World Sounds and Jazz: 3.1 – 3.7

March 1, 2017

 

imagesIt’s March 1st, which means the vernal equinox, with its promise of new growth, cannot be far behind. We even have a celebration of the month at the Amsterdam on Sunday, as I have listed below. We also have some unique jazz experiences to look forward to, including visiting artist Bob Dorough. With the weather being un-March like, it will be easy to get out and let music lift your spirits.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 1

Phil Hey/Pat Moriarity Duo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Phil Hey  drums; and Pat Moriarty  sax; put out a duo record back in 1977 that was striking in its originality and free improvisation. Their ability to communicate and respond to each other has only grown since then, thanks to collaboration with other artists, and the occasional duo gig, which doesn’t happen very often. In fact they’ve only played as a duo three times in the last ten years. If you’re at all curious about free improvisation, this is the gig to see. Here they are in a quartet setting.

Larry McDonough Quartet: “Bill Evans and Tony Bennett” @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 8pm ($8) Pianist Bill Evans rarely accompanied singers, but in Tony Bennett he found an extraordinary collaborator. The two albums they did together showed Evans’ skill in accompanying a vocalist while adding the complexities that he displayed in his solo and ensemble performances, and exhibited Bennett’s expressive range from bold and commanding to soft and delicate. Tonight, McDonough will take on both roles, often beginning with just voice and piano, and being joined by other members of his quartet: sax player and award-winning poet Richard Terrill; bassist Greg Stinson; and drummer Dean White. Here’s Larry with an impromptu version of a song recorded by Evans and Bennett.

Thursday, March 2

Thursday Night Jazz: Mancrush @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s attraction is Mancrush, a band with standard instrumentation for a jazz quartet, though their sound is leaner and more sparse than you might expect. Members are: Bryan Nichols, keys; Zacc Harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and leader Lars-Erik Larson on drums.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover or $10 Reserved Seat) Nyberg is a singer who uses her jazz chops on originasl, jazz, and pop songs to great effect. She and her tight-knit group swing mightily, with: Sean Turner, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Rodney Ruckus, drums. Here she is with a different version of her group.

Carl Franzen @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Singer/songwriter Franzen is making his debut appearance at Jazz Central. The former advertising copywriter is a gifted lyricist, with an ability to paint pictures and tell stories with skill and wit. He’ll be accompanied by guitarist Chris Beatty, a vet of many bands including the Droppers and Kate Lynch.

Friday, March 3

Patty Peterson Presents the Jazz Women All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20), 9pm ($20) While Patty Peterson’s shows are always filled with spirit and energy, her work with the Jazz Women All Stars, at least as demonstrated at the Winter Jazz Fest, seems to have given her a shot of new energy. This is a band of amazing musicians, each of whom has established their bona fides and creativity many times over. Members are: Peterson and Ginger Commodore, vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass & guitar; Jendeen Forberg, drums; and Kathy Jensen, saxophone.

Eric Kamau Gravatt & Source Code @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) If it seems I write about this gig once a month, I believe you may be correct. Here in the Twin Cities, Gravatt should be heralded from the rafters as the nationally recognized monster drummer he is, having played with Weather Report, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Pharaoh Sanders, and McCoy Tyner, among others, including early work with the legendary Twin Cities fusion band Natural Life.

North Central University @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 10 pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Stick around after Source Code (above) or simply show up to hear the next generation of jazz players, as NCU’s Jazz Workshop performs. The Workshop was under the direction of pianist Bobby Peterson until his untimely death in 2002. Since then, one of Peterson’s protégés, Peter Shu, has helmed the group.

Saturday, March 4

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight’s opening set is by the piano-less Pete Snell Trio: Snell, who plays saxophone, has been jobbing around the Twin Cities for many years, as have his musical cohorts: Phil Aaron, piano; and Tom Lewis, bass.  8:30 Set by the JC Sanford QuartetSanford  is a trombonist/composer who was a protégé of the the great Bob Brookmeyer, and has worked with many high-profile artists. Tonight he is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Greg Schutte, drums.

Cedric Fuller & Global Sound @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7pm – 9pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Jazz Central doesn’t often have music on Saturdays, but this special event is deserving of your interest. Drummer Cedric Fuller has pulled together a group of talented musicians to perform his originals as well as songs in a variety of styles, from jazz, to soul, R&B, and Hip-Hop. Global Sounds includes: the amazing violinist Ernest Bisong; Steven Hobert, keys; Tomas Simpson, guitar; Kenneth P. Garnier, bass; and Caitlynn Daniels, vocals.

Sunday, March 5

The Great Tap Dancers @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Film Archivist Bob DeFlores presents films of some of the great tap dancers from 1929 through the 70s, including folks like Bill Bojangles Robinson; Sammy Davis, Jr; Eleanor Powell, Shirley Temple, the amazing Nicholas Brothers; Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers; Buddy Ebsen, Donald O’Conner, and many more.

JelloSlave @ The Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30 – 6:30pm. Chamber Jazz in the Conservatory’s fabulous Sunken Garden. Jelloslave is a highly original and interesting band consisting of Michelle Kinney and Jaqueline Ultan on cellos; Gary Waryan on tables; and Greg Schutte on drums. Their music will also be piped in to the Palm Dome and the North Garden. Beer and wine available to purchase.

JazzMN Orchestra: Next Gen Jazz @ Hopkins HS Auditorium, 2400 Lindberg Drive, Hopkins. 3pm ($31 – $35, $10-$20 for Students) Jazz is alive and well, especially here in the Twin Cities, as you’ll be able to tell by listening to The Dakota Combo and other youth bands that will be performing before the JazzMN Orchestra, which will have social guest artists form LA’s Urban Renewal Project, which melds jazz, pop, and hip-hop.

Monday, Tuesday, March 6,7

Bob Dorough @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm – 9pm ($25, $50 Dinner Show) Dorough is one of the hippest and wittiest singers around. He recorded two vocals with Miles Davis, including the wry Blue Xmas, set multiplication tables to music for Schoolhouse Rock, and played 22 workshops and concerts in 13 cities in 6 countries as a jazz ambassador for the State Department. Now in his 90s, Dorough continues to write and record, his latest being Eulalia, which among other great songs, features him singing the Webster’s Dictionary definition of love.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 1

Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) West Coast Blues harmonica player Kashmar is in town for the Blues Harmonica Blast (see below), and is warming up with an appearance on Harold’s House Party and at the 331. He’s got a big fat sound that is equally at home invoking Chicago and Delta blues, developed in part through playing with folks like John Lee Hooker, Big Joe Turner, Lowell Fulsom, and other blues greats. He’ll be backed by the stellar line-up of the House Party All Stars: Jeremy Johnson guitar; Bill Black, bass; and Victor Span, drums.

Salif Keita @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) Keita is an Afro-pop singer/songwriter from Mali who was cast out of his family at an early age because he’s albino, a sign of bad luck in Mali. Upon moving to Paris at 25 in 1985, he began combining traditional West African musical styles with American and European influences. He’s recorded about 20 albums, some of which have included guests like Joe Zawinal and Wayne Shorter, as well as Carlos Santana, and percussionist Bill Summers. His latest album is Talé, released in 2012, is dance-floor friendly, with appearances by Manu Dibango, Bobby McFerrin, and Esperanza Spalding. Opening for Keita is our own Siama, who helped to popularize Soukous with his sensuous guitar lines.

Thursday, March 2

Butanes’ Tardis Gras @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (tip jar) The Butanes do a “late” Mardis Gras party as part of their Thursday night residency. There is always a surprise guest or two that sits in for a song with the Twin Cities Best Blues Band.

Friday, March 3

Blues Harmonica Blast @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($?) It’s a summit meeting of harp masters with West Coast guest Mitch Kashmar (see Wednesday, above), and resident harmonica players Paul Barry, Boom Boom Stevie V; Big George Jackson; Curtis Blake; and Hurricane Harold; all backed by an all-star group of Twin Cities musicians. Chicago Blues? Yep! Delta Blues? No Doubt! West Coast Blues? Most Certainly! Dancing? You Bet!

Joyann Parker Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Joyann Parker has been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, representing Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society, and has been nominated for Best Independent Blues Music Award. She has a powerful blues and R&B voice that’s just right for the TGIF crowd at Crooners.

Mbongwana Star w/ZuluZuluu @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($28) Imagine, if you will, the punk/DIY ethos of 80s NYC, where anger, boredom, and the need to simply get by resulted in a burst of creativity as punk, gay, and whatnot bands would share a bill and more importantly, the ability to express themselves by subverting the music they knew. Now consider the city of Kinshasha, in the Republic of Congo, where war, corruption and chaos brought the citizenry down. It was in the streets of Kinshasah, where everybody was eking by, that Mbongwana Star was born, creating their own take on Afrobeat, soukous, and rumba. They’ve upped the rhythms, increased the energy, and created their own sound, which I’m at somewhat of a loss to describe. Check out their videos on their website. Opening is ZuluZuluu a Twin Cities Afro-futuristic hip-hop/funk/soul group that uses deep grooves to get across their uplifting message songs. The six member collaborative has been working with each other for years, but didn’t come together as a group until the last couple of years. Their debut disc, What’s the Price? was released last summer.

Lowertown Classics presents Claude Bolling’s Picnic Suite @ Lowertown Lofts, 225 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 Suggested Donation) If you’re looking for some high-class, low-cost classical music, this is the place to be. Eva Beneke, guitar; Ted Godbout, piano; Bethany Gonella, flute & piccolo; and Scott Horey, drums & percussion; will perform the 7 pieces in Bolling’s Suite, as well as some other pieces which, as they said, “we don’t even know about yet.” BTW, the entrance is in an alley between 4th Street and Kellogg Blvd.

Saturday, March 4

Freezer Jam @ Lake Calhoun’s Thomas Beach, Minneapolis. Noon – 7pm (No Cover) This is an outdoor concert as part of the Minneapolis Polar Plunge to benefit The Special Olympics. There will be beer, cider, and other beverages, as well as food and fireworks. Of course you’ll be able to watch folks plunge into cold water as part of the event, which features the Midwest rockers 4 on the Floor, the bluegrass/Americana of The Last Revel; the rockin’ cover band Viva Kneivel, and the hot country sounds of Maiden Dixie. There will be shuttles from Cowboy Slim’s in uptown and the Lake Calhoun Center.

Carnaval Brasiliero Masquerade Ball @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance/$30 Door) This is the 15th Annual Carnaval, presented by guitarist/vocalist Robert Everest and his ten-piece band Beira Mar Brasil. Joining them from Brazil is the extraordinary samba dancer Dandara Odara, as well as the percussion ensembles Batucada Do Norte and Drumheart, as well as professional samba dancers and Minnesota’s Brazilian martial arts group Omulu Capoeira. Authentic Brazilian Carnaval masks will be available for sale, and the adventurous can have their face and body painted. There will be food and drink as well. I’ll have Robert Everest on my show Saturday morning at about 10:45am.

Sunday, March 5

Benefit for Bronco @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxophonist Merlin “Bronco” Brunkow would take solos with Willie & the Bees that would explore the outer reaches of jazzy R&B. He’s also played with Lamont Cranston, and more recently, the Big Wu. Well, it seems he fell and broke his hip, and as a result, can’t play and make any money, so a bunch of his friends are getting together to play and raise funds – it’s what bands do here in the Twin Cities. Featuring: The Butanes; Willie Murphy; The Groove Merchants; Renee Austin; Lonnie Knight; Maurice Jacox; Jellybean Johnson, and more…..

Marenitsa @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 5-9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Marenistsa is not a band, but rather an annual Balkan celebration of Spring. Orkestar Bez Ime and the Mila Vocal Ensemble are presenting this Bulgarian Bacchanallia, as they call it, featuring music form Bulgaria, Macedonia, and surrounding areas. This year they’ll have as guests Traki, a Twin Cities based ensemble that features traditional and evolving  Bulgarian folk music. The Mila Vocal Ensemble consists of eleven women singing “chords that Lutherans do not have in them” as Garrison Keillor noted.  Rest assured, once Orkestar Bez Ime takes the stage, this will become a raucous dance party as their careening, infectious music makes it hard to stand still.

Monday, March 6

Marcia Ball @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) Pianist Marcia Ball is the recipient of ten Blues Music Awards, nine Living Blues Awards, five Grammy nominations, and has been inducted into both the Gulf Coast and Louisiana Hall of Fame. Her rollicking blues and emotional ballads draw from New Orleans R&B, Swamp Pop, and Gulf Coast blues, with the occasional spiciness of Tex-Mex polkas and zydeco two-steps. I’ve seen her at least a half-dozen times over the years and have never been disappointed.

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) It’s swing night at Famous Dave’s and saxophonist Steve Clarke and the gang will deliver the goods: swing, jump blues, jazz, and jive.

Tom Paxton and the Don Juans @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance/$35 Door) Guitarist/vocalist/storyteller Tom Paxton has been singing folk songs and telling stories on stage since the flowering of the folk movement in 60s Greenwich Village. In the years since he has earned a Grammy Liferime Achievement Award. Tonight he teams up with the Don Juans  Don Henry, guitar/vocals, uke, and banjo; and Jon Vezner, piano, vocals, uke, guitar, and more. Between Paxton and the Juans, they’ve had songs recorded by Harry Belafonte, John Mellencamp, Ray Charles, Neil Diamond, Nancy Griffith, Judy Collins, Blake Shelton, Bob Dylan and many, many more. Their appearance at Crooners about a year or so ago was a delight.

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.


Jazz, Folk, and Blues: 9.16 – 9.22

September 16, 2015
The Capri Big Band. Photo by Andrea Canter

The Capri Big Band. Photo by Andrea Canter

What a stellar week ahead! We have three old school folkies visiting town, as well as a couple of great jazz vocalists, a Nepalese rock band, and both a jazz and a rockin’ blues festival on Saturday. Music lifts the spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, September 16

Lila Ammons @ Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Vocalist Ms Ammons is getting ready to head off for another tour of Europe during late September through October. Stop by and see her perform jazz and blues standards at this lounge with comfy, large booths and leather sofas.

Asher Kurtz @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 suggested Donation) This young guitarist is only 22 and already making a name for himself. After recently graduating from Berklee College of Music, he toured Europe with Terri Lyne Carrington, and has settled in NYC. Here’s a video of him with a group including Twin Cities trumpeter Jake Baldwin.

Thursday, September 17

Jason Weismann & The ‘Q’ @  Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Weismann is an emerging saxophonist active in a number of groups as well as a vocalist in the crooning tradition with his own band. With The “Q” he performs songs by Sinatra, Chet Baker, Mel Torme, and similar jazz vocalists. Plus, he can get into a funky groove as well.

Patricia Barber @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Cool, erudite, and adventurous, Barber is a pianist, vocalist, and composer who may be one of the most individual jazz artists on the scene today. Her own songs are poetic, filled with unforgettable imagery and imagination. The New York Times says of her, “This is the kind of art we need to be on the lookout for everywhere.”

Lund, Paris, & Scofield @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Three vocalists for the price of one. Jennifer Lund has sung mezzo-soprano with the Minnesota Chorale for the last 14 years, and began studying jazz a few years ago. She’s a student of Vicky Mountain. Suzanne Paris made her debut with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra Jazz Unlimited Series, and has sung backup to many recording artists. Susan Scofield has been singing since the age of 5, has performed with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and the Swing Beat Big Band, and is currently a member of Vocal Essence.

Friday, September 18

Evan Benidt Quintet @ Jazz Central, MInneapolis. 8:00pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Saxophonist Benidt and his group: Joe Mayo, sax; Javi Santiago, piano; Greg Byers, bass; and Mac Santiago, drums – will feature jazz blues, and rock, from jazz standards to Joe Satriani.

Bryan Nichols Quartet @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Pianist Nichols spent four years in Chicago honing his craft and playing with such heavyweight musicians as  Nicole Mitchell, Von Freeman, and Hamid Drake. Nichols plays in a number of groups around town in addition to leading his own, but tonight he is bringing up some friends from Chicago: Kurt Schweitz, bass; Jim Gailoreto, sax; and Jon Deltemyer, drums. Her is Nichols with  a quartet of Twin Cities’ musicians

Saturday, September 19

Freedom Jazz Festival @ Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis. Noon – 6pm (Free) Often called “The best little jazz festival in town,” this year’s lineup includes The George Scott Trio: The Tangents; Three Women of Jazz: Debbie Duncan, Yolande Bruce, & Linda Sloan; The Minneapolis Jazz Workshop; jam sessions; the Capri Big Band; and more, as well as art and family activities.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) . The Zeb Cruikshank Band opens: Cruikshank  guitar; Dan Musselman, piano; Brent Wallace, bass; and Byron Johnson-Blanchard, drums. They’re followed at 8:30 by Paul Harper’s Show and Tell, featuring saxophonist Harper  a member of the Illicit Sextet, among other bands; Charlie Riddle, bass; Mike Cramer, guitar; and Pete Hennig, drums.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Ms Lynch is an excellent bassist and engaging vocalist, and her Excellent Fellows provide the support she needs as they play songs from the 30s to the 60s. Many of her songs are fox-trots, the kind of music to which almost anyone can dance, or medium tempo swing numbers. Here she is doing a number by the Ink Spots.

Monday, September 21

The Potash Twins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Trumpeter Adeev and Trombonist Ezra have settled into the Twin Cities for a while after recording their eponymously titled album here produced by Steven Greenberg of Funkytown fame. Though both are only 21, they’ve managed to play and study with an extraordinary coterie of musicians, including Wynton Marsalis and Jon Baptiste, the music director for Steven Colbert’s new show. they’ve also performed at Jazz at Lincoln Center, South by Southwest, Birdland, and Warren Buffet’s Annual Shareholder’s meeting. Their music is jazz wrapped up in pop sensibilities, or as guitar ace Cory Wong puts it, their music falls “someplace between Katy Perry and Miles Davis.” A CD release party earlier this summer was sold out at the Icehouse. Here they are talking about their music.

Tuesday, September 22

Chris Lomheim Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Sometimes subtle, often inspired, and always ear-pleasing, pianist Lomheim leads a trio through some cool tunes.

Connie Evingson & The Parisota Hot Club @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Robb Henry, Matt Senjum, and Jay Epstein, aka The Parisota Hot Club  along with special guest Dave Karr on sax, provide the support as Ms Evingson explores Django Rheinhardt-inspired tunes.

Tuesday, Wednesday, September 22, 23

Lizz Wright @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) Wright was a preacher’s kid, and sang in church during most services. That start certainly informs her music, but she is also able to integrate blues, soul, pop, and jazz into her performances. Freedom & Surrender  Is her fifth album since her debut in 2003. It features a number of songs she co-wrote with folks like Jesse Harris (Norah Jones), and JD Souther (Linda Ronstadt & lots more), and just received a four-star review in Downbeat, which said, “Well played and expertly sung, Freedom & Surrender shows Wright continuing to mature and developing her distinctive voice.” Here’s a recent video

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, September 16

BB King Birthday Bash with Ray Covington @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10 pm (No Cover) BB King was, perhaps, the most jazz-oriented of all blues musicians, so having Covington, who can easily traverse jazz, blues, and old school R&B, perform some of King’s music is practically a no-brainer. Here he is doing a slow jam.

Heritage Blues Orchestra @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45), 9pm ($35) This aggregation is dedicating to showcasing the power and possibilities of African American music. They combine the energy of gospel, the emotion of the blues, and the power of field hollers, and gospel music to create something new, getting rave reviews from the Wall Street Journal, Vintage Guitar Magazine, and Downbeat in the process.

Thursday, September 17

Paul Cebar’s Tomorrow Sound @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10?) Cebar’s eclectic taste in music can be heard on his Wednesday morning radio show on WMSE in Milwaukee (www.wmse.org), where he plays a mix of deep soul and R&B, as well as Brazilian, Cuban, African, classic ska & reggae, and other pan-tropical songs. He takes these influences and creates infectious, highly rhythmic tunes that will have you getting your dancing shoes out of the closet to spin, twirl, and bop on the commodious dance floor at the MMC. Here’s a fun video that features the band playing as well Paul talking about music.

Friday, September 18

Archie Fisher @ Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25, $20 advance) When Fresh Air Radio first started back in the late 70s and early 80s, Fisher was a favorite of the station’s folk programs, and still is on their playlists. The Scottish troubadour will be celebrating the release of his first album in seven years, A Silent Song, on Red House Records, which has also had a long association with Fresh Air.

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($35) Not only do we have Scottish Troubadour Archie Fisher in town tonight, but we have Scottish folk rocker, Al Stewart, who came to prominence in the late 70s with the top ten The Year of the Cat and its platinum follow up, Time Passages. He makes use use of historical references and literary sources in his songwriting, with The Lord of the Rings providing inspiration for his very first single in 1966, and has never stopped recording or touring. His latest album, Uncorked, has received very postive reviews. It is a live venture that showcases the breadth of Stewart’s writing yet stays away from the obvious hits of his career. Here’s what you can expect.

Saturday, September 19

Annual Rockin’ Music Fest @ Shaw’s Bar & Grill, NE Minneapolis. 4pm – close. (No Cover) The Brian Naughton Band will be starting the festivities at 4pm. Naughton will be especially rockin’ since he’s celebrating a birthday. At 8:00, Shannon Curfman will take the stage. The exciting guitarist has sold a quarter million albums and has been Kid Rock’s duet partner, background singer, and guitarist since 2010. At 10pm things move inside when Paul Mayasich and the RAMM Band take to the stage. Here’s Curfman doing a classic from the 70s.

Dee Miller Band @ Holihan’s Pub, White Bear Lake. 8pm (Tip Jar) Get yourself some earth-shakin’ blues with Ms Miller and her cohorts, who will pack the tiny club and deliver your blues jones with gusto.

Sunday, September 20

7.8 Rock the Rubble featuring Albatross @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 1pm – 5pm ($20-$35 Advance, $40 Door) Nepal suffered through twin devastating earthquakes this past Spring – one at 7.8 and the other at 7.3, with over 400 aftershocks. Nine thousand died, and over 22,000 were injured. This show featuring Albatross, a Nepalese rock band, is a fundraiser for Earthquake relief in Nepal. Albatross is a four piece with crunchy guitars, and though their lyrics are Nepalese, their sound, whether on rockers or ballads, will be familiar to anyone with a passing interest in metal and hard rock. Hot Date, folk duo specializing in love songs, and This Mad Future, a quintet from Saint Cloud, open. Here’s Albatross.

Matuto and Daddy Squeeze @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15) Matuto is a New York group that uses a plethora of Brazilian instruments to play Appalachian and traditional blues combined with the rhythms of Northern Brazil. Daddy Squeeze, which opens, is another of accordionist Dan Newton’s groups that plays a swinging mix of blues, Cajun, Tex-Mex, and French rhythms. Here’s Matuto with a unique cover of Beyonce.

Sunday, Monday, September 20, 21

Mambo’s Combo @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Be prepared to dance as Mambo’s Combo brings the groove to the North Loop. They’ve been playing this weekly gig since 1987, covering rhythmic rock and R&B tunes with panache and grit. Visiting and resident musicians will often sit in for a tune or two.

Monday, September 21

Tom Paxton w/Joe Vezner & Don Henry @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) What with Archie Fischer and Al Stewart in town this week, Tom Paxton makes it a trifecta of folk music. In 2009, he received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work, which spans more than 50 years. Paxton has written songs with enduring appeal, like The Last Thing On My Mind, Bottle of Wine (a hit for the Fireballs in the 60s), and Ramblin Boy, as well as topical protests songs about current events, like Talking Watergate, Without DeLay, about the former congressman, and Train for Auschwitz, about the holocaust. While Crooners might not be a typical venue for Paxton, it is a good listening room for the intimacy of Paxton’s performance. Check out this topical number about banks.

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.


Live Music and a Pledge Drive, Week 2. Music: 3.18 – 3.24

March 18, 2015

imagesWell, it’s week two of KFAI’s Spring Pledge Drive and we’re about to celebrate the Vernal Equinox and the arrival of spring this Friday at 5:45pm here in the Twin Cities. As James Brown once put it, “Please, Please, Please” pledge to KFAI during my show on Saturday morning (10:30 – Noon) or online at www.kfai.org.

That message isn’t meant to distract from the myriad of music offerings we have here, from Saturday night jazz in Lowertown, to old folkies, young Afrobeat adherents, and resident musicians performing the music of Hawaii and Scandanavia. Music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 18

Pete Whitman Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tenor saxophonist Whitman is a teacher, the leader of the X-Tet and the McNally Smith Big Band, and an in-demand sideman around town. Tonight he brings his leadership and playing skills to bear on a quintet of stellar musicians, with Chris Lomheim, piano; Chris Olsen, guitar; Jay Young, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums.

Thursday, March 19

Harmonic Convergence @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s not a line-up in the sky, but rather a six-piece vocal ensemble from Iowa, directed by Lucas Mattson, son of arranger Phil Mattson.

Friday, March 20

Ms Mountain

Ms Mountain

Vicky Mountain Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No cover) It’s well worth a trip to Bloomington to hear the singing’ and swingin’ Ms Mountain, accompanied by the ever tasteful duo of Phil Aaron, piano; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Donald Washington Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Multi-instrumentalist Washington is always a revelation when he plays, whether the compositions are standards or composed on the spot. With Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums.

Jake Baldwin Group @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar?) Baldwin is the fine trumpet player who has been gigging around town as a sideman and with his own groups. Tonight, he’s leading a pack of young lions, including Nelson Deveraux, sax; Ryan Hayes, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson on drums.

Clarke & Louis

Clarke & Louis

Louis & Clarke @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Steve Clarke and Louis Sinclair celebrate the release of their first CD: “three of one.” With Clarke, an eleven time winner of the Minnesota Music Award, on soprano sax, Sinclair on Chapman Stick (a tall, guitar-like instrument with ten strings) and Michael Bisonette on drums and percussion, they are using 19th and 20th century instruments to create 21st century jazz.

Actually, they are visible

Actually, they are visible

Invisible Guy + Metzger, Lewis, Cox, & Bates @ Icehouse, MInneapolis. 10pm ($8) Hamir Atwal, drums; Ben Goldberg, clarinet; and Michael Coleman, piano, are currently from the Bay area, and now driving around the Midwest to various gigs. Each comes from a varied background that ranges from Klezmer and Classical to mainstream and exploratory jazz. As a trio, they are in strict pursuit of a beautiful melody. Also on the bill is the exploratory music of Paul Metzger, guitar and built instruments; Michael Lewis, sax; Anthony Cox, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, March 21

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Opening is King Fletcher Woods, with Jeff King, Charles, Fletcher, Eron Woods, drums. Illicit Sextet at 8:30pm with Chris Lomheim, piano; Paul Harper, sax; David Roos, guitar; Tom Pieper, bass; Nathan Norman, drums; and Steve Kenny, flumpet.

Dave Hagedorn Quintet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) Dave Hagedorn is an extraordinary vibes player, who recorded two albums with the George Russell Living Time Orchestra, and who gigs regularly with the Phil Hey Quartet. Tonight he’s teaming up with guitarist Zacc Harris to pay homage to the Milt Jackson/Wes Montgomery album Bags Meets Wes. The band is rounded out with Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Corey Healey, drums. Sure to be a treat. Here’s a clip of Hagedorn in action with the Phil Hey Quartet.

Scott Horey @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 10pm ($10) Horey is a solo percussionist who specializes in drums and marimba. Aside from performing a couple of actual solo pieces, he will be joined in a program of originals and new classical music by Bethany Gonella flute; Trent Baarspul, guitar; Ted Godbout, keyboards; Karen Kozak, electric fiddle; Douglas Brown, bass; and Charlie Engen, drums. I recently did an interview with him, which you can hear on my show Saturday morning, or read the post just prior to this one.

Monday, March 23

The Adam Meckler Quintet + Zacc Harris Group @ Icehouse, Minneapolis. ($8) Expect an evening with lots of original music. As Meckler himself describes his group – Adam Meckler: Trumpet/Fleugal/Pen/Paper; Nelson Devereaux: Tenor/Alto/Soprano/Hair; Zacc Harris: Guitar/Birthday; Graydon Peterson: Bass/Kung Fu; Greg Schutte: Drums/George Clooney. First up is the Zacc Harris Group playing Harris originals: Harris, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums. Here’s Adam doing his thing.

Monday, Tuesday, March 23, 24

Steve Tyrell @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($42), 9pm ($30) Tyrell always delivers an evening of swinging romantic music, calling upon standards and pop songs from the last half century. He started out as a producer at Scepter Records in the 60s, working with Bacharach & David, and producing a number of hits over the years. Eventually Tyrell was producing music for a number of hit films, and in the 90s sang “The Way You Look Tonight” for the movie Father of the Bride. It launched his singing career, in which he evokes the era of Sinatra, Dean Martin and the like, though with more charm, a rasp in his voice, and less braggadocio.

Tuesday, March 24

Dave Stanoch @ McNally Smith Auditorium, Saint Paul. 5pm (Free) Stanoch is a versatile drummer who has played with the likes of Sheryl Crow, George Clinton, Jack McDuff and Ben Sidran, among others. He currently teaches at McNally Smith, plays in a half-dozen groups around town, is a contributor to Modern Drummer magazine, and has written a drumset method book, Mastering the Tables of Time, Vol. 1. McNally Smith students will perform in the lobby at 5pm, followed by Stanoch (& friends?) in the auditorium at 6pm.

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, March 18

Joe & Vicki Price on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3, 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) As part of KFAI’s Spring Pledge Drive, Harold Tremblay has brought in an Iowa duo with a big fan base in the Twin Cities. Joe and Vicki visit our towns with some regularity, playing blues that sound more at home in the southern reaches of the Mississippi River than in Northern Iowa. Listen, and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Haley Bonar @ Rock the Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $25 ) The folks at the Ordway are doing a great job of celebrating the new concert hall by bringing in a wide variety of acts. Haley Bonar is a case in point. In the last decade, the Twin Cities by way of Rapid City and Duluth singer has released eight albums and increasingly earned acclaim for her alt roots/alt folk/alt rock music. Bonar has gained the respect and collaboration of many area musicians, such as Dave King and Andrew Bird, and always has a top-notch band, which might include musicians such as Jake Hanson, Jeremy Ylvisaker, and Mike Lewis.

Wednesday, Thursday, March 18, 19

Tom Paxton & Janis Ian @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($45) The Greenwich Village Folk Scene may be a thing of the past, but two of its participants are at the Dakota to give us a taste of that time and the intervening years. Back in the day Paxton was known for his protest songs, but he also wrote songs about love and humor, including a few that became folk standards, including “Ramblin’ Boy” and the “Last Thing on My Mind.” Ian was only 15, when “Society’s Child,” her hit song of interracial romance, came out about 1967. It was provocative for the time, to say the least. She then received a Grammy in the mid-70s for “At Seventeen,” a song with great insight into teen musings. They’ll appear on stage together, swapping stories and songs, for most of the show.

Thursday, March 19

Joe & Viki Price @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) In case you missed them at the 331 Club last night, Joe & Vicki will be the featured guests of washboard/percussionist Mikkel Beckman. Given the relaxed atmosphere at the Dubliner, this happy hour gig is about as good as it gets.

Friday, March 20

Tinsley Ellis @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) Like many other guitarists who grew up in the late 60s and early 70s, Ellis’ blues have always veered towards the rockin’ side, though he is capable of emotional fire as well. Though often called a better guitarist than vocalist, his last album In From the Cold has him in good voice. The Rhythm Roosters open.

Black Market Brass @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) The folks at Secret Stash Records are presenting another evening of their artists. The headliners, Black Market Brass, play original Afrobeat as well as their interpetations of Afrobeat classics. Secret Stash’s house band is The Lakers, who honed their chops touring and recording as the backing band for Sonny Knight. Gospel Machine is a garage-gospel group from NE Minneapolis, featuring Jayanthe Kyle, of Black Audience, on vocals.

Saturday, March 21

Drew Druckry & the Dharma Hounds @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) Drew Druckry (North Country Bandits, Julie Johson & the No-Accounts) has a new band, whose members have toiled in a number of groups ranging from the Kung Fu Hippies to Jason Dixon Line, White Iron Band,  and Root City. The Dharma Hounds concentrate on blues, New Orleans funk, and Southern Rock. Opening are a highly compatible group, the Swamp Kings, who’ve been purveyors of New Orleans Funk, and Cajun boogie for almost ten years now.

Hula Peppers @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Celebrate the Equinox with the Mid-Winter Luau. Hawaiian themed garb is encouraged, and will be welcome as you dance, dance, dance to the old-time and Hawaiian sounds of the Hula Peppers. Also on hand will be Patty & the Buttons, so it will be an accordion-centric Luau.

Scandinavian Music Showcase @ The Underground Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10) This caught my eye despite the fact that I know little about most of the performers, who include, Kari Tauring, Bob & Lynne Dixon, The Twin Cities Hardanger Fiddle Group, The Nordic Bees and more. When it comes to music, there’s always more to learn.

The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10?)  One of the regular appearances for this 10-piece band at MMC. There’s always a dancing crowd, which isn’t surprising given the band’s funkiness and the bar’s commodious dance floor.

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ The Nomad, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8) The Digdown guys are an 8-piece band based in Madison, though a couple of their members hail from the Twin Cities. Lots of fun, whether playing a Jackson Five song or traditional New Orleans number.

Sunday, March 22

Battle of the Blues Bands @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 5pm – 8pm (No Cover) It’s a take-no-prisoners battle for bragging rights and a chance to play the Lowertown Blues Festival this summer. Attend, listen, and vote for one of the following: Dee Miller Band; Prior Avenue, Bluedog, and Squishy Mud.

Tuesday, March 23

Paul Mayasich & Big George Jackson @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 8:30pm (tip Jar?) Ooh, the guitar playing skills of Mayasich and the deep vocals of Big George, together at the WBL watering hole.

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.


%d bloggers like this: