We know they’re great, but it’s nice to know that music lovers around the country also still appreciate First Avenue, the Dakota and Crooners.
Minneapolis' two enduring downtown music venues and the younger jazz club on the northern end of town all made national lists this week ranking them among the best venues in America. Actually, in the case of the Dakota and Crooners, Downbeat magazine declared them one of the “World’s Greatest Jazz Venues” in its February issue.
The mainstay jazz publication has picked the mainstay Minneapolis supper club for this list 25 years running. But considering the Dakota has been branching out with a wider variety of music in recent years – see: tonight’s performance with singer/songwriter Joe Henry and Friday’s Shabby Road Orchestra sets – it’s nice to see the place still recognized primarily for the genre it rode in on. And there is certainly plenty of jazz on the club’s calendar at the moment, too, including such big gigs as Stacey Kent (this Sunday), Bill Frisell (March 2), the David Sanborn Quintet (March 9 and 10), Stanley Clarke (April 7 and 8), Sammy Miller & the Congregation (May 3) and Charlie Hunter (May 12).
Crooners is a newer pick that certainly fits the jazz tag. Shows on its calendar include veteran cabaret singer Joyce Lyons tonight, singer/pianist JoAnn Funk on Friday, the St. Olaf Jazz Ensemble on Saturday and shows with Lori Dokken, Prudence Johnson and Pat Donohue next week. Downbeat wrote that the supper club (at 6161 Hwy. 65 NE) "offers three unique concert stages for dinner-shows, with an emphasis on regional artists."
Meanwhile, First Ave was named one of the “9 Coolest Concert Venues in the United States” by the Portland, Ore.-based men’s-life hipster blog the Manual. That may not sound as prestigious as making similar lists compiled by Rolling Stone, but this tally clearly drew on unique character and history over everything else, with Chicago’s Green Mill, New Orleans’ Preservation Hall, the Hollywood Bowl and Austin’s Moody Theater (where “Austin City Limits” is taped) also all making the cut.
That was the second brag-worthy honor for First Ave received this week. The Minnesota Twins also announced a special July 28 First Ave theme night that will include limited-edition jerseys based off the club's 50th anniversary this year, the celebration of which officially kick off in early April.
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Join us at Target Field for First Avenue Night on Tuesday, July 28, when the @Twins take on the Dodgers!— First Avenue (@FirstAvenue) February 18, 2020
Ticket packages on sale now include an exclusive First Avenue-themed Twins baseball jersey! ⚾️ ★
Tickets // More info → https://t.co/iORFwE2ix7 pic.twitter.com/kS0rLgyskS