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With a new artistic director and enhanced budget, the 17th annual Twin Cities Jazz Festival will move to a new venue for one bigtime concert – the brand new CHS Field featuring Dr. John, the eccentric New Orleans piano man and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer.
He’ll headline on June 27 at 3 p.m. Admission is free but a ticket will be required for the 7,000-seat Saints baseball stadium. The tickets will be available at www.twincitiesjazzfestival.com.
New artistic director Francisco Mela has helped book a diverse lineup that includes an all-star quartet featuring Chris Potter, Dave Holland, Lionel Loueke and Eric Harland that will headline on June 26; the Marquis Hill Blacktet; Araya Orta Latin Jazz Quartet (doing a tribute to Jaco Pastorious), and Mela’s own group, the Jazz Machine, featuring guest trumpeter Nicholas Payton.
All concerts are free. Except for the Dr. John performance, the other concerts will be held in Mears Park in downtown St. Paul.
Additional performers will be announced later.
And the big outdoor summer rock shows just keep coming: Alabama Shakes and Father John Misty will pair up for a special one-night party May 30 on Minneapolis’ historic Hall’s Island, located under the refurbished Plymouth Avenue Bridge on the Mississippi River just north of downtown. Tickets go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. for $45 via eTix.com and First Avenue outlets.
After putting their proposed First Avenue Festival in Parade Stadium permanently on the backburner two summers ago, the club’s bookers kept their eyes on other possible outdoor music ideas. They helped put together the Trampled by Turtles-led Festival Palomino with co-promoter Rose Presents at Canterbury Park last September (on again for this year), and they teamed with Chicago’s Jam Productions for this special May 30 concert.
Hall’s Island housed a popular bath house and park in the early 1900s before it was taken over by the Scherrer Bros. Lumber Co. The Minneapolis Parks Department recently took it back over and has been reshaping it to be part of the Above the Falls Regional Park. Concertgoers will be able to access the site via a short walk from the North Loop area of downtown or the Boom Island area across the river in northeast Minneapolis. About 8,000 tickets will be sold, a capacity that has more to do with limiting the impact on the surrounding neighborhoods than how many people the island can actually hold (a lot more, apparently).
"When we started working on this show, I immediately thought of the Hall's Island site as the perfect location," First Ave general manager Nate Kranz said, crediting the parks department for bringing the island to their attention two years ago and other city staffers for getting behind the idea.
In a press release Jam and First Ave put out on the concert, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said, “I'm extremely proud that they are bringing live music to our river front. I can't wait for this concert to happen in our city."
Gates to the show will open at 4:30 p.m., and local food offerings and craft beers are being promised along with the skyline-framed sunset (weather-permitting, of course).
Both Alabama Shakes and Father John Misty will be touring to tout their sophomore albums, following big breakout debuts that generated especially strong Twin Cities followings 2012-2013. FJM’s April 4 show at First Ave sold out instantaneously. Alabama Shakes’ last time in town was a sold-out outdoor gig at Cabooze Plaza in July 2013, also a First Ave-promoted event.
After a 25-year lull between local shows, it looks as if Madonna has gotten into the groove with the Twin Cities again. The pop queen will return to Xcel Energy Center on Oct. 8 in support of her upcoming album, “Rebel Heart.” Tickets go on sale March 16 at 10 a.m. for $40-$355 via Ticketmaster or at the arena box office.
Look for a media blitz to also start March 16 surrounding the tour and album, including a week-long stint with Madge on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Her pagan-looking Grammy Awards performance last month, which drew some fire from conservative groups, was the warm-up.
The 56-year-old music icon finally ended her drought of Minnesota performances in 2012 when she packed Xcel Center for back-to-back nights on her MDNA Tour. Those shows were light on old hits and carried an unusually dark tone, so fans are no doubt hoping for a more classic Madonna experience this time around.
A few thoughts after seeing Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the first couple of the banjo, in concert Wednesday at the O’Shaughnessy in St. Paul.
Prince didn’t bow down to Kevin Garnett at the homecoming press conference. He isn’t expected to show up at KG’s return to Target Center on Wednesday night. And he isn’t going to take to social media to show his support. (He's not participating in social media anymore.)
But a source close to Prince wanted it known that the Purple One -- who is as gifted on the basketball court as he is with a ping pong paddle -- is thrilled that KG is back with the Timberwolves.
Prince plans to attend future Wolves games. No word on whether he’ll play a concert at Target Center. Maybe KG will ask him.
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