Post-Election Music: 11.7 – 11.13

November 7, 2018

Whew! We’ll finally have some respite from political ads, though for how long is anyone’s guess in this political climate. In the meantime, whether you want to celebrate a win or commiserate a loss, there are plenty music events to lift you up, only a small slice of which I’ve listed. Jazz, Soul music, Blues, Honky-Tonk, World music, and some good ol’ rock n’ roll are available for your listening and dancing pleasure. After all, Music Lifts Your Spirit!

Jazz

Wednesday, November 7

Davell Crawford & Charmaine Neville @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40, $45) It’s two nights of New Orleans music royalty, as pianist/vocalist Davell Crawford’s grandfather was guitarist Sugarboy Crawford, the first artist to record Jock-A-Mo (Iko Iko),and he is the godson of Roberta Flack. Vocalist Charmaine Neville is a daughter of one of the Neville Brothers. Lots of jazz and R&B will undoubtedly be on tap.

Sophia Shorai & Tanner Taylor @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($6) After a bit of a health scare, vocalist Shorai is ready to once again charm listeners with her creamy, evocative voice. Pianist Tanner Taylor is up from Des Moines to add his tasteful accompaniment to her singing.

Lease & Moriarty @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis.8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Pianist Ellen Lease and saxophonist Pat Moriarty have been musical and marital partners for over 30 years, resulting in seamless musical communication during their improvising. Moriarty is the freer of the two, but Lease follows his twists and turns with alacrity.

Thursday, Nov 8

Vicky Mountain & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Versatile vocalist and educator Vicky Mountain has a long history with a variety of singing styles, but especially shines in scatting, melodic nuance, and original interpretations of standards and pop songs. She’ll be accompanied by: David Martin, guitar; Jim Chenoweth, bass; David Schmalenberger, drums.

Friday, Nov 9

Zacc Harris Group @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10) Guitarist Zacc Harris, known for his fluid and imaginative playing, performs his originals, with bandmates Bryan Nichols, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete James Johnson, drums.

Saturday, Nov 10

Roy Hargrove Memorial Concert @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer Jesse Simon of the MN Hard Bop Collective has put together this group of fine musicians to celebrate trumpeter Roy Hargrove, whom we lost earlier this week. With Omar AbdulKarim, trumpet; Jeff Rinnear, trombone; Joe Mayo, alto; Dave Brattain, tenor; Dale Alexander, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Simon, drums.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) St 7pm the Hutton/Caviani Quartet opens, with Laura Caviani  piano; Joan Hutton  sax; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Dave Schmalenberger, drums. Bottomless Pit begins at about 8:30pm, with Joel Shapira, guitar; Pete Whitman, saxophones; Tom Lewis, bass; and Phil Hey, drums.

Sunday, Nov 11

He’s Hip: Connie Evingson Sing Dave Frishberg @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($25) Twin Cities jazz fans probably know of Saint Paul’s native son, Dave Frishberg, whose songs are hip, funny, and often incisive. “Peel Me a Grape”, “My Attorney Bernie”, “Can’t Take You Nowhere”, and “I’m Hip”, are among his songwriting gems. Vocalist Evingsonreleased a highly entertaining album of his songs back in 2008, with Frishberg himself as a guest. She’ll be joined by Jon Weber, piano; Gordy Johnson, bass; and Dave Karr, saxophone (with perhaps a vocal cameo on “I Want to Be a Sideman”).

Monday, Nov 12

Maud Hixson & Rick Carlson: 1930s Songbook @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7:30pm ($15) The 1930s were ushered in by the stock market crash of October 29, 1929, ending a decade off prosperity and beginning the Great Depression. Sublime vocalist Maud Hixson, and her ever-so-tasteful accompanist pianist Rick Carlson explore the music of that decade, from Franklin Roosevelt’s campaign song “Happy Days Are Here Again” to “Stormy Weather”, as well as the music of Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington and others. Here’s Hixson fronting a big band.

Joe Mayo & Dave Brattain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm. ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) It’s a sax attack night at this basement venue as Mayo, on alto; and Brattain, on tenor; join up for an evening of originals. It’s not clear if they will simply duet or have a rhythm section, but either way will be invigorating. As usual for Monday nights, a jam session follows 10pm.

For more listings, KBEM provides a calendar of jazz and roots music.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Nov 7

Honky Tonk Jump on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Honky Tonk Jump is the latest project from accordion master Dan Newton, aka Daddy Squeeze, featuring: Newton on accordion and vocals; Joe Savage on steel guitar; Tom Schaefer on fiddle; Vaughn Asselstine on bass; Dehl Gallagher on drums; and Dan Lowinger on guitar. You can expect double and triple-leads on thebTexas dance hall swing of songs from Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Hank Williams and an array of early honky tonk heroes. As House Party radio host Harold Tremblay says, “You know what to do!”

Sargasso @ The Driftwood Char Bar, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) This 7-piece ensemble plays the music of Bob Nordquist: world-oriented folk rock, often with a social message. Instrumentation includes drums, percussion, bass, guitar, organ, cello, and flute. Members sing as well.

Thursday, Nov 8

Claudettes @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15 bar, $20 table) The Chicago-based Claudettes bring their piano-based high-energy punk blues back to Saint Paul. Piano pounding founder Johnny Iguana played with Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy and other proponents of Chicago blues. Vocalist Beth Ulseth complements his playing o great effect on both rockers and ballads.

Friday, Nov 9

Two for the Blues @ Crooners Lounge and Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm ($20) This evening is actually titled “Blues for Your Soul”as two powerful women take the stage with their bands. Both the Annie Mack Band and the Dee Miller Band are on an upward trajectory: Mack is preparing to travel to Switzerland for some gigs, while Miller was recently inducted into the MN Blues Society Hall of Fameand is set to represent MN at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.

Worldwide Discotheque 6 Year Anniversary @ Pimento Jamaican Kitchen, 2524 Nicollet, Minneapolis. 9pm ($5) A vinyl dance music party celebrating music from the tropical zones of the world. Co-founder Dan Steely returns for this anniversary event, to join deejays Brian Engel, Ben Mena, and others in spinning Afrobeats, Soukous, Highlife, Calypsos, Cumbias, and tropical disco along with other dance-inducing rhythms.

Saturday, Nov 10

The Eddies @ The Dubliner, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Founding member Paul Martin currently lives in Arizona, but returns for occasional gigs such as this one, to add his high harmony and driving guitar to the proceedings.  While Paul Martin has been living elsewhere, another Paul – Paul Garding – has been hanging and singing with the rest of The Eddies  Tonight he’ll do a short set of his own and then join The Eddies to finish out the evening.

Hot Pastrami @ Schooner Tavern, Minneapolis. Back in he early 60s, rock n’ roll had lost some it’s rebelliousness –  Elvis was in the Army, Chuck Berry was in jail, Eddie Cochran and Buddy Holly had died in accidents, and teen idols were all over the place. Yet, there were some pretty groovy tunes being made by groups that dressed in matching suits (or for women, dresses). Hot Pastrami, a quartet of veteran players from the New-Wave years, celebrates that pre-Beatles era with songs from Joey Dee & the Starlighters, The Foundations, Dusty Springfield, The Olympics, and others.

Sunday, Nov 11

Willie Walker @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 5pm ($10?) Here’s a chance to not only enjoy soul man Walker’s sandpaper voice and tightly controlled delivery, but to dance to his music on the commodious dance floor at MMC.

Monday, Nov 12

Neil Young Birthday Celebration @ The Turf Club, Saint Paul. 8pm ($10) Last Spring Neil Young released a movie entitled Paradox, now available on Netflix. More recently, he announced that he had married Daryl Hannah, who directed the film. To celebrate his birthday (today), Broken Arrow, a Neil Young Tribute band, will be performing his music

Tuesday, Nov 13

Anna Stine Tour Kick-off @ Honey, Minneapolis. 8pm ($5) singer/songwriter Stine recently released an album of her originals, using jazz-inflected instrumentals (led by guitarist Robert Bell) in support of her soulful voice and nature-filled lyrics. Tonight, accompanied by Bell, she kicks off a tour of the Midwest. With opening act Regional Dialect: Mathias Hertel (vocals, guitar, beatbox) and Colin Doherty (lead guitar) plays “soul music with a twist of hip-hop and blues.” They have been performing and writing music together since 2010.

Booker T. Jones @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45, $50), 9pm ($35, $40, $45) It’s been over five decades since organist Jones and the MGs created Green Onions, that grooving piece of instrumental funk. The MGs are no more, and Jones may deliver Green Onions a bit fast these days, but he still manages to deliver, whether playing the hits of the MGs and others that he’s written, or newer pieces from his recent solo projects, such as 2015’s Sound the Alarm.

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.


Erin Go Music: 3.14 – 3.20

March 14, 2018

Actually, you don;’t need to wear green to dance

Saint Patrick’s Day is this weekend, and there are plenty of places to celebrate with Irish music, especially in Saint Paul. There are also opportunities to celebrate with blues and jazz, if that’s what gives you energy. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, March 21

Jimmyapolis Trio @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9:30pm (Free) James “Jimmyapolis” Wallace is a veteran sax player who has been around since the 60s, playing in R&B and jazz bands. He’ll be joined by a pianist for this show, which is part of the Hook’s Piano Lounge series.

Jose James: Lean On Me @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40, $50) Soulful, elegant vocalist and Minneapolis native James is a rising star in the jazz firmament. He’s flexible enough to have performed with Chico Hamilton and the electronica artist Flying Lotus, and has released four well-received albums, including a tribute to Billie Holiday. For this show, he celebrates the music of Bill Withers (with Withers blessing) accompanied by his band: Brad Allen Williams, guitar; James Francis, keys; Rueben Rogers, bass, and Nate Smith, drums, all of whom have stellar resumes.

CCC Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Originals and standards from Chris Bates, bass; Chris Graham, guitar; and Corey Healy, drums.

Thursday, March 15

The Music & Activism of Julius Eastman @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10) This is part of the Lowertown Listening Sessions, which tonight features percussionist/ composer, and historian, Davu Seru, leading a discussion of Eastman, an African American minimalist composer. After his death in 1990, Eastman’s compositions were ignored until recently. The program will include a performance of Eastman’s work Evil Nigger arranged for four mallet instruments and performed by Patti Cudd, Heather Barringer, Eri Isomura, and Bjorn Grina.

Blood Quantum @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Erik Fratzke of Zebulon Pike & Happy Apple, bass; and Tim Glenn, of Pentacene & Squid Fist, on drums. Their music is described as “fractal doom for strings and percussion.” Interpret that how you will.

Friday, March 16

Paul Renz Quartet @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($8) Guitarist Renz graduated from Berklee summa cum laude, and has composed hundreds of songs, including jazz tunes, string quartets, TV commercials, a flute and cello suite, and more. Tonight, this resident musician is bring a quartet to the basement bar: Rose Rinder, flute; Jonathan Thomas, bass; and Jessie Lesmeister, drums.

Peter Kogan’s Monsterful Wonderband @ Jazz Central, Minnreapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5 w/Valid Student ID) Percussionist Kogan’s band is adept in many of the sub-genres of jazz. It’s members are: Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Nelson Devereaux, saxes; Dave Graf, trombone; Chris Olson, guitar; Jeff Bailey, bass; and Kogan on drums.

Saturday, March 17

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Saxophonist Pat Moriarty is the band director at Roseville High School, and consistently draws out the best in his students. Tonight, the Roseville HS Jazz 1 Band is the opening act at 7pm – part of the monthly JazzINK Youth Showcase. At 8:30pm, it’s the Pat Moriarty / Ellen Lease Quartet, with Moriarty, saxes, Ellen Lease, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Davu Seru on drums. Their music is composed on the spot, and just may break any pre-conceptions you may have about “free jazz.” Here’s Moriart and Lease with a different rhythm section. Here are Lease & Moriarty with a quintet.

Arne Fogel: September of My Years @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($15) Vocalist and Crosby/Sinatra musicologist Fogel revisits Sinatra’s iconic album that celebrates aging. After all, Fogel has been in the music/broadcast business for 50 years or so, a good time to explore the reflective lyrics of the album. Fogel will be accompanied by Rick Carlson, piano & music director, Gary Schulte on violin, and Gordon Johnson on bass. His first performance of this show last fall sold out, so be forewarned. Here he is with another song identified with Sinatra, fronting the Acme Jazz Company.

Sunday, March 18

Jane Monheit @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40), 9pm ($25, $35) It’s been twenty years since Monheit’s gorgeous voice and vocal range brought her to a second place finish at the Thelonious Monk Competition, and consequently to the attention of the jazz world. Since then Monheit has released nine albums and has guested on a number of others. She’s now taken her gift and in 2016 released an album of songs associated with a main inspiration: The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. 

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

 

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 14

Fabulous Minnesota Barking Ducks Trio on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) The FNB Ducks have been delivering driving blues to audiences around the state for nigh unto 30 years. Tonight they’re a trio, led by original Duck and tasty guitarist Mic McCormick, with Ed Dunn on bass, and Kit Kildahl on guitar and occasional harp.

Omar Sosa & Sectou Keita Transparent Water Trio @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($28 Advance/$30 Door) Pianist/Composer Omart Sosa has been nominated for a Grammy 7 times. He’s partnered with U.K.-based Senegalese kora master and singer Seckou Keita, and  folkloric Venezuelan percussionist Gustavo Ovalleson on a new CD, Transparent Water Trio. This is the latest example of Sosa’s use of new combinations of instruments and cultures.

SPCO’s Liquid Music @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm ($20) Nathalie Joachim is a multi-genre performance artist, flutist, and composer who will be exploring Haitian song and the role of women’s voices in Haitian culture. The Wall Street Journal calls her performance “A unique blend of classical music, hip-hop, electronic programming, and soulful vocals reminiscent of neo-R&B stars like Erykah Badu.”

Thursday, March 15

DL Cajun Dance Band @ The Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) Get out those dancing shoes and two-step, twirl, and waltz your way around the commodious dance floor at the Eagles Club.

Friday, March 16

Irish Diplomacy @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 8pm (Tip Jar) Get a head start on Saint Patrick’s Day with this 9-piece Celtic band that dips into jazz.

Jonathan Richman @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($18 Advance, $20 Door) Jonathon Richman has been charming audiences with his warm, conversational lyrics since the early 70s, when his band, The Modern Lovers, thrilled audiences looking for something more than corporate rock. He’s been working with drummer Tommy Larkins (Naked Prey) for many years now, bringing his insightful, and often humorous lyrics to fans.

Hot Pants 45 rpm Dance Party @ The Uptown VFW, Minneapolis. 10pm (Free) The Lyn-Lake area is hoppin’ on Friday nights, thanks in part to this monthly event featuring rare soul & funk 45s that are highly danceable, whether you’re doing the bump, freestyling, or swing dancing.

Also: The Good, The Bad, & The Funky @ Bunker’s, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8)

Saturday, March 17

Tinsley Ellis Album Release @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $35) After four decades in the blues, incendiary guitarist Ellis is releasing his 20th album, Red Clay Soul, celebrating the music of Georgia and its environs. While Ellis is often identified as a blues-rock guitarist, his ballads reveal his gutartistry is well founded in traditional blues.

Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Soul Survivor Willie Walker’s star is finally on the rise after being one of the best kept secrets in the Two Cities for decades. In 2016 he won two Blues Music Awards for his album, If Nothing Ever Changes, and this year he’s nominated in five categories for his album After A While. He’s had rave reviews for the album, been featured in Downbeat and on the cover of Blues Blast, and performed at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, as well as Europe and South America. Lucky for us, we can get to see him in the intimate basement speakeasy of the Hamm building.

Boiled in Lead and Sister Tree @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12 Advance/$15 Door) This is the 35th Anniversary Concert for this high-energy Celtic/rock band, that plays dark, traditional folk ballads and instrumental dance tunes that may just cause the Cedar to levitate.

Also: Dee Miller Band featuring Craig Clark @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for Guaranteed Seat) Belting out the blues, whether or not it’s a holiday.

Sunday, March 18

Dan Rein: Celebrate Spring & CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9:30pm ($8 Advance/$10 Door) Long time host of KFAI’s Century Song, Dan Rein presents world music that truly lives up to the stations motto of Radio Without Boundaries. He’s released a CD, Just One Breath, singing the poetry of Omar Khyyam in Persian and English, playing Setar and Dutar, and will be celebrating the Persian New Year and the advent of Spring. Appetizers from Gandi Mahal, where Rein regularly performs, will be available.

Tuesday, March 20

Trench Size Trio @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 9pm (Free) This trio, consisting of Al Bergstrom, Bass; Joey Van Phillips, drums; and Tom Reichert, guitar; are enamored with the funk and second line sounds of New Orleans, particularly those of the Meters, so if you’re in a mood to get up and get funky on the dance floor, this is the place to be.

Tuesday, Wednesday, March 20, 21

Graham Nash @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($75, $100, $115) Well, for the price of nosebleed seats at some arena shows you can see Graham Nash up close and personal in a 250-seat club, telling stories and singing songs from his long career, as a member of the Hollies, with Crosby, Stills, & Nash and it’s permutations, and as a solo performer.

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.


Enjoy Live Music! 2.21-2.27

February 21, 2018

My jazz picks for this week all feature resident artists, which is a testament to the breadth and depth of our jazz scene. We have a few visiting artists in blues, roots, and other, as well as a surfeit of resident artists bringing original arrangements and songs for our pleasure. The weather is beginning to let up a bit, so get out and let the music lift your spirit.

Larry

Jazz

Wednesday, Feb 21

Lila Ammons & Tom West @ Sociable Cider Works, 1500 Fillmore St, NE, Minneapolis. 6:30-7:30pm (No Cover) Enjoy some craft beers and listen to some bluesy jazz (or jazzy blues) from Ms Ammons and pianist Tom West.

Peter Schimke & Friends @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Pianist Schimke brings together some veterans and an up and coming trumpeter: Pete Whitman, sax; Omar Abdulkarim, trumpet; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums.

Debbie Duncan Celebrates Nina Simone @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) The Twin Cities “First Lady of Song” celebrates the birthday of Nina Simone, the singer-pianist-songwriter who tackled folk, blues, jazz, Ellington, and Broadway tunes, in addition to writing a number of fiery songs of freedom.

Thursday, Feb 22

Beth and Adi Yeshaya @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) This week vocalist Beth Yeshaya will be joined with her husband Adi for Thursday Vocal Night. Adi Yeshaya is a composer, arranger & pianist,whose credentials include creative collaborations with some of the world’s top artists, including three years as string arranger for Prince. Here’s an example of Beth’s singing. Adi on piano.

Friday, Feb 23

Cody Steinmann Sightless Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:00pm ($10, $5w/Valid Student ID) Guitarist Cody Steinmann recently moved here from Milwaukee, and he’s wasted no time putting a group together, with: Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Pete Hennig on drums.

Dean Magraw & Eric Kamau Gravatt @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 9:00pm ($12) Magraw, guitar; and Gravatt, drums; are two of the finest musicians around. They have a natural communication, which only adds to the musical magic. Her’s an example of their playing, from their album, Fire on the Nile.

Friday, Saturday, Feb 23, 24

Playing It Close to Home @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm 10, $15) With winning songs from the Eric Stokes Song Contest plus music by local composer/percussionist Davu Seru, Zeitgeist’s annual Playing it Close to Home concert celebrates the wealth of musical creativity found right here in our own backyard. The program includes the world premiere of Seru’s new work Dead King Mother, which tells the story of a near-forgotten event in North Minneapolis and United States civil rights history that has been with Seru since early childhood. You may recall that I noted a read-through of the work a few weeks back.

Saturday, Feb 24

MN Hard Bop Collective’s Hope Sextet @ Boom Island Brewing, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) Drummer/leader Jesse Simon once again brings a group of like-minded players together, this time to perform the music of pianist Elmo Hope. Featuring: Jake Baldwin, Trumpet; Clay Puhfal, sax; Jeff Rinear, trombone; Javier Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen, bass; and Jesse Simon, drums. Her’s a slightly different version of the group.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set is by Ahmed & the Creators: Ahmed AbdulKarim, Trumpet; Doug Little, Saxophones;  Batume, Drums; Matt McIntyre, Bass. Headlining tonight at 8:30 is Twilight Sentinel: Aaron Hedenstrom, saxophones; Steve Kenny, trumpet; Kameron Markworth, bass; and Lars-Erik Larson, drums.

Sunday, Feb 25

Andrew Walesch Big Band; Sinatra! @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 6:30pm (No Cover, $12 for Guaranteed Seat) Pianist/vocalist Andrew Walesch has a good thing going with this big band and their Sinatra show. Be forewarned. They perform only a few times a year, guaranteeing lines out the door to see them.

Tuesday, Feb 27

Bryan Nichols’ Two Trios @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) It’s a unique evening, as tonight’s show will feature an acoustic piano, all the better to highlight pianist Nichols’ modern approach to playing. Nichols will be part of two trios: The James Buckley Trio with Buckley on bass and JT Bates on drums, and The Bryan Nichols Trio with Chris and JT Bates on bass and 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 Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, Feb 21

Big Trees on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Big Trees is: Frank Boyle, Bill Smith, Doug Lohman, & Pat Lesney. They’ll be playing original songs and some of their favorites, including blues, jazz, country, western. They say their music is “whatever you want to call it.”

Thursday, Feb 22

Cate Fierro’s Tribute  To Sade @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($15, $20) Vocalist Fierro has long been known as a powerful singer, thanks to her membership in a number of Mick Sterling’s horn-driven bands, leading her own band, and in others. Tonight she’ll be working with the sensual music of Sade.

SPCO @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20) Brooklyn-based composer Ljova goes back to his Klezmer roots as the opener to this chamber music performance at Icehouse. The program includes works by Zhurbin, Kodaly (Kodaly’s Serenade captures the folk music of Ljova’s native Hungary), and Beethoven.

Friday, Feb 23

Paul Barry & The Ace Tones @ Wilebski’s, Saint Paul. 6pm ($10?) This early evening gig is a bit different than usual, in that there is an opening act – Slim Willie & the Ride. Additionally, Harpmeister Barry and the Ace Tones will have a Special Guest: our very own Soul Man, Willie Walker.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($32 – $58) This nine person group from South Africa has been wowing audiences all over the world ever since Paul Simon used them on his Graceland album. Though some of the older members have retired since then, new, young members bring fresh energy to the group. The deep sonorities of their harmonies are simply thrilling.

Bernard Allison @ Famous Dave’s, Minnepolis. 9pm ($15) Guitarist Allison has certainly grown into his own man since the passing of his dad 20 years ago. Let It Go, his latest album, was released on Feb 2, and has already reached #2 on Billboard’s Blues chart. Reviews credit his songwriting as well as his playing, which looks to the future while acknowledging the past. His very tight band certainly helps.

Saturday, Feb 24

Joyann Parker: The Music of Patsy Cline @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 6:30pm ($12, $20) Parker is a multi-talented performer, playing guitar, piano, and writing and singing her own songs, though she’s also capable of great interpretations of other’s songs. Tonight in the intimate Dunsmore Room, she leaves the blues and R&B that she’s noted for and heads in a slightly different, but often emotionally similar music – the classic country of Patsy Cline.

Roux & Rue/Willie Walker @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Roux & Rue – No Cover), 9pm (Walker – $12) Catch Nikki Roux & Rich Rue (of Nikki & the Rue-Mates) at 6:30, and stick around for an original soul singer, Willie Walker, whose most recent album, After A While, with The Anthony Paule Soul Orchestra, was nominated for 5 Blues Awards, and received a four-star review in Downbeat, which was followed a month later in the same magazine with a laudatory story.

Sunday, February 25

Harrison’s Jukebox @ Amsterdam Bar and Hall, Saint Paul. 6pm Doors (Free) Music written and inspired by George Harrison and his jukebox featuring The Basement Band, Kyx, and Curtiss A, with special guests.

Anders Osbourne Acoustic @The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($30, $35, $40), 8pm ($25, $30,$35) Attention guitar lovers. You’ll want to see New Orleans guitarist Osborne, who has been honored numerous times by various and sundry periodicals and organizations in that music-savvy town. Tonight the electric bluesman is going acoustic. The New Orleans Times-Picayune said, “Osborne possesses a voice that rises out of the darkness to the light of a soulful, tremulous wail. He is a consummate showman and shaman, bending successive moments to suit his majestic purposes.”

Delphia Cello Quartet @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 8pm ($6) This all-cello quartet was begun last year, to play original arrangements of popular tunes. Members are: Rachelle Smith, Amanda Burgdorf, Catherine Canon, andJulia Floberg.

Also: Cafe Accordion Orchestra @ Como Park Conservatory, Saint Paul. 4:30pm – 6:30pm (Free)

Gang of Mischief @ Neumann’s, North Saint Paul. 4pm

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.


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.

Jazz

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.


Celebrations Galore: 4.5 – 4.11

April 5, 2017

We’ve now got April showers working to bring out the buds on trees and in gardens. We also have some fine visiting artists such as Stacy Kent, John Pizzarelli, Larry Fuller, and Elvin Bishop, as well as some unique events, such as the John Prine Celebration, Zeitgeist’s Early Music Festival, and a “Retirement Celebration” for Spider John Koerner. So…  once again we have many opportunities to let music lift our spirits. Take advantage of them.

Jazz

Wednesday, April 5

Mississippi Hot Club on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Harold’s guests are usually be listed under Roots & Blues, but this is different. The Mississippi Hot Club plays gypsy jazz, also known as Jazz Manouche, the style of music pioneered by Django Rheinhardt during the late 1930s and WWII. Though their configuration is classic, they leave room for a bit of a modern take on the genre, with songs that might come from the folk idiom, romantic ballads, or jazz standards. Members are: Joshua Parlanti, guitar; Alissa Jacobsen, violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass.

Paul Harper’s Show & Tell Band @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 6:30pm -9:30pm (No Cover) The Hennepin Steam Room used to be Tangiers. They’ve redesigned the place and have committed to live music at least three nights a week. Tonight, saxophonist Paul Harper, who plays in the Illicit Sextet and other groups, leads his own band.

Wednesday, Thursday, April 5, 6

Stacy Kent, featuring Jim Tomlinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $45), 9pm ($30, $35) Vocalist Stacy Kent  ses her intimate, light voice very effectively, taking an elegant, minimalist approach to successfully convey the emotion behind songs from the Great American Songbook, France, and Brazil. Her latest album, 2015’sTenderly, is a collaboration with Roberto Menescal, the great Brazilian guitarist and composer, who wrote O Pato and other Bossa Nova hits. Her husband, Jim Tomlinson is a saxophonist whose playing evokes Stan Getz.

Thursday, April 6

Art & Jazz @ Casket Arts Building, 681 !7th Ave NE, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 8:30pm (No Cover) The Twin Cities own nationally published jazz photographer Andrea Canter will be showing a collection of (mostly) black and white jazz portraits as well as a special collection of jazz-focused note cards in Studio 116. Meanwhile, The Dakota Combo w/bassist Adam Linz will perform at the 4th Floor Atrium at 5:30 & 7:30; while Larry McDonough & Carol Berquist will perform on the first floor at 6:30pm. BTW, 10% of Canter’s sales will go to The Dakota Foundation for Jazz Education.

Vicky Mountain @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) Vicky Mountain has taught of number of Twin Cities vocalists, as well she should, given how good she is at interpreting jazz standards, baseball songs, hip pop and some originals. She’ll be accompanied by David Martin on guitar, and special guests.

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) A double header, featuring The Jax Ravel Gang: Jax Ravel, bass; Blake Hubel, drums; and Javi Santiago, keys, followed at 10:30pm by the Alden Ikeda Group: Scott Newell, saxes; Alden Ikeda Drums; Steve Gnitka, guitar.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6, 8, 9, 10

earWorm Improvisation Ensemble mini-tour @ Khyber Pass & Other Area Venues. (Various Times) earWorm is a collective of composer-performers who present what they describe as “an immersive experience of electroacoustic improvisation, transporting listeners across a panoply of sonic landscapes.” They draw from many styles and experiences, including free-form jazz, blues, minimalism, electronica, dub-step, edm, hip-hop, funk, rock, classical, folk, and many musical traditions of the world. It’s experimental music, that’s for sure. Members are all multi-instrumentalists: James Holdman; Elliot McKinley; Peter Farmer; and Michael Ethan.  Thursday @ Khyber Pass, Saint Paul (9pm, $5); Saturday @ The Underground Music Cafe, Falcon Heights (7-pm no cover); Sunday @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul (4-6pm, no cover); and Monday @ Honey, Minneapolis (7:30 – 9:30pm no cover) Listen to their music here.

Friday, April 7

Lila Ammons @ The Hennepin Steam Room, 116 N. 1st Avenue, Mpls. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) Lila Ammons is a classically trained vocalist with a family background in jazz (her uncle was saxophonist Gene Ammons) and blues (her grandfather was boogie boogie pianist Albert Ammons). Listen to her take on jazz standards, bosses, and blues, backed by some of the Twin Cities best accompanists.

Saturday, April 8

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) For the first time in over 130 weekly shows at the Black Dog, a vocalist will be performing. Maryann Sullivan and Corner Jazz begin the evening at 7pm, with Maryann Sullivan  vocals; Doug Haining, sax; Ted Godbout, piano; Ted Olson bass; and Trevor Haining, drums. At 8:30, it’s the Steve Kenny Quartet, with Rodney Ruckus, drums (his last performance before moving out of the Cities); Javi Santiago, piano; Ted Olsen bass; Steve Kenny, Flumpet, and special guests.

JazzMN Big Band w/Guest Maria Schneider @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindberg Dr, Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($35, $37, Students: $10, $20) For jazz fans, this will be a show not to miss. New York based composer Maria Schneider is the pride of Windom, MN, known around the world for her majestic compositions for large groups, including orchestras and symphonies. She’s won five Grammys, including two at the most recent awards for 2016. One was for Sue, her collaboration with David Bowie, and the other was for Thompson Fields, by her own orchestra. She’s been working with the JazzMN band all week, creating arrangements based on the band’s instrumentation.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 9pm ($12) Bassist/vocalist Kate Lynch and the Fellows (bass, guitar, trombone, trumpet, drums) perform music from the 20s to the 50s, with an occasional 60s hit showing up once or twice an evening. Ms Lynch continues to provide historical perspective on songs, giving not only the year and composers, but other facts, such as what movies were playing downtown when the song was a hit, or where people would go shopping. Add to that the visuals of young swing dancers digging the music, and you have a thoroughly entertaining evening.

Sunday, April 9

John Pizzarelli @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 6pm ($35, $45), 8pm ($25, $35) Vocalist/guitarist John Pizzarelli is warm and witty onstage, whether telling a story or performing. In many respects he’s an old school entertainer – There’s no artifice, no attempts to play “hip chords” or the like, just honest music that’s exceptionally well played by an artist who engages the audience and swings like mad. Note the slightly earlier times for this Sunday night performance.

Monday, April 10

Reichfest @ The Icehouse, Minnapolis. 9:30pm ($10) The April Reichfest celebrating the music of the late minimalist Steve Reich, continues. Tonight a host of musicians will play Reich’s composition 2X5, from 2008. The group includes: Chris Cunningham; Zacc Harris; Pete Hennig; Cody McKinney; Thomas Nordlund; Chris Olson; Doan Brian Roessler; Javier Santiago; Zach Schmidt; and Brian Ziemniak. (Whew!). Second set is by JT Bates and others.

Tuesday, April 11

Chris Lomheim/JT Bates GRAIN Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Lomheim, no cover); 8pm (Trio, $6) Start your evening out with the piano stylings of Chris Lomheim, and then get your fill of soulful grease from JT Bates’ organ trio, featuring Bates on drums, of course, with Zacc Harris, guitar; and Kevin Gastonguay, organ.

Larry Fuller Trio @ Crooner’s Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner) Fuller is a pianist who epitomizes the concept of swing, as well he should given his background. He got his start playing for classic vocalist Ernestine Anderson for five years, then went on to join the Jeff Hamilton Trio for six years, before joining the last edition of the Ray Brown Trio for a few years, and finally the John Pizzarelli Quartet for eight years. Along the way he’s also played with a pantheon of jazz illuminaries.

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 5

Radio Joe & The JazzBos @ Mancini’s Char House, Saint Paul. 7:30pm (No cover) Given the old school Las Vegas vibe of the lounge at Mancini’s, Radio Joe and the JazzBos, with their vintage swing, jump blues, and romantic ballads, were made to fill the dance floor at the venerable Saint Paul institution.

Thursday, April 6

Verretta @ Famous Dave’s, Minneapolis. 7pm (No Cover) Original music performed with a big nod towards classic rock with a touch of punk. They say they’re an Outlaw Country Rock n’ Roll Revival Band, and listening to their songs, that seems about right, though perhaps more rock n’ roll than outlaw country.

9th Annual Big Fat Love @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, 3010 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10) Mother Banjo and Art Vandelay are at it for the 9th year in a row, celebrating the half birthday of John Prine. Each year they gather friends to sing the songs of Prine. This year’s participants include: Terry Walsh, of the Belfast Cowboys, The High 48s, The Gated Community, Kari Arnett, The Eddies, and many more.

Thursday – Sunday, April 6 – 10

Zeitgeists’s 7th Annual Early Music Festival @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 7:30pm, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, 2pm Sunday ($15, $10 Students & Seniors, $40 festival pass) This year new music group zeitgeist is celebrating the music of composer Lou Harrison, described as ” true American maverick, Harrison’s integrations of non-Western musical traditions and his innovative use of just intonation embraced new artistic possibilities and made a lasting impact that continues to shape new music today.”  Find out more about the program for each performance and the guest artists here

Friday, April 7

Teague Alexy Band CD Release @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 7:30pm Jackson Buck’s Freewheelin’ First Friday series features a trio of Americana groups tonight. It’s  CD Release Party for Teague Alexy (of Hobo Nephews of Uncle Frank). The Thirsty River String Band, Trevor James Americana Rebel (of Tin Can Gin), and Ian Alexy will also be appearing. Teague Alexy’s songwriting is clearly influenced by his home in Minnesota as well as his childhood in New Jersey, and life as a traveling hobo musician. His new album is Circuit Sessions, on which he uses a strong rhythm section: Eric Pollard, bass; Steve Garrington, drums; as well as Jake Hanson, guitar. Special guests include Trevor James, the Thirsty River String Band and Ian Alexy.

McNasty Brass Band Vinyl Release Dance Party @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10) The McNasty Brass Band has all the verve and outsized excitement that you might expect from a ten-piece band, including the use of contemporary and original songs. They released King Sized Life in January, and are now having another release party for the Vinyl Edition. You don’t have to know special steps to dance to this group, you only have to let your body react to their beats and the rhythm of the sousaphone.

Saturday, April 8

Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40-$50), 9:30pm ($35 – $45) Bishop is master blues guitarist and a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He started out with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and went on to a successful solo career. While playing solo he also played onstage with The Gratefull Dead, Al Kooper, and The Allman Brothers, recorded with John Lee Hooker, Clifton Chenier, Bo Diddley, and others, and toured with BB King. The Big Fun Trio is an apt name for his group (Bob Welsh, piano/guitar; Willy Jordan, vocalist/percussion), as Bishop’s songs have often been delivered with a sly sense of humor.

Johnny Rawls @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 for a reserved table) Soul/Blues singer Rawls can work a crowd and deliver a satisfying, sweat inducing show. He started out playing for folks like ZZ Hill and Joe Tex, and eventually led the bands of OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before setting out on a solo career in the late 80s. Both his 2014 album with the late Otis Clay, entitled Soul Brothers, and Tiger In a Cage, from last year, show him to be in fine form.

The Magnolias @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance/$10 Door) With twin guitars creating a buzz-saw attack, the Magnolias  urst on the Twin Cities music scene over 30 years ago, becoming known as “Minneapolis’ scruffy also-rans” compared to groups like the Replacements and Soul Asylum. Their fans knew better as the band recorded 3 albums by the end of the 80s, and two more in the 90s. After some fallow years, in the early 2000s, they issued some unrealesed tracks and demos in 2007, and toured Europe in 2008 and 2009. Opening act Johnny Rey has been a fixture of the vibrant Twin Cities music scene for four decades. The guitar player was an original member of Flamingo, playing the old Longhorn Bar in downtown Minneapolis. He led his own band for a few years, but stopped in 1985, not performing again until about four years ago.

Malamanya @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 11pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Get your salsa dancing shoes out as this septet plays vintage and traditional Cuban rhumbas and mambos, along with salsas, the updated version of mambo.

Sunday, April 9

Willie Walker @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 4pm – 8pm ($??) Here’s a chance for an afternoon delight, so to speak. Walker is an original soul man who recorded for Goldwax Records out of Memphis back in the 60s, but he’s been our own treasure for decades now, delivering heartfelt soul music in his slightly raspy voice. He’s just been on another international tour, and was recently named winner of Two Blues Music Awards for 2016 – Comeback Artist of the Year, and New Recordings/Southern Soul, for his album If Nothing Ever Changes.

Spider John Koerner “Retirement” Party @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($18 Advance/$20 Door) Folk legend Spider John Koerner is being honored with a “retirement” party by a bunch of mostly younger artists “who appreciate my work and wanted me to have a show with them,” according to Koerner. Those younger artists include The Cactus Blossoms, Lonesome Dan Case, Jack Klatt, Dave Babb, and Grant Johnson. Long time compatriots Willy Murphy and Tony Glover will also take part, as well as Chip Taylor Smith and Paul Strother. For 50 years, Koerner has explored the ranges of traditional American song, both as a solo artists and with a variety of partners, including Koerner, Ray, & Glover, and Willie Murphy. Along with his work with KRG, Koerner’s albums Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Been, from ’86, and Raised by Humans, from ’92 are classics of American folk music.

Monday, April 10

Joe Fingers @ Dunn Bros on Grand, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Fingers is a world-class finger-picking guitarist performing not-so-secretly under an alias. Get your fill of coffee and cool 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.


Variety and Quality: 3.8 – 3.15

March 8, 2017

We’ve some wonderful visiting artists, and a surfeit of outstanding resident artists this week, giving us many opportunities to share a communal moment around music. Remember, the audience is as much a part of the performance as those who are on stage. We all gain energy from each other. And of course, it remains true that such an experience lifts our spirit.


Jazz

Wednesday, March 8

Monty Alexander Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $40), 9pm ($30, $35) Jamaica-born pianist Monty Alexander  began playing at age six, and by the time he was a teenager, had a popular band called Monty and the Cyclones. He moved to NYC in 1962 and began playing with folks like bassist Ray Brown and vibist Milt Jackson, and recorded his first album in 1964, when he was 20. With a soulful approach, some hints of Oscar Peterson, and a hard swinging style. He’s recorded over seventy albums since 64, but aside from occasionally using calypso rhythms, didn’t embrace his Jamaican heritage on record until the 90s. Since then he’s recorded a half-dozen or so albums using Jamaican musicians to record reggae, rock steady, and calypso tunes. He’ll be appearing with a trio tonight, which lately has included JJ Wiggins on bass, and Jason Brown on drums, so you can expect that he’ll be drawing on all parts of his vast repertoire.

Chris Bates’ Trio Explorations @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Hard-working bassist Chris Bates will be joined by Nathan Hanson, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums. They’ve played with each other in a number of different contexts, and now will use that experience to find new ways to express their respective musical ideas.

Thursday, March 9

Joel Shapira, Paul Renz Trio @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (Shapira – No Cover) 9pm (Renz-$5) It’s a night of double guitar gigs at the Vieux. Joel Shapira will play acoustic guitar during the dinner hour from 6:30 – 8:30pm. Then guitarist Paul Renz and his trio take the stage. Renz graduated from Berklee College of Music and New England Conservatory, where he studied with jazz greats Herb Pomeroy and George Russell. Though his Twin Cities activities revolve mainly around teaching, he’s recorded a half dozen well received, chart-topping albums and has built a fan base on the East Coast where he tours every once in a while.

Gypsy Mania @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm (Tip Jar) This is definitely Hot Club music – acoustic, swinging jazz, under the direction of bandleader and world-beat guitarist Glen Helgeson. Other members of Gypsy Mania include additional outstanding musicians: Gary Schulte, violin; Steve Pikal, bass; and Jay Epstein, drums. Be sure to sit relatively close to the stage, as the noise level can be quite high at Hell’s Kitchen.

Sarah M. Greer & Dean Magraw @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Greer is an under-appreciated vocalist who has the chops and skill to teach others, yet is not as well known as some of her contemporaries and students. Magraw, as those of you who have received this newsletter for a while know, is a versatile guitar player who is equally at home in a fusion trio, world music group, or accompanying a singer such as Ms Greer.

Thursday, Friday, March 9,10

Victor Wooten Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35, $42), 9pm ($25, $32) Bassist Victor Wooten has won five Grammys, and every major award given to a bass guitarist. He’s a member of the pioneering bluegrass/jazz fusion group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, but regularly puts out his own solo recordings. For these two nights of appearances, he’ll lead a trio with Bob Franceschini on sax; and Dennis Chambers on drums.

Friday, March 10

Cannonball Collective @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Even with so many colleges featuring jazz programs, when it comes down to it, graduates of such programs should also embrace the “old school” form of learning – playing with older, established musicians. The Cannonball Collective brings several generations of Twin Cities musicians together to celebrate the music of Cannonball Adderley. The last time they performed, the group included:  Mac Santiago, drums; Zack Lozier, trumpet; Joe Strachan, piano; Keith Boyles, bass; and Doug Haining, sax. This will definitely be a fun gig.

Friday, Saturday, March 10, 11

Dave King’s Vector Families @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($15) Vector Families is one of a dozen or so projects that drummer Dave King is part of, including the Bad Plus, and Dave King’s Trucking Company. For this group, he’s joined by Brandon Wozniak, sax; Dean Granros, guitar; and Anthony Cox, bass/cello. This is a group that can swing while still exploring the outer reaches of chord changes and melodies. I believe they are celebrating the release of a new album.

Saturday, March 11

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Opening set: Post Atomic Trio, with David Hamilton, piano; John Croarkin, sax; and Derrin Pinto, drums.  8:30pm, Central Standard Time; Javi Santiago – Piano, Dave Brattain – Saxophones, Steve Kenny – FLUMPET, Ted Olsen – Bass, Eric Kamau Grávátt – Drums

Davu Seru’s No Territory Band @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 6pm Master Class, 7pm Concert ($10 Advance/$15 Door) This is another in the very excellent Jazz at Studio Z series. Tonight drummer/percussionist Davu Seru is featured, along with the band, featuring Jake Baldwin, trumpet; Pat O’Keefe, clarinets; Nathan Hanson & Scott Fultz, saxes; and Levi Schwartzberg, vibes. There will be a master class at 6pm, and two sets of music.

Kate Lynch & Her Most Excellent Fellows @ The Aster Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) Bassist/Vocalist Kate Lynch always delivers a bit of history with the songs she and Her Most Excellent Fellows perform. Not so much about the song itself, but about the era in which it was popular. She says that about 1/5 of the presentation is about history, which is about right, from what I can tell. The rest is swinging, danceable music, from early to mid 20th Century.

Monday, March 13

Andrew Tomten Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Tomtem is a young saxophonist who’ll be leading a trio tonight, playing mostly his own compositions.

Tuesday, March 14

Chris Lomheim @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6pm (No Cover) Pianist Lomheim has been inspired by Bill Evans, but has his own sound – one that is imaginative and often contemplative, yet he can swing mightily, and serve as the foundation for larger groups. Tonight he’s by himself, providing first class music for diners.

Sam Miltich & Charmin Michelle @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($10, $35/Dinner) This is a very promising combination, one that will work well in Crooners’ listening room. Sam Miltich is an extraordinary jazz guitarist who comes from the northern woods of Minnesota. He plays gypsy jazz with the Clearwater Hot Club, but is also enamored of traditional jazz, Brazilian fork music, French Musettes and other world musics. He’ll be playing with Charmin Michelle, whose creamy dreamy voice, perfect diction, and great sense of time have made her popular both here and in Europe (especially Spain), and its jazz musicians. They’ll have added help from bassist Chris Bates, and drummer Jay Epstein.

Explosion Big Band @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10, $5w/Student ID) Dough Haining, sax; and Scott Agster, trombone, lead this 17 piece aggregation in the classic sounds of Ellington and Basie, as well as Thad Jones, Clare Fischer, and others.

 

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 8

Rockin’ Johnny Burgin @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 7pm (Tip Jar) though Rockin’ is part of his name, don’t be fooled. Guitarist Johnny Burgin is no blues rocker, but rather an effective acolyte of traditional Chicago blues. He grew up in Mississippi and South Carolina, but got his start in Chicago playing with Taildragger, and touring with folks like Pinetop Perkins and drummer Sam Lay. He’s doing a mini-tour of the Twin Cities, playing in Holihans’ The Schooner, and Shaw’s over the next few days. Usually, he would appear on Harold’s House Party first, but the show is pre-empted today for International Women’s Day programming.

David Lindley @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($20 Advance, $25 Door) During his time as featured accompanist with Jackson Browne and leader of his own band El Ray-X, multi-instrumentalist David Lindley often drew inspiration from, and played, music from around the world. He often includes elements of African, Arabic, Asian, Turkish, and Malagasy music, and, when combined with his many stringed instruments, colorful outfits, unique sense of humor, and elfin looks, creates a wholly satisfying and enjoyable music experience for listeners.

Thursday, March 9

Jeff Ray & the Stakes @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (Tip Jar) Ace bottleneck guitar player Jeff Ray can be depended upon to take traditional or well-known songs, and recast them, sometimes with Eastern influences, sometimes creating an old-timey song out of a rock n’ roller. The Stakes are usually Mikkel Beckman  on percussion and Hurricane Harold Tremblay on harmonica. Though this video is titled as Hurricane Harold, it’s essentially Jeff & the Stakes.

Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25 Advance, $30 door) Thanks to help from many volunteers, The Cedar Cultural Center can keep expenses low enough to bring in a wide variety of music from around the world. Tonight they are featuring the duo of Ballake Sissoko, a Malian master of the traditional 21-stringed kora, a harp-like instrument, and French cellist Vincent Segal, who has a background in trip-hop. Their collaboration results in hauntingly beautiful chamber music, which, by the way, is the name of their album.

Friday, March 10

Willie Walker @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover, $10 reserved table) Walker’s regular appearances at Crooners are always happy affairs, with a full house, and people finding space to dance amongst the tables. Walker is an original soul man, who recorded for both Goldwax in Memphis, and Chess records in Chicago. His latest recording, If Nothing Ever Changes, won a Blues Music Award as Best Blues Album of 2015 in the New Recordings/Southern Soul Category. He also won an award as Comeback Artist of the Year.

Grant Hart’s Birthday @ Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($7 Advance, $10 Door) Grant Hart was a founding member of the influential post-punk band Hüsker Dü. In fact, this year marks the 30th Anniversary of their album Warehouse Songs and Stories. Hart is turning 56, and he’s celebrating at the Hook, along with his friends The Fury Things, a trio that plays fast, loud songs, much in the spirit of Hüsker Dü, and The Rank Strangers, a band that has won numerous awards over its 27 year history.

Saturday, March 11

Cajun Cats @ Como Dockside, Saint Paul. Noon – 2pm (No Cover) Get yourself some lunch from the Cajun/Creole menu at Como Dockside and listen to music from Southern Louisiana, as performed by Shawn Gidden, Gary Powell, and John Terr on violin, button accordion, and guitar.

Saturday Salon: Bach to Bruch @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley 3pm ($20) Here’s another performance in Crooner’s Saturday afternoon series of chamber music, curated and hosted by Maria Jette. Today, Mark Mazullo (piano), Tom Rosenberg (cello), Rena Kraut (clarinet), perform pieces by Bach, Schumann, Beethoven, and Max Bruch.

Hurricane Harold @ Vieux Carré,  Saint Paul. 6:30pm (No Cover) Harpmaster Hurricane Harold is joined by guitarist/vocalist Doug Otto for some dinnertime blues.

SubDudes @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40, $50, $60) This New Orleans group has released ten albums over the course of 25 years, drawing on the roots of R&B, gospel, jazz, and rock n’ roll that exemplify so much of the music coming out of the Big Easy. They are led by Tommy Malone on guitar; and John Magnie on accordion; and include Steve Amendee on tambourine and Tim Cook on bass.

Malamanya @ The Uptown VFW, 2916 Lyndale Ave So. Minneapolis. 8pm ($8 Advance, $10 Door) Here’s a group that mines vintage Cuban music as well as current salsa, to create music that will have folks getting out their dancing shoes. The Uptown VFW has plenty of space to twirl and spin.

Prohibition Swing Night @ The Hook & Ladder Theater & Lounge, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10 advance/$12 Door) It’s a celebration of old time swing music, featuring the Mississippi Hot Club and the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League. The Mississippi Hot Club will draw their performance from the hot club sound of the 30s, while incorporating romantic ballads, European folk music, and American jazz into their set. The Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League draws their inspiration from the early 20th Century, but adds a modern sensibility to their compositions. Swing era costumes are encouraged and swing dance lessons will be provided at 8:30pm.

Sunday, March 12

Charanga Tropical @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 3pm (No cover) Charanga Tropical was founded in 2006 by saxophonist/flautist Doug Little, who, in the course of a decade, studied for about a year with master musicians and musicologists in Cuba. This is a traditional Charanga group, with a vocalist, violins, flute and full Latin percussion. The play danzons, that stately dance created in Cuba when French immigrants from Louisiana and Haiti settled in Cuba. Their latest album, In Cuba, was recorded in the legendary Egram Studios in Havana. They also play salsas and other Cuban music as well, so dancers will be out in force for this Sunday matinee.

Eric Gales @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) This blues rock guitarist has been called “the best guitarist in the world today” by none other than Joe Bonamassa. Gales grew up in a musical family and released his first album to raves in 1991, when he was only 16. Three years later he played with Carlos Santana at 1994’s Woodstock. Gales has released 17 albums, and has performed as a sideman on dozens of others. Though right-handed, he was taught to play a right-handed guitar upside down by his left-handed older brother. He’s fleet-fingered, tasty, and just as likely to play something by Cream, Hendrix, or Stevie Wonder as he is to play straight blues. Here’s a song from his latest album, to be released March 24th.

Monday, Tuesday, March 12, 13

Judy Collins @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($60 – $75) The New York Times calls her a “Folk Goddess,” but folk music is only one part of her repertoire, which has included art songs since she began recording. Collin’s crystalline voice helped bring Steven Sondheims Send in the Clowns to the masses, and introduced many fans to the main song from the musical Marat/Sade. She was one of the first singers to record songs by Leonard Cohen, and had a huge hit with Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now. Her appearance at the Dakota a few years back was absolutely charming. Given that she has a new album coming out called A Love Letter to Steven Sondheim, this show has been dubbed Sondheim and Hits. Special guest Kenny White opens.

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.


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.

Jazz

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 http://www.kfai.org 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.


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