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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Saturday May 18th 2024

Brian McKnight at Dakota Jazz “Bridging” Music

By Raymond Jackson and Tamrala Jackson

Brian McKnight made a return visit to the Dakota Jazz Club on July 7th, promoting his new cd, ”˜Just Me.”'

As usual, he gave a startling performance with his brother; Claude McKnight founder of the Gospel a Capella group, Take 6; and two sons, Brian Jr., 21 and Niko 19, as special guests.  You could tell he is a man on a mission, and a proud father and mentor leaving a long lasting impression on all in attendance!

His four performances in two days clearly showed his overall talent.   Having come from a family of Gospel/Inspirational singers, he stated, “I was the self taught piano player; all of my siblings are better than me vocally, so I just supplied them with the music”

He evolved into being able to play nine instruments, and his vocals are simply classic.   He is a very melodic entertainer  heard by many, who recognize the name, but do not know who Brian McKnight is.

Regarding this particular setting, many are by now asking themselves, “What is The Dakota Jazz Nightclub?”Â  Dakota is not a club located in North or South Dakota. It is a very nice nightclub located at 1010 Nicollet Ave. just north of the Phillips Neighborhood in Downtown Minneapolis. It is very intimate, offering a close up and personal view of the entertainer/s and has such decent food and drink prices, you wonder how they can maintain such excellent talent. The capacity is a mere 250. I highly recommend a visit to this remarkable club.

Talking with Mr. McKnight, you see and feel a very spiritual man.  He was born June 5, 1969 in Buffalo, New York, started as a childhood member of his church choir and his band at Sweet Home High School in New York, and at the age of 42 continues to blossom musically.  He offers a very distinct melodic accapelic style that floats from jazz to rhythm and blues without skipping a beat.  He says “I am the fifth generation of Seventh Day Adventist, and the youngest of four brothers. Our models were the great Gospel groups, The Mighty Clouds of Joy and The Swan Silvertones.”

Having been nominated for 16 Grammy”'s, similar to Susan Lucci, he deserves to have won by now.

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