10

Charanga Tropical @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. Noon – 1pm, 5pm – 7pm. (Free) The Schubert Club presents this exciting Latin Band as part of it’s Courtroom Concert Series at Noon. Then, at 5pm, they play for the Cocktails with Culture Series on the 2nd floor, where woodturners will be demonstrating their art, while attendees munch on appetizers, and drinks from a cash bar.

Friday, April 11

Lynwood Slim, The Butanes, Bruce McCabe, Jimi Primetime Smith @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7) Former Twin Citizen and vocalist/harp man extraordinaire Lynwood Slim has been battling health issues lately, but is back in town for this very special evening of blues. He’ll be backed by the Butanes, featuring guest pianist Bruce McCabe, and other special guests, including Jimi “Primetime” Smith. Expect some swinging’ blues, and expect blues fans out in force.

Worldwide Discoteque 2nd Anniversary Party @ Club Jaeger, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) The little dance party that started a couple of years ago has grown so much they’re starting early to accommodate the crowds. Dance to vinyl sounds from Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America and more. Deejays Steely Dan and Brian Engel fill the dance floor with folks who don’t know special dances – they just move to the music. You will too. This will give you an idea of what to expect from this mulit-culti paryu.

Saturday, April 12

Flute Fest @ Augsburg College Recital Hall, Minneapolis. 11:30am ($5) This is part of an all-day event featuring workshops, exhibitors, and performances, including a master class and concert by Jim Walker. I’m not sure, but you may be required to register. At 11:30am a number of Midwest Flutists will perform, including Adam Kuenzel, Greg Milliren, Immanuel Davis, Bethany Gonella, the Flutespiration Quartet, and Julie Johnson, who will perform a piece for amplified flute and live looping pedals with dancer Tamara Ober.

Evushin playing at The Museum of Russian Art

Evushin playing at The Museum of Russian Art

Seasons of the Year with Tchaikovsky @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 6:30pm ($30) Featuring Denis Evsuhin, pianist, with Mindy Ratner, MPR Classical Music host. The Seasons is Tchaikovsky’s most beloved solo piano composition. Evstuhin is a Russian pianist who has been hailed as one of the finest in today’s generation. He will play each of the twelve musical pictures by Tchaikovsky, while Ratner will recite original poetic epigraphs by famous Russian poets.

Little Jr. Walker & the All-Stars @ Arnellia’s, Saint Paul. 7pm, 9pm ($20?) Okay, I know what you’re saying, “Didn’t Junior Walker die?” Well, yes, back in the mid-nineties, but this is his son and some of the original All-Stars, along with some back-up singers and lead singers, since “Little Jr. Walker” isn’t a musician. Bound to be entertaining, any way you look at it.

Foreign Motion @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11:00pm ($9) Funky jazz/fusion from some of the bright lights of the Twin Cities jazz scene: Cory Washington, guitar; Yohannes Tona, bass; Kevin Gastonguay, piano; and Peter Janjic, drums. Together, they have a wealth of experience with various national artists in various and sundry jazz, funk, gospel, and pop outfits.

Sunday, April 13

Allison Miller Benefit @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 1pm – 7pm. ($10 Suggested Donation) The music community comes together once again, this time for the daughter of blues singer/bandleader Dee Miller. Allison was recently hospitalized for pneumonia, and then had many complications, including the amputation of part of her leg.  To entice you to the event to raise money for her hospitalization, there is Steve Clarke, Annie Mack Band, Who Nu, Jimi Primetime Smith, guest vocals, and of course, Dee Miller and her band, along with a silent auction.

Malamanya @ Nomad World Pub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7) Sunday night dancing to Cuban/Salsa sounds. The music is infectious. You’ll be moving even if you don’t know a lick or a kick of Latin dancing.

Tuesday, April 15

YeYe Pow w/Trompe Le Monde @ The Kitty Kat Club, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Ye Ye Pow is a band that plays 60s French Pop, while Trompe le Monde is a Pixies tribute band. Here’s an example of Ye Ye Pow at work.

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.



2.19 – 2.24

February 19, 2014
Most musicians are playing indoors these days

Most musicians play indoors these days

After the sub-zero temperatures of the last few weeks, it’s good to be heading into a spell of above freezing. All the easier for you to shuck off cabin fever and get out. We’ve got jazz at a Best Steak House, a Grammy winning trumpeter, some New Music, and worldbeats, not to forget some rocking’ R&B and old timey music. Get out and enjoy yourself. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, February 19

Todd Harper honors this family

Todd Harper honors this family

Medium Rare: Music for the Best Steak House @ Best Steak House, 860 University Ave W, Saint Paul. 5-7:30pm (Free) Somehow I had this listed for this past Saturday. Never fear, however, as you still have time to hear Pianist/composer Todd Harper, joined by bassist Andrew Foreman, and presenting an evening of dinner music, including the premiere of a Harper composition dedicated to the owners of the Steak House – the Hatzistamoulos Family.

Pete Whitman’s Mississippi @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 11pm (Donation). Pete teaches at MacNally Smith, heads up the Pete Whitman X-Tet, and can be found playing sax in a number of different aggregations. He’s an always interesting soloist, whether on ballads or barn-burners. Tonight he brings his group Mississippi to Jazz Central: Peter Schimke, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Friday, February 21

The Bridge @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:00pm – 9:30pm Tonight, the Bridge Series features Nelson Devereaux, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brian Courage, bass; and Lars Larson, drums.

Donald Washington Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Baritone saxophonist Washington is a regular performer at the Black Dog. Tonight he’ll bring in Eric Jacobsen, sousaphone; Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion. It’s an adventurous group of musicians, all of whom are well versed in free improvisation.

Friday, Saturday, February 21, 22

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30 (Friday – $10, Saturday – $20) Zeitgeist, the contemporary music ensemble, will be presenting winning songs from their annual Eric Stokes Songwriting contest, as well as compositions and performances by vocalist Viv Cunningham and saxophonist Nathan Hanson. Cunningham is a British vocalist, composer, and sound artist who has worked internationally and recently called Minnesota home for some years. Hanson has worked with folks like Dizzy Gillespie, Cecil Tayor, and Chris Potter. He’s known in the Twin Cities as part of the Fantastic Merlins, and has been praised in the music press of France. Saturday’s performance is a fund-raiser, with post-performance wine, hors d’ oeuvres and conversation with Hanson and Cunningham.

Saturday, February 22

JonPemberton-1576thJon Pemberton Trio @ The Loring Pasta Bar, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Jon is a triple threat: trumpet, piano, and composition, with a number of talented friends in the jazz community. Don’t know who he’ll have along tonight, though he often plays with Jimmy Wallace. The LPB can be noisy, since people seem to be their for dinner and visiting with each other, so try to get a table close to the band if going for supper.

Arne Fogel & Maude Hixson Sing Movie Songs: The Winners & Losers @ Bloomington Center for the Arts, Bloomington. 7:30pm ($25) Arne and Maude have an easy way on stage. Heck they’ve been doing shows together for a number of years. Tonight they celebrate Hollywood’s favorite songs – both the winners and losers of songs associated with the golden age of cinema.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm – 10pm (Tip Jar) Ace trumpeter Kenny had a 5 year residency at the Artists’ Quarter, and is a co-founder of the Illicit Sextet, which released their second album last year. His Group 47 is composed of young turks from the area, but this Quartet features some mighty players with pedigrees. He’ll be joined by Billy Peterson, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and JT Bates, on drums.

Celebrating Seven Healthy  Years

Celebrating Seven Healthy Years

Patty Peterson & Friends @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Patty is making her debut at the Icehouse tonight, and it’s a very special occasion – her 7th Annual Celebrate Life Concert, to commemorate seven years since her open heart surgery. She’ll have Donnie La Marca, Paul Peterson, Bobby Vandell, and Billy Franze along for the celebration. The $12 is for Music Only. A three course meal is available for $35, with a supplemental wine pairing for $15. As noted on my page for Spinning Vinyl Around Town, I’ll be deejaying for the “afterparty” at 11pm (no cover).

Saturday, Sunday, February 22, 23

Girl Talk @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3pm Sunday ($25) Charmin Michelle, Pippi Ardennia, and a band of resident All-Stars: Laura Caviani (piano), Joan Griffith (bass), Jendeen Forberg (drums) and Kathy Jensen (saxophone).

Monday, Tuesday, February 24, 25

Terence Blanchard @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) Blanchard is originally from New Orleans, and was a member of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers (he replaced, and was recommended by, Wynton Marsalis). He’s written film scores, including the Grammy winning A Tale of God’s Will, an especially moving soundtrack for Spike Lee’s documentary about the affects of Hurricane Katrina. He’s won four other Grammys and has recently written an opera. All of which is a way of saying he’s extremely talented trumpeter and composer. Expect music of the highest order. Here he is with his quintet at Blues Alley in D.C.

Tuesday, February 25

Adam Meckler Orchestra @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (No Cover) Here’s the first time that the AMO will be at the Amsterdam. Given that the crowds were growing at their monthly shows before the AQ closed, the larger venue may prove to be apt for the group. Meckler is a talented composer and arranger, and he’s managed to gather many exciting young players for this group. Plus there’s no cover! Here’s one of their songs.

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 19

Maria de Barros @ The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($23)  The Ordway has been imaginative in bringing world music to downtown Saint Paul, as shown in their choice of Cape Verdean singer Maria de Barros. De Barros can’t help but be influenced by Cesaria Evora, but she also integrates sounds from other parts of the world into her performance. You’ll hear influences from Brazil, Africa, the Caribbean, France and Spain in her music. Opening is resident musicians Havana Hi-Fi, with the dance-centric sounds of old Cuba. Here she is.


Sue Orfield Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (KFAI), 7 pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Orfield is a Wisconsin saxophonist who leads her own quartet in clubs in around the cheese state. She often plays with the Butanes Soul Revue, and was occasionally featured at the Artists’ Quarter. Orfield is an exciting and inventive player, with a gutsy tone. She’ll be on Harold’s House Party (90.3 or 106.7FM) during the 5 o’clock hour and then head over to the 331 Club in NE Minneapolis to play from 7pm – 9pm.

Doug Otto & the Getaways @ Nyes’ Polonais Room, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (No cover) A couple of years ago a national men’s magazine named Nye’s as the best bar in America. And those folks hadn’t even heard Doug and the Getaways. They play music that will transport you to the bad ol’ days of the 1930s.

Wednesday, Thursday, February 19, 20

Sharon Isbin, Stanley Jordan, & Romero Lubambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $55, $45) Isbin is a three-time Grammy winning classical guitarist, Jordan is a guitar virtuoso who introduced a new way of playing back in the 80s, and Lubambo is a Brazilian guitarist. This promises to be a unique and exciting show.

Thursday, February 20

Real-Phonic Radio Hour Presents Erik Koskinen and the Chastity Brown Duo @ James J. Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($20) Koskinen is the music director for the Real-Phonic Radio Hour and perhaps the best country songwriter in the area. Not only that he’s a crack guitarist, attested to by his work for Trampled by Turtles, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers and a number of other acts. Chastity Brown crosses and mixes genres with ease – folk, blues, gospel, jazz, country – they’re all in her music, which is being increasingly recognized. NOTE: Because of the weather, this has been postponed until Saturday, February 22.

Friday, February 21

The New Album

The New Album

Willie Walker & Paul Metsa CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. ($10) Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for Goldwax back in the day, but has been living in the Twin Cities for at least 30 years. His version of You Send Me still sends thrills up my spine. Though Walker has recorded a couple of CDs under his own name as well as a couple with the Butanes, he still remains one of the best kept secrets in town, which is a shame. Metsa is an Iron Ranger who’s been performing in the Twin Cities and around the country for 30 years, winning seven Minnesota Music awards in the process. The two have been performing together for the last couple of years, creating soulful sounds in small bars, cafes, and on the Dakota stage. They’re celebrating the release of Live on Highway 55, an intimate, moving recording where Paul’s guitar provides the right support for Willie’s slightly raspy, always soulful voice.

Silvertones @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) A fun cover band, reprising the hits of the late 60s and early 70s in an unpretentious bar where both the drinkin’ and the dancin’ are easy.

Saturday, February 22

Fifth Annual Swamp Pop Extravaganza @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Swamp Pop is that genre of music that’s popular in the Cajun areas of the south. It combines the classic R&B of New Orleans with C&W, early rock n’ roll, and French influences. Think of the music of Cookie & the Cupcakes, Jimmy Clanton, and Rod Bernard. Tonight’s performers incljude Becky Thompson, Dan Newton, Mister Dan Rowles, Rich Lewis, Jon Rodine, Lucinda Plaisance, and the Rockin’ Pinecones. Backed by the Swamp Poppas – Scott Yoho, Paul Gagner, Max Ray, Joe Luoma, Steve Sandberg, Eric Mohring, Gary Powell, Ted Klotz, and Karl Smelker. This is a benefit for Second Harvest Heartland.

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Mikkel, JIllian, and Adam

Corpse Reviver @ the Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm – 10pm ($10) Mikkel Beckman, Jillian Rae, and Adam Kiesling bring their homage to Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music to the cozy, confines of the Bayport BBQ, which features a mouth-watering buffet before each show. The Bayport is a cash-only Deep Blues Juke Joint with excellent ‘Que.

Sunday, February 23

The Hula Peppers @ The Happy Gnome, Saint Paul. 2pm – 5pm  (No Cover) Dan Newton brings another of his many groups to the Gnome to play 20s and 30s dance music and Hawaiian tunes in the upstairs room at the Gnome. Flowered shirts are optional. Here’s what they sound like.

The Ericksons @ The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free) Close-knit sisterly harmonies from the Ericksons, in the best place in town to escape winter – the sunken garden of the conservatory at Como Park & Zoo. Wine and beer is available for purchase.

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.

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