Festival Season Takes Hold: 6.17 – 6.23

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

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

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

Jazz

Wednesday, June 17

The trio at work/play

The trio at work/play

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

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

Thursday, June 18

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

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

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

Friday, June 19

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 20

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

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

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

Sunday, June 21

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

Monday, June 22

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

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

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

Tuesday, June 23

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

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 22, 23

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

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.   For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs, Jazz PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, June 17

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

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

Thursday, June 18

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

Hmm, what should I play?

Hmm, what should I play?

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

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

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

Friday, June 19

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

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

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

Saturday, June 20

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

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

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

Sunday, June 21

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

Tuesday, June 23

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

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


Brass, Guitars, and More… Music: 8.6 – 8.12

August 6, 2014

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Lots of horns in the jazz community this week, from both visiting and resident artists. On the Blues and Roots side, there’s a guitar festival, and Irish festival, a rockin’ piano player, and some sizzling zydeco and Cuban music. A good week for music lovers. Get out and hear some live music – it lifts the spirit. Note that I try to be accurate about these listings, but, being human, mistakes occur, and it doesn’t hurt to check with the venue beforehand.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 6

Sue Oatts @ Hells Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Oatts is an underrated vocalist who has a swinging way with a melody. She’ll be joining the well-rated Wolverines Trio on this gig.

Billy Martin’s Wicked Knee @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Martin is the drummer with Medeski, Martin, and Wood, a band that has been vital in exposing younger listeners to improvisational jazz. He calls Wicked Knee a juke-joint brass band that plays ragtime funk. To understand why, not that other members are Brian Drye, trombone; Marcus Rojaz, tuba; and Steven Bernstein, trumpet. Sounds like a raucous night to me.  Here’s an example.

The Reverse of Sam & Dave @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) We’re not talking about the soul men, but rather Sam Rivers and Dave Holland, who made some duo recordings in the late 1970’s. Anthony Cox, bass; and Michael Lewis, sax, will explore the sonic possibilities of such a duo with originals, a reworking of standards, and free improvisation. Q&A are part of the performance.

Thursday, August 7

Dorothy Doring @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Whether singing the blues or the music of Billy Strayhorn, Doring brings passion and taste to her performance. Tonight she’ll be accompanied by the imaginative piano stylings of Steven Hobert to interpret the Great American Songbook.

Benny Weinbeck Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s a chance to see this trio of veteran musicians without going to Bloomington’s Parma 8200, where they hold forth every Saturday. Weinbeck, piano; Gordon Johnson, bass, and Phil Hey, drums produce elegant jazz. Here they are.

Mississippi @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) This is another in the All Originals Jazz Series. Tonight, the all-star quartet of Pete Whitman, sax; Peter Schimke, piano, Jeff Bailey, bass; Kevin Washington, drums; will be stoking the intimate Studio Z.

Friday, August 8

Valve Meets Slide @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm  ($10 Suggested Donation) It’s always fun and uplifting to see and hear Brad Bellows, valve trombone, and Dave Graf, slide trombone, lock horns, so to speak. These versatile musicians take the somewhat maligned ‘bone and turn it into an instrument of bop and beauty.

Steve Kenny Quartet @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Flumpeter Kenny is on a tear these days, as noted in the two interviews I posted on my blog last week (July 28, July 31). Tonight he’s joined by Christopher Thomson, sax; Babatunde Lea, drums; Brian Courage, bass. It’s a chordless quartet, playing an evening-length repertoire of standards.

Saturday, August 9

What Would Monk Do @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The coffee shop on Franklin & Nicollet is once again presenting music. Tonight we have a relatively rare appearance by WWMD, featuring Kenny Horst on drums; along with Brian Courage, bass;, Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny on flumpet, that combination of fluegelhorn and trumpet. Monk and Monk-Inspired tunes.

Monday, August 11

The Hedenstrom/Claxton Quintet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Aaron Hedenstrom is a young, award-winning saxophonist & composer who grew up in the area and is now pursuing a doctorate in composition at the renowned University of North Texas. Drummer Brian Claxton is also from the area, having gone to school at UW-Eau Claire with Hedenstrom. Claxton is currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Northern Colorado. This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to interview Hedenstrom on my show. You can hear it here. The interview begins at about 19 minutes into the show. For tonight and Wednesday night at Jazz Central, they are partnering with Bryan Nichols, piano; Jeremy Boettcher, bass; and Zacc Harris, guitar. Here are Hedenstrom and Claxton with a couple of other players taking on a standard.

Tuesday, August 12

Framework @ the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7 pm ($5-$10 Suggested for Tip jar) Chris Olson, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums; create shimmering, imaginative music.

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, August 6

Izzy & Chris on KFAI and @ the 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 and 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) This Southern guitar/harp duo met at an open stage and got a standing ovation from the crowd. A few weeks later, they were on the main stage at the 2006 West Virginia Blues Festival.

Trombone Shorty @ The Minnesota Zoo, Eagan. 8pm ($43) The amphitheater at the Apple Valley Zoo will be shakin’ as Trombone Shorty (who also plays trumpet) brings his jazzy funk, along with some traditional New Orleans jazz & R&B to town. He’s a master showman, who knows how to milk the audience’s attention with long, long notes, and a sense of drama.

Erik Koskinen @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Some folks call him country, but the music he plays is far from the slick bro-country product that inhabits the country charts these days. Koskinen’s songs show him to be an authentic chronicler of life. And, he’s a heck of a guitarist, busy with many projects besides his own.

Thursday, August 7

The Butanes @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) It’s Curt Obeda’s Birthday – He’s hit the double nickel, and the usual fun at Shaw’s is sure to be doubled as well. Expect a number of guests to pop in and wish Curt a happy, happy. Plus they serve ribs all night long.

Alexander Abreu Y Havana D’Primera @ the Varsity Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30 doors ($30 advance/$40 door) The dance floor at the Varsity will be filled as Cuban trumpet player Abreu brings this band, which he organized in 2008, to the Twin Towns. They are currently on a world-wide tour, and we’re lucky to have them visit. Check them out.

Friday, August 8

Ginger Commodore & Debbie Duncan Sing Aretha @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Oh boy, can it get any better, at least until Aretha Franklin herself plays the State Fair. Two powerhouse singers who can caress a melody as well, interpreting the songs of Aretha.

Saturday, August 9

The Eddies @ The Irish Fair, Harriet Island, Saint Paul. 11:30am – 12:30pm. (Free) Sunday morning workshop from 11am – Noon Sunday. There are many things to do at the Irish Fair, which actually runs from Friday through Sunday, including hurling competitions, dancing, and watching dogs herd sheep. Stick around after the Eddies and you can hear Altan and Gaelic Storm as well.

Lowertown Guitar Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 2:30pm – 10pm (Free) A day-long free event put on by McNally Smith College of Music, showcasing guitarists that range from ace finger-picker Phil Heywood  to rockabilly queen Rosie Flores  to blues rock titan Robben Ford. Plus, there are a number of great soloists on the acoustic stage. Two stages. Main Stage:2:30 Phil Heywood (45-min. set); 4:00 Rosie Flores; 5:30 Jim Campilongo Trio; 7:00 Greg Koch Trio; 8:30 Robben Ford. Acoustic Stage: 3:30 Jeremy Ylvisaker; 5:00 Chris Beaty; 6:30 Trevor Wiest; 8:00 Molly Maher & Gabriela Sweet

Dwayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) High energy 21st Century zydeco by the son of Rockin’ Dopsie. As one review put it, Dwayne infuses “blues, soul, and fun with a driving rub-board rhythm.” Now, if the Dakota will set aside a dance floor…

Mitch Woods & His Rocket 88s @ Shaw’s NE, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Woods is a powerhouse piano player who can play boogie boogie and jump blues with the best of them. If Shaw’s had any real dance floor, it would fill with swing dancers. As it is, the small club will provide an up-close, sweat inducing immersion in Woods’ piano-pounding. Curtis Marlatt & the Kicks are featured, so I’m not sure if they are opening, or accompanying, or maybe both. Listen to this.

Sunday, August 10

Scarlet Rivera @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Violinist Rivera first came to the public’s attention when Bob Dylan tapped her for his Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1979. Since then, she’s recorded with Tracy Chapman, Keb Mo, and others. Kevin Bowe opens.

Tuesday, August 9

Bruce Cockburn Band w/Jenny Scheinman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($35) Artist/Activist Cockburn has been traveling the world, often to trouble spots that have inspired his songs about humanitarian concerns. He’s recorded over 31 albums, blending folk, blues, jazz and rock, singing about those concerns. Scheinman is a violinist, singer, and composer who is familiar to fans of Brill Frisell, and has contributed arrangements to Lucinda Williams, Bono, and Lou Reed, among others. She’s recorded seven CDs of original music, the latest of which, The Littlest Prisoner, has been well-recieved in the jazz press. She opens & then plays with Cockburn, with whom she recorded on his latest CD. Here’s something with the two of them.

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


The Living is Easy (and warm). Music: 7.17 – 7.23

July 17, 2013
Don't complain about the heat, we'll get snow soon enough

When you’re feeling warm, remember last winter.

We’ve got a hot week ahead. Luckily, there is plenty of music outdoors as well as air-conditioned venues to help us seek relief. When the heat gets you down, remember the cold. Have a good week.

Jazz

Wednesday, July 17

Evans, Fultz, & Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 8:30pm. Elaine Evans, violin & pocket trumpet; Scott Fultz, sax; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion, will explore the outer boundaries of American musical expression.

Thursday, July 18

PaulaUnknown Lammers & Tanner Taylor @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm (Donation) It’s vocal night at Jazz Central, and Paula Lammers will be delivering a swinging set of heartfelt tunes, ably abetted by pianist Tanner Taylor.

Stanley Jordan @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($22) The collective jaws of many of the world’s guitarists dropped when Jordan released his Blue Note debut album in 1975. His unique tapping technique allowed him to play chords and melody simultaneously, much like a piano. His 2011 Mack Avenue album, Friends, features Kenny Garrett, Christian McBride, and Nicholas Payton. Here he is early in his career, when David Letterman actually had hair.

Kristin Sponcia and Friends @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Sponcia is a pianist and vocalist who teaches at MacNally Smith and has played with a number of national artists.

Friday, Saturday, July 19, 20

Laura Caviani Trio @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Whether accompanying Karrin Allyson, playing in Pete Whitman’s X-Tet, or leading her own groups, pianist Caviani plays with taste and style. Here she is at the AQ a few years back.

Saturday, July 20

Musselman, Jany, & Weston @ The Hotel Ivy, Minneapolis. 9pm – Midnight (No Cover) Pianist Dan Musselman just released a gorgeous CD of music that’s spiritual in the way that A Love Supreme is spiritual. This is actually guitarist Pavel Jany’s gig, but I suspect some of Dan’s music will be played. They’ll be joined by bassist Dan Weston.

Fall of the House of Usher @ The Belmore, 25 North 4th St, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) A new project featuring Chris Cunningham, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Chris Thomson, Adrian Larkin, and Elliot Wachs, saxophones; with Greg Schutte guesting on drums, as well as Jon Davis on bass clarinet. Chihuahua City opens at 10pm, FoTHoU at 11pm.

Tuesday, July 23

Capri Big Band @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Set against a background of downtown Saint Paul, the History Center’s music series is one of the reasons summer is so much fun in the Twin Cities. Tonight, the Capri Big Band, a talented collection of old, young, professional, and newer players, takes the stage. Dancing is encouraged.

More listings for Twin Cities jazz can be found at KBEM and at Jazz Police. Jazz Police also features jazz commentary as well, as do Bebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other

Wednesday, July 17

The Ericksons on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm – 9pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Sisterly harmonies and Appalachia-meets-folk songwriting make for compelling roots music.

Thursday, July 18

Curtis Blake & Greasy Gravy & the Tex Pistols @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 6:00pm (Free) A double bill of blues, roots, and Americana. Curtis Blake is a superb blues harpmaster, and together with Greasy Gravy, delivers the goods when it comes to blues you can dance to. The Tex Pistols mine rock and country, from Neil Young and Steve Earle to the Beatles (not to forget their originals). The setting is as mellow as you could want.

Orkestar Bez Ime @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm. (Top Jar) These purveyors of Balkan party music will undoubtedly have the audience moving tables and chairs to dance with abandon.

Friday, July 19

Terrence Simien & the Zydeco Express @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) A highly respected, 8th generation Creole, Grammy winner Simien serves as an ambassador of zydeco music, bringing the infectious music to audiences throughout the world. One measure of his popularity: he’s performed at the New Orleans Jazz Festival for 27 years in a row. Let’s hope the Dakota clears some room for dancing, because you cannot sit still to his music.

slide.001Shagagogo @ Crooked Pint Ale House, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5?) This four-piece plus two go-go dancers takes off on the pop psychedelic outlook of Austin Powers, playing songs from the likes of 60s pop & garage rockers; 70s soul, pop, & disco; and 80s dance. It’s a veritable time machine of hits, with costumes and shtick to match.

Sunday, July 21

Armadillo Jump @ Highland Fest, Saint Paul. Noon. (Free) Rockin’ blues, the kind that makes you wanna holler, dance, and shout.  There’s lots more going on at this neighborhood festival, but this is definitely a way to start your day.

Saturday, July 20

Junior Brown @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($40) Brown is one of the best guitarists in country music. His brand of country is more honky-tonk and rock n’ roll then it is countrypolitan, resulting in kudos fromthe likes of No Depression magazine and rock critics. He played with Asleep At the Wheel back in the 60s and in 1985 invented the guit-steel, a double-neck hybrid of guitar and steel guitar, which has helped him win a number of awards. Check out this video.

Sunday, July 21

Trombone Shorty & Mavis Staples @ the Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley. 7pm ($56) What a double bill! Mavis Staples is an iconic singer of the 20th Century, whose vocals with the Staple Singers inspired hope and dedication to a whole generation. With his combination of funk, traditional New Orleans music, and a bit of jazz, Trombone Shorty has become one of the top performers of New Orleans, as evidenced by his placement as the closing artist at this year’s jazz fest. He may or may not be the new “hardest working man in show business,”  but it’s a sure thing that he knows how to work a crowd.

Monday, July 22

The Cactus Blossoms Last Dance @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm ($5) After an 18 month residency at the Turf Club, the Blossoms are going to free up time to play venues in Minneapolis as well as Saint Paul. As I’ve previously noted, imagine the Everly Brothers doing the early songs of George Jones, and you may have an idea of what the Cactus Blossoms sound like. Stop by to wish them well, and perhaps take a spin on the dance floor

Tuesday, July 23

Unknown-3Badi Assad @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40) w/ Choro Borealis. This inventive singer and guitarist from Brazil cannot be categorized, as she seamlessly mixes jazz, pop, and Brazilian sounds. She’s technically brilliant, yet innovative, on guitar, and yet embraces emotionalism as well. Choro Borealis is the new trio of Robert Everest, guitar; Pat O’Keefe on b flat clarinet and bass clarinet, and Tim O’Keefe on mandolin and percussion. They explore the origins Brazilian music – pre-samba, and pre-bossa nova.

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


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