Mild Weather, Hot Music: 11.29 – 12.5

November 29, 2017

Some more holiday shows are on the horizon this week, as well as interesting shows from both visiting and resident artists. The weather continues to be unseasonably mild, so even if the temps drop some, as shown on the AccuWeather map above, it’s still easy to get out and hear some live music.  On to a couple of personal notes, I’ll be retiring from my radio show, Rhythm & Grooves, at the end of the year. My last show will be December 30, though hopefully, I’ll show up occasionally as a sub for other programs. I am continuing this blog and my newsletter. Secondly, the treatment regimen for my health issues goes amazingly well. Thank you for all your positive thoughts, prayers, and well wishes. Now get out and take part in a live music experience, which certainly can lift your spirits.



Wednesday, Nov 29

Patrick Adkins Sextet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Here’s a young group worth watching: Patrick Adkins – Piano; Tarek Abdelqader – Drums; Levi Schwartzberg – Vibes; Aidan Sponheim – Trumpet; Drew Stinson – Bass; Thomas Strommen – Saxophone

Thursday, Nov 30

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) With Reuben Ristrom, guitar; Larry Hillman, sax; Jim Chenoweth, bass; and David Schmalenberger, drums.

Also: George Cartwright’s Smashing Carp @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Cartwright, saxophones; Heather Barringer, Vibraphone; Noah Ophoven-Baldwinm, trupmpet; and Michelle Kinney, Cello. Smashing is right.

Sophia Shorai Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) Underneath her sunny voice there is heartbreak waiting to be unleashed.

Friday, Dec 1

Kronick Quintet @ The Green Lantern (Public), Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) Five veteran musicians playing jazz will entertain in the basement bar at Lowertown’s Public Restaurant.

Omar Abdulkarim Trio @ The Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) A young trumpeter with beautiful tone has veterans Peter Schimke, piano; and Billy Peterson, bass accompanying him.

Friday, Saturday, Dec 1,2

Earl Klugh @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45), 9pm ($32, $37, $42) Acoustic guitarist Klugh cites Chet Atkins as being his most important influence, yet he has recorded with jazz artists, and his work is sometimes listed as New Age, or smooth jazz. He has a pretty tone and deft fingering, which come to the fore in his last album, Handpicked, a mostly solo outing, with two duets – one with Bill Frisell on Blue Moon and another with ukelelist Jake Shimabukuiro on Hotel California. 

Saturday, Dec 2

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Le Voyage opens at 7pm, featuring Matt Rice, alto sax; Donald Washington, saxophones; Richard Studer bass, and Steve Hirsh, drums. At 8:30, Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband will take the stage;: Geoff Senn, tpt; Pete Whitman, sax; Scott Agster, trombone; Chris Olsonm, guitar; Joe Strachan piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Peter Kogan, drums. While there are no videos of the band performing, here’s a slightly different version of the band from their recording.

Also: Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) a charming, unaffected vocalist.

Sunday, Dec 3

Katia Cardenas @ Can Can Wonderland, 755 Prior Ave North, Saint Paul. 7pm – 10pm (No cover) I’ve yet to make it to this funhouse/bar/restaurant with indoor mini-golf and other attractions, but the siren call of Cardenas’ vocals on jazz and occasional pop tunes just might do the trick. She’ll be accompanied by Ted Gadbout, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Zach Schmidt, drums.

Alley Cats Jazz Jam @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm  (No Cover) This jam is headed up by guitarist Joel Shapira, for a New York Jazzers Open Jam, though rules apply for participation.

Sunday, Monday, Dec 3, 4

Brad Mehldau Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $50), 9pm ($25, $30, $40) Whether improvising on rock n’ roll standards, a Charlie Parker blues, or the Great American Songbook, pianist Mehldau and bandmates bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard create intimate, often contemplative, music on their 2016 release Blues and Ballads. I can’t describe their music any better than Brit Robson did in the Star Tribune the other day, “Heres’s a group that manages to be cerebral and sentimental all at once.”

Tuesday, Dec 5

The Crosby/Clooney Story w/Hixson & Fogel @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) Arne Fogel and Maud Hixson are reprising their popular show featuring the tunes and stories of the long friendship and working relationship between Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney. They’ll be aided by pianist Rick Carlson and bassist Steve Pikal. Here’s a video that shows Crosby and Clooney singing together.

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, Nov 29

Matt Woods on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist/vocalist Woods is a native of Iowa who performs traditional American roots music in all its guises, from traditional delta, hill country and urban electric blues, to gospel, country and folk music.  

Radio Joe & the JazzBos @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7pm ($5) Joe Demko’s romantic streak is evident in many of the swinging loves songs that he and the JazzBos play. He promises to debut a theme song tonight. Bring your dancing shoes and your dancing moves.

Turkuaz @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($15 – $18) Brooklyn based funksters Turkuaz have a stage show described as combining influences from Sly and the Family Stone to Talking Heads into an explosive auditory and visual circus, a full-frontal assault on the senses. Opening are the Suffers, an 8-piece ensemble from Houston who play “Gulf Coast Soul.” They’ve done a tiny desk concert for NPR (which you can see here , and have appeared on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah and the Jimmy Kimmel Show.

Thursday, Nov 30

Willie Walker @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Here’s a chance to see this Walker, who was part of the original soul explosion in the 60s, in a fancy setting. During the past couple of years he’s experienced an uptick in overseas gigs, and has won two awards from Living Blues – Comeback Artist of the Year and Best Blues Album of 2015 for his recording Nothing Ever Changes. Whether singing originals, or classics by Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Walker has never sounded better.

Also: Javier Matos @ The Basement Bar, 511 Washington Ave North, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Master of the bottleneck slide guitar, purveyor of the blues.

Friday, Dec 1

Church of Cash Holiday Show @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneapoills. 6:30pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door) You get a band that does a terrific job of honoring Johnny Cash while celebrating the holidays. What’s not to like?

Friday, Saturday, Dec 1, 2

Christmas Reggae Weekend @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($?) Expect Christmas music Yard Style and Soca Style, With Socaholix and The International Reggae All-Stars laying down the heavy bass. Wonder if they’ll do Sensimilla to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus? Here the All Stars tackle Purple Rain.

Saturday, Dec 2

18th Annual Jeff Arundel Holiday Show @ 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($10) His show at the Aster Cafe is sold out, so you’ll have to head west to take part in this holiday tradition: With Special Guests Kathleen Johnson, Paul the Beatle, Fred and Anne Vagle, Steele Arundel, and The Swedish Men’s Whistling Team

The 99ers and The Black Widows @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Pop punk from the 99s and the all woman Black Widows.

Also: Willie Murphy & The Angel-Headed Hipsters @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 8pm (No cover)

Sunday, Dec 3

Switched at Birth CD Release Party @ The Hook & Ladder, Saint Paul. 4PM ($7 Advance/$10 Door) Switched at Birth has been playing their genre-defying acoustic music since 1998, with a repertoire that includes, bluegrass, folk, blues, Cajun, Irish,m and rock n’ roll music – Whew! They are celebrating the release of their third studio recording A Labor of Love. Members are Rick Anderson, guitar, banjo, vocals; Pam Kolupailo (Pam K of KFAI), guitar, vocals; Mark Briere, Mandolin, vocals; Mark Rizzardi, bass, vocals; and Catie Jo Pidel, fiddle. Opening act Cousin Dad is another acoustic band with a surprising song list, including Latin, country buds, fiddle tunes, Motown, and more. Here’s Switched at Birth with a classic rock tune.

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.

Musical Traditions: 11.22 – 11.28

November 22, 2017

Greetings Fellow Music Fans;

Taken from their Christmas album

Well the Holiday season is upon us, often bringing families together in a variety of traditions, some of which are long standing, some of which are from the various cultures that make up our country, and some of which are new. Here in the Twin Cities there are a number of music traditions taking place, such as annual Thanksgiving Eve shows, and the return of musicians who grew up here but are now residing elsewhere. Like Tony Bennett and the Count Basie Band, music brings us together, and though there may be few shows on Thanksgiving, we’re blessed with an active music scene with musicians who support one another and through their music, Lift Our Spirits. Whatever traditions you follow, have a good Thanksgiving



Wednesday, Nov 22

Acme Jazz Company, Feat: Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Solid big band music with the Twin Cities preeminent male jazz vocalist.

Stu Katz Quartet @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Katz is one of the last original proponents of bebop piano, having been a working musician on both piano and vibes for more than 55 years. He’s performed with folks like Gene Ammons, Kenny Burell, Dextor Gordon, and numerous other bright lights in the jazz world. He has been a long time collaborator with Ira Sullivan, with whom he released a live recording in 2011. Besides Katz on vibes/piano, he’ll be accompanied by some of our own bright lights in jazz; Chris Bates, bass; Dean Magraw, guitar; and Jay Epstein, drums, aka Red Planet. Here is Katz back in 1985, playing with Doc Cheatham.

Thursday, Nov 23

No jazz tonight, as far as I can tell, though there are a couple of jazzy blues events (see listing in Blues & Roots, below)

Friday, Nov 24

Hoaxer @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($12) One tradition of the holiday season is that young musicians return to town from college and perform for a few days. Tonight we’ll hear from the collective quartet known as Hoaxer. Their influences include jazz of course, as well as avant-garde, rock, and electronic music. They released their well-received debut album last summer. The group includes Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; and Peter Goggin, sax; and Edmund Caitlin on drums.

Fall of the House of Usher @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/valid Student ID) Founder/guitarist Chris Cunningham has gathered a bunch of like-minded musicians for this project, including: Ivan Cunningham, Saxophones; Michelle Kinney, Cello; Greg Schutte, Drums; Chris Bates, Bass; Adam Svec, Vocals; Noah Ophoven Baldwin, Trumpet; Jared Jarvis, Saxophones; and Riley Swain, Baritone Saxophone. Cunningham has played with John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, the Contortions, The Golden Palaminos, Rich Havens, Marshall Crenshaw, and a host of NYC’s adventurous musicians.He and his fellow musicians mine the world’s deepest grooves from East, West, and North African, 80’s No Wave skronk, early 70’s Miles, Sun Ra, and New Orleans Funk.

Also: Swingbeat Big Band @ Wabasha Caves, Saint Paul. 7pm ($8) Swing Night is moved to Friday this week

Saturday, Nov 25

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar)  7:00 Opening Set: Luke Peterson Trio Plays Ornette Coleman – Peter Goggin,sax; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Luke Peterson, drums.- three college students (and former members of the Dakota Combo) who only get better as they progress in their studies.   At 8:30, it’s Central Standard Time: Steve Kenny, FLUMPET; Dave Brattain, Saxophones; Will Kjeer, Piano; Ron Evaniuk, Bass; Eric Kamau Grávátt, Drums.

Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Another tradition of late is that the Saint Paul born and raised saxophonist returns for the holidays, and we’re the luckier for it. He’s the co-leader of Sabertooth, the mainstay band at Chicago’s Green Mill since 1992! He’s also an educator and mentor for Ramsey Lewis’ Ravinia Jazz Mentor Program, and the Louis Armstrong Legacy Project.

Valve Meets Slide @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/valid student ID) Brad Bellows, valve trombone; and Dave Graf, slide trombone, and their band-mates play originals as well as the music of Bob Brookmyer. You’ll also get to hear an interview that Leigh Kamman did with Brookmeyer back in 1981.

Also: Omar Abdulkarim Trio @ The Lexington’s Williamburg Room, Saint Paul. 7 – 11:30pm (No Cover)

Sunday, Nov 26

25 Years of Jazz Originals @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 3pm – 6pm ($10 Advance/$15 Door) After 25 Years, pianist/clarinetist/music historian Butch Thompson is stepping down from producing his KBEM radio show, Jazz Originals, though he will still perform here and around the world. Jazz Originals delightfully celebrated vintage jazz and the musicians that made it, with thoughtful, though not overly scholarly, analysis and comments from Thompson. The Southside Aces will be performing original jazz, and will have some special surprise guests.

Monday, Nov 27

Fat Kid Wednesdays @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($16) This is a rare appearance by Adam Linz, bass; Michael Lewis, sax; and JT Bates, drums; who have been playing together since they were teenagers about 25 years ago. They started the Jazz Implosion at The Turf’s old Clown Lounge and managed to create an “underground” jazz scene here. Then they toured internationally, appeared on the cover of France’s jazz magazine, and generally blew people away ever since. Richard Brody, of The New Yorker, wrote, “their exhilarating performance revealed both the depth of their individual artistry and the symbiotic wonder of their interplay.”

Tuesday, Nov 28

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50) This is a benefit for The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project, which preserves and shares the vast archive of audio, visual, and written resources, including hundreds of recorded interviews of legendary broadcaster Leigh Kamman. Allyson, who lived here for a while early in her career, will be accompanied by a great rhythm section: pianist Laura Caviani; bassist Gordy Johnson, and drummer Phil Hey.

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, Nov 22

Nikki & the Ruemates Annual Thanksgiving Eve Show on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Nikki & the Ruemates will give you plenty to be thankful for, as they play their original folk/rock & blues, along with their versions of songs by other artists. If you’ve never heard Nikki & the Ruemates, tune in the KFAI at 5pm when they’ll play live in the studio before heading to the 331Club. Here’s Nikki playin with band-mate Rich Rue.

Thursday, Nov 23

Deano & The Dinosaurs @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) So, maybe you’ve stuffed yourself, or maybe you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in a traditional manner, or you’ve watched all the football you want, but have a hankering for something more. Well, guitarist Dean Mikkelson is leading a group of musicians that can help. He and his merry band of musicians – Dean Harrington, guitar, Tom Lewis, bass; and Del Gallagher on percussion — will deliver jazzy, bluesy tunes for your pleasure. You’ll need an ID for adult beverages.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Nov 23, 24, 25

Davina & The Vagabonds @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20, Thurs, $25 Fri, Sat) If Davina’s combination of jazz, blues, and New Orleans R&B doesn’t wake you from the mythical triyptophan slumber, nothing will. Whether you attend Thanksgiving night, or one of the weekend gigs, you’ll walk away smiling.

Friday, Nov 24

Erik Koskinen EP Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 reserved seats, $15 Standing Room) Koskinen has rightfully been called the best country singer in Minnesota, thanks to his keen eye for observing rural life and a plain-spoken approach to writing. His fine guitar playing adds another layer of texture to his old-school approach to country music. This is a release party for Cruising Paradise, a six-song EP.  Opening is Dana Thompson a “Girl from the North Country.”

Also: Johnny Rawls @ Shaws, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (No Cover) Real deal Chicago blues from a journeyman professional.

Saturday, Nov 25

Ace-Box Blues Band @ The Dubliner Pub & Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar) A new band, consisting of veteran blues players led by multiple Blues Award winners Curtis Blake, harp, vocals; and Greg Schuck on drums.

Hurricane Harold’s All Star Blues Revue @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. 9:30pm (No Cover) There’s a new music venue in town. The Basement Bar is located under the newly launched NOLO Restaurant in the North Loop. Live blues and roots music is presented a couple of nights each week. It has a food-truck style offerings, a silent arcade area, and a stage, where well-connected harpmeister Hurricane Harold will bring along some talented friends to entertain you. Here he is with one version of the All Stars.

Also: High & Mighty @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($?) Horn driven, R&B dance band.

Sunday, Monday, Nov 26, 27

Melissa Manchester @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm, 8pm (Sunday), 7pm (Monday) ($35, $40, $45) Pop vocalist Manchester worked as a backup singer for Bette Midler and Barry Manilow before finding success in a solo career, hitting the charts in the mid-70s with hits like Midnight Blue, Don’t Cry Out Loud, and You Should Hear How She Talks About You. She has continued to achieve success in songwriting, composing for films, and theater work. After forty years in the business, she still draws well, as demonstrated by the fact she’s doing three shows.  Here’s a song she did for Ice Castles, the 1978 film shot here in the Twin Cities, with scenes shot at Mariucci Arena. (I recall being in the audience for this shooting.

Also: Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, 5pm – 7pm ($5) A matinee performance for those who like Latin dancing but have to go to work Monday morning.

Big George Jackson & Jeremy Johnson @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) It sounds like down home Delta Blues, but these two are Twin Citizens.

Monday, Nov 27

JJ’s Zydeco Paydirt @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($8) They’ve been filling dance floors by playing Zydeco music since the turn of this century.

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.

All Hallows Music and More: 10.25 – 10.31

October 25, 2017

Greetings to one and all;

The Original Adams Family, by Charles Addams

What a week coming up. It starts with the Bob Dylan/Mavis Staples concert at the X, and ends with Halloween. In between there are a number of Halloween-themed events, from a musical about a haunted house, to a Masquerade Ball, and a classical music take on dark legends. There are also plenty of other great music events to attend, including a couple of Grammy-winning jazz artists, a Memphis R&B Revue with legendary soul artists, and a celebration of Frank Sinatra’s album September of My Years. And of course, we have plenty of resident artists ready and willing to entertain us and spread the power of music to unite and heal us. Music Lifts the Spirit.


Wednesday, Oct 25

Zacc Harris/ Butch Thompson & Dean Magraw @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harris, no cover), 8pm (Thompson & Magraw, $5) Start the evening with the clean guitar sounds of Zacc Harris, and continue with the delightful duo of pianist/clarinetist Butch Thompson and guitarist Dean Magraw.

Thursday, Oct 26

Selby Avenue Brass Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Tonight you not only can get a taste of New Orleans cuisine from the Vieux’s kitchen, but you get the New Orleans-inspired Selby Avenue Brass Band, a quintet that lays the second line down with spirit and élan.

Roessler, Hanson, & Kassup @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) As described by scribes at the Star Tribune, Khyber Pass is an unlikely place for forward thinking improvisational jazz, but thanks to owns Emel Sherzad, who hosts The International Jazz Conspiracy on KFAI, you (and a few other people) can hear French Clarinetist Sylvain Kassap playing with our bassist Doan Roessler and his long time musical foil, saxophonist Nathan Hanson. Here’s Kassap with a different trio.

Thursday, Friday, Oct 26, 27

Ramsey Lewis @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm ($40, $5, $50), 9pm ($30, $35, $40) Not much I can say about this three-time Grammy winning pianist that isn’t already known. He’s the rare jazz musician who has been able to achieve commercial success, having earned seven Gold Records and being named a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Friday, Oct 27

Illicit Sextet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/valid Student ID) This six-piece band is a vehicle for members to create, arrange, and produce their own tunes.

Zacc Harris Group @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 9pm ($15) The Dunsmore Listening Room at Crooners is now hosting jazz on Friday evenings. Guitarist Zacc Harris is bringing one of the many aggregations that he plays in to the room tonight. He’ll be joined by Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Also: Jeremy Walker/Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Walker, No Cover), 9pm (Aces

Saturday, Oct 28

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Nathan Hansen Trio at 7:30pm: Hanson, saxophones; Sylvain Kassap, bass clarinet; Marc Anderson, percussion. At 8:30 its the Pat Moriarty/Ellen Lease Quintet: Moriarty, saxophones; Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; Davu Seru, drums.

Joe Mayo Quartet featuring Clay Puhfal @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonists Joe Mayo and Clay Pufahl, along with bassist Matt Peterson and drummer Joey VanPhillips perform a repertoire of  “original jazz and neat arrangements of potentially familiar tunes.”

Arne Fogel: September of My Years @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15) Arne Fogel is one of the few male jazz vocalists in our area. Today he presents the music of the Grammy-winning Frank Sinatra album. For this event, Fogel has Rick Carlson, piano & music director, Gary Schulte on violin, and Gordon Johnson on bass.

Saturday, Sunday, Oct 28, 29

David Sanborn @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($50, $60, $70), 9pm ($40, $50, $60) This saxophonist has won six Grammys, and has had eight gold album,s and one Platinum album. He was the host of the very hip TV show Night Music, played with the Butterfield Blues Band, toured with Stevie Wonder and David Bowie, and has collaborated with Jack DeJohnette, Bill Frisell, Charlie Hayden, Christian McBride, James Brown, The Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton. No wonder he’s a favorite of jazz and R&B fans alike.

Monday, Oct 30

Red Planet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Dean Magraw, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, perform jazz/rock fusion with taste, and importantly, without the bombast associated with much of that genre.

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, Oct 25

No Tent on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Folk/Blues musician Reina del Cid has a bluegrass band as a side project. It features the extraordinary guitarist Toni Lindgren, del Cid’s compadre in music, as well as a rotating cast of are players performing old time traditional songs, as well as bluegrass-ified covers and some originals.

Bumper Jacksons @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) This brassy seven-piece band (with pedal steel) from the DC area takes the sounds from old 78s and creates their own playful style, while paying homage to tradition. Think Hot Jazz meets Western Swing. They’ve received multiple awards as the Mid-Atlantic’s “Artist of the Year” and “Best Traditional Band” at the Washington DC Area Music Awards.

Also: Stevie V and the Knockouts @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Harmonica Blues!

Thursday, Oct 26

Rockin’ Pinecones @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) After thirty years of delivering Swamp Pop, New Orleans R&B, Cajun, and Zydeco for delighted dancers, the Pinecones are calling it quits. This is the first of three remaining gigs at the Eagles Club, so if you like dancing to the music of Louisiana, make it to the Eagles Club tonight.

The Skruffians @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) This seven-piece band has been inspired by the the Skatalites and other Jamaican artists of the 60s and 70s. They perform a mix of ska, reggae, soul, and jazz, with the kind of energy that makes you move in your seat or on the dance floor. This is what they sound like.

Friday, Oct 27

Dylan Hicks Album Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Hicks is a literate singer/songwriter who achieved some success in the Twin Cities back in the 90s, after which he concentrated on writing, with his articles appearing in The Village Voice, The Guardian, The New England Review and The NY Times, among other publications. He’s also written two well-received novels. His last album, Dylan Hicks Sings Bolling Green, was released in 2012 as a companion piece to his debut novel, Boarded Windows. The album received an A Minus from Robert Christgau. His new album Ad Out, is filled with sharp observations and wry commentary on life in the 21st Century. It was produced by John Munson, of Semisonic and the New Standards and employs such stalwart musicians as Adam Levy, Doug Little, Ken Chastain, Dean Magraw, and Joe Savage. As an added bonus, Molly Maher & Her Disbelievers open. Here’s a cut from the new album.

Also:  Boogie Wonderland @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Relive (or discover) the funky disco years

Saturday, Oct 28

All Hallow’s Eve at the Opera @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $25 TMORA Members) The museum has been upping its game lately, presenting some outstanding small classical concerts. Tonight they’re celebrating All Hallow’s Eve with music inspired by dark legends from Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Shostakovich, Wagner, Verdi, and more. Featuring Russian soprano Mlada Khudoley, who the New York Times has praised for her “lush, sizable, and luminous voice. She’ll be accompanied by pianist Denis Evstuhin.

Krewe of Dad’s Masquerade Ball XXXII, Featuring John Papa Gros @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) For something completely different you can try this Masquerade Ball. John Papa Gros is one of the funky new generation (post 70s) of New Orleans that are not only keeping the flame of New Orleans R&B, but keeping it real for the 21st Century. The evening also features the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League, and the People Brothers Band from Madison.

Also: Nikki Roux & Rich Rue/Erica West Band @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Nikki & rich), 9pm (Erica West $10)

            The Good, The Bad, The Funky @ Famous Daves, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10)

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Oct 27, 28, 29

Crocus Hill Ghost Story @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (Fri, Sat), 2pm (Sunday) ($15, $10 Students & Seniors) The folks at Studio Z are turning the space into a Victorian mansion for this show, which is a collaboration between Zeigeist, composer/flutist Julie Johnson, writer Cheri Johnson, and filmmaker/actor DJ Mendel. Their presentation is described as a macabre tale of a house possessed. Note that it has adult themes and language, and may not be suitable for children under 14.

Tuesday, Oct 31

The Butanes Halloween @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 will guarantee a seat in the stage area) I don’t know if the Butanes know any Halloween blues songs, but nevertheless, this will be a fun event, which will likely bring out many blues lovers. They bill themselves as a band with “35 years of making bad decisions with good friends.”

Hula Peppers & Myra & The Moonshiners @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. ($10) This double bill allows you to Immerse yourself in vintage Hot Jazz from the Moonshiners, as well as swing, blues and Hawaiian music of the 20s and 30s from the Hula Peppers.

Also: Rebirth Brass Band @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul.8pm ($25 Advance) Straight from New Orleans, With Brian “Hipshaker” Engel deejaying.

Tuesday, Wednesday, Oct 31, Nov 1

Memphis R&B Revue @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60, $80, $90) It’s an evening of Soul and R&B nirvana as the legendary  Hi Rhythm Section, together with a group of all-star Memphis musicians take the stage to back a trio of legendary performers. William Bell wrote and performed a number of his for Stax Records, and won a Grammy for his 2016 release, This Is Where I Live. Harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and has won a number of Bluses Music Awards, in addition to a Grammy for his album with Ben Harper in 2012. The ageless Bobby Rush is always full of vim and vinegar, delivering the blues with a sly wink. There will also be a few collaborations with young Memphis performers, bringing the evening full circle.

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.

Blues, roots, and all that jazz: 9.27 – 10.3

September 27, 2017

Well, I have found that I’m missing something in my life by not writing about who is appearing in town. I receive so much energy from music, that even writing about it is helpful, as is the good thoughts and vibes of friends and readers of this blog. So… I’m going to try to go back to a weekly blog. As James Brown declared in Get Up Offa That Thing, I’m Back! I hope to keep my descriptions short, and perhaps list fewer events. I’m not including videos at this time. We’ll see how it all goes. In the meantime, here’s some ideas for the next week


Thursday, Sept 28

Mary Louise Knutson & Gordy Johnson @ Lexington’s Williamsburg Room, Saint Paul. 7pm – 11:30pm (No Cover) Businessmen, politicians, and Saint Paul Socialites have been meeting at the Lex for years. It now features jazz duos and trios on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. Knutson’s warm and inventive piano playing will be accompanied by Gordy Johnson on bass.

Mari Harris & Bruce A. Henry @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Mari Harris is an award-winning singer/songrwriter, actress, and Speaker who has been often been seen performing with Pippi Ardennia. Bruce Henry is the former Twin Citizen who now lives in Chicago and has performed on five continents.

Friday, Sept 29

Jazz Alley Ella-Bration @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Jazz Alley is the group name for three fine vocalists – Maryann Sullivan, Sarah Greer, and Katia Cardenas – who will join forces with pianist Lori Dokken to celebrate the music of Ella Fitzgerald, whose centennial anniversary is this year.

Saturday, Sept 30

No Room For Squares @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) This is the Boom Island debut of this quintet, which was a hit at this years Twin Cities Jazz Festival. It includes veterans of the Twin Cities jazz scene including Jimmie (Jimmyapolis) Wallace, sax; Jon Pemberton, trumpet; Mikkel Romstad, piano; and Adam Tucker, bass

Mama Digdown’s Brass Band @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) The New Orleans-themed Vieux is the perfect place for this heavyweight Brass Band from Madison who have managed to gain acceptance in New Orleans while incorporating both traditional brass band music and contemporary tunes into their playlist.

Leigh Kammen Classic Originals @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) The Leigh Kamman Legacy Project and Pianist/vocalist Larry McDonough have teamed up for this special presentation on Tony Bennett, Bill Evans, and Leigh Kamman. McDonough and his trio will perform a set of the music of Bennett & Evans, followed by audio interviews of Kamman with Bennett and Evans. Afterwards there will be a second set of originals by the trio. Joining McDonough are Richard Terrill, saxes and poetry; and bassist Greg Stinson

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Tonights performances are by Trio 280: Joel Shapira, guitar; Erin Woods, drums; and Wes Roulle, organ, followed at 8:30 by the JC Sanford Quartet: Sanford, trombone; Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Saturday, Sunday, Sept 30, Oct 1

Bacharach: All Saxed Up @ The Capri Theater, Minneapolis. 7pm Saturday, 3PM Sunday ($25) Vocalist Patty Peterson and Cookie Coleman are joined by saxophonist Kathy Jensen, bassist Tony Axtell, and pianist Mary Louise Knutson to perform the music of Burt Bacarach.

Sunday, Oct 1

Zacc Harris Trio @ Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. Sundays, 7pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Zacc Harris, guitar; Matt Peterson, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums, have now been appearing at the Riverview on a weekly basis for 10 years. It’s  the longest running weekly jazz gig in the Twin Cities, but that doesn’t mean you should put off going to hear the trio. During the month of October, the band is celebrating by giving away copies of a limited release CD recorded live at the Riverview in earlier this year to customers during the month. This is always a fun, enjoyable gig.

Tuesday, October 3

Pat Mallinger & Bill Carrothers @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15) Two musicians who grew up and starting playing in the Twin Cities many years ago return for this inspired outing. Mallinger on sax, and Carrothers on piano seem to be returning to the cities a bit more than they have in the past, inspired, I’m sure by the warm, enthusiastic reception they get at the Dunsmore Listening Room.

Larry McDonough Quartet CD Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The CD is entitled “Alice in Stonehenge and other AcoustElectric Adventures” and features the quartet: Larry McDonough, piano, compositions, and vocals; Richard Terrill, saxes and original poetry; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums, with special guest, Steve Kenny, flumpet. The title tracks of the 2 volume CD (one is acoustic, the other is electric) are mash-ups of McDonough’s take on Bill Evans’ “Alice in Wonderland” and his re-arrangement of Spinal Tap’s “Stonehenge.”

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, as comprehensive calendar of jazz events as you’ll find

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Sept 27

Junior Watson and Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  “Left Coast” Blues from Harpist Mitch Kaschmar, who’s been around for a few decades, but didn’t make a splash until his 2005 debut, Nickels and Dimes, on Delta Groove Records. Since then he’s delivered a few more solid albums featuring his sometimes overdriven harp, courtesy of Little Walter’s influence, along with the fleet fingering and flexibility that he learned from William Clarke.  Junior Watson is a fine guitarist with whom Twin Citizens may be more familiar, as he’s visited us numerous times and in the past has played with the late Lynwood Slim. However, it’s ten years since the two have played in MN, so expect a hearty party. Tune in and head to the 331 Club if you like what you hear. If you can’t make it tonight, you’ve got another chance on Friday (see below).

Salsa del Soul @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12) This nine-piece band plays music from through the Latin regions of the Caribbean. With songs that range from Cha-Chas, to Timba, and of course, Salsa, they bring out lots and lots of dancers

Thursday, Sept 28

Black Uhuru @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minnapolis. 8pm ($25 Advance/$30 Door) Derrick “Duckie” Simpson the “Gong Gong Gullie” is the founder and leader for reggae’s Black Uhuru, and though other members of the trio have come and gone, he has managed to keep the group, and it’s distinctive sound, going for almost 50 years now. Aside from Bob Marley, Black Uhuru has the highest record sales in reggae, with14 full length albums, 7 instrumental dub albums, and 4 live albums

DL Cajun Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) With Louisiana Rhythms no longer broadcasting on KFAI, local fans of Southwest Louisiana music have to depend on liver performances by resident and visiting artists. Tonight such fans can spin, twirl, and two-step to Twin Cities favorites, the DL Cajun Band, purveyors of traditional Cajun music: Dough Lohman, guitar; Shawn Glidden, accordion; Marie Stier, fiddle; and Dawn Doering, triangle & snare.

Friday, September 29

Mitch Kashmar & Junior Watson @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) As long as they’re here, Kashmar & Watson are playing a few other gigs in the area, including this one at Wilebski’s.  Opening is the Paul Barry Blues Band with Lila Ammons.

Saturday, Sept 30

Annie Mack @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Vocalist Annie Mack has been tearing up the blues scene in town for a number of years, singing with other bands as well as her own. She is, however, more than a blues singer, as Living Blues Magazine put it, “In a blues world overrun with bad-mama posturing on one hand and hoochie-mama silliness on the other, it’s refreshing to hear a lyricist with deeper ideas on her mind.” Opening is the genre-bending duo The Salt Vine, featuring Jen Bluhm on vocals and ukelele; and Charles Jolly on guitar.

Mungion & Soap @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) Chicago-based jam band Mungion plays highly danceable rock. Minneapolis’ own Soap melds psychedelic funk (is there such a thing?) with danceable rock. Think in terms of a combination of Led Zeppelin and P.Funk.

Silvertones @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) When I just want to dance to songs of the 60s, I go out to hear the Silvertones, who are equally at home playing the music of The Ronettes as they are the music of Steppenwolf.

Sunday, Oct 1

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) With the advent of Autumn, the members of Corpse Reviver once again take the afternoon stage at the 331 Club to play music from the classic Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. Members include: Mikkel Beckman, percussion; Jillian Rae, fiddle, and oftentimes, special guests.

Sunday, Monday, Oct 1,2

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

In the meantime you can find a fairly comprehensive list of links to venues that present Jazz, Blues, & Roots at this page on my website: Be aware that venues change their music policies often enough that it’s hard to stay current. For a quick look at what’s happening around town check out: The Minnesota Blues Society: and the City Pages Concert Calendar:

TC Jazz Fest and More: 6.21 – 6.27

June 21, 2017

Greetings everyone;

It’s the big weekend for jazz fans as the Twin Cities Jazz Festival takes place from Thursday through Saturday. Great headliners and about 300 resident artists will be appearing on stages all over town. Besides Mears Park, Rice Park, and the Union Depot, downtown venues include the Black Dog Cafe, Golden’s Deli, the Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), the Hat Trick Lounge, The Amsterdam, and others. Don’t forget the piano-centric acts at Vieux Carré, with its late night jam, and the stage in the tpt building featuring vocalists all weekend. There are also performances at venues outside of downtown at venues like the Como Dockside and the Episcopal homes. I’ve got the link to the schedule below. Fans of blues and roots also have reasons to be happy, as I’ve listed. Remember, music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, June 21

Lee Engele @ The Merriam Park Library, 1831 Marshall Ave, Saint Paul. 6pm – 7pm (Free) A preview gig for the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. Vocalist Engele has a particularly good way with acoustic swing aka gypsy jazz, though she handles standards and the occasional bossa nova with elegance and ease, especially with such stellar accompaniment as Reynold Philipsek on guitar and Matt Senjem on bass. .

Lindsay Pedalty Trio @ The Green Lantern (Public Restaurant), Saint Paul. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Vocalist Pedalty’s voice has just a bit of an edge, which she often uses to give a slyly sardonic reading to the Great American Songbook, though she’s adept at pop as well. She’ll be accompanied by her dad Bruce, a veteran of the Senders, Mojo Buford, and several area big bands, as well as Gary Miller on bass.

Christian Sands @ The Dakota, Minneapolls. 7pm ($20) Sands is an up and coming pianist who has already arrived in some sense. He’s been a key member of Christian McBride’s Trio for a number of years, was nominated for five Grammys, and was mentored by pianist Billy Taylor. He recently released his debut recording, Reach.

JT Bates Grain Trio @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul 8:00pm ($6) Get your B3 organ fix as drummer Bates brings Kevin Gasonguey, B3, and Zacc Harris, guitar, to the basement club. Things will be cookin!

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, June 22, 23, 24

Twin Cities Jazz Festival  @ Saint Paul locations. (Free) It’s about the most anticipated event of the year for area jazz fans, though fans of R&B, funk, and world music also get to hear some of their favorite bands for free. You can find the schedule here. Needless to say, headliners Anat Cohen, Terrance Blanchard, McCoy, and others are well worth your while, but get to Mears Park early to also hear folks like Emmet Cohen, Bobby Lyle, and our own Eric Kamau Gravatt and Source Code in opening slots. The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education Youth Showcase at Union Depot has been expanded to both Friday and Saturday, with the McNally Smith Vocal Ensemble headlining on Friday, and the Dakota Combo headlining on Saturday.

Friday, Saturday, June 23, 24

Django Festival All Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Honoring the “hot jazz” (aka gypsy jazz) of Django Rheinhardt, this sextet brings their own creativity to the swinging style. Author and critic Will Friedwald, said of them, “the collective talent pool on the bandstand is larger than the Arc de Triomphe.”

Sunday, June 25

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson @ The Church of Saint Albert, East 29th Street & 32 Ave, Minneapolis. 1pm – 3pm ($20) Part of a monthly music series examining the music of the 20, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Today it’s the music of the 1930s. Both vocalist Hixson and pianist Carlson excel at this sort of thing.

Zacc Harris Trio @ The Riverview Wine Bar, Minneapolis. 7:30pm – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) If you aren’t quite ready to give up the spirit of the jazz fest, you can continue your jazz jones with the ever-inventive guitarist Zacc Harris and his trio.

Monday, June 26

Ashen Fir @ Jazz Central, Minnapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Cellist Greg Byers leads this quartet: Jack Barrett, keys; Charlie Bruber, bass; and Pete Quirsfeld, drums.

Tuesday, June 27

Richard Johnson Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15 – $45/wDinner) Pianist Johnson lived in the Twin Cities for a few years, entertaining us with his lovely playing. Then he became the Musical Director for some high-end hotels in the Middle East, where he’s been playing a booking jazz. He’s been a member of Wynton Marsalis’ Septet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, and has also been a member of the groups of Russel Malone and Irvin Mayfield. He has a unique program for 7-17 year olds called Reach afar, to educate them about elements of jazz in hip-hop.

Tuesday, Wednesday, June 27, 28

Lisa Fischer & Grand Baton @The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($40, $50, $60) Fischer was the stand-out performer in the documentary 20 Feet From Stardom, about background singers. Until the last year or so she was on every Rolling Stones tour since 1989 and has also toured with Sting, Luther Vandross, Tina Tuner, and Nine Inch Nails. In performance, Fischer takes well known pop/rock songs and completely makes them her own, using her supple voice to bring new meaning to them. She’s performed here about twice a year in the last three years and her shows often sell out, or come close to it. Be forewarned.

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, June 21

Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ the Northurp Auditorium Plaza, U of MN, Minneapolis. Noon (Free) Grab a baguette, some cheese and fruit, and if you keep it hidden, perhaps a bottle of wine, and have a picnic while enjoying the music of this “bongos and berets” group, playing French musettes, a cumbia or two, and some old standards.

Cooker John Band on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Guitarist Cooker John learned to fingerpick from Artie Traum in NYC during the folk boom of the 60s. Since then he’s traveled the country, has played in numerous bands, and for the past few decades has played solo, or with one or two others. I recall hearing about him playing the Midwest back in the 80s. Tonight he’ll be accompanied by Randall Webb, Ben Kaplan, and John Vizard. Listen in and head over to the 331 Club if you want to hear more.

Paul Bergen & the Astronauts of Rhythm & Sound @ The Hook & Ladder, Minnapolis. 7pm (No cover) Honky-tonkin’ swamp country blues from members of the Hillbilly Voodoo Dolls, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Curtss A’ band and others. This is part of a June residency that takes place in H&L’s lounge.

Jillian Rae & Hannah von der Hoff @ The Aster Cafe, Minnapolis. 8pm ($6) Fiddler/singer/songwriter Jillian Rae has a Wednesday night June residency at the Aster, bringing her band along to help while she sings her own originals as well as some tasty covers. Tonight she has guitarist/singer/songwriter Hannah von der Hoff along for the ride. Here’s Hannah!

Thursday, June 22

Mikkel Beckmen w/Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Washboard percussionist Beckmen has slide guitar master Jeff Ray as his guest at this after work gig.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) Soul, R&B, and ballads from a master vocalist.

Jonatha Brooke @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) Brooke has released nine albums of literate adult pop and two live discs, all of which were well received by critics if not exactly big sellers, and has used crowd funding on her last two albums. Though born in Boston, and having lived in Los Angeles and New York, Brooke relocated to Minneapolis last year, home to her husband/manager. She’s happy with the move, and has been having fun calling on resident talent to fill her bands here. Tonight, she’ll be accompanied by Kevin Gastonguay on keys; Jeff Bailey, bass; Joey van Phillips, drums; Aby Wolf, vocals; Rebecca Arons, cello; and Sean Driscoll, guitar.

Friday, June 23

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved seat in front) He was known as Wee Willie Walker during the 60s and 70s Soul Explosion, and still goes by that name on his website, but the name doesn’t account for his sonorous voice, with a bit a whiskey gravel to it, and an interpretive ability that defines soul.

Charlie Parr @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) It’s nine months since this blues vagabond opened the H&L, so apparently it’s time to have him back. Matt Arthur and the Bratlanders open.

Saturday, June 24

Big George Jackson @ Big Daddy’s Barbecue, Saint Paul. 4pm (Free) The ribs at Big Daddy’s will get an extra helping of funky soulfulness as the big-voiced blues belter Big George Jackson performs as part of the the Twin Cities Jazz Festival.

Papa John Kolstand & the Perfect Phitts @ Merlins, Minneapolis. 8:30pm – 12:30am. Singer, raconteur, and guitarist Papa John Kolstad brings his wit, wisdom, and sense of fun to Merlins, the best neighborhood bar in Minneapolis. The Phitts are Bill Smith, harmonica and vocals; Gary Powell, National Steel and vocals; and Bill Grenke, bass. There is a reason they’re called the Perfect Phitts as they play seamlessly and perform some three part harmonies.

Sunday, June 25

The Funky United @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 3pm – 5pm (Tip Jar) I may be mistaken, but this appears to be a new group, though it’s members have been around for a while: Scott Glaser, bass; Dev Jana, guitar; Chris Kellick, keys; Tim Moran, drums; and Mick Sterling, vocals.. They play original funky soul.

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm – 6pm (Tip Jar) It’s the last Sunday of the month, so the Gang once again holds court at the oldest continually operating bar in MN. Today, Papa John Kolstad will be in the hot seat, playing with Bill Greinke, bass; Rena Haus and Dan Schwalbe, guitars; and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica.

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.

Fishing, Mother’s Day, and Music: 5.10 – 5.16

May 10, 2017

Plenty to do this week, even if you don’t land a big one.

This weekend is the Fishing Opener, as the Hula Poppers (not to be confused with the Hula Peppers, below) celebrated back in the 80s with their fun single, and many Minnesotans are anxious to get out on a lake and land a a big one. It’s also Mother’s Day, which means that some folks will have to choose between their first shot at fishing for the season and treating Mom to a nice Brunch or Dinner, of which there are plenty – I shouldn’t have to tell you about them. However, there is plenty of music on other days and evenings, including some outstanding visiting artists in jazz, roots, and world music, and our own bevy of talent to entertain you. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, May 10

Katz and Dogs @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Jive, jazz, and soul from Steve Katz, bass/vocals; Peter Vircks, sax; Matt Darling, trombone; Park Evans, guitar, and Ken Goldman on drums.

Zacc Harris Group @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) This is another performance in the Jazz at Studio Z series. Guitarist Harris will be accompanied by Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums. There will be a master class at 6pm for a high school music class field trip from Winnipeg, Canada, but it is open to the public.

Thursday, May 11, Sunday, May 14

Keiko Matsui @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. Thursday: 7pm ($35, $45), 9pm ($30, $40) Sunday: 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($30, $40) Japanese born pianist Keiko Matsui create contemporary jazz that blends Eastern and Western influences. Over the course of 27 albums in 32 years her music has ranged from smooth jazz to East/West fusion, to jazz fusion, worldbeats, and funky grooves. Her latest, 2016’s well-received Journey to the Heart, uses a Cuban rhythm section, Peruvian guitarist, a Venezuelan percussionist and strings to weave Afro-Cuban rhythms, Latin jazz, a bit of chamber jazz, and French cafe music into a seamless whole.

Thursday, May 11

Twin Cities Hot Club w/Naomi Uyama @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) The Twin Cities Hot Club was formed in 2004 and has been dazzling audiences ever since with their takes on acoustic swing, gypsy jazz, bossa novas, and the occasional musettes. Members are: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass. Tonight, however, they’re joined by vocalist Naomi Uyama  a NYC-based singer who also specializes in teaching the Lindy Hop and leads her own band.  Here’s the group playing for some very good dancers, including Uyama.

Mill City Jazz @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) It’s a monthly evening of cocktails and jazz, with a new round of gin cocktails for audience members to enjoy while listening to this group. Wish I knew who they were.

Friday, May 12

Steve Coleman @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($32) Alto saxophonist Steve Coleman grew up on the South Side of Chicago, where played in a James Brown cover band as a teenager, and later discovered Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane while in college. He was introduced to Von Freeman, Bunky Green, and Sonny Stitt, all of whom he credits with influencing his approach to music. Once he moved to NYC in the late 70s he began playing in big bands, and co-founded M-Base, a self-help organization for Black musicians. His spontaneous, fluid playing has been heard with Dave Holland’s group, as well as in his own Five Elements. Tonight he heads up a chamber-jazz hybrid of a group, to explore spontaneous composition and group improvisation. Members are: Matt Mitchell, piano; Greg Chudzik bass; Roman Filiu, tenor; Rane Moore; clarinet; Jonathan Finlayson, trumpet; Kristin Lee; Violin and Jen Shu, voice. Here he is in a completely different setting.

Jeremy Walker/Cedric Fuller & Global Sound @ Vieux Carré  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker, no cover), 9pm (Fuller, $10) Pianist Walker starts off the evening during the dinner hour, and then at 9pm Cedric Fuller and his band takes over: Cedric Fuller, drums; Ernest Bisong, violin; Steven Hobert, piano; Tomas Simpson, guitar; and Kenneth P. Garnier, bass. Here’s Fuller with a number of those players.

Saturday, May 13

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight starts out with young Jazz Ensembles from Walker West Music Academy at 7 pm. Open Story is on at 8:30. It a new group with well-known, and highly talented members: Dean Magraw, guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; and Jay Epstein, drums

Sunday, May 14

Despejada @ Zorongo Flameco Dance Studio, 3012 Minnehaha Ave S, Minneapolis. 5pm ($10) Pianist/accordionist Steven Hobert  who is always involved in interesting projects, has a new trio, featuring Krissy Bergmark on tabla; and Ben Abrahamson on flamenco guitar. As Steven describes the group, “We draw and blend inspiration from the traditions of Flamenco, Hindustani and Jazz.”

Monday, May 15

Dave Graf @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Trombonist Graf seems to spend quite a bit of time in various pit bands for musical shows at the Ordway and other venues about town. Make no mistake, however, he’s an accomplished jazz musician, always being called on to fill out a group and provide the burnished tone of his axe. Tonight he gets to play originals and original arrangements. As always, a jam session follows at 10pm. Here’s an example of Graf’s talent.

Karrin Allyson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 9pm ($30) Vocalist Karrin Allyson has long been a favorite of Twin Citizens, ever since she lived here for a few years in the 90s. After thirteen albums, and four Grammy nominations during her time with Concord Records, she has moved on to Motema, another important jazz imprint, where she received a 2016 Grammy nomination for Many A New Day, an album of Rogers and Hammerstein songs. For this visit, her show is entitled Allyson Sings Allison, as in Mose Allison. She has often included one of Mose’s tunes in her albums and shows, and is putting together a whole album of his songs. Luckily, we get a preview. Here she is doing one of Allison’s classics.

Monday, Tuesday, May 15, 16

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner), 8:30pm ($12) Drummer Dave King unites once again with pianist Bill Carrothers, and bassist Billy Peterson for an evening of exquisite music. King of course, is well known for his work with The Bad Plus, Happy Apple, and countless other bands. Carrothers is an outside-the-box improviser, which isn’t to say he plays “free jazz” but that his playing always takes unexpected, and often delightful turns. Peterson is simply a monster bass player who has played or recorded with BB King, Leo Kottke, and Les Paul, among others. His 20+ years on the road with rocker Steve Miller didn’t affect his ability to play inside, outside, and in the pocket – just hear his work with Ben Sidran, Bob Rockwell, or this trio.

Tuesday, Wednesday, May 16, 17

Marcus Roberts Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($25, $35) Pianist Roberts, who has been blind since he was about 5 years old, is a virtuosic player who played with Wynton Marsalis as well as with large symphonies. He founded his trio in 1995, based on the philosophy that bass, drums, and piano are all featured equally. Roberts recorded output includes solos, duets, and trio arrangements of jazz standards, original suites, and original arrangements for large ensembles, and symphonies.

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, May 10

Siama’s Afrobilly Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Siama Matsuzugidi is an African guitarist who  has lived in Uganda, Kenya, Dubai and Japan and has performed with some of the biggest names in soukous, playing on hundreds of recordings. In 2014 he received a McKnight Fellowship, which allowed him to launch a solo career here in Minnesota. His Afrobilly Trio combines the singular sound of his cascading guitar lines with the rootsy percussion of Mikkel Beckmen (an in-demand accompanist to Charlie Parr, Corpse Reviver, and other performers), in addition to incorporating the vocals and percussion of Dallas Johnson. As usual, tune in and head over to the 331 if you want to hear more.

Hula Peppers @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) The music of the 1930s was often hopeful and light-hearted – a response to the Great Depression, when people had little money, and even less hope. The Hula Peppers specialize in the music of the 30s, and also throw in some music from the booming 20s, and an Hawaiian tune or two. It’s blues, swing and novelty songs from the golden age of 78s, delivered with sly winks and a generous helping of loving humor. The Peppers are Papa Gasket (Dan Newton) on accordion; with Tiny Gene Pool on Hawaiian guitar; Mysterious Mo, ukulele and saw; Professor Wheat, guitar; Lotta Miles, ukulele; and Rock Bottom, bass.

Wednesday, Thursday, May 10, 11

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. (No Cover, but $10 for a reserved table) If you’ve not heard this rowdy, sassy singer of guitar-less blues, here’s a great opportunity, and Davina and the band will undoubtedly fill the place. The Vagabonds are a brassy group that’s equal to Davina’s strength as a singer and composer.

Friday, May 12

Trailer Trash @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($10?) The Blues Saloon becomes Honky-Tonk Heaven, as these purveyors of traditional country music will fill the dance floor with rockabilly, honky-tonk, and old time rock n’ roll, all perfect for swing dancing, or free-form dancing, whatever you choose. Trailer Trash has been at it for over 22 years now, so they’ll easily fill the commodious dance floor at the Blues Saloon.

Amy Helm & Cindy Cashdollar @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($33 – $38) Singer/songwriter Helm is the daughter of Levon Helm, of The Band, and Libby Titus, writer of Love Has No Pride. When she appeared with her Dad at the Fitzgerald Theater some years back, she was already a formidable vocalist. She’ll have another formidable artist in her group – Cindy Cashdollar  the Austin-based dobro and steel-guitarist who as worked with Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Dave Alvin, Marcia Ball, Leon Redbone, and others. In 2011 Cashdollar became the first female inducted into the Texas Stel Guitar Hall of Fame, and was then inducted into the Texas Music Hall of Fame in 2012. the husband/wife team of Fife and Drom open with their originals, as well as Delta and Chicago blues.

Steve Clarke & the Working Stiffs @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Steve Clarke and his roaring saxophone leads an 8-piece group through a heady mix of jump, jive, and swing, from Fats Waller and Count Basie to Louis Jordan, Bill Haley, and Elvis Presley. You’ll end up either snapping your fingers or cutting the rug on the Eagles wonderful dance floor.

Worldwide Discotheque Fifth Anniversary @ The Nomad Pub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) It’s already five years since this Pan-Tropical Vinyl Dance Party was started by Deejays Brian Engel and Steely Dan. It’s been mentioned in the New York Times not only for its infectious music that ranges from Afrobeat and Soukous to Calypso, Reggae, and Cumbia, but for its pan-generational and pan-gendered fans. Deejay Steely Dan, who moved back to his home state of Michigan last year, will be returning to the Twin Cities for this special evening. For examples of the kind of music you may hear, visit this site.  You can also check out this video, made back before the event outgrew Clubhouse Jaeger.

Saturday, May 13

Cariba Days Film & Music Fest @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 2pm – Midnight ($15) The day starts with a free film La Vie Est Belle, featuring guitarist Papa Wembe, and continues (with paid admittance) with Pimento & Hot Pepper, a Jamaican film about Mento music at 4pm, an 11 minute short at 5:30 on life in Pinnacle Jamaica, and then at 6:15, a screening of Hip Hop Colony, a film from Kenya. The last two films will have a Q&A with the director of each after the screening. Music starts at 8:30 with the Soukous Fusion of Siama’s Afrobilly Trio, followed at 9:30 by the Afrobeat of Black Market Brass  and closing the night, the vintage Cuban sounds of Malamanya. Steady Rock Sound DJs will provide music between sets.

Saturday Salon: Dancing Keys @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) This afternoon’s “chamber concert in a cabaret setting” features one piano and four hands. Michael and Kyung Kim will be playing pieces from JS Bach; Mozart; Grieg; Brahms; and Ravel. Drinks and small plates are available until 4:30 pm, when the dinner menu takes over. Here is half of the duo.

Nikki Roux & Rich Rue/Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Blues Revue @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30 (Nikki & Rich, no cover), 9pm (All-Stars, $8) The Vieux’s practice of featuring a dinner hour performer and an evening performer can sometimes result in odd couplings of genres, but often results in worthy double-bills, such as this one that features the folk/rock and country blues of Nikki Roux & Rich Rue to start the evening, and Harp-master Hurricane Harold’s collection of some of the best blues players in town. The All-Star Blues Revue will have the place jumpin’ though they’ll also throw in a slow blues or two to let folks catch their breath.

Festival au Desert: Caravan of Peace @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25 Advance, $30 Door) The Ali Farka Toure Band and Terakaft bring the Desert Blues to the Twin Cities as part of The Festival au Desert, which has been banned from it’s homeland in Mali. Though Ali Farka Toure passed ten years ago, The Ali Farka Turi Band consists of musicians who traveled the world with him, including singer Afel Bocoum and master guitarist Mahmadou Kelly. Terakaft is a Tuareg band from Mali that combines Western high-tech with earthy African roots.

Sunday, May 14

Salsa Cafe @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Well, there’s not too much information about whether this includes a live band or a deejay. Suffice it to say, if you want to get your week started with some lively dancing, this is the place to be.

Left Lane Cruiser @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) Though the Roots, Rock, & Deep Blues Festival isn’t until July, the Hook & Ladder is already ramping things up with Left Lane Cruiser  area favorites since their appearance at the original Deep Blues Festival some years back. This high-energy, jet-fueled duo takes the Mississippi Hill Country Blues and growls and snarls it up with punk rock energy. Also on the bill: Liquor Beats Winter, a Mpls quartet that describes itself as the love child of The Dead Kennedys and Captain Beefheart, and the relatively new trio, Snarles Bukkakeski, with DJ Rock the Monkey providing between music between sets.

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.

Veteran and Emerging Artists: 4.26 – 5.2

April 26, 2017

At Twelve – Lizzie Wortham’s winning poster for the Saint Paul Art Crawl

Well, it’s Art Crawl Weekend in Saint Paul, and if you take part in any of it, you are bound to see dance, music, and spoken word performances at a number of the Art Crawl sites throughout town. For more info, go here. Of course, there are plenty of other chances to see and hear live music, some of which I’ve listed below. We have a number of visiting artists in both jazz and roots n’ blues, as well as performances from highly talented resident artists, some of whom are national stars in their own right. Regular readers will note that I’ve added a new feature, Early Alert, to highlight performances from the next week’s Wednesday and Thursday that require reservations. BTW, you can find addresses for most of these venues, as well as see videos of many of these artists by going to


Wednesday, April 26

Connie Evingson and Jon Webber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($20, $45 w/Dinner) Vocalist Evingson and pianist Webber will be celebrating the music of Ella Fitzgerald, since this week marks the 100th Anniversary of Fitzgerald’s birth. Saxophonist Dave Karr and bassist Gordy Johnson will be on hand as well. Here she is with a larger group.

The Jazz Image Through the Decades @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) Here’s an intriguing event for fans of the late broadcaster. The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project  helmed by Brad Bellows, has a vast archive of interviews Kammen conducted during more than 70 years in broadcasting. Once a month, Bellows brings out some of those interviews, along with associated recordings, and airs them at the Black Dog. Tonight, he’ll have Kammen’s interviews with a number of female artists, including such legends as Carmen McCrae, Abbey Lincoln, Dinah Washington, Betty Carter, and others. You can once again enjoy the sound of Kammen’s voice, while gaining some insight into the lives and musical philosophies of these artists.

Gary La Rue & His Rat Pack Band @ Mancini’s, Saint Pul. 7:30pm (No Cover) With its red booths and a dance floor, Mancini’s is a throwback to lounges of the 60s, making it a great place to hear LaRue and his Rat Pack Band do invoke Las Vegas with songs by Sinatra, Dean Martin, and their cronies.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 26, 27

Sisters of Swing: The Story of the Andrew Sisters @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) The Dakota is partnering with the History Theater to present the story of LaVerne, Maxene, and Patty, from Mound MN. The Andrew Sisters were the most popular female singing group of the first half of the 20th Century. It’s a production that’s been performed in over 30 cities around the country and the world.

Thursday, April 27

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Michael O’Brien Quartet. O’Brien is a Minnesota native who moved to the Big Apple some years back and has been playing and touring regularly ever since. The stand-up bassist is back visiting and is joined by Zacc Harris, guitar; Steve Kenny Flumpet; Greg Schute, drums. Here is O’Brien in a duo setting.

Matthew Rahaim and Jon Lion @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Here’s a very intriguing performance at a place that specializes in adventurous music. Rahaim is an associate professor of musicology and ethnomusicology at the U of MN, and is a vocalist who has been performing Hindustani music in both India and North America since 2000, though he also plays a few instruments and other kinds of singing. Jon Lion is a guitarist who has played the Kyber Pass many times, in a variety of configurations.

Huge If True @ Dayblock Brewing, 1103 Washington Avenue So, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Washington Avenue’s Dayblock Tap Room features jazz once a month. I’m unfamiliar with the players, so I believe this is a chance to hear a relatively new band in town: Michelle Mastrianni, Lead Vocals; Robert Hest, Keys; Rob Higgins, Bass/Vocals; Jack Sloan, Guitar; Elliott Bonner, Sax/Vocals; and Brice DeGrand, Drums.

Friday, April 28

Arne Fogel @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (No Cover) Fogel is a vocalist who is equally adept at performing the songs of Der Bingle and Ol Blue Eyes and the Great American Songbook. Hell’s Kitchen is a busy, and often noisy place, so you may want reservations if you want to be close to the stage or, you can sit at the bar.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) The Aces are back at the Vieux for a Friday night of traditional New Orleans jazz and brass band music. With a diverse repertoire that includes Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Bix Beiderbecke, and originals, they are a party band that will leave dancers sweaty and the rest of the audience uplifted. Here they are at the Eagles Club, another venue where they’re regulars.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Curator/producer Steve Kenny has been putting together this weekly series for over 140 perform ances thus far. He usually has a relatively new, or young band open, and then a veteran group at 8:30. Tonight, the Brian Handeland Quartet begins at 7pm with: Handeland, sax; Park Evans, guitar; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the A-list members of Bottomless Pit, with: Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxes; Tom Lewis, bass; and Eric Kamau Gravatt, drums

Bill Charlap Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30), 9pm ($20, $25) Charlap is one of the finest pianists of our time, with the ability to swing, and an imaginative approach that gets to the nub of a song. He’s recorded albums featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Leonard Bernstein, and George Gershwin, and has produced several concerts for Jazz at Lincoln Center, and an evening of George Gershwin’s music at the Hollywood Bowl. He and Tony Bennett received a Grammy for their 2015 release, The Silver Lining: The songs of Jerome Kern. His fine trio, which has been together for about 20 years, includes Peter Washington on bass, and the unrelated Kenny Washington on drums.

Sunday, April 30

Bruce Henry: Stevie Wonder Unplugged @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) Bruce Henry is the kind of singer who can tackle a Freddie Hubbard or John Coltrane tune and turn around and deliver some exquisite R&B. Tonight he’ll treat us to the songs of Stevie Wonder, which lately have been receiving deserved attention from jazz artists. He’ll be accompanied by Sean Turner, piano; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kevin Washington, drums.

Monday, May 1

Delfeayo Marsalis @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner) Marsalis is, of course, a member of the famed New Orleans musical family. He’s a trombonist, educator, producer, and arranger who’s released six CDs, all of which exhibit the warmth and imagination of his playing. Here’s a chance to hear him in the intimate, 80-seat “listening room” at Crooners. He’ll be accompanied by pianist Rick Carlson, bassist Steve Pikal, and drummer Nathan Norman.

Tuesday, May 2

O’Brien, Lomheim, & Epstein @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley, 7pm ($10, $35w/Dinner) If you didn’t catch former Twin Citizen O’Brien playing bass with a quartet this past Thursday (see above), you can catch him in a trio setting with two of the area’s finest musicians: pianist Chris Lomheim and drummer Jay Epstein. It’s a treat.

Early Alert

5.3 Regina Carter @ The Dakota

5.3, 5.4 Randy Brecker @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Roo

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, April 26

Curtis Blake on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harpmeister Curtis Blake stops by Harold’s House Party along with ace guitarist/drummer Jeremy Johnson, for some swingin’ blues. Tune in, and then head over to the 331 Club, where the two will play from 7-9pm.

Willie Murphy @ The Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Tip Jar) Veteran blues/R&B/rock n’ roller Murphy takes a solo turn at the Schooner, armed with nothing more than a guitar, keyboard, and songs that range from romantic doowop to rockin’ protest numbers. He’s not promising any guests, but you can never tell who may show up.

Thursday, April 27

Mikkel Beckmen & Jeff Ray @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 5pm – 7pm (Tip Jar) Percussionist-about-town Beckmen holds down a Thursday residency at the warm, friendly bar on University, bringing in a different guest each week. Today it’s the slide guitar master Jeff Ray, who often brings new life to traditional blues and surprises with bluesified rock covers.

Rena Haus @ Dusty’s, NE Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Singer/songwriter Haus has a sustainable farm in Saint Michael, where she supplies food to local groceries and finds inspiration for original songs. Together with her brother Bob on bass and the under-appreciated guitar virtuoso Ed Petche, she creates highly entertaining performances, whether singing tunes by the Allman Brothers, or humorous originals about relationships, farm animals, or the political and economic climate. If you can’t make it tonight, you can also catch her in the dinner hour atVieux Carré tomorrow, and for brunch at Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday.

Friday, April 28

Richie Furay @ The Dakota, Minneapolis 7pm, 9:30pm ($35, $40) This Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer helped bring country rock into our consciousness as a founding member of Buffalo Springfield, Poco and the Souther-Hillman-Furay Band. Furay then went on to form his own band. He’ll be playing songs from throughout his career, with an opening by his daughter, Jesse Furay Lynch, performing The Songs of Laurel Canyon.

Lowertown Classics @ Lowertown Lofts, 225 Kellogg Blvd East, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10 suggested Donation) It’s Art Crawl weekend in Saint Paul and Lowertown Classics has brought in German guitarist Nora Buschmann as the featured artist this weekend. Buschmann has won numerous competitions, and performed a great number of solo concerts at places like the Frankfurt and Nürnberg opera houses, the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn and NDR-Funkhaus Hannover, and has appeared with a number of orchestras in Germany. She has made radio recordings with the Norddeutscher Rundfunk and the Bayrischer Rundfunk, and is a regular performer at guitar festivals around the world. Buschmann will preceded by the McNally Smith Guitar Quartet, a group of four guitarists with varying backgrounds. Enter through the alley

Slovczech @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Eastern European folk-rock party music, just in case you want to get rejuvenated after touring countless artists studios during Art Crawl.

John Nemeth @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Nemeth is an ace harmonica player and an award-winning soul/blues vocalist currently based in Memphis, where his music fits in like the proverbial glove. Whether he’s singing the blues, or projecting the emotional release of soul music, fans of either style will find much to admire.

Friday, Saturday, April 28, 29

KFAI Celebration @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) It’s a Listener Appreciation Party and New Antenna Celebration to thank listener members for a pledge drive that helped the “little station that could” retire much of the costs of a new antenna. Friday features Jillian Rae, Boiled in Lead, The yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers and more, while Saturday’s stage will be occupied by Rank Strangers, C. Kostra, The Ronnie Buxtons and others. Both evenings will feature a Super Secret headliner that has yet to be announced.

Saturday, April 29

Saturday Salon: Sambas and Sonatinas @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The witty and charming Maria Jette hosts this weekly series that brings chamber music into a relaxed, cabaret style “listening room” where small plates and a full bar will be available during the concert. Today’s program, Sambas and Sonatinas, features music from Russia and the Americas, performed by Clea Galhano, recorder; Tom Rosenberg, cello; and Olg Levin, piano. The program includes selections from Aaron Copland, Leonard Bernstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Felix Mendelssohn, Astor Piazzola, and others.

4th Annual Pickin’ for Autism @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) Three folk and bluegrass bands will be playing to support Lionsgate Academy, a school dedicated to the education of students with autism spectrum disorders. The evening will feature music from Pert Near Pert (members of Pert Near Sandstone), and well as Luke Warm and the Cool Hands, and the Lowland Lakers.

Bossa Soul Trio @ Hennepin Steam Room, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) This weekly show can feature more than a trio, as various musicians are recruited to create Brazilian sounds, including sensuous sambas, Brazilian pop, bossa novas, and Latin Jazz. Both experienced and would-be dancers flock the small dance floor to sway to the bubbling rhythms.

Annie Mack & Joyann Parker @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Two of the area’s dynamic blues and R&B singers take to the stage at the tiny, but charming Aster. Both Joyann Parker, who starts at 9pm, and Annie Mack, 10 pm, write and perform compelling originals and gritty covers.

Tuesday, May 2

Joe Ely @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40) Songwriter/guitarist Ely plays outlaw country music, Americana, and Texas honky tonk . He was a member of the original Flatlanders and Los Super Seven, and sang backup for The Clash, recently winning The Americana Music Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Opener Jason Eady is a country singer with a direct approach to singing.

The Pines @ Hopkins Center of the Arts, Hopkins. 7pm ($25) Though now based out of the Twin Cities, The Pines’ Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt share a common musical language rooted in the songs and songwriters of their native Iowa. Each has a distinct voice and an ability to evoke the sparse, rural communities of the Great Plains with cinematic language. The combination of acoustic instruments, rich warm vocals, and an eye (and ear) for detail has helped them gain fans around the country. A social hour begins at 6pm, with the concert beginning at 7pm.

Early Alert

5.3 Kinky Friedman @ The Turf Club

5.4 Edgar Winter @ The Dakota


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.

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