Close to Home: 1.31-2.6

January 31, 2018

“Prince Night” on Nicollet Mall. Photo by Star Tribune.

Well the months of anticipation are behind us and we get to enjoy (or survive) the Super Bowl and its crowds, some of which can be seen in the photo from the Star Tribune on the right. While there are lots of music events featuring visiting and resident artists around town, which you can learn about here, the abundance of musical talent in our area can also be enjoyed in other, less crowded locations. Whether you’re a fan of the event, or to paraphrase former Mpls Mayor RT Rybeck, you feel like a bartender at the wedding of your ex who dumped you, you can still have your spirits lifted by enjoying live music from musicians who are performing close to home.



Wednesday, Jan 31

Fake Accent @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid StudentI D) Erik Fratzke, guitar; Nathan Hanson, sax; Cooper Doten, bass; Cory Healey, drums. Given that Wednesdays at Jazz Central are given over to experimental music, I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is a new group. Fratzke plays bass with Happy Apple, as well as guitar in a heavy metal band, and for other jazz projects. Hanson is known for playing “outside” but has also appeared ion the horn section of bigger bands. Healy has his Beautiful Sunshine Band, and can be found as a sideman in numerous gigs. Doten is an unknown for me. Should be an interesting evening.

Thursday, Feb 1

Arne Fogel & the Wolverines Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Here’s a group and vocalist that swings with the ease of a kid on a swing set and is as dependable as Big Ben.

Also: Davu Seru, Mankwe Ndosi, & Douglas Ewart @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul.9pm ($5)

Friday, Feb 2

Jake Baldwin Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Talented trumpeter Jake Baldwin seems to be playing everywhere these days, as a sideman and leading various groups, from a trio at the Lexington, to this quintet, which includes: Nelson Deveraux, sax; Joe Strachan, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Here’s Baldwin at the 2013 National Trumpet Competition, where he took 2nd place in the jazz solos division.

Bottomless Pit @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  8pm ($10) What do you get when you bring four excellent veteran musicians together? Well, if that quartet includes Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, sax; Tom Lewis, base, and the amazing Eric Kamau Gravatt on drums, you get a group with a virtuosic level of improvisation, making for an inspired evening of music.

Framework @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($10) Guitarist Chris Olsen, bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Jay Epstein were favorites at the old Artist’s Quarter, and no wonder, considering the high level of their playing.

Saturday, Feb 3

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Another in a long line of double bills that surprise and delight, starting at 7pm with the Steve Kenny Quartet: Kenny, trumpet; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ted Olsen, bass; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Then, at 8:30pm it’s the chamber jazz of Lulu’s Playground: Adam Meckler, trumpet; Steven Hobert, accordion; Cory Grossman, cello; and Ben Abrahamson, guitar. Here they arefron a few years ago.

Southside Aces, feat Butch Thompson @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Toe-tapping traditional New Orleans jazz of the Aces, augmented by the piano and clarinet of Butch Thompson.

Also: Pete Whitman Trio @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (TipJar)

Monday, Feb 5

Chris Bates’ Red5  @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($10) Bassist Bates gathers up some musical compatriots to play his original compositions. The include: JT Bates ,drums and cymbals; Thomas Nordlund, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, saxophone; Chris Thomson, saxophone; Jake Baldwin,  trumpet; and JC Sanford, trombone.

Tuesday, Feb 6

Fuzzy Math @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) Check out the Amsterdam’s bar and Dutch-inspired food, while listening to accessible jazz, featuring original compositions and arrangements from: Mark Vandermyde (composer / keys), Andrew Schwandt (sax), Haralds Bondaris (drums), Matt Peterson / Eric Graham (bass).

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, Jan 31

Boxstore Bird on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Americana, bluegrass, and storytelling from veteran Americana artist Drew Peterson, guitar and songs; and Mandy Fassett, fiddle, cello, and mandolin.

Willie Murphy’s Singer/Songwriter Showcase w/Rena Haus @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($10) Multi-instrumentalist and composer/vocalist Willie Murphy has moved his Singer/Songwriter series to the initimate confines of the Dunsmore Room, bringing in Rena Haus for the series debut in the listening room. Haus is a singer/songwriter with a strong bent for the blues, who writes songs that are funny, political (sometimes both), sensitive, and earthy. Here’s Rena with her trio.

Thursday, Feb 1

Nooky Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9:30pm ($15, $20, $25) If you can make it through the crowds, the swat teams, and the armored Humvees, you will be rewarded for your efforts with some modern R&B (with jazz influences) by this band which is making a name for itself throughout the Midwest,.

Javier Matos @ The Basement Bar, Minneapolis. (No Cover) If you haven’t been to the Basement Bar yet, tonight is a good time, as you’ll get to hear guitarist/vocalist Matos, an outstanding guitar-slinger who can swing the blues and plays searing slide guitar.

Also: The Surfer Bowl w/The Surf Riders @ Dayblock Brewing, Minneapolis.9pm (No Cover) Get your fill of twang, reverb, and echo.

Friday, Feb 2

Pat Donahue & Richard Kriehn @ The 318 Cafe, Excelsior. 8pm ($20) Even if you don’t live in the western suburbs, it’s easily worth the drive to hear ace fingerpicker Donahue with his Prairie Home Companion band-mate, mandolinist Richard Kriehn in this very small, 40 seat venue.

The Butanes @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Stepping out from the dark stage of Shaw’s on Thursday nights, the Twin cities’ best blues band will light up the stage for the Friday night crowd in the lounge at Crooners.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 2, 3

26th Annual Songs of Freedom @ The Cabooze, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($18 Advance, $25 Door) The Songs of Bob Marley, with The International Reggae All Stars, with special guest Innocent. Here they are at the 2011 celebration.

Saturday, Feb 3

Maurice Jacox Trio @ The Normandy Kitchen, Minneapolis. (No Cover) Somewhat on the downton edge of Superbowl Madness, where there might, just might be some on-street parking, the Normandy Kitchen will provide respite in the form of Maurice Jacox, vocals, sax, & flute, Thomas West, keys; and in-demand drummer Rob Stupka. Unfortunately, free parking in the Normandale’s lot will not be available, but that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the soulful sounds of Jacox and his band-mates.

Bill Patten Trio @ Dusty’s, Minneapolis. 9:45pm (Tip Jar) Fuzzed-up rock’ roll versions of the Great American Songbook as well as originals.

Sunday, Feb 4

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3-5pm (Tip Jar) Before sitting down to see the big game, check out msongs from the Harry Smith Anthology of Music, as performed by Corpse Reviver: Mikkel Beckman, percussion, Jillian Rae, fiddle and vocals; and Adam Kiesling, guitar, banjo, and vocals.

Dan Chouinard w/Maria Jette @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($10, $15) Superbowl Sunday is often a good day for shopping if you aren’t a football fan, since Target and other big box stores are spookily empty during the game. If you don’t want to go shopping, however, you can catch pianist Dan Chouinard and vocalist Maria Jette as they perform songs written and/or performed by artists who have birthdays this month.

Also: The Combo @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) Stop by after the game to celebrate, commiserate, or to simply enjoy great dance music.

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.

Winter Music: 1.24 – 1.30

January 24, 2018

Ice Palace image from The Pioneer Press/

Winter Carnival is upon us, and Super Bowl Week starts on Sunday, both of which bring a plethora of special events and concerts. A schedule of Winter Carnival events, including free concerts, can be found here. Super bowl concerts range from fee outdoor concerts to events with stratospheric prices, as you can find here. However, there are other musical events worth your while, as I’ve noted below. Remember: Music Lifts the Spirit!


Wednesday, Jan 24

The Leigh Kammen Legacy Project @ the Black Dog, Saint Paul. Each month, Brad Bellows of the LKLP brings interviews conducted by the late broadcaster to the Black Dog, along with appropriate visuals. Tonight’s interviews include a bunch of “Greatest Hits” with jazz masters Bill Evans, Freddie Hubbard, Bob Brookmeyer, Roy Haynes, Carmen McRae, Phil Woods, and more.

Thursday, Jan 25

Jiselle McCollem @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Tonight’s edition of Vocal Jazz Night features Ms McCollum, a young actress who will be performing jazz standards with the help of Bob Beahen, Matthew Callope, Joe Twohy, and Shannon van der Reck.

Friday, Jan 26

Jeremy Siskind Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9pm ($15) Pianist, composer and educator Siskind is in town to lead a piano workshop for high school students, and thus is appearing tonight with brothers Chris Bates on bass and JT Bates on drums. Besides having three CDs of his own, Siskind has appeared as the pianist on Nancy Harms’ CD Ellington At Night, as well as with her a couple of times at area house concert. He’s a leader in the in-home concert movement, having played in over 100 homes in twenty-five states. He’s also the Artistic Director for the American Jazz Piano competition and currently teaches at Fullerton College in Southern California.

Phil Hey Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) One of the best jazz units in the Twin Cities, drummer Phil Hey and his group – Phil Aaron, piano; Dave Hadgedorn, vibes; and Tom Lewis, bass – revel in playing music by Ornette Coleman, Chick Corea and other masters of jazz.

Saturday, Jan 27

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening act at 7pm is the Pete Snell Trio: Pete Snell, tenor; Tom Lewis, bass; Phil Aaron, piano. At 8:30pm a new version of the Bryan Nichols Quintet takes the stage: Bryan Nichols, piano; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Jeff Bailey, bass; Davu Seru, drums.

Erin Livingston Duo @ The Saint Paul Hotel Lobby Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Livingston is a vocalist who has appeared with the Parisota Hot Club and can sing jazz, blues, and R&B. She’ll be joined by Marc Ziegenhagen on piano.

Minnesota Hard Bop Collective: Hank Mobley, Part 2 @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (tip jar) Hard bop saxophonist Hank Mobley create over one hundred records during his lifetime, so this sextet is digging deep to interpret some of his music.

Prohibition Swing Night @ the Hook & Ladder, Minneaplis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The Mississippi Hot Club and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League will be presenting Prohibition-era Swing and Gypsy Jazz for your dancing pleasure. There will even be free swing dance lessons at 8:30, before the music starts at 9pm. The Mississippi Hot Club expands the boundaries of Gypsy Jazz, or Jazz Manouche as it’s also known, by incorporating music that ranges from European folk music, to Nintendo anthems and science fiction themes. The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperanhce League is a fun quartet that brings the hot rhythms of Prohibition into the 21st Century. Here they are.

Sunday, Jan 28

2018 Winter Jazz Fest @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 1pm – Closing ($40 General Admission, $125 VIP) This year’s Winter Jazz Fest is smaller than in the past, but much more intimate, taking place on only two stages. The Dunsmore Room will be emptied of tables to allow more seating for performances by Connie Evingson, the Jake Baldwin Quartet, and headliner Regina Carter with pianist Xavier Davis. Meanwhile, the lounge stage will feature the Travis Anderson Trio: Two Youth Groups from the Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education; Judi Vinar; the ACME Jazz Company & Butch Miles; and a jam session. Complete schedule, line-up and more information can be found here. I did an interview with Ms Carter in 2015 which you can read here. Here’s she is being interviewed and doing a song from her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

Tuesday, Jan 30

Davu Seru’s Dead King Mother Listening Session @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) This is a preview and discussion of a new work by Davu Seru about a long forgotten event in Twin Cities Civil Rights history. Seru is an internationally known free-jazz drummer who regularly performs jazz, rock and free improvisational music in a variety of group settings, one of which is located in France, and some of which he leads. Dead King Mother will receive its premier at Studio Z in late February.

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, Jan 24

Mitch Kashmar on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) California Blues from Harpist Mitch has been around for a few decades, delivering “Left Coast” blues influenced by Little Walter and William Clarke. Listen to his fleet fingering on Harold’s House Party, and then head to the 331 Club to hear him backed by the House Party All-Stars: Jeremy Johnson, Bill Black, and Tim Wick.

Al Jardine @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($65, $70, $75) Al Jardine, a founding member of the fabled Beach Boys, joins the trend of rock artists performing solo and in small groups while sharing stories about their careers. The Beach Boys had 80 charting hits around the world, 36 Top 40 hits in the US, and four number one hits. He’ll be accompanied by his son Matt, who does the Brian Wilson falsetto parts quite handily, and will tell the tale of “America’s Band,” from their first hit Surfin’ on through Don’t Worry Baby, Little Duece CoupeHelp Me RhondaGod Only Knows and more, to Jardine’s recent solo release, A Postcard from California. Jardine does an especially illuminating demonstration of how Wilson’s arrangement of Sloop John B took it from a folk song to a pop masterpiece. This is the first stop on this new approach to touring, so it’s a bit rough in presentation, but still plenty of fun, fun, fun.

Thursday, Jan 25

Mudbug Zydeco @ The Eagles Club, #34, Minneapolis 8pm ($7) I may be mistaken, but I believe this is a new group, created by accordionist Dan Newton after the demise of the Rockin ‘ Pinecones. They play swamp pop and music inspired by zydeco pioneer Clifton Chenier. Other members of the group are: Eric Mohring, fiddle; Dehl Gallagher, drums; and Karl Smelker, bass.

Cadillac Kolstad & Friends @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Rockabilly, Boogie Woogie, and classic R&B music from rootsy Pianist Kolstad, who recently returned from another of his successful tours of Germany. The piano pounder will be joined by his Friends on upright bass, drums, and sax.

The Wailers @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($30 Advance, $35 Door) The legendary Wailers backed Bob Marley, selling over 250 million recordings world wide. Founder Aston “Familyman” Barrettt is joined by original Wailers guitars Junior Marvin and Donald Kinsey, along with the son of co-founder Carlton Barrett’s nephew Aston Barrett Jr on drums. Lead vocals are by Joshua David Barrett, backed by Shemna McGregor, daughter of Judy Mowatt. Opening is LaCrosse Wisconsin’s Tugg, whose reggae/ska albums have debuted in the top 50 of the iuTunes Reggae Chart. It will be an Irie night.

Also: Butanes Anniversary Party @ Shaw’s, NE Minneapolis. 8:30pm (Tip Jar) Celebrating 8 years at Shaw’s.


Friday, Jan 26

Willie Murphy and Friends @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($7 Advance, $20 Door) Get ready to dance as guitarist/pianist/vocalist/composer Murphy brings his original songs and unique, danceable arrangements of classic R&B and Rock n’ Roll to the Hook’s dance floor. Opening are the up and coming roots duo Winona Forever, and The Jon Rodine Band playing groove-oriented Rock n’ Roll and country soul.

Friday, Saturday, Jan 26, 27

Drone Not Drones: 5th Annual 28 Hour Drone @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm Friday – 11pm Saturday ($20 Advance, $30 Door) A full 28 hours of non-stop music featuring a minimalist approach that emphasizes sustained and repeated sounds. Bring a pillow or blanket to make yourself comfortable and stay the night. Over 50 bands and musicians are taking part, with more to be announced. A few of the artists are: Nels Cline, Low (full band), Loscil, Ka Baird and Louise Bock (of Spires That In the Sunset Rise), Doug McCombs (Tortoise/Brokeback), Devil’s Flying Machine (Charlie Parr), Savage Aural Hotbed, International Novelty GamelanDeVon Dvrg Gray, and many, many, more. Also broadcast on KFAI (90.3 and 106.7FM) and at Here’s Low, one of the performing artists,  at Rock the Garden.

Saturday, Jan 27

Fathom Lane & Jillian Rae @ The Aster Cafe River Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance, $15 Door) With three critically acclaimed albums to their credit, Fathom Lane, led by Michael Ferrier, has created a sound that is at once familiar, but undefineable, with touches of Gram Parson, the Velvet Underground and Tom Petty, coursing through his songs. Though his musical touchstones are historical, the sound is contemporary. Members of Fathom Lane are: Ferrier, vocals, guitar, Rhodes, and percussion; Ashleigh Still, vocals and piano; Matt Patrick, electric guitar; Shane Akers, lap steel and dobro; Paul Boblett, bass; and Alex Young, drums and percussion. Opening is the always lively pop/rock violinist/singer songwriter Jillian Rae.

Eric Gales Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) Left-handed guitarist Gales plays his axe upside down, which sometimes leads to comparisons with Jimi Hendrix. Gales is his own man, however, with a blues-rock sound that draws on Albert King as well as Eric Johnson. He’s been a well-regarded guitarist ever since being named Best New Talent by Guitar World Magazine, after his debut album in 1991 at the age of 16. He’s currently touring behind a new album Middle of the Road, featuring songs by Leon Russell, Raphel Saddiq, Lauryn Hill and his originals. Here’s a sample of that album.

Sunday, January 28

Jellybean Johnson w/Members of the Time @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 8pm (?), ($?) Super Bowl week has a number of Prince-themed events taking place, from Nicollet Mall to the Dakota, to the Minnesota Music Cafe, in which guitarist Jellybean Johnson will be joined by members of the Time. Opening is Freakjuice, whose FaceBook page states they are “pushing the boundaries of traditional rock music by infusing jazz, hip-hop, reggae, blues and the art of improvisation into a new, fresh and invigorating wall of sound.” Here’s Jellybean, playing in the low-lit confines of Shaws.

Monday, Tuesday, Jan 29, 30

Davell Crawford @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm Pianist Crawford, who deserves more attention, is often called the Prince of New Orleans. He certainly comes from a royal musical background, as his grandfather was guitarist Sugarboy Crawford, the first artist to record Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko), and he is the godson of Roberta Flack. As a result, Crawford has absorbed traditional jazz, gospel, and New Orleans funk and R&B, essentially becoming the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition.

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.

Shows of Note: 8.20 – 9.10

August 18, 2017

Greetings and Salutations;

Design by Tim Nyberg, based on my photo

I’ve been heartened by the kind words and concern from everyone I’ve met while getting out the last few weeks. As an update, I can report that my health continues to improve. I’ve been spending much time with my own kind of “music therapy,” playing whole albums from start to finish and letting the music wash over me and improve my sense of well-being.

I realize I’m not being very consistent in releasing these occasional newsletters, but they’re coming as I have the time to put them together. So… here you are with some notable shows in the next few weeks, including links to find free shows (once you pay admission) at the State Fair. BTW, Thanks to Tim Nyberg for the photo. Get out and enjoy music, because I can certainly attest – Music Lifts the Spirit.


Sunday, Monday, August 20, 21

Lee Konitz & Dan Teper @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5pm & 7pm Sunday, 7pm & 9pm Monday ($30, $55w/Dinner) Alto saxophonist Konitz was part of Miles Davis’ ground-breaking Birth of the Cool Sessions in the late 40s, and has successfully performed in a wide variety of jazz styles since then, including bebop, cool jazz, and avant-garde jazz. He was an influence on both Paul Desmond & Art Pepper. Pianist-composer Dan Teper’s 2011 album Goldberg Variations/Variations received high praise from both the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. As a composer, he received a Charles Ives Fellowship form the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  He’s worked extensively with Konitz, so this evening should demonstrate the unique communication between the two.

Monday, August 21

Steven Hobert Quartet @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The imaginative pianist performs with a number of different configurations  this one is a quartet with Pete Whitman, sax; Yohannes Tona, bass; and LA Buckner on drums. Special guest tonight is the tasteful guitarist John Penny. This clarity of this video isn’t great (duh!) but you can get an idea of what the quartet sounds like.

Sunday August 27

Aurora Nealand & Tom McDermott @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45w/Dinner) Here’s an evening of traditional New Orleans Jazz, helmed by saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer Nealand, who served in the Panorama Jazz Band, VaVaVoom, and the New Orleans Moonshiners before forming her own Traditional Jazz Band – the Royal Roses. She also is the leader/frontwoman for the rackabillly band Rory Dander and the Danger Dangers, and was seen as herself in Treme. McDermott moved to New Orleans in 1984 after earning a Masters Degree in Muisc and writing music journalism for his home town morning newspaper in Saint Louis. He has since assimilated and made his own the unique styles of New Orleans.

Javier Santiago, featuring Proper-T @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7pm ($8) Pianist Santiago has been playing quite a bit in San Francisco of late, but continues to play around town. He is a prolific composer, as well as a teacher, arranger, and producer, performing an eclectic blend of Jazz, R&B, Rock, Hip Hop and everything in between. Vocalist Proper-T has performed all over town, most recently as a member of ZuluZulu and supporting Minneapolis artists such as Tickle Torture and Caroline Smith.

Wednesday, August 30

Lonnie Smith @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) An authentic master of the B3 organ, Smith may be the last of the first generation of soul-jazz B3 artists, having been at it for 50 years. He’s been recorded on over 70 albums, and has covered everyone from the Beatles and Sylistics, to the Eurythmics, including tribute albums to Hendrix, Coltrane, and Beck! This year he received the NEA Jazz Masters Award.

Friday, September 1

Henry Butler’s Jambalaya Band @ The Dakota, Minnapolis. 7pm $30, $35), 9pm ($25, $30) Pianist Butler is considered one of the best exponents of New Orleans Jazz and Blues piano tradition, building not the work of Professor Longhair, James Booker, Fats Domino, and Allen Toussaint. His music is an amalgam of all the musics that can be found in New Orleans – jazz, classical, Caribbean, blues, pop, and R&B. For fans of New Orleans music, this is a must-see performance.

September 9

Selby Avenue Jazz Festival, Selby & Milton, Saint Paul. Noon – 8pm (Free) This comfy neighborhood festival always features Twin Cities artists with a national touring artist as the headliner. This year’s headliner is Motor Soul Collective, a nine-piece group (featuring three vocalists) whose members have worked with folks like Gladys Knight, Luther Vandross, Brian McKnight, Toni Braxton, Aaron Copeland, Sheila E, and the Sounds of Blackness, among others. Also on hand is the New Sound Underground, Salsa del Sol, Walker West’s Legends of Jazz, and the Selby Avenue Brass Band. Of course there will be the usual collection of food and crafts to help you through the day.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/vocalist Lynch and her fellows – Chris Beatty, guitar; Steve Wagner, trumpet; Michael Nelson, trombone; and Ken Chastain, drums – are beginning a nine month residency at the Aster on the second Saturday of each month. Regular readers know I like this group quite a bit. The swing, and create fun versions of songs from the 30s through the 50s – a time when cocktails were new, and there was no question that dancing was part of the evening. Lynch also relates each song to what was happening at the time they were first released. The Aster has a small (almost non-existent) dance floor, which doesn’t seem to stop 4-6 couples from squeezing together to swing dance. BTW, I’ll have Lynch and her Fellows on my show on the 9th, so tune in at 10:30am to KFAI, 90.3 & 106.7 FM or at, to hear what they sound like.


Saturday Night Jazz @ The Blackdog, Saint Paul. 7pm ($10 recommended donation) Steve Kenny curates this weekly event featuring two bands, the first at 7pm and the second at 8:30pm. He’ll be featuring his own quintet on the 26th, the free jazz trio of George Cartwright, Josh Granowski, and Dave King on September 2nd, and Snowblind on September 8. Go to for a complete listing of what is coming up.

Roots, Blues, & Other

Sunday, August 20

Tito Puente Jr @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) Salsa fans will be out in droves to hear the son of the great Tito Puente. Puente Jr has his fathers passion for music and has been receiving praise from both Tropical and Latin Jazz crocs for his latest release: Got Mambo? As an added treat for the evening, the opening slot is being filled by Charanga Tropical, led by Doug Little, and featuring stately Charangas as well as high energy salsas.

Tuesday, August 22

Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) Here’s another show in the Nine Nights Of Music Program at the History Center. Orkestar Bez Ime plays high energy Balkan party music. It’s fast, frantic, and fun.

Wednesday, August 23

Uplugged with Willie Murphy, featuring Dean Magraw @ Crooners Dunmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40w/Dinner) From the folk/blues classic album Running, Jumping, Standing Still, through his work with Willie & the Bees, the Angel-headed Hipsters, and his solo shows, multi-instrumentalist Murphy has shown how to keep blues, R&B, and Rock n’ Roll exciting and new. Tonight he’s playing “unplugged” and has recruited the “Heavy Meadow” guitarist Dean Magraw as his partner for the evening. Between Magraw’s thorough facility with a number of styles, and Murphy’s reinvention of classic tunes, this should provide a satisfying evening of music. Here’s Willie in a jam at the Richfield American Legion Club.

August 24 – September 4

Minnesota State Fair @ State Fairgrounds, Saint Paul. (Various times and venues) There is lots of free entertainment once you get into the Fairgrounds, featuring some nationally known acts such as George Clinton, the Pointer Sisters, and Tanya Tucker, and a cornucopia of resident musicians. Check out the calendar on the State Fair’s site, for stages and performers, and to find acts appearing at various venues around the Fairgrounds, go to the listing that the MN Blues Society has compiled:

Friday, August 25

Wayne Dopsie & the Zydeco Hellraisers @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) High energy zydeco from a scion of one of the more influential zydeco families in Louisiana (and consequently the world). Dopsie and the Hellraisers have been consistently named as the best zydeco band by Offbeat Magazine, and was named Best Zydeco Band of 2016 by the Big Easy Entertainment Awards. Insistent, infectious music, and sure to bring out dancers.

Friday, Saturday, August 25, 26

Hipshaker 15th Anniversary Weekender @ The Kitty Cat Klub, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Hard to believe, but Hipshaker turns fifteen this August, with two special nights at the Kitty Cat Klub!!! On Friday the 25th, Greg, Brian, and George will be be joined by San Antonio’s DJ Brian Poust for a night of rare Soul and Deep Funk bangers – all on 7 inch 45 RPM records! Then on Saturday the 26th, they’ll present the popular James Brown vs Motown showdown! I dare you to not dance.  BTW, Brand new t-shirts and mix tapes will be available both nights, while they last.

Sunday, August 27

David Bromberg Quintet @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 General Admission/$40 Center Section) Young Americana fans may not be cognizant of Bromberg, though they absolutely need to have his music in their libraries. Older music fans know that multi-instrumentalist Bromberg has been a solid performer of blues and other roots music since the 70s. He’s collaborated with Dylan, George Harrison, Emmylou Harris, The Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and countless other artists. His latest release, on Saint Paul’s Red House Records – The Blues, The Whole Blues, and Nothing But the Blues – was awarded Blues Album of the Year by the Downbeat Critic’s Poll. It contains Bromberg’s unique takes on songs by Robert Johnson, Bobby Charles, Ray Charles, and Sonny Boy Williamson among others.

Sunday, Monday,August 27, 28

Brian McKnight 4 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60, $70, $80), 9pm ($50, $60, $70) Vocalist, composer, and multi-instrumentalist McKnight has been a solid R&B performer since his debut album in 1992. Though he’s never had a number one hit, he’s consistently on the charts. A master of mellow music, McKnight’s ballads have helped him place 10 albums in the top ten, while selling 30 million records worldwide and receiving 16 Grammy nominations. As an aside, he was out of the music scene in the mid-aughts, as he played basketball for the ABA’s Ontario Warriors.

Wednesday, August 30

Saint Paul Ballet @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) Here’s what the ballet promo says about this event: “Featuring old favorites and enticing new work an evening of elegant and compelling entertainment awaits!”

Saturday, September 2

Hurricane Harold’s All-Star Revue @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Harold Tremblay, host of Harold’s House Party on KFAI, has managed to be the most connected blues guy in town, knowing every roots and blues player in the area, and a surprising number from around the nation. His All-Star Revue always has A-List blues players, and is always fun. Here’s an example of past all-stars.

Thursday, September 7

Joga Bola @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm (Usually between $5 – $10) Groovy, often sensuous music from Brazil during it’s “golden age” of the 60s and 70s, played by a diverse, rotating cast of musicians, including: Mina Moore, Karen Quiroz, Adam Levy, John Munson, Tim O’Keefe, Andrew Gillespie, Charlie Peterson, Lucia Sarmiento

Sunday, September 10

Blues Fest @ Tally’s Dockside (Polar Lake Park), White Bear Lake. 11am – 7pm ($20 Advance, $30 Door, $40VIP Advance, $50 VIP Door) Here’s a chance to hear five of the area’s fine blues bands. It appears that Sunday is the second day of a BBQ and Craft Beer Showdown as well. Bands start at 11am with the Soulmates, and continue with Paul Mayasich, The Scottie Miller Band, Joyann Parker, and Inside Straight closing things out at 5:30pm

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:

KBEM Calendar (covers jazz & roots):

JazzINK (as complete a live jazz calendar as you’ll find):

Minnesota Blues Society:

Some August Shows of Note: 8.8 – 8.27

August 7, 2017

Greetings to one and all;

Thanks to all for the support, prayers, and positive vibrations being sent my way, which I’m sure continue to be helpful. My doctor is pleased with my progress so far, but this is a long-haul health issue, so we’ll just have to see how things progress.

At any rate, the Dog Days of August are upon us, and if you can’t find a pool or lake in which to swing, you can at least check out some exceptional music.  There are so many great shows on the horizon that I just had to list a few, though certainly not all. I’ll try to post again by the end of August, but in the meantime, you can use the calendar links at the bottom of this missive to find out other opportunities.


Tuesday, August 8

Cyrille Aimee @ the Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25, $30) As a teenager, she would sneak out of her home in the town where Django Rheinhardt lived out his life and hang at gypsy camps. As a college music student on a scholarship, she was the only vocalist SUNY Purchase, in the schools program, and spent lots of time absorbing the way instrumentalists soloed. She’s won a number of vocal competitions, and has toured the world, incorporating Brazilian and other influences along the way. Not to be missed.

Tuesday, Wednesday, August 8,9

Kevin Mahogany @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $50w/Dinner) It’s been many a year since big-voiced Mahogany has sung in the Twin Cities. Whether he’s fronting a big band, a B3 Organ Trio, reharmonizing Motown, or singing his own compositions, he always delivers. He’ll be accompanied by some of the brightest stars in the Twin Cities Jazz Firmament – Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Bobby Commodore, drums.

Friday, August 11

Babatunde Lea Quintet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) We are lucky to have conguero/trap drummer Lea in our town. He’s been playing for 50 years, and during that time has worked with Leon Thomas, Stan Getz, McCoy Tyner, Van Morrison, and Oscar Brown Jr, among others, and was a co-founder of Motema Records, which has established itself as a solid jazz label in this time when record companies are floundering. Tonight his quintet includes Zacc Harris, guitar; Matt Trice, alto sax; Will Kjeer, piano; and Ted Olsen, acoustic bass.

Jana Nyberg5 CD Release @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $37w/Dinner) The always entertaining and inspiring Ms Nyberg has a new album Set On You, recorded with hubby Adam Meckler, pianist Sean Jones, bassist Matt Peterson, and drummer Rodney Ruckus. It’s an album of mostly ballads, along with a couple of gospel numbers and the original title tune. They’ll be performing the album in it’s entirety and add a couple of other songs to complete the evening.

Saturday, August 13 

Irv Williams 98th Birthday Party @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15) Mr Smooth is still performing, and if he doesn’t quite hit some notes on his tenor sax, he finds a way to finesse the situation. He’s been having these birthday parties, each of which threatens to be the last, for at least 10 years now, and has proven to have more energy, and much better rhythm, than that ubiquitous bunny.

Monday, Tuesday, August 14, 15

Bob Rockwell Quartet w/David Hazeltine, Billy Peterson, & Kenny Horst @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50w/Dinner), 9pm ($15) Though saxophonist Rockwell had a solid reputation and resume as a NYC player, but decided to leave the Big Apple for Copenhagen since 1983. Since then, he often found time to visit the old Artists’ Quarter whenever he was in the States. Pianist Hazeltine has recorded 35 albums as a leader and hundreds more as a sideman. He’s recognized throughout the jazz community as a master of improvisation, technique, composition, and arranging. Bassist Peterson and drummer Horst are well known to those of us lucky enough to have been regulars at the AQ. Should be a stirring night of music.

Tuesday, August 15

Phil Aaron Trio w/Joyce Lyons @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) Emmy-winning composer/pianist Phil Aaron’s day job is composing for film, television, and advertising, but Twin Cities jazz fans know him for his tasteful, imaginative playing, whether leading his own group, as a sideman, or accompanying vocalists. Tonight, he, Gary Raynor bass; and Jay Epstein, drums, will feature special guest vocalist Joyce Lyons, whose singing philosophy is “lyric is everything.” You can expect a night of sparkling music.  Here’s Joyce Lyons performing at the Metropolitan Room in NYC.

Wednesday, August 16

Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Jazz fans most likely know about pianist/vocalist Sidran, whose interviews on the radio shows he hosted on NPR proved he had the insight and knowledge to ask probing questions of the most reluctant jazz musician. He’s a songwriter as well as interpreter of songs from Monk to Dylan , and someone who would-be hipsters could take as a role model. Not only is he a great jazz musician, but his philosophical between-song ruminations on life make you think as well as laugh. Now that’s hip.

Wednesday, August 16

Ben Sidran @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) Jazz fans most likely know about pianist/vocalist Sidran, whose interviews on the radio shows he hosted on NPR proved he had the insight and knowledge to ask probing questions of the most reluctant jazz musician. He’s a songwriter as well as interpreter of songs from Monk to Dylan , and someone who would-be hipsters could take as a role model. Not only is he a great jazz musician, but his philosophical between-song ruminations on life make you think as well as laugh. Now that’s hip.

Now Through August 20

The Holler Sessions @  The Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis. 7:30pm, 1pm August 20 ($9) Jazz aficionados will want to check out this one-man play about an obsessed Kansas City jazz deejay. He tells some interesting stories about jazz musicians and plays music from Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Ben Webster, and others. The play has a run time of 80 minutes, but you’ll want to stick around another half-hour or so for after-play activities.

Now Through August

The Young Lions Summer Vacation @ Various Venues. In case you haven’t noticed it, a number of young musicians who have been out of high school a few years and attending college are home for the summer and booking gigs. Should you see any gigs featuring Peter Goggin, Adam Astrup, Charlie Lincoln, Will Schmid, Jordan Anderson, Luke Peterson, and Will Kjeer, among others, be sure to check them out, as they and their friends are having a ball this summer showing off the skills they’re acquiring in school. One gig I’ll mention is HOAXER, who put out a fine CD earlier this summer. They’ll be appearing at Vieux Carré on Friday, August 18. The group includes Kjeer, piano; Lincoln, bass; and Goggin, sax; as well as Edmund Caitlin on drums.

Roots, Blues, & Other

Friday, August 11

Centavrus & DJ Miguel Vargas @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) Centavrus is a quartet that uses electronic rhythms to reinterpret the traditional form of Mexican Corridas, which are often romantic stories sung in ballad form. As they do so, they also reinterpret the present idea of what it is to be Mexican. DJ Miguel Vargas is host of Radio Pocho on KFAI, where he crosses borders and genres as he presents Bachata, Cumbia, Funk, Merengue, Reggae, and much, much more.

Sunday, August 13

SSingSSing @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15 Advance/$18 Door) It seems that many young musicians around the world are blending the traditional music of their countries with electronic beats and modern instruments. As described by the Cedar, SSingSSing is a sextet from Korea that combines rock music with typically authentic somewhat oscillating vocals f rom Korean folk songs. They also include ballads, pop music and shamanistic rituals into the mix. Daniel and the Real Feels, with roots in Fergus Falls, perform rock n’ roll and power pop inspired by the likes of the Stones, Bowie, Queen,and T Rex.

Monday, August 14

Ruthie Foster @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $45) You can’t get as down-home comfortable with any other artist the way you can with this wise, often funny, singer songwriter, who draws from gospel, R&B, and even pop to get her messages across.

Tuesday, August 15

Rockin’ Pinecones @ The MN History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) One of the nicer places in town to see an outdoor show is the courtyard of the Minnesota History Center, where you can overlook downtown Saint Paul, while listening and dancing to Cajun, Zydeco, Swamp Pop, and New Orleans R&B of Dan Newton and the Rockin’ Pinecones. Dance lessons start at t6:30pm. Bring a blanket or chairs, and a bit of a picnic, or buy food and refreshments from vendors at the event.

Friday, August 18

Willie Murphy & the Angel Headed Hipsters @ Lee’s Liquor Lounge, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Somebody can correct me, but I don’t recall Murphy and the Hipsters ever playing at Lee’s. It’s ideal for them, with it’s paneled walls, interesting bric-a-brac, and a commodious dance floor, which should bring dancers out.

Saturday, August 19

George Porter Jr Trio, Jon Cleary Trio, & More @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. 4pm ($25 Advance/$30 Door/$50VIP) It’s an evening of New Orleans Funk & R&B! George Porter Jr. is the bassist for the legendary Meters, who just celebrated their 50th anniversary with a performance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He’ll be bringing his own trio to the Dockside’s covered pavilion to funk things up. Jon Cleary may be a native of Britain, but he has spent decades in New Orleans soaking up its music. He recently won a Grammy, and spent a number of years as a member of Bonnie Raitt’s band, where he also collaborated with her on songwriting. Past appearances in the area have been thoroughly entertaining. They’ll be joined by area stalwarts Frogleg, who will be celebrating a new album release, Busy Checking In, as well as opening “funksion” group The Jaden Carlson band, from Boulder, Colorado.

Tuesday, August 22

Orkestar Bez Ime @ The Minnesota History Center, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) Here’s another intriguing show at the History Center. Orkestar Bez Ime plays high energy Balkan party music. It’s fast, frantic, and fun.

Sunday, August 27

David Bromberg Quintet @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 General Admission/$40 Center Section) Young Americana fans may not be cognizant of Bromberg, though they absolutely need to have his music in their libraries. Older music fans know that multi-instrumentalist Bromberg has been a solid performer of blues and other roots music since the 70s. He’s collaborated with Dylan, George Harrison, Emmylou Harris, The Grateful Dead, the Eagles, and countless other artists. His latest release, on our own Red House Records, is The Blues, The Whole Blues, and Nothing But the Blues, was awarded Blues Album of the Year by the Downbeat Critic’s Poll. It contains Bromberg’s unique takes on songs by Robert Johnson, Bobby Charles, Ray Charles, and Sonny Boy Williamson among others.

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:

KBEM Calendar (covers jazz & roots):

JazzINK (as complete a live jazz calendar as you’ll find):

Minnesota Blues Society:

Happy New Year! 12.28 – 1.3

December 28, 2016

unknownIt’s time to put this year behind us. Though some of us have experienced triumphs and celebrations during the year, many would agree that it’s been a year filled with fear, loathing, and sadness. There is plenty of music to send 2016 on its way, from talented resident artists of many genres to a couple of visiting artists. There are, of course, many other options than those I’ve listed, for NYE, but be sure to check with venues, as some of the NYE events I’ve listed may be sold out by the end of the week. Have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.


Wednesday, December 28

Rio Nido @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35), 9pm ($25) A beloved trio, Rio Nido came out of the West Bank music scene of the late 70s, with their unique blend of voices and a repertoire of songs from the 30s and 40s. After a decades long hiatus, they started returning to performing a year or so ago, welcomed so much that a third show was added for this gig. Prudence JohnsonTom Lieberman  and Tim Sparks are successful performers in their own right:, Johnson as a singer with more than a dozen recordings to her credit, as well as extended appearances on Prairie Home Companion; Lieberman as a producer and songwriter, and Sparks as an award-winning guitarist who’s equally at home with folk, jazz, country blues, and gospel.

Patrick Harrison/Larry McDonough Quartet’s Twisted Holidays @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Harrison – No Cover), 8:30pm (McDonough) The evening starts with button accordionist Patrick Harrison playing for the dinner hour. Then at 8:30 pm Larry McDonough and his quartet put uncommon meters, rhythms, and harmonies to a selection of seasonal songs as well as some originals and songs from Chet Baker, Bill Evans, Led Zeppelin, Spinal Tap, Paul Simon, and others.

Wednesday, Thursday, December 28, 29

Connie Evingson @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 Dinner Show) Connie Evingson can sing bebop, blues, bossa novas, the Beatles, Peggy Lee, and Gypsy Jazz with equal ease. Her pitch is perfect, her tone is slightly husky and a bit sensuous, and her timing is impeccable. She’s had ten CDs in the top fifty in both the US and Canada, and has appeared with the Minnesota Orchestra, Prairie Home Companion, Jazz at Lincoln Centyer and at other high profile venues. Her holiday CD, The Secret of Christmas, gets lots of play on my system each year. If we’re lucky, she’ll sing the Petit Nutcracker Suite, a 7 minute distillation of Tchaikovsky’s score for the classic Christmas ballet.

Thursday, December 29

No Exit: Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Luke Peterson leads this young group, which tonight has a couple of special guests who are veteran players. Performing tonight are:  Brandon Wozniak, Sax; Jack Courtright, trombone; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Adam Astrup, guitar; and Graydon Peterson, bass.

Will Schmid Quartet @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7:30 – 9:30pm (Tip Jar) Seems I had the wrong date last week for this Reverie debut of another group of up and coming  players on holiday leave from college. Will Schmid, guitar; Patrick Adkins, piano; Alma Engebretson, bass; Jesse Thorson, drums.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) The ever versatile Ms Mountain can heartily swing a bebop tune, and turn around and deliver a soothing ballad, or hip R&B tune. The excellent voice teacher will be accompanied by Dave Martin on guitar for an intimate evening of music.

Friday, December 30

Jeremy Walker/Pat Mallinger Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Walker – No Cover), 9pm ($12 Cash only) Pianist Jeremy Walker starts things off during the dinner hour. Then The Pat Mallinger Quartet, with: Chris Lomheim, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums takes the stage at 9pm. Mallinger is a saxophonist who grew up in Saint Paul and now lives in Chicago, where he is co-leader of Sabertooth, a group that’s been performing till the wee wee hours each week at the city’s Green Mill since 1992. He also plays with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble, the Bobby Lewis Quintet, the Arty Hoyle Quintet, and his own Quartet, and is a jazz educator of note in the Chicago school system.

TK Wallace’s Hard Bop Playhouse @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) It’s college night at Jazz Central, and things kick off with this group of students who are home for the holidays: Jordan Anderson, piano; Tyler Wagner, bass; Peter Goggin, sax; and Edmund Catlin, drums. They’ll be playing tunes by Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk,a nd more, followed by two more college groups.

Saturday, December 31

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 5pm (Tip Jar) This may be the first time that the Black Dog is open until the New Year’s countdown, as past years they’ve had an early, family-friendly countdown. The celebration starts with Todd Harper, keys; Eric Coursen, drums; and Aaron Kerr on electric cello playing from 5pm to 7:30pm. Then at 8:30, Hoaxer, the college-age band, takes the stage: Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Peter Goggin, alto; and Edmund Catlin, drums. Topping things off will be an all-star jam session anchored by Steve Kenny and Dave Brattain, beginning at 10:30pm and going until the new year.

SouthSide Aces, w/Patty & the Buttons @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($22 Advance, $25 Door) It’s a New Years Eve Dance party at the Eagles, as the Aces and Patty & the Buttons take to the small stage with a big dance floor. Both groups draw mostly on music from the 30s and 40s. While the Aces mine traditional New Orleans music, Patty & the Buttons use Gypsy Jazz and popular songs of those decades to successfully entice dancers.

NYE at Parma, with Arne Fogel & The Benny Weinbeck Trio @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 6pm (Fogel); 9pm (Benny Weinbeck Trio) Arne Fogel sings for dinner-time festivities (6 till 9pm) with Rick Carlson, piano; and Gordy Johnson, bass. Then Benny Weinbeck takes over with his trio, Gordy Johnson, bass; and Phil Hey, drums. Sadly, Parma is discontinuing Singers Night on Fridays, though Weinbeck and his trio will continue to perform Saturdays.

Sunday, January 1

Twin Cities Hot Club @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) Maybe you chose to stay home for NYE, but are now itching for music. Or maybe you simply enjoy the acoustic, romantic, and swinging music of artists Django Rheinhardt, Stephane Grapelli, and other proponents of Gypsy Jazz, such as the Twin Cities Hot Club: Robert Bell and Reynold Philipsek, guitars; Gary Schulte, violin; and Matt Peterson, bass.

Monday, Tuesday, January 2, 3

Terence Blanchard Live Recording @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50) New Orleans born trumpeter/composer Terence Blanchard has a beautiful tone, and creates music is often cinematic in scope, as exemplified by the over 50 soundtracks he’s composed, including Blanchard’s beautifully heartbreaking score for A Tale of God’s Will, Spike Lee’s documentary on Hurricane Katrina. Blanchard’s 2015 release, Breathless, finds him playing with a group called the E-Collective in a genre-crossing groove-laden fusion of jazz, funk, and R&B. He’ll be joined by them at the Dakota, and recording the event for inclusion in his next album.

Tuesday, January 3

Thompson, Balluff, Pikal @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Well, if you’re a fan of traditional jazz from the early part of the 20th Century, you’ll do no better than to hear Butch Thompson, piano; Tony Balluff, clarinet; and Steve Pikal, bass, play this evening.

Tuesday, Wednesday, January 3, 4

Dick Oatts Quartet @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20, $45 Dinner), 9pm ($15) Iowa born and raised, alto saxophonist Dick Oatts began his professional music career in the Twin Cities in 1972, and moved to NYC in 1977 where he became a member of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis Orchestra. He has since worked with such big bands as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Lester Bowie, Joe Lovano, Paquito D’Rivera, Tito Puente, Kenny Wheeler, and Gunther Schuller as well as a number of big bands from Europe. He’s also recorded and toured with small groups led by Red Rodney, Bob Brookmeyer, Mel Lewis, Fred Hersch, and others, and has a dozen and a half albums as a leader. Tonight he’ll be backed by a stellar line-up: Bill Carrothers, piano; Billy Peterson, bass, and Joe Pulice, drums.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, December 28

The Eddies on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) It’s a rare day in December when this “almost acapella” group crosses the river from Saint Paul to Minneapolis, but they’re now at it annually for the House Party show between Christmas and New Years. Their repertoire includes songs of life, work, and death, from traditional mountain songs to sea shanties, and tunes by Bob Marley, and The Rolling Stones.  Be aware that KFAI has had problems broadcasting due to the recent ice storm snapping its hardware, so you may need to tune in to to stream the show.

Thursday, December 29

Mayasich Mayhem @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Guitar master Paul Mayasich is joined by his brothers Mark and Greg, as well as John Iden and Joe Luoma, for the final Hot Seat at Crooners.

Curtiss A & The Cold Cold Hearts Sing Hank Williams @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Rocker Curtiss A does a John Lennon tribute each year; has a blues band (The Dark Click); leads a rock band (The Jerks of Fate); and occasionally does an Elvis Presley show. Tonight, however, he’s performing his annual Hank Williams tribute, a warm tribute to the classic country singer/songwriter. Bonus: Curtiss A’s sometimes rambling, often hilarious commentary.

Thursday, Friday, December 29, 30

The New Standards @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($30, $40) Give these musicians credit, where credit is due. While jazz musicians have always drawn from pop music, only a few have embraced post-60s rock, notably Miles Davis, with the Cyndi Lauper tune Time After Time, and The Bad Plus, who featured songs from Blondie and Queen amongst their originals. About ten years ago, Chan Poling, keys (The Suburbs); John Munson, bass (Trip Shakespeare, SemiSonic); and Steve Roehm, vibes (Billygoat, Electropolis); formed The New Standards to concentrate on acoustic, jazzy versions of post 60s rock. They became national and international stars as a result. If you didn’t catch their annual holiday extravaganza this year, you can see them as a trio in the comfier confines of the Dakota, bringing new life to songs from Lou Reed, the Outkasts, Britney Spears, T Rex, and their own bands.

Friday, December 30

Rena Haus Trio @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 10AM – 1PM (Tip Jar) It’s a special Pre-New Years Brunch at Hell’s Kitchen, and they’ve brought in the very special Rena Haus Trio just for the day: Rena Haus, guitar and vocals; Bob Haus, bass; and Ed Petsche, guitar. Rena’s originals are often highly amusing, sometimes racy, and occasionally political, with appearances by classic blues songs. Brunches at the Kitchen can be mighty crowded, so you may want to get a reservation to ensure you’re close to the band.

Willie Walker and the We R Band @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) It’s a good night to warm up for NYE with both Willie Walker and Willie Murphy (below) playing, though it gives us a good problem of whom to see. Walker is the winner of two awards in the 2016 Living Blues Critic’s Poll: Comeback Artist of the Year and Best Blues Album of 2015 for his release If Nothing Ever Changes, a well deserved award. He is most assuredly a Twin Cities Treasure.

Willie Murphy & The Angel-Headed Hipsters @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapoils. 8pm ($7) Many folks who party hearty all year round, or who have had enough to last a lifetime, think of NYE as amateur night, and stay home. Willie Murphy is similarly inclined, and chooses to celebrate on the eve of NYE. Whether you want to stay home NYE, or have the energy to party two nights in a row, be sure to bring your dancing shoes, as Murphy’s brilliant arrangements of both his own songs and others that you know and love will have you gyrating before you can say Happy New Year.

Nooky Jones + Dem Atlas @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Nooky Jones has been around the Cities for a couple of years now, spreading smooth neo-soul with hearty elements of jazz and R&B. Among its members: Cameron Kinghorn, vocals/trumpet; Adam Meckler, trumpet; and Kevin Gastonguay, keys. Opening is rapper/hip-hop artist Dem Atlas  who signed with Rhymesayers Entertainment in 2013 and toured a number of festivals opening for Atmosphere. He recorded with the French group Ursus Minor last year and is about to drop a new CD in 2017.

Saturday, December 31

The Good, The Bad, and the Funky @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Get down, Get Funky, and Dance to this ten-piece band (including a five-piece horn section) covering both old-school and new-school funk and soul.

Hot Pants/Hipshaker 45RPM Dance Party @ The Kitty Cat Club, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) The two best Dance Parties in town once again team up to present rare, original Funk and Soul 45s from the collections of Brian, George, Greg, Ben for New Year’s Eve. They get some extra special help from the distaff point of view as special guests Elizabeth Christian and Paula Carrillo join them. This event is always a hit, so arrive early to avoid disappointment.

The Last Revel @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($12 Advance, $15 Door) This acoustic trio describes their sound as Front Porch Americana, which seems about right, especially if you like to party on said porch. They are talented multi-instrumentalists, who bring the acoustic guitar, upright bass, fiddle, 5-string banjo, harmonica, kick drum and three-part vocal harmonies to their performances, whether they’re singing delicate ballads or high energy stompers. Special guest: Richard Hanson.

Papa John Kolstad: Masquerade Party @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. 8pm (Tip Jar) Lately, Papa John has been playing with the New Phits: Bill “Wailin’ Willie” Smith, harmonica/vocals: Gary Powell, aka Tiny Gene Pool, slide guitar/vocals; Mark “Rizz” Rizzardi, bass/vocals. Papa John will be playing 12-string guitar, singing, and adding amusing anecdotes and political musings to the mix, as well as bringing in trombonist/bassist Sam Fiske to play. Expect some four-part harmonies from the group, as well as Morris Dancers, a piper to bring in the New Year, and a Celtic blessing, not to mention bubbly at midnight and people in costumes.

Joyann Parker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($30) With a voice that combines the emotion of the blues with the fire of rock, Joyann Parker has been making her mark on the Twin Cities Blues scene for the last few years, representing Minnesota in the 2015 International Blues Challenge. Her 2015 album, On the Rocks, was named Best Self-Produced Album by the MN Blues Society, and has been nominated for Best Independent Blues Music Award. The guitarist/pianist and songwriter has become a regular at Vieux Carré, drawing more fans with each appearance.

Hookers $ Blow @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($25) If you’re looking to dance to some 70s R&B, then H$B are the band to hear. This group of stellar musicians led by Adam Levy will be delivering the goods in the Cafe’s River Room, which is standing room only tonight. Call for reservations if you want dinner beforehand.

Charlie Lawson & Friends @ The Dubliner Pub, Saint Paul. 10pm (Tip Jar) Guitarist Lawson is taking on NYE for a fun-filled evening with: Jim Ouska, guitar; Lorent “Slasher” Dwyer, bass; Marty Bryduck, drums. With Special Guests Langer’s Ball, the husband and wife team of Michael and Hannah Sturm playing punk Irish music.

Sunday, January 1

Corpse Reviver @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 3pm – 5:30pm (Tip Jar) Maybe you need the Corpse Reviver classic cocktail after last night, but it’s most likely you need a shot of the group that plays music from the classic Harry Smith Anthology of Folk Music. It’s especially noteworthy that today’s edition of Corpse Reviver includes: Mikkel Beckman, percussion; Jillian Rae, fiddle, and Charlie Parr, guitar. Here are two of the three musicians.

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.

The Week in Music: 9.21 – 9.27

September 21, 2016

cartoon3423Well, it appears that I wrote last weeks newsletter without mentioning the Fall Pledge Drive at KFAI, the little community station that could. I didn’t realize that my show would only air once during the pledge drive and that happened last Saturday. It would please me greatly if a half-dozen or so of you who read this blog would pledge to my show on-line at Simply click on the Donate Now icon, follow instructions and when asked to Specify a Show, write in Rhythm and Grooves. Thank you.

Now that the commercial is out of the way, here’s some of the great music that’s being performed around town this week. Music lifts the spirit.


Wednesday, September 21

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm, ($10, $5w/Student ID) Pianist Lomheim usually leads a trio, so it’s a treat to have him leading a quintet tonight, adding the sax of Pete Whitman and the trumpet of Adam Rossmiller to his arrangements and originals. Jay Young on bass, and Dave Schmalenberger on drums, round out the group.


Thursday, September 22

Kenny Horst Trio: Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Since the AQ closed, owner/drummer has been free to play with a number of different bands. Tonight though, he’s leading the group, which includes his compadres Billy Peterson on bass; and Dean Magraw on guitar.

Erin Livingston @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm, ($10, $5w/Student ID) It’s Vocal Night at Jazz Central, and tonight Ms Erin Livingston does the honors, with Matt Senjem on bass and Mark Zee on piano. She’s worked extensively with guitarist Robb Henry and the Parisota Hot Club, where she’s tackled standards and the Beatles.

Friday, September 23

Pete Whitman @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis, 8 – 10pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Fridays are reserved for Jazz Masters at Jazz Central, and saxophonist Whitman certainly qualifies. He’s performed with such renowned artists as Al “TNT” Braggs, Rosemary Clooney, Jack McDuff, Dave Stryker, Curtis Fuller, and the Woody Herman Orchestra, teaches at McNally Smith and leads the X-tet, a 10 piece band whose 2004 album Where’s When got a 4 star review in Downbeat. He recently returned from a tour of China.  I don’t know who he’ll have in the group, but here’s a video from a previous appearance at Jazz Central.

Jeremy Walker/Southside Aces @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Walker 0 no cover), 9pm (Aces – $10) Pianist Jeremy Walker is back at this monthly gig during dinner hour, and tonight is followed by the Southside Aces, bringing brass band happiness to the New Orleans-themed basement club.

All Original Jazz Series: Larry McDonough Quartet @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Pianist McDonough and his group have been busy as of late, performing tributes to Bill Evans and Tony Bennett, as well as Chet Baker and Miles Davis. Tonight they play originals, as the title of the series states. McDonough favors odd meters, so you will hear songs performed in 7/4, 5/4, 12/4, and even 11/4. The quartet includes: Larry McDonough, piano and vocals; Richard Terrill, saxes; Greg Stinson, bass; and Dean White, drums.

Quirkestra @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm – 11pm (Tip Jar) I’m intrigued by this quintet, which plays a blend of jazz, reggae, swing, 60s R&B, and other music in a “quirky” manner.

Saturday, September 24

Patty Peterson & the Jazz Women All-Stars @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($15) This group made their debut at the Twin Cities Jazz Festival this past June and got a rousing response. Vocalist Patty Peterson has gathered together a group of the area’s finest musicians. They happen to be women: Debbie Duncan, vocals: Linda Peterson, keys and vocals; Mary Louise Knutson, piano; Joan Griffith, bass; Sheila Earley, drums; and Mary Petrich, sax. Here’s a promo she did for the show.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Tonight starts out with a set from Merciless Ghost, with George Cartwright, sax; Josh Granowski, bass; and Davu Seru, drums. Headliner at 8:30pm is What Would Monk Do? with Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Peterson, bass; Peter Schimke, piano; and Steve Kenny, Flumpet.  If you substitute Steve Kenny for Brandon Wozniak, you’ll have the group in this video.

Sunday, September 25

Jana Nyberg Group: Brunch @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis 10am – 1pm  (No Cover) You’ll need a reservation at this popular Sunday brunch spot, but in addition to the food and drink of the Kitchen, you’ll be treated to the pop/jazz stylings of the delightful vocalist Ms Nyberg.

Paul Renz Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Guitarist Renz has recorded a half dozen CDs, but doesn’t gig out too much here in the Twin Cities, as he spends much time teaching. The Berklee grad does tour every once in a while, to the East Coast, where he’s especially well received. Not only will you hear great jazz, but its in a wonderful setting, with the Minneapolis skyline in the background.

Sunday, Monday, September 25, 26

Brad Mehldau and Joshua Redman @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $50), 9pm ($25 – $40) Jazz fans are very excited about this pairing. These proponents of 21st Century progressive jazz first played together in the 90s, in Redman’s quartet. Since then pianist Mehldau and saxophonist Redman have both developed successful careers. With just the two of them, the music will undoubtedly take flight.

Tuesday, September 27

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim – No cover), 8pm (Bates – $6) Pianist Lomheim will serenade you during the dinner hour, after which drummer Bates and his B3 trio, with Kevin Gastonguay, B3; and Zacc Harris, guitar; will bring the greasy funk that makes B3 trios so much fun.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, September 21

Ian Alexy on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Ian Alexy  s a versatile guitarist and songwriter who explores the byways of Americana – folk, jazz, and rock n’ roll. He and brother Teague form The Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank. Tune in and listen (it’s pledge drive time), and head to the 331 afterwards.

James Hunter Six @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35 – $45), 9pm ($30 – $40) British Soul and R&B from an engaging performer. Guitarist/singer Hunter clearly enjoys playing original soul music that invokes classic 60s soul without aping it, earning the high praise of Van Morrison in the process. The infectiousness of his joy easily communicates to audiences, who can’t help but enjoy the experience.

SK Kakraba and Palenke Soul Tribe @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm (Free, but reservations recommended) This is part of the Cedar’s Global Roots Festival. SK Kakraba Lobi is a Master Xylophonist from Ghana. He plays the Gyil, a Ghanaian Xylophone and the primary instrument of the Lobi, Sisala, and Dagara people of Northern Ghana. The LA-based Colombian band, Palenke Soultribe  have taken electronic music to new heights by deconstructing Afro-Colombian rhythms and blending them with electronic beats and exploratory synthesizer sounds.

Thursday, September 22

Joe & Vicki Price @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) This Blues Couple from Decorah, Iowa delivers the blues as if they were from Clarksdale Mississippi. Every couple of months they come up here and do a mini-tour of the area. If you don’t catch them tonight, they’ll be at the Viking on Saturday.

The Rockin’ Pinecones @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($5) Get out those dancin’ shoes, mama, cuz the Pinecones will be delivering the hipshakin rhythms of New Orleans R&B, along with Cajun and Zydeco tunes that will add a bit of spice to the proceedings on the wooden dance floor at the Eagles Club.

Molly Maher & Her Best Men: Songs from the Heart Til Death Do Us Part @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Ms Maher, singer, guitarist, guitar-tech extradinaire Molly Maher is getting married, and rather than a bachelorette party, she’s throwing a gig, so we all can attend. She’ll be singing her excellent roots/folk rock/alt country songs backed by her band of “Best Men.” Opening is Gabriel Douglas, while the Belfast Cowboys will close out the night.

Friday, September 23

Paul Filipowicz @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) Wisconsin bluesman Filipowicz first burst on the scene back in the early 80s, playing rip-roaring Chicago blues, and appearing in this area a couple of times. Raised in Illinois, the guitarslinger was taken under the wings of such stalwarts as Luther Allison and Jimmy “Fast Fingers” Dawkins. After taking a decade or so off to raise a family, he retuned in the late 90s, recording for Texas’ Gila Records. He subsequently appeared in the Top 15 of Texas Blues New Releases for two years in a row. He’s now in his sixties, and judging by his latest release, Go for the Throat, he still has fire in his belly and in his guitar.

Oh What A Night @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($25, $75) Hear old school R&B sung by five terrific singers:  Ronn Easton, Wee Willie Walker, Maurice Young, Jerry Esckridge and Maurice Jacox, backed by an equally terrific band. Last time this show played the Parkway it sold out.

Willie Murphy @ The Viking Bar, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) Just because you can see Murphy a couple of times a month doesn’t mean you shouldn’t actually get out to one of his gigs, where you’ll hear this charter member of the Minnesota Music Hall of Fame perform old time rock n’ roll, R&B, and funk in his own inimitable way. The Viking was, of course, the site of his Monday night jam sessions for many years, so it’s a treat to have him back there.

Saturday, September 24

Ty Stone’s James Brown Experience @ The Parkway Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20, $30) Stone is an R&B veteran, having performed with such acts as Jackie Wilson and later Johnny Taylor, Tyrone Davis, The Dells, The Staple Singers, Ernie Terrell and others. He’ll be performing hits from throughout 4 decades of Brown’s career, complete with costume changes, a 12 piece backup band and go-go dancers.

Movits! @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 9pm ($15 Advance, $18 Door) Imagine, if you will, a European hip hop group that goes to number one on iTunes and Amazon after appearing on the Steve Colbert show. Then, at a backyard party they hear Sing, Sing, Sing by Benny Goodman and are blown away. Now, they’ve managed to combine swing beats and hip hop beats in a way that totally works. And…. they only sing/rap in Swedish, their native language. There you have Movits! Added attraction: Danami & the Blue, a Motown inspired hip-hop soul singer.

Charlie Lawson Combo w/guest Curtis Blake @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 9pm (tip jar) Guitarist Lawson and his band are starting a monthly residency at this friendly and comfy Irish bar. Tonight he’s bringing in harpist Curtis Blake as a guest. Blake performs with Greazy Gravy and Don Scott when he’s not cooking up gumbo on his job.

Sunday, September 25

Oudyano @ The Black Dog, Minneapolis. 6pm – 8pm (Tip Jar) Oudyano is Steven Hobert, piano; and Issam Rafea on Oud. Rafea, from Syria, and Hobert, from the Twin Cities, are simpatico artists who are mutually sensitive players. They play a blend of Arabic classical tradition and American jazz and roots, creating music that is ethereal, hopeful, and joyous. If you miss them and are willing to stay up a bit late, you can catch them at the Icehouse on Monday night.

Monday, September 26

Steve Clarke & The Working Stiffs @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm (No Cover) Saxophonist Clarke leads his troupe through the decades, playing dance music from the 30s to the 50s. You’ll jump, you’ll swing, you may even bop to songs from Count Basie and Fats Waller, to Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, and Louis Jordan. It’s music that goes over especially well in the large lounge at Crooners.

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.

Festivals, Worldbeats, and Jazz, Oh My! 7.20 – 7.26

July 20, 2016

Unknown-1What a week coming up! We’ve got the Black Dog’s remodel celebration, the opening of The World of Beer across from Mears Park, the Lowertown Blues Festival (right), Palmfest, a winery jazz festival, the JuJu rhythms of King Sunny Ade, the Afrobeat of Antibalas, and The Minnesota Orchestra embracing Latin rhythms. Additionally, we have performances from a couple of young guns in the Twin Cities jazz world, as well as some daring, and much beloved jazz veterans at work.


Wednesday, July 20

Connie Evingson and Jon Weber @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($15, $40 dinner) Evingson’s vocals are both lush and cool at the same time, while Weber’s encyclopedic knowledge of piano styles gives him the ability to be adept as both an accompanist and soloist. It’s Evingson’s show, but don’t be surprised if Weber’s knowledge of arcane music facts makes its way into the between songs commentary.

Chris Lomheim Quintet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5/student ID) This is the debut for Lomheim’s new group. The pianist has always had a trio, played solo, though he’s no stranger to larger bands, and is a founding member of the Illicit Sextet. Tonight he’s debuting a lineup that’s reminiscent of hard bop’s heyday: Pete Whitman, sax; Adam Rossmiller, trumpet; Jay Young, bass; and Peter Hennig, drums, to revisit some of his originals, and undoubtedly throw in some jazz standards.

Thursday, July 21

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) The college-age musicians of Sound Skirmish open at 7pm. Members are Patrick Adkins, piano; Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Ben Ehrlich, drums, and Drew Stinson bass. At 9pm it’s The Zacc Harris GroupHarris  guitar; Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and JT Bates, drums.

Friday, July 22

Jeremy Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul 6pm (No Cover) Enjoy the Dinner Hour with pianist Walker and you’ll be treated to tasty, thoughtful music, including Walker’s engaging originals and his interpretation of jazz standards while you chow down on items from the club’s menu.

Southside Aces @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul.  9pm ($10) Traditional New Orleans jazz, as in a sousaphone rather than bass, clarinet, guitar, and horns. It’s jazz that makes you want to dance.

Rodney Ruckus @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm – 10pm ($10, $5 w/StudentID) Ruckus has been making waves and garnering attention during various performances since enrolling in McNally Smith’s graduate program last year. He’s an alumni of Berklee, where he had a full scholarship, and has already traveled the world playing with such stellar musicians as Tia Fuller, Herbie Hancock, John Patitucci, Joe Lovano, Roy Hargrove, Charles Lloyd, and others. Though drums are his main instrument, he’s also quite adept at bass and piano. Here he is in an unexpected setting.

Saturday, July 23

Chateau Jazz Festival @ Chateau St. Croix Winery, St. Croix Fall, WI. Noon – 6pm (free) Take a reactively short road trip to this winery, which will have food trucks, local craft beers, and of course, wine, while listening to music by: Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, the Zacc Harris Quartet, Pete Whitman’s Mississippi, and Doug Little’s Charanga Tropical.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Ted Godbout Trio at 7pm. Artists Quarter Tuesday Night Band from 9pm – Midnight. It’s the second day of the Lowertown Blues Festival, and the Tuesday Night Band, with Kenny Horst, drums; Billy Franze, guitar; and Downtown Bill Brown on the Hammond B3 is a good fit for blues lovers, given the affinity of B3 organ groups for the blues. No doubt there will be some guests as well, which was the norm when the band played the old AQ. The Ted Godbout Trio opens at 7pm with Godbout, piano; Dan Carpel, bass; and Jared Mondlock drums. Godbout is a young player who’s been accompanying vocalists like Katia Cardenas, as well as playing in a number of other jazz groups around town.  Here’s the Tuesday Night band with guest Sue Orfield.

Nachito Herrera Plays Gershwin @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($15) Like many Cuban pianists, Herrera is dazzling with his technique. He also has the imagination and creativity to encompass traditional Cuban rhythms, the funk of folks like Earth, Wind, & Fire, and classical music. Tonight he takes on the music of George Gershwin, music as rich as anything you might find.

AcoustElectric @ The World of Beer, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover?) Pianist Larry McDonough and his quartet helps the World of Beer celebrate their opening, at the corner of 5th and Sibley in Lowertown. The first set consists of acoustic jazz of Bill Evans, Chet Baker, Tony Bennett, and more, while the second, electric set will feature jazz rock fusion of songs by Sting, Clapton, Led Zeppelin, and Prince.

Sunday, July 24

Sophia Shorai Quartet @ Alexis Bailey Vineyard, Hastings. 1:30pm (Free) Head downriver to Hastings for a delightful afternoon at the Bailey Vineyard. Aside from tasting their wines, you get to hear the talented vocalist Ms Shorai  who can express heartbreak , determination, and grace with a combination of sweetness and aplomb.

Monday, July 25

Omar AbdulKarim @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm  ($10, $5 w/student ID) AbdulKarim is an ups and coming young trumpet player who impresses with his tone and thoughtful improvisations. He’ll be accompanied by Pierre Lewis, organ; and Batume, drums, for what promises to be a swinging set of music.

Tuesday, Wednesday, July 26, 27

Dave King Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($20) After having a CD release at Vieux Carre for his five-piece Trucking Company last weekend, drummer Dave King brings bassist Billy Peterson and pianist Bill Carrothers to Crooners’ Dunsmore Room. King is well known for his stints with Happy Apple, Bad Plus, and the aforementioned Trucking Company, groups that traffic in avant/indie/experimental approaches to jazz. However, this trio, which has received rave reviews in the New York Times and on NPR, mines a treasure trove of standards from jazz and the Great American Songbook, bringing a fresh interpretation to songs each time they play. Here’s an extended video of one of their international performances.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, July 20

King Sunny Ade @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30 ($35 Advance, $40 Door) A winner of two Grammys, Nigerian Sunny Ade brings his sinuous juju rhythms back to the Twin Cities. Since his first hit single in 1968, Ade has been nominated for two Grammys and taken his music around the world, helping to define worldbeat and Afropop in the process.

Thursday, July 21

Big George Jackson @ The Lowertown Line Stage at TPT, 172 4th Street East, Saint Paul.  6pm (Free) The organizers of the Lowertown Blues Festival (see below) made a great choice when they picked Big George for the event’s kick-off party. You get to hear George’s booming voice and his otherworldly growl, as well as the guitar of Jeremy Johnson within the new reception/event space of TPT. A must for blues fans.

Paul Mayasich, Bobby Vandell & Billy Franze @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley,. 7pm (No Cover) It’s another Hot Seat evening at Crooners, with ace guitarist Mayasich joined by R&B/jazz veterans Bobby Vandell on drums, and Billy Franze on guitar.

Thursday, Friday, July 21, 22

Al Stewart @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($33 – $37) 1979 was “The Year of the Cat” and the year of “Time Passages,” two songs that were FM Radio staples. Stewart’s light, appealing voice was backed by a full rock band at the time, but he has since returned to his folk/troubadour roots, playing in partnership with guitarist Dave Nachmonoff and basset Mike Lindauer, revisiting hits, and reinterpreting historical gems.

Friday, July 22

Krar Collective @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) The final show of the Cedar’s African Summer features a trio with a contemporary spin on the Ethiopian azmari minstrel tradition. The krar lyre is a 5 or 6 stringed harp, which legends say descends from Kin David’s lyre. Tmesegen Zeleke plays it plugged in to create a sound reminiscent of an ancient rock guitar. Beisdes Zeleke, the group include singer Genet Asefa and Drummer Grumn Begashaw. Their minimalist sound has led some to call them the “White Stripes of Ethiopia.” Opening act TBD.

Big George Jackson and the Willie Murphy Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm – 12 am (Tip Jar) Here we have what is essentially a two-fer event. The Black Dog is celebrating their expansion and redesign of what is now a music room and bar, and the Lowertown Blues Festival is happening. Get here early to see Big George Jackson, who opens. You’ll also get proper seats for Murphy’s  9:30 show featuring his stellar mix of rock n’ roll and R&B. If you come by after  the Blues Festival closes down for the night, you may end up standing, though regular Murphy fans already know that.

Antibalas @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15 Advance/$20 door) Saint Paul is hopping tonight, what with the Blues Festival and this performance, featuring the Brooklyn Afrobeat wonders Antibalas  who were the band for Femi!, the award winning broadway and touring show. Our own Black Market Brass opens, while The Worldwide Discoteque DJs will keep things going between sets.

Minnesota Orchestra: A Night in the Tropics @ Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis. 8pm ($30 – $70) Minnesota Orchestra trumpeter Charles Lazarus is joined by his own jazz quartet and the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Andrew Litton, in a concert inspired by the sultry melodies and evocative rhythms of Brazil, Cuba, Hawaii and more. The program features originals by Lazarus, a tribute to Brazilian composer Antonio Carlo Jobim, Duke Ellington’s Caravan and other selections. This is part of the closing weekend for Sommerfest, and will include other music and activities as well.

Friday, Saturday, July 22, 23

Palmfest 2016 @ Palmer’s Bar, Minneapolis. 4pm – Close Friday, 2pm – Close Saturday ($5 each day) With 10 bands on Friday and 12 on Saturday this is a good time to catch bands you may not have heard, such as Half Moon Devil, or the King of Tramps, as well as some old favorites, like the Liquor Pigs, Spider John Koerner, Poverty Hash, and Charlie Parr. Weather permitting it will be on the outdoor patio until 10pm, after which final bands will move indoors. For more information, go to their FaceBook page or their website.

Lowertown Blues Festival @ Mears Park, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 9:30pm Friday, Noon – 10pm Saturday (Free) It’s a Funky Friday, with The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly; Otis Day & the Knights (from Animal House); and The Family Stone, sans Sly, but with original members Jerry Martini and Greg Errico, leading the group through the hits like Everyday People, and Dance to the Music. . Then on Saturday, it’s a celebration of the Blues, with The Brother John Band (winners of Famous Dave’s Battle of the Blues Bands), and continue with the high energy Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials; our own Butanes Soul Revue; Corey Stevens; Bernard Allison; and the festival headliner, Stax keyboard man Booker T Jones! There’s a side stage as well both days, and additional stages at The Bedlam, Golden’s Deli, and the Black Dog. Complete information at:

Divas Of Disco @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, 8pm ($40-$55)  Who remembers bell bottoms, platform shoes and lip gloss? Lori Dokken has put together a show that brings back the days of mirror balls, gold chains, and disco fever. Performing songs by Chaka Kahn, Donna Summer, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole, and others will be some fabulous Twin City Vocalists: Debbie Duncan, Rachel Holder Hennig, Patty Peterson, and Judy Vinar. They’ll be backed by Peter Hennig, drums; Jay Young, bass; Cory Wong, guitar, Jimmy Steffen on keys; and Dokken on keys and vocals.

Saturday, July 23

Willie Walker & We R @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30 – 10:30pm (No Cover) The folks at Crooners know that when you have a band that does well, you bring them back on a somewhat regular basis. Such is the case with Soulman Willie Walker  a long time resident treasure who got his start recording for the Goldwax label out of Memphis back in the 60s, and also released a couple of singles on Chess/Checker. He can caress a ballad, and give uptempo songs appropriate grit, whether they’re originals, or classics by Al Green and Sam Cooke.

Sunday, July 24

Open Streets @ Merlin’s Rest, Minneapolis. Noon – 5pm (No Cover) It’s Open Streets Day for East Lake Street, and this neighborhood bar (without TVs) is hosting a number of excellent musical acts starting at Noon with Meg Ashling, and continuing with pianist/composer DeVon Grey at 1:20, Lucy Michell at 2:30/3PM, and finishing at 4pm with the old time/folky sounds of guitarist/singer/songwriter Jake Manders.

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, July 24, 25, 26

Brian McKnight 4 @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($55 – $75), 9pm ($45 – $65) Adult R&B, from McKnight, singer/songwriter/pianist/producer, who has sold over 30 million records and received 16 Grammy nominations over the past 20 years.

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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