The Heart of Winter: 2.1 – 2.7

February 1, 2017
It's Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

It’s Winter Carnival in Saint Paul

Happy February! Well, we seem to have gotten through what is normally the coldest week of the year without any adverse weather events. We now have a week featuring a winter carnival, the crazy (stupid?) Crashed Ice, and some great music. With temperatures above normal for this time of year, its easy to get out and find strength and inspiration in music. After all, music lifts the spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, February 1

Nellie McKay: The Life and Times of Billy Tipton @ The Dakota, Minnepolis. 7pm ($35, $45, $50) McKay is a vocalist/pianist whose charm, whimsy, and  satirical wit have earned her many fans among jazz, pop, and cabaret audiences. For this appearance she’ll be performing “A Girl Named Bill,” a “revue-with-dialogue” about a fairly successful pianist from the 50s and 60s by the name of Billy Tipton. Tipton was thought to be a man, and wasn’t discovered as a woman until her death. If there is anyone who can make a compelling, yet witty case for this musician, it’s McKay.

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Talented trumpeter Zack Lozier has spent time in the Doc Severeinson Orchestra; The Jack brass Band, Havana Hi-Fi; Southside Aces, Davina & the Vagabonds and a number of other bands. He’s an in-demand kind of guy, who also has this great trio with Steve Pikal, bass; and Stephen Hobart, piano, the group explores some of Lozier’s favorite songs, including tunes by Louis Armstrong.

SPAT @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10, $5 w/Student ID) A group of college age musicians that will likely be the next generation of star players in town: Sam Worthington, bs; Patrick Adkins, pno; Andrew Tomten, sax; Tarek Abdelqader, drums

Thursday, February 2

Thursday Night Jazz @ The Reverie, Minneapolis. 9pm (Tip Jar) Tonight features a great trio, Red Planet, a group that knows how to successfully create jazz fusion without bombarding listeners with overbearing drum beats. That’s because drummer Jay Epstein, whose background includes a stint with the rock band Gypsy, is one of the more tasteful drummers around. It certainly helps that his bandmates, Dean Magraw on guitar, and Chris Bates on bass, also have taste and chops galore.

Cox, Nichols, & Seru @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) Anthony Cox, bass; Bryan Nichols, keys; and Davu Seru, drums/percussion, have formed a group called Suffer the Children. They are three advanced musicians who can play it straight, or go out there. I suspect that tonight will lean towards going out there, which should prove to be exciting.

Friday, February 3

Davell Crawford’s B3 Organ Trio @ The Dakota, Minneapolis.  7pm ($30, $40) New Orleans native and keyboard player Davell Crawford has become a favorite at the Dakota. He comes from a musical family, essentially absorbing traditional jazz, gospel, funk, and R&B in his veins to the point where he is the new ambassador of the New Orleans piano tradition. Tonight, however, he’s heading for the Hammond B3, which should increase his music’s fun factor by several degrees.  Here he is on piano.

Jana Nyberg Group @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10) Vocalist/flutist Jana Nyberg has a unique take on music, effortlessly blending and integrating jazz and pop with panache and grace. She also happens to have a great band: husband Adam Meckler on trumpet and flugelhorn, as well as Sean Turner, piano; Graydon Peterson, bass; and Rodney Ruckus on drums.

Friday, Saturday, February 3, 4

Todd Harper & Friends @ Studio Z, Saint Paul. 8pm ($12/night, $20 for both) Pianist Todd Harper used to do an annual series with Carei Thomas and Paul Cantrell called Keys Please each year. This year, he’s doing something a bit different. These two evenings will be devoted to the compositions of Carei Thomas & Todd Harper.  Friday night will feature a quartet of Todd Harper, piano; Eric Coursen, drums; Aaron Kerr, electric cello; and Nathan Hanson, soprano and tenor saxophones. Saturday night will have two components: an exploratory/lyrical trio with Todd Harper, Eric Coursen, and bassist Keith Yanes, and the release of Harper’s solo piano CD, Metaphorsisis. Harper was my guest on this past Saturday’s Rhythm and Grooves. if you want to hear the interview, go to the link and click on the appropriate icon.

Saturday, February 4

Davell Crawford Deep in the Heart of New Orleans @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30, $40) Crawford (see Friday, above) returns to the piano for this evening that will explore the music of the Big Easy.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) Holy Shamoley, as cartoon characters sometimes say. Tonight we have The Atlantis Quartet, area leading lights of 21st Century jazz, as the opening act at 7pm. Zacc Harris, guitar; Chris Bates, bass; Brandon Wozniak, sax; and Pete Hennig, drums, will have you alternately rockin’ and swingin’. Then at 8:30, The Ben Allison Trio, with Ben Allison  bass; Steve Cardenas, guitar; and Allison Miller, drums take the stage. Allison has recorded eleven albums as a leader and has been a sideman on recording by folks like Ted Nash, Curtis Stigers, Frank Kimbrough, Lee Konitz and others. Earlier in the day, from 1pm – 2:30pm, the trio will conduct a free clinic on improvisation at the McNally Smith College of Music auditorium for high school and college-aged students and young professional musicians, and will include a live performance by Ben Allison’s Trio, and an interactive clinic with featured demonstration group, the Dakota Combo. Here is Allison with a different trio.

Monday, February 6

Bruce Barth Trio @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($25, $50 w/Dinner Show) Pianist Barth is a favorite of Tony Bennett and in fact, has accompanied him a number of times. Barth arrived in NYC in 1988 and soon joined Stanley Turrentine, with whom he played for over a decade. He toured with Nat Adderley, as well as Vincente Herring, and was a member of Terence Blanchard’s band, where he recorded six CDs and appeared as a piano player in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X. He’s been recorded on about one hundred albums, including ten as a leader. The California born pianist has had extended collaborations with folks such as Tony Bennett,  Terell Stafford, Karrin Allyson, and David Sanchez. And he has performed with a host of other jazz giants, including James Moody, Phil Woods, Freddie Hubbard, Tom Harrell, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, and the Mingus Big Band.

Tuesday, February 7

Dean Magraw & Davu Seru @ The Black Dog Cafe, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The always amazing duo of guitarist Dean Magraw and drummer/percussionist Davu Seru can be counted on to take you to unexpected, yet highly enjoyable music places.

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, February 1

Dan Rumsey on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar)  Dan Rumsey is a guitarist, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist whose singing and playing evoke 70s rock and singer/songwriters. I’ll be hosting the House Party today, so tune in to KFAI and get over to the 331 Club if you like what you hear.

Erica West Band @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Take a soulful, sensuous singer, add in her guitarist husband to lead the band, and you have a tight unit that creates jazzy R&B and pop.

Thursday, February 2

Home Fires @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 6:00pm (No Cover)  Sarah Morris and Vicky Emerson are a couple of accomplished singer/songwriters who were scheduled to appear as the Home Fires last month, though Ms Emerson had to stay home to care for a sick child. The two singers have often appeared on the same bill and have a lot in common: both are excellent songsmiths; both have an affinity for Americana/alt country; and both can deliver heartfelt ballads and romping uptempo tunes with equal verve.

Jake Hanson Trio @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Hanson is an inventive guitarist who makes good use of pedal effects to create surf sounds, Ventures music, blues, 50s rock, and more. He’s a sought after musician who has played with a variety of high-profile Minnesota artists, including Halloween Alaska, Mason Jennings, Solid Gold, Haley Bonar, The Pines and many more. It will be fun to see him playing for the Friday night crowd at Crooners. Here is Hanson in a duo setting.

Danny B. Harvey & His Cats @ The Hook & Ladder Theater and Lounge, Minneapolis. 9:00pm ($7 Advnce/$10 Door) Here’s a night of rockabilly from Danny B. Harvey, best known as the guitarist for the super group HeadCat (a band he formed with Lemmy from Motorhead and Slim Jim Phantom from Stray Cats), he was also a founding member of the the original neo-rockabily band The Rockats. Danny has also produced, recorded and performed with Wanda Jackson, Nancy Sinatra, Johnny Ramone, and Lee Rocker. Joining Danny on vocals is Annie Marie Lewis, niece of pioneering rock n’ roller Jerry Lee Lewis, and the daughter of Linda Gale Lewis, as well as a cousin of Mickey Gilley. They’ll be joined by special guests Noah Levy on drums and Tommy Vee, bass. I understand that Lori Barbero of Babes in Toyland may join them for a few songs. The Bad Companions open.

Jaedyn James & the Hunger @ Vieux Carré, Saint Paul. 8pm ($7) This is a somewhat raw, but exciting 10 piece R&B/Soul band, with a leader/vocalist who brings on the energy with no restraint. They promote fun with a passion, and are certain to keep people from staring at their phones during a performance. They will, in fact, delight anyone who is into danceable R&B.

Friday, February 3

Davina & the Vagabonds @ Wilebski’s Blues Saloon, Saint Paul. 6pm – 10pm ($??) Ms Davina is a force of nature when it comes to singing, while the Vagabonds can match her note for note. With a repertoire that’s inspired by New Orleans, and a backbeat just made for swing dancers, I expect this will be a fun-filled show.

Ben Cook-Feltz and…  Friends? @ Bryant Lake Bowl, Minneapolis. 8pm ($7) This show will feature guest performances from some of the finest talent the Twin Cities has to offer, who happen also to be some of Ben’s best friends on the scene, including Jillian Rae, Sarah Morris, Mother Banjo, Doug Otto, Kari Arnett and Art Vandalay. Some will be sitting in with Cook-Feltz and the band, others will perform their own songs.

Maurice Jacox @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7:30pm (No Cover) R&B, Soul, Jazz, and standards from the under-recorded Maurice Jacox on vocals and occasional sax, as well as Thomas West, keys; Mike Cramer, guitar; and award winning drummer Robb Stupka.

Saturday, February 4

Saturday Salons @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 3pm ($20) The folks at Crooners are starting a new series for those who enjoy classical music, with the inimitable Marie Jette as host. This matinee series will feature a wide panoply of the world’s chamber music from early Renaissance and Baroque pieces to Mosart, Debussy, and music of the 21st Century. Today, performers will be presenting music from the Love Song Waltzes of Johannes Brahms in solos, duets, and quartets for four singers and two pianists. Today’s musicians are: Maria Jette, soprano; Victoria Vargas, mezzo-soprano; Dan Dressen, tenor; Michael Jorgensen, bass baritone; with pianists Mary Jo Gothmann and Tadeusz Majewski.

Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ The State Theater, Minneapolis. 8pm ($29.50 – $49.50) Can it really be 50 years since South Africa’s Joseph Shabala had a dream about the music he would make with 8 other male singers? The deep sonority of their acapella voices, combined with their storytelling, dancing, and messages of peace, love, and harmony can still strike a chord deep within us. The membership of the group has changed over the years, as a younger generation replaces older singers, yet their message and sound remains the same.

Undervud @ The Museum of Russian Art, Minneapolis. 7pm ($17 Members, $20 General, 4 or more/$15 per ticket) The wonderfully curated and laid-out Museum of Russian Art continues to bring in liver performers of all stripes. Tonight they’ve got the leaders of a popular Russian rock band called Undervud, formed in the late 90s by two medical students who quit school after a couple of hits and moved to Moscow. They’ve since recorded seven albums. This will be an acoustic performance by the founding members of the band. Opening is Roman Lugovykh, leader of the band Romario, which had a sold out performance at the museum in September.  Here’s Undrvud – the full band.

Mini Blues Fest @ Whiskey Junction, Minneapolis. 8pm ($??) It’s a midwinter blues respite, with an evening devoted to three different blues acts, Featuring harpist Paul Barry with his trio the Ace Tones with vocalist Lila Ammons at 8pm, octogenarian pianist (and father of Jimmy Jam) Cornbread Harris at 9:30pm and finishing up with The Cobras at 11pm, with Washtub James, aka Pat Dawson, bass; Elliot “Mojo: Harris, drums; Brian Duke, guitar & vocals; and Tom Ferring, vocals and 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.


Hot August Nights: 8.10 – 8.16

August 10, 2016
Long before the Pavilion became a hot spot

Long before the Pavilion became a hot spot

There are more outdoor music events this week, including music at the Como Park Pavilion (see photo). We also have a number of intriguing events in bars and restaurants, with visiting artists from New Orleans, San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago, along with our own talented resident musicians. Music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, August 10

Jazzy Women Singer/Songwriters @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 7pm ($12, $35 Dinner) Lucia NewellJudi Vinar, and Vicky Mountain are three of the finest jazz singers around. Here’s a chance to hear them singing their original songs in the intimate Dunsmore Room, accompanied by a couple of fine instrumentalists, Phil Aaron on piano and Graydon Peterson on bass.

Zack Lozier Three @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 8pm ($5) Trumpeter Zack Lozier has the chops to pay proper respect to Louis Armstrong. Together with Steven Hobert on piano and Steve Pikal on bass, they play the music of Armstrong and other early jazz musicians, while changing things up with other jazz standards.

Thursday, August 11

MN Hardbop Collective @ The Bakken Museum, Minneapolis. 5:30pm – 9pm, ($10/free for members) Drummer Jesse Simon has put together this quintet to pay homage to the R&B.Gospel inspired music of the 50s and 60s. The group features promising trumpeter Omar Abdulkarim: Javier Santiago on piano; Daniel Carpel, bass; and Joe Mayo on sax.

Midnight Love @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 9pm ($7) A new group formed by some veterans: Greg Schutte, drums; Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniack, piano and organ; Matt Darling, trombone; and Patrick Nelson, bass.

Le Percheron @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($5) It’s the semi-regular appearance of this forward thinking group led by bassist Adam Linz, and including young lions Levi Schwartzberg, vibes; Corey Healy, drums; and Noah Ophoven-Baldwin, trumpet.

Jazzland Wonderband & Mississippi Hot Club @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9pm ($8 advance, $10 Door) These two bands have done a number of double-bill shows lately, as they complement each other quite well. The Mississippi Hot Club  plays acoustic swing and gypsy jazz, featuring: Joshua Parlanti, lead guitar; Alissa Jacobsen violin; Luke Zupan and Ian Stenlund, rhythm guitars; and Joseph Downing, upright bass. Jazzland Wonderband blends traditional New Orleans jazz and second line music with R&B of a more recent vintage. Cameron Kinghorn, trumpet and vocals; Nelson Deveraux, reeds; Keith Holson, trombone; Andres Crovetti, drums; and Evan Clark, tuba.

Friday, August 12

Estaire Godinez w/Jose James Sr. @ Rice Park, Saint Paul. 6pm – 9pm (Free) Percussionist Godinez brings her Latin rhythms to Saint Paul’s downtown park for an evening of outdoor dancing. Lessons at 6, followed by music.

Glen David Andrews @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($30), 9pm ($20) Trombonist Andrews in a force of nature, whose New Orleans heritage has taught him how to grab hold of an audience from the time he enters the stage until he leaves them spent at the end of a show.

Saturday, August 13

Jazz Alley @ Golden’s Deli, Saint Paul. 11am – 1pm (No Cover) Jazz Alley members are: vocalists Sarah M. GreerMaryann Sullivan  and Katia Cardenas  along with Ted Godbout on keys and Jim Chenoweth on bass. This group and brunch gig came about after this year’s “Singers’ Scatt Off” during the recent Twin Cities Jazz Festival. There will be two sets each Saturday through August.

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog, Saint Paul. 7pm (Tip Jar) The young guns take the stage as headliners tonight with Hoaxer: Will Kjeer, piano; Charlie Lincoln, bass; Edmund Caitlin, drums; and Peter Goggin on alto sax. This is a talented group of musicians, and in ten years or so, you’ll brag “I saw them when…” Opening is the Joel Shapira/Dean Granros duo, bringing you some exquisite guitar playing.

Rebirth Brass Band & Cha Wa @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($40), 10pm ($35) Rebirth has been a part of New Orleans’ brass band revival for about 30 years now, and have been appearing at the Dakota once or twice a year for a few years now. They are upping the excitement level, if that’s possible, by bringing Cha Wa, a Mardis Gras Indian tribe, along for this trip. Bring some white handkerchiefs to wave as you second line around the club. Here’s Cha Wa.

Sunday, August 14

Bob DeFlores’ Legends of Jazz @ Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Chanhassen. 3pm ($12) Film Historian Bob DeFlores unpacks some of his rare movie clips of artists such as Miles Davis, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Fats Waller, and others.

Monday, August 15

Naomi & Her Handsome Devils @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($20) Singer Naomi Uyama began her love affair with classic jazz as a 16 year old swing dancer. She’s won international awards for her dancing and taught, eventually taking up singing and putting together a band to play for other swing dancers.  Here’s hoping some tables are moved to make room for dancing.

Tuesday, August 16

Irv Williams’ 97th Birthday Celebration @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10) Saxophonist Irv Williams can outlast that Energizer bunny. He’s been performing in the Twin Cities since 1942. Before moving to the Twin Cities, Williams played in bands alongside such notable jazz stars as Ella Fitgerald, Fletcher Henderson, Mary Lou Williams, and Billy Eckstine.  He chose to stay in the Twin Cities despite invitations to join the orchestras of such luminaries as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Louis Armstrong. Not only will “Mr Smooth,” who still has a great sound, be celebrating his 97th Birthday, but he will be awarded as the first inductee into the newly formed Minnesota Jazz Hall of Fame.

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, August 10

Nathan Miller & The Unstoppable Co. on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90,3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Miller plays a lap slide guitar, imbuing it and his voice with a soulful sound, whether redoing Stagger Lee as a ballad or rocking out.  It’s host Harold Tremblay’s birthday, so let the celebration begin!

Thursday, August 11

The New Standards @ Music in Mears, Saint Paul. 6:30pm (Free) The Standards play rock songs from the 80s and beyond, recast in acoustic, jazzy settings by Chan Poling, piano; John Munson, bass; and Steve Roehm, vibes. John Swardson and Bad Blood open. Half dozen food trucks, beer from Tin Whiskers and Summit Brewing.

Friday, August 12

The Claudettes @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($10) The Claudettes perform a mash-up of Windy City Blues and the energy of rockabilly and punk, along with some echoes of the jazz age. Founder/pianist Johnny Iguana is a member of two Grammy-nominated groups: Chicago Blues – A Living History, and the Muddy Waters 100 Band. He’s joined by bassist/singer Zach Verdoorn, drummer Matt Torre, and singer Berit Ulseth, returning to her home town where she first sang as a teenager.

Lydia Pense & Cold Blood @ Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm (??) Lydia Pense & Cold Blood were one of the high-flying R&B horn bands of the late 60s and early 70s, who, along with Tower of Power, exemplified East Bay Grease. After appearing at the Fillmore West, Bill Graham immediately signed them to his label, and they subsequently achieved national fame. Pense and the sextet are still performing and still releasing new music, the latest offering being Soul of the Gypsy from 2015. Twin Cities harpmeister Curtis Blake & Greazy Gravy opens.

Saturday, August 13

Lisa Wenger Band @ Crooners’ Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7:30pm (No Cover) Wenger’s soulful, sweet, and gritty vocals have been belting the blues and blues-based roots music for years now, entertaining folks throughout the Twin Cities and the Midwest and as far afield as The Bitter End in NYC and BB Kings in Orlando. Here’s a chance to see her entertaining a crowd in Crooners’ lounge, with no cover, to boot.

No Limits the B-Side Band @ Lucky’s 13 Pub, 3000 Harbor Lane North, Plymouth. 9pm (No Cover) R&B grooves from yesterday and today, delivered by a sharp band and three different vocalists.

Sunday, August 14

Charanga Tropical Summer CD Release Party @ Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis. 5:30 – 7pm (Free) This is what Twin Cities summers are for: Hanging out by a lake, having a picnic, or picking up food from a lakeside restaurant, and listening to some very fine music. Charanga Tropical were in Cuba last year, and while there, recorded an album at the Aireto Studios, where countless classic Cuban musicians have recorded, as well as folks like Nat King Cole, Josephine Baker, and Frank Sinatra (before 1959, of course). In Cuba, as it’s called is a delightful album filled with lush Danzons, a Cha Cha or two, and music that will transport you to Cuba, even while watching sailboats in Minneapolis.

Renee Austin @ Crooners’ Dunsmore Room, Fridley. 5:00pm – 8:15pm ($15, $40 Dinner)  Blues singer Austin lost her voice after thyroid surgery in 2005, a crushing blow for someone whose voice has been compared to Etta James. She couldn’t sing, and could only talk in a whisper until one day, eleven months later, her voice came back, though she still couldn’t sing until 2011, when she was asked to perform in her church. Now, she’s performing again, playing clubs and festivals, and singing in her five-octave voice. She’ll be accompanied by piano, guitar, and drums, for an intimate evening of originals, including some new songs.

Monday, August 15

Hula Peppers @ Como Dockside, Como Park, Saint Paul. 7pm (Free) You can pick up some food and beverages in the restaurant and sit back and enjoy the breeze off Como Lake, while the Hula Peppers perform music from the 20s and 30s, with an Hawaiian melody thrown in every now and then for good measure. The Hula Peppers are: Dan Daddy Squeeze Newton, accordion; Gary Powell, Hawaiian guitar; Dave Furmiss, resonator guitar; Corey Mohan, ukeleles and musical saw. They are often joined by Lauren Asheim, a chanteuse with a Betty Boop quality that’s entirely endearing.

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.


Music Rains: 4.1 – 4.7

April 1, 2015

imagesI’m afraid I have no April Fool’s prank for you , but instead am happy to report that great music continues to rain down on us here in the Twin Cities.  (Ugh, had to stretch a bit to match the graphic.) We’ve a few visiting musicians of note, as well as a bevy of talented resident musicians. It’s wonderful that we have a number of choices each evening, but then, that’s the result of living neat the bio-magnetic center of the universe. Music lifts the spirit

Jazz

Wednesday, April 1

Zack Lozier Three on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pm (331 Club – Tip Jar) Lozier  trumpet; Steve Hobert, keys; and Steve Pikal, bass; played a tremendous set at the fundraiser for KFAI a couple of weeks ago. If you like jazz with a nod towards the traditional sound of New Orleans, then by all means tune in to hear them and head to the 331 Club afterwards.

Parisota Hot Club Trio @ Tangiers, Minneapolis. 8pm (No Cover) Though this suave nightclub in the North Loop features glitzy dance/deejay crowds on the weekend, they bring in jazz once a week, and deserve your attention. Tonight, it’s The Parisota Hot Club  with Matt Senjem, bass; Jay Epstein, drums; and leader Robb Henry on guitar. Vocalist Erin Livingston is an occasional guest. Here’s once version of the group doing a Beatles tune.

Rebirth Brass Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm, 9pm ($25) Rebirth is one of the first bands in the Brass Band revival that’s occurred over the last couple of decades. They’ve been at it for 25 years or so, swinging hard and playing original music, as well as traditional tunes, and adaptations of R&B hits.

Unknown-1Schimke, Epstein, & Cox @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Bassist Anthony Cox curates the first Wednesday of the month at Jazz Central, bringing in some top-notch players to improvise, sometimes freely. Tonight he has Peter Schimke on piano and Jay Epstein on drums. Cox likes to have these events be interactive, so be prepared to have him open the floor to comments and questions either during or after the performance.

Thursday, April 2

Chris Potter Quartet @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25), 9pm ($15) Potter is one of the most admired sax players of his generation (he’s 43), having received numerous awards and accolades. When he was 18, he worked with the legendary Bebop trumpeter Red Rodney, and has since appeared on over 100 albums as a sideman and recorded 15 albums as a leader. On his latest, and well-received  CD Imaginary Cities, Potter expands his Underground Quartet with a marimba and a string quartet, to create an album that integrates modern classical music with various facets of jazz. I’m not sure what players he’ll have with him tonight, but it will be stellar. Here’s a video to illustrate.

Marc Anderson, Michelle Kinney, Carla Vagle @ Khyber Pass Cafe, Saint Paul. 9:30pm ($5) This promises to be a unique evening of improvised music. Marc Andeson is a percussionist and Zen Buddhist priest who has played with Steve Tibbets since 1977, and has also toured and played with artists such as Robert Fripp, Don Cherry, Taj Mahal, Claudia Schmidt, Max Roach, and Greg Brown. Michelle Kinney is a cellist/composer who is a strong improviser, having worked with such innovators as Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, and John Zorn, in addition to being a member of Jelloslave and collaborating with Prudence Johnson and Dean Magraw. Carla Vagle is a vocalist with a strong, crystal clear voice.

Friday, April 3

Wayne Krantz @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) The virtuosic fusion guitarist has recorded and worked with Steely Dan, Michael Breaker, Chris Potter, and Billy Cobham. He’s not the kind of player who plays as many notes as possible (though he can do so). Rather, Krantz has a clean, tasteful approach to playing, no matter the groove, of which there will undoubtedly be plenty. Opening is the Zack Lozier Three (see Wednesday listing).

Dean Magraw & Steven Hobert @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Magraw is the guitarist-about-town who is equally at home with jazz, fusion, Celtic, and other world musics. Hobert is the pianist/accordionist whose often subtle, but highly imaginative playing will fit right in with Magraw.

Maud Hixson @ Parma 8200, Bloomington. 7:30pm (No Cover) The lounge at this Bloomington restaurant provides the right atmosphere for listening to the understated, sublime vocals of Ms Hixson  who will be accompanied by Rick Carlson on piano and Gordy Johnson on bass.

Tim Patrick & His Blue Eyes Band @ Eagles Club #34, Minneapolis. 8pm ($12) Tim Patrick s smooth voice practically defines crooner in this day and age. He’s a fine singer, and together with his band, provides danceable versions of standards.

Saturday, April 4

Saturday Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm Pete Snell Trio (Snell, Phil Aaron, Jim Chenoweth) , 8:30pm Steve Kenny Quartet (Kenny, Babatunde Lea, Brandon Woznicak, Chris Bates)

images-1Sophia Shorai @ Hell’s Kitchen, Minneapolis. 6pm – 9pm (No Cover) Early evening dinner music from the pop-ish but jazz centered Ms Shorai, though you will have to sit close to the stage to overcome the lively conversations going on throughout the restaurant.

Debbie Duncan @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley, 7pm (No Cover) Ms Duncan was on fire last week when singing as a guest with Delfeayo Marsalis. Tonight you can hear her in the comfy, yet slightly luxe confines of this relatively new club up on Central Avenue, about  a mile or so north of 494. It’s a place that should become a regular stop on your jazz journeys in town.

Sunday, April 5

Connie Evingson Celebrates Spring @ The Jungle Theater, Minneapolis. 4pm, 7:30pm ($25) Ms Evingson continues her themed concerts at the Jungle. This time it’s a seasonal celebration, featuring songs by Irving Berlin, the Beatles, Peggy Lee and others. With the extraordinary pianist Jon Weber, as well as Gordy Johnson on bass, and the always tasteful Dave Karr on sax.

Monday, April 6

Seru, Bates, & Wozniak @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($8) The trio of Davu Seru, drums; Chris Bates, bass; and Brandon Wozniak, sax; is bound to create some excitement for the late night crowd at the Icehouse.

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 PoliceJazz Ink, and Bebopified.

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, April 1

Erik Koskinen @ The Icehouse, Minneapolis. 10pm ($8) Koskinen is a hyphenated talent: guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, and engineer. The word “authentic” keeps coming up whenever reviewers try to describe his music, and with good reason. When he’s not working with other bands he taps into folk, country, and rock n’ roll to create music that is as American as Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, or Willie Nelson.

Thursday, April 2

Lynn O’Brien, Steven Hobert, & Kevin Bowe @ Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 West Lake Street, Minneapolis. 7pm ($10 Advance/$12 Door) Lynn O’Brien is a charming singer/songwriter who plays ukelele and isn’t afraid to accompany herself using looping technology. Steven Hobert is an accordionist/piano player who is equally at home playing jazz, folk, or his own ethereal compositions. As a musical duo, they are as complementary as you can get. They are ably assisted by Kevin Bowe on bass.

Friday, April 3

Butanes Soul Revue @ The Minnesota Music Cafe, Saint Paul. 9pm ($10 Advance, $12 Door) Once again, the MMC will be filled with folks who brought their dancing shoes, as guitarist Curt Obeda leads a 10 piece band through R&B chestnuts and some of his own originals. The last time they appeared at MMC, they sold out the place, so be forewarned.

Lonesome Dan Case @ Ward 6, 858 Payne Avenue, Saint Paul. 9pm (Tip Jar?) Lonesome Dan Case looks and sounds like an itinerant, if well dressed, singer from the 30s, who brings his finger picking and Piedmont-style blues songs to folks in little dives in little towns. However, Saint Paul isn’t a little town, no matter what some West Metro folks might think, and Ward 6 isn’t a little dive, given its adult milkshakes and well-reviewed cooking.

Bad Companions w/Bernie King @ Harriet Brewing Tap Room, Minneapolis. 7pm ($6) A Roots/Rockabilly night at the Tap Room. The Companions are led by Al Subola, of the Vibro Champs. His companions have worked with bands like A Stockcar Named Desire, Clyde Stubblefield, Roe Family, and Trailer Trash. King & the Guilty Pleasures lean a bit toward the blues side of things. Bernie King & the Guilty Pleasures at 7pm, Bad Companions at 9pm. This will give you an idea of what the Companions sound like.

Saturday, April 4

Gospel Machine & Southside Desire @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($10) Gospel, R&B, Soul, & Girl Group sounds, as if filtered through a group of young musicians hanging out in a basement. Here’s Southside Desire.

Katrina, Flamin’ Ohs, and Beebe Gallini @ The Amsterdam Bar & Hall, Saint Paul. 7pm doors ($12/$15) It’s an 80s style night at the Amsterdam as Katrina (of the Waves) headlines, with our own Flamin’ Oh’s and the female quintet Beebe Gallini open. Katrina Leskanich had a huge hit in 1985 with Walkin’ on Sunshine, followed by a few others. The Oh’s have always had a strong fan base in town, from their local hits in the late 70s to their reappearance this century. Beebe Gallini is an all-female group of rockers named after a pink-dressed character who made an appearance on one episode of Brady’s Bunch. Here’s a blast from the past.

Armadillo Jump @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake 9pm (No Cover) The tiny dance space at the station will be filled with folks jumpin’ to the Armadillos, a five-piece blues/R&B outfit with an infectious approach to their music.

Unknown-2Soul Tight Committee @ Bunkers, Minneapolis. 9:30pm ($7) It’s a great weekend for dancing to R&B, especially the 70s centric R&B of the ten piece Soul Tight Committee  Three singers provide a range of vocals over a tight rhythm section, trumpet, and sax, giving plenty of incentives for dancers to fill the floor at Bunkers.

Sunday, April 5

Robert Robinson @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($22) It’s Easter. Celebrate with the full-throated gospel of Mr. Robinson. Even if you aren’t particularly religious, you’ll end up feeling blessed and happy.

Monday, Tuesday, April 6, 7

James Hunter Sextet @ The Dakota, MInneapolis. 7pm ($37 – $45) Hunter is a charming singer of blue-eyed soul, whose original tunes evoke the rock n’ roll and rhythm and blues of the late 50s and 60s, without sounding dated or even retro. Expect some jump blues, Motown-ish stomps, and even some reggae-ish rhythms, delivered with true emotion.

Tuesday, April 7

Mayasich, Obeda, & Lindberg @ Manitou Station, White Bear Lake. 9pm (No Cover) Guitarist Paul Mayasich hangs at the Station every Tuesday evening with various friends and compadres. Tonight he’s got bluesman Curt Obeda on guitar, and bassist John Lindberg. Expect some mighty fine guitar duels.

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


Live Music and Spring Pledge Drive: 3.11 – 3.17

March 11, 2015

mpls_sunriseYes, we can see the sun at the end of the winter tunnel. Besides the warmth of the sun (thank you Brian Wilson), Springtime brings the KFAI Spring Pledge Drive, one of the few times I ask readers to show their appreciation for this newsletter. KFAI is a community run that derives a great deal of its support from listeners. It’s a station that supports Twin Cities musicians, as I do on my show. You can support the station by becoming a member during my show on Saturday morning or by attending the Brass Bash II, on Sunday, which I list below. Actually, you can do both. Music lifts your spirit.

Jazz

Wednesday, March 11

Wood in Bronze @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation)  Chris Bates, bass; and Jay Epstein  drums; have been playing together for close to 20 years in combinations that have ranged all over the place, from Klezmer, Avant Rock, and Swing bands to a musical about Ira Gershwin. Tonight it’s just the two of them exploring the sonic possibilities of their instruments.

Thursday, March 12

Shoop! @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) This area quintet sings close harmony jazz and pop ala the Manhattan Transfer and New York Voices. Individually, the five singers have performed in any number of venues and groups around town. They’ve been performing as Shoop! for about five years now. As to their name, it comes from the Betty Everett number It’s In His Kiss (The Shoop Shoop Song), which they will undoubtedly sing.

Jack DeJohnette’s Made in Chicago @ The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 8pm ($35) It was fifty years ago that Muhal Richard Abrams began to gather like minded musicians to explore original non-composed music, often called Avant Garde at the time, in a collective called the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. During the 60s, Abrams led The Experimental Band, which included Henry Threadgill, Roscoe Mitchell, and drummer Jack DeJohnette. They reunited and performed at the 2013 Chicago Jazz Festival, recording the event and releasing the results last week. Tonight, with the help of Larry Gray on bass, they’ll be performing at the McGuire Auditorium.

Friday, March 13

Foreign Motion @ The Nicollet, Minneapolis. 8:30 – 10:30pm (Tip Jar?) Here’s a quartet of extremely good, relatively young musicians, led by versatile guitarist Cory Wong, performing original jazz for the 21st Century. You’ll hear some funk, the influence of world rhythms, and music that covers the scale from sensitive to anthemic. Besides, Wong, members include Kevin Gasonguey, electric keys; Yohannes Tona, bass; and Peter Janjic, drums.

Peter Vircks Quartet @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Peter Vircks, sax; Brian Ziemniak, piano; Ron Evanuik, bass; Kevin Washington, drums. Vircks is an in-demand saxman about town whose primary project is playing for the nationally renowned Rhythmic Circus dance troupe, though he’s likely to turn up with Root City, or Moveable Feast, as well as his own quartet, featured tonight, and any number of other projects. HIs CD, What You Believe is True, received high praise and was in MPRs Top Ten for 2014. This will be an early evening of quality jazz. Then stick around for College Night starting about 9:30pm.

Saturday, March 14

Saturday Night Jazz @ The Black Dog Coffee & Wine Bar, Saint Paul. 7pm ($5 – $20 Suggested Donation) Opening at 7pm tonight is the Noah Ophoven-Baldwin Trio, a young group featuring Ophoven Baldwin on trumpet; Joe Strachan, keys; and Miguel Hurtado, drums. Then at 8:30, the stage will be filled with the likes of What Would Monk Do?, a quartet of veterans who’ve been interpreting Monk as a group for a number of years: Steve Kenny, flumpet; Peter Schimke, piano; Chris Bates, bass; and Kenny Horst, drums.

Sunday, March 15

JazzMN Orchestra w/guest Pete Christlieb @ Hopkins High School, Hopkins. 3pm ($32 – $34, + student discounts)  Pete Christlieb is a bebopper who had a great job gigging with the Tonight Show Band. Before that he played in the bands of Louis Bellson, Woody Herman, and Count Basie, and performed the solo on Steely Dan’s Deacon Blues. He’s the featured guest this afternoon with the 16 piece JazzMN Orchestra, made up of the area’s A-list musicians.

KFAI Presents Brass Bash II @ Vieux Carre, Saint Paul. 4pm – 9pm ($10) A celebration of horns with all money raised going to support KFAI. Performers are the Maurice Jacox Trio, with Tom Wells on tuba, Bobby E on guitar, and Jacox on vocals; The Zack Lozier THREE, with Lozier on trumpet and vocals; Steve Pikal, bass; and Steven Hobert, piano; and the New Sound Underground, a 7-piece jazz funk outfit that’s been thrilling packed houses at First Avenue and elsewhere. KFAI deejays from Vinyl Voices will be spinning before and after sets, and some light food will be available.

Monday, March 16

Sofia Rei @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) Rei is a native of Buenos Aires who connects musical traditions of South America with jazz, world music, and electronic sounds. Though she is a relatively new voice here in the United States, she has already managed to record and/or perform with an impressive list of musicians, including John Zorn, Bobby McFerrin, Lionel Loueke, Geoffrey Keezer, and Steve Lacy. Music director for her band is the impressive multi-instrumentalist JC Maillard, who recently wowed audiences here when he was with Lisa Fisher.

Joe Mayo @ Jazz Central, Minneapolis. 8:30pm ($10 Suggested Donation) Mayo is a free-lance sax player who has recently moved to town. He has studied with Ralph Lalama and Eric Alexander and has developed a sweet sound.

Tuesday, March 17

Acme Jazz Company w/Arne Fogel @ Crooners Lounge & Supper Club, Fridley. 7pm – 10pm (No Cover) This 19 piece big band will fill the stage at Crooners and undoubtedly have a number of couples out on the dance floor, especially when Fogel, a fine singer, supplies the vocals.

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

Blues, Roots, Other…

Wednesday, March 11

Maurice Jacox on KFAI and @ The 331 Club, Minneapolis. 5pm (90.3 & 106.7FM), 7pmn (331 Club – Tip Jar) Here’s a preview of what you can hear at the KFAI Benefit at Vieux Carre on Sunday (see jazz listings, above). Jacox is a formidable vocalist who can raise the roof with a blues, sing stripped down soul, or croon like Nat King Cole. His trio this evening includes Tom Wells on tuba and Bobby E. on guitar. It’s an unusual combination but one that will give you a new appreciation for the songs Jacox sings.

Hot Date @ Barbette, Minneapolis. 10pm (No Cover) Hot Date is Eric Carranza and Nora O’Brien, who not only curate intimate concerts in their Lowertown loft, but also write warm, intimate, and playful songs, which seems to reflect their relationship. They recently released For Lovers, recorded in their home studio.

Thursday, March 12

CJ Chenier & the Red Hot Louisiana Band @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 7pm ($25) CJ is the son of Clifton Chenier, who is often credited with originating zydeco, or at the least, bringing it to the attention of folks outside of Louisiana. Certainly, the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, as CJ is a virtuoso accordionist and dynamic singer. He has taken his legacy, and incorporated blues, swamp pop and R&B into his music. The results will have folks stomping’ and hollering, if not dancing in the aisles at the Dakota.

La Santa Cecilia @ Rock The Ordway, Saint Paul. 7:30pm ($20 – $47) Kudos to the booking folks at the Ordway for finding and presenting this bi-cultural group whose members are the children of immigrant parents. La Santa Cecilia is a California/Mexican folk rock band who won the 2014 Grammy for the Best Latin Rock album playing a blend of Mexican traditional music, such a conjuntos, and Norteno music, with soul, R&B, and Americana Rock.

Friday, March 13

Robby Krieger of the Doors @ Medina Entertainment Center,  Medina. 8:30pm ($34 – $54) For those of us of a certain age, Krieger will be forever known as the guitarist and co-writer for the Doors, back in the psychedelic haze of the late 60s. With the death of Jim Morrison in 1971 and eventual disbanding of the band, Krieger has played and recorded with a number of different bands and occasionally reunited with keyboardist Ray Manzarek. His latest album, Singularity, from 2010, is a jazzy affair, though tonight will undoubtedly be a rockin’ evening.

Poverty Hash @ Harriet BrewingTap Room, Minneapolis. 9pm (Free) Poverty Hash made a big impression on the audience at the 2010 Deep Blues Festival with their howling (rock-ish but not rock) approach to traditional style blues. They moved here from Connecticut the next year and have been raising the roof at various venues since then, with leader Joe Roberto on vocals and a number of instruments, including lap steel.

Worldwide Discotheque @ Clubhouse Jager, Minneapolis. 10pm ($5) The second Friday of every month finds a couple a hundred folks crowded into the Clubhouse to joyously get down to funky Afro/Caribbean/Latin rhythms as spun by vinyl masters Brian Engel and Dan McAllister. It’s one of the most inspiring multi-cultural events in town.

Friday, Saturday, March 13, 14

Charanga Tropical – 2 Nights 2 Cuba @ Bedlam Lowertown, Saint Paul 8pm (Fri, $20) and The Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7pm (Sat, $20) Charanga Tropical  the Twin Cities foremost exponents of Latin Dance Music, have been invited to Cuba to play at the Festival Danzon in June, and they are holding these shows to raise money for the trip. While there, they will record a live CD, the first American group to do so. Both nights will feature dance lessons early on, and special guests from Malamanya, Salsabrosa, Salsa del Soul, and others. Saturday night will feature pianists Vivianda Pintando and Nachito Herrera.

Saturday, March 14

Nikki Hill @ The Dakota, Minneapolis. 8pm ($20) Yes, this is roots music, but its rock n’ roll roots music. With a tight three-piece band, a sandpaper voice, and a ferocity that’s recalls the big-voiced women of early R&B, North Carolinan Nikki Hill tears up a stage with rockabilly and early rock n’ roll ala Chuck Berry.

Charlie Parr @ Bayport BBQ, Bayport. 8pm ($15) It’s worth the drive to Bayport to catch Parr  who sold out his Friday night appearance at the ‘Q. It’s a small venue, so you get to experience the intimacy of Parr’s blues. You may want to get on the inter web and call ahead for tickets.

Tuesday, March 17

Boiled in Lead @ Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis. 7:30pm ($15) Boiled in Lead is the antidote for the excesses of Saint Patrick’s Day: too much alcohol; too many Irish wannabes who think that a Kiss Me I’m Irish button will help them get lucky; and too much of a color that makes fashionable statements difficult. At Bil’s 32nd annual celebration you can dance yourself silly with traditional and rocked up reels, jigs, and Appalachian tunes.

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

 

 


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