Downtown music

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May 16, 2005 // UPDATED 1:54 pm - April 26, 2007
By: Holly Day
Holly Day

Geezer with a groove on

During my years as a burgeoning and blossoming young adult, there was this part of me (as in all young adults trying to find their place in the world) that was desperately terrified of becoming like my parents. Especially my dad - a stressed-out workaholic who hated his job and listened to some of the most obnoxiously tame and conventionally structured jazz and pop in order to unwind. I was never going to become like that, I'd swear, and help me if I didn't ask some close friends to shoot me through the head if they ever caught me listening to Steely Dan or Al Stewart for pleasure.

Funny thing is, the exact opposite seems to have happened. I am still pretty much exactly the same person I was all those years ago, and my father seems to have turned into me. Not only does he "work" as a writer - if you haven't caught his "Minnesota Motorcycle Monthly" magazine column, "Geezer with a Grudge," you're really missing out on a hoot and a half - but he and I can actually attend a jazz concert together without getting in a fistfight over the merits of Ornette Coleman vs. Pat Metheny. It's really weird. This man, who used to lecture me at length on the invalidity of the free jazz movement is now lending my Happy Apple/The Bad Plus CDs to his traditional-jazz-loving friends and telling them they really need to learn to be open to new music.

New music like jazz pianist extraordinaire Jason Moran and his group, The Bandwagon, who not only incorporates wildly frenetic percussion, upright bass, and keys into his creations, but bits of barely-heard Japanese and English conversations and hip-hop beats. His newest album, the amazing whirlwind instrumental "Milestone," is just one indication that the classic jazz label Blue Note Records are the forefront of introducing a whole new brand and class of jazz into the collective consciousness. Years ago, my father would have grabbed this record out of my collection and begun, "The problem with a lot of musicians like this is" Now, the first words out of his mouth are, "When do we go?"

F-Sa May 20 & 21, 8 p.m.William and Nadine McGuire Theater, Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave. S.$24 ($19.25 for members). 375-7600,

Not a haiku

Sean of the Sean Thomas Eugene Band has released more CDs than many people have in their music collections at home. The limited-edition press runs of these heartbreaking and heartwarming musical glimpses into the insides of Sean also bear pictures drawn by Sean - fairies and Buddhas and self-portraits and strange, mythical beings that only Sean sees. His mother owns one copy of every single one of his CDs - thousands of people own the rest.

Sean of the Sean Thomas Eugene Band is also a nice guy. It took my mother a little while to realize this, as the first time he met her, he was convinced that her house was haunted and kept bugging her to show him the ghosts.

"He's very good looking," my mother told me later, "but a little strange."

F, May 20, 8 p.m.The Terminal Bar, 409 Hennepin Ave. E$5. 623-4545,

Command performance

Here's your chance to see, for free, a guy who performed in person for President Bill Clinton.

This son of a Lutheran minister has been doing the bar circuit for decades, wooing audiences around his country with his amazing guitar picking and cool stage presence. Surprisingly, despite all the hours he's spent on stage, Stephen Ashbrook has only gotten into the studio to record four times. His most recent offering is the live CD "Double Wide @ Long Wong's," recorded at the infamous Long Wong's bar in Arizona - where, incidentally, is where he first met with Lon Johnson, who later became Al Gore's chief campaign finance manager and officially set up the gig with the president. Which is a great lesson for all you musical hopefuls out there - you never know who's going to be in the audience at your next little bar gig, and where it will lead you.

Th May 19, 9 p.m. Lee's Liquor Lounge, 101 Glenwood Ave. Free. 338-9491,