Big Bands, Americana, Classical and More: 11.19 – 11.25

November 19, 2014

images-2Well, another week, and another two dozen or so ideas for listening to music, whether it’s jazz, American, Classical, or undefinable. We’re blessed with very talented resident musicians and some very fine visiting musicians this week. As you acclimate to the cold, get out and hear some music. It’s good for your spirits.


Wednesday, November 19

Parisota Hot Club Trio @ The Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) The acoustic swing of the Parisota trio will work quite nicely in this club, which evokes the clubs of another, much earlier era. The Hot Club Trio consists of Robb Henry, electric guitar; Jay Epstein, drums; Matt Senjem, bass.

McNally Smith X-Tet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Pete Whitman has a passel of extremely talented young musicians in this band, which is actually more of a big band than an X-Tet. Their gig at The Bedlam Theater in Lowertown a month for so ago was exhilarating, with great solos from a number of players.

Thursday, November 20

Charlie Christenson Standards Trio @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Christenson is a well-respected vocalist and composer who has worked such New York jazz clubs as Birdland and Jazz at Lincoln Center, and has also developed training strategies for Apple, Inc. He’ll be accompanied by Graydon Peterson, bass; and Matt Edlund, drums; to perform standards and originals.

Friday, November 21

Jazz Night @ the Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 5:30pm – 10:30pm. ($5 – $20 suggested Donations) Things get started with The Ordinary Mystics (Todd Harper, piano; Nathan Hanson, sax) around 5:30-ish, then from about 7 to about 8 it will be George Cartwright, sax; Michelle Kinney, cello; and Davu Seru, drums & percussion playing for the reception for Anne Elias, current artist on exhibit at the Black Dog. At 8:30, saxophonist Donald Washington comes in with Erik Jacobson, tuba; Brian Roessler, bass; and Davu Seru, drums and percussion.

Peter Vircks Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Vircks is a highly regarded Minneapolis-based saxophonist who was a founding member of Moveable Feast and regularly plays with The Rhythmic Circus dance troupe. He’s recorded as a sideman on a dozen albums or so and can easily move into free improvisation when called upon. He’ll be appearing with Ron Evaniuk, bass; Brian Ziemniak, piano; and Kevin Washington, drums.

St. Olaf Jazz Band 1 w/guests Brad Dutz and Chris Wabich @ Buntrock Center, Northfield. 8pm  I don’t normally write about events this far out of town, but having seen Dutz and Wabich at Jazz Central last week, I want to mention this gig at St. Olaf. They’re appearing with the St. Olaf Jazz Band, led by Dave Hagedorn, which will be playing some of the duo’s compositions. The Dutz and Wabich are highly inventive, with a slightly irreverent approach to playing any number of percussion instruments.

Saturday, November 22

Chris Lomheim Trio @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 suggested Donation) Timeless, the new recording from pianist Lomheim  is by turns ethereal, beautiful, and mesmerizing. Tonight he’s joined by Jay Epstein,drums; and Andrew Bergmann, bass. Guitarist Joel Shapira is an inspired choice as a solo opener, setting up the mood for Lomheim.

The JazzMN Orchestra: The Little Big Bands @ Hopkins HS, 2400 Lindbergh Dr. Minnetonka. 7:30pm ($10 – $34)  Some bands are larger than a combo, but not as big as a big band. These bands – usually 10-12 musicians, have been called little big bands. Groups from Charles Mingus to Oliver Nelson to Miles Davis (think“Birth of the Cool”) to contemporary groups such as Gordon Goodwin’s Little Phat Band, and Pete Whitman’s X-tet all fall within this category. These bands have produced some great music, which  hasn’t been played nearly enough, something the orchesatra will help remedy this Saturday night. This past Saturday I did a phone interview with the band’s director, Doug Snapp, which you can listen to here.

PipJazz Youth All Stars @ the Maplewood Community Center Theater, 2100 White Bear Avenue, Maplewood. 7pm – 9pm ($25, $5 Students) PipJazz Live presents its annual concert featuring young artists. This time vocalist Pippi Ardennia is presenting Peter Goggin and Ebonee Rainwater on saxes; Maggie Kjeer, vocals; and Levi Schwartzberg on vibes and piano. They’ll be playing alongside the veteran musicians that usually back Ardennia. This event is also a fundraiser, with a number of silent auction items available for your bidding. Here’s Pippi with Billy Peterson on bass.

Monday, November 24

Atlantis Quartet Live Recording @ the Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The quartet (Zacc harris, guitar; Brandon Wozniak, sax; Chris Bates, bass; and Pete Hennig, drums) is a stellar example of 21st Century jazz, creating unexpected twists and turns as they play originals and some jazz standards. I expect they’ll just be doing originals tonight, since they’re recording live. A previous live album, Lines in the Sand, was recorded at the old Artists’ Quarter, with stellar results. Here they are performing a cut from that album.

Tuesday, November 25

Century Jazz Ensemble @ the Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (No Cover) the Century College Jazz Ensemble has been going strong since 1981, playing around town and at an annual event where they’ve brought in guest artists ranging from Tom Harrell, to Clark Terry, Conte Candoli, Bud Shank, and Ernie Watts. Here’s a chance to see them for free and to show the MMC that you appreciate their willingness to showcase big bands on Tuesdays.

For a comprehensive listing of Jazz, go to the Twin Cities Live Jazz Calendar. For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz, check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, November 19

Hot Rize @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($35) with Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. This Colorado traditional/progressive bluegrass band has been thrilling folks since 1978, though their major touring occurred through 1990, with appearances on The Prairie Home Companion and throughout the United States. After the passing of guitarist Charles Sawtelle in 1999, the band reorganized and started touring agin in 2002, and recently released When I’m Free, their first new studio album in 24 years. They’ll bring out their Western Swing alter ego, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, for some songs as well.

Randy Weeks @ JJ Hill Library, Saint Paul. 8pm ($25) You can call Weeks’ music roots rock, alt-country, or Americana. No matter the name, he’s a helluva songwriter, and puts on a show that will have you rockin’ and boppin’. You’ve heard Lucinda Williams singing his song Can’t Let Go, and have read the praises bestowed on him by All Music, Salon, and New Depression. He currently lives in Austin Texas, and comes to town fairly often, since he grew up in Windom. This is part of the Real-Phonic Radio Hour series, featuring a back-up band that includes Erik Koskinen and Molly Maher. With Ben Weaver Opening. Bring a food shelf donation and get 25% off admission.

Thursday, November 20

The Paladins Reunion Tour @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($27) Get out the pomade, leather jackets, and cowboy boots. The Paladins were shining lights of the Rockabilly Revival in the 80s. I believe their first appearance in the Twin Cities was at Mama D’s in Dinkytown in the late 80s, where their energy was not diminished by the small crowd. Throughout the 80s and 90s they headlined clubs and festivals around the world, then went into hiatus in 2004. They first reunited in 2010, and since then have done a few festivals and short tours, such as this one.

Yemen Blues @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20/$25) Yemen Blues is a combination of musicians from NYC, Uruguay, and Tel Aviv, creating music that mixes Yemenite, West African, and Jazz influences for a unique, original sound. Latin, North African, and funk rhythms provide a strong, hip-shaking foundation, while the vocals recall Arabic chants mixed with the blues.

 A lot of deviltry in that brain

A lot of deviltry in that brain

Courtney McClean @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($5) This probably falls under Other…  What can I say, McClean specializes in dirty comedy and bluegrass. If you’ve a mind for such, she’s wrapping up a week and a half on the road with what she calls her Booze, Bullets, and a Banjo tour. She’ll also be finishing up the filming of her tour movie. McClean will be joined by comedians Jenn Schaal and Marial Weidner.

Friday, November 21

Shaggy @ The Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis. 9pm ($18/$20) 18+ This is a show that should have many of the area’s reggae fans out in force. Back in 1995, Shaggy’s dancehall reggae hit Bombastic was all over the airwaves, both here and in Europe. It’s album went platinum and spent a year at number one on Billboard’s Reggae album chart. Since then he’s had other hits, including It Wasn’t Me and Angel in 2001, while Hot Shot, the album they came from sold six million copies. Shaggy’s 2011 releases, an album and an EP, have been been released on his own label.

Ray Bonneville @ The Landmark Center, Saint Paul. 8pm ($18)  7pm cocktail hour. Bonneville is a singer/songwriter and guitarist/harmonica player whose 2008 Americana CD Goin’ by Feel, was named one of the best of the year by Downbeat magazine. His most recent Red House CD, Easy Gone, is also gathering rave reviews.

SolFlower Collective @ Dakota Late Night, Minneapolis. 11:30pm ($5) A young contemporary R&B group with soulful singing and good songwriting.

Saturday, November 22

Vance Gilbert @ The Gingko Coffeehouse, Saint Paul. 8pm ($15) After starting out as a jazz singer, Gilbert switched to folk music and exploded on the singer/songwriter scene in the early 90s, opening for Shawn Colvin, Gilbert has recorded 10 critically acclaimed albums that showcase his union of humor, virtuosity, and the unexpected. He’s now on tour behind his latest, BaD Dog Buffet.

Funk on First, Vol II @ First Avenue, Minneapolis. 9pm ($10) First Avenue will jump to the sounds of four different funk bands from the area, headlined by the six-piece New Sound Underground, who’ve been making waves of late with their high energy performances. This funk extravaganza will also feature vocalists for a couple of the bands. Besides New Sound Underground, which with vocalists Reed Grim & Toki Wright, you can hear Pho, with Ashlee Dubose & Jellybean Johnson, Hustle Rose, featuring K. Raydio, and the McNasty Brass Band.

Tuesday, November 25

Sharon Isbin and Romero Lumbambo @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40 – $50), 9pm ($35 – $45) Here’s a very interesting pairing of artists. Isbin is an acclaimed classical guitar player, often called the pre-eminent guitarist of our time. She has a catalog of over 25 recordings. Her latest album, Guitar Passions, features guest guitarists ranging from rockers Steve Vai and Nancy Wilson (Heart), to Stanley Jordan, and Romero Lubambo, with whom she is touring. Lumbambo is a jazz guitarist from Brazil, who has performed and recorded with such stellar artists as Diane Reeves, Diana Krall, Michael Brecker, Yo-Yo Ma, and Kathleen Battle. Here’s an example of his playing.

Jake Hanson & James Buckley @ Cafe Maude, Minneapoolis. 7pm (No Cover) Hanson on guitar and Buckley on bass are just as likely to launch into a Ventures tune as they are to tackle a jazz standard. This SW Mpls neighborhood restaurant is a good place to hear them, though if you get a reservation for dinner, be sure to state you want to be near the music.

Poor Nobodys @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donations) Cinematic music with a rootsy vibe, thanks to a line-up of Chris Hepola, piano; Eric Struve, upright bass; Aaron Cantine, banjo & acoustic guitar; Chris Duba, mandolin; Albert Perez, electric guitar; and Jenna Wyse, vocals and accordion.

DKO @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul. 10pm ($5) Improvised electronic music from Jon Davis, bass and bass clarinet; John Keston, keyboards & electronics; and Graham O’Brien, drums. This trio has established themselves as the rhythm section for a couple of funkified techno groups in town, and has played as a trio at a number of high profile gigs at events like Art-A-Whirl, and the Northern Spak Festival. Their method is to improvise from scratch, often with no breaks. Their music will keep your head bobbing and your toes tapping.

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

Sadness and Celebration. Music: 1.4 – 1.10

January 4, 2012

Like many in the Twin Cities jazz community, I was shocked and saddened to hear of Christine Rosholt’s passing last week. I’ve posted a short remembrance of Christine below, and want to make extra note of the memorial and celebration taking place at The Dakota on Tuesday the 10th. Christine touched the lives of many, musicians and fans alike, so I am sure it will be packed, both on stage, and in the audience.

On a personal note, I want to tell everyone of the new radio series, Saint Paul Live! of which I am the producer. It airs on KBEM every Monday night at 7pm. You can read Pamela Espeland’s article about the show on Bebopified. There will be a reception at 7pm Thursday, January 5 at the Artists Quarter to celebrate the launch of the show. All are invited.

Now, on to this week’s suggestions.


Wednesday, Jan 4

Mark Vanderhyde’s Fuzzy Math CD Release @ The Red Stag, NE Minneapolis. 10pm. Pianist/composer Mark Vanderhyde has created a great little CD entitled “Fuzzy Math,” featuring original, contemporary material that swings quite nicely, with traces of Latin and world music. He’ll be accompanied by Jaxon Parvey, sax; Matt Peterson, bass; and Harald Bondaris, drums. If you’re up for a late night show, this will be the place to be.

Thursday, Jan 5

KBEM’s Saint Paul Live! Party @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 7pm (no cover). A gathering of musicians, friends and fans to celebrate the new radio series on KBEM that features two artists each week recorded live at venues around Saint Paul. The one hour show airs each Monday at 7pm. There’ll be excerpts from the series playing in the background.

David Brattain @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5). After the Saint Paul Live! party (above), stick around for saxman Brattain, a fluid player with a warm sound. He’s a 20 year veteran of the Cedar Avenue Big Band, and has played with the JazzMN Big Band, guitarist Paul Renz, and has been featured with Ben Sidran.

Friday, January 6

O’Keefe, Moriarty, Hansen & Seru @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar). Pat O’Keefe, (clarinet); Pat Moriarty, (sax); Nathan Hansen, (sax); and Davu Seru (drums & percussion) create improvisatory fireworks at the community centered coffeehouse.

Jake Baldwin Group @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 11pm ($5) Jake is a terrific trumpet player who is studying at the New England Conservatory after spending two years in the Dakota Combo. This young player was a finalist in the solo competition of the International Trumpet Guild. He’ll be joined by former classmates who are also home for the holidays from music school – Cory Grindberg on bass, Joe Strachan on piano (another Dakota Combo alum), and Rob Fletcher on drums.

Friday, Sat, Jan 6, 7

Laura Caviani Trio: From Bach to Bop @ The Artists’ Quarter, Saint Paul. 9pm. Pianist Caviani, along with Chris Bates on bass, and Phil Hey on drums explore the jazz possibilities of Bach, Shubert, Debussy, and other long dead European composers. They’ll also play music by Monk, Mary Lou Williams (a Caviani favorite), and an original or two, I’m sure.

Saturday, January 7

Zacc Harris Trio featuring Debbie Duncan @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (no cover)  The Twin Cities’ First Lady of Song, sitting in with guitarist Harris and his trio.

Steve Kimmel @ The Hat Trick Lounge, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) Steve Kimmel has been part of the Twin Cities jazz scene since at least the 70s, running the Rainbow Gallery, heading the Whole Earth Rainbow Band, composing for Nancy Hauser and working with Natural life. He plays piano, vibes, marimba and other instruments, and has recently begun to sing, with a penchant for Sinatra. The music room at the Hat Trick provides an intimate space for interacting with Steve and enjoying his music.

Monday, January 9

Butch Thompson & Spider John Koerner and the Jack Brass Band on Saint Paul Live! @ KBEM – 88.5FM. 7pm Butch & Spider recorded live in a rare appearance together, followed by the fun-filled music of the Jack Brass Band.

James Buckley Trio @ Barbette, Minneapolis 10pm (No Cover) Buckley is a bassist about town, playing in too many groups to mention, from pop to jazz to dub. Playing with Bryan Nichols on piano, and JT Bates on drums. Together, they create spacious jazz for the new century.

Tuesday, Jan 10

Celebration of Christine Rosholt @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm. (Donaton) The many friends (musical and otherwise) of the late Christine Rosholt gather to express their love for the vivacious singer who recently passed from this existence. Performers will include:  Tanner Taylor, Mac Santiago, Graydon Peterson, Dave Karr, Dave Jensen, Sophia Shorai, Nichola Miller, Arne Fogel, Katie Gearty, Kevin Hall’s Pazz Band, Five by Design, Maryann Sullivan with Doug Haining, Rhonda Laurie, Paula Lammers, and many more, I’m sure.

For further commentary on Twin Cities jazz check out the blogs Jazz PoliceBebopified, and Jazz Ink. For a comprehensive listing of Jazz in the Twin Cities, go to the KBEM Calendar, here.

Blues, roots, other….

Wednesday, January 4

dVrg presents Sophia Shorai, Ashleigh Still, & Chastity Brown @ Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6th & Wabasha, Saint Paul. 9pm (No cover) dVrg (Devon Gray) is a piano player who is not only comfortable, but quite good in a number of settings (the hip-hop of Heiruspecs, chamber improv of Liminal Phase, jazz of Supreme Privacy). Tonight he’s presenting (& playing for) three singers that he has collaborated with from time to time.  Sophia Shorai (jazz, pop, originals); Ashleigh Still (pop singer/songwriter); and Chastity Brown (acoustic soul/folk rock). Sounds like an imaginative, fun evening.

Thursday, Jan 5

Yemen Blues @ The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($25) A nine piece Sephardic ensemble co-founded by lauded jazz bassist Omer Avital, Yemen Blues melds traditional Yemenite melodies with blues, jazz, and funk. Using a variety of percussion and stringed instruments, along with a horn section, they create multilayered Middle Eastern grooves that have been bringing throngs to their feet from Berlin to Berkeley.  Here’s a video to give you an idea of their performance.

Friday, January 6

Malamanya w/Alma Andina @ the Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) HIghly danceable acoustic Cuban music from Malamanya, and the folk music of Nothern Chile from Andina. When Malamanya recently played a late night set at the Dakota, the staff was overwhelmed with the number of folks who came out. It was the first time I ever saw tables removed to allow the dancing at that venue. The Cedar, on the other hand, has plenty of room.

Johnny Rawls @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($?) Contemporary deep blues from the South. Rawls served as music director for both OV Wright and Little Johnny Taylor before heading out on his own. He has had a two top five hits on the Living Blues charts in recent years. In other words, he’s a true soul man.

Gary Burger of the Monks with the Spectors, @ The 331 Club, NE Minneapolis. 10pm (Tip Jar) Gary Burger was lead guitarist for the Monks a mid-60s s garage band made up of five GIs in Germany that played an explosive mixture of feedback, distortion, and dissonance long before Jimi Hendrix or English rockers discovered the wah wah pedal. Theses proto punks made one album, “Black Monk Time,” and have developed a cult following, including musicians like Jon Spencer, the White Stripes, and The Beastie Boys. Steve Kaul of the Brass Kings took lessons from Burger. Burger will be playing with The Spectors, while The Conquerers and Floorshakers will also play. Bring earplugs and prepare to rock. Here’s a video of the Monks. About a minute or so into it they begin a feedback extravaganza.

Saturday, January 7

Julie Johnson & the No-Accounts @ The Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 8pm (tip jar) Julie Johnson plays flute. Doug Otto plays guitar and sings. Drew Druckery plays guitar, mandolin, and sings. Together, this trio creates a unique sound as they explore the historical folk songs of Minnesota. Otto’s warm, yet world-weary vocals can transport you back in time. Johnson expresses all kinds of emotions with her flute, whether playing a polka or a mournful tune about the death of a lumberjack. It’s not the folk music you may expect, but it’s definitely music you’ll remember.

Tuesday, Jan 10

Jeff Ray & Friends @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm. (No Cover) Jeff is a blues & slide guitarist, with a bottomless font of talent. He attracts an equally talented group of friends to play with him.

For a more comprehensive listing of blues events, see the Minnesota Blues Society calendar.

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