Recent Articles

A feast for the ears: Don’t miss Rene´ Marie and Hugh Masekela  

René Marie. I Wanna Be Evil: With Love to Earth Kitt

Having your own unique sound is the prize possession in music. Smart artists know to work with what they’ve got and keep it moving — imperfections, conflicts, grittiness and all. Faithful supporters of this music get it. You never give up, and you continue to negotiate change with style. One such artist who has mastered this approach in an artful way is Virginia born and based singer-songwriter René Marie. Continue Reading →

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Thoughts on great love songs for Valentine’s Day, love’s holiday

Billie Holiday, 1949

I do know that the treatment, Minneapolis-born vocalist José James gave the song, “Tenderly” when he performed on this birthday, January 20, at the Dakota was stellar. It was perfect for his vocal range and revealed a level of maturity beyond his 37 years. That song, among others by the great Billie Holiday, or made popular by her, appear on his new Blue Note Records album, Yesterday I Had the Blues: The Music of Billie Holiday, which drops in March. On Valentine’s Day, James will be in Japan, where the album has already been released and is making waves.

Holiday, also known as “Lady Day,” would have celebrated her 100th birthday this year. Her music has made a great impact on a wide spectrum of artists, and continues to resonate with people from all walks of life. Vocalist Cassandra Wilson is celebrating the music made by Holiday by releasing, Coming Forth by Day: A Tribute to Billie Holiday from Legacy Records in April. Look out for her upcoming performances in support of the album, at the Dakota, too. Holiday’s artistry speaks volumes about love, loss, and overall human condition. Thank you, Lady Day. Continue Reading →

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New and upcoming: Miles Davis biopic, Chick Corea and more

Recently, I was scanning Netflix for a movie to watch and I came across Indecent Proposal. I watched it, again. Surprise, Herbie Hancock played the piano in one scene. I hadn’t noticed that when I watched the movie the first time. It was released in 1993. Back then, I wasn’t fully aware of jazz yet. Anyway, the movie got me thinking. Continue Reading →

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Two high-caliber musicians lead in university classrooms









Are you experiencing the end of the summer blues? Ahhh, yes I can already smell fall in the air, which for me signals change. And if to journey is to embrace change, then we have but one choice and that is to do just that — embrace change. In the world of jazz, two high-level musicians are changing and adding new titles to their professional profiles. I’m talking about trumpeter Sean Jones, and saxophonist Kenny Garrett. Continue Reading →

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Rebirth Brass Band gets Dakota crowd on their feet

Do we have an agreement?,” asked lead trumpeter and Rebirth Brass Band (RBB) member Chadrick Honre at the beginning of the band’s second marathon set at the Dakota last Thursday night. He asked the audience if they were ready for some New Orleans music, if they were ready to have a good time and dance, and then encouraged them to get up and do it. The packed house, consisting of just about every age and ethnic demographic, honored that agreement.  

For almost a full 90 minutes, eight songs, and one encore later, the eight piece Grammy-winning ensemble that’s been entertaining music supporters around the globe since 1983 stepped off the stage as if they had just left a boxing match and won by TKO. From start to finish people were dancing and singing in the aisles. Continue Reading →

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Highlights of the Minnesota Orchestra 2014-15 season





The Minnesota Orchestra has announced plans for the 2014-15 season of three series: Live at Orchestra Hall, Holiday and Family Concerts.  

Here are some season highlights:

Live at Orchestra Hall, offers a varied series of popular music, jazz, Broadway classics, movie scores, comedy and other genres, led by Sarah Hicks, Principal Conductor of Live at Orchestra Hall. The Live at Orchestra Hall and Holiday series will include Grammy-winning trumpeters Chris Botti, Wynton Marsalis, Artistic Director of Jazz Irvin Mayfield, Pops Conductor Laureate Doc Severinsen, and Orchestra musician Charles Lazarus. Featured vocalists include Ann Hampton Callaway (April 2015) in a first time program saluting singer-actress Barbra Streisand. Jazz will be well-represented in concerts by two world-renowned bands—the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Music Director and trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and guest vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, (December) and Preservation Hall Jazz Band with special guest and soloist Irvin Mayfield (March 2015) on trumpet. Continue Reading →

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Rain couldn’t stop the 2014 Twin Cities Jazz Festival

“I’m glad we didn’t go to the park. We’re stuck in here together,” Dianne Reeves said at the end of her scorching hot set inside the Amsterdam Bar and Hall on Saturday night, June 28, to close the 16th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival in St. Paul. It’s estimated that 20,000 attended the free festivities that took place at various outdoor and indoor locations. With the rain on Saturday came a change of venue for the Reeves concert, from outdoor to indoor, but despite all that, it turned out to be a good thing. Continue Reading →

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Shades of Blue, Madlib Invades Blue Note available on vinyl May 27th

Shades of Blue – Madlib Invades Blue Note (originally released June, 2003) will be re-released on newly remastered vinyl on May 27th as part of Blue Note’s 75th Anniversary Vinyl Initiative. “Two years ago, we decided to begin remastering the jewels of the Blue Note catalog in hi-def resolutions of 96k and 192k. In order to develop a guiding artistic philosophy for this delicate endeavor, we donned our lab coats, ran dozens of sonic experiments and carefully referenced every generation of our reissues. Ultimately, we decided that our goal would be to protect the original intentions of the artists, producers and engineers who made these records and that, in the case of pre-digital-era albums, these intentions were best represented by the sound and feel of their first-edition vinyl releases. Working with a team of dedicated and groovy engineers, we found a sound that both captured the feel of the original records while maintaining the depth and transparency of the master tapes… Continue Reading →

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