By Raymond Jackson
On a great feeling Sunday evening, Ruben Studdard and Lalah Hathaway started their 2014 tour at The Dakota Nightclub, located in downtown Minneapolis, in grand fashion!
Although the previewing marked Ruben as the marquee, once the show began it was quite apparent that there was no specific marquee involved in this performance. They were both simply fantastic. They began the show together with a five piece band and two background vocalists, who too, were really good. During the opening, two duet ballads, the dinner crowd knew they were destined to receive an after dinner mint, that would be the most favorable they had tasted in quite some time. Continue Reading →
Heading into this weekend and the next, an assortment of upcoming jazz related shows are set to take place at the Dakota. Get ready for a carnival of musical delights. Actually, it was trumpeter Russell Gunn who was to help kick things off at the Dakota last night, along with his quartet and vocalist Dionne Farris, but the gig was postponed. Farris and Gunn have a new live album, Dionne Get Your Gunn, which Farris released on her independent label, Free and Clear Records.
One of my all-time Gunn favorites featuring him on electric trumpet and flugelhorn is his Live in Atlanta: Ethnomusicology, Vol. Continue Reading →
Electric Lady Janelle Monáe delivers
By Junauda Petrus
Janelle Monáe’s concert on Tuesday, October 22 at the Skyway Theater, like her music, referenced a legacy of soul that young audiences were eager to witness. The music from her latest contribution, The Electric Lady, like her past works, is thought-provoking and critical, yet funky and cutting edge. Monáe’s music is bringing Afro-futurism to modern-day realities with cleverness, freshness and fun in a musical climate that is in desperate need of her fearless, funky soul. The show was a dynamic unforgettable experience that made it clear she has all of the makings of a musical icon. Monáe is a genius at making music that is complex and entertaining – an impressive pairing in a musical era in which mainstream content is often saturated with lyrics that seem allergic to any real depth or social reflection. Continue Reading →
Jazz and R&B heavyweights come together for “special show”
By Charles Hallman
Last week was the first time I attended a Dakota Jazz Club late show. Several patrons that attended the earlier Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, Shawn LaBelle, and Stokley Williams set on August 28 told me that I wouldn’t be disappointed. They weren’t wrong. Billed as “a special show featuring four of the biggest names in contemporary jazz and R&B,” the four veteran artists easily could have done a solo performance at the downtown Minneapolis club, but as a quartet, they nonetheless rocked the house. LaBelle, who plays keyboards and bass, assembled the quartet: “It means a lot to have all these guys come in. Continue Reading →
by Junauda Petrus
“My daughter surprised me with tickets to your show tonight. I used to play your albums for her when she was a girl,” confided an excited fan to Helene Foussart, one half of Les Nubians after their performance at the Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis. “Now she is bringing me to see you all perform. It has come full circle!”
The woman’s daughter spoke to the way their music had inspired and shaped her as a young woman. Helene with a disarmingly warm smile, hugged each woman with intense gratitude. Humbled by the impact of their music reflected in the appreciation of two generations of fans. Continue Reading →
By Robin James
For one-night only on September 11 (sets at 7 & 9) at the Dakota, jazz fans are in for a rare treat with a performance featuring the United Trumpet Summit consisting of some of today’s most respected and celebrated modern trumpet players including Randy Brecker, Eddie Henderson, Jeremy Pelt, and Leon Jordan, Jr.
You may recall trumpeter Randy Brecker performed with the JazzMN orchestra not long ago, and Jeremy Pelt appeared at the Artists’ Quarter a few years back. It’s good to welcome them back to the Twin Cities in a whole new setting. Brecker is the brother of the late influential saxophonist Michael Brecker. The versatile musician is at home playing everything from jazz, and rock, to R&B. And like Pelt, Brecker also played with the Mingus Big Band. Continue Reading →
Music @ the Speed of Life is an improvement on 2008’s E-Life, a static, paint-by-number disappointment from a band renowned for fresh, even innovative fare. But, not by much. With hints of Guy, Earth Wind & Fire and Kool & the Gang, Stokely Williams (frontman-vocalist-drums), O’Dell (guitar), Lawrence El (keys), Jeff Allen (sax, keys) and Ricky Kinchen (bass) haven’t returned to the form that made them international standard bearers of contemporary R&B. They have, however, somewhat returned to credibility. Intermittently, Williams’ vocals regain some sense of urgency and the songwriting again is fairly imaginative. Continue Reading →