Friday, August 15, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 15-21



Irv Williams celebrates #95 at the Dakota, August 17

© Andrea Canter



When the Artists Quarter closed at the end of 2013, many area musicians had to scramble to find new venues for their music. Slowly, we're seeing more and more of our AQ favorites on the schedules of smaller clubs--the Black Dog, Studio Z, Jazz Central, The Nicollet, Cafe Maude, the Icehouse and more. One of the monthly delights at the old AQ was the Phil Hey Quartet, turning up twice within a week of August.  The Illicit Sextet was reborn at the AQ after a long hiatus, and will jam fans into the Black Dog this weekend. Another AQ "offspring," the far less frequently heard ensemble Mountain King (a three-bass trio),  comes to Jazz Central this week.  Once an annual AQ party (for birthdays or premature retirements), a night celebrating Irv Williams is on the Dakota calendar for Sunday night. Sooner or later, the music finds a home. Let's get out and hear it.



Big Gigs This Week

Illicit Sextet
Friday, August 15.  After earning high praise and popularity through the mid 90s, the Illicit Sextet took a break, for about 15 years. Revived in 2009 at the Artists Quarter and putting out their second recording, Chapter 11, last year, the IS has made the rounds since the AQ closed, and returns to the Black Dog tonight with their mid-90s line-up intact---Steve Kenny, Paul Harper, David Roos, Chris Lomheim, Tom Pieper and Nathan Norman.



Deviating from the Bridge Series for an extra big band treat, Jazz Central presents Alaska native Keith Karns and his Big Band. Trumpeter-arranger-composer Karns studied at UW-Eau Claire and currently teaches at the University of North Texas. Among the locals in the band tonight, note young piano phenom Joe Strachan.



George Cartwright
There's a new old venue in town presenting music and some jazz-- The Nicollet. An earlier incarnation presented weekly jazz in a coffeehouse setting and closed about a year ago. Under new management and with beer and wine license, The Nicollet has an eclectic line up, tonight featuring one of the most respected of the avant garde ensembles, George Cartwright's Merciless Ghost, with Josh Gronowski and Davu Seru. As they describe themselves, the band is dedicated to "the spirit of group improvisation and the sometimes agonizing struggle to speak using one’s own voice."



Arne Fogel
Parma 8200 continues to host a stellar schedule of vocalists on Fridays, and tonight it's our own Bing and Frank expert, Arne Fogel. Arne's been busy outside of the Twin Cities, with some work in Los Angeles, but he's back on home turf with swinging pals Rick Carlson and Keith Boyles.



South High students --part of the Jazz Crew
Saturday, August 16.  Over the past year, late sets on Fridays at Jazz Central typically have included the Jazz Crew, a core group of high school musicians hosting a jam for other young artists. Tonight is a special Jazz Crew, celebrating summer and the "crew" who are heading off to college programs in a few weeks. South High jazzers have been among the Jazz Crew leaders, and this is a good opportunity to hear them play before they start the next phase of their jazz education.



Irv Williams Trio
Sunday, August 17. He's still recording, he's still holding down the Dakota's Friday Happy Hour gig, and he's probably had three retirement parties in the last four years. So it seems a safer bet to wish Irv Williams a Happy Birthday rather than Happy Retirement this weekend as Mr. Smooth celebrates number 95 at the Dakota. Expect more than a few cast members beyond his usual trio of Steve Blons and Billy Peterson. His latest CD (Then Was Then, Now Is Now) is an elegant trio affair and should be available at the show.



Evan Montgomery
Monday, August 18. It's been a summer of return visits. Tonight, guitarist Evan Montgomery leads a quintet at Jazz Central, taking a break from graduate studies at CalArts. He's joined by former cohort Adam Meckler along with Brian Courage, Jay Epstein, and fellow guitarist Park Evans. He won't be here for long so get out and enjoy!



Phil Hey
Finally, the Phil Hey Quartet makes a club appearance -- tonight at the Icehouse as the guest artists for JT's Jazz Implosion. Hey, Dave Hagedorn, Phil Aaron and Tom Lewis have been reading each other's musical minds for nearly 20 years. (Catch them again next Friday night at Jazz Central!)



Tuesday, August 19. Warming up for the State Fair debut next week, the Explosion Big Band, led by Doug Haining and Scott Agster, fills their monthly slot at Jazz Central. Big band seems to be making a comeback in the metro, thanks in part to the creative and original charts from bands like Explosion, which features a who's who of local jazz.



Mountain King
Wednesday, August 20. Three young area bassists put their inventive minds together about two years ago and convinced Artist Quarter owner Kenny Horst to give them a try-- and Mountain King was born. Three acoustic bassists and nothing else! Not only are their arrangements clever and playful, audiences seem riveted by the interplay of Brian Courage, Jeremy Boettcher and Graydon Peterson. The band does not get together often, and now it might be less often with Courage heading to New York in a few weeks. Really, you do not want to miss this gig at Jazz Central. Three bassists, no amps, lots of mischief.



Steve Kenny
Thursday, August 21.  Steve Kenny curates the All Originals jazz concert series at Studio Z on Thursday nights through mid September. Tonight he brings is own band, Group 47, into the second floor studio space, still celebrating the recent release of their Straight to Vinyl LP. Kenny heads a band of young turks -- bassist Adam Tucker and three college/college bound masters, Thomas Strommen (tenor), Alex Burgess (drums) and the remarkable 17-year-old pianist, Will Kjeer, who leaves in a few weeks for a year of post secondary study at Interlochen. What this means for Group 47 is unclear-- Steve might form Group 48 or just plan around Will's vacation schedule. What it means for you is "go hear these guys tonight." Where else can you hear Thomas' "Sad Mud" or Will's "Saving Document?"



Mary Ann Sullivan and Doug Haining
Hard-working jazz curators like Maryann Sullivan sometimes have to break protocol and schedule a gig themselves! Tonight Maryann sings (and swings) on the Vocal Jazz Showcase at Jazz Central. Her trio features hubby Doug Haining on sax, son Trevor Haining on drums, and pal Dave Martin on guitar.



More Jazz Every Night

Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and All About Jazz, as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:



Friday, August 15. Irv Williams Trio, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper at the Black Dog;  Jake Hanson and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Axis Mundi at Hell's Kitchen; Jerry O'Hagen Orchestra with Charmin Michelle at the Medina Ballroom; Three Loud at The Cellar at Scusi



Saturday, August 16. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200;  Jake Hanson and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Debbie Duncan at Hell's Kitchen; Nachito Herrera at the Dakota
Debbie Duncan



Sunday, August 17. Tim Sparks, brunch at the Icehouse; Bill Duna Quartet with Charmin Michelle, Cool Summer Jazz at Church of St Albert the Great (Minneapolis); Jazz in the Vineyard, Barbara Meyer Trio at Alexis Bailey Vineyards (Hastings); Dave Koz at the Minnesota Zoo; Zacc Harris Trio at the Riverview Wine Bar; T Collective at the Icehouse



Monday, August 18. Denny Malmberg and guest at Fireside Pizza; Davell Crawford at the Dakota; Fantastic Merlins with George Cartwright at the Black Dog



Tuesday, August 19. Davell Crawford at the Dakota; Patty and the Buttons at Cafe Maude; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; River City Jazz Band at Minnesota Music Cafe



Wednesday, August 20. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Zacc Harris Trio at Cafe Maude; Moonlight Serenaders at Edinborough Park (Edina); Stew Frog (Scott Fultz, Dean Granros, Steven Goldstein) at the Black Dog



Thursday, August 21. Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra, Swing Dance at Wabsha Street Caves



Coming Soon!

. August 22, Phil Hey Quartet/Stefan Kac at Jazz Central

. August 23, Lulu's Playground, Fun Art Studio (Stillwater, 2-4 pm)

. August 25, Jazz Central All-Stars at Jazz Central 

. August 25, Dave Martin/Mike Doolin CD release at Icehouse followed by Brian Courage Farewell Party

. August 26, Twin Cities Latin Jazz Orchestra at Jazz Central

. August 27, Dave Martin/Mike Doolin CD release at the Black Dog

. August 27, Davu Seru Quartet at Jazz Central

. August 28, Atlantis Quartet at Studio Z

. August 28, Arne Fogel at Jazz Central

. August 29, Reynold Philipsek, live documentary taping at 318 Cafe

. August 29, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200

. August 29, Eric Gravatt and Source Code at Jazz Central

. August 30, Dave Martin and Mike Doolin, Guitar Repair Clinic, CD release at Jazz Central

. August 31, Connie Evingson and Jon Weber, Best of the Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks at Jungle Theater (matinee and evening)

. September 4, Nichols/Bates/Bates at Studio Z

. September 10, Evan Christopher at the Dakota

. September 11, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Studio Z

. September 11, Colleen Raye at Jazz Central

. September 13, John Raymond, Jazz at Studio Z

. September 13, Selby Avenue Jazz Festival (Selby and Milton Av, Saint Paul)

. September 16, Meshell Ndgeocello at the Dakota

. September 17, Nellie McKay and the Turtle Island Quartet at the Dakota

. September 20, Steven Hobert CD Release at Friends Meeting St Paul

. September 20, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Jazz @ St Barneys, St. Barnabas Lutheran Church

. September 21, Ticket to Brasil, Adieu Summer Concert at Como Park

. September 24, Chick Corea and Vigil at the Dakota

. September 25, The Cookers at the Dakota

. September 25, Joan Griffith at Khyber Pass

. September 26, Pablo Ziegler Tango Project at the Dakota

. September 26, Adam Meckler Orchestra at MacPhail (Antonello Hall)

. September 28, French 75 with Maud Hixson, Schneider Theater, Bloomington Center for the Arts (2 pm)

. September 30-October 1, Larry Coryell/Victor Bailey/Lenny White at the Dakota

. October 5-6, Hiromi Trio Project at the Dakota

. October 11, JazzMN Orchestra with Dave Weckl at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. October 12, Laura Caviani and JazzAX at Carleton College (3 pm)

. October 18, Chris Lomheim Trio CD release at Studio Z

. October 18-20, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Dakota

. November 6, Terri Lynne Carrington's Mosaic Project (with Rachel Z) at O'Shaughnessy

. December 2, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Cecile McLorin Salvant at Orchestra Hall

. December 21-22, Karrin Allyson Holiday Show at the Dakota

. March 12, 2015, Jack DeJohnette at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater

. May 2, 2015, Jason Moran and Robert Glasper at Walker Art Center, McGuire Theater


Brian Courage plays his final gigs as a MN resident --Farewell gig at the Icehouse on August 25th


                                                                                                                                                             






Friday, August 8, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Twin Cities Live Jazz, August 8-14



Flumpeteer and bandleader Steve Kenny-- two bands this weekend

© Andrea Canter

Come the first part of August and it seems summer --which never really got here--is already winding down: Back to School sales, cooler evenings, fading lillies, and that final scramble to spend time at the cabin. Jazz, on the other hand, seems to be heating up, with gigs throughout the metro, even a new venue, visiting ex-pat Minnesotans, a tribute to Aretha Franklin from two of the area's most beloved voices, some farewell gigs.... it's a diverse melange of our favorite music.



Big Gigs This Week

Patty Peterson
Friday, August 8. If you enjoy Patty Peterson but prefer to hear her away from the din of weekend blasts, come out to Parma 8200 for an evening of favorite songs in an intimate, very sane setting-- good food and wine too! We rarely hear Patty in a trio context -- tonight with brother Paul and nephew Jason DeLaire.



And if you are one who is energized by the Friday night party at the Dakota, this will be a special one as Ginger Commodore and Debbie Duncan take on the music of Aretha Franklin. Probably there is no other pair of voices as well suited to the task.



Trumpeter (actually flumpeter) Steve Kenny has been a performing maniac of late, with three active bands (Illicit Sextet, Group 47, Quartet) and more. Tonight he brings a special chordless edition of his Steve Kenny Quartet to the Black Dog, featuring saxman Chris Thomson, bassist Brian (soon moving to New York) Courage and percussion monster Babatunde Lea.



Dave Graf (Valve Meets Slide)
The Bridge Series at Jazz Central continues to rock with jazz favorites from the Artists Quarter, tonight presenting Valve Meets Slide, a collaboration of valve trombonist Brad Bellows and slide bone-man Dave Graf. It's usually a quintet and always a delight.



Saturday, August 9. For something a little different, head to the Icehouse at 11 am and hear the students of Doug Little's annual Twin Cities Jazz Workshop. A lot of top area talents got their start with this summer program.



Kenny Horst
Steve Kenny again, this time with another AQ favorite, What Would Monk Do, and featuring AQ legend Kenny Horst on drums, along with Peter Schimke on keys and (the #1 busy jazzer in town) Brian Courage on bass. The venue might sound familiar-- The Nicollet on the northeast corner of Nicollet and Franklin where a jazz friendly coffee house of that name hosted jazz a couple nights per week til it shut down about a year ago. With a new owner and a beer/wine license, The Nicollet hopes to present more jazz. This is an awfully good start as the quartet performs new arrangements of Monk classics as well as original Monk-inspired fare.



Aaron Hedenstrom*
Monday, August 11. It's homecoming night for saxophonist/composer/bandleader Aaron Hedenstrom, UW Eau Claire alum currently pursuing graduate studies in composition at the University of North Texas. He launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a recording of original music last spring, about the same time he was named winner of two Downbeat Student Awards: "Graduate Jazz Soloist" and his Aaron Hedenstrom Organ Quartet earned an "Outstanding Performance" award in the "Blues/Pop/Rock" category; Aaron also won the 2013 Detroit Jazz Festival composers' award. Tonight (and Wednesday at Jazz Central) he joins forces with former UW-EC colleague and current U of Northern Colorado grad student Brian Claxton (drums), with local stalwarts Bryan Nichols, Jeremy Boettcher and Zacc Harris. The set list will include a preview of works from Aaron's upcoming album.



Drummer Pete James Johnson returns to his native Twin Cities, escaping LA traffic for a while and performing at Jazz Central Studios tonight. Since moving to LA, Pete has been busy with the Bob Mintzer Big Band and gigging with the likes of Russell Ferrante, Alan Pasqua and Ambrose Akinmisure.



Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira
Tuesday, August 12. Back on the Foodie Night schedule at the Dakota, Charmin and Shapira and Friends will swing the night away, one of the best music bargains in town with no cover!  Adding to the long-running duo of Charmin Michelle and Joel Shapira are friends Paul Harper (sax), Tom Lewis (bass) and Nathan Norman (drums).



Framework
At the Black Dog, the second Tuesday is reserved for guitarist Chris Olson, and tonight he brings in his cohorts for an evening with Framework, featuring Chris Bates and Jay Epstein. Expect original compositions and perhaps some reworkings of modern jazz classics.



Larry McDonough
Wednesday, August 13. In a rare appearance at the Icehouse, pianist Larry McDonough celebrates the 10th anniversary of his acclaimed recording, Simple Gifts. Know as an inventive composer and re-arranger, Larry's penchant for odd rhythms and lovely melodies is reflected in these tracks, with the full album to be performed live with his quartet in an early show (7:30 pm).



Aaron Hedenstrom/Brian Claxton present another gig, this time at Jazz Central Studios for the "new music" series.



Chris Lomheim
Thursday, August 14. Maybe one of the most interesting night of the month: Steve Kenny's All Originals continues at Studio Z with the Chris Lomheim Trio, undoubtedly previewing the original compositions that make up Lomheim's forthcoming CD (release set for October 18th). It's been about a decade since the last Lomheim Trio recording, and with a state Arts Board grant, the sublime pianist went to work on a set of new works, recorded at Wild Sound last spring with Gordy Johnson and Jay Epstein. There might be some even newer compositions on the set list tonight --apparently once he started writing, Chris just couldn't stop.



Adam Linz
Khyber Pass restaurant in St Paul hosts some interested sounds every Thursday night, and tonight might be the most wide-ranging yet. First set (9 pm) will be solo bass with Adam Linz. My first encounter with Adam, more than ten years ago, was a solo bass performance at The Cedar, and he's continued to impress ever since, particularly as a solo performer. No part of the bass is off limits. Adam will be followed by one of his former Dakota Combo students, Oberlin student trumpeter Joe Suihkonen, partnering with U of M grad, trumpeter Noah Ophoven-Baldwin for some unusual trumpet duo music.



Jack Brass Band
Jack Brass Band -- Minnesota's own modern take on New Orleans' brass bands-- appears monthly at the Amsterdam Bar and tonight's the night! On a big stage in a big room, the band seems to be bigger than life. And they sound that way, too!



Sheridan Zuther
Over at Jazz Central, vocalist Sheridan Zuther takes over for vocal night. One of the leaders of cabaret in the Twin Cities, a veteran of Five by Design and alum of the Phil Mattson Singers, Sheridan has a long list of performance and production credits in music and music theater.



More Music Every Night

Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, Rhythm and Grooves and All About Jazz as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:



Friday, August 8. Irv Williams Trio, happy hour at the Dakota; Todd Harper at the Black Dog; Sophia Shorai at Hell's Kitchen; Classic Big Band and Nostalgics at Bloomington KC Hall



James Buckley
Saturday, August 9. Bryan Nichols and James Buckley, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200



Sunday, August 10. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Doug Little Trio, Music in the Vineyard at Alexis Bailey Winery (Stillwater); Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Charmin Michelle with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom



Monday, August 11. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Twin Cities Hot Club at Famous Dave's (Uptown)



Tuesday, August 12. Cedar Avenue Big Band at Jazz Central; Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar; Nova Jazz Orchestra at Minnesota Music Cafe



Wednesday, August 13. Vicky Mountain with James Allen and Jim Chenoweth,"Piazza on the Mall" (1221 Nicollet) at 5 pm; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Bend in the River Big Band, Delano City Park; KCGO Big Band at Como Lakeside Pavilion; Joey Van Phillips Trio (with Scott Fultz and Chris Bates) at Cafe Maude



Thursday, August 14. Connie and Herb at The Bean; Minnesota Jazz Orchestra, swing dance at Wabasha Street Caves; Southside Aces at Minneapolis Eagle's Club



Coming Soon!

. August 16, Jazz Crew College Send-Off at Jazz Central

. August 18, Phil Hey Quartet at the Icehouse

. August 18, Evan Montgomery and Brian Courage at Jazz Central

. August 20, Mountain King at Jazz Central

. August 21, Steve Kenny's Group 47 at Studio Z

. August 21, Maryann Sullivan at Jazz Central

. August 22, Phil Hey Quartet/Stefan Kac at Jazz Central

. August 25, Dave Martin/Mike Doolin CD release at Icehouse followed by Brian Courage Farewell Party

. August 27, Dave Martin/Mike Doolin CD release at the Black Dog

. August 28, Atlantis Quartet at Studio Z

. August 29, Reynold Philipsek, live documentary taping at 318 Cafe

. August 29, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200

. August 30, Dave Martin and Mike Doolin, Guitar Repair Clinic, CD release at Jazz Central

. August 31, Connie Evingson and Jon Weber, Best of the Ella Fitzgerald Songbooks at Jungle Theater (matinee and evening)

. September 4, Nichols/Bates/Bates at Studio Z

. September 11, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Studio Z

. September 13, John Raymond, Jazz at Studio Z

. September 13, Selby Avenue Jazz Festival (Selby and Milton Av, Saint Paul)

. September 16, Meshell Ndgeocello at the Dakota

. September 17, Nellie McKay and the Turtle Island Quartet at the Dakota

. September 20, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Jazz @ St Barneys, St. Barnabas Lutheran Church

. September 21, Ticket to Brasil, Adieu Summer Concert at Como Park

. September 24, Chick Corea and Vigil at the Dakota

. September 25, The Cookers at the Dakota

. September 26, Pablo Ziegler Tango Project at the Dakota

. September 26, Adam Meckler Orchestra at MacPhail (Antonello Hall)

. September 28, French 75 with Maud Hixson, Schneider Theater, Bloomington Center for the Arts (2 pm matinee)

. September 30-October 1, Larry Coryell/Victor Bailey/Lenny White at the Dakota

. October 5-6, Hiromi Trio Project at the Dakota

. October 11, JazzMN Orchestra with Dave Weckl at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. October 12, Laura Caviania and JazzAX at Carleton College (3 pm)

. October 18, Chris Lomheim Trio CD release at Studio Z

. October 18-20, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Dakota

. November 6, Terri Lynne Carrington's Mosaic Project (with Rachel Z) at O'Shaughnessy

. December 2, Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Cecile McLorin Salvant at Orchestra Hall

* Photo of Aaron Hedenstrom courtesy of Aaron Hedenstrom

                                                   

The Phil Hey Quartet - coming soon to Jazz Central and the Icehouse
                                                                                                          














Friday, July 25, 2014

The Lead Sheet: Two Weeks of Twin Cities Jazz, July 25- August 7



"Mr Smooth" Irv Williams Celebrates 95 and yet another new recording
© Andrea Canter
Whenever you schedule a vacation, you just have to anticipate some terrific events will fall during the period to make you question your plans. There are a few such jazz gigs that I just have to cover my ears and miss. But you don't!  I will catch Irv Williams' 95th birthday celebration and CD release this weekend, and the LP release from Steve Kenny's Group 47 on Monday. And I will not have to choose between Red Planet and Tierney Sutton with Mark Summers since I will miss both; as well as the last (at least for a while) gig of the No Coast Quintet which means missing one of Brian Courage's last gigs as a Minnesotan, several of which take place in the next two weeks. Jazz Central continues to present live music at least five nights per week; Studio Z hosts All Originals every Thursday through mid-September; and the Black Dog seems to offer more and more jazz in its schedule of eclectic music. Note summer is when most concert series announce their new schedules.



Big Gigs Coming!

Laura Caviani
Friday, July 25. We hear somewhat less of Laura Caviani since the Artists Quarter closed, and her summers are typically busy with Interlochen, Shell Lake and other teaching activities. So consider this a special night at Jazz Central -- not only is Laura performing with her trio, tonight that trio includes special guests, bassist Bob Bowman from Kansas City and drummer Rich MacDonald from Winona State. Bowman has frequently played with Laura and was featured on her acclaimed CD, Going There. The trio will play some tunes from that album as well as new works from Caviani and Bowman. Earlier in the afternoon, Laura will conduct a workshop at Schmitt Music (Southdale Square). The Laura Caviani Trio plays the early gig at 7:30. 

Ted Olsen
Stick around for the late show at Jazz Central with an exciting quartet led by bassist Ted Olsen, with Nathan Hanson on saxophones, Joe Strachan on piano and Miguel Hurtado on drums. This is one of the last opportunities to hear Olsen before he heads back for a final year at Northern Colorado.



Always a fun evening -- Patty Peterson and Friends returns to the Dakota tonight, this time featuring special guest, brother Ricky Peterson. The rest of the cast includes Billy Franze, Bobby Vandell, Cory J. Wong and Kevin Gastonguay -- and that's quite a crew of "Friends." Meanwhile, sister Linda Peterson will be busy herself, singing and playing the piano with her trio at Parma 8200.



Faye Washington conducts Capri Big Band
And it's the Flow Northside Arts Crawl getting underway this weekend, and tonight you can enjoy a free performance of the Capri Big Band at the Capri Theater, led by Faye Washington and featuring a unique blend of area professionals, amateurs and students.



Saturday, July 26. I've lost track of Irv Williams' retirement parties and "final" CD releases. Now the word "final" seems to have been taken out of the equation as Irv prepares for his 95 birthday (early August) and the release of a new studio recording, aptly titled after the tune "Then Was Then, This Is Now." Back then, Irv was a swinging, soulful tenorman who could play any tune in any key and who backed the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Mary Lou Williams and Billy Eckstine before settling in the Twin Cities in the 1940s. Now Irv has released a pile of recordings in the past decade, and still gigs weekly for Happy Hour at the Dakota, currently with guitarist Steve Blons and long-time pal Billy Peterson on bass. Discussing a possible archival collection of his recordings with Wells Piano co-owner and producer Jason Rupert, Irv decided it was time to record again, taking Blons into the studio for some informal musical conversations, and bringing in Peterson to add some basslines. The result is what you would expect from Mr. Smooth -- sweet! Celebrate with Irv tonight --if tickets remain-- at The Museum of Russian Art, with Steve and Billy.




Sunday, July 27. A new venue, The Torch in Uptown, hosts a striking trio with Brian Courage, Erik Fratzke and Davu Seru. These three can take music anywhere, and they will.



Group 47
Monday, July 28. After about five years leading the early show band every Wednesday at the Artists Quarter, any fears that Steve Kenny would be "homeless" were unfounded. After reworking The Bastids quartet into the Group 47 quintet during the AQ's final months, Kenny found new opportunities at the Black Dog, Jazz Central, Studio Z and the Icehouse, where the band will celebrate it's first recording tonight, Straight to Vinyl. And it is on vinyl (and digital download) and it was recorded with the immediacy that the title implies -- just like a gig, no charts, no retakes, no redubs, just "straight to vinyl." Kenny has long gathered a flock of young lions to back and challenge his "flumpet" --saxophonist Thomas Strommen, pianist Will Kjeer, bassist (and recording engineer) Adam Tucker, and drummer Alex Burgess. The album is all original compositions, which will be on the set list at the LP release party.



Tuesday, July 29. Fifth Tuesdays are special on the Big Band series at Jazz Central -- it's time for the Acme Jazz Company! With one of the largest sets of original charts among U.S. bands, Acme honors the famed big bands of the past with their own modern twist. The band, launched in 2008, is directed by saxophonist Doug Rasmussen, usually at O'Gara's on the first Mondays of the month. Their credits include the Twin Cities Jazz Fesival, Jazz on the Prairie Festival and a number of area parks and performance centers.



Jake Baldwin
Wednesday, July 30. Wednesdays at Jazz Central are set aside for "new music," e.g., new ensembles, new compositions -- stuff we haven't heard. Among the younger proponents of such new sounds are trumpeters Cameron Kinghorn and Jake Baldwin. Dubbed Kinghorn/Baldwin Inc., this ensemble features Kinghorn on vocals, Baldwin on both trumpet and trombone, Ted Godbout on piano, Matt Peterson on bass and Andres Crovetti on drums. Melding jazz and soul influences, the band repertoire includes new takes on jazz and soul standards and some original compositions.


Tierney Sutton
Thursday, July 31. This is an amazing way to end the month. Take your pick: At the Dakota, the very talented and creative vocalist Tierney Sutton returns in the exciting company of Turtle Island Quartet cellist Mark Summers, performing Joni Mitchell tunes from Tierney's Grammy nominated After Blue (which featured Mark and fellow TISQ musicians); they will also tackle some arrangements of standards and Mark's solo repertoire. Joining them will be Parisian guitarist Serge Merlaud.   


At Jazz Central, another vocalist we hear far too seldom, Judi Donaghy Vinar joins forces with swinging pianist Rick Carlson for a night of pure delights.



Red Planet
Instrumental music is on full display as well, with Red Planet performing All Originals at Studio Z, the fourth installment of the All Originals series that runs through mid-September under the curatorship of Steve Kenny. With Dean Magraw, Chris Bates and Jay Epstein, this ensemble has been cooking great music for more than a decade, including their recent Main Stage performance during the Twin Cities Jazz Festival. And if you are seeking something really new, check out the newly formed ensemble Trioleo, debuting at the Black Dog, with Joel Shapira, Bruce Heine, and Dave Schmalenberger. Two-thirds of the once popular Triplicate, Trioleo promises "original tunes and jazz explorations on classic material."



Brian Courage
Friday, August 1. Brian Courage begins his final month of Twin Cities gigs as a Minnesota resident before heading to his home town--New York. Tonight is a finale with the No Coast Quintet, a band of like-minded young lions, including Nelson Devereaux, Jake Baldwin,  Lars-Erik Larson, and the one 30+ veteran Zacc Harris, performing on the Bridge Series at Jazz Central.



Nathan Hanson
Saturday, August 2. Studio Z, home of the area's most inventive music, hosts  Dennis Gonaz├íles' Hymn Project, part of the Crow with No Mouth series produced by Jesse Goin. Poet, linguist, painter, teacher and musician, trumpeter  Gonz├ílez has been performing and recording for over three decades. He is the founder of an organization (Daagnim) similar to AACM for the Dallas scene. His hymns are based on American, South African and Norwegian religious melodies. At Studio Z, he presents new arrangements with local improvising giants Chris Bates, Brandon Wozniak, Nathan Hanson and Pete Hennig.  



Noah Ophoven-Baldwin
Sunday, August 3. An unusual evening of music ("Six Families") at Hymies Records on Lake Street adds to the final gigs featuring Brian Courage as a Twin Citian, starting with a solo set from Brian; a set of trumpet duets with Noah Ophoven-Baldwin and TBA partner; a bass clarinet trio with Jon Davis, Matty Harris and Nelson Devereaux; and closing with a set from Courageous Endeavors (Courage, Devereaux, Joe Strachan and Miguel Hurtado).



Monday, August 4. JT's Jazz Implosion tonight features a stellar quartet of Chris Thomson, Bill Bergman and the brothers Bates (Chris and JT).



Davu Seru
Tuesday, August 5.  First Tuesday means Dean Magraw and Davu Seru mix it up at the Black Dog tonight.



Wednesday, August 6. Two veteran singers who know their way around a jazz band are on stage tonight: Sue Oatts engages with the Wolverines Trio at Hell;s Kitchen, while Lila Ammons and her trio take off at Tangiers.



Dorothy Doring
Thursday, August 7. If my mom was in here in the Twin Cities, I would take her out tonight for her 92nd birthday for an evening of songs with Dorothy Doring at Jazz Central. Dorothy's wide range, from Gershwin and Ellington to more contemporary and hip tunes appeals to all ages. Over in Saint Paul, the All Originals series at Studio Z continues with Mississippi, a quartet that evolved from Andres Prado's quintet after Andres returned to Peru. He left behind Pete Whitman, Peter Schimke, Jeffrey Bailey and Kevin Washington to carry on his inventive interpretations of Coltrane, Coleman and original compositions, which will be featured tonight.



A special treat at the Dakota tonight-- pianist Benny Weinbeck and his renowned trio (Gordon Johnson and Phil Hey) take a break from their Saturday night gigs at Parma to come downtown for an evening of inspired standards and more.



More Jazz Every Night

Keep up with the live jazz scene in the Twin Cities -- check out calendars at Jazz Police, KBEM, and Rhythm and Grooves as well as here on the blog.  More jazz to tickle your ears:



Friday, July 25. Irv Williams Trio, Happy Hour at the Dakota; Kronick Quartet at the Black Dog; Bryan Nichols and Brandon Wozniak, dinner sets at the Icehouse; East Side at Hell's Kitchen



Saturday, July 26. Charmin & Shapira in the Midtown Global Market (12:30 pm); Adam Meckler, Jana Nyberg and Chris Bates (Audible Improv), 2 pm at FunArt Studio (Stillwater); Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Peter Susag Trio at Loring Pasta Bar; Bryan Nichols and Mike Lewis, dinner sets at the Icehouse



Sunday, July 27. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Charmin Michele with the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra at Cinema Ballroom; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar; Robert Robinson at the Dakota



Cory Wong
Monday, July 28. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; Cory Wong Quartet at Jazz Central



Tuesday, July 29. Cafe Accordion at Loring Pasta Bar



Wednesday, July 30. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza; New Music night at Jazz Central (TBA); Arne Fogel Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Sophia Shorai at the Dakota



Thursday, July 31. Charmin Michelle and the Jerry O'Hagan Orchestra, Swing Night at the Caves (Wabasha Street Caves); Nick Haas Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Alicia Renee and Chris Lomheim, Jazz @ Christo's (Union Depot); Bend in the River Big Band at Lake Harriet Bandshell



Friday, August 1. Irv Williams Trio, Happy Hour at the Dakota;  Tommy Bruce at Parma 8200; Chris Bates and Todd Clouser, dinner sets at the Icehouse; Kevin Washington Quartet, Late Night at the Dakota



Saturday, August 2. Benny Weinbeck Trio at Parma 8200; Jake Baldwin Quartet, Late Night at the Dakota; Pigs Eye Jass Band at Eagle's Aerie Club; Jake Baldwin Quartet, Late Night at the Dakota



Sunday, August 3. Robert Everest, brunch at Maria's; Zacc Harris Trio at Riverview Wine Bar



Monday, August 4. Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza



Tuesday, August 5. Bill Simenson Orchestra at Jazz Central; Beasley's Big Band at O'Gara's



Wednesday, August 6. Wolverines Trio at Hell's Kitchen; Charmin Michelle and Denny Malmberg at Fireside Pizza



Thursday, August 7. Swinbeat Big Band at the Como Park Lakeside Pavilion; Moonlight Serenaders at Wabasha Street Caves



Coming Soon!

. August 11, Aaron Hedenstrom/Brian Claxton Quintet at the Icehouse

. August 14, All Originals Jazz series, Chris Lomheim Trio at Studio Z

. August 14, Adam Linz solo bass/Joe Suihkonen & Noah Baldwin trumpet duets at Khyber Pass

. August 18, Phil Hey Quartet at the Icehouse

. August 18, Evan Montgomery and Brian Courage at Jazz Central

. August 21, Steve Kenny's Group 47 at Studio Z

. August 25, Dave Martin/Mike Doolin CD release at Icehouse followed by Brian Courage Farewell Party

. August 28, Atlantis Quartet at Studio Z

. August 29, Reynold Philipsek, live documentary taping at 318 Cafe

. August 29, Maud Hixson at Parma 8200

. September 11, Adam Meckler Orchestra at Studio Z

. September 13, John Raymond, Jazz at Studio Z

. September 13, Selby Avenue Jazz Festival (Selby and Milton Av, Saint Paul)

. September 16, Meshell Ndgeocello at the Dakota

. September 17, Nellie McKay and the Turtle Island Quartet at the Dakota

. September 20, Mary Louise Knutson Trio, Jazz @ St Barneys, St. Barnabas Lutheran Church

. September 21, Ticket to Brasil, Adieu Summer Concert at Como Park

. September 24, Chick Corea and Vigil at the Dakota

. September 25, The Cookers at the Dakota

. September 26, Pablo Ziegler Tango Project at the Dakota

. September 29-30, Larry Coryell/Victor Bailey/Lenny White at the Dakota

. October 11, JazzMN Orchestra with Dave Weckl at Hopkins High School Auditorium

. October 12, Laura Caviania and JazzAX at Carleton College (3 pm)

. October 18-20, Herb Alpert and Lani Hall at the Dakota

. November 6, Terri Lynne Carrington's Mosaic Project (with Rachel Z) at O'Shaughnessy         

Chris Lomheim Trio previews new album at Studio Z, August 14